Call To Adventure is a game by Chris and Johnny O’Neal, published by Brotherwise Games. It is for 1-4 players. In this game, players will be creating an epic fantasy character in true story telling fashion. Players will need to overcome challenges, acquire traits and face off against their most dangerous adversaries to obtain Destiny points. In the end, the player that scores the most Destiny points will be declared the winner.
To begin, all of the different card types should be separated by the card back. Each individual deck should then be shuffled thoroughly. Each player is then dealt 6 Character cards; 2 from the Origins deck, 2 from the Motivation deck and 2 from the Destinies deck. Players choose 1 of each to keep. The remaining cards are returned to the box. Each player is also dealt a Hero card and is given 3 Experience tokens. Players should keep their Hero card a secret from their opponents. Players are given a player board and a Hero marker. The player board is placed in front of the player and the Hero marker is placed on the third level from the top of the Corruption track. Players will now place their chosen cards on their player board. Their Origin card is placed face up on the left space. The Motivation card is placed in the middle face up and the Destiny card is placed on the right space face down. It should be noted that the player may look at their face down card at any time. The Story decks are set up in the middle of the play area as follows. In a column from top to bottom should be placed the Act III, Act II and Act I decks. Beside each deck a number of cards are laid out in a face down row. The number of cards is determined by the number of players. For introductory games, a few cards are removed from each deck. The specific cards removed and the number of cards for each row are explained in more detail in the rulebook. The Hero and Antihero decks are placed at the end of the Story deck rows. The Rune tray with all the Core Runes, Ability Runes and Dark Runes are placed within reach of all players. Once everyone is ready, the Act I cards are flipped face up. The first player is chosen and play now begins.
The game is played over several turns through 3 Acts. Each turn a player may take a number of actions. These actions are Gain a Trait, Attempt a Challenge and Other Actions. First the player may Gain a Trait. To do this, the player must simply meet the requirements listed on the card. Once gained, the player will place the card under their current Storyline card. It should be noted that Act I cards are placed under the Origins card, Act II cards are placed under the Motivation card and Act III cards are placed under the Destiny card. When placed, the top of the Trait card should be visible.
Another action that may be taken is to Attempt a Challenge. To do this, first the player must assess the difficulty of the Challenge by taking a look at the number on the side of the card. The player will then declare which path they choose to take, either the one on the top of the card or the one on the bottom. It should be noted, in some cases a +1 icon will be present, indicating that the difficulty is increased by 1. The player then takes the three core runes and adds 1 matching Ability rune for each relevant Ability icon that they have in their story. These runes are listed on the side of the card under it’s Challenge difficulty number. The player also has the option of adding Dark runes by spending 1 Experience token. This may be done up to 3 times per turn before attempting a challenge. The player then applies any card effects that may be in effect from playing Hero or Antihero cards. Once all that’s been done, the player will cast the runes. That means that they will throw the runes onto the table and see which sides land face up. Runes will give different results based on the rune type. Core runes can give the player a point toward the challenge or provide the player with a Hero or Antihero card. Dark runes can add 1 or 2 points toward the challenge, but can also corrupt the player. Too much Corruption can cause the player to be unable to play Hero cards or even spend Experience tokens to cast Dark runes. Ability runes can provide either 1 or 2 ability points towards a challenge. If the player reaches 3 of a specific ability type, then they gain the use of the Special rune that can allow the player to draw either a Hero or Antihero card or even gain an Experience token. If the result equals or exceeds the difficulty of the Challenge, the player succeeds and will then place the gained card under their current Character card with the top or bottom of the card showing, based on which path they chose. If the player fails the challenge, the cards is discarded from the game. A new card is then drawn from the corresponding Act deck and placed in the empty spot. The player then receives an Experience token. It should be noted, if a player has no valid options in the current Act wither to gain a Trait or attempt a Challenge, such as having cards with prerequisites that they do not meet, then the player may discard and replace 1 visible card without paying it’s Journey cost.
The player also has other Actions that they may take in addition to Gaining a Trait or Facing a Challenge. They may Journey. To do this, the player may spend an Experience token to discard a card on the table and replace it with another one from the same deck. This may be done once per turn. If a challenge with an Ally under it is discarded, the Ally is discarded as well. The player may use another card’s effect, following the instructions on the card. They may also choose to play a Hero or Antihero card. These types of cards are gained when a certain icon is gained; light icons allow the player to draw a Hero card while dark icons allow them to draw Antihero cards. A player’s position on the Corruption track tell them which type of cards they’re able to play. Once these are played, the player places it face up beside their player board. Triumph and Tragedy values of these are added to a player’s score at the end of the game. All of these other Actions may be taken as many times as they’re able to. Once a player is out of actions to take, play passes to the next player in turn order. At this point, any effects from Hero cards, Antihero cards or any other cards are ended. New cards are drawn to replace any that were claimed from the rows during that turn.
The game continues until a player has place 3 trait or challenge cards under their current Act. When this is completed, the player must then end that Act and may no longer gain traits or face challenges from that Act. On their next turn, they will reveal the next row of cards for the next Act, if they’re the first player to have completed the previous Act. They will now gain or face cards from this new Act. Once a player has gained 3 cards under their Destiny card, their game is over. The remaining players may take one final turn before the game ends. After the game has ended, each player will reveal their Destiny card. Players will then add up their Destiny points under their Character cards, adding any Triumph and Tragedy points together. Points are also gained from Story icons and unspent Experience tokens, as well as for each each Hero and Antihero card played. Players will also gain points for their position on the Corruption track, as well as for their Destiny card, based on it’s particular requirements. Players compare their score and the one with the highest Destiny score is the winner. Players may then tell their character’s story by fitting all the story cards together into a tale of epic proportions.
