Prophecy Night

Prophecy Night

Continuing our slow glide path through the next several weeks, while one of our oldest and dearest gaming friends prepares to leave the state on a big new adventure. Tonight we played, totally by happenstance, two games with Prophecy in the title.

First was Vlaada Chvatil’s Prophecy, his old answer to the even-older Talisman. Similar setup: an abstract map where you move your hero around, leveling up for a big endgame fight. I like it quite a lot more than Talisman but he didn’t really have time to put enough neat new stuff out for it. The choices are fairly interesting, the level-up grind is satisfying, there’s hardly any interaction at all. We talked today about what a great sit-around-and-drink game Prophecy is, or rather should be, if we weren’t so normally intentional in our play goals.

Anyway, neat game, hard to find any more.

Second was our go at A Prophecy of Dragons, another time travel mission for Time Stories. It’s interesting, kind of a GMless version of D&D with a time travel twist: you’re trying to shut down a time rift (of course) and you get a choice of nine different characters along traditional fantasy RPG lines: mage, warrior, thief, assassin, and so on.

We’ve done the previous two (Asylum and Marcy Case) and this one feels the most RPG-ish of them all. Like in a very traditional way. It feels a little looser than the other missions, less narrowly focused on crazy time travel antics. It’s also a long honking mission. I’ve never used the game’s save function but we played 3 hours and hadn’t even unsealed a third deck in the box that says MYSTERY and is shrouded with black cards front and back. I’m excited! But I’m worried we’re not gonna remember enough about it a week from now.

12 thoughts on “Prophecy Night”

  1. The three hours in Time Stories does it feel like you are actually progressing towards something or is it more just grinding over the same situations until you get enough points to continue?

  2. Chris Groff it felt a little grindy, to be honest. We haven’t experienced any of the big aha moments we got from Asylum, which continues to be my favorite scenario.

    Because it’s a D&D-ish setup, grinding money into gear is a thing. Haven’t seen a way to avoid that element.

  3. Adam Blinkinsop​ oh Runebound!

    We were all in on first edition, right? Had Midnight, all the Terrinoth stuff, everything that came out for first edition. And one day I looked at this massive investment (speaking of spending money on games) and asked myself, Have I ever actually enjoyed this game? The answer was no. Then I asked some players and they shrugged, assumed I was the big fan. So I sold it all.

    I would like to see what all changed in the new edition but I still kind of have a grudge against that game. I feel as if it tricked me into thinking I liked it! Which sounds codependent and maybe a little crazy.

    Gaslit by an inanimate object.

  4. I had the same response to 1e Runebound, although it was not my sunk cost. A friend of mine bought all this stuff and we played it all the time. Then he moved away and gave the game to another friend, who still has it after about 7 years, and we’ve never played it since. Every time it gets mentioned, I have to point out that it’s just not very much fun, and we could probably play a dozen games of Codenames in the same time.

  5. I’ve played Runebound 2e and the promise of grand adventure is there. But the reality is a lot of busy work as you slog your way back and forth across the map of random events. After a few hours you get enough gear and upgrades to fight the big bad and one way or another end the game. It’s ok as an evening killer but didn’t feel like much of an adventure or much of a game really.

    I’ve heard 3rd Ed fixes some of the problems and is the best version. But I can’t get excited enough to actually play it. If I want to drop gobs of money I’d do it towards Descent now that the app is out or Imperial Assault once that app comes out.

  6. A bit far to drive!

    Re: the adventure game genre, these are definitely experiences. Talisman, for instance, needs everyone to be in the mood to let pareidolia take over. The game is about the beer-and-pretzels conversation and the story of the characters.

    “[We] could probably play a dozen games of Codenames in the same time.” — and only about one turn of Here I Stand, but I’d much rather play the latter. It’s about fun bandwidth, which isn’t a matter of how many atoms of play are completed.

  7. Regarding Runebound: I am not a fan of how lengthy [and repetitive, and boring] the game can be by default. It’s just too damn long mainly, even with just two players.

    Interestingly, I really dislike grind in video games, and as a general concept in tabletop games, though the latter can be masked/layered over well by either great narrative in RPGs or interesting mechanics in board games.

    Runebound is almost exclusively grind. I’ve very nearly sold/traded the game on several occasions, but have ended up pulling back every time. Likely it’ll go in the coming year or so. But…

    When house ruled (we have an entire sheet of several options we play with – usually all of them) that grind can go quickly and becomes quite enjoyable. Even OTS the different fetch quests do have some fun theme pasted on, despite universally requiring players to wander the map in search of trouble, or traipsing to specific locations to deliver/retrieve news or goods.

    Solo the game is among my least favorite, because all the fun of the game is in racing to kill Darkwing or whatever his name is. We don’t really engage in PvP, because it doesn’t really add much and killing one another only makes things take longer. That said, we do play with a “dropped gear” rule where anyone can swoop in and snag gear left behind by a killed hero/hoarded by murdering monsters. We also play that you receive a couple pieces of gear when spawning, at start of game or later. That initial “I can barely kill chickens!” phase is gone from our games.

    I’ve never played with Midnight rules, though I’ve glanced at the PDF and would be interested in trying.

    I own one expansion – Sands of Al-Kalim – though I’ve never broken it out. Sadly the Runebound box has taken a beating over the years and is on its last legs.

    I really enjoy the movement dice/terrain choices, which is one element that I know has changed in 3e. I also enjoy the 3-phase combat and the skill-check aspect pulled from RPGs (though simpler to visualize than most RPGs here as it’s presented as percentage chance). Anyone actually played the latest?

    Sorry to hijack the thread.

    I’m not a fan of Talisman at all, it’s just one step shy of vanilla roll-and-move. I am a Vlaada fan, though, and would definitely check out Prophecy for that alone. I’ve got lots of interest in Time Stories!

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