My husband and my twelve-year-old son are big Avatar: The Last Airbender fans and it’s a series my nine-year-old and I are also pretty fond of. When I found out that Funko Games, one of our favorite game makers, was making Avatar: Crossroads of Destiny, a cooperative game based on Aang’s adventures, I promptly said, “My oldest kid doesn’t know this exists yet but he wants it.” Funko Games was awesome enough to send us a copy for review, and when said kid laid eyes on it I immediately won like 50 Cool Geeky Mom points.
What Is Avatar: Crossroads of Destiny?
Avatar: Crossroads of Destiny is a cooperative board game based on the very beloved Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s a long play game where players take on the roles of Aang and his friends to undergo a journey full of Challenges and Encounters that recreate key moments in the series, from escaping Prince Zuko to Sozin’s Comet. Like other tie-in titles from Funko Games, this one acts as an amazing tribute to the source material that fans will love without being dependent on knowing the franchise to enjoy. The game is designed for 2-4 players ages 10+ and a Challenge takes about 45 minutes to play. The game has a MSRP of $32.99.
Avatar: Crossroads of Destiny Contents
Avatar: Crossroads of Destiny contains the following:
- Instruction Booklet
- Book of Challenges
- Book of Challenges Clip
- 4 Hero Mat Clips
- 2 Journey Tracker Clips
- Journey Tracker
- 4 Hero Mats (Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph) with Bases
- 14 Enemy Movers with Bases
- 3 Enemy Strength Cubes
- 8 Enemy Cards
- 12 Wound Cards
- 9 Ally Cards
- 4 White Lotus Tokens
- 88 Action Cards (22 per Hero)
- 15 Encounter Cards
- 12 Element Tiles
- 10 Objective Tokens
- 6 Challenge Token
One of the first things I noticed about the game pieces is all of the lovely artwork that should appeal to fans on the show and that the Book of Challenges cover even includes the iconic shot of Katara and Sokka discovering the iceberg that holds Aang. I feel like it’s going to make fans want to watch the series all over again.
The Book of Challenges also acts as a game board in scenarios with gridded out scenes, Objectives, and Special Rules that have a Funkoverse feel for anyone familiar with those games. This is the sort of game that’s likely to be played over many game sessions and includes a super helpful little Plastic Clip to help keep track of where you are in your adventures.
The cards are all about typical playing card thickness and are coded by size, color, and art so you can tell which type of card is which without too much trouble. The Journey Tracker is similarly designed. Again, lovely artwork is pulled straight from the series for the cards.
The Hero Movers are a thick sturdy plastic which is really nice. The Enemy movers are made of a thick cardboard like the tokens. Again, colors, shape, and art are used to help tell things apart with solid effectiveness.
The Enemy Strength Cubes and the Element Tiles are brightly colored and made of plastic. They are easy to tell apart based on size and the plastic works well for the jobs they need to do. Fans should easily recognize the Element Symbols that appear on the Element Tiles with fond nostalgia.
The Instruction Book is nicely organized and gives good diagrams and examples to help with gameplay as well as a link to a YouTube Video on how to play.
Overall, I’m really happy with everything, but I’m not surprised as I know that Funko Games puts out games with good components that include details that fans love while also working for their roles and being easy to sort out.
How to Play Avatar: Crossroads of Destiny
The goal of Avatar: Crossroads of Destiny is to journey your way through numerous Challenges and Encounters until you have an epic final showdown with Fire Lord Ozai. Defeat him and Team Avatar has won the game. The Challenges and Encounters have specific goals and winning or losing them can impact what resources you will have when you go up against Fire Lord Ozai in the final Challenge.
As long as you take a moment to look over which pieces are which, setting the game up isn’t too bad. To get a Challenge ready to play, follow these steps (Encounters have their own simpler setup).
- Place the Book of Challenges in the middle of your Play Area. The first Challenge is Escape from Prince Zuko.
- Place one cube on the topmost space of each Enemy Strength Track, in a 2 Player game, move them down to the spaces marked “2P” instead.
- Take the enemy Movers indicated on the Enemy Strength Tracks and place them in their matching spaces in the Book.
- Place an Element Tile on each matching space in the book. Keep the extras nearby.
- Place the 12 Wound Cards in a face-up stack to the left of the Book.
- Mix up the 6 Challenge Tokens and place them face down to the right of the Book.
- Shuffle the 8 Enemy Cards and place them in a face-down stack below the Challenge Tokens.
- Each Player picks a hero and takes the matching Hero Mat, Mat Clip, White Lotus Token, Hero Mover with Base, and 22 Action Cards.
- Place the Hero Mat in front of you and flip in to the correct side (one is for a 2-3 Player game and the other a 4 Player game). Slide the Hero Mat Clip on the topmost strength number.
