We all love our games with anthropomorphic animals. Everdell, Tiny Towns, and a whole host of others spring to mind. Now a brand-new game has launched on Kickstarter from B.A. Games – Forges of Ravenshire. I sat down and played the game with the designer Sam Stockton over on my Twitch stream and had a blast with this game, even in its slightly unfinished form. That video is available on YouTube by the way, linked here. The previous game from this publisher, Cult of the Deep, is a very different game to Forges of Ravenshire, so it’s exciting to see what’s coming next. Come along with me as we take a look at what’s happening in the Kickstarter.
As I said earlier, I had the chance to play the game on Sovranti with the designer last week so I got a pretty good look at what’s going on beneath the lid of this game. In the lore of the game, we are members of the blacksmithing guild of Ravenshire and our Forgemaster has gone missing. In order to ensure order, there is a year long competition in order to see who can make the most money. You do this by a combination of dice worker placement, engine building and order fulfilment.
Over each of the four seasons (rounds), 1-4 players will take part in three phases: Gathering, Production and End of Season. In the Gathering phase, players will place a die to a location on the main board and trigger one of six actions. These actions can vary depending on the value of the die used, but higher values do not necessarily mean a better outcome. Then you’ll take a die back from a different location and trigger that action. Finally, you’ll run the guild of the coloured die you took. This can be either Harvesters (granting extra basic resources), Alchemists (granting Mystic Goods that have special abilities) or Merchants (who allow you to trade coins for things like goods and upgrades.) You’ll all do this three times before moving onto the Production phase.
In the Production phase, you will use the dice you claimed back from the board to trigger actions simultaneously. The strength of these actions also depends on the die value, but uniquely, middling numbers are stronger here. During this phase, you can also complete your contracts, by turning in the resources to claim the rewards of gold, Reputation and/or a few other things.
Finally, the End of Round phase. Players will check for the completion of any Titles in the game (think Milestones in Terraforming Mars) and claim the rewards. Multiple players can achieve these in the same round so keep an eye out. The board is then reset, refreshing the bottom row of merchants in the guild hall (the members of which will empower your own guilds), the dice on the board are rerolled and split across each action randomly. Then all players will reroll their three dice and the game continues. After four rounds, total up your money from a few different sources and the winner is the one with the highest total.
I really enjoyed playing this game. There are a lot of elements that I recognise from other games that come together really nicely and a few unique twists, like the granting of strength situationally to the value of a die. A few things I didn’t mention were unique player powers which can be used throughout the game in the form of Assistants, who can really change the game up for you, in a way that makes you think “wow, that’s broken” until you realise they’re ALL broken. It just depends how you use them.
From what I’ve seen, the production value looks really good, with the traditional deluxe version of a game an available option for you. In chatting to Sam, there are a load of stretch goals, such as additional Assistant cards that will be unlocked in the campaign and included in any copy. One of my favourite things to be able to do with a game on Kickstarter is try before you buy, and I’m glad I got the opportunity to give this one a go. If anything I’ve talked about in this post has intrigued you, I urge you to head over to the Kickstarter campaign and check it out for yourselves. Or give it a go on Sovranti. The campaign is open until 11th May 2023, and looks to be delivering to backers in April next year.