The board game is a hybrid of competitive deckbuilding and exploration, where 1-4 players travel around an overworld collecting cards to play in separate combat encounters. I do dig deckbuilding, but I suspect this might lack a little magic to anyone who isn't after a nostalgia kick.
When you encounter an enemy army, the map zooms into an eight-by-ten grid-based battlefield where your hero and his or her minions manoeuvre and battle. You move your units so that they strike or shoot your enemy while your general (in a nod to Heroes III) sits back from the battlefield, casting spells and causing small amounts of damage anywhere on the battlefield. Like Magic the Gathering, as your levels go up and your armies expand, battles get increasingly complex, Heroes and their magic become all the time more potent. After you win a battle, your hero gets experience and gets to level up and expand their range of powers. Then you can move some more heroes, gather more troops and hit the End Turn button to give your opponent(s) a go.
You can also recruit heroes and other units at your cities once a week. The city takes the form of a small town, though as you build more and more facilities it expands and fills out. Indeed, this is where Nival seems to have poured the majority of its innovation, with the end result a fulgent city that shines like a newly-minted Euro, displaying expansive turrets, mighty walls and fields as far as the eye stretches (about half an inch, if you've never tried stretching your eye). Much like any RTS base, it allows you to recruit better units (and upgrades of existing units) as you move certain buildings (and the city as a whole) up the tech tree. 2b1af7f3a8