- Take the 10 Starting Action Cards (marked with a red ‘S” symbol) and shuffle them into a Deck. Draw 5 Action Cards for your hand and leave the rest in a face-down Action Card Deck. Later in the game your Action Card Deck may have more cards in it, until then, set the cards not being used aside.
- Place your White Lotus Token face down above the Challenge Tokens. Place the Hero Mover on one of the green spaces in the Book. Movers cannot share spaces.
- Read the Challenge’s Introduction, Objective, Bonus Objectives, and Special Rules aloud. Complete any special setup as needed (the first Challenge does not have one).
Team Avatar is now ready to start their journey!
The game is played in a series of Rounds which includes turns for the Heroes (Team Avatar) and the Enemy.
- Mix up the White Lotus tokens and place them in a column. Reveal them to determine Hero order (from top to bottom).
- Heroes can do a Basic Action from their Mat by discarding the number of Action Cards indicated or playing the Action Cards and discarding them.
- Heroes end their turn by discarding Cards they don’t want, Drawing until they have 5 Cards (if the Action Card Deck runs out at any point, reshuffle the Discard Pile to make a new one), and flipping their White Lotus Token over to reveal a Challenge Token. Some Challenge Tokens are Blank, one lets Players Draw Cards, the others are explained in the Special Rules. When all of Challenge Tokens have been flipped over, place a blank one on the Challenge Track Experience. If the last Experience Box is covered, Team Avatar loses the Challenge. If not, the remaining Challenge Tokens will be mixed up and placed face-down again.
- Flip over an Enemy Card and follow the directions. Enemy Actions are done from top to bottom. Removed Enemy Movers are ignored. If there are multiple Enemy Movers of the same type, choose the order to move them in. If Multiple Heroes could be impacted by an Enemy, the closest Hero is impacted or choose the Hero when multiple Heroes are equally close. Movement stops at listed number of spaces or until one would move into the other’s space.
Each Basic Action on your Hero Mat lists a number of Action Cards you must discard to do it.
- Move: Move 1 space in any direction. You can’t move in a space with another Enemy or Hero, you can’t move into or through red outlined spaces, but you can move into spaces with Tokens or Element Tiles (Heroes do lose 1 Strength when they share a space with a Fire Element Tile).
- Close Attack: Something is close enough for a Close attack if it is one of the eight spaces around the space you are on. A close Attack does 1 Strength Damage.
- Range Attack: These do 1 Strength Damage to an Enemy not Close to you but in a Straight line from you. You may Ranged Attack through Tiles, Tokens, and other Heroes, but not through other Enemies or impassable spaces (red outlined).
- Interact: You must be Close to something to Interact with it. The effect of an Interact Action is unique to each Challenge and will be explained in the Book of Challenges.
Playing Action Cards
Play an Action by doing what it says. Do may do any or all of the parts, but they must be done in order. If you are allowed to Move several spaces, you may Move less than the indicated number.
- Burst Attack: Damages all Enemies on spaces Close to you.
- Heal: Increase Strength by the listed number, but never above your topmost Strength number. Some Action Cards let you Heal others.
- Draw Cards: Add the listed number of Action Cards from the top of your Deck to your Hand. If the Action Card Deck runs out at any point, reshuffle the Discard Pile to make a new one.
- Place, Move, and Remove Element Tiles: When you place an Element Tile, you may take a matching Tile from any space in the Book or one of the extra Tiles from setup. When you remove a token, set it with the extras from setup. Tiles do not move automatically unless directions say so. They may be moved by Heroes or Enemies. They can be placed on any space except those with a red outline (impassable). Fire Element Tiles do 1 Damage to a Hero when one moves to the other’s space unless a Hero is moving it. Fire Tiles are not considered Enemies. The numbers on the Element Tiles are used in Encounters.
- Free Basic Action: Do one of the Basic Actions on your Hero Mat without discarding any Hero Cards.
Enemy Strength and Defeat
When an Enemy is damaged, move the Cube down the Strength Tracker. If it hits 0, all Enemies of that Type are defeated and removed from play for the Challenge. Enemies with an Infinity symbol instead of a 0 are not removed from play.
Hero Strength and Wounds
If any Hero’s Strength is reduced to 0, the Challenge ends and Team Avatar loses. The first time a Hero drops to 4 Strength or lower, they receive a Wound Card and place it face down on the top of their Action Card Deck. Wound Cards cannot be discarded to do Actions, but may be discarded in other ways including at the end of a Hero’s turn.
Challenge End Playing a Journey
Start the Journey Tracker by placing the Yellow Clip on 0 for Team Avatar and the Red Clip on 20 Dominance for the Fire Nation. This Tracker is used for the entire game and does not reset after Challenges or Encounters.
