Review – Fortune & Glory from Flying Frog Productions
Designer – Jason C. Hill
Graphic design, Art – Jason C. Hill, Jack Scott Hill, Matthew Morgaine, Christian Bian, Gael Goumon
Music -Mary Beth Magallanes
Woohoo! I do love the Indiana Jones films, King Solomon’s Mines and pulp adventure stuff in general. The cliffhanger element has always been great fun and the clarity of goodies vs. baddies has always been very satisfying. Interestingly, there have been some board game attempts to capture the feel of this type of genre. One of my favourites is AEG’s The Adventurers: The Temple of Chac which is great fun but limited to escapades within an ancient temple. There hasn’t been a game which gives you the epic global feel of the pulp adventure, until now, with Fortune & Glory from Flying Frog Productions, a game for 1-8 players age 12+.
Firstly, this game is VERY BIG! The folks at Flying Frog have pulled out all the stops to produce a huge game to match a huge adventure. The price is big too so be warned, you will pay around £70 but I have to say, you get a LOT for your money. I was really struck by the quality of the production of this game. The components are simply gorgeous and the look and feel is that of a very high standard which leaves most other games behind.
You get –
a full colour rulebook – which is laid out very well with sections adding more to the game as you go along as there are a number of ways to play the game. You also get a 4-page quick-start guide.
– a huge, beautiful game board with icons for locations, terrain, cities, ports, seas and spaces for movement are clearly outlined
– A CD soundtrack of original music
– 16 6-sided dice
– Lots of Card decks for Allies, Gear, Enemies, Nazis, Events, Cities, Artifacts, Adventures, Locations, Dangers, Villains, Common items, as well as Game summary cards, Enemy reference cards
Events – are special bonuses that Heroes get during the game to help themselves or hinder other Heroes (in the competitive game)
Cities – a mix of good and bad things that occur when you visit a city
Gear and Allies – are upgrades that help Heroes
Enemies and Nazi Enemies – are encountered during adventures
Artifact and Adventure cards – the core engine of the game, these are usually drawn together as they work together to represent the sought after artifacts that are the objects to the heroes success. The artifact cards are the items to be found, and have a Fortune value which is the worth of the artifact. The Adventure cards give the Dangers Value that shows how difficult it is to find by virtue of how many dangers you will need to overcome to collect the artifact. 4 of these are set out and are available to be recovered.
Locations – provide random locations on the board
Common items – can be purchased in a city by spending Glory pieces
Dangers/Cliffhangers – double-sided cards that provide the dangers to be overcome. The front shows the danger which can be overcome through die-rolls against skill values that the Heroes have. If failed, the danger becomes a cliffhanger (on the flip side of the card) and if this is failed, the Hero is KO’d.
Villains (Advanced rules, Cooperative game) – these ramp up the challenge as you will have these baddies not only there to fight, but thy are seeking to beat you to the artifacts too
Villain events – bonuses for the villains
Hero Character and Vile organization records – each individual Hero and Villain has their own information record with relevant information, skills, abilities wounds and defense
– plastic gold pieces and crystal blue fortune pieces
– 3 die-cut counter sheets
– plastic heroes
– plastic Nazis, Mobsters and Temples
– plastic villains and a Zeppelin!
– Hero character sheets
– Vile Organization record sheets
– Tactics/Outpost charts
– Zeppelin record sheet
Is that enough for ya? Yep a LOT of stuff, stuffed into a large box and all of it, yes, ALL of it, is quality. The cards are almost too sturdy as they are a little hard to shuffle but otherwise, they are lovely to look at. The cards and records are nicely laid out and clear to read. The board and minis are gorgeous. The artwork incorporates photos of actors which really brings the game story to life. This game has a lot to take in, to touch and use. Very tactile and an Ameritrasher’s dream. Brilliant!
So Fortune & Glory is a sumptuous feast for sight and touch. but what is the experience?
The Basic Game – is the core framework for all the versions that can be played
This a good place to start of course as you have the core structure of play. This is the default Competitive game where all the Heroes are competing with each other across the world, hunting for artifacts to be the first to collect 15 Fortune and return to their starting city.
The game round is as follows:
Initiative phase – players roll a die to determine the first player. any previously activated cards are set to be used once again.
Move phase – All the heroes move, starting with the first player. If a hero enters a space with an enemy henchman, their move ends and they must fight.
Adventure phase – Adventures depend on your location. If on a land or sea space without an artifact, you may still have an Event take place or even be attacked by Enemies. If you are on an Artifact location, you take on each Danger associated with that Artifact by drawing a Danger card, in turn through rolling skill tests. If you pass, you proceed to the next and so on. If a Danger is failed, your turn ends and the Danger card is flipped over to its Cliffhanger side, leaving you in an even more dangerous situation for next turn.
I love this element of the game as it really captures the essence of the pulp adventure which is the “Cliffhanger” in an elegant and simple way. and you have to sweat it out until the next turn to see if you pass. Genius!
