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Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Dice Rolling in Kilforth rss

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Craig Andrews
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[Note this review is merely my opinion, I know this game is getting a lot of love on the Geek as it's been created by one of our own. This review is crossposted to the SGOYT June page.]

Tl;DR - Fun enough card based plot light gamebook-eque quest game with a lot of dice throwing that imho is a bit pricey.



My thoughts on Gloom of Kilforth...

Gloom of Kilforth is a very pretty card based dice chucker with a fantasy quest theme. You gad about from card to card with set amount of actions per turn, throwing dice against a target number to either battle, sneak or reason encounter cards into your hand.

If you don't like random dice rolling this game is definitely not for you. I love random dice throws, Runebound 2e being my go to fantasy quest game, and there is also limited choice of which stat to roll against with each encounter (affecting how many dice you throw).

Other reviews go into much more detail about the games contents but in a nutshell - The game is card based coming with seven quests each with five chapters (one side of a card per chapter). The plot is minimal found in the form of flavour text on each card with the quest cards being a bit more verbose. There are also around eighty encounter cards split between the four different types of land as well as a selection of big bads, major plots and twenty five 'night time' events/encounters each adding keywords and success numbers to beat. The random setup and card decks ensure that no two games will be quite the same.

The titular 'Gloom' is a nice timer mechanic where each turn one of the twenty five randomly placed locations gets flipped to show evil overtaking the land, usually accompanied with an event or encounter being placed on the location as well. This gloom is harmful to your character making the game increasingly more dangerous as time progresses. Graphically the back of each card is nearly identical to the front with the 'gloom' side having a slightly washed out palette and mist around the edge and small red shield. I marked the gloom with cubes from Pandemic to highlight where they were for a bit more visual impact. I think this was a slightly missed opportunity given the games high art pedigree and each image (there are only twenty five) could have been reworked by the artist to feel more gloomy as opposed to a simple photoshop filter.

There are a few notable things missing from the box. There's no player aid, not even one found across the fronts and backs of a few cards. For a game created by a BGG community member I think this was a huge oversight as nearly every game that doesn't have one is commented on and a community member ends up having to make one. Especially as its not the simplest of games to get into with multiple different actions and deeds (free actions) available (and a slightly higgledy-piggledy rulebook). The other thing are the player tokens. They're made of very nice thick card but the artwork represents the chosen players character class not their race. In a game that looks this good a small deck of cards that could have been used to mark player positions could have been worked in easily.

It's a fun enough game that uses a good random card placement and keyword collection mechanic. It is a bit abstracted with the collection of needed keywords as opposed to specific goals but if you let your imagination run a bit a nice enough fantasy story develops.

To me it plays a lot like a Fighting Fantasy gamebook without the text, just the encounters. That's not necessarily a bad thing (being the main premise of Runebound 2e as well) and I did enjoy playing my game.

Is it worth £50, hmm, not in my humble opinion, there are better quest themed card games at a lower price point with multiple expansions out there in the wilds and some of those don't rely so heavily on random dice rolls.

[edited to add pic]
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azza rein
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TheMadWelshWizard wrote:
there are better quest themed card games at a lower price point with multiple expansions out there in the wilds and some of those don't rely so heavily on random dice rolls.

[edited to add pic]


Care to recommend a few vis-a-vis fantasy quest?
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Jack Francisco
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If you need a player aid, you can grab mine from the file section that consolidates the 30-page rules down to 6 pages for easy reference.
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Tristan Hall
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Thanks for your review and for taking the time to type all of this up, Craig.

TheMadWelshWizard wrote:
Is it worth £50, hmm, not in my humble opinion, there are better quest themed card games at a lower price point with multiple expansions out there in the wilds and some of those don't rely so heavily on random dice rolls.


