Well folks, we’re here again. Welcome back, or just welcome if it’s your first time here. It’s time once again to talk about Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale by Thunderworks Games. Or at least one of the latest map packs released. Today, we’re diving into the fifth map pack - Kethra’s Steppe (Map Pack 5).
In the lore of the game, the Queen Gimnax has instructed us to map out the land around the twin peaks of Redtooth and Goldbelly. Upon these mountains are extinguished beacons, representative of the eyes of the great goddess, Kethra. Wishing to get the goddess’s favour, Queen Gimnax instructs us to light the beacons (and call for aid? No, wrong franchise.) Time to take the torches up the mountain, whip out the pencils and get the lay of the land.
Gameplay is exactly the same as the base game, so if you want to see how that works, check out the review. The differences with this map are the two peaks with a red and yellow area around them. These are Redtooth and Goldbelly respectively.
The peak squares work in the same way as the regular mountains, except they don’t produce a coin when you surround them. Instead, the beacons are lit and they trigger the fifth scoring card. Yes, FIFTH scoring card! You see, at Kethra’s Steppe, we provide you with a whole new way of scoring. One of the three scoring cards is chosen at the start of the game and placed with the four other edicts. However, unlike the usual four edicts, this one will score every round.
These edicts will grant you points for each lit beacon and then will make an adjustment of the points based on what’s around them. For example, the Beacon’s Radiance card gives you 12 points for each lit beacon but reduces your score by 2 for each empty square in the range of the lit beacon (the coloured region around it.) After the usual four rounds, the game is over and you tot up your scores. Highest score wins.
It's worth mentioning that if you’re playing the solo mode, you will also reduce your score by the value in the bottom right of the Peak edict card.
This is the first of the new wave of map packs I’ve played and reviewed. Don’t worry, the other two (called: The Frozen Expanse and Hornheim) are coming soon. But I think this one has shot up to the upper tier of maps available for one very simple reason. There has suddenly introduced a new element of timing.
In Cartographers, you’re always trying to time your positioning so that you best optimise the scoring edicts of that season, but with the Peak edict card, you have to consider it all game. Do you surround the Peak early and get the scores or do you hold off in fear of the negative points that will come if you don’t fill in the appropriate areas? It just adds a level of crunch that means regular players of Cartographers have to really ponder their consequences. I also enjoy that there’s now a new scoring element that I can use to really bolster my score.
The new maps in Kethra’s Steppe are fully compatible with Cartographers and Cartographers Heroes, which I’m hugely appreciative of. I have the collectors edition of Heroes but I kept the original box to use as a travel version, keeping my favourite maps in there. Kethra’s Steppe went straight into that box. I can’t wait to give it more plays when I can.
That concludes our thoughts on Cartographers Map Pack 5. Do you agree? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Cartographers Map Pack 5 today click here!