The Apocrypha Adventure Card Game is a new game from Lone Shark Games – the same company that helped create the Pathfinder Adventure Card Game and Betrayal at House on the Hill. The game can be run as a fully cooperative adventure card game, solo, or in a group. Alternatively, you can have a GM take over and expand it into a full-blown role playing game.
The game world is set on the brink of a modern day apocalypse. Games run about an hour, not including setup and explaining how the game works to those who haven’t played yet. Apocrypha immerses one to six players in a conflict with the most dangerous entities in the universe. Game play is very story based, and features deck construction that allows your character to grow in power.
Players play “Saints” – characters who can see the monsters lurking in every alley and school lunch room. Each Saint has it own unique variations about them and the way that they move about the game. On each of the Saint cards there are four different symbols which represent the different gifts that are used throughout the game. Some of the Saints excel in certain areas, while others are more all-rounders; so choose wisely.
If you choose to keep your Saint for the next session of gameplay, you are able to unlock repressed memory fragments which help to make your powers and capabilities a lot better than how they were at the beginning. Using a standard 9-pocket sleeve page, you are able to display them around your Saint in what is called “the halo,” and you are able to change the arrangement of the cards from game to game. You also have to be wary of getting a death card in your halo, as doing so will mean you are no longer able to use that slot for fragments. If all of the nine slots are filled with death cards, your Saint is dead forever. The Saint gets stashed into the box and can not be picked again. Death cards come about when your Saint fades in a mission; if you run out of cards in your deck, you fade. You place a death card next to your deck to show that you are fading.
Each mission has a unique setup and goal, which most often involves hunting down a “true threat”, and finding gifts hiding amongst the cards at a Nexus, then sealing that Nexus while making sure that you finish the mission before the doomsday clock runs out. To find the true threats in the Nexus deck requires the players to investigate. The true threats are normally found by finding the archetype card in the Nexus, however, it is possible for a true threat to escape to another Nexus. To seal the Nexus, you either have to defeat the true threat and be able to qualify the seal conditions on the Nexus, or keep investigating until the Nexus deck runs out; at which point you still need to be able to do the seal conditions to seal it even if there are no cards in it.
The only thing that we did not touch on or attempt were the mutations that come about when someone assists you or when a card power demands it. From my understanding, they can make things very interesting.
While we only got the first box to play with, I am already eager to play the other two expansions – The Flesh and The Devil – set be released soon, as well. All three games will be fully compatible, yet show off different styles of game play. We didn’t play with any cards from the Skinwalkers set (the cards above with the red border) as we just chose to do the missions from the main set first. However, I can’t wait to try out the Skinwalker cards and dive into the stories.
When using the gifts that the Saints have to use against threats, or picking up new cards, players are required to roll dice (normally using one that will match the symbols on the cards). So for example, if you are up against a true threat that has body and rage as its symbols, to challenge it you will need to use those gifts associated with body or rage. However, there are exceptions if you have a card that says that you can use one of your other gifts which has a higher score on it.
The dice which you use when rolling against threats or gifts are colour coordinated to the gifts – so rage has red dice, body has green, soul has blue, and mind has purple. There are also white dice, which are used as bonus dice. While you could just use any d6’s if you wanted, I like the idea of having a different colour for each check.
When I first got the game, I thought it was mostly just a deck building game (something which I have not overtly liked before), but after playing it and finding out how simple the deck building actually is I enjoyed playing even more.
After seeing how much content was in the rule book (and how many steps there were to your turn), I thought that the game would be a lot harder to pick up. But to my surprise, it only took me one turn to be able to pick up on what to do at each stage of the turn.
There is a lot I like about this game. The fact that it is easy to pick up is one of them. I also like the way the turn is laid out, and even the setup for each game was relatively quick and painless. It was nice and straight forward, and only took a few minutes, unlike other games which require a large set up.
The art and the way that the card text is laid out was another thing that I thought was really well done. The quotes found on each card make the game just that little more immersive. I love that each Saint had a bit of a background on the back of their cards, giving you more of a feel for the character you are playing.
I’m struggling to find any faults with the game. While my version had a little bit of damage because of shipping (which no doubt others who acquire the game won’t have to worry about), the only other nit-pick was that some of the Saint cutouts were a bit tight to slide into the little plastic holders. That’s probably for the best, though, as they aren’t likely to slip out now.
Overall, I really enjoyed this game and found it hard to find anything wrong with it. All the games we played we won, but that doesn’t mean the game was easy. It can definitely be hard, and a few times it did look like we were not going to win. I can’t wait to play more games and see how my Saint deck will grow with each game.
In the pictures above we are using playmats from other games so that the cards don’t get dirty or damaged, but I am very keen to get my hands on the official playmat, deck boxes, binder, and the different dice that are also available.
A huge thank you to Good Games and Let’s Play Games Distribution for supplying our review copy of Apocrypha Adventure Card Game. Head over to their online store to secure your copy now.