Welcome to the world of Alboraan
In the time between the sinking of Atlantis and the world covering great flood, an unsuspecting Bronze age thrived. An age of legends, raw magic, and conflict in the lush jungles and steaming swamps that would one day become the Mediterranean Sea. Heroes from all over Alboraan embarked on a Homeric quest to save the world from the threat of Anastyr, Queen of the Black Dragons.
With these words, the rulebook of Anastyr, Mythic Games’ next crowdfunded project, begins.
If the first line resonates with you, and you’re eager to follow it up with “…and the rise of the sons of Arius”, then you’re ready to dive into the barbaric and proto-historic world of Anastyr, and experience monumentally epic adventures.
In 2011, Anastyr was a line of bold and beautiful miniatures developed by Paolo Parente for his company Dust Studio. Konrad, Undraal, and other iconic characters made their debut with Dust and then took a detour in 2015 through the Zombicide Black Plague game as “Special Guest” boxes.
If R.E. Howard’s Sword & Sorcery, brought to the big screen by director John Milius, is the original source of our visual inspirations, we had in mind other references when we established the first technical specifications brief for the game mechanics.
Do the names Ax Battler, Tyris Flare or Gilius Thunderhead (the heroes of Golden Axe!) evoke the nostalgia of beat em up and other belt-scrolling fighters? Then this article is aimed at you! The game Anastyr is (among other things!) a homage to this classic and mythical part of video game history. This means of course, that there will be mounts!
Here’s an overview of this fierce and barbaric game
So, let’s not keep you waiting any longer. Let’s get straight to the point, like a berserker warrior charging at an enemy horde!
Anastyr is a cooperative board game that includes miniatures, for 1 to 4 players. Players become powerful heroes who seek to thwart the plans of the dreaded witch Anastyr, who wants to enslave the world by awakening Volkar, the most terrifying of dragons. These heroes have banded together as the Companions of the Spear, for they must go in search of the fragments of the mythical solid Amber World Spear, which in forgotten times defeated the terrible Chaos Dragon King.
Their quest will take them to different regions of what later becomes the Mediterranean Sea. Invoking the blessing of the All-Mother, the deity of fertility present throughout Alboraan, the heroes will confront wildlife, local tribes and Anastyr’s henchmen. Each game deals with a stage of this epic adventure that includes a quest to undertake in one of Alboraan’s regions, a story, opponents, and specific loot. Each scenario will be playable either as a single, stand-alone game or as part of a larger campaign that allows each hero upgrade options, scenario to scenario.
We have paid particular attention to the development of this sense of epic scale which is completely new in comparison to the previously released Anastyr material, that presented an amazing setting but without our heroes backstory.
The six core box heroes, master specific combat techniques represented by a deck of “Technique” cards. In campaign mode, this deck can be enhanced with new cards that reflect the heroes’ evolution and experience gain, adventure to adventure. In addition to their immediate combat effect, these cards can also be used to prepare fearsome techniques, known as “Combos”. Players will therefore often have to make choices: should I choose the card effect best suited to the immediate tactical situation, or should I choose another card that may be less effective but that will bring me closer to triggering my ultra Combo?
Additionally, heroes have another resource to manage, Fury. In these long ago and violent times, letting your mood take over, letting your rage overwhelm you, allows you to launch even more destructive attacks!
As you can see, the Fury and Combo mechanics mentioned earlier are a tribute to video game gameplay. But we also wanted to reinforce this dive into the ancient times (of humanity and video games) with visual and immersive in-game innovations.
Anastyr’s line of miniatures offered both mounted and unmounted versions of the heroes back in 2011. Golden Axe players were impressed by the ability to ride dragons and cockatrices, so we felt it was essential to replicate this experience in game. Heroes in Anastyr will be able to ride a wide variety of mounts (horses, raptors, saber-toothed tigers, and other exotic creatures) and this translates into special rules advantages (movement, attacks, resistance). Heroes will be able to pick up mounts during inter-scenario phases and during the game by taming wild animals or stealing them from some of their opponents.
