App review by Mark Chen, Common Sense Education | Updated November 2013
Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes
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Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes

Strategy game not ideal for classrooms but has at-home potential

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Learning rating
Editorial review by Common Sense Education
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Grades
9–12 This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
Subjects & Skills
Social Studies, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Lots of interesting choices help students understand cause-and-effect relationships.

Cons: A slow build, and tough to weave into a classroom.

Bottom Line: It's a challenge to implement and not for everyone, but students who get hooked will sharpen systems thinking skills and learn a little civics.

The biggest drawback is that a single game could take dozens of hours, and it can take a few games to really get a handle on everything Legendary Heroes has to offer. Because of this, it's a tough game to implement in a classroom. Instead, consider it an option for differentiated learning; it'll work well for a subset of students who are drawn to game-based learning, focus well, and like to think about systems and how things work. Since these students will be planning policies, setting tax levels, conducting diplomatic relations with neighboring nations, setting research goals, and planning city growth all within the game, there's no doubt they'll have a lot of connections to make with civics learning. To encourage analysis, have students write a running blog where they document how their play mirrors real-life issues in politics and government.

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Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes takes place in a fantasy world reeling from a cataclysmic event that has released bands of roaming monsters and destroyed much of civilization. It follows a long-established tradition of turn-based strategy games featuring nation building and expansion like Civilization. Legendary Heroes maintains core features like city and citizen management while adding troop-level tactical combat and character-level customization, including character leveling and upgradable equipment. The geography and other heroes that players encounter are randomized with each new game, and different stories emerge depending on how players respond to these circumstances. The total package works quite well as a deep, strategic game where players have a lot of fine detail control over government (such as setting tax rates) and hero development.

For students who love all things fantasy -- magical spells, legendary kingdoms, and monsters -- it'll serve as a great introduction to strategy games, one of the more thinky game genres. Once in, players learn how different levels of decisions -- from larger kingdom-wide policies to smaller ground-level hero movement and tactical combat -- affect each other. There's also enough detailed information to see how different choices affect city growth and production, allowing kids to think about larger economic and social issues and to draw connections to the world around them. Is it better to build up the military, or treasuries and money-generating infrastructure? There are pros and cons for each decision, and players are rewarded for trying things out and finding different solutions.

Overall Rating

Engagement Would it motivate students and hold their interest? Is it visually appealing? Would it inspire teachers to try something new or change their instruction?

For the right player, Legendary Heroes passes the ultimate "I'll just play one more turn" test. For others, it might be a bit too slow-paced.

Pedagogy Does the tool help teachers promote a more student-centered experience? Will students gain conceptual understanding or think critically? Does it deepen teachers’ pedagogical thinking?

Although it's not meant to teach traditional subject matter, it rewards systems thinking and provides players with enough detailed tool tips and kingdom reports to help kids reflect on the effects of their decisions.

Support Can students and teachers get assistance when they need it? Is it created with people of different abilities and backgrounds in mind? Is learning reinforced and extended beyond the digital experience?

It can be overwhelming, even though there's a tutorial mission with videos for most of the basics. More help can be found in a built-in encyclopedia, but some necessary information can only be found online.


Common Sense reviewer
Mark Chen Researcher

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