And there I was thinking we'd broken some kind of world record for packing in the content value that we did for just £50!
But I do love adventure themed games (in case it was in doubt!) so I'd be all over anything close to this. Any chance you could list these quest games at lower price points?
I'd love to see the comparisons to know what we're up against, even just for the game contents.
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Michael Bacon
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Oddly, I agree with much of what you said but enjoyed the game much more than you did. That may be because I haven't played Runebound, but I think it's because your issues are minor to me.

Also, I've played some Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, and don't find Gloom very similar.
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trevor

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Good review. I have very much enjoyed my plays so far but i agree with your criticisms. I did think it was odd the characters standees are based on class, not race. But its hard to attack the price when this is an independently (albiet KS) published game by just one guy, not a company.
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Jake Staines
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ninjadorg wrote:

But I do love adventure themed games (in case it was in doubt!) so I'd be all over anything close to this. Any chance you could list these quest games at lower price points?


I think the obvious comparison is Talisman. You can pick it up for just over £40, and it comes with a similar number of cards to Kilforth, with a similar variety of art and theme. But where it's easy to look at Kilforth and (daft as the sentiment is) think "oh, it's just a pile of cards", Talisman also has a) a large board, and b) fancy plastic miniatures, which a lot of people will be drawn to in preference to the nicer wooden tokens Kilforth sports. If you open the two games' boxes and look at the bits, then Talisman does give the average gamer the better value-for-money impression.

It's just that Talisman is a rubbish game and Kilforth isn't. ;-)
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James Boardgame
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I like Talisman, but it takes at least 2 expansions to get it to anywhere like the level of content and replayability of GoK.
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Tristan Hall
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Heh, I love that we're up against Talisman - there's a game with some serious dice rolling - I must have played it a thousand times as a kid!
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James Boardgame
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ninjadorg wrote:
Heh, I love that we're up against Talisman - there's a game with some serious dice rolling - I must have played it a thousand times as a kid!


Tristan Hall in "GoK is blatant rip-off of Talisman" shocker!!
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Craig Andrews
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themadwelshwizard wrote:
better quest themed card games at a lower price point with multiple expansions.


ninjadorg wrote:
Any chance you could list these quest games at lower price points? I'd love to see the comparisons to know what we're up against, even just for the game contents.


I hadn't thought of Talisman but I suppose there are similarities.

I was mainly thinking of Arkham Horror LCG and Pathfinder ACG when I wrote my comment.

I always found the questing in Lord of the Rings LCG a bit abstracted but that too could qualify.

Runebound 2e almost qualifies but probably not though it's not just cards (although the cards only variant is pretty good for a quick fantasy quest). Same with Return of the Heroes and Under the Shadow of the Dragon, these much more board than cards but easy to see likenesses in gameplay.

I know they're all put out by relative Megacorps so the price point can be lower but I wasn't commenting on that it was just my opinion on the GoK price point.
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Tristan Hall
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TheMadWelshWizard wrote:
I was mainly thinking of Arkham Horror LCG and Pathfinder ACG when I wrote my comment.

I always found the questing in Lord of the Rings LCG a bit abstracted but that too could qualify.

Runebound 2e almost qualifies but probably not though it's not just cards (although the cards only variant is pretty good for a quick fantasy quest). Same with Return of the Heroes and Under the Shadow of the Dragon, these much more board than cards but easy to see likenesses in gameplay.


Now for me as a fan and owner of all of those games those are some very juicy comparisons indeed.


TheMadWelshWizard wrote:
I know they're all put out by relative Megacorps so the price point can be lower but I wasn't commenting on that it was just my opinion on the GoK price point.


Sorry but I don't really understand this sentence, could you perhaps clarify what you mean?
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Scott Sexton
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TheMadWelshWizard wrote:
themadwelshwizard wrote:
better quest themed card games at a lower price point with multiple expansions.


ninjadorg wrote:
Any chance you could list these quest games at lower price points? I'd love to see the comparisons to know what we're up against, even just for the game contents.


I hadn't thought of Talisman but I suppose there are similarities.

I was mainly thinking of Arkham Horror LCG and Pathfinder ACG when I wrote my comment.

