Siege of Valeria Campaign Review, More stuff for this solo castle defense board game

Siege of Valeria is a rather good single player castle defence board game but we found that it can get rather repetitive.

I’ve heard that the Campaign expansion for Siege of Valeria fixes this. Read on to find out if I found that to be true or not.

Disclosure: Thanks to Daily Magic Games for sending us review copies of their new small box board games and expansions. We also have to thank them for providing a 5% discount code: BELLHOP that you can use at their webstore. Links in this post may be affiliate links. As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases. 

What is Siege of Valeria Campaign?

The box for Siege of Valeria Campaign

Campaign is the first and, so far, the only expansion for Siege of Valeria. Both the base game and the expansion were designed by our friend Glenn Flaherty, who we know through his Boardgames and Bourbon! YouTube channel.

This expansion features artwork from The Mico and was published by Daily Magic Games. It came out last year after a successful Kickstarter, which included three different small box Valeria games.

We’ve reviewed all three of those games in the past. I invite you to check them out after you are done here. There’s the card game Thrones of Valeria, the roll and write Dice Kingdoms of Valeria (and the Dice Kingdoms of Valeria Winter Expansion), and of course Siege of Valeria, the game that this Campaign expansion expands upon.

The Campaign Expansion for Siege of Valeria keeps the single-player player count but significantly increases the game time as it requires you to play three rounds of the game to complete a full campaign.  

In addition to playing three games, the setup, takedown, and reset times between games are also increased due to additional set up needed at the start of each game. The overall game weight also increases a bit as there are now more types of cards and interactions to deal.

The Campaign Expansion for Siege of Valeria continues the story from the base game. The Queen of Valeria was so impressed with your ability to defend the southern border that she has now put you in charge of defending the entire kingdom! This is played out through a series of three sieges where your results in one battle will affect the next battle, as well as contributing to an overall score. Other new elements added in Siege of Valeria: Campaign Expansion include powerful enemy bosses, elite troops, enemy commanders, helpful dukes, new champions, new events, and more.

What you get inside the Siege of Valeria Campaign Box

You can get a look at all of this new stuff in our Siege of Valeria Campaign Unboxing Video on YouTube.

There you will see just how much Daily Magic Games has managed to stuff into this rather small box. You will find, new siege engine cards, a deck full of bosses, a deck of elite troops, enemy commander and duke decks, new champion cards, new event cards, penalty and bonus decks, a new damage token, a replacement reference card, and a surprisingly thick rulebook that unfortunately comes folded in half in order for it to fit in the box. 

The rulebook is excellent and up to the quality level I’ve come to expect from anything Daily Magic Games publishes. It includes clear rules and a ton of reference material with text descriptions of what every card in the set does.

An added bonus is that all of this new stuff fits into the base game box.

Using the Campaign expansion with Siege of Valeria

About to start a game of Siege of Valeria with the Campaign expansion.

So the big thing Siege of Valeria: Campaign Expansion does is to turn what was a single solitaire game into a three game series where the results for each game contribute to a total score and how you do in one game affects the next. 

In addition to having you play three games in a row, this expansion also adds quite a few new things to Siege of Valeria. However, this does come at the cost of making the setup a bit fiddly.

The easy part is just adding a bunch of the new cards to the existing decks. You do this for the new champions, events, and siege engines. Note three of the champion cards in this expansion are new starter champions and shouldn’t be mixed in with the rest. These are indicated by new symbols on the cards.

It’s also worth noting that mixing these extra cards in isn’t actually mentioned in the rulebook at all. While it just makes sense that you add the new stuff to the old stuff that matches, that isn’t explicitly stated anywhere.

One of the Commander cards from Siege of Valeria Campaign

Next, you are going to start setting up a game of Siege of Valeria as normal, with some exceptions.

When building the Siege Engine deck you are going to remove seven cards instead of five from the game and then mix in one random boss monster card with the bottom three cards of the deck.

Note the removal of seven cards is only done if you added in the two new siege engine cards from the Campaign Expansion. This also isn’t actually written anywhere in the rulebook.

