Recently I was given the opportunity to check out an upcoming new game. I received a prototype copy of the game along with rules for play. This is my thoughts and opinions on the presented materials. Enjoy!
Other World is a game by Mark Hanny, published by Joe Magic Games. It is for 3-5 players. In this game, players take on the role of fantasy heroes who have been summoned by the King to destroy the foul creatures summoned by the Evil Prince in a bid for power. Players will be traversing from the village through the dank foul smelling catacombs as they attempt to stop the Evil Prince from taking over the kingdom. The player that can best battle the beasts from beyond and collect the most victory points will be declared the winner.
To begin, each player chooses a colored character pawn and receives 3 matching player cubes. The first player is randomly chosen. The village and catacombs boards are placed on the table beside each other. The weapon/spell cards are shuffled together. 6 cards are drawn and placed face up on the yellow spaces of the village board. The Abyss cards are shuffled and placed face down near the boards. The first player chooses one of the character cards to play and places it face up in front of himself. The remaining players in turn order choose characters as well. Each player will then receive the starting tokens shown on the bottom of their character card. The Evil Prince/Prison card is placed face up near the boards. The Creature cards are shuffled and are then randomly placed face down on each space of the Catacombs board. 5 Victory point tokens are counted out for each player and placed near the boards. The last player to choose a character is now the starting player for the rest of the game. Play now begins.
The game starts with the first player moving the Evil Prince pawn onto the castle space of the village board. From then on, every time before the first player takes their turn, they must move the Evil Prince pawn to the next highest unoccupied space in the village. The space that the Evil Prince occupies is unavailable until he moves. Once the last space is reached, the Evil Prince starts back over at the Castle space again. When he moves to the Castle space, he taxes all the players. They must lose either one gold or basic weapon token, player’s choice. If they can’t pay either one, they lose a weapon/spell card. If they can’t pay that, they go to prison, placing their pawn on the number 1 space of the Evil Prince card. Their next turn, they will move to the number 2 space and then finally on their next turn, they can move back to the village or catacombs. When the Evil Prince moves onto the sorcerer space, each player must flip one of their weapon/spell cards face down not to be used that turn.
After moving the Evil Prince, each player takes turns moving their pawn to either an unoccupied space on the village or catacombs board and take the appropriate action(s). There are several different spaces in the village that a player can move to. The castle space allows a player to commission new weapons, thus reshuffling all the cards face up on the trading post places back into the deck and drawing new cards for each yellow space. They can then take another turn. The other option is that they can gain an advancement token if they have the correct amount of victory point tokens. The market allows a player to remove one of their blocks from the supplies track to gain 3 basic weapon tokens or 2 gold. They can remove 2 blocks instead to gain a victory point. The forge allows a player to gain 2 basic weapon tokens. The healer removes from one to three wound counters for specific amounts of gold. The sorcerer allows a player to look at the top card of the abyss deck and put it back. He also can change 2 basic weapon tokens into a gold piece or into a weapon/spell card. The king’s army allows a player to place one of their blocks onto the Influence track. The Forest/Mine space allows a player to place a block on the supplies track. Remember that each player only has 3 blocks so these last two spaces can exchange a block from one track to the other as well.
The last areas consist of the trading post. In the beginning, these spaces are covered with weapon/spell cards. A player can move to one of these spaces for 1 gold and take the corresponding card, thus opening up the space below for the next round. Once the card is removed the space is available to be used until a player uses the action from the castle space. The smuggler allows a player to pay 3 gold for a victory point. The artificer allows a player to discard two weapon/spell cards for a victory point. The merchant allows them to discard a weapon/spell card for a gold. The gold miner gives the player a gold. The hermit lets a player enter any space in the catacombs not just the top row for a gold. The mystic lets them pay 3 gold to gain any card from the weapon/spell deck.
The other option that a player can choose is to move into the catacombs. The player must start on the top level and work their way down following the arrows. They have to move out of the catacombs the same way but in reverse. Once the player makes it to the bottom level, they will then move onto one of the Abyss cards. Each space has a monster card that must be beaten. This starts the combat section of the game. Whenever a player places their pawn on one of these creature spaces or in the space where the Evil Prince is located, combat occurs. The player will use the blue dice for their character and the red ones for the monster/Evil Prince. Combat consists of 7 steps that must be done in order; use basic weapons, roll random red die, place set red die, roll extra dice, roll 2 blue dice, manipulate the dice, compare dice totals. The first step is us basic weapons. The player can use one or more of their basic weapon tokens to purchase extra dice for either themselves or the monster. This is because sometimes the player must roll higher than the monster and sometimes they have to roll lower. It all depends on the monster.
The second step is to roll random red die. The player rolls a red die. This is for the translucent die space that is on each monster card. If the space has a number on it with an arrow that means the die must be rolled again if that number is rolled.
The next step is to place set red die. Each monster card has a numbered die on it as well as the translucent one. The player places a red die matching the number on this space thereby making each monster card have two dice on it at this point. One that was rolled earlier and the one that was already predetermined.
The fourth step is to roll extra dice. If the monster is on the first level, no extra dice are rolled unless the player chose to add some using their weapon tokens in the first step. On the second level the player rolls an extra die and on the third level they must roll two. The color of dice used are shown on the bottom of the monster card where this information is indicated. The player could also use their weapon tokens to add additional blue character dice as well. These are rolled during this time as well.
The next step is to roll two blue dice. This is when the player rolls their character’s dice. This is the normal character’s attack roll.
