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Gaming for a living

When one designs and published board games for a living, one tends to rant a lot about it. This is where we do that, the folks involved with NSKN Games and our special friends and supporters. We'll post here our ideas about gaming, about life, about gaming more often than not, about the specific challenges of making a business out of a hobby and... did we mention games?

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From Space to France

B. G. Kubacki
Poland
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Versailles is admittedly one of the least known of our games. Published in 2013, it puts players in the shoes of master architects, trying to build the legendary palace by managing their workforce, gathering resources, crafting decorations and gaining access to useful technologies. If you’ve played Versailles, you probably know that. What you don’t know is what the original concept for the game actually was.



The first prototype of the game, back when it was still a pile of home-crafted cardboard tokens, a pile of wooden pawns borrowed from another game, and an unwieldy, one-piece board, was… Exodus II. If you’re thinking about Exodus: Proxima Centauri and Exodus: Edge of Extinction, you are on the right track.

Besides having fans of the game itself, Exodus has always been well liked for its lore. The tragic story of mankind having to leave Earth, and its encounter with a mysterious race of Centaurians made for a compelling backdrop to the brutal conflict that would play out on the board. While Exodus fans fell for the game due to its mechanisms and its volatile gameplay, many were (and still are) interested in the story. In fact, we still receive questions about what the future of Exodus holds for mankind, and for its real life fans.

Let me first come back to Versaillesand its original incarnation. Exodus II was a game more meaty than Versailles. While telling a story of building a gargantuan mothership capable of housing hundreds of thousands of people, it was also a longer and more involved game, with a bit more negative interaction and some bits of direct player conflict so crucial to making it feel like Exodus.

As a publisher, we are already firmly in the realm of building worlds using product lines. The Mistfall world already spans over five products (including the recently kickstarted Heart of the Mists, Sand & Snow and a fully standalone Shadowscape debuting at Essen this year), and Exodus itself is already at two, with Edge of Extinction developing on original gameplay and expanding the Exodus universe. Now we want to go further.

While a bit grimmer, and possibly more realistic, the Exodus universe is quite ready to go into a new direction – and have fans follow it. The only question is, what direction should that be game-wise? Would the fans want to see some completely new games in the line? Would including more German-style mechanisms be a good fit?

What do you think? Should we explore the darker corners of the Exodus universe with a deckbuilder, a worker placement game, or perhaps a tactical game of fighting units? We do have ideas and plans, but if you’re a fan of Exodus, we’d love to know what you think.
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Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:33 pm
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In the Name of Odin - Designer Musings

Krzysztof Zięba
Poland
Kraków
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Check out my first published board game: In the Name of Odin!
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The Kickstarter for In the Name of Odin completed successfully around a month shy of half a year ago. Since then, I kept my ear to the ground, looked at every Kickstarter update and asked NSKN directly about how things are going a few times. I expected to sweat every detail, but in fact it was a pretty quiet five months. And then, just two weeks ago, it happened. The boxes reached Europe and started reaching the US, they went out, and soon the backers started receiving them. That included me.



I wasn't overly excited, if you can believe it. I wasn't nervous. I didn't jump with joy, or cry tears of laughter. Mostly, I felt mildly surprised. It's here. It's done. My first board game, published after several years of development, some disheartening bumps, and many nervous months. And there it was, in my hands. Huh. „How does one react to something like this?” I wondered. Being a more introvert, inward-looking kind of person, I just found it amusing, and I felt at ease about this game for the first time since it sprouted in my head.

For me, personally, In the Name of Odin is an achievement in more ways than one. What you have to know about me as a creator is that I'm terribly insecure about my work. I have a hunch that what I'm doing is good or enjoyable or well-thought-out etc. but you won't find me praising my own game. The furthest extent I go to is saying „Yeah, I am pretty happy with that mechanic” or „I'm really proud of this game.”. I'm of the mind that the author is the worst possible person to rate his work, adhering to the latin proverb In propria causa nemo debet esse iudex („No one should be the judge in his own trial.”).

