One of the best things I did at GenCon this year was to go to the Play Test area, sponsored by Double Exposure, Inc.. We kinda stumbled upon it by accident. After the main Exhibit Hall closed at 6 on Friday, we were looking for something to do, not quite ready to head home yet. We didn’t want to spend much money, and thank goodness we found the Play Test area. It was FREE!! If you are willing to go on standby! We did and we were. We weren’t certain we were going to get into a game but we were not sure it would be one that we wanted or liked.
Our number came up and we actually got a game that we wanted to try…..Mortals! Mortals is a fully co-operative game by Partial Arc. This game is scheduled to go to Kickstarter in early 2017. I really didn’t know what to think of this game but it turned out to be a great deal of fun. The only bad part is that we had to split our group. Grant and Alexander played on one table and I played on another. The other guys that I played with were great and actually play tested this game last year at GenCon 2015.
In Mortals, each of you play the role of a mythological hero. These heroes have a problem! There are 6 seals that have opened and are spewing all sorts of evil from them. Ghouls, Liches, mini bosses and of course the main boss. You and your companions have 10 turns to close all the portals or yep, you guessed it…..the boss shows up. During the main part of the game smaller enemies will show up. These are not that big of a deal. It’s the mini bosses that start causing major issues.
Everyone chooses their own hero to be. The great thing about the heroes is they are all completely different! During the game you will start killing enemies and closing seals. Every time you do, you will earn experience points, either for you or the entire group. When you reach 10 experience points you unlock a special ability that you may be able to use when rolling a special die during your turn. If you reach 30 experience points, you are now in Godmode, unlocking a bonus power that is automatically added to your ability. My character was Poseidon “The Beach Bum”. My special ability at level 10 was I could move one more space or push enemies off my space, very cool! My Godmode gave me double damage….I was a beast! My original ability gave me 2 extra attack dice when I move into an area with enemies. I was all about shear power!
At the start of each round, the enemies show up. The first player rolls 4 dice and decides in what order they spawn enemies. You then draw from a deck of cards that has different enemies and a certain number of those enemies. You place them on the area with the number associated with the dice. The mini bosses are also in this deck so you never know when they might show up and where! Each mini boss has a special power that makes it harder to kill than the others. They also have a higher health than the weak ghouls and lichen who both have only 1. Some of the powers were health regeneration or hit defense on first attack. They all were very unique.
During your turn you simply move and do 2 actions. The only action you do basically is attack. There really isn’t much time to do anything else. Your movement is limited to 2 spaces unless you acquire cards to help you. When you get to a spot with enemies you are stuck there until they are dead. You can choose to leave but it is pricey, so its wise to just hunker down and fight. As you kill enemies you will receive rewards. For every ghoul and lich you kill you will personally get 1 experience point. If you kill a mini boss, you will get 3 xp. When you take out a seal, all players get 3 points. You also gets loot cards. Normal loot for ghouls and liches and legendary loot for mini bosses. These legendary loot cards add another depth to your character. Each hero has their own legendary card that gives them another bonus if you get it to the right hero.
Now, after the heroes have their turn it is the evil turn. I found this mechanic very cool. All the weak enemies have 3 action points to use. Movement is one and attack is one. They will always move but once they run into a hero their movement immediately stops. Then they attack with what ever points they have left. How do you know where to move them? That’s the cool part. They will always move toward the closest, largest group that is within sight. So, someone might be closer to the horde but not in sight of the enemy , so the horde will move toward the other hero. This saved a couple of us multiple times from getting damage. The closer hero would be saved while the horde had to travel farther wasting their actions on moving. This is a super simple mechanism that works great and adds even more strategy to working as a team.
Needless to say, I really liked this game. A dungeon crawl style game with a co-op theme. I loved all the different heroes and they all seemed to be different from each other. In our game, we actually were able to take out all the seals in time. We were told that this is super rare. About 1 in 10 games can be won by doing this. We decided to fight the boss anyway. The boss is brutal! He starts with 85 hit points and 6 action points instead of 3. He also has a special ability and a devastating fear bonus when activated. I would highly recommend this smooth co-op with tons of variety and replayablility! Did I also mention, the idea of expansions are endless for this game! Kudos to the team at Partial Arc for a solid game of Mortals!