World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game Review

Last Updated on December 1, 2021 by FauxHammer

Return to World of Warcraft‘s golden age, when Tirion Fordring was still the Ashbringer, Jaina was a blonde, and fatherhood hadn’t caused all of Thrall’s hair to fall out. With Z-Man Games’ latest iteration of the Pandemic Board Game System, head back to when Wrath of the Lich King was the most recent World of Warcraft expansion, and the Lich King remained undefeated.

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World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game – Summary

Fast-paced, exciting, and a snapshot of a time when World of Warcraft was one of the greatest games ever made, World of Warcraft, Z-Man Games’ Wrath of the Lich king Board Game strikes on a rich vein of nostalgia, and offers players an exciting, interesting, and downright fun spin on the Pandemic game system. Oh, it’s also got some really great figures in it, too.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game – Introduction

In a somewhat unscheduled break from regular posting, today we’re having a look at something a little bit different.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is one of those rare FauxHammer posts that has absolutely nothing to do with Warhammer or any other affiliated Games Workshop product. They’ve been coming in a deluge recently: it feels like over the last few months there’s been a new boxed game to cover every single week. First, we had Dominion, then the Warrior, Harbinger and Extremis Starter Sets, then Hexfire and most recently Kill Team. Oh, and BossHammer did an unboxing of the Beast Snaggaz somewhere in all that as well.

So, from this moment onwards, we’re going to talk about something else. No Games Workshop. No 40K Ninth, no AoS Third. Not even a mention of Kill Team.

Okay, there’s a Stormcast Eternal included in a photo later on, but there’s a very good reason for that.

Anyway, a couple of months ago I was lucky enough to be sent an early copy of Z-Man Games’ new Pandemic-style game, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. As any regular reader of the site will know – along with anyone who has so much as glanced at my author biography attached to the bottom of each review I do – I am was until recently a huge WoW fan. Wrath was my favourite expansion by far, and set the benchmark that every subsequent expansion was expected to meet.

With the Wrath of the Lich King Board Game, you can relive those glory days on the tabletop with up to four friends. Heck, you don’t even need to have friends to play it – the game has its own single-player mode. Damn, these guys know their audience.

Joking. Joking.

Anyway, let’s have a closer look at the game.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game – Unboxing

Z-Man Games’ World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King game comes in a surprisingly compact box. Those regular readers of this site and frequent purchasers of the usual product we review will be used to receiving boxes twice the size of this one on Saturday mornings following pre-orders.

Z-Man Games World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Game Unboxing 1

The artwork on the front of the box should whisk any old school Warcraft fan back to 2008, to waiting anxiously for one of the new ships to arrive and whisk them off to either Borean Tundra or Howling Fjord for the first time.

Howling was better. Just sayin’.

Anyway, opening up the box, we get the cardboard and the paperwork.

Z-Man Games World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Game Unboxing 2

The board and push-out tokens come sealed in plastic wrap to keep them safe and secure. The rulebook and how to play guide is mercifully thin and doesn’t seem to require a Bachelor’s in TTRPGs and Wargames Studies in order to get your head around it, which is a very welcome change of pace!

Beneath lies, well, everything else.

Z-Man Games World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Game Unboxing 3

The Abominations and Ghouls come in their own baggies, whilst the other figures are stashed inside the carboard sleeve.

With that, let’s have a closer look at everything in the box.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game – Contents

It’s impressive how much stuff you can cram into what is, in truth, not a very large box.

  • 7 x Heroes Miniatures
    • Highlord Tirion Fordring
    • Jaina Proudmoore
    • Thrall
    • King Varian Wrynn
    • Lady Liadrin
    • Muradin Bronzebeard
    • Sylvanas Windrunner
  • 1 x Lich King Miniature
  • 3 x Abomination Miniatures
  • 36 x Ghouls Miniatures
  • 1 x Cardboard Icecrown Citadel
  • 1 x Game Board
  • 3 x Cardboard Strongholds
  • 7 x Hero Sheets
  • 10 x Quest Sheets
  • 63 x Hero Cards
  • 9 x Reward Cards
  • 30 x Scourge Cards
  • 5 x Reference Cards
  • 3 x Quest Markers
  • 1 x Scourge Marker
  • 3 x Progress Markers
  • 1 x Despair Marker
  • 1 x Solo Marker
  • 2 x Dice

That’s a lot of stuff.