The first confirmation that the game was fun, was that NSKN even considered it, let alone took it in with open arms. But now that its in the hands of players, comes the ultimate test – and it's performing well! I'm reading people's thoughts on the game, I saw the reviews around the Kickstarter and now new ones will likely pop-up, and it seems like you're liking In the Name of Odin – and that's really the best thing I could hope for!

I am very happy with how the game worked out, in terms of production. I like the quality of the material for the figurines, I love the art, and I think the board looks gorgeous. One thing which I really liked was that we mostly managed to keep the style of the art on the side of history, and less on the side of fantasy. Don't get me wrong – I'm a sucker for epic Viking illustrations, and fantasy renditions of bearded warriors with axes in their hands. But I also think the aesthetic of the Norse and of the Dark Ages is attractive enough that it doesn't need embelishment. As such, I like that the final art in In the Name of Odin strikes a balance between what modern culture imagines Vikings should look like, and a bit more conservative, true-to-history approach.

What I also really liked in NSKN's approach was that when we hammered out the final kinks in the rules, their solution to some of the issues correlated with what I was thinking. Often they would say something to the effect of „We suggest tweaking this and that because it makes more sense that way.” and I would do a facepalm and respond „Yes, of course it's better the way you propose, why have I kept to that previous version?”. An easy example of this was that I insisted that the card offer should be replenished only after a player has completed a turn, instead of right away – when in fact it would prolong the game by making the subsequent player spend more time figuring out his moves when his turn comes along. There's no doubt in my mind that In the Name of Odin is a better game for having been published with NSKN than it was before they decided to release it.

Is there stuff that I'm less happy about? Sure. There's a few very minor things that I would've probably done differently in terms of presentation, but there wasn't time to revamp them endlessly if NSKN was to deliver you the game on time. I opted for a different naming scheme for the Raids, more abstract categories than specific places, but that was another thematic detail which most players wouldn't even register.

I apologise if this note ended up being a bit chaotic, but I'm really only just growing to understand that this is a huge thing that happened – and a very important thing to boot. I hope In the Name of Odin will end up not just a well-remembered, well-liked game, but also a stepping stone. Like all creatives, I have many other projects in various stages of completion – from stuff I consider ready-to-publish, through games which clearly need some reworking, to just bare-bones prototypes, or games which went through one-off tests and are now are tucked away in boxes, waiting to be salvaged. And that list doesn't even cover the ideas written down in a notebook, with a few sentences of „rules” jotted down on each of them.

So what's next? Hard to say, but hopefully the answer is „More published games.”
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Thu Aug 4, 2016 4:37 pm
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Heart of the Mists: The Greatest Challenge

B. G. Kubacki
Poland
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With Heart of the Mists being in the centre of our attention after its Kickstarter campaign, today we present to you the final piece of Mistfall lore: two new villains and their stories. Do you have the courage to take them on?



The Keeper

The Keeper is a partly mythical being, and up until his recent reappearance many believed him to be no more than a folk tale. Described as a giant skeletal figure wielding a sword, The Keeper was thought by many to be a godlike being, or a personification of neutrality and judgement. The truth is, however, more complex.

Once a warrior and an explorer, the Keeper’s name has been forever lost in the tides of time. What some of the most ancient and ambiguous texts tell of him today, is that he was a man determined to find out the true nature of the Mists, so that their threat could be dealt with forever. Yet, as he explored further and deeper into the lands taken by the malevolent force, both his mind and his body did not remain untouched, for the Mists can find a way to unlock the door barring the way into the mind of even the strongest individuals, and all they need is time.



Some believe that The Keeper became what he is now as punishment for his unparalleled hunger for knowledge. Others believe that it was his relentlessness in achieving his goal that brought him too far. Most scholars agree, however, that he did eventually find the knowledge he had been seeking, but that the journey itself consumed him in the process.

Headstrong and unyielding, The Keeper was nonetheless transformed, the Mists allowing him to witness their greatest secret, while binding him to it as a guardian of what he had so much craved for. However, as he still retains parts of his former self, The Keeper still resists the corrupting power, hanging on to what is left of his original purpose.