.


That is simply gonzo. AHLCG and Pathfinder ACG are both far more expensive to get into. AND if you are just talking about the base game, I would strongly argue that GOK is a far more developed and self contained design. Neither Pathfinder nor AHLCG are games that I would replay a given scenario. GOK however has at least a couple dozen games you can squeeze out of the base box.

If you are comparing just the game experience itself, the best comparison are the Defenders games. Both of which are far more expensive.

Bottom line, I am adamant that GOK is a game with a fair price.
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Craig Andrews
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Sorry for any confusion, I was just expanding on what someone said above about GoK being independent and that big companies (the "Megacorps") have larger print runs which may sometimes bring costs down.
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Tony C
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I would compare GoK to Talisman in terms of "feel", but the only way I'll play Talisman is digitally (bundle deal of the Steam game and expansions for $12). I can see a semi comparison to DoTR.
GoK and AHLCG/PACG don't really feel all that similar to me, in spite of the fact they're both "quest based adventure card games".

The 6 page player aid that was created is very nice and helpful - but upon reading it, I knew all the rules already, so they are contained in the rule book (which is good). Just finding them in a "q&a" mode is a little tough. (I do keep forgetting Rumours can be used as Fate, but I didn't run out of Fate, so no big deal.)

In terms of pricing - it seems like 50-80 USD is a common price point nowadays, and for GoK's price, it does provide a lot of immersion through fun gameplay, variability within the same ruleset, and of course great art.

I like Talisman (digital because I can play it in an hour - which is still a long time for a computer game), DotR is one of my favorite games, but I can see GoK heading up there too, and probably getting more plays.

Another point in favor of GoK: setup. I think it should only take a few minutes to set up now that I'm a little familiar with it. This is a big obstacle for me with both AHLCG and PACG. (I do like PACG, not a huge fan of AHLCG but i think the setup and fiddliness is a big part of my dislike.) (Hmm - another big difference - multi character solo. I play PACG with multiple characters, either 3 or 4, and of course AHLCG with 2; I get a more in depth character with just the one in GoK and it's easier to play.)

Anyway, good, fair review, of a game that I'm finding quite good and enjoyable so far.
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Drake Coker
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Compared to larger print-run games, GoK feels overpriced.

That being said, it has good value. The game play is solid, the art is amazing and it has good replay value. It's really one of the better medium-light fantasy quest games out there. ("Fantasy Quest" would make a good name for a game!). I've spent much more money on much worse games before!

Talisman is a fine pastime, but there isn't much to think about. I feel much more engaged by Gloom of Kilforth.



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Tristan Hall
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Olvenskol wrote:
Compared to larger print-run games, GoK feels overpriced.

That being said, it has good value. The game play is solid, the art is amazing and it has good replay value. It's really one of the better medium-light fantasy quest games out there. ("Fantasy Quest" would make a good name for a game!). I've spent much more money on much worse games before!

Talisman is a fine pastime, but there isn't much to think about. I feel much more engaged by Gloom of Kilforth.


If it wasn't for that Japanese video game 'Fantasy Quest' things could have been different for us all those years ago. Luckily my own D&D campaign world of Kilforth was a Googlewhack at the time...
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Scott Sexton
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Olvenskol wrote:
Compared to larger print-run games, GoK feels overpriced.




Only because you can't buy it half off at Cool Stuff right?

Name me a game with this many unique art assets at or below this price. Not even CMON could manage that with either Xenoshyft game.
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Jake Staines
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scottatlaw wrote:

Name me a game with this many unique art assets at or below this price.


Well, Talisman. I don't particularly like the art in Talisman, but there's a lot of it.

All the same, I strongly suspect that this misses the point, and the majority of gamers don't care how much unique art is in the game - at least not past having enough to not be seeing the same three pictures over and over again.
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Michael Bacon
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Bichatse wrote:
scottatlaw wrote:

Name me a game with this many unique art assets at or below this price.


