The Mountain–A Solo Board Game Experience

The Mountain-logo

The 2015 Global Game Jam – an annual event where game designers are presented with theme, and challenged to create a game around that theme in 48 hours.  The game can be a video game or a table top game, and there are awards for different categories. 

This year, the theme was, “What Do We Do Now?”   28,837 people registered to participate in GGJ, for 518 different jam sites in 78 countries.  An impressive 5438 games were produced.

The Mountain won Best Board Game, Jury’s Prize and took 2nd Place – People’s Choice Award, with credit going to: David Chircop – Design, Story, Graphic Design. Yannick Massa – Design,  Johnathan Harrington – Story, Design. Matthew Agius Muscat – Story. Fran Bte – Story. Daniela (iella) Attard – Art, Illustration.

BGG game description: “The Mountain is a board game experience for one player. It explores a pensive man’s descent from a mountain from the moment he reaches the peak. You navigate the mountain while exploring the man’s thoughts as he contemplates about the unknown abyss that lies exactly after his life’s biggest accomplishment.

There are five exit points on the board, one for every element that will affect your journey – frost, sun, wind, sky and horizon. As you try and find the path down, you learn more about yourself through the story cards, divided into five different story lines that affect you as a protagonist.

However, the path down is not immediately obvious. Your movement subdues and stimulates the elements. If three or four elements are acting, you start suffering from ennui; a feeling that perhaps getting to the bottom of the mountain is not that important after all. If all five elements are raging, you will succumb to nature and die.

Traverse through the safest path and take care of yourself. This could be either the most important journey of your life, or your last.”

Mountain-1

The Mountain certainly adheres to the Global Game Jam theme of, “What do we do now?”  Playing as a character who has just peaked in more than one way, he is now dealing with self-doubt and the lack of a goal in his life.  As he treks down the mountain, he is fighting his own depression as well as the elements, and his life is in danger.  This is a theme many writers could sink their literary teeth into, and I have been fascinated with this premise for years.

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The game has an interesting mechanic for movement, using 5 controller cards to determine which spaces can be moved onto in a given turn.  This presents an interesting puzzle, as you must plan ahead to insure you can move on following turns.  If you can not or chose not to move, you must still draw an Ennui card (pronounced än-ˈwē), representing a lack of spirit, enthusiasm or interest.  If you draw too many Ennui cards, the character gives up trying to descend the mountain and dies.  In game terms, that means you lose.

Mountain-4

If you can reach one of the 5 exit points around the map, and you have acquired at least 1 each of the 5 different element cards, you can end the game, leaving the mountain.  At this point, if you have more of the element card that matching the space you exit, you can draw the first ending card from that deck.  Otherwise you draw the second, less favorable ending card.

It’s an interesting exercise, and I played three times, which is far from exhaustive.  It did give me a feel for the game, and put my mind to a depressed story theme, but sometimes that is useful.

Note that this game is not available for sale, but the designers have been kind enough to provide a free print and play version, downloadable here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4B7PH3fGut_dkgyZE82dm1zUU0/view

Be aware that the file has a 4-page game board and 9 pages of cards.  The files are in full color, no B&W option currently available.

There is also a Printerstudio version of the game that can be ordered.  More details in this BGG post: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1319190/printerstudio-decks

 

Mountain-5

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SPACE HULK is Back!

Games Workshop announced that they are taking pre-orders for a re-release of Space Hulk 3rd Edition, shipping on 9/20/2014.  I’ve put my order in, and from the looks of things, this will sell out pretty quick.

Link: Pre-Order Space Hulk

 

SPACE HULK 2014 Release

 

Space Hulk is a board game for two players that pits man against alien in a series of desperate battles. Inside the cramped confines of a derelict space-bound wreck known as the Sin of Damnation, players command either a hand-picked force of Blood Angel Space Marines or a lethal swarm of agile Genestealers.

Games of Space Hulk are played on a gaming area made up of high-quality card tiles which fit together to create the cramped confines of the Space Hulk. Each of the 16 missions included in the boxed set uses a different set-up, or alternatively you can assemble the pieces in any way you like and create your own bespoke games.

SpacehulkNEW01

The rules to play the game and 16 missions are all contained within two full color booklets, the Rulebook and Mission Book. There are also 35 plastic Citadel miniatures, including: 11 Space Marine Terminators, 1 Space Marine Librarian in Terminator armor, 22 Genestealers, and 1 Broodlord. Along with three plastic mission objectives models, including: a dead Space Marine on throne, a Blood Angels artifact and a Cyber-Altered Task Unit.

In addition to the booklets and miniatures, you will receive 110 gaming counters, 77 corridor and room sections, 2 boarding torpedoes and ramps, 20 doors with plastic stands, 1 mission status display, a sand timer and 5 dice.