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Subject: First 2 games of Sword and Sorcery rss

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Remi Bureau
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I played 2 games of Sword and Sorcery tonight, and here is a brief summary of how it went, what I liked and disliked, and who I think this game is for.

Before I start, full disclosure, I’m in no way affiliated to Gremlin Projects or Ares Games, the designers and publishers of the game, but I’m a backer of the KS. I usually do videos on boardgames rules, and I intend to showcase this game once it’s available.
Lastly, I don’t have a copy of the game, and therefore my 2 playthroughs were done using TableTopia, with beta rules and components.

If you want to try it yourself : http://beta.tabletopia.com/play/sword-and-sorcery-demo/

Link to the KS : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1402889231/sword-and-so...

Concept of the game

Sword and Sorcery is a full coop fantasy dungeon crawler with the game itself controlling the enemies, where each player controls a hero with specific class, alignment, stats and abilities. The game takes place over the course of a campaign, with character progression. One of the biggest difference between this game and other dungeon crawlers is how hero death is handled.

The backstory of the game (there are no heroes left alive, and the forces of Evil are on the rise, so the elder of the clergy summons the greatest heroes that ever were to save once again the land of Talon Coast) serves nicely here as it explains why there is NO PLAYER ELIMINATION. If a hero dies, he transforms into Ghost Form, where he continues to take his turn, but with a new set of abilities, still helpful to the other heroes, until he manages to come back (again) from the dead.

Before you say : “Boring, that means there is no real stress to stay alive!”, I must tell you, every time you die, you lose a level (SoulRank), and that in itself, especially once you’re higher level (4+) is penalty enough to make sure you do your very best to stay alive! So basically, when you start the campaign, you’ve got only a fraction of your soul (SoulRank 1), and try to become whole again (SoulRank 7).


First game
Heroes :
- Ecarus, Knight of the Black Rose (chaotic alignment)
- Auriel, Darkness Elf Enchantress (chaotic alignment)

I wanted to try the good ‘ol Warrior and Wizard combo, especially appropriate given the name of the game. At the beginning of the first quest, as in most games, you start with very basic gear, which you’ll eventually upgrade along the way. Even with the basic gear, the first enemy encountered proved to be no match for the heroes. Auriel had great skills to start the game, she actually gets 2 at the beginning, instead of 1 for the others. (Character progression isn’t the same for every hero, another great aspect of the game). She had attack spells dealing a lot of damage, and Ecarus wasn’t too bad either, plus he could tank a lot of the damage.

Hero positioning has importance, and anticipating how the AI of the enemies in play will react is important enough that you can have a strategy.

After facing various ranks of Gremlins, I had a first “alignment decision” to make. See, at some points in the game, you have to react to things happening, and the choices you can make are based on the active hero alignment. So technically, you could run the whole campaign a second time, with the same heroes, but using the other alignment, and the experience wouldn’t be the same.

Violence ensued, and we got caught in the middle of a large room, surrounded by 2 blue gremlins and a green one. Now, Auriel is a great damage dealer, but you have to make sure she doesn’t get too deep into harms way, which happened at this time. Sadly, Auriel, Dark Elf Enchantress, passed away. What would usually have been a “game over” situation, at least for one player, simply changed how Auriel played, and meant all the enemies attention was now on Ecarus. See, while in Ghost Form, Auriel helped Ecarus block damage dealt to him, which as it turned out was very useful.

Ecarus, instead of trying to fight every enemy on his own, did the chaotic thing and took off!

He crushed the green gremlin, partly because that’s what his innate ability allowed him to do best, and ran towards the end of the quest. He had a good and a bad surprise at that moment. He was greeted by a red gremlin (BTW the first quest nicely shows the very different nature and powers of the 3 ranks of the same enemy type), but also with an altar where dead hero can come back to life!

So Auriel joined back the fight in a more physical way. I thought for sure this would be a cake walk. 2 heroes against a single puny gremlin, and the chasing blue gremlins were still a ways back. Thing is, the red one is A LOT harder to kill then the others, and turned out to be a real challenge. In fact, Ecarus almost had him at one point, after Auriel had attacked with everything she had and had to wait for her abilities to cool down, but the scrawny gremlin managed to soak just enough damage to stay alive (1 HP).

