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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Kingdom Death Monster: Playing the Prologue

 We played our first Game of Kingdom Death Monster and it was a lot of fun! 

The game components and the treatment of the Monsters is, in a word, lavish.

After getting set up for the first game, which took a while due to a plethora of one time only tasks like setting up the absolutely essential components organizer, we dove into the first showdown: The White Lion.
We named our starting survivors: Jahira (curly red head), Dlenn (ash blonde), Rost the Elder (Old guy with beard), and Samael (suave guy with blue/black hair).

Having awakened into a strange reality, on a floor of stone faces with nothing but a bit of cloth and a mysterious lantern, the survivors are immediately set upon by the monstrous White Lion. They scramble for position and acquire weapons in the form of broken bits of the ubiquitous stone faces... this is the Founding Stone.
Our survivors set up in two groups with the idea that the monster would attack one and the second group would come to their aid.  Great in theory but tricky in practice.

The monster headed over to the women and attacked Jahira.  She was extraordinarily lucky that the monster missed one attack and the second attack landed on the only area that she had any protection.

It turned out that the men were out of position and could not make it to the monster to help so the women moved toward them after Jahira made a desperate, but vain, stab at the beast.
 The men moved up and the monster engaged them. The women came to the aid of the men and Jahira scores first blood on the beast.

This is when we began to understand the combat mechanisms.

 The game's AI works really well.  The AI deck for each encounter is constructed from a large pool of cards.  The number of cards varies with the difficulty of the encounter, is unique to the monster, insures that each encounter is different (sometimes radically so) and serves simultaneously as the action and health pools.  Basically as the monster takes woulds its available actions are also reduced.

 The combat is very dynamic and there is a lot of movement of miniatures.  Tactically its very interesting and requires the players to learn how the monster is likely to react and coordinate their attacks to take advantage of the monster and predict its movements to bring numbers to bear.  The monster itself is very powerful and the survivors must make good choices to fight it.

Luck helps as well!
 Here Dlenn sets up the White Lion by anticipating the AI targeting priority.  She stabs the White Lion in the face, getting a crit which allows her to shear off the White Lion's "Glorious Mane" (a valuable resource as well as a chance to permanently increase the strength of the survivor... Dlenn was not insane at this point and missed out on the strength upgrade) and then runs away... toward the other survivors... getting isolated by the monster is very... very ... bad.

Unfortunately the AI knows this as well...
Samael moves to the rear of the monster and lands an attack... except that its actually a ploy by the monster... who now has Samael right where he wants him!

The "Clever Ploy" is in the hit location deck and also reshuffles the Hit location deck once played... to include the Clever Ploy itself.  Shuffle the deck well... nothing is quite as frustrating as having that evil card popping right back up!
 As a result of the Clever Ploy the White Lion grasps Samael and drags him away from the group to isolate him... doing grave damage to him in the process.  He is permanently made unable to use "survival" which is an essential skill to ... well.. surviving...

The White Lion Enrages on its activation... which does not bode well for our survivors.
With the mauled Samael down for the moment the White Lion returns to the fray and the damage begins to pile up on the survivors. They don't really have any protection to speak of and, fortunately, the damage tended to be broadly distributed.

The survivors are also beginning to understand that many attacks, if unsuccessful, cause the monster to move away from the attacker making unresolved hits null.  Its important to resolve attacks in a smart order and anticipate the results of failure.
 The turning point for our survivors... Jahira attacks the monster getting the "Fuzzy Groin" hit location... as the card describes it..."you hit the monster right in the ding dong."

She also rolls a lantern (crit) for damage!  This gives the monster the persistent injury "Lost Ding Dong" which really... really... really.. gets it angry.  The monster is livid, gains +1 damage which hurts a lot) and Jahira permanently gains the "Priority Target" token... the White Lion will attack her until she is dead!

The angry and enrage stack... which means the monster's hits are doing severer damage with every successful strike... with the monster needing 2+ on a d10 to hit... this fight needs to end soon. 

Dishing this kind of damage the monster quickly kills Jahira... the primary focus of it's ire and briefly loses its enraged status. 

Fortunately the monster is really beat up by this point and has few AI options remaining. This also means that it re-enrages immediately an remains in that state until the bitter end.

After a furious chase around the table Dlenn wounds the monster removing its last AI card.
The monster responds with its basic behavior which slaps Dlenn in the head for severe damage...  blinding her in one eye and leaving her prone before the beast...

Samael then sacrifices his founding stone and flings it at the monster scoring the killing blow and saving Dlenn!

What a fight!

The survivors then wander about and find a strange glowing column called "The Lantern Hoard". They understand it to be a safe area and, with with the other survivors that have also found their way to this spot, found their settlement here.

We entered into the settlement phase and determined the population, gender mix, spent resources building a Skinnery, a Bonesmith, and an Organ Grinder.  Dlenn emerges as the leader of the settlement and gains +1 Courage. They spent Innovations established some of their moral codes.. the first one is the Death Principle where they must decide what to do with their dead.  Do they Cannibalize or Bury? We chose Burial but that may have some long term complications given the limited food supply... we'll see.  They also developed Language and Consequences of Language which generates the core of the Innovations deck.  They then crafted armor and weapons and , with resources running low prepared to depart to hunt another White Lion.

It was late by this time so we called it a night.  I've got some reading to do and some idea what I need to paint up next for the campaign.  I expect some alternate survivors, some survivors in hide armor, and a Butcher.

There is still a lot to learn about the game but it seems like it'll be fun along the way.

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