- Designer: Blazej Kubacki
- Publisher: NSKN / Passport
- Players: 1-4
- Ages: 13+
- Time: 30 min/player
Mistfall is a fantasy cooperative game set in the mythical world of Valskyrr. The players are a group of heroes who are working together to try to successfully finish the Special Encounter. There are four different quests included in the base set (along with 2 other Kickstarter special quests in my box), and each has its own set of enemies and challenges along the way. Players choose from amongst 7 different heroes, each with their own set of attributes and weaknesses to play in the game. The game is mainly played thru different decks of cards. Each Hero has his own deck of cards (which give him most of his/her special abilities) – the Feat cards show his abilities while the Gear cards contain all the cool stuff that he has to fight off his enemies. There are also Regular (3 different types, separated by color) and Special enemy cards. You will also find Encounter cards and Time cards in the box as well. Each of these decks will be used in your battle.
The area of exploration is made up of square cardboard tiles. The rules of each particular quest tell you how to set it up. In the scenarios that I have played, there are a few tiles which are fixed in location while the others are shuffled and placed at random in the other spaces. These Locations are placed in the middle of the table. Next to this is the Quest Charter – that is the big tile which has the timer, Reinforcement track, spaces for the active Encounter as well as current active enemies. Each player has their own area, dominated by their personal Hero Charter – a big tile which has their attributes and special abilities. There is space below for your gear and Feats (i.e. cards from your Hero deck) as well as space above for Enemy cards.
Once you’ve set up the game – you dive right into the Quest. You play a number of rounds until either the heroes win (by completing the Quest) or until the heroes lose – either by losing any one in the party prior to reaching the final encounter, by losing all Heroes in the party during the Special Encounter, or running out of time on the Time Track without completing the Quest. Each round is played in 7 phases.
1) Reinforcement Phase
Based on the current situation of the game (based on the current Active Encounter as well as the Reinforcement track standing), you will draw Enemies and place them in the Quest Area.
2) Travel Phase
The Heroes decide if they are going to move from one Location tile to another. If you move, this may cause you to draw Encounter cards. Every encounter card has one or more keywords on them – you keep drawing Encounters until you find on that has keywords that match those of the Location that you’re in. This new Encounter card will tell you what sorts of Enemy cards to draw, etc. These enemies must have matching keywords to the Encounter or else they are discarded, and a new enemy card is drawn until you have the allotted number of Enemies in play.
3) Pursuit Phase
Enemies are always in a line at an Encounter – now they pursue the individual Heroes. The Leftmost enemy goes to the Hero with the highest Enemy Focus value. Once you take on an enemy, your hero’s Enemy Focus value is halved. This keeps going until all Enemies have been distributed to heroes. If you even have an Enemy Focus number of zero, you do not ever attract Enemies. It may be possible that some Enemy cards may be left in line if all the heroes have a Focus number of zero.
4) Hero Phase
Heroes get to take their actions in this phase. The team chooses the order that the Heroes take their actions. In general, you get one Main Action per turn as well as nay number of Fast Actions, Reflexes and Feat card purchases.
5) Defense Phase
The enemies that are in front of each Hero now attack – they deal Physical or Magical damage (based on what their card says). There are specific actions, Gear and reflexes that deal with each type of damage. If heroes take wounds, they have to discard cards from their hand to the discard pile OR cards from the top of their deck to the Burial pile (out of the game). Finally, at the end of the phase, you resolve any Conditions – such as burning, poisoned or dazed – each of these conditions has their own penalty that must be paid.
6) Encounter Phase
Now, you see whether or not you have finished the current Encounter Card. Simply look at the bottom of the card to see if the Heroes meet the criteria for the Encounter. If so, you will get some reward cards which give the Heroes some gear. These cards could also be turned in at this point for Resolve Tokens which can be used to buy other cards in the Hero phase. If there wasn’t an Encounter card in play at this time, all players rest and Restore – they will get cards equal to their Restoration value.
7) Time Phase
You draw a time card from the deck, move the time marker forward based on what the card says. There may also be a special event that occurs on this card.
Now, you check to see if one of the game ending conditions has been met. If so, you end the game. If not, you go back to the reinforcement phase and keep going.
From my first plays of the game, I must admit that there is a LOT going on. The rules are very complete, but I found the organization bewildering at first glance. I’d strongly recommend reading through the rules a few times before trying to play. There are definitions to start the rulebook, then setup and the game turn, and then finally there are a bunch of more detailed definitions and rules explanations to close out the manual. The rules are definitely complete, and I think that you’ll find the answer that you’re looking for somewhere in the 20 page book, but it might take a bit of searching to figure out where it is that you need to look. That being said, now that I’ve gotten a few plays under my belt, the rules make sense and it’s pretty easy to follow the flow of a game round. The cards and rules make use of a number of different icons, and you’ll likely need to refer to the legend for these icons found in the rulebook for your first few plays.
I have only played the beginning quests thus far, and they are set up to gradually introduce the game rules to you. There’s a lot going on in this game, and I don’t think that I could have handled jumping into a full quest right off the bat. The rules strongly suggest starting with the Into the Wilds scenario, and I would echo this recommendation.
The set that I have has 6 different quests, and this should lead to as much replayability as I would ever need/want from this game. In addition, each quest can be made easier/harder by changing the amount of time allotted for the quest or changing the number of cards drawn into the hand at the start of the game. Furthermore, there are harder Hero Charters and Quest Charters that can be used for quests to make the game more difficult. I’ve not needed to even consider looking at stuff like this yet, but it’s nice to know that it’s in the box.
The art in the game is well done, though the space for artwork on each card is quite small compared to some other games – this is because there is a LOT of text needed on some cards, and as such, the text box space is likewise large. I had mentioned the iconography above, and those icons are put to good use to get a lot of information to you on those cards.
There is a lot of stuff in the box – it barely fits back into the box. In fact, I’ve just tossed the insert in order to give the components a bit more breathing space! :)
I think that this game is at the upper end of the complexity scale for me – and my personal preferences lean more towards Samurai Spirit for co-operative games. However, if you are looking for a game on a grander scale or a game dripping with theme, similar maybe to Descent or Arkham Horror, this is probably worth a try.
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