As for the troops, you start off as you do in the base game by dealing yourself a hand of two, removing two from the game and then dealing out a grid of twenty cards. After that, you remove four more cards from the game and then shuffle in four elite troops from the Campaign Expansion.

Next, you find out who you are facing by drawing an enemy commander card and placing it face up on the table. Then draw a single duke card and place that face up as well.

The new starting champions from Siege of Valeria Campaign

The final change is that you now start with three champions in play. These are the three you set aside earlier. You assign each to a tower. These champions have powerful single use abilities but when used are put to the bottom of the deck and not discarded. Also, if anything in the game causes you to discard them they instead go on the bottom of the deck.  

Once you are done setting up you then play a game of Siege of Valeria, just with a couple of small changes and extra phases.

After you roll the dice, the enemy Commander’s power goes off. Read off the face up Commander card and do what it says. These include a variety of nasty things like putting a flame token on a tower or causing you to discard champion cards. 

One of the bosses from the Campaign expansion for Siege of Valeria

If there’s a boss on the board it activates during the Siege Engine phase. Each boss has two different attacks which are both really nasty. While bosses activate during this phase they are not considered siege engines. They advance like normal troops and don’t feature range bands on them. They attack every round while in play and you are going to have to either make a path or play an “attack any card” card in order to hit them.

To counter some of this nastiness, when playing with Campaign you get a Duke. Each Duke is different but gives a powerful ability that will take effect during one of the game’s phases. For example, one Duke has you draw two event cards during the event phase and pick one, while another has you roll up one red die during the roll dice phase. 

The main action phase stays the same, except for the rules for Elite Troops and Bosses. Elite Troops each have two battle numbers on them with a bar under them, this is to remind you that you need to spend dice showing these exact numbers in order to defeat them. Every elite troop features two numbers and some even require magic to defeat.

One of the Duke cards from Siege of Valeria Campaign

As noted earlier, each boss has two attacks, and each attack has its own set of battle values each of which requires both strength and magic. If you spend enough to defeat one of these attacks, it becomes disabled. You mark disabled attacks with the new damage token so that you remember the attack is disabled when you get to the next round of boss attacks. When you take out the second attack on a boss that finishes that boss off and its card is removed from play. Bosses don’t give you any reward for beating them but are worth points at the end of the siege even if you are defeated in the end. 

Something that doesn’t change are the win and loss conditions for each individual game. Defeat all of the siege engines to win. Lose if you run out of enemy troops, one of your towers falls, or a siege engine reaches your wall. 

Checking your final score in Siege of Valeria after a campaign.

Once you finish a game you calculate your score. You get one point for defeating the Boss and bonus points for surviving the game based on what game number it is. You get one point for your first game, two for your second game, and three for winning the third game.

Assuming this isn’t the end of the third game you then get things set up for the next round.

If you won the previous game, you draw a new boss and enemy commander for the next round. You also get a card from the bonus deck. This gives you a single use ability that only works in the next battle.

If you defeated the boss but lost the siege in your last game, you face the same commander but need to draw a new boss. You will also need to draw a new Duke and a penalty card. Penalty cards go off right at the start of the next game after you roll your dice for the first time.

I did not win this game of Siege of Valeria

If things really didn’t go well and you failed the last round completely, you just replace your duke, face the same boss and commander again, and deal with one penalty card.

The fascinating part here is that losing one battle doesn’t mean you’ve lost the entire Campaign.

If you play perfectly and end with a total score of nine points at the end of the campaign you end up as the Hero of Valeria and a holiday is created in your name. But, you only need six points for the second best and still winning result. Even scoring three points spread over all three games still gives you a partial victory.

Campaign brings Siege of Valeria to the next level

One of the new Elite Troops that come in the Campaign expansion for Siege of Valeria.

As you can read in our Siege of Valeria review, we enjoyed the game well enough but weren’t totally wowed by it. A big part of that is that none of the people I game with regularly are really solo game players and neither am I. The other part though was the fact that after a solid handful of games, I was starting to feel that Siege of Valeria plays the same every time. I was seeing the same troops and the same siege engines every game, and the plays started to feel the same.

