Blood & Fortune is a game by Charles Ward, published by Ex1st Games. It is for 3-6 players. In this game, players will be negotiating and betraying each other in order to gain influence and deduce who’s winning. The player that can best gain the most influence will be declared the winner.
To begin, players must decide whether they would like to use the role cards, special actions, both or neither. Players are randomly given a house card and a score card. These are placed in front of the player. Each player then takes the 5 influence cards that match their house card. The first player is chosen and is given the ring card, which is placed in front of them in their play area. The role cards are shuffled and each player is dealt 2 cards from the deck. Each player will choose one of these cards to place in front of themself for other players to take. The remaining card is returned to the deck. Each player will then take 1 role card from another player in turn order and add it to their hand. Play now begins.
The game is played over 3 rounds. Each round is divided into 4 stages; offer influence, resolve roles, reveal influence and score influence. The first stage is to offer influence. In this stage, each player in turn order will offer 2 cards from their hand to another player face down. That player will then look at the 2 cards and select 1 to keep. The remaining card is returned to the original player’s hand. The player then places the newly selected card face down to the right of their score card and any other cards that had been previously placed there. This continues clockwise until each player has offered influence cards 3 times. Once a player has received an influence card in their player area, they are then able to use their special action from their score card. This action can be used once during each round. Once the special action has been used that round, the player covers the action up with the influence card next to it. Once a player’s score exceeds 15 their score card is flipped over and they can no longer use their special action.
Role cards may also be offered in place of 1 or 2 influence cards. 2 cards must always be offered when possible. Once a role card is selected, the player that received the role card adds it to their hand and then returns the other card like usual. They will then receive an influence card from the hand of the player that offered the role cards initially of that player’s choosing. Just as explained above, the player places the indluence card face down to the right of their cards in front of them.
The second step is to resolve roles. In this step, the first player calls out the role cards in ascending order beginning with 1. When the player’s card is called out they will place it in front of them and read the card out loud, resolving it before continuing. If there are no players with the called out number, the next role card is called out. This continues until all the role cards have been called out.
The next step is to reveal influence. To do this, each player will discard any influence cards that still remain in their hand. Once this is done, they will reveal each of their influence cards in their player area, keeping them in the same order. Any double influence cards are discard from the player’s area, except for the one that was received most recently furthest to the right.
The final step is to score influence. To do this players look at both the cards in their play area and their influence cards in other player’s areas. Each player receives 1 influence for single cards and 2 influence for double cards. Each player adds up their influence on all these cards. The player with the highest round score wins the round. Each player adds their round score to their score card. A new round then begins.
At the end of both the first and second rounds, each player will take back all 5 of their influence cards that match their house card. All the role card are then returned to the role deck and shuffled. The winner of the last round is given the ring card and starts the new round. Once 3 rounds have been played, the game is over. The player with the highest influence total at the end of play is the winner.
This game is comprised of a deck of 72 cards. There are 30 influence cards, enough for 6 players to play. Each influence card has a back that matches one of the 6 different house cards. There are 8 score cards that have a different special action on each one. There is the ring card and 15 role cards, as well as 6 reference cards in English and 6 in Japanese. The artwork on the influence and house cards remind me of something from A Game of Thrones or some other medieval themed game. I really like the artwork and find it to be really cool looking. The ring card looks like something pulled out of a Lord of the Rings game while the score cards and reference cards are pretty normal looking. The role cards are a little plain looking at least on one side. There is both English and Japanese on these. The cards themself have a really great look and feel, much like a linen style finish. For what is basically a card game, I really like it. Yes, there could have been a little bit more art or something a little more dramatic on the role cards, but I’m not complaining. I like the cards and really enjoy the design.
8 out of 10
The rulebook for this game look nice. It has both English and Japanese rules. There are a couple of pages of pictures which show the components and a few examples of play. Everything is laid out really well so that there is no confusion. It’s really easy to read and understand. The rules are rather short as there’s not that much that you have to learn to play the game. That said, I’m pleased with the look and design of the rulebook. You shouldn’t have any problems with it. It’s really good.
8 out of 10
This game works on many different levels. First there’s bluffing and negotiation, but on top of that there’s a mild take that feel along with some deduction and special abilities thrown in for flavor. Knowing what influence cards to offer isn’t that difficult as there’s only two options for you. It’s when you add in the role cards and the special abilities that the game really gets interesting. With so many different abilities and roles, there are lots of possibilities. The game also has lots and lots of player interaction. Everything you do affects someone else in this game. I really like that the score cards, which would be just boring ways of keeping track of a player’s score in any other game, are so much more. They really add a good bit of depth to the game as do the roles. The game isn’t overly difficult or hard to play. As a matter of fact, it’s quite easy to learn and teach. While playing I found myself trying to count cards in my head and remembering what cards a player might have. It’s really quite tense. In some ways it makes me think of those social games like Mafia, Ultimate Werewolf or something of that nature. However the way this game plays seems to be a lot deeper than those. Yes I feel that you will be able to find some similarities between games but to me this one seems to be able to stand on it’s own two feet. For a simple card game, it will surprise you.
8 out of 10
Blood and Fortune is a light weight card game of bluffing, deduction and negotiation. It’s a really quick playing game that only takes about 30 minutes to play. The artwork is really cool looking and has a nice medieval feel to it. The role cards are a little plain and could have used some more artwork on them but it’s nothing major. The game itself mixes several different mechanics together rather well. There’s lots of player interaction involved in this game. With lots of different roles and special abilities, it’s highly replayable. Fans of cards games like Ultimate Werewolf or Mafia should enjoy this one. It’s a fairly simple game that should be easy enough for most all players to understand. I would recommend giving this one a try. It’s a fun filler game.
8 out of 10
For more information about this game, please check out Ex1st Games at their site.