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It's good to be back

Gloom of Kilforth was one of the very first Kickstarter games I bought. It looked like a cool adventure game, but the stunning artwork gave me the final push. This was something unique. This was what Kickstarter was for. Giving a designer the means to make his ideas become reality. And the game turned out to be as much fun as I'd hoped. When follow up A Touch of Death was announced, I instabacked. Now that it's released, as Shadows of Kilforth, I couldn't wait to put it on the table. To set out on new adventures. To admire the new artwork.


Somehow the portraits in the game triggered a memory of pictures everyone had in their homes when I grew up.

The Kilforth artists did not drown in nostalgia, however, they went from there and put the game straight into the modern Instagram age. Well done.


Gloom has returned to Kilforth. You set out to fight a horrifying Ancient foe, in the Eastern Wilderness this time. There are 8 races to choose from, 8 classes to play, 8 Sagas (scenarios) to choose from and 4 bad end bosses. It's great to play with a single character, but you can play up to four cooperatively if you'd like.


The game board is made with 25 cards and at the end of every day, one region will fall into gloom. This means it will be more dangerous to camp there, and it's also a timer: once the last region falls, you've lost. It's a brilliant thematic mechanic.


The sagas are very thematic as well. For example: I was looking for a missing farmer's daughter. First part of the saga had me collect three cards with the keywords "Badlands", "Plains" and "Mountains". This meant I had to travel across the board looking for clues in these regions. I was searching for sightings of her everywhere.


When you enter a region, you draw an encounter card. This can be an enemy to fight, a stranger to talk to, a side quest to take, a place to stay. If you resolve the encounter, you get to take the card - or a reward card - in hand as a "rumour". To collect the reward, you'll follow that rumour to some other place on the map. And by resolving the encounters, following all those rumours and side quests, a unique adventure unfolds every time you play.


A Saga has four parts, at the end of each you level up. You also get items, spells, titles and allies as rewards - or by buying them from the market. After all your adventuring you will hopefully be strong enough to take on the Ancient, before the whole land falls into gloom.


The game has a few small expansions. Adventures adds a lot of cards to the encounters and rewards, so will enhance replayability. Pimp my Shadows turns it into a Deluxe version, with more dice and standees but most of all: larger location cards (so an upgraded "board"). Dark Shadows is a small nude patch like you had for computer games from Tomb Raider to Skyrim. Boobies!


As far as gameplay is concerned, this is basically the same game as Gloom. All changes are minor and for the better. The rulebook is also improved (if only because it has an index now), variants are included, a good cheat sheet has been added to the box. For me, it's like returning to a familiar place. I am right at home, ready to take on new adventures. For others, this could be a perfect introduction to Kilforth. I had good fun playing again. Without reservation, this is our Solitaire Select for March.


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JW
JW
May 06, 2020

Yes, I agree on the gameplay improvements. And nothing stopping you from using some for Gloom as well. As you say, some were suggested variants already.


I still prefer the artwork of the first game, but that's minor. It may just be because I played it more and got more attached too it.


Good idea to pack everything in half the boxes!

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Wouter Cordewiner
Wouter Cordewiner
May 06, 2020

Hi JW, sry for the late reply. Shadows is of course the new and shiny thing so to answer I actually replayed Gloom to refresh my mind.

The short answer is I don't have a preference. The longer answer is that Shadows is "more of the same" although a bit more polished. With polished I mean that Tristan (the designer) learned from Gloom and user feedback and incorporated that into Shadow. A few examples:

- The base difficulty has been raised a bit by discarding Night cards during setup. This was a variant in Gloom and now default.

- Locations have a varied amount of HP you can lose when in gloom. It makes for an extra decision depending on…


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JW
JW
Apr 16, 2020

Do you prefer Shadows over Gloom? I don't really have a preference yet. But I don't think I've seen all the cards. A change of scene is nice anyway.

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Wouter Cordewiner
Wouter Cordewiner
Apr 16, 2020

On my 5th play now with Shadows and it's indeed good to be back :-)

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