Have you ever wanted to play an entire D&D campaign in just one night? A campaign where players can each take a completely different and often contradictory way? Brotherwise Games have perhaps provided you with that opportunity. Call to Adventure is a fast-paced, quick to learn, card game, in which players compete to generate the character with the most story potential - whether good or ill.
Each player begins with a humble origin and motivation for their character, which provide starting skills and ways to gain experience points, as well as a final destiny that their character is working towards for the end game.
Please not that this list is based on a Kickstarter copy, so there may be some variation in the retail version.
Call to Adventure contains three decks of Story cards, split into three acts and featuring adversaries and allies who can make story moments easier or harder, as well as traits that build on your character’s legend. In addition, there are three decks of character cards: Origin, Motivation and Destiny that provide the basis for your play strategy in any round of play. Finally, on the card front, the game features a collection of light and dark cards that can be played to change the fortunes of your character or others.
Also, Call to Adventure has a collection of Runes; three standard, three dark and three each of the six characteristics your character can possess. These are used instead of dice to determine how successful your character is whenever they confront a story event.
Each round of the game allows a player to play as many light or dark cards as they want, as well as spending experience points to trigger abilities and cycle the available story cards. Each player is also able to either buy one trait or attempt one challenge in each round, with the goal of achieving three of these per act (or story card) to complete their heroic journey.
The game plays rapidly, finishing in around 30 minutes, and once players have a handle on it, is very easy to pick up and understand. Symbols on the thrown runes are easy to interpret, giving you zero, one or two successes, the ability to draw cards or to move up and down on the heroism/villainy track.
End of game scoring takes just moments (and really doesn’t need the included score cards), and includes played cards, gained cards as well as symbols that relate to particular adventuring themes like the wilderness or justice. All in all, it's a very simple system. Once that’s done, all you have to do is tell your character’s narrative in a truly heroic (or anti-heroic) manner.
Final Thoughts on Call to Adventure
Call to Adventure is fast and fun, can be completed in 30 minutes even on a first playthrough, and is rather easy to pick up. The one downfall is the dexterity runes that are a dark grey colour, which is very similar to the standard runes, making it challenging to remove them ready for a reset for the next player. That is a small niggle though, and the game is a great way to fill 30 minutes!