It’s time to clear the mist and take a look at Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Epic Alliances Thrills & Chills. This is the second expansion for the Disney skirmish battle game from The Op.
With Thrills & Chills you get three new characters: Mother Gothel, Jack Skellington and The Horned King, as well as some new rules pertinent to these characters which include the full rules for Token Characters and a new status effect.
Disclosure: Thanks to The Op for sending us a review copy of this small box expansion. No other compensation was provided. Links in this post may be affiliate links. As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases.
You will need Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Epic Alliances in order to use Thrills & Chills.
If you aren’t familiar with the base game I encourage you to take a moment to read our Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Epic Alliances Core Set Review.
This expansion is fully compatible with all other Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Expansions. For information on the first expansion that was released for this Disney skirmish game, check out our Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Epic Alliances Turning the Tide Expansion review.
What does Thrills & Chills add to Sorcerer’s Arena?
Disney Sorcerer’s Arena: Epic Alliances Thrills & Chills was designed by Sean Fletcher, the designer of the base game, and published by The Op in late 2022. This small box expansion has an MSRP of $19.99 USD.
This expansion gives you three new character options when playing chapters two to four of the Disney Sorcerer’s Arena board game.
You get Mother Gothel from Tangled, Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas and The Horned King from The Black Cauldron. To go along with these characters you also get rules for Character Tokens and the new Afraid Status Effect.
For a look at what you get in this box check out our Thrills & Chills Unboxing video on YouTube.
Inside the box, you will find a single folded sheet of instructions and new rules. There are also three punch boards with character turn order tokens, nine status effect tokens (including new Afraid tokens), and three Cauldron Born Tokens.
Finally, there’s all the stuff needed for each character, which includes a large character card, a ten card deck, a standee and a base.
The standees are, of course, protected by a thin film that was just as much of a pain to get off as with the figures in the base game and first expansion.
Everything here matches the quality and colours of the stuff in the core game and first expansion and I have no complaints about the components.
New rules for Sorcerer’s Arena introduced in Thrills & Chills
The first new rules introduced in this expansion will be familiar to owners of Turning the Tide. These are the rules for Constant Abilities. It seems like these rules might be presented in every expansion, or at least they have been so far.
Constant Abilities are featured on some character cards and are effects that are always in play as long as the character with the ability is in the Arena.
Next, we have brand new rules for Character Tokens, something I’m very excited about.
Character Tokens are round double sided disks that can be put into play by character abilities and cards. When entering play they have to be placed in an open space and are placed with the matching player’s colour face up.
These tokens are treated as additional characters in the Arena and are affected as characters for all actions, cards and abilities. Character Tokens do not take turns of their own but are activated by another character’s cards or abilities. All of their stats, movement, attack, initiative and victory points are zero, except Heath Points which are one.
When Knocked Out a Character Token is removed from the Arena. They cannot have status effects placed on them.
This expansion includes one type of Character Token, Cauldron Born, which feature no special rules above the standard Character Token rules.
Finally, we have the Afraid Status Effect. When a character is Afraid they must use each of their movement phases if possible. Then, at the end of each movement phase, the character takes two damage if adjacent to a rival.
A look at each of the new characters introduced in Thrills & Chills
Jack Skellington – As expected from a character from Halloween Town, a lot of Jack’s actions make Rivals Afraid. This new effect is great for use on melee characters and for getting Rivals off of Victory Point spaces.
The other big thing Jack gives you is unprecedented control over Status Effect counters, both those on your own characters and those on rivals. Due to this, he teams up well with characters that give out a lot of status effects either positive or negative. To get the most out of his ability you will want to upgrade Jack as quickly as you can.
The Horned King – On his own The Horned King isn’t much of a threat. He’s no tank either. The thing is, he shouldn’t be alone for long.
This character is all about summoning Cauldron Born, the first Character Token introduced to Sorcerer’s Arena. Getting these tokens into play and manipulating them around the board is the key to using The Horned King well.
