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Board Game Review: Prophecy

2015 January 3

Prophecy – Euro meets Ameritrash in a fantasy world.

Prophecy by Z-Man Games

Prophecy by Z-Man Games

Designer: Vlaada Chvátil

Number of players: 2-5

Age: 12+

Time: 180 minutes

What’s the game about?

A description from the publisher…

Does the blood of the Ancient Kings flow in your veins? Do you have the power to wrest the Artifacts from the Astral Planes and become our King ? There is only one way to find out…

PROPHECY is a game for 2 to 5 players. Each player chooses a character such as the stoic ranger, the wise druid, the noble paladin or any other of the ten different characters and enters a world of brigands, thieves, demons, and undead. But there are also friendly denizens whom you can encounter, skills you can learn, ways to improve yourself physically and mentally, items you can buy or find, and wondrous treasures you can discover.

When you are strong enough, you must enter the Astral Planes and fight the guardians for the most powerful objects in the game — the Ancient Artifacts. But you are not the only player with such ambitions. Only one can become King and fulfill the Prophecy.

The world of PROPHECY is dynamic : creatures lurk in the wilderness, merchants buy and sell rare items, and guilds train brave adventurers.

Basic idea in my own words…

Prophecy is a game that takes place on a fictional island where you and your fellow gamers take on the role of heroes vying for Ancient Artifacts in the Astral Planes above.

Prophecy Board

Prophecy Board

The gameplay is relatively simple, you move around the board, have an encounter with an enemy and/or fellow player, and resolve the effect on the space you’re on. Your goal is to beef up your character to be ready to have a successful encounter with a Guardian, and being awarded with an Artifact. There are 5 Artifacts within the Astral Planes. The winner is the player that obtains 4 of the 5.

Setup:

  • Place the game board in the center of all the players
  • Separate all the cards by their type and shuffle each separate deck and place these decks in the appropriate spaces on the board. The spaces will be marked.
  • Each player can choose a player board either randomly or however all players agree to hand them out. After you choose a player board…
    Prophecy Player Board

    Prophecy Player Board

    • Select the cardboard marker on the stand that represents your character and place them on one of the starting locations on the board. The player board will indicate an option of starting locations

      Example of a player marker in the forest.

      Example of a player marker in the forest

    • Each player’s board shows some numbers; these numbers are for health and willpower. Take x red cubes and x blue cubes and place on the right side of the player image on the board, in the respective boxes for health and willpower. In addition you receive 3 gold and 3 experience. Place these in their respective boxes on your player board.
  • Each player rolls the dice to see who has the highest – the highest roller is the starting player

How do you play?

On your turn in order…

    1. Movement – you may choose only one of these actions, one time
      1. Stay on the same space
      2. Walk – move one space to the left or to the right
      3. Rent a horse – for 1 gold, you can move 2 spaces to the left or right, ignoring the space in between
      4. Take a boat – for 1 gold, if you are on a space with the blue anchor, you may move to another connecting space with the anchor
      5. Use a magic gate – for 2 gold, if you are on a magic gate, you can move to another magic gate
      6. Use any movement ability or item – such as flying carpet, teleportation spell, etc. This is only good to use as long as there is not an image of a show with a red slash through it
      7. Ability – if a location shows a picture of a show with a red slash, you may be able to use an ability instead
      8. City – skilled labor: pay 1 Magic, earn 2 Gold
      9. Thieves Guild – dirty labor: pay 1 Health, earn 3 Gold
      10. Fortress – training: pay 1 Health, gain 2 Experience points
      11. Attack an astral place – will be described in more detail, later
      1. Mandatory fight with a creature – If you arrive in a location where there is a face-down adventure card, flip over the top adventure card. Adventure cards can be a enemy or opportunity. It’s always possible that more than one card will be face-up in a location. In this case, it’s up to you to decide what card to encounter first.
      2. Each enemy/creature has a strength in either Strength (red), willpower (blue) or both – depending on the type of attack the creature has, you must defend against that particular type of attack. If a creature has strength and will you must decide which type of defense you wish to mount. If you do defend with willpower, then you must expend 2 willpower cubes to the left side of your player board first. If a creature only has strength, then you use your strength to defend; if the creature uses willpower, then you must use willpower. To win in a battle, you roll the white and black dice. The black represents the enemy and the white is yours. Add up the results of each die, along with the total willpower of strength of you and you enemy and compare values. the higher value wins, and ties are left in a draw. If you win the battle, you are awarded with experience, stats or items of value. Discard the enemy card. If you lose, the creature stays face-up where it is, and your turn ends immediately. You also lose 1 health and depending on the card, the loss may cause you to lose more. If the battle ends in a draw, both the creature and your player stay where they are; and no health is lost. Some creatures come in packs of 3. This is denoted on the card. If you are battling a creature in 3, you must roll 3 successes in a row.
      3. Non-mandatory fight with a creature – this step is the same as the above, but it’s optional, say, you want to initiate a fight with a creature
      4. Use of possibilities of a space – when no creatures are left at a location, you may use a possibility on a space. Possibilities can be used in any order, and depending on the possibility, as many times as the player can afford, and as many times as the player chooses.
        Possibilities