Now, having gathered enough energy to breach back into the lands of men, The Keeper awaits the heroes able to best him, so that the secrets that lie beyond the Black Gate can be revealed. And while the power of the Mists holds enough sway over his current form to make him stand against whoever wishes to walk through the door to the Heart of the Mists, his appearance may be humanity’s greatest chance of winning back the world half-devoured by what seemed like indomitable and unrelenting darkness.

Velkar the Devourer

The story of Velkar almost mirrors that of The Keeper. Similarly little is known about him, as he was once a man whose hunger for knowledge and power was only matched by his desire to remain unnoticed by those who would work to foil his plans.

Believed to have been a Duskbearer priest once, he has since left the shadowy path of the Nightfather to step into the black madness of the Mists, embracing their gifts willingly, wholeheartedly, and deliberately. Melded with the darkest energies of the Mists, Velkar has become one with the Mists, becoming the only living being fully aware of the oldest and darkest chapter of their history.



Once proud children of Dawn and Dusk, and struck down by their father’s fiery rage, the Firstborn where not annihilated. Their suffering and anger remaining in the ashes of their violent demise, the Firstborn’s souls melded together, giving birth to the corrupting power known as the Mists. Their torment and lust for vengeance fuelled by the divine might that destroyed them became the power able to sow destruction, and corrupt everything in its path.

After reaching the Gorge – a cursed place where Nightfather’s hands had struck the world to annihilate his children – Velkar became an unspeakable, malevolent abomination, and the source of the corrupting power of the Mists. The will of the Firstborn is now his will, and as he grows in power, the day the world will die tormented the way the first children of the gods died seems closer than ever before.
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Fri Jul 22, 2016 10:29 am
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Draft Your Way to Victory

B. G. Kubacki
Poland
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How much time would it take you to decide, if you were to choose which five out of thirty different pieces of candy you would like to eat? If you like candy at all, I’d wager it would take some time. Probably more time than choosing one out of five six times in a row.



You’ve probably already guessed that after my last post on Worker Placement, this time I want to talk a bit about Card Drafting. This means that I will cut right into the middle of the popularity line I set up previously, but I think there are more than a few good reasons to do that. What reasons? Through the Ages, 7 Wonders and Blood Rage, just to name a few.

Although the sheer numbers extracted from Boardgamegeek make Card Drafting only the fifth most popular Eurogame mechanism (with about 500 games using the mechanisms currently in the BGG base), the general popularity of games making this mechanism a part (or indeed the whole) of their core, makes it clear that Card Drafting is a solid base to build your game on.

To explore this a bit, let’s go back to the candy situation from the first paragraph of this post. In essence, the “choose one out of five, repeat six times” part is exactly what drafting is, or what it would be, if we had no other players involved in the drafting process. Nonetheless, it shows one of the biggest advantages of the drafting system: the ability to simplify our decision process, without diminishing our game experience.

When faced with too many choices, we tend to grind to a halt, and to get moving again, we either quickly develop a system that culls some of the choices (“I hate liquorice, so these five types of candy are out”), or give up and abandon the idea of making a choice, in favour of chance (“Damn, I bought the liquorice candy again”).

Drafting performs a similar process, by randomly dividing the pool of available options into manageable groups, effectively keeping the depth and the scope of our choices, but making it much easier to parse through all available material. And while this may not be the best system for choosing items at a store (“Damn, I need to choose from this group now, and it consists of only liquorice candy!”), it’s a great one to use in the game.

Distilling a huge number of choices into a series of intersections that are much easier to navigate makes the game play faster, allows players to stay engaged all the time, but manages to shed a level of complication without losing richness and complexity. However, more importantly, Card Drafting also easily builds up tension, which keeps players excited, and (as evidenced by Kickstarter successes and sales number) on the lookout for new Drafting games to add to their collections.
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Wed Jul 13, 2016 9:32 am
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Long Live Worker Placement!

B. G. Kubacki
Poland
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If you’re a fan of Eurogames, there’s an excellent chance you have more than a few Worker Placement games in your collection. There’s even a chance that most of your Eurogames are actually based on this mechanism. So, what makes it so popular?



