A few weeks ago we announced that our Phoenix Game Line would be enriched with a second game in 2022 with Rise of the Necromancers, which we are publishing in partnership with Danish publisher Sore Loser Games.
Before we get up close and personal with the game and its mechanisms, we wanted to remind you of our approach when selecting games for the Phoenix Line. If you’re reading this article, you know that we, at Mythic Games, love epic games that are bursting with miniatures and other beautiful 3D components. We have made it our Industry calling card by producing games brimming with magnificent minis that are a visual feast.
Having said that, make no mistake: our passion is gaming, and not just for games with lots of miniatures. In our office, not a week goes past without all kinds of games being played by our team members. And since we are curious, we play a lot of different games, both recognized successes and games that might not be on everyone’s radar. And sometimes, among these, we find some real favorites. Then, we often wonder why such excellent games have not reached a wider audience. This is the first reason that prompted us to take an interest in Rise of the Necromancers, a game that we have been playing since its release and of which we’ve never grown tired.
While enjoying these games, we were also looking for new games to develop into a range of games that would find a perfect home in local gaming stores. But our experience has shown us that our favorite games struggle to be economically viable in retail, if only because of their large size and often prohibitive cost. And by mixing these different considerations, we came up with the idea and desire for the Phoenix Line: to breathe a second breath of life into board games that particularly appealed to us and were less extravagant in terms of components than our typical products.
The games in this Phoenix range would be re-offered in crowdfunding campaigns first to put them back into the spotlight; then secondly, they would be offered through the normal distribution channel to retailers, knowing that their format was compatible with that business model. We began with the Enchanters game last year and are adding Rise of the Necromancers now.
The covid crisis has delayed the implementation of the second part of our plan (the distribution of games in retail), but we are planning on this coming together in 2022.
Raise the Dead!
Back to our Necromancers! Rise of The Necromancers is a board game by Thorbjørn H. Christensen and Christoffer Kyst, published by Sore Loser Games, the company that these two Danish authors created. The game was the subject of two crowdfunding projects. The first in June 2017 for the core box, then the second in September 2019 for the Dawn & Demons expansion. The game was very well received upon delivery, and its good press continued as the second campaign increased its audience significantly. Sore Loser Games’ last announcement on the Dawn & Demons Kickstarter campaign page announced a second expansion, Undead Sea, for the near future.
It is therefore on January 11, 2022, that the living dead will return and serve once again, with a new campaign on Gamefound, within which we will offer the core box and the Dawn & Demons expansion, AND ALSO the new expansion, Undead Sea!
For this first article, we’ll start at the core component of Rise of the Necromancers. The Necromancer King is dead (again… but this time for good! muhahaha), defeated by the forces of light that left the island continent ravaged by conflict. But life (even undead life) abhors a vacuum. Hence, ambitious Necromancers now emerge from the depths of the Valley of Souls to take back this vacant throne. You Play as a Necromancer. Yes, for once in a fantasy universe, you get to play the bad guys! Worthy candidates for this supreme office will beat the devastated countryside of the continent with their army of risen servants to place 13 Dominion counters on the board or their player board, thus establishing their supremacy.
Dominion counters are placed by accumulating evil items and spells from the same school of magic, by becoming the Headmaster of one of the four EVILLL Academies of necromancy, and by taking and holding various cities or surviving the dungeons spread across the continent.
The Heart of Evil!
In the beginning of the game, you’re an aspiring Necromancer, setting out alongside your competitors from the Valley of Souls in the center of the continent. During your turn, you will be able to choose in order, from the following actions list, the first two being optional, and the second two being mandatory:
- Play Cards. These are either items or spells collected during previous turns, an Apprentice card, or a Necromancer card which allows you to reveal your true nature.
- Raise a Minion. This is done by paying a cost in resources, which, of course, must be collected first. You can only raise one minion at a time, and it can be a Zombie, Hell Knight, Ghost, or Skeletal Dragon.
- Move. You can move on the board as fast your Necromancer’s speed, but never faster than the slowest of your minions.
- Take an action in the territory where your Necromancer arrives after movement. We will provide more detail for this in the paragraphs below.
Finally, you’ll place Dominion counters if certain conditions are met, and as soon as a player’s thirteenth marker is placed, that player instantly wins and the game ends.
Note that the Necromancers, while they are competing, do not go head-to-head with each other. There is an optional rule that allows for this, but for your first few games, let’s keep it civil, shall we? At most, you can delay your opponents by leaving minions in the territories you’ve subjugated so that your enemies will be forced to destroy them before they can capture that territory or delve that Dungeon. In addition, you cannot be killed, as you are of course far too evil to suffer such mundanity. If your Necromancer takes a lethal hit while exploring a dungeon, or during the siege of a city, they are just sent back to the Valley of Souls, but they will have lost valuable time.
The action phase is at the heart of a winning strategy. Each territory has a type of terrain that will determine your choice of action. In standard territories, the Necromancer can harvest resources (Ichor, Dark Water or Scroll) or corpses (Lesser or Greater), by rolling the corresponding resource or corpse dice. These resources and corpses are needed to cast spells, use items, and recruit minions.
When they arrive at a library, your Necromancer can pick up new Spell Cards. By combining Spell Cards from the same school (i.e., of the same color), you gain more Dominion counters as your level increases.