If Team Avatar won the Challenge, count up the Experience points based on the uncovered spaces on the Challenge Track. Meeting Bonus Objectives will cause the Fire Nation to lose Dominance; adjust their number accordingly. If you lost, there are no adjustments. Heroes can remove all Wounds from their Decks, Discard piles, and Hands and return them to their stack. Even if you did not win, you will get to make a choice about where to go next.
- Gain Action Card: Whenever a clip reaches 1, 10, or 20 on Team Avatar Experience, or the Fire Nation Dominance drops to 15 or 5, all Heroes get to add an Action Card to their Deck. Heroes shuffle the non-starting cards and draw two. They may select one to go into their Action Card Deck and the other card is returned to the unused cards.
- Gain an Ally Card: Whenever the clip reaches a purple space, the Heroes gain a new Ally. Shuffle the Ally Cards, Draw two, and then one is selected for Team Avatar with the other returning to the box. At the start of a Challenge, Ally Cards are placed face up near the Book. Any Hero can use the Ally on their turn by following the Ally Card directions. Once used, the Ally Card is flipped face down and can’t be used again until the next Challenge.
- Remove a Card: When the clip reaches a gray space, Heroes may remove a Card from their Deck, Discard Pile or Hand. Wound Cards are returned to their stack and Action Cards are sent back to the unused Action Cards.
After some Challenges, you may be directed to an Encounter. These give you chances to gain Experience, lower Fire Nation Dominance, or remove Wounds. After you complete the Encounter, read the Epilogue regardless of whether if you won or lost and then continue your journey.
Recovering Encounter: Set all 12 Element Tiles in a 3×4 grid. Each Hero will take a turn trying to make a pair. If a Hero makes a pair, set it aside, otherwise flip the Tiles over. Remove 1 Tile from the board and set it aside, it is no longer in play. The next Hero takes a turn and the steps continue until the pairs required to win are acquired or the Tiles run out.
Uprising Encounter: Select 6 Tiles. Heroes take turns trying to stack the Tiles on top of each other on the narrow side. The first Tile is played on the play surface. Take turns stacking until the Heroes agree to stop or the tower falls. Check how many Tiles you stacked and gain the rewards noted. If the tower falls, no rewards are gained.
Focusing Encounter: Mix the tiles up and then make two lines with Air in Water in one column and Fire and Earth in another. The Air and Water side are considered the Hero side. Choose a tile from each column. These Tiles are paired against each other in conflict. Set the conflict pairs aside. The next Hero selects a conflict pair and so on. When all the conflict tiles are set aside, flip them over to see the numbers. If the Air or Water Tile is higher it won the conflict. If there is a tie or the Fire or Earth Tile is higher, the conflict was lost. Check the Encounter description to see if you won enough conflicts for a reward.
Why You Should Play Avatar: Crossroads of Destiny
I feel like this game is a must-have if you’re an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan. I say it a lot, but I stand by the fact that Funko Games has a reputation for designing games where they don’t just slap a licensed skin on a pre-existing game and try to call it something new. Their tie-in games were clearly made by fans of the franchise, for fans of the franchise, and include art and details that are really about celebrating what the fandom does. The games also make a lot of sense for the fandoms they are paired with and making a board game that captures the feeling of going on a journey to defeat Fire Lord Ozai just works so much as a concept. Choosing to make it a cooperative game also blends in beautifully with the idea that Aang couldn’t do this on his own, it was a team effort which created that final victory.
As a board game on its own, it’s absolutely worthy of shelf space. The components are well done, easy to sort out, and solid quality. The gameplay is complicated enough to be fun for adults and teens, but due to the cooperative nature we were able to cheat the minimum age requirement a bit. If your kid is used to playing games with powers and abilities that need to be played (anything from Smash-Up to Villainous to Pokémon) then this shouldn’t be too hard for them, especially as it’s cooperative. On the flip side, if you’re trying to teach kids how to play games with abilities like this, the cooperative nature makes it easier to help them learn this skill compared to games with more of a secret card feature. I’m not sure a group of ten-year-olds could handle learning it on their own unless they’re heavy board game players, but the age is probably pretty fair. I think it does make a great game for a family or a group of friends that can meet frequently enough to play the whole journey.
I like the combination of Challenges and Encounters and I feel like that lends itself to some replayability even if you defeat the Fire Lord. There’s a sense of let’s try to play in a way to gain more experience points or advantages, especially as there are secrets that would be revealed that you can’t really rediscover. I like that it’s a bit of strategy and a bit of luck (especially with encounters). It may be heavier than some casual gamers prefer, but since the recommended age is 10+, it shouldn’t be too intense. The nice thing is that not knowing the series doesn’t give you a disadvantage of any sort.
The price considering what all is included and how many hours of play it has is absolutely fair and pretty reasonable to put on those holiday wish lists. Currently, Amazon is selling the game at just above $30, so grab your copy there and gather up your Team Avatar because the Fire Lord needs defeating.