A quick look at the Worker Placement category here on BoardGameGeek reveals over 1100 games. When you compare that to the general vastness of games registered on the site (which is well over 80K at this point), it may seem like a relatively small number. However, compare it to other very popular categories like: Hand Management (over 900 games in the category) Set Collection (over 800), Tile Placement (over 400), Card Drafting (over 500), Auctions (over 300) or Area Control (a little under 300), and you’ll get the full picture.

It seems that a new game that “puts a new twist on Worker Placement” pops up on the radar, both in regular publishing, as well as on Kickstarter. Recently, the Worker Placement mechanism reared its head in the fabulously successful Anachrony by Mindclash Games, and we ourselves have more than dipped our toes in the genre by publishing Praetor, and successfully kickstarting Simurgh and Call of the Dragonlord this year.

The obvious reason for the Worker Placement popularity is… its popularity. The more Worker Placement games are published, critically acclaimed and bought by gamers, the bigger the incentive for publishers to make even more Worker Placement games. However, this snowball would not have started rolling in the first place, if it wasn’t for the absolute brilliance and unbelievable effectiveness of the mechanism itself.

The simplicity of the base idea behind Worker Placement may effectively obscure the complexity of rules behind the idea of placing a meeple, a disc, or any other representation of a worker on an action space. If you cannot easily picture it, just try to imagine how large a list of rules you would have to create in order to restrict the number of specific actions used without marking them as used with workers. And this is only the beginning, as not all games follow the Agricola model, in which you simply place a worker and resolve the action thus marked.

Think of games like Snowdonia or Carson City, in which players decide upon their actions first, but only get to resolve them later, and in a specific order. Now take into account the fact that some games, like our own Simurgh, present different types of action spaces for different types and numbers of workers, or introduce different levels of effectiveness, depending on the type of worker used (like, again our own, Praetor). And then add a bit of the idea of taking actions in order to block others from doing something that would benefit them. With all the above, the complex web of interlocking rules would be almost impossible to internalize if not for the invention of the board game worker.

Finally, take a few steps back, look at the tangled mess hidden behind the simple idea of placing a worker, and consider how easily accessible the complex models are thanks to a mechanism based on what seems the most essential idea of gaming: taking a turn to make a move with a pawn and (in most cases at least) immediately profit from your decision.

Worker Placement is not going away soon, and for good reasons. It’s a great engine for lighter and heavier games alike, rooted deeply in the nature of strategic board games. It can also both evolve unexpectedly (as shown years ago by Alien Frontiers), and be a solid foundation upon which games solid, memorable and best-selling games can be built.
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Tue Jul 5, 2016 1:06 pm
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Heart of the Mists: Your Allies Stand Ready

B. G. Kubacki
Poland
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If you were following the Heart of the Mists Kickstarter, you know that the expansion introduces Allies, a new game element foreshadowed in the base game of Mistfall itself. You may also know that some of them were essentially Ally versions of base game Heroes, using the same art. However, our backers asked us if we could provide those characters with separate art, and we decided to comply. So, here’s the new art, together with a set of personal histories of four of the Allies you’ll find in Heart of the Mists.

Tarah

Born far away from Frostvalley Keep, Tarah had always exhibited the character traits that made her a natural Shieldbearer recruit. Headstrong, tough and relentless, she spend most of her teens raising her four younger brothers, orphaned by an outburst of a plague that took the population of half a dozen cities in the south, reaching as far as the borders of Valskyrr.



Tried and true both before joining Shieldbearer ranks and while carrying the Bear Shield, Tarah will be the rock that stands between you and the tide of creatures spawned by the Mists. Unlike a rock, however, she is more than capable to punish those who seek to harm you, and resilient enough to still be at your side as you face great peril at the Heart of the Mists.

Kerdan

A talented young mage, cocky and insolent enough (on at least one occasion) to be punished by his Dathnafar superiors by relocating him “where his unique talents can do most good”. Some also say that his exile had something to do with how he acquired his arcane flame skills, and the fact that the vice-headmistress of the Flamecasters has recently been granted an honorary diplomatic position in one of the independent provinces far, far to the south of Dathnafar.



Far from being known for his resilience in battle, Kerdan can nonetheless stand in for what your party of gruff fighters and mouthy barbarians lacks: a bit of the arcane. Don’t expect Kerdan to go toe to toe with an angry beastman wielding a battle axe, but do expect him to turn the brute to ashes, given the opportunity… to hide behind your shield.

