Reiner Knizia's The Confrontation - Variant Mode DLC Review

Reiner Knizia's The Confrontation - Variant Mode DLC Review

Reiner Knizia's The Confrontation - Variant Mode DLC


  • Platform: PC
  • Players: 1-2
  • Achievements: Yes
  • Steam Trading Cards: No 
  • Controller Support : No
  • Retail Price: $9.99

High Level Premise: Brings 18 new characters, 4 new special cards, and a new play mode to the base game

Graphics/Style: The only things that were changed were the character models. 

Music/Soundtrack: Unchanged

Story: For the light side, you now need to get the King (instead of the Prince) to the Shadow's Stronghold. For the Shadow side, you now have three win conditions: Kill the King, get 3 troops into the Light Capital, or get your Doombringer to the Capital.

Replay-ability: Adding a new mode is a great kick for replay value, although this DLC doesn't really change the game too drastically.

Time Commitment: Still only takes 15-20 minutes per game

Value: Given the actual amount of added content, $9.99 seems high given the base game now only costs $12.99. 

Favorite Element: Some of the new abilities are truly terrific. I especially like the Dwarven Siege Crew.

Ooh! Spooky Ghosts!

The Variant Mode DLC for Reiner Knizia's The Confrontation brings most of the content to the Steam game that the Deluxe Edition brought to the original base game. You get a full 9 new characters for both sides, and a few new action cards as well. Unfortunately, the left out the one thing that would have made this DLC pack magical.

As a quick reminder (in case you didn't read the original review) The Confrontation started life as a Lord of the Rings-themed board game. The board game was kind of like Stratego on a smaller board, with special abilities. It's quite a good game that I think improves on the Stratego formula. After a couple years, they released a Deluxe Edition with some nicer pieces, more characters, and a couple new ways to play. 

The Steam version doesn't have the Lord of the Rings license, so everything has been changed to fairly generic fantasy tropes. I originally found the game quite fun, and recommended it even though I felt the presentation left quite a bit to be desired. On this level, the Variant Mode DLC left me disappointed. Except for the new character models, they didn't change a single thing graphically. Which means the map looks good but cluttered, and the battle scenes still look very last-gen and muddy.

Why are we all the way back here when the action's way over there??

The Variant Mode DLC brings us a new set of characters for each side. You can now play either with the original characters and original win conditions, or the new characters with the expanded win conditions. I do like some of the new abilities quite a bit. They add a nice twist on the main characters that I knew quite well. Both sides play quite differently than they did before. I am a fan of the Variant Mode, and think it adds a good amount of replay to the game, but it could have been so much more. 

Where I'm most disappointed in this pack is that it didn't one thing that was in the deluxe edition of the board game - the ability to draft your own team. The board game gave each player the option to pick and choose their favorite characters in order to take on the opposition. This ability gives you so much potential variety to try out new combinations and strategies. The Variant Mode DLC gives you just a slider to pick Set A or Set B. Again, I'm appreciative of the Variant Mode for giving this great game more life...but the lack of drafting is ultimately going to limit the replay value the game has.

So I guess dinosaurs and people DID live together...

As I stated in the original review, this Steam implementation is much less expensive than trying to find the long out-of-print board game. Even more so now that the base Steam game has been reduced to $13.  The DLC adds in all the pieces from the Deluxe Edition, but leaves out the drafting which would have elevated this package to the next level of greatness. As it is, I do feel it is a necessary addition if you have the base game, although at $10 I do believe it's priced a bit too high compared to the base game.

The balance of power has shifted in this exciting expansion to Reiner Knizia's the Confrontation! The King has rallied his forces against the Doombringer, with 18 all new characters and 4 new special cards. Will you destroy evil in its stronghold or bring doom upon the world with Shadow?
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