Gameday First Play – Near and Far

Posted on by Jesta

“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

~ Ibn Battuta

Four wanderers search for the Last Ruin, a city that legends say contains an artefact that will grant the greatest desires of the heart. A lost love, redemption, acceptance, a family rejoined– these are the fires that fuel the wanderers’ journeys, but can they overcome their own greed and inner demons on the way?

In this game you gain resources, gather a party and head out on adventures for rewards and reputation.

A majority of the game is played on a worker placement game on a board. Each ‘building’ in town acts as a different action and you move your character standee onto a different building to take that action.

These let you exchange resources, discard cards, gain/lose reputation, hire people, buy a bird/tortoise, gain money or draw cards (which you ‘build’ for abilities and end game points), gain food, gain treasures (which have an ability) or mine for treasure.

The main ones are hire people, which allows you to pay the cost of the person you’re hiring to place on your player board. They have stats which will help you with the adventuring part later.

The bird/tortoise also go on your player board and each can hold one of the treasure cards you can get from this board too.

The Mine is a 3×4 grid with different rewards and you place a tent on a space adjacent to a tent already on the board and gain the reward for that space.

On your turn, instead of taking an action you can explore, this involves you moving your standee onto one of the many maps in a book.

You start in town and add up all the Heart icons on the party you have taken with you.

Each space you move on the map costs 1 Heart. You can ‘spend’ 3 Hearts to build a Tent on one of the Locations.

Some routes have a baddie to fight. These are defeated on the roll of a D6 + your sword icons. (Hearts can be spent to make up the difference if you’re short)

Defeated baddies are worth points and get progressively harder as they are defeated.

Certain spots on the board have story spaces where you read from a book and are presented with a couple of options. You roll, find the result and gain the rewards if you pass.

When a player puts the last tent from their player board out the game ends

You score points for enemies defeated, routes on the map connected, cards built, your position on the reputation track and other things, most points wins.

Positives

It’s a very simple ‘worker placement’ style game. Very clear, very easy to understand with simple iconography.

The stories in the books are great. One of my biggest criticisms of Above and Below is that the stories don’t have a resolution. It would just say “Gain 2 Fish” or something, now it has a paragraph of text explaining why you gained 2 Fish. Closure! 🙂

Some stories in the book give you a reference as a reward that you use to continue the story from your previous encounter which is a nice touch.

Apparently it has a Campaign of sorts which is interesting.

Available People, Cards and Treasures will add variety…

Negatives

With all that variety, you can’t always get what you want…

Summary

A VERY good game, I enjoyed it a lot.

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