This past weekend #Viscounts of the West Kingdom + Tomesaga arrived and I have been tinkering with it ever since. I've read through the rules for Tomesaga (no playthrough yet so only rules to go from) and started a playthrough of the co-op #Architects of the West Kingdom using the overlord (working on a video for that)
1. How is setup different?
Set up is not too different whether you're playing the Tomesaga campaign across all three games or setting up for the co-op. I have the #Architects of the West Kingdom: Age of Artisans expansion but that doesn't really impact setup too much (mostly a few cards that would have already been in the game). For co-op you will use the variant setup on the back of the appendix and use the abilities of your chosen architects. You also get to start the game with an additional clergyman or scoundrel (double sided card) AND your choice of apprentice from those placed out to start the game.
2. Is it worth it?
Depends. I have #Architects of the West Kingdom , #Paladins of the West Kingdom , and now #Viscounts of the West Kingdom. Tomesaga links these three games for a larger campaign style game. So Tomesaga is a great add to get a different style of play over the course of three games and I will eventually plan a gamenight around playing these three games. If you only had one of these games or only two the Tomesaga component would be less useful. The Co-op component can be used with any of the games and if your gameplay partners favor co-op style games then I would say Tomesaga is a great add. This would especially be the case if you like co-op and have at least two games from this series.
3. Does it change game length?
Playing a three game campaign is certainly going to be longer in general. The Tomes are obtained through certain criteria that would not necessarily increase game length much more as they don't really change the gameplay itself from one game to the next. What players will factor in is taking an action toward obtaining a Tome vs taking an action toward end game goals for oneself. There are what are called "Major Victories" when playing with Tomesaga and these will give more Tomes (basically by winning by a more significant point total).
Co-op would likely take a bit longer than a standard game because collaborating would add to the length of turn and considering the abilities of your particular architect or viscount (maybe paladin?) for teh best synergy would certainly have an impact.
4. Overall take?
#Paladins of the West Kingdom is among my top 10 games and #Viscounts of the West Kingdom might make it into that group after I've had a few playthroughs to assess. I think the #The West Kingdom Tomesaga experience makes co-op architects a great option and look forward to trying the co-op with each game.
The metal coins are super fun. Gotta love metal coins. I feel like a sucker and a dork saying that.