Aidran

Silent, focused, reliable, and perhaps a bit shy, that is how Aidran would be described by anyone who knew him as a child or a very young man. Even as an initiate, he would still earn a similar description, supplemented only with the word “devoted”. Nobody expected him to be welcomed into the prestigious ranks of the Dawnbearers, until an attack on his temple made him unleash his righteous fury, which led to a massive display of divine power, and to many of Aidran’s brothers and sisters witnessing for the first time mindless undead retreating as if fearing for their very lives.



Aidren is very much what you would expect from a warrior priest. He will help you overcome enemies, lend his healing skills when most needed, and put the reanimated dead on their back foot the moment they enter the fray. So, if you feel you need someone to have your back, he is the one you should take with you.

Flavi

“Ratface Flavi” others used to call her, back when she was part of a street gang in Dathnafar. She endured silently, seemingly making nothing of the fact that even among the beggars and drifters she was somehow considered of lower social standing. All that changed, however, when the city watch took down Flavi’s crew. The gang was miraculously released a few days later, after a flash-fire in the watch’s headquarters consumed most of the evidence and paperwork. Most, but not all. In fact, just enough was left to keep one individual behind bars. And as he was the one that liked tormenting Flavi the most, nobody ever called her “Ratface” again.



Although those days are far behind Flavi, she still makes use of the same skills, only this time her “crew” is very, very different. If she stands by your side, you can be certain that her skills will help you overcome a difficulty, or evade it completely. And though she can hold her own in a fight, her wit remains forever much sharper than the keen-edged daggers she wields against your enemies.
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Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:13 pm
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The Edge is off, or why I love dead games

B. G. Kubacki
Poland
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AEG has recently announced that Doomtown Reloaded, will be ending its run upon completing the current expansion cycle. It’s a sad time for all fans of the game. So, why am I overjoyed?




I am a fan of Doomtown, with a collection consisting of two core sets, and all expansions up to date. I love Gomorra with all its lore (in fact, I used to play Deadlands as a teenager), and I vastly enjoy the quirky, somewhat counterintuitive mechanisms of the game. So, once again, why am I happy?

Because the edge is off.

Collectible, customizable, and expandable games have a specific dynamic. The core player base that starts with a healthy mix of those who were drawn by a mix of theme and mechanisms, and those who are there to crunch the numbers, uncover all the secrets, and conquer their opponents, will inevitably shift towards being dominated by the latter group.

When this happens, players who want to stay in the game will have to make regular investments, allocating both funds and (sometimes even more precious) time to being able to follow the meta. For those who are more inclined towards slow exploration of the game and towards enjoying its theme, that pace is usually too high, and the competitive environment becomes even more cutthroat, as they slowly but inevitably leave the game.



Now that Doomtown is about to ride off into the sunset however, its player base will change once again. The most competitive players will walk away, sell their collections and find a new game that is alive, and that provides them with the type of challenge and thrill they seek. Soon, finding a Doomtown game group will become a bit more difficult, but also more satisfying in terms of finding like-minded individuals who are staying more because of their love of the game, and less because of its highly competitive dynamic.

I know your mileage may vary on all of the above. I am now speaking from my own experiences, looking back at my days of being a Warhammer Invasion player, starting out as a fan of the theme, going deep into competitive scene, being on the brink of leaving the game completely, and finally celebrating the day I bought the last expansion. Since then, I was able to explore the game at my own pace, and play it occasionally with people who stayed – people who simply loved the game, and not the thrill of constant competition.


Hidden Kingdoms - final expansion for Warhammer Invasion


So, if you’re a competitive player, I can only say I’m sorry for your loss, and I wish you well. I am not a part of your tribe, but I really have nothing against you. I just like to play different games. And if you’re someone thinking about coming back, or about taking your first plunge into Gomorra, now is the best time. While it’s not really good news for AEG, the game will live on (like many discontinued card games) among its fans.