The blue gremlins caught up to us, and with the luck of the draw, all 3 gremlins activated! Ecarus fell and became a Ghost. Auriel, still at max HP (3!), didn’t look too confident. But, a new round begun, and as I saw the Ghost Form ability of Ecarus, I realized that I could win this we a bit of luck. See, Ecarus’ ability while in Ghost Form is to deal 1 damage to an enemy in the same space as him. He managed to kill the red gremlin, and Auriel managed to soak just enough damage for the rest of the turn to survive until the end!

So in the end, Ecarus was still a ghost, and Auriel had 1 HP, but they won!

Not sure it could have been any closer than that!

Second game
Heroes :
- Thorgar, Dwarf Runemaster (chaotic alignment)
- Shae, Assassin (chaotic alignment)

I wanted to try a different combo, and since both heroes had relatively high HP, I decided to give Thorgar a rune crafting ability, to deal more damage, instead of a healing ability. For Shae, I went all-in with her assassin’s skill, and gave her Backstab, which would allow her in some situations to deal more damage.

So, my strategy would be to try and quickly get rid of enemies since I couldn’t heal, and move as fast as possible.

Short story shorter, I failed about 5 spaces into the quest…

We quickly got hit by multiple blue gremlins, one of them with an additional enemy power (regeneration), and it turns out that Shae, at the start of the campaign, can’t deal that much damage, so she would probably have been better off in a larger group. Thorgar managed to output a great amount of damage, but they were both hurt bad, and were overrun.

If I were to try that combo again, I think I’d give Shae the ability to Hide so she can survive a bit more, and eventually use that to power off Backstab. And I would definitely give a healing ability to Thorgar.

I have to say I found it odd that there was only one dagger in the starting gear, as that prevents Shae from truly being able to deal damage.


Final thoughts
After playing 2 games, do I like the game? Yes

I think it brilliantly takes elements from board games and video games and merges them in a fun package. I really like the limited numbers of enemies you can face at a time. Each enemy that you can possibly face in a quest has a card that’s put in the Enemy deck, and when you must spawn an enemy, you draw from that deck. And each enemy feels like a real threat you have to consider. Even the weakest enemy, the green gremlin, is a challenge for SoulRank 1 heroes, so when there is 2 blue gremlins, the challenge is very high.

Each enemy has its own AI telling the players how they act when activated, and it’s in this anticipation of not knowing which enemy will activate each time, but still trying to be in the best position possible just in case, that the tactical part of the game shines.

I think this game finds a spot somewhere between Descent 1st edition and 2nd edition, but being a full coop game with an interesting AI system that gives great unicity to each enemy.

Sword and Sorcery does have a lot of upkeep and things to keep track of, so if that scares you than perhaps it’s not the best fit, but I think it’s very manageable. I played my first 2 games managing 2 heroes, all enemies, events, encounters, conditions, etc. without any major hiccup, and won the first game within 1 hour. They promise us quests running between 60-90 minutes each, which I think is an awesome length (long enough to feel like you did something, short enough to play with lite-gamers). There is ton of character progression and optimization and combos possible, so any power-gamer should feel at home.

Would I buy it? Yes, I already am, kind of…

I think the KS has an absolutely insane value as of the time of this writing (funds around 425K$), and things are only getting better.

Would I buy the game retail? Yes
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MM
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Remi

Thanks for taking the time to run through the demo and post your thoughts. Your time/opinion is much appreciated.

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Ricky W
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Very cool review, thanks.

I really like the session descriptions!

Remi wrote:
Concept of the game

Sword and Sorcery is a fantasy dungeon crawler, where each player controls a hero with specific class, alignment, stats and abilities.
Right in the beginning I would also point out:
Quote:
Sword and Sorcery is a full coop fantasy dungeon crawler without the need for a human dungeon master, where...
Because aside the ghost mechanic imo this is an outstanding feature in the dungeon crawler jungle on the market.

