Gameday First Play – Above and Below
Overground, Underground, Building and Recruiting.
Oh, Exploring, don’t forget the exploring.
Your last village was ransacked by barbarians. You barely had time to pick up the baby and your favorite fishing pole before they started the burning and pillaging. You wandered over a cruel desert, braved frozen peaks, and even paddled a log across a rough sea, kicking at the sharks whenever they got too close, the baby strapped tightly to your back.
Then you found it! The perfect place to make your new home. But as soon as you had the first hut built, you discovered a vast network of caverns underground, brimming with shiny treasures, rare resources, and untold adventure. How could you limit your new village to the surface? You immediately start organizing expeditions and building houses underground as well as on the surface.
With any luck, you’ll build a village even stronger than your last– strong enough, even, to turn away the barbarians the next time they come knocking.
You each have a play area with 3 starting characters. One has a hammer to build with, one has a quill to recruit with and the other has 2 dice symbols.
Your board has 3 areas. The left for refreshed people, the middle for tired people, and the right for the injured amongst your party.
To the right of this board is space to place your buildings and explored caves.
On your turn you can build by ‘spending’ a person with a hammer and paying the cost of the building. The buildings will give you resources, abilities or additional end game scoring.
You can recruit, again by ‘spending’ a person with a quill to get a new person from those available. Those available are laid out to the side…
To buy a cave card you need to explore first. Exploring means you put some characters on top of an exploration card and roll a D6. This will determine which adventure the player on your left will read out of the story book.
The story will give you various options and skill levels. You choose an option and roll each characters dice. The number of ‘hits’ will determine how successful you are and what your reward, or penalty is.
You may also move up or down a track… Ignore someone in need of help and you’ll probably go down.
You get points for lots of different things and most points wins.
The best bit is the Tales of the Arabian Nights style story bit. It’s a lot like that game except there is more ‘Game’ there and it’s less random.
I’m not being fooled into thinking that you’re not just rolling dice to gain random resources, I see through that bit. But the stories are cool and you don’t feel like that when you’re playing. Dice into a pool, you earn fish, for example.
A good game I’m looking forward to playing again.