In this preview, I take a look at a new Kickstarter release, The Refuge: Terror from the Deep, a standalone sequel to the zombie strategy game The Refuge: A Race for Survival. Designers John Brieger and Floyd Lu have worked to create Terror from the Deep, a game that takes players deep beneath the ocean as divers, fighting to complete objectives while trying to outwit the relentless Kraken.
There are three modes in The Refuge: Terrors of the Deep; a 2-6 player competitive mode, a 2-4 player co-operative mode and also a unique solo mode where you must work to defeat the Kraken before the Kraken defeats you!
Players will get to choose between six unique divers, all with special skills that will aid them in their adventure, while fighting off this monstrous, mythical sea creature. In the competitive mode, you must race against the other players to unlock and board an escape pod before you become a victim of the Kraken’s wrath. These varying modes instantly attract me to this game, as it offers up not just a sense of variety but a massive replay value, something I always look for in games. I want a game to keep me entertained and this has this element!
Alongside the different modes, you will also find a double-sided board, with different “map” layouts, as well as some beautiful miniatures that really are a treat for the eyes! David Whitaker and Tom Lishman have been aboard this project and have bought their experience and excellent sculpting skills with them to develop these highly detailed miniatures. The game itself will include 23 miniatures:
- Six divers.
- 16 Kraken tentacles.
- One massive 80mm Kraken Head!
The divers have been increased to 40mm size to allow for greater detail and this really pays off. This makes them both easy on the eye, and easier to paint. Both the Kraken head and the tentacles look just as good and the decision has been made to mould them out of red plastic, rather than grey. Speak to designer, John Brieger, he explained that it made the components pop that little bit more while also offering players an easier overview of their progress. I completely agree!
The artwork is also beautiful, adding to the theme and really giving the game a good visual element. The visuals reminded me a lot of the Bioshock video games, a series I fell in love with over the years of its release, and this game seems to not only share similarities in its background, but also in its art. The cards and the illustrations are exquisite, and I found myself looking through the cards, admiring the hard work that had been put in to make this game stand out! It all looks amazing!
Playing at UKGE
I was lucky enough to try The Refuge: Terror from the Deep at UKGE. I played the co-operative mode over a few turns to see what the gameplay was like. In this mode, you must work with your fellow divers to complete objectives set out by a deck of cards. The three objectives that you must complete also add to the story behind the game, providing players with backstory and upholding the theme.
On a player's turn, you can move your character around the board, activating the space that you land on. The different spaces allow you to undertake different actions, such as destroying a Kraken tentacle, to moving to a cave space anywhere on the board. Each of the spaces will have an image on so it makes it easy to see what actions you can take during your turn.
Once you have made your move, you then have the option to play a card from your hand of salvage cards. These cards are obtained by destroying the Kraken’s tentacles or through some abilities and objectives. Once a card has been played (or not), players then have the option to activate one of their diver’s abilities. Each diver will have three unique skills that they can utilise, all being very different. Some are attacking abilities, allowing players to take out multiple tentacles, while others allow you to use unique items to stall the Kraken's progress. If a diver has been struck and is needs to be recovered, you can then discard two matching salvage cards to recover the diver.
Once these turns have been taken, it is then the Kraken’s turn to cause some mayhem. The Kraken is controlled by a simple, yet intuitive AI deck that moves the Kraken's head along the back of the board, while also moving and spawning the tentacles across the board. This mechanic reminds me of the Forbidden series, with the AI deck controlling the flood/storm/weather. This method of controlling the Kraken worked really nicely and added an element of difficulty that kept me on my toes while playing.
In terms of game length, the designers have done a great job of keeping this game to a good length! Games will usually last around 30-40 minutes, meaning you will have a great experience while not having the game take up hours of your time, as we increasingly see with new releases. This is a massive attraction to a lot of people, so I am excited to see how a full game plays out. Needless to say, I was satisfied after just a few turns so I think this game is definitely a winner!
Final Thoughts on The Refuge: Terror from the Deep
The Refuge: Terror from the Deep is now live on Kickstarter. There are two tiers to choose from, the first being the Deep Diver pledge. This gives you the base game, along with the Kickstarter exclusive items and stretch goals. The Surf and Turf Pledge will add to this the first game, The Refuge: A Race for Survival, allowing you to experience both in all their glory! You will also find 18 Kickstarter Exclusive crossover character ability cards included with both pledges, as well as the six minis to go with them, allowing you to use them in both games.
Having tried the game out, I am excited to see what else it has to offer! Both John and Floyd have done a fantastic job with Terror from the Deep and they have a game that oozes with theme and great gameplay!
If you are interested, you can check out their Kickstarter page, where there is more detail on the game as well as a storyboard to discover and understand the story behind the game. I strongly recommend you read this as it is really interesting and gives you a real sense of what to expect from the game.