July 21, 2015 by deltagamegirl22
Let me start by saying… I love Journey: Wrath of Demons! Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, let me tell you a little about why I can say that. In case you missed the first part of our article series you can check it out here; Exploring & Unboxing The Contents Of Journey: Wrath Of Demons.
What’s even better is that Marrow are going to be giving away a copy of the game to one of you!
Comment Below To Win A Copy Of Journey: Wrath Of Demons
If you’re not already familiar with Chinese lore (which I confess, I was not until after chatting with Hon & Ray of Marrow Production at Adepticon), how about a little introduction?
“In ages past, a band of foolish mortals sought power over their fellow men by breaking the ancient seal of the Underworld and letting the horrific Demon hordes loose across Terra. The power of the Demons was uncontrollable and the world soon devolved into a state of utter chaos.
The only way to seal the Demons back in the Underworld is to find and activate the missing pieces of the sacred scripture, the magical Sutras, sundered by the Demons in an early at of violence. Rumor has it that the Bull Demon King possesses one of the lost pieces, located inside the Fiery Mountain.
Four Pilgrims were chosen by fate to risk their lives and undertake this arduous journey. Each is driven by their own motives, but together they share the same goal. The faithful monk Tripitaka possesses the secret knowledge needed to activate the Sutras and the Demons have banded together to make him their prime target.
He will need the protection of his three powerful companions, as they travel through the lands to obtain the Sutras, or humanity will be wiped from history forever.”
Learning To Play
A good story, right? This feels very much like a Chinese, Lord of the Rings. Tripitaka is the Frodo of the group, who requires the assistance of his faithful friends to protect him on their treacherous Journey. The best part of this is that the strange familiarity of the story, really resonated with me and hooked me – and this was without seeing all the beautiful miniatures and art.
Journey is intended to play as a cooperative game, however does offer the option of solo play. The game’s only requirement is that all four of the pilgrims need to be in play to start, so a solo player can play all four against the AI demons. After playing a couple of short games with multiple players, I decided a really fair test of the game would be trying to manage solo play, without the benefit of having another person to confer with regarding rules and such.
I chose to try Quest #1 from the beautiful, full color rule book that came with the game. In case I didn’t mention it enough in the first article, this rule book is really well done. Not only are the pictures lovely, it is written well and so easy to find answers to your questions – which is so very important for rules to be successful!
Anyway, back to Quest #1, Meeting. This quest is intended to give players an opportunity to explore and use the primary rules of the game. In keeping true to the game’s roots in stories, there is a Prologue and Epilogue for each quest in the book, ten in all. There’s also instructions for creating your own quests for the game, for the more seasoned players with a solid understanding of the rule.
The quest offers a a “Board Set Up” list that identifies which tiles and items are required to set the scene for your game. This made hopping into a game super easy and I felt confident right out of the gates. Once I got the board set up, I read over the couple of “Quest Specific Rules.”
In this instance, a stack of five turn tokens were placed on the villagers. The turn tokens will be removed one at at time during the maintenance phase, and when no tokens remain, replace the villager token with a Bull Warrior. The other point of clarification was to treat Borrack, the Bull General as a a unique character – meaning that if he was in play already, and another card to summon him was drawn, you would ignore that card and draw again.
Finally, there were “Victory Conditions” listed for this quest:
- Heroic Victory = The Pilgrims must (1) rescue the villagers, (2) Tripitaka must meditate, (3) any one pilgrim must play a skill card, and (4) defeat all the Demons in the Villagers’ house.
- Victory = The Pilgrims must defeat all Demons in the Villagers’ house.
- Defeat = Tripitaka is defeated.
So off I went.
The Journey Begins
In turn one, as many games go, there was no real action for the heroes as they spent their action points moving towards the door of the Villagers’ House. When the Pilgrims’ phase ended, it was time for the Demon’s to spawn. I drew a card summoning one Bull Warrior to spawn. The demons act in very predictable manners outlined in the rules, with the primary objective to always try to go after Tripitaka when possible.
They will settle for others if he cannot be reached in the turn. Unfortunately, Tripitaka was close enough to the Bell Warrior’s spawn point that he got to attack the monk, but he was unsuccessful. Thank goodness – or this might have been a really short game!
In turn two, Tripitaka got to exact his revenge and attack the Bull Warrior. He succeeded with his attack and opted to try to cleanse the Demon. In this game, when attacks succeed, the Pilgrims must choose to either “Kill” the demon, which gives them Bad Karma, or try to “Cleanse” their souls, which offers them good Karma.