What’s difficult about this is that you only get Cauldron Born when you earn victory points. So this character teams up best with characters that can generate them on their own as well as characters that are good at holding VP spots on the board.
Another trick up The Horned King’s sleeve is that he has abilities that cause his opponent to banish cards from their discard pile. This is a great way to prevent the other player from upgrading their cards. Combining this ability with a character that causes opponents to banish cards from their hands can be devastating.
Mother Gothel – Gothel is a control character that can really frustrate an opponent. Her Skill gives her opponent a hard choice of either banishing cards or giving Gothel the Stealthy status which could lead to even more cards being banished.
She also has abilities that strip status effects, which can be great for dealing with annoying effects like Invulnerable and Taunt.
Finally, she has an ability that targets everyone with a Princess keyword. While there aren’t many characters with this keyword yet, I could see this becoming more powerful as more sets are released.
Should you pick up Thrills & Chills for Disney Sorcerer’s Arena?
With this expansion you not only get three new characters, you also get some new rules and a whole new gameplay aspect, that of Token Characters.
Similar to the Ocean tiles introduced in Turning the Tide, Character Tokens add a whole new dynamic to the Arena. Their addition changes up the feel of the game and gives players on both sides of the table more to think about.
Besides that, I personally really dig all three characters in this expansion. Of the three Mother Gothel was the most fun to play. I loved the hard choices she offered to my opponent and the feeling of hopelessness she can bring as the opponent’s hand and deck whittles down. This was especially true when combining her with The Horned King or Dr Fusilier from the base game.
My next favourite character from this set was Jack Skellington. One thing that I didn’t mention above that I dig about Jack is his ability to tank and to hold a Victory Point spot on the board. This is done through his high health of ten as well as all of his Afraid causing abilities. The thing is this only works on melee based opponents. Against a team with Demona and Buzz Lightyear, for example, you are going to have to change things up.
Jack’s other big ability, of moving status counters and his Upgraded ability to increase them, seems super powerful and I’ve seen some ridiculous combos online but I’ve personally never really gotten it to work all that well for me. This reminds me of my experience with Davy Jones. I can see the potential here but I haven’t quite figured out how to get it to work.
My least favourite character in this set is The Horned King. While I love the concept of Character Tokens and I think the way they were implemented is very clear and well done, I just haven’t had a lot of success using them. My main issue is that this character is next to useless without Cauldron Born in play and they aren’t easy to get into play in the first place.
I often found that by the time I got one or two Cauldron Born into the Arena, my opponent was able to just use a couple of basic attacks to get rid of them before I got to do anything with them.
Now I do think that this is most likely a me problem and I just need more practice using The Horned King as well as figuring out a good pair to team him up with. In no way did I dislike the character, I just had difficulty using him effectively.
What I’m most looking forward to is seeing what else they do with Character Tokens. Now that they have introduced this system I can see the potential for all kinds of allies, sidekicks, summons and other supporting characters to be added to the game.
Overall this is a really solid expansion for Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Epic Alliances. Between this and Turning the Tide, I prefer Thrills & Chills. I simply had more fun with these characters than the others.
That said I’m happy to own both expansions and I’m also looking forward to getting in more plays with the Leading the Charge expansion to see how that compares.
As noted above, if you already enjoy Sorcerer’s Arena picking this up seems like a no-brainer. You get three new characters that all stick out and feel quite different from the existing characters.
Unless for some reason you have no interest in any of the characters in this box, or you only play the game in chapter one family mode, this add on is a safe bet.
So far The Op hasn’t missed a beat as far as Disney Sorcerer’s Arena Epic Alliances goes. The core box was a great introduction to the game with a fantastic onboarding system and each expansion just keeps building upon that.
I love the fact that each expansion adds some new aspect to the game that changes the feel of the game just enough to keep it interesting without changing it so much that it feels like a different game.
Have you been playing Disney Sorcerer’s Arena? What’s your favourite character combo so far?