"Do not turn your back on those warriors who die in your service, for they will continue to fight for you in the land of the dead -- and some may even return to fight on earth again. "
-- from the Risk Godstorm rulebook
This is the final preview for Risk Godstorm, and it's fitting that it end with the most apocalyptic subject. First, however, we're going to show you a magic card that you should keep in mind as you read about the death cards.
This relic is called Pandora's Box. Its main text is: Draw a Death card at the start of each of your turns. Play that card immediately without sacrificing any faith tokens.
There. Keep that in your head. Remember that in this game, there's a card that will make cards like the ones described below come up instantly and randomly. That should keep you awake at night.
Death cards are like war cards in that you sacrifice faith tokens to play them during your Play Miracle Cards step. All death cards state, Play on your turn. Unlike war cards, though, none of them are free, and most of them aren't cheap. If you want to invoke the god of death, expect to make a major sacrifice. Also expect it to be worth it, because all of the death cards are devastating and demoralizing.
The Death God's Labor: Ruling Hell
The death god is unhappy with the arrangement in the Underworld at the start of the game. It's an unoccupied hell that any of the civilizations' fallen warriors can traipse about. That's not good enough. The death god wants you to rule the Underworld.
If your death god is somewhere on the board and you control at least one crypt during your End Your Turn step, you draw a death card for free. You can get only one death card per turn this way.
This makes fighting for control of the crypts crucial when you have the death god in play. Of course, if you have a death god in play, your opponents' armies aren't going to their heavens as often as their players' might like, so it's easier for you to seize those crypts and bring on the death cards.
Most death cards destroy something. There are subtle differences, however, as the designations below suggest. Plus, it's fun to say their names.
Many death cards blow up some resource that a player controls. The death god loves devastation, and these reaper cards bring it on.
Ragnarok Cometh is one of these grim reapers. Its text is: Sacrifice 3 faith. Banish all war gods and sky gods.
When you play a card like Ragnarok Cometh, you should be certain that you won't be equally damaged by it. If you have only your death god facing three opponents' war and sky gods, unleash Ragnarok. But if you have a war god and sky god, you'd likely be foolish to do so. The death god doesn't consult, so make your decisions carefully.
Anything can be subject to destruction through one of these reapers. You might lose gods, armies, cards in hand, or relics. Death gods don't target each other, though. There's a code, you know.
The Random Reapers
A few death cards don't even let you know where they're going to take effect. You sacrifice your faith tokens and you take your chances.
Paradise is Lost is one of these random reaper cards. Its text is: Sacrifice 2 faith. Choose a plague marker in play. Turn over the top card from the territory deck and move the plague marker to the territory shown.
You don't know whom you're hitting with this card. You might even hit yourself. What you do know is that a troublesome plague marker won't be in the same spot -- well, 41 out of 42 times it won't.
Why would you play one of these? When you're not winning, you definitely might. These random devastators tend to level the playing field when one player is clearly ahead of you.
Some other death cards unseat a player's control of his or her empire. These new forces might come from anywhere, even the Underworld.
The Trojan Horse is Revealed is one of my favorite such cards. Its text is: Sacrifice 2 faith. Choose another player's territory with only 1 army. Destroy that army and roll one of the dice. Gain that many of your own armies in that territory.
In the Risk family of games, it's common to have a well-fortified border to your empire with lightly guarded territories in the middle. With the Trojan Horse, someone can take over one of those territories and loose a murderous horde in the middle of your empire. Say goodbye to that continent bonus.
Finally, we've been waiting the entire preview series to show you this card. It's representative of a small group of death cards that take something away from the board itself. Whatever they remove, they do not give back.
Here's The Sea is Your Tomb, at long last. Its text is: Sacrifice 3 faith. Sink Atlantis.
Ploosh! The first time this card was drawn in a playtest, developer Rich Baker started cackling maniacally. Brandon Bozzi, one of the continuity guys on the project, had approximately eighteen Greek armies on Atlantis. Rich shouted out, "The Sea is Your Tomb! I love this game!" Brandon's response as his soldiers were swept into the Underworld was, "Wait, can he do that?"
Yup, Brandon, he can. And he won't be the last.
This ends our previews of Risk Godstorm. We hope you're looking forward to the coming apocalypse as much as we are.
Catch up on any previews you missed!
- Into the Fire
- The World of the Ancients
- God-Fearing People
- Gods Among Men
- The Warlords
- Miracles On the Battlefield
- The Sky Kings
- Blessings From the Heavens
- The Reliquary Opens
- Pandora's Box
Mike Selinker has been playing, designing, developing, and just plain loving games of every variety for many, many years. He is a gamer in the very best sense of the word. Mike lives in Seattle.