It was one evening and my life was overturned. I remember its every moment. I sat in a chair, bound, without any possibility to move. Behind me was standing a huge figure. The face that smiles at all times, even when doing interrogation. I will always remember it. A face, that said I took some money from his superior. It did not matter, how long I repeated, that I do not know, what he was talking about. He still did his painful work until I fainted. A few hours later, I awoke on the same chair, but alone. I survived!
The saga of vengeance was prepared by Gordon Calleja, who created his board game under auspices of Mighty Board. With support of this company, Kickstarter campaign was a success and at the end of 2016, it received support from more than 1,500 players and gathered over $ 180,000. Finally, the box arrived at the end of 2017 (game was presented at the Spiel 2017 in Essen) with illustrations by Alex Torvenius.
White-red box probably has its contrast to emphasize bloodshed of revenge, that the whole game is about. In fact, on the lid, we see a large group of gangsters and against them one desperate guy seeking revenge with a golf club. Almost like in Oldboy. There are plenty of components waiting inside the box – first of all, a dozen large double-sided boards. They represent different interiors, mob clubs, and operate completely independently.
Six of them will create a map in the middle of the table. Near it, players put board of shop (equipped with skills and item cards), injustices (with round counter), and the score board. This will include mission cards and achievements. Players then shuffle boss cards and place one in each lair as well as henchman figures. Only a certain number of gangs will hit the game according to the number of players and accordingly only some cards will be placed by the players. When preparing together, you just need to break the cubes of damage, dice and remaining cards.
But then, it is high time for each of the players to choose their hero and get his corresponding board, miniature and montage cards. But the choice does not end here, because each participant must also take exploration tokens and three other markers, all belonging to one chosen color. With one of them, he marks zero on victory points scale, then next token is used to mark playing order.
Each match starts with a wronging. This is a common phase at the beginning, where players use revenge card in their hands. They keep seven of them, but only three can then be publicly played to show how the gangs have signed up on their hero. For these three purposes, however, players will become interested in the triple of their hero’s characteristics – scales of health, mind, and skill. Depending on the cards of revenge revealed, players cover spaces on these scales – from left to right, they place the cubes of wounds and highest visible number is current statistics of their hero.
Since then, two phases will be alternating during the game until the end – montage and battle. The first serves as a preparation. Here, players can roll white dice and place them in their pool. From there, everybody takes one by one as many as they can. This number is guaranteed by the current state of the hero’s mind (digit on the scale of mind).
From dice rolled, it is possible to obtain symbols of healing, enhancement, exploration or speed. These can be used immediately in combination with montage cards to plan three possible enhancements. The cards contain effects and bonuses, that add up with the asterisks of the card layout, where the cards are placed. Their sum then means points, that can be used for each activity. The numerals on the left side also determine speed and therefore order of the players for the subsequent stage. Some of the stars can be spent to win new revenge cards. They can also be played and apply negative effect of another wronging to player’s hero.
There is a fight ahead, for which it is still possible to spend exploration tokens and look at the boss card in that lair. Players will then choose one of six locations, in which the boss and his minions are revealed. The attacker places his hero figure on the entry space, and then – using three attacks – he can try to destroy the inhabitants of the lair. To do so, he uses battle dice, numbers of which is determined by the current level on the skill scale. Their results can be used to move, injure the enemy in the same zone, or shoot to the adjacent area. On the dice, however, there is also an image of the enemy. If its rolled (player can reroll several dice at the beginning of his turn), it activates and gives an unexpected visitor some injury to lower his health scale.
After three attack chances (including new dice rolls), whole lair has to be cleaned from the opponents. Only in that case will the player score points. Otherwise, he has to escape the place, which will cause further injuries. In the event of a hero’s success, not only card of the killed boss is removed, but also the board of his lair and everything is replaced by a new set from the drawing pile. Then there is another player, and once all the bills are settled, the round ends.
Points can only be won for bad guys, who have hurt the players. Their targets are therefore determined by the choice of the cards of revenge at the beginning and during game, when more can be revealed from hand. Players will then receive points for cleaning up lairs or killed bosses. In addition, it is possible to collect rewards also for missions and tasks. After three rounds played, match is over and players must compare their point scores. However, they will deduct penalty for the dice on the scales. The player with the most points is best avenger.
Vengeance is a game, that brings to your table an unprecedented theme of revenge in a mafia environment. It’s like in those popular films such as Payback with Mel Gibson or 96 Hours with Liam Neeson. Players take their heroes, explore terrain, provide them with enough equipment and then just shoot at everything, that moves. They do not make a difference, whether someone was involved in their wronging or not. There is no time for mercy!
The game has a great atmosphere due to the fact, that the whole course is perfectly connected. The very beginning, in which you learn the hero’s wrongings, is pain. Character begins with a series of scars, that need to be healed. But there are more and more grievances floating to the surface as if it were a movie series. But in the meantime, players can buy equipment for their dice.
After all, the whole setup phase is surprisingly very tactical. While players have to roll dice available to determine points to be used, they can combine them arbitrarily with their cards and assign them to the board. This always creates interesting choices of situations for them.
But as soon as they hit the mafia lair, the whole game is driven by the fairness of luck and tactics. While players have the ability to reroll dice, but only until the moment, when number of enemy symbols drops below the specified limit. This makes it impossible to get the perfect combination and work well with the possibilities of movement, attack and other symbols.
It is not possible to avoid being hit. And each placed die on the scale affects other hero options in the following rounds. The whole story creates a beautiful loop, to which you get and which you’ll really enjoy. The pace itself is a bit like a swing. As part of the montage phase, players have time to catch breath as their hero has taken refuge in hiding and is preparing for an attack. But onslaught itself is great, although there is always only one of the participants involved.
Main problem of the whole gameplay is the lack of interaction between players. The only real contact is by choosing dice from a joint offer. Otherwise, everyone fights for themselves and only watches others without any chance of influencing their efforts. We understand, that the chance to make some dirty tricks on enemy may affect the theme badly and even touch atmosphere of the game, but its absence is simply readable.
Battles in the lair are not too difficult. Moreover, in future games there is always the risk of game being a little repetitive. Despite the size and content of the box, this game is not overly long. You will usually find your revenge within ninety minutes. Of course, massive filler of this time are, of course, attacks on mafia homes. With the maximum of four players, the feeling is, that you have to wait a lot for action to come back to you.
Vengeance is a game, that will delight all lovers of movies about vengeance. It perfectly captures everything you love about these movies. The use of dice is ultimately part of the puzzle and partly luck, but players never lose control over whole development. The main thing is the atmosphere and the experience and these are at a really high level here! Vengeance is a revelation to us in the field of miniature games and overall its a very solid game, that is dragged down only by a few shortcomings.
Vengeance is a game, that could be even better. It can be mainly absence of conflicts between players - it is only about collecting points - and longer waiting times between turns. But all this is balanced and maybe completely erased by theme, atmosphere and experience the game provides. The ability to play a real story about vengeance is hard to reject. The game is not overly complicated, it looks nice and does not last unnecessarily long. All of this eventually ends in a very positive impression. Vengeance would, in our opinion, be recommended by nine Quentine‘s out of ten! Go in there and Kill your own Bill!
Reader Rating0 Votes
the ability to improve the characters
a great start-up phase will always grab your attention