Back or Brick: Lost Ones
You’ve been taken to the lands of the fae, will you be able to find a portal and escape in this narrative and exploration game by Greenbrier Games?
- Solo game play
- Not a campaign
- Story elements
- Price for Retail
- Established Company
- Retail vs Minis Pledge
- Old style feeling stretch goals
This is a company that has run Kickstarters before for their Folklore: The Affliction and Champions of Hara, so they know what they are doing. With that said, I think it’s an okay laid out page. You get the idea and theme of the game well at the top, but in terms of actual game play, you get way more from the video at the top than you do from the game play section.
I will also say that there are parts of the page that don’t feel like a more recent Kickstarter, even two years ago this would have made sense, now it feels like it’s a bit out of date. The pledge levels for example, there is the retail pledge and the minis pledge. Honestly, nothing too odd about that, but the minis pledge level has more game play to it as well. So if I want to get all the game play, I need to get the minis as well. This then continues into the stretch goals where some are just for the minis level and some will also be in the retail level. It feels like there is a level missing, like it should be retail which is just the game no stretch goals unless it’s a cosmetic upgrade, linen finish on cards stuff like that, standees version, cheaper than the minis version with all the game play additions, and then one with the minis. At least that’s what it seems like a lot more are doing, instead of me now guessing what stretch goals I might get or not. I can understand why a company would do it that way, I just think it’s a bit messier than some other ways of handling it and feels like there is more of an upsell going on with this one.
The artwork, though, is outstanding on the game, and definitely provides that classical fairies and magic feel to the game that it really feels like they are going for.
So the game itself has a lot going for me, I like that this is a narrative driven game where you have branching choices of what you can do and depending on what you find and what skills you’ve used before, your options might be limited because of that. I really like the fae setting, that is something that I’ve always really enjoyed in books and movies and games even other games. Stuff like The Dresden Files leans into it heavily or anime The Ancient Magus Bride, I’ve even picked up a fae book for D&D monsters.
Beyond the theme, I like the push yourself element to the game where you have skills or abilities basically that are cards you can play out of your hands. As I talked about above, you spend those, you don’t have them potentially for a narrative challenge you need to deal with and you’re going to be dealing with that in a different way than you’d have preferred. Not only that but they don’t refresh automatically, you need to find a place to rest, basically, and then you’ll refresh your cards back to your hand. This almost has a bit of a 7th Continent vibe in how you are pushing forward but trying to balance card use with the risk, and the exploration element also lends itself to that vibe as well.
There are a couple more things game play wise that are interesting and maybe slightly concerning. The first is that this is not a campaign game, normally I get really excited about campaign games, or this sort of theme would be a campaign game, but I love that this is a game that takes about an hour to an hour and a half to play, and you still get some narrative with the encounters you have and what you find. But with that, I’m slightly worried about long term replayability. I’m worried that if I see 60-70% of the tiles each game, even with me potentially not having all options open for that I do, that the narrative will run out or I’ll start to know, giant green mushroom, don’t eat it, little blue mushroom, eat it, yellow mushroom, eat it if you play this card but not this card and it either won’t be as interesting or it’ll become something where I try and optimize the game, and this doesn’t feel like that sort of game.
Back or Brick
This one was a pretty easy Back for me, the theme and the exploration really make the game interesting to me. I love fae stuff, I think that’s an element of fantasy that is not delved into nearly as much as it should be. The only thing I don’t like, right now, is the upselling that is going on with this, you get more if you get the minis. I get that they have a super deluxe version that comes with extra games, but I want the game play for this without the minis, though I get it, it the minis look amazing. It makes me wonder if this is something worth backing on here, or how much I’ll actually save versus buying this later retail. With that said, and with my concerns about replayability, everything else sings to me about this game from the artwork and theme, to the game play itself, so I’m backing this now that the retail level with maybe getting pressured into the minis level.
Is this a back or a brick for you?