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Jon Olsén
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Nice run through. I came to the same conclusions as you when I played the game. It is definitely not an easy game and I am so looking forward to the full experience.
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Remi Bureau
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[q="carraway0877"]

Right in the beginning I would also point out:
Quote:
Sword and Sorcery is a full coop fantasy dungeon crawler without the need for a human dungeon master, where...
I agree, I'll edit the original text.
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Sven Denysiuk
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Great Summary
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Alex Johnson
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Thanks for the write up, Remi. I really enjoy hearing your perspective on this.
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Will Martin
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Interesting write up! Thanks for the perspective!
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toby
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Could you elaborate on your remark about falling between Descent editions? Is this re: gameplay mechanisms or more to do with the scenario styles?
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Adrian Calin
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I've been on the fence with this one for the entire campaign (pledged on day one), especially because it's my first dungeon crawler, but it's starting to look more and more appealing. And with that scenario editor unlocked, I can already see a bunch of fan made missions (or full campaigns) even before this game hits retail.

And worst case scenario, I'll get stuck with some awesome minis, that I'm sure I'll enjoy painting.

Thanks for the review Remi, I can't wait to try it out myself.
 
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Remi Bureau
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tobyjason wrote:
Could you elaborate on your remark about falling between Descent editions? Is this re: gameplay mechanisms or more to do with the scenario styles?
While it's a bit early to comment on scenarios and objectives, I do think the style of scenario will ve more similar to 1st edition than 2nd. For me 2nd edition always felt like races, and while there is a timer in S&S with the event deck, at least in the first scenario, it doesn't feel like you HAVE to move as fast as possible.
The way treasure drops and experience is gained is also more similar to 1st edition.

The quests length and streamlined rules seem closer to 2nd edition though. Of course the campaign structure is also more like 2nd edition.

The full coop element is very different then how they approached coop mode in descent 2nd edition though, more in line with Myth in that regard, but I haven't found more similarities with Myth.
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Baramon
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exactly same feeling about standing in between 1st and 2nd edition of Descent, but no OL is a dream i sold my boxes because it's hard to find party and you have to be bad guy all the time as box owner.
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Andrew Cargill
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RemiBureau wrote:
tobyjason wrote:
Could you elaborate on your remark about falling between Descent editions? Is this re: gameplay mechanisms or more to do with the scenario styles?
While it's a bit early to comment on scenarios and objectives, I do think the style of scenario will ve more similar to 1st edition than 2nd. For me 2nd edition always felt like races, and while there is a timer in S&S with the event deck, at least in the first scenario, it doesn't feel like you HAVE to move as fast as possible.
The way treasure drops and experience is gained is also more similar to 1st edition.

The quests length and streamlined rules seem closer to 2nd edition though. Of course the campaign structure is also more like 2nd edition.

The full coop element is very different then how they approached coop mode in descent 2nd edition though, more in line with Myth in that regard, but I haven't found more similarities with Myth.
I'm already a backer and you've sold me a second time! laugh for a solo gamer this game has a lot to offer for a dungeon crawler
 
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Baramon wrote:
exactly same feeling about standing in between 1st and 2nd edition of Descent, but no OL is a dream i sold my boxes because it's hard to find party and you have to be bad guy all the time as box owner.
I second that, and as a descent owner myself it really does suck after awhile, as you are always on your own ganged up by your friends and there's no one to cheer with when u do defeat them since u are on your own.

And god damn it i want to play a hero, kill monsters and draw loots too!!

Am glad there's finally a solution to the problem!
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carl krelle
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thanks for the tabletopia link, but starting to change colour (green with envy), doesn't support chrome, and mozilla or explorer wont download required unity plugin at the moment, guess I'll just have to wait for the actual game
 
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gary gee
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can you play this solo...on tabletopia I mean?.if so how do you do it
 
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Remi Bureau
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On TableTopia you can interract with every object on the virtual table, so you can definitely do it solo.

Is there something specific you can't do?
 
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gary gee
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RemiBureau wrote:
On TableTopia you can interract with every object on the virtual table, so you can definitely do it solo.

Is there something specific you can't do?
Hi,Remi.
im completely new to tabletopia.so,i was just asking about playing solo on it
 
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