There are a lot of cards with this game.

I mean a lot.

But they aren’t dull. In my experience, a lot of board games that rely heavily upon cards tend to keep their designs very simple and straightforward, opting for uniformity in their look and an overall simplicity to their appearance in order to try and keep them from being too overwhelming.

But the Wrath of the Lich King game spares no expense in its magnificent selection of cards. Everything is dripping in well thought out design. There’s a huge array of colour and artwork across the various decks, and aside from making it clear which card is from which pack, it keeps things interesting. The design of the cards clearly hails to the design of the World of Warcraft UI and interface, and some of the cards, particularly the Hero Cards, are reminiscent of Blizzard’s card-based Warcraft universe spinoff Hearthstone.

Everything is exceptionally well-designed, and very much feels like a part of the Warcraft universe. An excellent start.

Tokens, Counters and Other Markers

The push-out tokens and markers that come in the box are, much like the cards that in this review precede them, wonderfully little odes to parts of the World of Warcraft online game and its universe.

Z-Man Games World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Game Tokens Markers etc

From the little Scourge banner on the Scourge Token to my personal favourite, the Solo Marker that is reminiscent of WoW’s mouse, everything is once again well designed and an obvious design ode to the wider Warcraft aesthetic.

Also, these were some of the easiest to punch out perforated components I’ve ever reviewed. There’s always a little worry when knocking things out of printed boards that something may go wrong: a tab may catch and the print may tear, or something might get bent by accident. But these pieces slid out of their board with minimal effort and absolutely no damage.

The little things count.


The bit you’ve all been waiting for: the plastic.

Z-Man’s Wrath of the Lich King comes with no fewer than 47 tiny plastic people (and, believe me, some of them are really tiny). They require no assembly and are made of hard-wearing and durable plastic. That they survived being jumbled up in a box and shipped across the Atlantic for me to pick over attests to this.

The figures are also wonderfully detailed, as you’ll see below. Someone somewhere did a truly fantastic job realising the designs of some of Warcraft’s most iconic heroes into plastic.

The Lich King

Let’s start with the big one, the main man himself: Arthas Menethil, The Lich King.

Z-Man Games World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Game Lich King

Bold and menacing, One of the things I loved so much about the Lich King in the Wrath expansion was that he did not run anywhere. There was a deliberation to his movements: the way he walked with purposeful strides; the way he talked in a growling whisper; how he would stab his sword into the ground, to lift and point with his right hand. He was utterly fearless totally fearsome, and, like death he so embodied, would always catch you eventually.

That menace has been embodied in this figure. He stands cocksure and ready, iconic blade in one hand and other fist clenched – but not in anger: it is as if he has reached out and seized hold of something. Probably your soul.

An excellent figure.


The three Abominations that come in the box are all the same design.

Z-Man Games World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Game Abominations

Whilst this is a bit of a shame, as it would have been fantastic to have the three rotting, zombified hulks in different poses, nonetheless these remain awesome figures. As with Arthas before them, there’s real detail in their sculpts: the chains around their wrists and to which the hooks they carry are attached, even down to the stitching on their limbs where they have been reassembled from various undead parts.


Oh my god, there are so many.

There are no fewer than 36 Ghouls in the box, and they are so small!

Z-Man Games World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Game Ghouls

Unlike the Abominations, as you can see in the picture above, there is a degree of variation in the design of these tiny Ghouls, who come in five or six different poses.

In spite of their size, they are staggeringly well-sculpted. That figures this small can be rendered in such detail is really quite impressive. These figures are a truly wonderful nod to the original Ghoul design from World of Warcraft and there is no doubt from any distance just what these figures are meant to be.

Whilst their size may be a bit of a drawback, the level of detail these tiny terrors are rendered in is really quite stunning.