Forges yield Item Cards that aid you with their magical power. Improving your items can also be a big plus on your path to victory. The more spells and magical items you collect from the same school, the more your Necromancer’s level increases, allowing you to place more Dominion counters on your Necromancer board.
In dungeons, Necromancers must dance with destiny. Dungeons are the most random environment in the game… but they can also be the most fun! When your Necromancer enters a dungeon, you must reveal the top card of the Dungeon deck, follow the instructions, and try to overcome adversity to recover resources, items, and/or spells, but above all to secure the dungeon and thus be able to place a Dominion counter in that territory. Sometimes a dungeon will be incredibly beneficial. Other times these expeditions will prove to be very dangerous, as it will not be uncommon for you to lose your apprentice or even your Necromancer, who will then be transported to the Valley of Souls to begin once again. Your undead minions are of zero use in dungeons, so be especially wary of sleeping dragons!
That’s not all, you will also be able to attack the innocent peasants in cities across the continent. To conquer these cities, you can use your army of minions, be they Zombies, Ghosts, Hell Knights, and/or Skeletal Dragons. Be careful though, some cities will be fortified and harder to conquer, but the payoff in resources will be far better! Once conquered, the city is yours, and you place 1 to 3 Dominion counters there determined by how many resources that city grants.
Subsequently, you can collect taxes on all the cities you control, harvesting the resources they provide! Cities are clearly the best way to mitigate the randomness of the game, since you know exactly what kind of resources (or corpses) you are going to collect, alleviating the need to roll dice for resources. But they are sometimes difficult to take, and can be taken or torn from you by your opponent’s Necromancers.
Last but not least, your Necromancer can visit one of the four academies of Necromancy (Mist, Blood, Bone or Decay) which allows you to take control of that Academy and grants you additional attributes related to being the Head of that academy. But to achieve this, you must be a master of the matching type of magic, and therefore control a number of spells, items, or minions of this type. It’s not a priority early in the game, but in the middle and in the end game it becomes a pretty relevant priority, especially since you can place two Dominion counters when you become the Headmaster of an academy.
Masters and apprentices, always by two, sometimes by three, four or five, they go!
One of the great things about the game is that at the start of the game your true identity as a Necromancer is not known. You are incognito, hidden under your hood! At the beginning of the game, each player is randomly dealt 3 Necromancer cards and 3 Apprentice cards, which they will be able to look at and become their starting hand.
During the game, players can choose to reveal their true nature (and the Academy to which they are affiliated) at the appropriate time, during the Play Cards phase. Some Necromancers require you to pay resources to be played. When your Necromancer is revealed, the other two unselected Necromancer cards are then discarded. This allows you to choose the identity that best suits the cards you have been able to draw, your style of play, or even the long-term strategy you want to develop.
There are 16 different Necromancers in the core game, enough to ensure replay-ability and keeping some dirty tricks up your robe sleeves! Once your Necromancer is revealed, you can then recruit valuable apprentices using the apprentice cards drawn at the start of the game. Only one apprentice can accompany you at any time. But unlike the Necromancer cards, when you recruit an Apprentice, you keep the other two Apprentice cards in your hand, and you can recruit a new one if your Apprentice were to perish (which will probably happen fairly often muhahha). The Apprentice will provide his skills and services and may even sacrifice himself on your behalf. These Apprentices can also accompany you into the dark dungeons to face monsters and quests, while your minions remain fearfully at the entrance.
The Mythic Touch
This new edition of Rise of the Necromancers will be identical to the previous one… well, almost. The rules are those from the second edition, to which we have incorporated the latest FAQs and errata. But we couldn’t help but add some 3D goodness… for the sake of it!
For example, the magnificent illustrations appearing on the cards of the Necromancers will be transformed into so many superb miniatures. Thus, when you reveal your identity, you can change from your “basic” necromancer miniature (which is identical for each player, but in a different color of course), to represent yourself with your revealed Necromancer miniature. These Necromancer miniatures will be collected into The Foul & The Wicked expansion, making the new Necromancer miniatures accessible to those who already have a previous version of the game, without having to invest in the core game again.
We love immersion in our games, and that comes down to the material used. Therefore, thanks to a special box called The Grim Harvest, we will offer you an exciting cosmetic improvement: an upgrade of the tokens of your faithful minions as sculpted minis! Zombies, Ghosts, Hell Knights and Skeletal Dragons will no longer be cardboard tokens but real and magnificent minis! The Grim Harvest box will be available during the Gamefound campaign, and its content will grow thanks to the stretch goals that will be unlocked during the campaign. Expect cool surprises! The Grim Harvest will be offered automatically to subscribers who grab the core box or to veterans who grab the Veteran pledge (that we’ll probably call « Old Bones pledge »!) that only offers the new material. This box will then be available for purchase after the campaign, during the pledge manager and finally on the Mythic Games e-shop and later in your favorite gaming store.
That’s it for today! In the next two articles, we’ll deep dive into the Dawn and Demons expansion and the new features it adds to the core game, but also its solo / cooperative mode. Then, we’ll jump right into the new expansion: Undead Sea.
Raise that Undead Kraken, muhahahah!
Rise of the Necromancers
Coming to Gamefound on Tuesday January 11, 2022!
Find us on:
Check out the Home of Evil, Necromancer central, our dedicated Facebook page at
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