Soon you’ll even be able to find some great deals on core sets and expansions, and in a few months, you’ll be able to say that you have a complete playset. And that is something the completionist in me is also celebrating, because… well… because I’m petty that way.
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Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:54 pm
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Heart of the Mists: Aseke, Durgen and Sigraed as Print & Play!

B. G. Kubacki
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During the run of the Heart of the Mists Kickstarter campaign, everyone (backers and bystanders alike) got access to three new Heroes featured in the standalone expansion. Now it’s time to let you play with three more!



Let me start with a quick disclaimer: what you can download here is not final. Some art will still change before the game hits the shelves, and I will be more than happy to hear what you think about the new Heroes. Also, if you missed the Kickstarter, you can still preorder a copy of the game if you go to our Kickstarter campaign site!

Now, let's get to the really important stuff:

Aseke the Namekeeper



If you want to play as Aseke, click here.

Durgen the Weaponsmith



If you want to play as Durgen, click here.

Sigraed of the Dawnfire



If you want to play as Sigraed, click here

As always, the Heroes will also appear in the files section of Heart of the Mists, when they are approved - and I will update the post when that happens.

And, if you manage to play with the new content, be sure to tell me what you think. There's always new Mistfall and Heart of the Mists stuff to be done in the future, and your feedback is essential to where the world and the game goes.

Thanks!
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Tue Jun 21, 2016 5:11 pm
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Random Road to Adventure

B. G. Kubacki
Poland
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When the realm of adventure game was ruled by Talisman, grabbing dice and strapping in for a wild, mostly uncontrollable ride was the standard. Thirty years after the magical quest game first hit the shelves, cardboard adventuring seems very different. But is it really?



I’ve recently purchased a copy of Runebound 3rd Edition, and even managed to get it to the table a good few times, to see how exploring the world of Terrinoth has changed since the previous version of the game, and I must say I am quite impressed. The game is somewhat streamlined, with a healthy mix of old and new mechanisms, and altogether driven more by player decisions, than by RNG. That is, driven more than many other adventure games, including Runebound 2nd Edition.

Adventure gaming has been steadily moving towards increasing player agency for years. Newer games, such as Mage Knight, the much less known Venture Forth, or my own Mistfall and Heart of the Mists would offer meaningful decisions centred on deterministic mechanisms in place of simply rolling dice. The very idea of strategizing in an adventure game became a valid notion, instead of a joke.

However, before you think that Runebound 3rd Edition is now a game driven purely by player decisions, you should know it is not. For all the smart mechanisms working under its hood, it can still make you a king or a beggar within a few turns. Even with very deliberate probabilities meticulously worked into its new decks, your game can still be royally screwed if Fortune decides to take its cigarette breaks during your turns.

Many well-known adventure brands take the agency plunge. Talisman became fat with expansions some of which gave more power to the players, and somewhere on its way it spawned Relic, a game using the same base system, but from the start geared more towards agency. Arkham Horror seemingly never gave up on what it was, only now you have an alternative in the form of Eldritch Horror, once again, a game allowing for more meaningful decisions.

It seems the general consensus is that more agency is good… unless it isn’t. While I never encountered anyone saying that Relic is less of an adventure game than (base) Talisman, I’ve heard people complaining about Mage Knight (or Mistfall for that matter), that the optimization required ruins the experience for them, and that it no longer feels like an adventure.

Similar complaints were levelled against Venture Forth or the more recent Witcher, were some people said that they are not there to do pickup and delivery, but to be a hero in a land of magic, monsters and wonder. And I fully get that.

It seems that a certain degree of randomness is required for many adventure game fans. Maybe it’s because we’re escapists at heart, and we want to stand a chance of winning the game even if we don’t feel up to the task of forming a strategy out of a string of meaningful decisions. Or maybe we don’t want to completely control the environment of the game, as letting it do its own things makes it feel more like another world which we get to visit.

It’s easy to see Runebound 3rd Edition and Relic as parts of one group, and Mage Knight and Mistfall as parts of another. But what about games like the Witcher? What about Legends of Andor or Darkest Night? Is there more of a general line which allows us to precisely divide adventure gaming into two (or more) distinct groups? Or maybe, everybody has a line of their own, and trying to build two distinct categories is a fool’s errand?
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Tue Jun 14, 2016 3:09 pm
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Villains at the Heart of the Mists

B. G. Kubacki
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The world of Heart of the Mists is one of both heroism, and villainy. Today we present to you three stories of antagonists you will be able to take down in the quests featured in the upcoming expansion.



