Designer: Chris Amburn
Publisher: New Experience Workshop
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-5
Playing Time: 45-60 minutes
Rules and Setup:
Setup for the game is fairly quick, and the rules of the game are not complex. To start, each player will take five Trail cards, four of each type of resource in the game, and the Trap tokens of their color. The boards will be placed out with five Traveler cards placed between them. Each of these cards will correspond to the miniature of that color, and that miniature will travel through paths and get stuck in traps (hopefully yours).
You will draw two Trail cards at the beginning of your turn and discard one. You will not draw any new resources on your first turn, but in later rounds, you will draw ten resources of your choice. You can then play or update a Trail card, construct a roadblock, or pass your turn. Trail cards will go on the areas above or below the main paths like you see below, and when placing cards, you will place them near the end of the main path from where the miniatures are located.
Each Path card requires resources to build. If there is a bag symbol, you will gain a profit if any merchant moves on this card. If there is a coin symbol, you will gain a profit if any merchant falls for the trap located on that card. A merchant will fall for the trap if they match any folly on the top right of the trail card.
After you no longer perform any more actions due to a lack of resources, you will have to pass. After everyone has passed, you proceed to the Travel phase. You will move each miniature directly from the start to the end of the main road unless there is a Trap token on a Trail card that matches the folly type of that traveler (these will be listed on the Traveler card). The traveler will move until they reach a trap of the folly type they have listed. Once on a trap of their folly type, they will "fall" for that trap. Guards follow the same rules, except they keep moving and falling for every trap that matches their folly. Instead of getting a profit for the trap, they will remove the trap token from every trail card they fall for. Note that when a roadblock is placed, travelers will not pass through that trail.
All five travelers will move, three on one board and two on the other. The travelers will then be placed on the beginning on the next road as if they were making a big circle, so each side of the board will eventually be traveled by each set of travelers over and over gain until one of two outcomes occurs: any player reaches 25 or more profit, or there are no more Traveler cards in the deck.
Theme and Mechanics:
The theme mimics the feeling of Robin Hood by having you steal from the rich by setting traps in their way. These merchants each have their own follies and will move different ways through paths. The main mechanics are a programmed movement mechanic for the travelers, pattern building, and resource management. The main idea of the game is to place Trail cards in strategic areas that will cause merchants to fall for the trap on that card.
Artwork and Components:
The pictures above provide a good example of the overall artwork. I was sent a prototype copy, so all art and components are subject to change, but I don't mind the art as it currently stands; I think it's very professional, and the style matches this type of game. My only concerns are with the Trail cards. The text is very small and hard to read. The cards aren't that large themselves, so space is limited. Similarly, the type of folly listed on the cards are hard to read, and all are black in color. If each of these follies were assigned a different color, it would be easier to recognize. The resources listed on the bottom right aren't as bad, but I think they could also use colors to match resource types.
For players who like seeing their favorite colors, the game uses green, blue, red, yellow, and purple for their travelers. Again, you won't be taking control of a certain color miniature for the game, you will just be trying to lure these traveler miniatures by understanding the AI that controls how they travel.
Player colors will be shown on their traps. They come in green, purple, yellow, grey (black), and white. Maybe these should be different colors than the miniatures to make sure players understand they are not connected to a certain color miniature, but that probably isn't a huge deal if you understand the game.
The game causes you to think which card might be the best Trail card to play at that time. I like how you have to start from the furthest part of the trail when you start placing your cards as it builds the paths more fairly. I also like how there are two paths and you must decide which path might benefit you more with the Trail card you're placing. The variety of having five different travelers and trying to get as many as possible to fall for your traps gives you more options, which in return makes the game better. I like how guards randomly come out and erase traps set on cards, usually in the best locations, allowing players to take areas with their cards that can better benefit them.
The game is very strategic, but it still has some luck elements associated with the mechanics. You won't know the future types of travelers and the follies that accompany them. Because of this, you can only plan for the current round, and future rounds will be determined by luck. After the Traveler cards are revealed, you can then return using strategy to best upgrade or build new trails.
This is a very clever game. I think that many elements listed in the "bad" category will get resolved within the campaign. If you are looking for a puzzle-like game that isn't super heavy with a mix of strategy and luck, then this is the game for you. Plus, the solid theme makes the game a ton of fun to play.
On KICKSTARTER now! Ends June 12, 2018.
See more reviews from Brody and EBG at http://www.everythingboardgames.com/p/reviews.html