The next step is to manipulate the dice. In this step, the player is able to use weapon/spell cards to change dice rolls. These cards can only be used once per combat but as long as the skill levels are equal or higher than the price on the card, they are allowed to use any abilities provided. This includes spell or weapons. The character can only use as many effects as the lower skill level on their character card though. Advancement tokens will increase this number as well as increasing their character’s ability to use weapon/spell cards. The player may also use a basic weapon token to re-roll a single die.
Once all manipulations are completed, the final step occurs. The player must then compare dice totals. The winner is determined based on the symbol on the monster card. This will either be where the player had to roll greater than the monster’s total, less than the monster, greater or equal to the monster or less than or equal. Once combat is completed, if the player won they take what the space beneath the monster card shows. However, the monster card stays put. In addition to the previous spoils of war, they can also remove one of their blocks from the influence track to gain either two gold or a weapon/spell card. They can alternatively remove two blocks to gain a victory point. If the player loses, they gain a wound token. If a player gains 4 wound tokens, their character is dead. The player must then lose all their cards and tokens and remove their pawn from the board. They then choose a new character and start over with new starting tokens as indicated by the character card.
Once a player makes it to the bottom level of the catacombs, they are able to enter the Abyss. Of course, the combat is more difficult but is played out the same as above. The player draws the top Abyss card and it is the monster that the player must face. These monsters have an extra condition listed on the bottom of the card. Win or lose, once combat is finished the player moves their pawn back to an available space in the village. If they won, they keep the monster card for extra victory points at the end of the game. If they lose they get a wound just like in regular combat, however the Abyss card remains face up for a new player to combat later if they choose.
Of course the object of the game is to defeat the Evil Prince. This is done by the player moving their character pawn to the same space as the Evil Prince and performing combat just like any normal combat. The player must roll higher than the prince’s dice totals to win. If the player wins, they gain an advancement token and remove the Evil Prince pawn. If the player loses, they lose an advancement token if they have one. A victory doesn’t end the game though. The game ends when the last victory point token is gone. Players add up their victory points, subtracting 1 point for each wound token that they have. The player with the most points at the end is the winner.
This game has some really great looking pieces. There are several different colored player pawns which are all brightly colored plastic. I like that each one is a little bit different and look like a different type of character. For instance, the blue pawn looks like the enchanter whose character card just also happens to be blue. Coincidence? I think not. There’s also a black evil prince pawn. I love the different looks of each of these. There are lots of cardboard tokens from advancement, wounds, victory points, gold and basic weapons. Each one is easily distinguished from the others and looks really nice. I especially like the wound and victory point tokens. The blood drop on the wound token and the lion shield for the victory points are both especially nice touches. There are red and blue dice for combat. These dice are a little smaller than normal but fit the die spaces on the monster cards nicely. There are cubes for each player in different colors. These are also plastic and quite sturdy. The boards are both really nice depicting the village and the catacombs. Everything is easily understood from the iconography on each board. Once you’ve read through the rules you know what each symbol means. It’s that simple. The character and Abyss cards are all normal sized and have really nice looking artwork on them and are good quality. They aren’t super linen finished like on some of the higher end games but are still really well done. The creature and weapon/spell cards are smaller sized and fit the spaces on the boards for each nicely. Every aspect of the game was designed out really well and works in concert with each other very well. I’m thrilled with the quality and look of each piece.
9 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is nicely done. It’s full color with lots of pictures and examples throughout the book. Everything is explained and is easy to understand. It does tend to jump a bit here and there but it’s easy enough to understand that it doesn’t cause any problems. I like that the different spaces as well as combat, each have their own section with everything laid out in great detail. As I said, there’s nothing hard here and it doesn’t take that long to read either with only 9 pages. There’s also a section devoted to the special abilities of some of the weapon/spell cards that might come up during play as well. All in all, it’s not bad.
8 out of 10
This game is fun and gives a bit of that dungeon crawl feel mixed with a worker placement game. It’s a bit unusual but works quite nicely together. You really have to work at building up your character before you start jumping over to the catacombs. Otherwise, you will find yourself collecting a lot of wound tokens. My first run through I thought, I’ll just whoop up on some monsters and run the table on this game. WRONG! I quickly found myself licking my wounds in the healer’s hut. You will need those extra basic weapon tokens and weapon/spell cards. You’ll also want to have some cubes placed on the different tracks to gain some other perks as well. Trust me, one does not simply walk into the catacombs. Thanks Boromir. In any event, the dungeon crawl aspect of the game is quite nice. It can get a bit confusing at times as you’re trying to determine if you need to roll higher or lower than the monster. It will easily throw you at times and make your mind do a double take. Once you get passed that everything else is cake. I really enjoyed playing the game and really like how there’s a real sense of character development beneath the surface. Not bad for a worker placement game.
9 out of 10
Other World is a light to medium worker placement style game with a dungeon crawl feel. The artwork is really nicely done and has a great fantasy feel to it. The boards and cards are all well done and really draw you into the game. The game takes over an hour to play solo and even longer with more players. There is a bit of strategy to it in deciding when to take a certain space and when to enter the catacombs. Combat can be a bit of a number crunch fest as you compare dice. Still it gives a really good dungeon crawl feel to it. Fans of games like Lord of the Rings or possibly even Descent will enjoy this one as well. I find that the worker placement aspect should appeal to fans of Lords of Waterdeep and the like as well. I really enjoy the fantasy feel and look of the game. Everything looks really nice and plays even better. This is a really good game that takes two fun mechanics and throws them together to form a excellent game. I recommend checking it out.
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Joe Magic Games at their site.
You can also back the game later this year on Kickstarter.