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Get your crawl on, our review of Here to Slay

Updated: Jan 14

Players: 2-6 Ages: 14+ Game Time: 15-90 mins

Hey Geeks and Geekettes, Dino-Girl here. Hope you’re surviving Lockdown 2.0. This is my first time writing on this blog; so if you like my reviews, leave a comment down below and I’ll endeavour to fit more into my hectic schedule.

Friends who Slay together, stay together

So today I’m reviewing Here to Slay, a quick game for 2-6 players, recommended for ages 10+ . It’s the latest game from Ramy Badie (founder of TeeTurtle and Unstable Games). The creator has brought us amazing Kickstarter games such as Unstable Unicorns and Runes and Regulations, as well as many others, including a new game which is coming soon, but more on that later …

Unstable Games do most of their game creation on Kickstarter. For those of you who don’t know, it is a crowdfunding site where people share their creations looking for funding. If they reach their funding goal, their project comes to life. Often in the case of games it may include additional ways for you to get involved in the game creation.

Lots of projects come with stretch goals, meaning more amazing items will just fall into your basket at no additional cost as more and more people back each project. Many of the stretch goals can be Kickstarter exclusives, and for this game review we’ll look at a few of them.

My advice for avid gamers is to give Kickstarter a go; your next favourite game may be one you helped to beta test or have a hand in making.

So anyway, back to the game!

Here to Slay is a fast-paced role-playing card game where each player tries to build their loyal party, slay monsters, and outwit their friends *cough* yeah, friends *cough*.

You, as your heroic Party Leader, must recruit, arm and slay your way to the Winner’s Circle, either by being the best Recruiter and achieving a complete set of 6 archetypes of characters, or by being the most prolific Monster Slayer and destroying 3 monsters from the Centre Circle. But beware, your “friends” are also trying their hand and it’s not above them to steal away your recruited heroes and heroines or even Slay them in cold blood and send them back to the discard pile. Brutal!

So, what’s in the box?

For those who are buying the base game in stores you will receive the following base items:

  • 1 x standard deck – for those of you into your card sleeves that’s 115 cards to protect

  • 15 x oversized Monster cards

  • 6 x oversized Party Leader cards

  • 2 x 6 sided die

  • 6 x rules and reference cards

A little later we’ll look at some of the exclusives from Kickstarter that you might be able to pick up online in Ramy Badies’ next campaign (occasionally new backers get the opportunity to pick up extras from previous Kickstarters).

Are you ready to Slay?

First players must choose their Party Leader. Each Party Leader has their own unique ability that gives an added advantage during the game. Those more inclined to the honourable ways of monster slaying might decide to choose the Ranger Fox, who gives +1 to all dice rolls when attacking monsters, but the sneaky backstabbers amongst your friends may decide that the Thief Cat is the way to go, who allows you to take a card from another player’s hand each turn. Choose wisely.

Once you have selected your Party Leader, play can begin. The game sets out a monster area, showing 3 of the 15 Monster cards face up, a draw pile of standard cards and a players' area. The players' area should be roomy enough to fit three Monster cards and 5 Hero cards.

Play begins by rolling a die; the highest score wins and gets to go first. Each player starts with a hand of 5 cards, and there is no hand limit in this game.

Each round you have 3 action points that you can spend in the following ways:

For 1 action point:

  • Draw a card

  • Play a card

  • Activate a hero ability

For 2 action points:

  • Attack a monster

For 3 action points:

  • Give up your hand and draw 5 new cards

Each player chooses how to spend their points. Players who play cards have the option of laying a Hero card. Each hero comes with their own unique ability that is triggered by a dice roll. Success means you get to play out their action, failure means you move on to the next action point. Item cards are attached to players and can either benefit them, or hinder them. Some items can also change the class of your players. Have too many Bards? Turn one into a Wizard with a Wizard Mask. Magic cards can help you steal Heroes, or search the discards or deck for useful cards.

Surely such blatant disregard for warrior etiquette will not go unchallenged?!

But what happens if a player tries to steal a hero from you? Surely such blatant disregard for warrior etiquette will not go unchallenged?! Well, luckily for you, there are Challenge cards available to play against the actions of other players. These result in a roll-off of the die, which can be boosted using modifier cards. But choose wisely, most modifiers have 2 options: they can boost your score, or nerf your opponent. You might throw all your skills into boosting your roll, only to have your opponent drain all those precious modifier points.

Slaying Monsters requires you to have the right cards in play to attempt the attack. Each Monster card will display the party requirements you need. Some require three heroes, others may require you to have a particular type of hero in play to attempt the kill.

Monster cards are dice roll offs. If you lose the roll, bad things can happen as the Monster can destroy a card, or worse – a hero. Successfully defeated Monsters go into your player circle and each has an effect that can benefit you in future gameplay.

The first Party Leader who successfully recruits one of each type of character (Ranger, Thief, Bard, Guardian, Wizard, Fighter) or who successfully destroys 3 Monsters will win the game.

Game play is quick, and the random draw deck gives excellent replayability. When playing in 2-player mode be prepared for some tears however, as there’s no-one to lynch other than your dearly beloved, and things can feel a little personal.

Add-Ons and Game Quality

The quality of the game is amazing. This is a strong trait of the Unstable Unicorns franchise, with beautiful artwork and well thought out mechanics and that’s even before we add in the fantastic add-ons that Kickstarter backers can look forward to.

For this game, the creators went all out: from the design of the player mats incorporating the character artwork, to wooden meeples of each class to allow you to keep track of what party types you have in play. A great little add-on was the acrylic standees of all the Party Leaders, which whilst not really adding to the gameplay were a super cute addition, and again were all beautifully made.

Additional exclusives introduced new characters, these are dual class characters that can switch between their chosen archetype and the introduction of a dragon sorcerer class, there is also the promise of further expansions with wolf warriors and deer druids.

Overall thoughts

As you can tell, I love this game. It has very quickly become one of my favourites to play. This is very firmly a six on the die scale for me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I cannot wait to see what the creators come up with next …

Which reminds me, we won’t have to wait too long as the next project is already up and out for pre-order! Their next project is Happy Little Dinosaurs. A game where you simply try to survive the inevitable apocalypse.

As you can tell by my pen name DinoGirl I am immensely excited for this one to come out! I’ll be sure to write a review when it does.

Until then, stay safe and stay sane!

Much love x Dino-Girl

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