Publisher: IDW Games
Duration on box: 30 - 45 minutes
Age recommended on box: 12+
Time to learn: 5 minutes
The game begins with a battle between five houses who ultimately want control over the Empire. It is your job to recruit mercenaries and fulfill contracts which will increase your influence. A character deck is built based on the number of players in the game. Each player is dealt fifteen cards. Players may look at all fifteen of their cards. Next, the contract deck is shuffled and each player is dealt 3 cards. Each player must keep at least one contract but may keep all if desired.
At the beginning of each round, each player recruits two characters from their hand by placing them face down on the table in front of them. They choose one character's ability and pushes that card forward on table. All players reveal their chosen cards at the same time. If a player would rather gain another contract, they can choose to announce this and refrain from pushing a card forward. Next players resolve their characters abilities. Each character's ability to may affect other players by moving characters, revealing or discarding, or wounding others. Wounded characters are put in a pile in the center of the table. Wounded characters are out of play for the remainder of the game. After all abilities have been carried out, players may reveal completed contracts. The crew members and completed contract are set aside into the players score pile. Last, players pass their current hand to the player on the left and the next round it started. Play continues until one player is down to 1 card at the start of the round. This round is carried out as normal and points are calculated by adding up the values of completed contracts and the subtracting half the value of uncompleted contracts.
The first player token is beautiful! Game play was simple and seemed balanced. Our group really like this game and looks forward to playing again. The game felt a bit like Lords of Waterdeep with recruiting and completing contracts. The game was of course different in it's own way which was great. We loved that is was simple to understand and easy to explain to newbies. The first player token is beautiful... I almost want to leave it out on the coffee table. The cards have intriguing art that leaves players intrigued. However, there was one particular contract card that portrayed then unfortunate death of a poisoned prized pet. If you are a cat lover, warning, this card may be a bit much. Optional incorporation of the digital app adds a new dynamic to the game that guides game play.
Nonstop Tabletop would recommend this game if you enjoy a simple card drafting game that moves pretty quickly. This a bit of take that and some strategic planning to out smart your opponents and complete the most questions to gain power.
simple game play
every turn is engaging
card backs were very similar between decks
unfortunate death of a prized pet
Gateway Game Score: 6/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
Review by Noble Annamous