With the forces of the Scourge out of the way, let’s have a look at the Hero figures who will be taking on the Lich King on the tabletop. As a reminder, the game comes with figures representing Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind, Highlord Tirion Fordring of the Argent Crusade, Sylvanas Windrunner the Banshee Queen, Warchief Thrall, Muradin Bronzebeard, Blood Knight Matriarch Lady Liadrin, and Crazy Cat Lady in the Making, Jaina Proudmoore.

All the Hero figures are designed to be wearing their era-appropriate gear: gone is Jaina’s anchor and compass-themed nautical getup a la Battle for Azeroth, and Muradin is bedecked in his Tier 10 Ymirjar Lord’s battlegear.

Each figure is represented beautifully – though I do have one small criticism. Some of the figures, Jaina again, for example, do not appear to have been sculpted with any eyes. Now, the reason for this is obvious enough: the Hero figures are quite small, and doing so would be very difficult. It is, however, something to be aware of if you were planning on painting these figures.

To give you all an idea of the relative sizes of these figures, here’s a couple of them lined up next to each other with a Games Workshop Sylas Beastbane for reference (AKA the first Stormcast Eternal miniature that came to hand).

Z-Man Games World of Warcraft Wrath of the Lich King Game Size Comparison

So, as you can see, there’s quite a bit of difference in size from figure to figure. Whilst the Lich king himself is reasonably large the Abominations and Heroes are a little smaller (they remind me of the Reaper Bones miniatures in size, if that means anything to anyone). The Ghouls, however, are tiny – but there are 36 of the little menaces, and the majority of them will be set up on the board during play.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game – Playtesting

The game is playable with 2-5 players. In order to get the most out of the game, and try out as many of the mechanics as possible, we decided to play as if we were a five.

The game requires a reasonable amount of setup, with various decks being built and quests and Scourge forces spawn locations being selected randomly from shuffled cards, but the guide walks you through these steps in an easy to understand and logical order.

With everything set up, the board should look something like this:

Z-Man Games Wrath of the Lich King Playtesting 1

In the Wrath of the Lich King Board Game, the players take on the roles of certain legendary Azzerothian heroes. We employed five heroes for our test game; Highlord Tirion Fordring, King Varian Wyrnn, Lady Liadrin, Warchief Thrall and Muradin. Players work together to try and stop the spread of the Lich King’s Scourge, and either win or lose the game depending on how successful they are. If too many enemies overwhelm the board, or all players are killed, the game ends in defeat.

Each Hero unit starts on its own space, as dictated by the back of its card. The player then draws a number of Scourge cards – dictated by the difficulty they have selected to play the game at – and places Ghouls and Abominations on those squares as directed.

Unlike his servants, the Lich King himself does not play on the board for the majority of the game, neither can he be faced directly. Instead, he stands on one of the three Lich King spaces on the board, adding debuffs to that region to weaken the heroes, forcing them to take damage after certain actions. This can be particularly devastating if a Hero is trying to Fight or perform a Quest Action but isn’t watching their health.

Z-Man Games Wrath of the Lich King Playtesting 9

During their adventures, the heroes of Azeroth must complete the quests on their way to Icecrown Citadel. All quests must be completed to win the game. Three quest cards are drawn at the start of the game (in ours, we drew The Nexus, Naxxramas and Ulduar), one for each coloured region on the map. The quest cards show a sequence of actions that the heroes must take in the corresponding quest space, as well as actions or damage that may be done to the player completing the action.

Z-Man Games Wrath of the Lich King Playtesting 10

In order to complete the quest, these actions must be completed in that order. When all quests are completed, the Siege of Icecrown Citadel begins. The players must then turn over the Icecrown Citadel quest card and complete that in order to win the game.

Each quest comes with its own challenges: Naxxramas, for example, spat Ghouls at us every time we completed a Quest Action there. In our game, Arthas sat in the red area of the map for ages, which made Malygos deal 4 damage to Heroes trying to complete The Nexus quest instead of his usual 3. This serves to slow hero progress, and allow for the Scourge’s forces to grow unchecked elsewhere on the Board.