To represent this visually, our artists and production managers have worked together to model each hero’s rider mini with a clever magnet system that will allow them to ride any mount in the game.
Another visual innovation of the game is the optional “backdrop” which can be used as a background. The game board mechanics simulate the “scrolling” of the land. For each environment, a different backdrop will reinforce the immersion and transform the game board into an epic diorama. You will just have to play next to and not facing your teammates to enjoy the backdrop. What could be better when playing a co-operative game?
Hordes of enemies!
Another original game innovation is the game board scrolling! As soon as there aren’t any fighter minis (heroes or opponents) remaining on the Western (left) adventure tile, that tile is removed, the Eastern (right) adventure tile takes its place and a new Eastern adventure tile is positioned to its right to represent the scrolling environment. As you watch, your heroes literally move through the world of Anastyr, discovering new terrain, scenery, enemies, and your adventure becomes an epic journey. Each region of the world you visit has its own set of tiles, sumptuously illustrated to clearly differentiate one region from another.
Let’s talk about the adventure tiles: special attention has been given to these illustrations, and we’ve added a multitude of details for you to admire. Often, a specific element (charnel house, ballista, nephelite, a kind of magic stone) is accompanied by a special effect and goes hand in hand with a 3D cardboard standee that indicates this game effect. The delineation of the board spaces is very light and visibly discreet, to allow visual priority to the illustration and reinforce immersion and the sense of scrolling across a landscape. Between these ultra-detailed tiles, this subtle marking, and the backdrop that frames the two-game tiles, your miniatures will literally be immersed in the heart of the Alboraan landscape.
There are “generic” terrain effects associated with certain spaces on the adventure tile that are region-specific. These terrain spaces, zero effect, difficult, impassable, and dangerous, reflect the traversed area’s topography and influence the heroes’ movement. For example, a hero entering a space indicated as difficult terrain will immediately end their movement. As for impassable spaces, they will have to be bypassed or crossed using a “Jump”! Optimizing your movement is one of the keys to victory. In addition, reaching spaces marked with a “loot” standee enables the heroes to find items, that are more often than not a great bonus. Not to mention that some enemies also drop loot when they have been defeated: the fabled “Loot” drop.
You will also find in some spaces, strange rocks decorated with singular runes, called nephelites. These are used by the intriguing Sylfae, as magical portals to travel from region to region. These Sylfae, a type of nature spirit, are unpredictable and will have a more or less important role to play during your quest, provided you can tame them.
Finally, each region also includes 2 unique board spaces detailed in the “The Legend of Anastyr” adventure book and on player aids. These terrain spaces epitomize the region and are often associated with the effects of event cards.
The other game components are positioned at both ends of the 2 adventure tiles that form the game board, in two areas called the “region area” and the “enemy area”. The region area will hold, among other things, the Loot, Event, and Creature cards (wild beasts and wild Sylfae) available during the adventure, along with their miniatures. The wild beasts are indigenous to the region you’re traveling through and can be a real danger to heroes who wish to use them as mounts… beware of their wild instincts! The enemy zone holds Enemy cards, the injury pack, and enemy miniatures.
Finally, there is an activation queue placed to the north or south of the board (depending on the space available) which allows you to determine the activation order of all combatants. Each fighter has their own Activation card. For example, when it comes to resolving the activation of rank 1 enemies, all the miniatures linked to that card will be activated. The more powerful opponents in the game, such as bosses, have multiple Activation Cards. Note that at the beginning of the game, this activation queue is created randomly, but there are various game effects that interact with the queue and can change its order.
Finally, each region also has its own Activation card, which determines the movement of wild creatures on the board and generates specific game effects for that region, via the drawing of an Event card.
There’s a lot more to discuss, including a deeper dive into our unusual heroes. But we’ll go into more detail in the next article, covering the heroes’ abilities, the actions they can perform, their individual dashboards and much more!
Until then, don’t forget to make your devotions to the All-Mother.
Hitting Kickstarter! Soon!
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