Every little boy dreams, that when he grows up, he will save the kingdom and get the princess. But dreaming is not enough. It is necessary to go towards this goal to achieve it. He must be in the right place at the right time, but above all be well trained in the use of combat instruments. Only then can he enlist among heroes of his nation and perhaps find some important position in the castle.
The new board game Call to Adventure tells how such heroes are born. Created by a pair of designers Chris O’Neal and Johnny O’Neal. The game was released under the auspices of Brotherwise Games as a result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, where it received support from nearly 11,000 fans. The graphic design was taken care of by Matt Paquette. And when the result of their joint work saw the light of day in 2019, he set out on the shelves of European stores thanks to Esdevium Games.
The box is larger and on its lid, we see two faces of the kingdom – dark and light, and in front of such split look stands the hero at the bottom of the picture. Inside, four hardcover boards are waiting for players. Each participant takes one of them and gets on it space for three cards, rules overview and above all the corruption scale located on the left.
Then everyone has to create their own hero. Individual participants will each receive six cards – two copies of origin, motivation and destiny cards. From each pair, player chooses one to keep and put it on the board, all with the picture facing down. At the agreed moment, all opponents reveal their choices except for the destiny, that remains hidden. In the center of the table is a place for story cards with three Roman numerals. Several cards from these decks are discarded according to the number of participants, but for now, only set with number one on its back is revealed. In addition to preparing a supply of heroes and anti-heroes, there is also need for supply of plastic runes.
In their turn, players try to work with the cards in the offer, where there may be not only traits for their hero, but also challenges. But in doing so, players will alternately turn after turn. During this process, a player can select a card from the menu. To get it, player must meet any conditions set out in the text. Getting the card means, that he will be able to use the icons at the top of the card.
However, the acquired skills are only a way to get more runes to perform the tests and thus more easily meet the challenges. They are also available in the story cards offer and have their difficulty indicated in the upper left corner – the number of successes needed to overcome it. It usually offers a choice of two options, and these differ in their difficulty, but also in reward.
The player chooses challenge. If any icons on his ability cards match requirements of the task, he can add so many runes to the base three. In addition, he can pay a red experience token and get one dark rune temporarily, giving his better chance of success, but also a risk of failure. Then the warrior takes all his available runes and casts them on the table. The sum of their resulting icons (plus any bonuses from played hero and anti-hero cards) will determine, whether the quest was successful or not. If so, the player retains the challenge for himself and puts it under his card.
As a player uses his abilities, he can move down the scale of destruction. So while at the beginning of the game, he has the opportunity to play both hero and antihero cards, he gradually usually profiles only towards one side of light or darkness. This locks the second way for him. In general, he receives a number of advantages and changes to the basic rules from these cards, as well as from his cards of origin and motivation.
In each turn, a player can only choose one of the options described above, in addition to playing any number of cards from his hand. As soon as he is satisfied with his progress, he will pass the word on to the next opponent.
The player, who first receives a sufficient number of cards unlocks the second act. Later on, that goes also for the third act. And the same condition applies for the end of the game. Once someone has nine cards (three under each card on his board), then it is time to pack up and score. Players earn points for destiny card, experience tokens, accomplished quests, position on destruction scale and hero and anti-hero cards played. The resulting sum determines the overall winner, ie the hero with the most points.
In Call to Adventure, players can expect an adventure, that begins with the deal. This creates a unique story for each hero from three cards: origins, motivation and destiny. However, players will continue to add personality to their heroes throughout the game. And this is exactly the main point, that the game will win fans with.
Within the game, players choose their own adventures, but at the same time seek further improvements. This spins the circle of development over and over again. But no success can exist without runes and casting them. Not including dice feels very positive. Players feel completely different in manipulation with these runes (they are sturdy and ready for some handling) and more importantly, it feels really nice to cast these two-sided tokens. Perhaps this is the main thing making this system really unique.
In doing so, the player already knows his chance, when making a decision and can also invite dark runes for higher probability. But everything is worth something. And shifting on the scale can lock their way to one or the other type of card. And these are really important tools, that can be further protected against chance or prepare for heavy fighting.
Adventures have two difficulty levels. And this is the moment, when players again have some control, because they determine the variant, they will try to fulfill. Individual tasks require different characteristics, so each can be designed for a different hero.
But the game retains compactness and simplicity from start to finish. The rules are not complicated and the individual results of the rune throw are described in their game plans. This makes it accessible to children. Thus, perhaps the only obstacle can be the language without which it is impossible to read skills.
It is clear, however, that this simplicity is reflected in other parts of the experience. The game is largely random and this is perhaps the only element that can negatively affect the game. On the other hand, it is great for the course, so if you do not have any major criticism against testing your luck, then the feature of Call to Adventure is nothing to be ashamed of.
The game time is close to 45 minutes and corresponds to the adventurous beginner game feel and is similar in all available numbers. Players for a long time each take care of their heroes and can influence each other only rarely.
The processing of the game is absolutely fabulous. It all starts with great plastic chips, which are great to handle and throw. Fortunately, the graphics on the cards are not behind either.
Call to Adventure is a thrilling game about heroes and their pursuit of memorable acts. Players in their role experience different adventures, but at the same time also constantly evolving. But the most important information is that Call to Adventure is great fun, because it ideally transmits to the player the most important thing – the feeling of adventure.
Call to Adventure is a treat for beginners, who like to turn every game into an adventure. It is all real due to the fact, that they breath their own personality into every hero, but at the same time live with him to see his story. It doesn't matter that the success of the expeditions is decided by chance. Everyone enjoys the game and that's what makes Call to Adventure a certain hit!