The player that starts the furthest north goes first – in our game, this was Tirion. In a turn, a player must:

  • Complete 4 actions (you can do the same action more than once)
    • Move – move to an adjacent location
    • Fight – attack enemies occupying the same space as your hero
    • Quest – while on a quest space, use this action to progress the quest
    • Rest – heal damage
    • Flight Path – move to s space with a stronghold (provided you’ve set them up during play)
  • Draw 2 Hero Cards
  • Spawn Ghouls
  • Active Abominations

As Tirion had started on a space with 3 Ghouls on it, his first two actions were taken up killing them. To fight, players roll the 2 dice in the set. There are 2 icons on the dice – a fist and a shield. The fist indicated your action was a success, the shield represents a block. In his first action, Tirion rolled a pair of fists, so killed two Ghouls. However, as he still shared his space with one more Ghoul at the end of his action, the remaining Ghoul dealt 1 damage to him. He killed the final Ghoul with his second action.

Z-Man Games Wrath of the Lich King Playtesting 2

Damage dealt is not transferred between turns. Whilst this doesn’t matter with Ghouls, who have only 1 hit point, Abominations have 3. This means an Abomination must take 3 points of damage in a single action to be destroyed. The dice have multiple success and block rolls printed on some faces – but if you struggle to hit that all-important 3 damage, you can play a Hero Card to boost your damage enough, provided you have the right one.

Z-Man Games Wrath of the Lich King Playtesting 3

Your Hero’s health is tracked on their card, and each herop has a couple of special abilities that can help turn the tide of battle. Thrall,. for example, can cast Chain Lightning and fry Ghouls in any adjacent locations to his own. Tirion can opt to take any Blocks rolled on his dice as Successes – which was instrumental in killing Abominations.

At the end of each turn, each Hero player draws 2 more cards (up to a maximum of 7), and, depending on how far along the Scourge tracker has moved, draws 2 or more Scourge cards and places Ghouls on those spaces. As the number of Ghouls increase, so too do the number of Abominations on the board. Every time a Ghoul would normally be placed on a location where there are already 3 Ghouls, an Abomination gets placed instead. Whilst Ghouls are static and occupy a space, the Abominations will chase players around the board and inflict damage to them. Abominations are moved at the end of each player turn towards the closest hero.

If a situation occurs whereby a Ghoul or Abomination would be placed, or a Hero Card dealt, and there are no more left available, the Despair tracker moves on one place. As the board becomes more and more overrun with the Lich King’s undead and the Heroes fail to contain it, the Despair Tracker moves up a space, signifying imminent defeat.

The Lich King himself only enters the game once all three quests are completed – no mean feat, given that players have to complete three quests whilst simultaneously preventing the board from being overrun by blue plastic, and not die themselves.

Z-Man Games Wrath of the Lich King Playtesting 4

Once you have completed all three of your quests, the Lich King spawns on the board, taking the place of the Icecrown Citadel Tower. Now, as they have done with previous Quest spaces, players must approach Icecrown Citadel and perform Quest Actions there – all the while the Lich King damages them.

The game is like spinning plates: players must keep working on their quests whilst simultaneously preventing the Scourge from building up too much of a presence in any sector of the map. If the Scourge gain too much of a presence, it becomes more and more difficult for the players to move around the board and complete their objectives. Players must also keep a weather eye on their own Health values, as many actions performed in the game can provoke Scourge units – be they Ghouls, Abominations, or the Lich King – into damaging their Hero.

Z-Man Games Wrath of the Lich King Playtesting 8

What’s most important, though, is that players work together. Whilst one player dedicates themselves to skipping between completing Quest Actions and healing, another must watch their back to ensure their corresponding region does not become overrun with Scourge.

Our game ended with Tirion, Muradin and Varian facing off with Arthas atop the Frozen throne. Although Muradin was very nearly killed, the Lich King was defeated before any of the Heroes could be slain. But we only played on beginner difficulty. The game guide has different game setups for players who really want to challenge themselves.

