As things begin, ever so slowly, to creep back to whatever can be defined as normal, I was excited to get a bit box in the mail with something I had kickstarted back in the bright ages of 2018. Of course it was late, only part of which can be blamed on the current plague festering across the land (it was supposed to take a year, and it took two). I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was worth the wait!
The Stygian Society is a board game with, I feel, a new and unique mechanic. It is based around a dice tower, but doesn't use dice. It makes me think that the designer was using a dice tower one day for a game, and a die got stuck and didn't drop out. Much like Newton and the apple, this sparked an idea.
So the game uses a 'dice tower', but it has extra 'baffles' in it - with their sole purpose to temporarily trap some of the cubes you drop through it. These aren't dice, because they have not numbers on them, they are simply arcylic cubes. Each turn you drop so many in the tower, and a number of cubes come out. It may be what you dropped, but playing it I found it generally isn't. Some cubes get caught in the tower, and some cubes that were previously caught in the tower will fall out.
It is key not to touch the tower during the game, as anything caught inside is in a very precarious position and you can easily knock them out. (which defeats the randomization of the game).
The cubes are the resources you are generating each turn - the game will use half (red, black, yellow) to trigger the villain's abilities, while the players will spend their cubes (blue, green, clear) to trigger theirs. Each game consists of six battles as you climb the tower, with a mid-level boss at level 3 and the big wizard at level 6. While it is billed as a 'dungeon crawl', I don't really think it fits that category (as there is no exploring to do).
The kickstarter version came in an exclusive black paper wrapper around the box (and I'll apologize for the pictures now - I could make excuses but honestly, I just got lazy and didn't get out my light box).
One note - there is some assembly required before you can play, but it isn't difficult (and being a miniature gamer, I'm not afraid of putting things together).
- Yellow - support - this ability can be used before the character takes their action for the turn
- Green - active - after support actions, the hero must take ONE active action. This is usually an attack
- White - reaction - this ability is triggered as the card text specifies when something happens
- Blue - passive - this ability is always active
Lower level rooms are blue, while upper level rooms are purple. On the left hand side are two columns of boxes with some icons (and the monster names above them). The icons indicate how many of each of the monsters are in this room, with the leftmost column being those in the front row ( melee attacks can only target monsters in the front row). When the room is drawn, pull the red / yellow / black monster cards listed on the room, and place the plastic minion figures as shown on the card.
|Yes, I know I already used this picture once.|
I played the Cursed Library with my son and his girlfriend. He is actually a professional game designer himself, so of course had LOTS of comments, especially as I tried to explain the cubes and tower. He wasn't seeing the difference between using the cubes and rolling dice, but once we started to play, and he saw how the tower worked to help randomize what resources were available each turn, he said he actually liked this mechanic and enjoyed the game.
With the new mechanic for resource distribution, I am finding this quite a fun board game. The first game I did solo, and had by butt handed to me by .
This is definitely finding a spot on my newly cleaned out game shelf as one I want to play again.
Because it is all fun and games . . .