Arkham Ritual: Preview

So you’ve heard about those mysterious rituals that occur deep in the cellars of Miskatonic University. You know you shouldn’t go investigate, but your journalistic instinct is too powerful and you cannot miss this opportunity to get a first hand look at what actually happens during these meetings. Now you are in too deep and risk losing your mind. Can you make it out of the cellar before you go insane? Arkham Ritual is now live on Kickstarter!

In Arkham Ritual, players are passing around mysterious and creepy artifacts as they take part in a horrifying ritual worshiping the ancient gods. The only way to keep from going insane is to end up with the proper artifacts before the end of the round. If you can do this, you may preserve some of your sanity and emerge the most sane of your fellow gamers.

Arkham Ritual is a deduction/bluffing/press your luck card game designed by Hiroki Kasawa and published by Ninja Star Games. Ages: 10+ Playing Time: 10 minutes for 3-7 Players


The Set-up
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Players are each given 7 sanity tokens.

The deck of cards is shuffled. This deck is comprised of artifact, character, and event cards. There are three of each artifact (2 identical blue copies – not cursed, and 1 matching red version of the artifact – cursed). The events all have various effects on the game that range from altering scoring to ending the game. The characters allow you to change the end game scoring if you finish with one of them in your hand.

A set of artifact cards

Players are each dealt 1 card that they must hold out so the card is visible to the other players but not the player holding it. The deck of remaining cards is given to the starting player and you are ready to begin (wow, that was a fast set-up!).

The Gameplay ^

The Active player draws a card from the deck, looks at it, and passes it to another player.

Without looking at that card, the player who receives the card must decide to either keep the card or pass the card they received along to another player who has not been passed a card this round. If the player decides to keep the card, they discard their current card (resolving its action) and hold out their newly chosen card without looking at it. When a player discards their current card, they place it face up so that all players can see it. Played cards remain in the center of the table to give players knowledge of what cards have come out. If the discarded card is an Event Card, it will trigger effects that can range from looking at the top card of the deck to immediately ending the game.

Event Cards

If the player decides to pass the card they received, they choose another player to pass the card to (without ever looking at the card). The receiving player then has the same options as the previous player, deciding whether to keep or pass the card.

Once the card has either been chosen or passed to all eligible players, the round ends. If none of the Game end conditions are met, players prepare for the next round by passing the deck clockwise to the next eligible player. The new start player draws a card and passes it to an eligible player of their choice.

This continues until one of the game end conditions are met

  1. All players have been passed a card
  2. One of the game ending event cards were discarded
  3. The deck is depleted

If the game ends, players look to determine if they won. Multiple players can win and they do so by holding a unique blue (not cursed) card. If the card held is either a red card, or a card that matches a card held by another player, you do not win. Losing players must discard sanity tokens equal to the number of players who lost.

Character Cards

Character Cards also may have an effect on scoring. If a game ends with a player holding the investigator, that player may recover one sanity. If a game ends with a player holding a cultist, then players win if they are holding a unique red (cursed) artifact instead of holding a not cursed (blue) one.

After all losing players discard their sanity tokens, players assess to see if any have lost all 7 of their tokens. If not, the cards are reshuffled into the deck and a new game begins. If any player has lost all of their sanity, all players that still has at least one insanity left has made it out of the Ritual without going too insane and wins the game!

The Closing Remarks ^

The Highs ^

There are very few games in my collection that support more than 6, so it is nice to find one that supports 3-7. The pacing was also nice for this game in that it went quickly and the game was only 10 minutes, perfect for a high player count quick filler. The set-up to gameplay ratio was perfect in that it did not take more than a few seconds to be up and running.  The artwork was well done and fit the eerie tone very nicely. If you are into deduction games and like them fast and quick, this game will definitely hit that mark for you.

The lows ^

My biggest downside to this game is although there is a deduction to what cards have been played and what players’ motives may be when passing you a card, when you receive a card you are essentially deciding between two cards you do not know what they are. You have a card you are currently holding that you do not know what it is and a card you are passed that you do not know what it is. Players must pass a card they draw from the deck and they must pass it to someone who is still eligible, so later in rounds, sometimes your hand is just forced to pass a card to someone. This leaves some of the questioning of players’ motives up in the air. I would also like to point out that I agree with the statement in the rules that although this game supports 3-4, it definitely is best with 5+. We played this with varying player counts and found that it really was far more interesting with 5+.

More information about the KS campaign ^

Launch Date: February 7th, 2017

End Date: March 8th, 2017

Cost for a copy of the game: $9

KS Link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ninjastargames/526271949?token=a6e5c0ee

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