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Kragmortha is a party/board game based in the same world as another party game, Aye, Dark Overlord. In Kragmortha, players are mischievous goblins running around their Dark Overlord’s library and trying to steal his magical tomes while avoiding his terrible punishments.
-Game Board depicting the library
-Rigor Mortis – the Dark Overlord and 8 Goblin tiles with plastic bases
-8 Goblin counters
-6 Bookcase tiles and 1 Desk tile
-6 Teleport tokens
-58 Movement Cards
-24 Withering Look Cards
-Color rulebook in seven languages. The rules were very clear with numerous illustrated examples.
The components are all of good quality. The art is very cute and well-done.
Kragmortha is an odd mix of board play combined with performing silly physical actions. The object of the game is basically to avoid Rigor Mortis while collecting Magic Tomes. The board set-up with placement of bookcases, desk and goblin starting spaces varying depending on the number of players. It shows the library as a grid and on each square there is a symbol. Each Movement Card shows either a goblin or Rigor Mortis and two of these symbols. Players start with three of these cards and turns simply consist of playing a Movement Card, moving the appropriate piece (goblin or Rigor Mortis) and then drawing a card.
Playing a Movement Card:
The player either moves his goblin or Rigor Mortis depending on which is shown. He must move to a space orthogonally adjacent with a symbol matching one of the ones on the card. He may then move again with the same rules but to a space matching the other symbol. If he moves his goblin onto a space with another player’s goblin, he may push that goblin in the direction of his choice. This may set off a chain of pushing. In each case, the owner of the pushing goblin chooses where the pushed goblin moves. Any time a goblin ends up in the same space as Rigor Mortis, either by being pushed or Rigor Mortis being moved, the game is paused. That player must now draw a card from the Withering Look deck and resolves its effects. Most of these involve something that the player must do for the rest of the game, like resting his chin on the table, remain standing, balance the card on his head, screaming a phrase whenever he moves Rigor Mortis, etc. Failure to carry out these activities at any time results in the player having to draw yet another Withering Look card.
Help comes in the form of Magic Tome cards. A Player draws one of these when he moves onto a desk space. These cards can be played on his turn. They do a variety of different things like ignoring a Withering Look effect, moving an additional space, drawing extra Movement cards, etc.
Also on the board are Teleport spaces scattered about. At that start of the game, the Teleport tokens are shuffled and placed in a facedown stack. When a player moves onto a Teleport space, he draws the top token and applies its affect. All allow him to move to another Teleport space of his choice but others require him to draw either a Magic Tome or Withering Look card. Rigor Mortis may also use the Teleport spaces but of course doesn’t draw tokens.
The game ends when a player draws his fourth Withering Look card or when the last Magic Tome card is drawn. The player with the fewest Withering Look cards wins the game with ties broken in favor of the player with the most Magic Tome cards.
I am going to admit right up front that I’ve only played Kragmortha once, but it was enough to determine that the game works perfectly fine but is not the sort of thing I enjoy at all. The moving about the board and pushing other goblins was very chaotic but fun, although the mechanism did not feel particularly new or innovative. The Withering Look effects though, were very silly and a few were difficult or uncomfortable to do which I guess is the intention. I also worry that a few of them could eventually damage the cards such as one that requires the player to hold the card between his neck and shoulders for the rest of the game. Card sleeves would probably be a good idea.
The game did move along rather quickly as the board was crowded enough to cause lots of interaction between players. I appreciate designers who provide adjustments based on the number of players to ensure that this will happen.
The young teenagers in the group that I played with seemed to enjoy the game quite a bit, while the adults, including me, found it too frustrating and silly. There was quite a bit of laughter at some of the odd punishments handed out by Rigor Mortis. I can see this being an excellent party game for that age group and even for children a bit younger. Kragmortha's success with adults though, is going to be highly dependent on the group. Unless I’m playing with a younger crowd, I’ll have to pass.
Nice review, I'm glad I read this...I was considering it but think I'll pass.