Gameplay has two major variations that you can choose from; competitive and co-operative; I will discuss the game from the competitive stand point and then cover the difference when playing co-operative. I will also be discussing the game in the context of including the advanced elements of gameplay that fully flush out what the game is. Before you can get down and dirty however you must setup the game. Setup is a simple process of separating stacks of cards and tokens then each player randomly selects their hero from the stack and places their respective model on the board in their starting location. The final step is creating your starting adventures by selecting 4 artifacts cards and adventure cards. These cards define what you’re after, what it is worth and how hard it is going to be. They are setup in random locations on the world board for you to try to capture. The combinations also give your quest a name as the artifact may be named “The Eyes” and the adventure may be named “of the Crimson Hand” putting you on the quest for, you guessed it, “The Eyes of the Crimson Hand”. The many such combinations available give the game that added spice to help set you on your way.
Play progresses through a series of game rounds that are comprised of four phases. It all starts at the Initiative Phase, each player rolls a die to see how goes first and gets their activate-able cards readied for use. Winner of the Initiative phase is determine by who rolled the highest and they will go first on the remaining phases of this game round. Rolling a one at this point comes with the consolation prize of a free event card so it isn’t all bad.
Once first player is determined it’s time for the movement phase, which to your complete surprise is when players will move their respective characters around the board starting with player one and around the table. Movement is determined by a roll of the die as with initiative and once again a one on the die nets you a free event card. For the most part you move around freely however if you encounter a villain or henchman you’ll have to stop and fight for your life.
After everyone finishes moving we get to the part that really defines this game; the adventure phase. As the name suggests it is time to get down and boogey and go Indiana Jones all over this place. This is the meat and potatoes and where things get fun. What occurs on the adventure phase is dependent on where you finished your movement. If you finished on a land or sea space with no artifact, (A) pick up the pace you’re never going to win standing around, (B) a roll of the die will determine if you draw an event, nothing happens or if an enemy jumps out of a bush and tires to put an end to your mettlesome ways. If you end at a City you’ll have to draw a City event and potentially face down a dangerous car or maybe a chase roof top chase be careful though, failure could mean you’re left on a precarious cliff hanger (more on dangers in a moment). If you’re lucky the City will smile upon you and provide something to help you along the way, or at least not try to sucker punch you. If you landed on an Artifact/Adventure location then it’s truly time to have some fun.
This is the core of the game; the adventure to acquire the ancient artifact so you can increase your fortune and win, it is also when the flavor of the game fully takes life. Once you reach this point you’ll notice on the Adventure card a value inside a shield with spears crossed behind it, this represents how dangerous and adventure you’re on. In order to claim the prize at the end you must face down adventures equal to that value. To start you’ll draw a danger card, these are two sided so in this instance you draw from the bottom of the deck, and immediately read out loud, as dramatically as possible, the flavor text. You should do this with any card you draw with flavor text but it is especially important here. Then you must resolve the card by completing the tests listed. The test or tests that you must pass will list a stat and a number you must roll on the dice, such as cunning/5+, along with a number of ‘x’ markings. The ‘x’ markings represent the number of successes you’ll need, unlike other games you may have played, as long as you get one success you can roll again and keep rolling until you get zero successes or get enough to complete the test.
Victory will give you a Danger Maker to represent how far along that adventure you are as well as glory counters (currency) listed on the danger card. However you have now presented with a couple of options, you’ve completed the challenge, lined up the glory, maybe taken some injuries but you’ve got other heroes right on your heels trying to collect the artifact before you. You can Camp Down at this point providing you an opportunity to collect the glory you’ve accumulated in this adventure phase as well as heal, or you can man up and Press On. If you Press On you’ll set aside glory from the last danger and draw an altogether new danger, again, read the flavor text as dramatically as you can! With the new danger you’ll resolve it just as before and left with the same decision to make, Camp Down or Press On.
This continues until one of four things happens; you camp down causing your turn to end, receiving the glory you’ve accumulated from dangers you’ve faced and healing fully. You get KO’d; you ran out of wounds because you pushed too hard or didn’t carry a big enough stick, you lose your accumulated glory from dangers you encountered this phase, all progress you made toward the artifact and you’ll have to start all over on this adventure next turn. You failed your check on a danger; when this occurs you’ll flip that double sided danger card over and be presented with a Cliffhanger! This is pretty much what it sounds like on the other side of the card you’ll find some more flavor text and precarious situation for your hero, read this out loud, why do I have to keep reminding you; do you hate fun? This precarious situation will leave you in a bad spot with limited options against the clock and quite possibly knee deep in something horrible. This causes your adventure turn to end immediately just like a good cliffhanger should. During the next round you’ll have to resolve the cliffhanger immediately on your adventure phase before you try to progress, victory meaning you can press on or camp down once again. The final condition is of course you have accumulated enough danger tokens and you are victorious, gather the artifact and get to a city to sell it for fortune before something bad happens, never forget someone might take offense to you carrying that shiny object off and try to stab you in the back.
Once this is all resolved you’ll move to the end phase where artifacts are replenished, heroes recover and in general you get ready for the next round. Gameplay will progress like this until one player recovers enough artifacts to reach 15 fortune and ends a round in their starting city.
Co-operative play offers the same gameplay for the most part with a major deviation. The villains take a central role and are actively trying to get the artifacts to take them home for their own nefarious purposes. Their henchmen become more prevalent and they gain additional abilities. For setup you’ll decide on a Vile Organization to face and read their sheet to learn more about their secret bases and tactics that you’ll be facing. Victory is the same; you must get enough fortune to win. However there is a villain track that will move the forces of evil closer to their own victory from their ill-gotten gains. If the villain track reaches its end before your plucky band of miscreants gets enough fortune then you’ve failed the world and your father would be disappointed. Co-operative for me is the most enjoyable way to play the game, but that is a personal preference. I enjoy the epic feel of everyone taking on the Vile Organization and trying to thwart their evil plans whatever those may be.
This in a nutshell is the game, there is a lot more fighting than I might have mentioned above as well as mention nuances and items I did not cover for brevities sake. The full rules are available at www.flyingfrog.net and recommend checking them out if you are interested in the game. One item I might have mentioned is the flavor text, but I can’t remember, so I’m going to mention it again just in case. The flavor brings the game together and really makes it fun; take it and make it your own. Getting into the game not only makes it more fun for you but it keeps the players waiting for their turns engaged and interested and makes it a better experience for everyone. Get dramatic, get energized, and get those artifacts with this well put together and fun adventure game.
Fortune and Glory, available from Flying Frog Productions, www.flyingfrog.net. Maybe we can start a petition for them to include a Fedora.