Hand of Fate: Ordeals – Preview

HandOfFateBoardGameHeader

We’ve been following Rule & Make since their early days and the Tournament Case through to their more modern endeavours of board game development and publishing. It’s always a great feeling to see an Australian team succeeding.  Recently, Rule & Make have teamed up with another successful Australian team: Defiant Development, makers of the Hand of Fate video game and upcoming sequel.

Now, thanks to their combined efforts, a board game adaption will be launching on Kickstarter later this month (May 22nd 2017).  The game is set between the events of the first game and that of the second, with players taking up the roles of heroes to explore the land, acquire weapons and abilities, slay horrible creatures and encounter fiendish boss battles. While there is certainly room to work together, the game encourages players to achieve the highest score and at times thwart their allies. How much thwarting, though, is entirely up to you.

It would be easy to simply label Hand of Fate: Ordeals as a ‘deck-building game,’ but to be fair there is a lot more to it than that. Having played titles like the Legendary deck building games, Hand of Fate has a lot more going on. You’ll move your physical piece through the board, much like the video game, revealing locations. You’ll need food to move about the board, though, or you’ll end up taking damage from starvation. You will need to defeat enemies and do a spot of shopping to upgrade your deck, acquire better gear, and get yourself prepared to take down the boss of the area.

This Sunday past we were lucky enough to have game designer Barantas Ericks pop out for a visit and let us spend some hands-on time with a prototype copy of the game. He explained the rules and helped us move through our first game, which we all picked up the flow of fairly quickly. We had a chat about how the game design came together, some of the choices made, and the future of the game. It’s clear that there is a lot of passion and hard work that went into designing the game, and I suspect Barantas has been eating, sleeping and dreaming Hand of Fate for some time now.

Is it any good though? I brought in four individuals to play the game; all with different backgrounds and degrees of experience with board games. Some where familiar with the Hand of Fate video game, but for others this was a fresh experience. I’ve included their testimonials below. Please remember, though, as you read them and look at the images on this page that this isn’t a review. The game is still in prototype and subject to change before the end of the month.

Jemma (Pixel Pop Network)

I found Hand of Fate to be interesting and fun. I hadn’t played the video game like some of the others at the table, but didn’t find it a disadvantage though as I had played deck building games before. Having said that, Hand of Fate is a little different to what I had played previously. The game we played was fun and had more elements to it than I expected. The fact that you can cripple the other players was interesting, but not something I took part in or would if I played it again.

Even though the artwork is not final, I thought it was rather good and if I got the game as it is now I would be happy with the art, tokens and board. I was happy to learn that they are doing a figure for each character rather than having one generic looking one for the characters.

Overall it is a great game, and one that will be lots of fun to play with my friends. Although they don’t play as nice as me, and I can see some of them going out of their way to cripple me.

It is definitely a game I will play again, and if I can afford the Kickstarter I will be backing it.

HandOfFateBG001

Jessica (Australian Tabletop Gaming Network)

At first glance, I feel Hand of Fate is an interesting yet complex and intricate board game due to its various game components and detailed card texts. It is a very well thought out game, featuring a basic system where players draft cards from a makeshift dealer’s shop to add to their starter deck. Players use that starter deck to purchase equipment, fend off monsters, and gain food for movement.

From this system, I feel this would make players who have limited knowledge of drafting comfortable with picking out the strongest cards from the dealer’s shop as opposed to choosing combo cards and worrying about the deck as a whole.

Alongside these thoughts, I feel initially it would be difficult for me to learn how to play the game. This is because of my limited experience with ‘deck building through drafting’ games – only having played Sushi Go!.

However, sitting down and actually playing the game I feel it is easy to pick up with a few minor hiccups here and there. Mostly, these hiccups are my own confusions about symbols – what they mean and certain card interactions. The overall flow and pace of the game ran smoothly, and it encourages players to use their turns efficiently and not be too bogged down about how to play the game in a certain way. I am definitely picking up a copy of my own when it comes out and it’s definitely on my watch list for a great upcoming board game!

HandOfFateBG002

Anthony (Australian Tabletop Gaming Network)

Hand of Fate is a very promising board game. The board manages to feature a number of different, interesting elements without over complicating matters with too many different tokens and pieces. Playing the game and advancing your deck was a satisfying affair. After playing the game once, I was able to cotton on to different strategies and win conditions you can play towards. The game features three different types of non-basic cards (outside of equipment) that you draft throughout the game, colour coded to red, green, and blue. The card types corresponded to strategies towards winning within the game, but thankfully this is balanced by drafted cards not being playable immediately.

I was so caught up in the fun of trying to figure out a new game that I didn’t really think about the design until after. I was really impressed by how the flow and design of the game veiled the drafting aspect. The game features a shop which always has several cards available for purchase, which is essentially the draft. You can purchase cards which are obviously powerful on their own, or elect to purchase what is powerful specifically to your own deck (or perhaps deny your opponents). The game also creates opportunities to mess with the cards available in the shop, lending an opportunity to deny cards from you opponents as well as cycling what’s available for something more favourable.

Thinking on the shop aspect of the game, what impresses me is that the game has incorporated drafting as a continuous action throughout the game. Drafting in other card games is often completed before the ‘play’ begins and so this aspect of Hand of Fate really appeals to me. Tying it all together is the limited use aspect of different map cards which dictate how many times players can ‘use’ a position on the board to perform actions. Because the type of cards you may draft is dictated by what the map card you’re positioned on, you can often be left to decide between drafting cards or performing other actions.

HandOfFateBG003

Nathaniel (Avid Tabletop Gamer)

Hand of Fate: Ordeals opened strong and only got stronger. The game play is an intuitive deck builder, with exploration heavily inspired by the original game. It very effectively captured the excitement of wondering what we’d find next, with most of the cards having wonderfully drawn artwork.

Unlike other deck builders, I was interested in what was happening on another players turn: Any new tiles they explored, if they bought the items I was eyeing up, any items they were eyeing up (so I could enjoy their suffering when I bought and used the item I didn’t need), and if they were gearing up to fight monsters.

The fights were excellent fun. The exploration tiles were really fun. And the atmosphere it built was also fun. The most important question I had after only ten minutes of playing the game was “So when’s the Kickstarter for this again?”

Liked it? Take a second to support ATGN on Patreon!

Leave a Reply