We’ve all experienced the disappointment of a ropey adaption. Be it from page to film, game to screen or when established fantasy worlds are transported into the board gaming universe. These sorts of things can often feel like cynical cash grabs, with no love lost for the source material (the Lost board game, dear lord) Horizon Forbidden West: Seeds of Rebellion from Steamforged games is shaping up to be a different beast when it hits Kickstarter later this month. Everything I’ve seen so far makes me very excited to back this game and begin the agonising wait for it to hit my table.
Horizon Forbidden West: Seeds of Rebellion is the second game from Steamforged in the Horizon Forbidden West universe. Written in close collaboration with Gorilla the video game developer the interactive narrative will reveal an official prequel set six months prior to the events of the hit PlayStation games adding further texture and context to the adventures of Alloy.
Speaking about the development process for this upcoming tabletop beast creative director Mat Hart told how the team would “eat their own dog food”-that is repeatedly play their own game and seek ways to improve upon it. Together with close attention to player feedback this bottom up philosophy has led to some exciting changes from the first game. Perhaps most notably Horizon Forbidden West: Seeds of Rebellion is an entirely co-operative experience unlike its predecessor.
This new fully collaborative approach came alive during my tantalising play-test. At first our mechanised foes felt overwhelming to our plucky quartet of freedom fighters but after the first round we quickly began to realise how much more we could achieve through communication and sharing our abilities. The game encourages and richly rewards co-operation which is made all the more easy by the super-sharp iconography and card design. There was no downtime as I found myself fully engaged in my companions moves, leaning forward to watch them throw the dice to reveal the outcome of our well laid plans. Seeing our combos come together led to some satisfyingly cinematic moments and even some spontaneous whooping as our helpless enemies landed on our well laid traps. Lead designer Fraser McFetridge describes the new trap system as “a great way to reward working together by giving each player a different directional trap that would really make the push mechanic more valuable and viable”.
The game uses a similar combat system to its predecessor with some exciting tweaks and additions. The new streamlined stealth track system allows the patrolling enemies to react to player actions as heat builds. Narrative choices now have a much bigger impact on combat, for example players can begin combat in more advantageous positions or perhaps lacking certain equipment. There is now more variety when it comes to deck building and player roles with more cards to choose from and some cards which can be added to any player deck.
Horizon Forbidden West is known for its monster designs and this game is no exception. To refer to them as miniatures feels distinctly unfair. The size and scale of the boss beasts is breathtaking as is the attention to detail. It’s easy to see why these are the most detailed miniatures Steamforged have crafted to date.They look good from every angle when smashed down on the tabletop and will affect the battlefield in unique ways due to their sheer size relative to the players. I foresee many of them proudly staying on permanent display on many a bookcase, especially among those of us with the patience and skill to paint.
Horizon Forbidden West: Seeds of Rebellion launches on Kickstarter on November twenty first. Make sure to follow the Kickstarter, see you there on day one! To learn more about the game be sure to check out the fascinating design diary at Steamforged games.