This is a really gorgeous looking game. Every piece fits together to form a beautiful fantasy world. First there are the player boards. These are thick cardboard and look like any basic starting adventure style board. Nothing really remarkable about them but they do have a lot of references to help players with during the game. There are places on these to place your different cards and each space is marked with the backing of the beginning card type. The experience tokens are these thick red see through plastic pieces. They are diamond shaped and make me think of an rpg video game, how that you might be awarded with experience for fighting a monster and these little gems might pop up on screen. Another set of plastic pieces are the runes. These are quite thick and feel really good in your hands. I really enjoy throwing these things around. They are really great quality and it’s very easy to determine which rune is which, based on the symbols. Speaking of the symbols, these take a bit of time to learn what each one means. With a few plays under your belt, it becomes second nature. There are also some plastic hero markers that are used on the player boards to help players remember how dark or light their character is. Finally there are the cards, there are 2 sizes of cards in this game. There are the larger tarot sized cards that make up the character and story cards and then there are the hero and antihero cards that are regular sized playing cards. The artwork on each of these is simply amazing. I really love how cool they look. Each one of these really help draw me into the story for this character that I’m creating, their successes and their failures. As a matter of fact, it was the artwork of this game that drew me to it. The finish on the cards is somewhat like that on a Magic the Gathering card. It’s a bit glossy but not shiny. The only thing that would have made these better would have been some linen finishing on them. Needless to say, I love the look and feel of this game and find the theme fits perfectly with each piece. Coming from a background of years of playing and DMing D&D, the fantasy elements of this game are great. Any fantasy game lover should enjoy the components of this game.
9 out of 10
The rulebook for this game is great as well. There are lots of pictures and plenty of examples of gameplay throughout the book. The rules are laid out very well and each piece and part is explained thoroughly. Everything is easy to read and easy to find whatever you’re looking for. There’s a nice section that explains all the different runes and what each symbol means, along with pictures of each. The book also contains sections on how to expand the game using allies and adversaries. There’s also some variant rules for playing the game as a co-op or solo. These are really cool. I love a good solo game and was very happy to find these in the rulebook. The book even has a chart that explains rune probabilities. Basically it gives you a minimum, average and maximum that you should probably expect on throwing certain sets of runes. That was a rather neat addition that I found interesting. The last 2 pages of the book contain frequently asked questions to help clarify any rules questions that might come up during gameplay. Once again, really great addition. Finally on the back cover is a quick start guide that explains how to setup, and play the game. Overall, this is a great rulebook that is designed extremely well. It’s actually one of the most streamlined and easiest to understand set of rules that I’ve read. I’m very happy with the look of the book and the clear instructions on how to play the game. Excellent job!
9 out of 10
I’ve always enjoyed a good story. I guess that’s why I’ve enjoyed playing RPGs like D&D over the years. Of course the best part of any good story is a good character. My favorite part of playing D&D was creating new characters. I loved making up an elaborate back story for each one with all the twists and turns that I knew would be idea generators for the DM. This game takes that part of D&D that I loved so much and makes it into a game in itself. The idea of creating this fully realized character with the interaction of some truly gorgeous looking cards really appeals to the fantasy gamer in me. I would like to note that the mechanics of creating a fantasy style character is not new. In fact, Roll Player took that idea and created a really fun dice game with that same concept. By the way, I love that game. But what about this game and how it plays? I will admit, when I first saw the runes I didn’t think they’d work all that great. I had never seen a game use runes instead of dice to simulate luck before. I’m happy to say that I was wrong. The novelty of throwing the bones, so to speak, was actually quite fun. It kind of made me feel like a shaman or medicine man from one of those old adventure movies. Needless to say, I really enjoy the runes and I’d love to see more games use them as well. As for the story aspect of the game, I love how you’re gaining traits and attempting challenges to better your character, much like you would in a normal RPG game. The hero and antihero cards can help you refine which path you want to pursue. Speaking of antiheroes, I like that this game allows you to pursue a more evil route as well as going the tried and truth path to purity. For me this game is just full of imagination and fun. For us, we like to tell a short story about our character after we finish playing. You wouldn’t believe some of the amazing stories that I’ve heard. In any event, that’s just the multiplayer game. The game also has rules for a solo or co-op game that is a lot of fun too. As I mentioned earlier, I love creating characters. The idea of facing the adversary on an epic quest, while strengthening and empowering my character to be the best that he/she can be is pretty darn cool. I also like that I can team up with other players to face off against a common foe. It just adds another level of gameplay to me. I think fans of character building games like Roll Player or even fantasy RPG players should really enjoy this one. Solo gamers or those looking for a unique co-op game should also enjoy this one. This is a game that I highly recommend. I really enjoy everything about this game and am hoping to see some expansions for it very soon.
9 out of 10
Call to Adventure is a game about character building and story telling in a fantasy realm. It doesn’t take very long to play. Most game sessions last around 45 minutes to an hour. The components are fantastic. The artwork on the cards is truly gorgeous and it really draws me into this fantasy realm that my character lives in. Even without linen finish on the cards, each one is still fun to look at. The rulebook is well written and streamlined for ease of reading. I like that there are ways to increase the difficulty as well as to play the game solo and cooperatively included in the rules. The game itself is a lot of fun. Creating characters and facing epic challenges is what this one is all about. I love the stories that come from each player’s character and how you can let your imagination run wild with this one. Fans of character creation games like Roll Player and RPG games like D&D should enjoy this one a lot. Solo and co-op players should also find something to love with this one as well. This is a game that I highly recommend. The only thing left to do for this one, is add some expansions. Wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more!
9 out of 10
For more information about this and other great games, please check out Brotherwise Games at their site.