Eredai the Hunter

Some villains are born when a champion falls, or when a misguided individual finds nobody able to point him in the right direction, before it gets too late to counter the consequences of their actions. Some are born weak, and they seek strength among those, who are most eager to show off their power. None of this was ever true for Eredai.

Even as a boy, always taller and stronger than his peers, Eredai would exploit every opportunity to bend others to his will. Over the years of his childhood he perfected the art of bullying, and revelled in the hatred and fear other children would feel towards him. And since Valskyrrian parents usually believe that their offspring should fight their own battles, he had never been stopped, until it was too late.

Although hard to believe, all that changed for even worse, when Eredai accompanied his father into the woods, to hunt with him for the first time. Exhilarated and filled with bloodlust, he could not stop thinking about taking another life. And soon he would.



The hunt became everything for Eredai. The fear of his victims would make Eredai’s blood boil with pleasure, and he soon started to spend more time in the wilds, than in his home village. He hunted for the thrill, often flaying prey and leaving it otherwise untouched, for an entity that appeared in his thoughts, as sacrifice. And after his final and bloodiest sacrifice had been accepted, he became what he is today.

Tall as a giant but gaunt and grim, Eredai still bends the will of the creatures of the wilds. Wielding a gift bestowed by the Mists, he makes even beastmen and ravenok bow to him, as he leads them into a bloody hunt. His petrifying cry, one that Eredai unleashes only moments before making the kill haunts the wilderness from Naar to Valskyrr.

Atherak the Undying

Once a powerful master of the arcane arts, Atherak feared nothing but the passage of time. Drawing his fill from the wells of both light and dark energies, he would seek the key to unlock the secret of immortality, until his obsessive research bore grim fruit.

For decades known as a somewhat puzzling figure, sometimes ready to lend a hand to the inhabitants of Naar (but never without naming a price for his aid), Atherak became an almost forgotten recluse in his old age. Many even thought that he died, before he made a return back into the lands of the living.



Calling forth power never before seen in the world, Atherak caused a magical cataclysm that blotted out the sun and made the dead rise up from the ground. Having struck a deal with a dark power that touched his mind, now ravaged by insanity, Atherak performed a ritual that would transform his body, as well as the lands surrounding his dwelling. Hence, the first true dragon was born.

Seemingly immortal and drunk with power, Atherak raised an undead army, ready to forge an eternal kingdom of his own. Before he marched on Hammerhome, however, he was found by a Myrmidon captain by the name of Alekar, and struck down after a long and exhausting battle. And though it seemed like his reign of terror had ended before it even started, the dark power did not release its grip on the dragon. Revealing itself for the first time as the Mists, it raised Atherak, fusing his will with a skeletal body of the creature he had become. Believed to be a legend for hundreds of years, Atherak has now returned in his terrifying form, leading a massive army of undead ready to deal a crushing blow to the lands of the living.

Kesrah the Dreaming

Many new threats have emerged from the Mists since the battle of Ravencrag, and the cataclysm that tore the world apart. Some of them are merely a tale spawned by terrified minds of those, who came into contact with the Mists. Others turn out to be painfully true.



Nobody really knows who she is, but they call her “Kesrah” which means “Mother of Nightmares” in the language of the Kerathi. Wherever she appears, eyes always closed and hands dripping with blood, the land seems to freeze, as if suspended in a perpetual dream, with no day coming after the night. Those who stay there, lose the ability to sleep. Tired and tormented, they fall prey to demonic creatures that seem to walk in Kesrah’s path.

Those who survived these raids, also speak of another strange phenomenon: barely audible sounds of battle carried by the last gusts of wind. And within those sounds, a female voice shouts the Myrmidon battlecry, and calls those fighting beside her not to surrender, just before an ominous silence falls upon the land.

Some say that Kesrah can be awoken, and when that happens, her true form – for good or ill – will be revealed to the world.
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Thu May 26, 2016 4:22 pm
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