Gameday First Play – Abyss

Lords and locations in the Deep.

Oh and can someone pick those pearls up off the floor please?

The Abyss power is once again vacant, so the time has come to get your hands on the throne and its privileges. Use all of your cunning to win or buy votes in the Council. Recruit the most influential Lords and abuse their powers to take control of the most strategic territories. Finally, impose yourself as the only one able to rule the Abyssal people!

The blurb is pretty good, describes the theme perfectly. To become Lord of the Abyss you’re basically going to do one of three things on your turn.

Explore the Depths

You turn over cards from a stack and you get to keep one. These cards are mostly Allies based on one of the five factions and have a rank of 1 to 5. You turn one over one at a time and once you take one you end your turn.

But the cool part is you don’t get to pick first. After turning over a card the choice to buy it goes round the table. Each player can pay you to take the card. One pearl for the first card bought, 2 for the second, 3 for the third. Each opponent can only buy one.

Oh yeah, Pearls are currency and they look great. They do roll a bit but only once due to heavy handed Pearl picking did they ever leave the table.

Abyss Pearls

Once the active player takes an ally, or fights a monster their turn ends. A monster fight just involves either taking a reward for fighting it and ending your turn or evading it and moving the ‘reward track’ up but continuing to draw cards.

Any allies are not taken are moved into their respective spot on the council, face down. This leads into the second of the 3 things you can do.

Request Support from the Council

These face down stacks of Allies are there to be taken. If you take this action you can take one of those stacks. This gives a nice boost to your hand of Allies. What are you using them for? Well, again, that leads into the next action.

Recruit a Lord

You use the Allies to recruit Lords and this is where you can score points.

Each Lord has a point value, and most have an ability. To recruit a Lord you need to trade in a certain number of Allies. These will be of a certain number of factions with a minimum total rank. So for example you may need the total rank to be 10, using no more than 3 different factions and one of those factions must be Blue.

This set collection part is great. It’s very restrictive and complicates things greatly. Not only do you need the right factions but the right ranks.

Abyss Lords

When you trade in for a Lord you keep the lowest rank Ally for end game scoring. So if you use a 4,4 and a 2 Jellyfish to take that Illusionist pictured, you get to keep that 2. It makes you balance OVER spending on Lords compared to just grabbing one because you can.

Some Lords have keys, you can also gain keys by fighting monsters. Once you have three keys you MUST get a location. A location gives you lots of end game points but will also cover up your Lords abilities so there is another thing you need to balance.

When picking a Location you can take one that’s face up of draw up to 4 and choose from one of them. But, if you do that the ones you don’t pick are put face up for other players to choose from.

At the end of the game you get points for your Lords, your locations and the lowest of each colour Ally you have.

I love the choices in this game. You can push your luck on getting the Ally you need when exploring the depths but you’re giving your opponents first pick for each one you flip over. Also, for each one you turn over you make the ‘Request Support from the Council’ action more appealing to your opponents too.

Drawing extra location tiles so you have more to pick from also helps everyone else by giving them more options. It also means they may not have to draw more for you…

All these choices with smooth, quick game play and fantastic art make for a fun game.

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