Solomon Kane, the return of the Puritan!
Assume the role of an immortal Virtue in this innovative 1-4 player co-operative game of storytelling, resource management, and tactical choices.
“Solomon Kane… considered himself the fulfiller of God’s judgment, a vessel of wrath to be emptied upon the souls of the unrighteous.”
– Robert E Howard
From books to board games
Solomon Kane, a board game adaptation of the short stories by Robert E. Howard, the author of Conan, was Mythic Games’ first narrative game, launched on Kickstarter in 2018. At the time of the campaign, the innovative principles of this very unusual game were difficult to convey to the public, who may have been expecting a pure action game. The KS campaign was nevertheless a success, but it is especially during the reception of Solomon Kane (last year for the first wave and at the beginning of this year for the second wave) that we could see the incredible craze for this game. Backers and reviewers alike rank it among the best games in their collection, and in fact, Solomon Kane is currently the highest-rated Mythic Games on BGG.
By popular demand, we announced that we would be offering a reprint of Solomon Kane on our website this year. Well, the time has come! If you missed the game, if you are missing expansions, or if you want to increase your immersion with music and sound effects, you can pre-order all this on our e-shop: www.mythicgames.net
This article aims to remind you what Solomon Kane the board game is, its strong principles, its innovative and unique aspects, but also to give you some advice in order to better understand it.
An Age of Darkness
It is the end of the 16th century. This is a turbulent time, with bandits lurking in the wilds of the countryside, and pirates roaming the high seas. Evil taints the hearts of men, and many give in to temptation. Many, but not all. Against this tide of corruption stands Solomon Kane. This mortal hero fights his lone battle against the Darkness, aided by the silent might of the immortal Virtues. Together they fight against the implacable Darkness. This is the fearless opponent who tries to thwart our hero at every turn, and who must be overcome by the players if Solomon Kane is to emerge victoriously.
One man alone (?) to face the darkness
The central figure in the game is Solomon Kane himself. He is a dour English Puritan and redresser of wrongs who roams the world, fighting against the ungodly and evil works of men and foul magic alike. He follows no master save his conscience, though that alone drives him to the ends of the Earth to fulfill his quest. All his life he has traveled, aiding the weak and fighting oppression. From the bleak moors of England, through the damp forests of Germany, to the sweltering jungles and savannahs of Africa – even to the shores of the distant New World of America. He neither knows nor questions why is driven to do this. It simply must be done. To Solomon Kane, he is doing God’s work. He is an implacable fury to his enemies, armed with flintlock and rapier, and armored in unshakeable faith. The knowledge of the rightness of his cause makes him unstoppable and gives him the ability to overcome any fiend or demon. At least, it does when the Virtues are on his side.
“How I overcame it, I know not, for the battle was hard and long, but the powers of good and light were on my side, which is mightier than the powers of Hell.”
– Robert E Howard
The Forces of Light
Each player takes the part of one of the four Cardinal Virtues: Courage, Prudence, Temperance, and Justice, each with a special combination of abilities that reflect their unique role. Together they must help Solomon Kane achieve his mission.
Courage is bold and sometimes reckless. She cannot sit idly by and encourages Solomon to resolve everything with action! Her specialties are Moving and Fighting.
Prudence tries to keep an eye on everything. She helps the other Virtues as well as Solomon and provides vital support to both.
Justice is willing to listen to both sides. She is fair, balanced, and an expert at finding a solution that benefits everyone. Her areas of skill are Talking and Influencing a situation for the better.
Temperance keeps a sharp eye and a clear head. She encourages Solomon to keep his wits about him and be aware of what is going on around him. Her specialty is exploring the environment and avoiding nasty surprises.
Solomon Kane is a loner, and only begrudgingly accepts the aid of others in his quest. However, when others need his aid, he is quick to come to their assistance, and this means that his Adventures against the Darkness sometimes include companions. These include John Silent, Jack Hollister, and N’longa. The latter, a self-styled “mighty worker of nameless magic”, is Solomon Kane’s only regular companion. Despite their many huge differences in outlook, they get along perfectly, saving each other from death on more than one occasion. It is hard to say which one of them relies more on the other.
The Forces of Darkness
Darkness is the natural opponent of Light. It is a combination of all the secret, unsavory feelings and deeds which men are capable of. It lurks in the blackness, molding the essence of the night into its minions, and sending them to plague the mortal world.
The emissaries of evil
Darkness has emissaries too, and these Shadows are also attracted by Solomon Kane’s faith. Shadows are not physical beings – they are the essence of the nameless horror that hides just out of sight, the lurking danger you think you glimpse from the corner of your eye or the secret dread that sends shivers down your spine. This can drive lesser men to madness, and even Solomon Kane could be overwhelmed, for whilst his faith is strong, Darkness is powerful too. Solomon Kane can see neither Virtue nor Shadow, yet he can feel both, and he has his faith. This tells him that Good must triumph over Evil. It is up to the Virtues to ensure that he is right.
The main servants of Darkness are the mist-like Shadows. They are not really creatures at all, more embodiments of an idea. Though that terrifying idea can drive mortals to insanity and death.
Through his many Adventures, Solomon Kane encounters a wide variety of misguided, malevolent, or just plain evil individuals who all do Darkness’ bidding – whether they realize it or not. These range from simple thugs, through cannibal tribesmen, to otherworldly and magical creatures. Solomon Kane must overcome them all.
That concludes the first article that introduces you to the world of Solomon Kane! Our next article will explain more about the overview and gameplay. Make sure you stay with us, so you discover the fascinating world of this cooperative narrative game.