Mistfall is an adventure card and board game designed by Blazej Kubacki with art from Enggar Adirasa. It’s for one to four players ages 13 and up, and it plays in about 30 minutes per player once you understand the game.
It started as a Kickstarter project by NSKN Games launched in March 2015, and it hit retail stores in the U.S. Oct. 16 with Passport Games Studio for $65; it can be found online for about $20 less.
In Mistfall, players work together to defeat monsters at various locations, racing against a time clock and their own health.
How it works:
The game comes with four quests, each with its own setup and special rules.
But the basics are the same. A board is made of tiles, which are placed face down, except for the starting tile, which is the players’ base, and the end tile, where the most difficult battle will be held.
Players choose one of seven characters to play. Each character has a basic deck of cards and starting gear, which includes at least one weapon. They also have a deck of cards they can buy abilities from with the group’s pool of resolve.
Players decide whether to travel to a new location, where they will draw an encounter card. That brings out enemies to fight. Players must meet the requirements on the card or risk a penalty for retreating.
Enemies attack individual players, and players take their turns separately, fighting enemies in their own area and in their opponents’ areas, if they desire.
When they meet the requirements of the encounter, they get rewards, which are cards that help them during the game.
To win, they must defeat the most difficult enemy.
Why you might buy Mistfall:
Kubacki wrote an incredible story to go with the game. There are six and a half pages of background about the world, the heroes, and the enemies. It pulls you into the world and allows for some role-playing if you choose.
The art is beautiful and also evokes the world. On a side note, it’s nice to have so many female heroes, and to seem them fully clad.
This is a game with lots of customization. Each hero plays quite differently, and each has different cards to upgrade skills. So even though there are only four quests in the base game, there are lots of characters to try to win the game with. And the location tiles will be different for most of the quests, as well.
The Valskyrr Expansion is coming soon, according to Passport Game Studios’ website, with new feats for heroes to purchase, setting cards to make the Mists push back even more, elite enemies that are more difficult to defeat, and epic villains to give a final battle more drama.
The rulebook provides lots of options for making the game easier or more difficult, depending on your taste and group.
Mistfall is all about combining cards to optimize a character’s abilities. If you like that, this is a good choice.
Why you might not buy Mistfall:
If you’re not a fan of games that have you combining cards to fight enemies, the world of Mistfall probably won’t be enough to hold you. The cards are full of text, and each can be used in several ways. So while the world is there, you may feel more like you’re trying to decipher the best move than you are swinging your hand axe at a beast.
Mistfall is a game where you’ll need to be familiar with your character and his or her deck of cards. You’ll have to decide if you like that or not.
The rulebook is very complicated, and it feels like it could have been streamlined to make it clearer. There are also some significant mistakes in the rulebook and on the cards. You can find official corrections at NSKN Games.
The two-player game is very difficult. The game works much better with more players because you can work with the strengths of each character. Some combinations of characters are much tougher to use than others, as well.
This is a game I really wanted to like. The story is so deep and interesting, the art is beautiful, and I like that battles aren’t fought with dice.
But I discovered it just isn’t for me. Minus the problems with the rulebook, there’s nothing wrong with the game. The problem is with me: I don’t like fighting an onslaught of enemies every turn with card combinations.
Lots of people do. If you’re one of them, Mistfall is worth a look.
Full disclosure: I got a review copy of Mistfall from Passport Game Studios. I wasn’t required to write a positive review. These are my honest opinions.