Z-Man Games Wrath of the Lich King Playtesting 7

In all, what we thought would be quite a complicated game was actually very quick and intuitive to pick up, and only took about an hour to complete from set-up to pack-away. that each player’s turn consists only of simple, easy to understand actions, and that objectives are clear and well signposted, turns passed quickly. The game has excellent pace to it and is both exciting and great fun.

A definite win.

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game – Price and Availability

Z-Man Games’ World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich king Board Game is currently only available for pre-order. Currently billed for a release this November, you won’t have to wait too long before taking the fight against the Scourge to Northrend and the gates of Icecrown Citadel.

The game is currently available to pre-order from a few places for somewhere between the region of £50-£60 GBP and $50-$60 USD. Given the staggering amount of stuff in the box, and the amount of fun that can be had with it, this is a very reasonable price.

Pre-order your copy here!

World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game – Final Thoughts

Awash with incredible artwork and excellent design quirks
Fun and durable miniatures
Excellent game
Easy to pick up and intuitive ruleset
Reasonable price
A few miniatures lack sculpted eyes
At times, there can be quite a lot to keep track of on the board

There is a great deal to like here in the Wrath of the Lich king Board Game. And I do like it. I really, really like it.

Maybe I’m just a nostalgic nerd, whose memories of trashing Utgarde Pinnacle, Pit of Saron, and Icecrown Citadel with his friends as a teenager are making me misty-eyed. Perhaps that’s coloured my perception of this game. But if it has, I really don’t care. Because this game is smashing fun.

There’s so much going on here, and it’s all been done so well. The figures are excellent and really capture the essence of their characters. Everything is era-appropriate: Tirion in his end-game raid armour, Jaina in the old-school Kirin Tor-style robes she used to wear, and Sylvanas is still an excellent anti-hero – not some victim of having her story arc completely and irrevocably wrecked by dire writing. Sure, they might not be Citadel quality, but that isn’t going to stop me from trying to paint them as soon as I get the opportunity. That they are as sturdy and durable as they are is also a big bonus. The last WoW figures I saw came in their Monopoly spin-off, and they all – without a single exception – arrived broken.

But it’s the board and the cards that do it for me. They’re just so right. They could have been lifted straight from World of Warcraft or Hearthstone and put straight into the box, for their design is so seamless.

But, then again, the whole board game is. The colour palette, the art and design, every single aspect of the game is so well put together and carefully thought out. It is like being taken back to 2008: you’ve just stepped off one of the boats to Northrend and you’re looking at Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra through an un-modded UI. Your Quest Log is brimming with new material, there are new enemies to defeat, and every step you take transports your character takes forges you deeper and deeper into a new, unexplored world. All the while, the hordes of Scourge follow you through the frozen wastes of Northrend, framed by the piercing blue gaze of the Lich King himself.

The Wrath years of World of Warcraft were – and I won’t accept any other position – the best the game has ever had. Everything was right. The new zones were perfect, the enemies were stunning, and Arthas was – and perhaps still is to this day – the best villain the Warcraft universe has ever produced.

With the Wrath of the Lich King Board Game, Z-Man Games reach back to this time, past the lacklustre expansion releases of the last decade, and into the vaunted past. Their game immortalises a snapshot of that time – a time when it was just you versus the writhing hordes of undead, where you could really feel like a hero – and preserves it forever in tabletop form, so you can once again stand defiant against impossible odds, strike down the undead menace, and battle to the top of the Frozen Throne and defeat the Lich King.

This game takes you back to 2008: dashing around the board, dodging Abominations and slaying Ghouls as you, Azeroth’s last hope, slowly but surely tighten the noose around Arthas’ stronghold and prepare to end the Scourge threat forever.

Thanks, Z-Man Games. Thanks for giving a misty-eyed nerd one last chance to really relive that.

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Wrath of the Lich King: The Board Game
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Rob has spent most of the last 20 years playing World of Warcraft and writing stories set in made-up worlds. At some point, he also managed to get a Master's degree by writing about Medieval zombies.

One thought on “World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Board Game Review

  • September 9, 2021 at 4:13 pm

    Great review; I may have to pick this up. Could you give us the hight of the different mini’s in mm, please?


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