The Demon will be removed from the board with a kill or success in a cleansing, but if the cleansing attempt fails, the Demons remains on the board to fight again the next turn! Cho Hakkai moved up to position himself between the Demon gate and Tripitaka to provide a block against the soon to spawn Demons.
The Monkey King moved up on the board to offer assistance to Monk Sha, who will likely make it to the Villagers’ house on his turn. Monk Sha used his AP’s to move up to the door to the Villagers’ house and then to break it down. It’s important to know here, the Demons that were inside the house did NOT activate during the previous Demon phase. Only Demons on the same tile as a hero can activate.
Now, the Demon phase. This time I drew a Boof Berserker. This guy is tougher than the Bull Warrior, and bigger too. His base takes up 2 tiles, which means he covers territory faster and promptly made it up to Tripitaka. Thankfully Tripitaka defended this attack (with an amazing dice roll!).
In turn three, Tripitaka chose to move up and away from Boof. Cho Hakkai then moved to attack Boof, defeating him with his roll of 5/4. Cho opted to kill the Demon, taking the Bad Karma. Monkey King spent his “Flash Attack” card for an extra attack on one AP, which allowed him to defeat one of the two Bull Warriors in the Villager’s house.
He opted to Cleanse the Demon for two Good Karma points (the Bull Warriors are easier than most to cleanse). Monk Sha spent his “Shared Spirit” card to activate another model during his turn for one AP and three Chi. He activated Monkey King, who attacked a Bull Warrior unsuccessfully.
Monk Sha then used his last AP to attack the remaining Bull Warrior, succeeding and opting to kill the Demon. In this Demon phase, another Bull Warrior spawned. Too far from Tripitaka, he went after Cho Hakkai. Cho’s initial defense roll failed, so he spent his “Rake Defense” card for a reroll, which unfortunately also failed! Poor Cho took two Hit Points.
In turn four, Tripitaka, blocked by Monk Sha, could only move up one square. Cho Hakkai attacked and killed the Bull Warrior that wounded him last turn, and the Monkey King moved up and rescued the Villagers. Monk Sha moved up and over to allow room for Tripitaka to move into the house next turn.
In the Demon phase, I drew poorly this time and spawned two Bull Warriors! Neither were near enough to get to Tripitaka, so the first had an unsuccessful attack on Cho, and the other moved in the direction of Tripitaka.
Turn five finally allowed Tripitaka into the Villagers’ house, so he performed his meditate action. This action was successful with a spin of the Yin/Yang spinner in the game. Landing on the Fortunate side, Tripitaka drew three cards from the fortune deck and chose one to keep – Oh Mala of Vigor, which would allow +1 AP at any time during his turn.
Cho used his turn to attack and defeat the Bull Warrior, killing him and taking an additional two Bad Karma points. The Monkey King and Monk Sha moved in the house and positioned themselves to deal with the impending Demon attack. In the Demon phase, another Boof Berserker was spawned, who went for poor Cho who was alone on that tile. He managed to fail on both attacks, but the Bull Warrior there got one successful hit of his two.
At the start of turn six, Borrack appeared in the Villagers’ house. Tripitaka played his “Om Chant” which allowed the Demons no actions in the tile where Tripitaka was. Cho then spent his “Cannon Ball” to attack Boof twice for one AP and defeated Boof on his second attack. He succeeded at the Cleanse ritual and took the Good Karma for his action. The Monkey King then managed to defeat Borrack on his second attack and knowing the end of the game was near, chose to kill the Demon and be done with him!
At this point, the game was over and a Heroic Victory was obtained for the Pilgrims! (loud cheering)
For final thoughts Journey: Wrath of Demons…What a great game! Set up and game play were relatively easy and game play flowed very nicely. The rules were smooth and easy, and it was easy to find answers to questions (the few that I had). Though the game can be played solo, I definitely preferred playing it with others.
It was a little distracting playing all four Pilgrims, especially when it came to paying attention to whatever special ability cards they had available to them. If you weren’t able to get in on the Kickstarter, you’ll definitely want to order a copy of this for yourself. If you happen to be going to Gen Con this month and you’d like to see the game in person, send me a message on Beasts of War and we can connect with you while we’re there. We will bring our copy and proudly show it off!
Does Journey sound like a “Must Have” game for your collection?
"I decided a really fair test of the game would be trying to manage solo play, without the benefit of having another person to confer with regarding rules and such..."
"...there is a Prologue and Epilogue for each quest in the book, ten in all. There's also instructions for creating your own quests for the game, for the more seasoned players with a solid understanding of the rule"