Our preview post below was published on June 30.
Soul Raiders is a 1-4 players hand management narrative game in which you lead a Soul Raider through a perilous quest into a Fantasy kingdom filled with monsters and magic. It will launch on Kickstarter on July 7.
The quest unfolds through three successive chapters. Each chapter has its own Locations, Scripted Enemies, Events, and Story cards. They are played separately and you may save the game at the end of a chapter: that way, even if you are defeated, you may reset the chapter without losing your overarching character progress.
You first pick one of the four Soul Raider characters (or more than one if you want to play multi-handed). Each character has specific bonuses for actions, a deck of 24 action cards, and 12 additional Heroic action cards they may acquire throughout the game to improve their deck. On a common board, you will track the Exhaustion value of the group, the Threat level, and the Vitae level, which is a common health pool. The Vitae starts at 30; each time you lose all Vitae, the Exhaustion level increases, and you will draw fewer cards in your turn as a result. The threat level is increased by a variety of events: the higher the Threat level, the more enemies spawn in the locations, and the more Vitae is lost in certain circumstances. Whenever the Exhaustion or the Threat levels reach the end of their respective track, the game ends.
During a chapter, you have a number of objectives to fulfill, depending on the number of characters in play. Some are mandatory to keep going to the next chapter, some are optional. The game ends when you complete all objectives. If the game ends before that, because of Threat or Exhaustion, you win if you achieve the mandatory objectives, and get defeated otherwise.
The game is played in rounds split into three Phases: Preparation, Action, and Reaction. In the Preparation phase, each hero draws 4 cards from their action deck, or less if they are exhausted. They then use these cards in the Action phase to perform combat, movement, spells, or scripted actions. The action cards show a value, an action type, and a bonus. They may be used to take any action for their value, but the bonus gets added only if the type of the card matches that of the action. Several cards may be combined to achieve more difficult actions.
When moving, you go from one location to another, as indicated on an arrow on the location card, by spending the cost shown on the arrow with your action cards. When fighting, your enemies have one or more shields with a value written in them: here again, to kill the enemies, you must spend action cards. You may use one combat action to fight multiple enemies if you have the value for it (e.g. an 8 value with your cards may defeat a 3 and a 5 enemy), but cannot break multiple shields belonging to a single enemy. Enemies have also additional abilities that will make combat tougher, such as setting priority targets or preventing you from casting spells. You may also use a movement action to attempt to flee from your enemies.
The Scripted actions are shown on the Location cards; here again, they come with a value you must beat with your action cards. It may reveal new directions to access new locations or trigger specific events. Note that you can only take such actions if you are not engaged with any enemies.
Once all the characters have used all their action cards (in no particular turn order), you move to the Reaction phase. Enemies engaged with your character will attack and you will lose as much Vitae as there are shields showing on their cards. Additional effects may be triggered depending on the location you are in.
As you progress further into the Quest, you will accumulate Quest cards, Artifacts, potions, and acquire new, increasingly powerful action cards by spending heroism tokens. All this progression is saved at the end of the chapter and carries through the next chapter, until the final completion of your Quest!