Well, Talisman. I don't particularly like the art in Talisman, but there's a lot of it.

All the same, I strongly suspect that this misses the point, and the majority of gamers don't care how much unique art is in the game - at least not past having enough to not be seeing the same three pictures over and over again.


It would seem that you believe just reactions in the forums aren't representative of the majority of gamers? Everyone here who has spoken on the subject except you - I think - seems to highly value the art uniqueness.

Is a much better game than Eldritch Horror and has much better components than that game, with somewhat similar gameplay, for a similar price, especially considering EH essentially requires at least one expansion to be the game it's supposed to be.
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valzi wrote:

It would seem that you believe just reactions in the forums aren't representative of the majority of gamers? Everyone here who has spoken on the subject except you - I think - seems to highly value the art uniqueness.



Valuing the art and willing to pay more for it are 2 different things. We never really asked people if they'd be willing for price to drop by $20 a box for less art.

Of course everyone likes the art in the game. That's not the question.
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mydnight wrote:
valzi wrote:

It would seem that you believe just reactions in the forums aren't representative of the majority of gamers? Everyone here who has spoken on the subject except you - I think - seems to highly value the art uniqueness.



Valuing the art and willing to pay more for it are 2 different things. We never really asked people if they'd be willing for price to drop by $20 a box for less art.

Of course everyone likes the art in the game. That's not the question.


I was responding to your words above, not your thoughts. =)
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Jake Staines
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valzi wrote:
Bichatse wrote:

I strongly suspect that this misses the point, and the majority of gamers don't care how much unique art is in the game - at least not past having enough to not be seeing the same three pictures over and over again.


It would seem that you believe just reactions in the forums aren't representative of the majority of gamers? Everyone here who has spoken on the subject except you - I think - seems to highly value the art uniqueness.


To get it out of the way: no, I don't think reactions in the forums are representative of the majority of gamers. The majority of gamers don't use BGG, and those on the Kilforth forums are largely people who have already decided the game is worth their money. And I'm one of them; I have no qualms about how much I spent to get my copy of the game. But the question was asked, and I think I have a pretty good idea as to what the answer is.

The question isn't whether everyone values the art being unique; the question is whether everyone values the art being unique to the point that they'd pay significantly more for the game in order to get unique art. I strongly suspect most players' value proposition focuses far more on the "game comprises a couple of hundred cards" part than the "game comprises a couple of hundred pieces of unique art" part.







You mention Eldritch Horror, and I think that's a really good example of what I'm trying to say. The game experience is pretty similar, so it's fair to say they're comparable. EH has a similar number of cards, and while the artwork isn't unique across all of them there's easily enough variety that the average player won't be constantly noticing duplicates, and therefore won't score that as a point for Kilforth.
But EH has a big board, which is a psychological point over Kilforth, which is "just" cards. It has a bigger box, which must feature in people's value proposition or publishers wouldn't keep selling games in oversized boxes. Most importantly, though, I can go out and buy Eldritch Horror today for around £30, which is just over three-fifths the KS asking price of Kilforth for something I think most people will see as a very similar if not better-value-for-money game.



Think of it this way: people are generally bad at considering the market size when evaluating how much they'll pay for something. Games which are "just" cards will often be compared to other games that are all-cards, or - worse - regular playing cards. "It only costs me thirty quid to get this many cards in Dominion, why is this game so expensive", etc.
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Tristan Hall
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Excellent discussion guys, and I think Jake has absolutely nailed it with the value perception of the game, which is that whilst we've launched a boutique game people generally just don't recognise the value of the art over the value of the number of cards. This is why we're seeing a huge feedback thread on the component quality.

It floored me at first that not everyone appreciates exactly what we've achieved but I'm slowly learning - so the expansion will have 500 cards and three pieces of unique art.
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Martin
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Hey man, re the price, no way can '1 man and his can of Boddingtons' compete with the likes of Fantasy Flight with price.

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