Campaign Expansion does a great job of eliminating that second problem. Siege of Valeria is still a solo game, that doesn’t change, but it’s much more varied now. The new elements of elite troops, bosses, starting champions, enemy commanders, and dukes, plus the way the results of one game affect the next, bring Siege of Valeria to another level.

What makes this even better is just how much of each new thing you get with the Campaign Expansion. You get seven different bosses in the box but only use one per siege. You get sixteen new elite troops but only use a random selection of four of them each game.

There are ten different enemy commanders to face off against and ten different dukes to help you out. You also get a couple of new events, a totally new type of Siege engine, and some new champions.

A Penalty card from the Campaign expansion for Siege of Valeria

All of this combines to make Siege of Valeria with the Campaign Expansion to be a much more varied and engaging game.

However the Campaign Expansion doesn’t help with that first problem, the fact that I’m not really a solitaire board gamer. The basic gameplay in Siege of Valeria is fundamentally the same even after adding in Campaign. You still have a puzzle game that is all about trying to find the best use of your dice and cards each round. You are figuring out combos and being as efficient as possible while mitigating bad dice rolls through card play.

My biggest concern with Siege of Valeria: Campaign Expansion is that it turns what was a half-hour game into a two-hour game. The additional setup and tear down required before, after, and between rounds, is significant. There’s a lot of sorting decks, shuffling decks, removing cards from decks, and shuffling stuff back in. All of this takes time. Plus you are tripling the actual gameplay time as well by requiring three full plays to finish in Campaign mode.

Playing Siege of Valeria with the Campaign Expansion

While, yes, you could break your game up over multiple sessions, the Campaign box doesn’t give you a good way to save important things like if you won or lost the last round, or what your total score is. I’m sure if you were playing over a single weekend you might remember those things, but it would have been nice to have a campaign sheet or something to mark these things down on included with this expansion.

One thing I was personally hoping to get from Siege of Valeria: Campaign Expansion was a bit of an RPG experience. This could have come either in some kind of story, perhaps one with branching paths based on how well you do in each game, or in some form of level up system where more carries over between games than some points and one card draw of either a bonus or a penalty.

I realize this is a me problem, which comes from thinking of the word Campaign, in the title of this expansion in terms of an RPG, and not a military campaign which is clearly what is indicated.

Even losing one game I did well overall in this game of Siege of Valeria with the Campaign expansion.

I know I’m not the only person that was hoping for more of a roleplaying feel though, as I’ve gotten comments on our review noting that people want more than math from a fantasy siege game.

Overall, I was really impressed by how much Siege of Valeria is improved by adding the Campaign Expansion to it. At this point, I can’t see playing Siege of Valeria without it ever again.

If you own Siege of Valeria and enjoy it at all, you really should pick up the Campaign Expansion. It truly does improve the base game. Campaign brings Siege of Valeria to the next level.

Siege of Valeria with the Campaign box laying on top

If you are like Sean and I, and thought Siege of Valeria was good, but not something we could see ourselves playing very often, you may want to pick this expansion up. I can definitely see myself playing more campaigns in the future. 

That being said, it’s still a solo game, and some people prefer the social aspects of gaming. This expansion certainly isn’t going to open the game up to those people.

In the end, Siege of Valeria is still Siege of Valeria even with the Campaign Expansion. If single player mathy puzzles are not what you want out of your fantasy siege games, this expansion isn’t going to win you over.

We had a podcast episode called Game Changers, episode 205 of The Tabletop Bellhop Gaming Podcast where Sean and I talked about must have board game expansions. If I was going to re-record that podcast today, or sat down to turn that topic into a written article, Siege of Valeria: Campaign Expansion would get added to that list.

While it didn’t convert me into a big time single player board game player, it did greatly improve on the base game and does tempt me to sit down and play it more than any other solo game in my collection.

What are some expansions on your list of must haves? Expansions that you’ve added to the base game and now will never play without, even when teaching new players? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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