We got to play last night! I was so excited. We have a handful of other games I was given to crack open but hey this made the list.
I am going start buy saying that I believe the instructions are supremely bad. There is just something about the way it approaches the entire idea that does’t fully work, you wind up consulting the instructions a lot and then just going to Google.
At some point you and your group might ask yourself if it’s worth the squeeze, and the answer is, yes it is. Every single person at the table had their hands on the manual at some point, either to look up the instructions or use the index to see what cards were out there to get. This is important for our group because tow of them are usually the kind of just go along, watch everyone else, until it clicks and they were actually trying to figure out if their approach to the game still made sense
It was an overall very fun and exciting (yes it got tense at the end) experience despite some of the unnecessarily early stumbling due to the way they organized this game.
They’s actually pretty good, held up well. The Base Cards are a bit thin in that they can bend kind of easily but they’re not scuffing up or fraying thus far. They’re weirdly shaped for no good reason at all
The base board is two sided, one is a beginners side that helps with game set-up The dice, there are only two and they’re huge, are nice to look at but don’t worry too much about the random nature of it. It does introduce some random risk but it does not substitute strategy.
Quick reference. Hand them out, use them… encourage people to read them. I kept encouraging one person to stop trying to memorize and struggle with ideas and just read it, and by the end she was one of the ones contended for first place and very excited, totally over that confusion hurdle.
I could go on and on about the components, but they’re good. I had one mini with a piece broken off and so far all the rest seem fine.
This is where the game stumbles the most, and a group could get bogged down by it. The way it describes augmenting powers (basically taking your colored bogs and moving it from one circle to another going left to right), is confusing.
The middle circle, Influence, is what you use throughout the most of the game. The far left is useless, you don’t want blocks in there, and the far right is rare but really gives you a leg up with either the ability to do action, like control a part of the map, or do something better. This is also just regular influence whereas specialized influence allows you to do specific actions. You convert regular influence into specialized in a way that is basically a pretty color wheel… red (strength) and blue (knowledge) combine to make vision (purple).
This whole idea of influence as a basically something you earn and spend and get back is centric to the game. This is also how you wind up with a lot of people doing different and interesting things all with the same goal in mind, trying to get as much honor as possible.
You might have person A loading upon strength companions, building up courage and he’s diving into the Gaping Maw to destroy monsters which defeating gives him honor but also bonus ways to get more honor at end game. oh no, he rolled poorly and lost a hero but he’s still going in there.
Person B started with a Secret Quest to focus on knowledge, so as soon as the libraries showed up she’s been hanging out getting knowledge and knowledge based companions to master that, she’s also halfway to getting vindicated
Person C picked upgraded her mount early on, she’s whipping around the board picking up Traits and Companions and picked up a Relic…
Person D really liked the Relic the other person got and is now two Relics in. Instead of using her precious Conviction to buy as much as the maps as others did, she’s using it to choose from 4 cards instead of the face up one or the blind hidden one to focus her efforts.
The kind of neat characteristic of the game is how it’s not hugely difficult it is to keep track of all of this, an dhow genuinely curious / interested you are when someone uses that companion that basically can’t get killed by a monster, or the one that gives you an extra turn. Because the cards are unique, the Index pages are great at showing you what is available so you don’t have to guess which pile has the best chance of helping you with your specific strategy. Unfortunately the Index pages don’t help with clarifying as much as I hoped it would. I’ve got a feeling we used some of our cards incorrectly, but the second time around, and they made it clear there will be 2nd, 3rd and more playing, it will be a group decision on those and/or forums confirmation.
So complicated to start, very, very long but worth it for 5 players, 3-4 might be a sweeter spot but mostly for time not complications, and maybe some space considerations. You really don’t hide much, and the favored cards are well known by the end of the night.
We only played with one minor expansion this time, the treachery one.
I sure hope so. If only they came back with those of us who let them know it was an issue that they were planning on working on it. Apparently my board has a slight dent in it. I won’t be asking for a replacement board though. It’s barely noticeable. Heck i didn’t notice it until it was pointed out but a lot of pieces were just plastic wrapped outside the box, and t’s a slight challenge to get it into the box (mine has the expansions).