A mystery box filled with miniatures to enhance your RPG campaigns. All official miniatures and for a bargain price!

Buy Miniatures Box »

Not sure what game to buy next? Buy a premium mystery box for two to four great games to add to your collection!

Buy Premium Box »
Subscribe Now »

If you’re only interested in receiving the newest games this is the box for you; guaranteeing only the latest games!

Buy New Releases Box »
Subscribe Now »

Looking for the best bang for your buck? Purchase a mega box to receive at least 4 great games. You won’t find value like this anywhere else!

Buy Mega Box »
Subscribe Now »

Buy 3, get 3% off - use code ZATU3·Buy 5, get 5% off - use code ZATU5

Buy The Game



  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

Might Not Like

Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

Oathsworn Into The Deepwood Review

Into The Deepwood

With the explosion of the hobby and the advent of crowdfunding in recent years, this has brought about the big box role-playing experience: a cat coffin packed to the brim with hundreds of cards, tokens and stoic little plastic boys and girls winging all manner of axes and flails. The high watermark was set by Gloomhaven with its brain-melting euro dungeons and oblique card play. Now Oathsworn Into the Deepwood has arrived, straining the lower back of your postie, but what does it bring to the table outside of a hernia-inducing amount of card and plastic?

The impact is felt as soon as you lever the tall lid off. There are stacks of lettered envelopes with strict instructions not to open till told, cards to index and five separate rule/story books to pour over.

When you finally get all set up to play what before you is a dense grim-dark boss-battler.

What Are We Working With?

Oathsworn Into the Deepwood is split into two parts: an interactive story section followed by a showdown between your four heroes (and there are always four heroes) and an enormous monster.

As is the fashion these days, the story is set in a bleak, hopeless medieval-lite world of bandits and beasts. You can approach it in a few different ways. You can have it with all the trimmings: a rather fetching town map where you move your party marker between locations, chasing leads, attempting skill-checks and taking on randomly drawn encounters, all of which can grant you little bonuses or lumber you with hindrances for the upcoming fight. As well as the usual fare of letting you stock up on potions and equipping expendable dice re-rolls, it also lets you achieve more creative fare such as adding allies to your party or diluting the injury deck with ‘near-miss’ cards. The story beats are drawn from a hefty, indexed tome with a slight choose-your-own-adventure vibe.

Or you can play through the story chapter via an app, with the narration read to you through the gravel filter of James Cosmo. He does a great job and makes you feel like you’ve just joined the Nights Watch. The app takes care of some of the housekeeping for you whilst still giving you the meaningful choices.

Another option is instant action: this boils a chapter down to a single page of text; nixes the housekeeping and assumes you made all the prudent decisions whilst exploring the city. It still gives you some skill checks to let you buff up/trip over your own laces before. Once this is done, you’re given instructions on how lay out a battlefield then open an envelope (or box if you opted for the flashier deluxe version) and are introduced to some huge monster to slay.

Into the Deepwood CAT

No Spoilers Around Here

To keep the spoilers to a minimum, I’ll just discuss the first: A giant mumma rat with her little babies crawling all over her scabrous back.

The modular play-how-you-want ethos extends to your party composition. At the start of a campaign, you need to assemble a party of four heroes from a selection of twelve ranging in complexity, but you can have them set to the full hero mode whereby they have access to a deck of action cards (with more to be unlocked later with levelling up), along with a full character sheet or they can be set to ‘companion mode’ with one action card that only has two moves on it along with a simplified mini character sheet.

This gives you a lot of latitude with turning a wheel on the design-marked complexity. You can play solo with a team leader who has their full complement of moves with three companions who are a lot easier to manage. If you can pull together a full group, you can play with the full range of options. If someone can’t make it that week or you have a player who is not too confident, you can dial a hero down for that session and dial them back up for the next.

Oathsworn even mitigates player elimination (to an extent): if a hero gets knocked out, they get replaced by an easy-to-use ally. If you find yourself running out of allies, then players do have to sit out, but mission failure can’t be too far behind by that point anyway.

Even turn order is easy-going. Each hero has an amount of stamina (okay, “animus”) that powers how much they can do, but the heroes can go in any order they want and even split up their turn. This adds a lot to tactics as heroes tee each-other up for attacks, buff, block and so on.

Along with the animus there’s another mechanic that gives your grey matter plenty to chew on whilst also being thematic and that’s the Battleflow. When you use a move card, it gets placed in a cool-down position alongside your character-board numbered 0 to 3, the better the move the higher the slot. And once it’s there, it’s kind of stuck there, out of reach. At the start of the next round, you can pick up the moves but only the ones in slot 0. The move cards don’t move around on their own though. You have to push them along by performing more moves, like a little conveyor belt.

It’s an elegant way to present cool-down and gives the fights a nice sense of timing.

Beauty Or Beast

The beasts are no slouches though, each has their own deck of moves and character sheets full of nasty attacks and reactions. Some spit out little minions that swarm around you, blocking you from your target and nipping at your heels. The monsters can be attacked head-on, from the rear or the flanks. Disable one side of it and it flies into a rage, skipping the turn order and immediately attacking whoever landed the critical blow but with the upside for you that one of its moves has been de-fanged for the remainder.

Even triumph is tinged with bitterness. Each hero has to give up one of the items they took into battle, forcing you to restock back in town and making you hesitate about if you really need to bring your favourite axe into the next battle.

The dislikes thankfully never encroach on the core fundamentals of the game. The setting and story never quite set themselves apart from the glut of grim-dark medieval fantasy that’s filled every media avenue in the last few years. Trying to coalesce the rules into your head by pulling from three different, awkwardly laid-out rulebooks will be a headache and the player aids aren’t quite “aid-y” enough for this reviewer.

So Oathsworn Into the Deepwood manages to carve out a reputation in a crowded field: Captivating narrative sections that expand lore whilst presenting little mysteries to solve and loot to find, combined with exciting, challenging boss battles.

And best of all, it’s modular, drop-in drop-out chapter approach makes it a campaign that’s a lot likelier to get finished than many of its peers.

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

    Might not like

      Zatu Blog

      Find out more about our blog & how to become a member of the blogging team by clicking here

      Join us today to receive exclusive discounts, get your hands on all the new releases and much more!