As you overcome dangers, you may take wounds or decide to cash in and get the glory for dangers overcome so far. In this case you may decide to Camp Down. This ends your Adventure phase and then you can heal and also cash in the dangers overcome for Glory points.Next turn you can carry on from where you left off. Useful, but in a race against other players you may decide to Press On and risk everything on trying to get the artifact as fast as possible.
Once you recover an Artifact, you collect the Glory for any dangers overcome this turn.
If a hero is KO’d, they discard any Danger markers collected, losing any progress made toward recovering an Artifact leaving them to start all over if they want to pursue that same Artifact.
City spaces are a place of interaction, where you draw a City card. Some Dangers may take place and the tests passed and if not, the Cliffhanger must be passed. Then, if not KO’d, you can interact with the City by selling Artifacts, buying gear and allies and healing wounds.
End Phase –
1) The Zeppelin Moves (not used in the basic game)
2) Villains Adventure (not used in the Basic game)
3) Check for Victory – Any Hero that is in his starting city having collected 15 Fortune, wins the game.
4) Replenish Artifacts – There are always 4 Artifacts in play at any one time so if any were recovered , they are replaced by new Artifact and Adventure cards.
5) Heroes Recover – Any KO’d Heroes stand up and are able to rejoin the game.
There is further detail in the Basic Game rules covering Dangers and Cliffhangers, Fights with Enemies, Enemy Henchmen, Events, and Heroes on the same adventure.
I hope you like to roll dice as you will be doing a lot of that for the tests and fights. Yes there is a lot of luck here but this is reasonably balanced with the choices as to movement, how much risk to take, etc. In my mind Luck makes the world of the pulp adventure tense and unpredictable and that is as it should be.
For greater depth, you then can add rules for Deep Jungle, Temples, which can collapse on Heroes, Adventure card special text, Flying between cities, The Zeppelin, and Villains. These rules add greater depth of theme and a very nice increase to the challenges you face.
Then, if that isn’t enough, there are rules for a Cooperative Game, a Team Game and a Solitaire Game.
The Coop Game adds a Villains Phase where you now have baddies not only fighting your team but capable of recovering Artifacts. The Vile Organization has Outposts and the baddies are a far greater presence as you work together to recover Artifacts with this ominous Vile Organization posing a growing threat to your chance of winning.
The Team Game combines the Competitive and Cooperative versions.
The Solitaire Game allows you to play with 1 Hero or multiple Heroes and plays like the Cooperative Game.
I found that the game process took a bit of time to understand and the rules are laid out in a way that facilitates this. Pretty soon, I was able just rely on the information on the cards and record sheets. There is a fair amount of information here but its all accessible and using the many card decks soon becomes intuitive. The game phases are few and there aren’t really any subsets to them so its actually a fairly easy game to play but you will need a couple of plays to get the flow. Once you’ve played through the point of recovering your first Artifact, it all comes together pretty well.
This isn’t a good game for new gamers who I think may feel overwhelmed and I do think age 12+ makes sense.
Did it work for me?
Fortune & Glory is right up my alley. I love the pulp adventure genre a la Indiana Jones and it looks and feels fantastic. The strong story feel, filled with different adventures, dangers, and Mobsters and Nazis as well as different artifacts to recover is really fun and interesting. There is rarely a dull moment in this game as even in cities, all kinds of dangers lurk. This is very much an action/adventure film in a box and it all works admirably.
For me, the randomness of the dice rolling, and cards, adds a lot of uncertainty and this makes a lot of sense in this genre where the best laid plans can quickly fall down, leaving our hero in a dangerous situation and that just adds so much fun to the game. If this was a game where you can plan out a strategy, try and out think your opponents, it would just slow the story down and knock the fun out of it. The game flow is a grand mix of just enough mechanics, leaving the results of adventure and conflict to fate and luck, but subject to choices you make as to which skills may be best to test against as well as which adventures to take on and how far to push your luck in staying the course. Most of all, the Cliffhanger mechanic is pure genius.
It’s not easy to win but very satisfying on all counts. I really can’t fault it other than to say than I actually think that more than 4 players would be too much. Yes, it may play that many but I think that it would be just too much for my taste as it would slow the game down too much. I need to have more plays and experiment to comment for sure but I think that I just wouldn’t care for it. Also, there is a lot to do to set up and this takes a bit of time which means its not a quick decision to take it out for a play and you also need a large table to play as there is a lot of components and cards and it needs the room. So this will limit how often it gets played as it needs more of a commitment and prep.
Fortune & Glory, is not a game for everyone. I would suggest that it is definitely worth playing if you are an Indiana Jones/Pulp Adventure fan. This game really brings the whole genre to life in a fun and exciting way. If you aren’t a fan, or you really don’t like luck and randomness, you may want to give this a pass.
As for me. I can’t wait to play again!
Boardgames in Blighty rating – 8 out of 10
Its not a family game really. More for experienced gamers.
For more information go to – http://www.flyingfrog.net/fortuneandglory/