A to Z 2015 : FORETOLD

Our next game is one I had the privilege of not only supporting on Kickstarter, but playtesting as well. That was an exciting aspect for me, though I didn't get to playtest as much as I had hoped to — definitely not due to the lack of attempting to get my hands on a prototype! While it's not overly complicated, this game has a lot going on.

We will see how brief I can be for the overview of...

In Foretold: Rise of a God you are competing for the opportunity to become a deity. To do this you must amass wealth, recruit faithful followers, and smite your enemies as they race you to Godhood! Thankfully the Fates are on your side! Or are they?

As I mentioned, Foretold has a lot going on. It harnesses elements of many different game styles and rolls them into one neat package. I think it was the first time playing a game with such a wide variety of components, so that alone intrigued me.

Like Ascension there is a Marketplace (which I think I forgot to mention in its overview...) that is constantly in a state of flux as people buy/manipulate cards. You have a temple built out of tiles, and there are additional tiles you can buy throughout the game to customize it further. There are Fate cards you can collect which will put an array of abilities at your disposal. You have dice which are predominantly used during combat. And to top it off, you have two hands of cards! A Raiding Party Hand and a Temple Hand. Three if you count Fate cards!

The separation of a Raiding Party Hand and a Temple Hand was one of the more unique things I believe I had encountered in my gaming experience, up to that point. This isn't discounting the ability to build your temple and the heavy Tower Defense element involved in combat. Those were also new to me. It took a little getting used to, and with all the other components it seemed overwhelming, but eventually it all fell into place.

Here's a quick look at Foretold's setup:

Above is essentially the starting configuration, with a few additional components (tokens) thrown in to display them. Players pick out a Raiding Party Marker character and collect their starting Temple Hand which consists of 1 High Priest, 1 Acolyte, and 2 Guards. Each player also starts the game with five starting Temple Tiles, starting on their "A" side. For the initial layout there is only one option, but as the game progresses you can add and rearrange tiles. Players start the game with 20 life. A twenty-sided die is placed on the "Heart" Temple Tile to keep track of this.

The Path to Becoming a God

The game is broken down into four steps: Reveal, Marketplace, Raid, and Reinforce.

During the Reveal Step, the active player places the top card of both the Faithful Deck and Relic Deck into their respective rows. These are the cards that populate the Marketplace for players to purchase.

During the Marketplace Step, the active player may purchase cards from the Market place. The cost of each card is displayed in the upper left corner of both the Faithful and Relic cards.  This is the gold currency, which is collected by playing the Faithful cards from your Temple Hand (or Fate cards/Relics/etc). In the lower left corner of each Faithful card is a collect icon, similar to the cost icon. This represents how much gold you gain when it's played from your hand. Collected gold is represented by the gold tokens.

Note: Some Faithful cards have special abilities when using them to collect gold, or when other conditions are met, so be mindful to pay attention to each particular card's text.

Faithful played from your hand to collect gold, as well as those bought from the Marketplace, are placed in your discard pile. Purchased relics are placed somewhere near (or within, as such is the case for Fate Relics) your temple. Tiles, which always cost 3 gold, are placed into your Temple (if able) when bought. This also allows you to rearrange your temple's layout to best suit your needs. Any remaining gold is stored on your Treasury Tile.

Note: When placing more tiles into your temple, you must match open doorways. Doorways can be exposed, but not matched with a solid wall of another tile (for some reason I thought you only needed at least one side of two tiles connected via a doorway, and if doing so, the other doorways could line up with the walls of other tiles. I will have to verify). If this isn't possible to accomplish, the tile is set aside until being able to do so.

During the Raid Step, the active player may decide to attack an opponent's temple, if they have a Raiding Party. This will usually not be the case on the first turn. If you notice, beside the collect icon in the lower left corner, each Faithful also has a Combat icon. This is the value that comes into play during Raiding and Combat.

Note: The mechanics and rules of Combat are a bit too intricate for the purposes of this post, but I plan to go into much greater detail in my full review.

A successful Raid through an opponent's temple allows you to Smite them! The over-sized white die, pictured above, is the Smite Die and I have to admit it's pretty gratifying rolling it after the effort put into crossing enemy lines!

During the Reinforce Step, the active player gathers all of his Faithful, including those from their discard pile and separates them into two piles. One will be their new Raiding Party Hand, the other their new Temple Hand.

Note: It's important to point out that you are limited to how many Faithful you can have in your Temple Hand at any given time. This is determined by the number of Station icons (represented by the blue circular icons on the tiles pictured above). You start out with four Station icons, but this number can increase as you flip and/or add new tiles. This is where a lot of the strategic planning comes into the game, because not only are the Faithful from your Temple Hand the only ones you can collect gold from, but also the only Faithful you can defend with if another player attempts to Raid your temple.

Once the first player completes their turn, the player to their left takes theirs, following the same steps. This continues until either only one player remains alive (once an opponent reaches 0 or less life they are eliminated) or a secondary win condition consisting of collecting a number of Fate Relics (another detail to be highlighted in the review).

The last player standing, or meeting these secondary conditions, becomes a God!

More Tricks Up Their Sleeves

Although this may seem like a lot, there is more yet to be discovered in Foretold: Rise of a God! There are four types of Fate cards, each offering their own unique abilities to players. The tiles can be flipped when paying its Flip Cost, and Trap Tiles can be sprung. Combat can become tricky as Faithful bring their own brand of mechanics and abilities to the fight. Relics also offer special abilities and effects. All of these can drastically change the outcome of a Raid and swing the tide of battle!

There's a lot, but hopefully this did a decent job giving you an idea of what awaits you. Out of the majority of games I will be featuring during the 2015 A to Z Challenge, this one likely has the biggest learning curve. It's not a gateway game by any means, but don't let that fact turn you away if you're curious about it. Once you play through some turns (or complete a game or two...), and figure out how combat tactics (and all the tricks involved) work, it starts feeling a lot less intimidating.

I feel Foretold is great for more experienced gamers, and if they enjoy it, I hope they are patient enough to teach newer players the ropes, giving them all a stab at becoming a God, or at least die trying...!

Full Review Forthcoming

Have you played Foretold: Rise of a God? If so, what was your experience like? What aspects do you like, which are you not overly fond of? If not, does it sound like a game you'd be interested in trying if given the opportunity?