        Possibilities

        Notice in the image above, the Forest Camp on the left offers a possibility for each gold you pay, you recover that many health. In addition to locations, in the guilds in the center of the board, for a face-up card, you can acquire training. There are other possibilities as well, such as item repair, stat boosts, etc. In addition, if there’s an Artifact left on a space from a player death, you can take it.

Death: In the game, if you die in a battle against another player, that player receives all Artifacts, gold and items. But if you die fighting a creature, items, cards, etc are split and put into discard piles and abilities are put at the bottom of the respective guild decks. If a player is eliminated from the game, any Artifacts are dropped on that space, until another player picks them up. Your character also is removed from the game and you start as a new character, with a bit less willpower and strength to start.

Throughout the game, players will be moving to varying spaces and having encounters in the hopes of bolstering their abilities and strength, so they may win battle against the Guardians in the Astral Planes.

Astral Planes: In certain locations around the edge of the board, you may move into the Astral Planes.

Astral Planes

Astral Planes

When you move into the Astral Planes for an encounter, you first reveal the Lesser Guardian, if not already revealed. You battle this creature just as a normal creature, only this battle is more difficult. If you die, you return to the space you entered the Astral Plane from. If you win, you are rewarded with any rewards on the card, and you must reveal the Greater Guardian and do battle with it as just as with any other battle. Again, this battle is even more difficult. If you do win the battle, you are rewarded with an Artifact! This is your goal in the game, to obtain 4/5 Artifacts.

Final Battle: It is common place that one player will not have 4/5 artifacts; therefore a final battle commences. Any player that possesses an Artifact is a champion and will participate in the Final Battle! Any player that does not have an Artifact is completely removed from the game. The champion possessing the Royal Cape, chooses the location of the final battle.

All players regenerate their stats and they culminate on the chosen space to do battle. Battle takes place like most turns of the game except for that no cards are drawn, Champions are not allowed to move off this space, battle takes place just like battling another player, except for whomever loses, loses an Artifact and if they lose their last Artifact, they are eliminated from the game. The last player standing, is the winner!

Game End: The game ends as soon as player has 4/5 artifacts or when the Final Battle occurs and one player is left.

Breakdown

Components: 3/5

The components are OK. There are not special by any means. The rule book is nice but the chits are standard faire. I have to mention that I was bothered by the cardboard standup characters. When you have to put a character on a stand, the bottoms of the chit board tears a bit. I had to use a knife and hold open the plastic stands a bit to prevent this from happening too much. Also, as far as the art goes, I am not a fan at all. Everyone has their own opinions on art style and this art style is not one I care for one bit. It seems too “bubbly.” It also doesn’t help that the board has a gloss finish on it. I don’t care for that either.

Theme: 4/5

The theme is standard fantasy. It’s very similar in feeling to Talisman but not as dark. Fantasy is not my favorite theme, but the theme adds more fantasy to my collection of mostly train and economic games.

Luck Factor: 4/5

There’s a tremendous amount of luck in this game. Dice rolling for battles and random drawing of cards – the luck factor runs rampant in this game. But if you’re playing this game, you know what you’re getting into so there should be no surprises.

Strategy: 3/5

There’s not too much long-term strategy in this game. The strategy is more of short-term tactics. There’s certainly obtaining items that you know what they can do, and that minimizes surprises but besides that, it’s more of a luck based game.

Overall Feelings: 3/5

I enjoy Prophecy. There’s some component issues in my mind, and my biggest gripe is, the game tends to feel extremely long. The game goes on longer than I thought. However, we noticed about the same time we were obtaining Artifacts, the game was on par to the allotted time the game advertised. Prophecy isn’t a game that will come out too often, due to time length but it’s a game that helps round out my collection. If you enjoy Talisman,  and fantasy, I’d check it out. The benefits of Prophecy over Talisman is the game length appears to be shorter, even after I complained about the length, and it’s a mesh of euro and Ameritrash. The motions and turns of the game is pretty simple and streamlined. I want to add that the game also does have rules for variants, but I haven’t played them.

Review copy kindly provided by Z-Man Games.

Thank you to the kind members of Board Game Geek and Z-Man Games games for providing images of gameplay and product.

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