Our first article gave you a general presentation of the highlights of the game system. This new article is going to give you more details on one of them, the Saga Booklet. The one whose simple name, HEL: The Last Saga, carries the whole idea: to make players live an epic, legendary and memorable story. All the twists and turns, narrative arcs and secrets of this collective story are contained in the Saga Booklet, an abundant book of over 900 paragraphs with illustrations.
THE SAGA BOOKLET
Since our desire was to ensure that players are constantly stimulated by the promise of diving into this booklet and learning more and more, we decided to reward some of their actions in a very simple way: each time the Hero they embody encounters the symbol below, the player is invited to read in the Saga Booklet the narrative paragraph that corresponds to the number indicated and follow its instructions.
This symbol is present on many game elements, to give substance to the Heroes’ encounters and discoveries, but also to generate events or crown the accomplishment of certain tasks or missions.
Thus, a player may have to consult a paragraph in the Saga Booklet when the Hero they control explores certain areas of the board. Similarly, when a player spots this symbol on a card (a Fate or a Hostile card for example) or on any element of the game, they can immediately go check the booklet and read the paragraph. These symbols are sometimes found where you wouldn’t expect them to be.
BOOKMARKS AND SAGA TOKENS
Since the Saga will take place over the course of a 13-chapter campaign with more than 40 scenarios, we’ve also created a bookmark system to increase the opportunities to access the Saga Booklet and tickle the player’s imagination even more. Each chapter, called “Song” in HEL: The Last Saga, has a bookmark, a sort of summary that brings together all the narrative paragraphs of the current Song. To access this bookmark, players will need to resolve Saga tokens.
Saga tokens each have an identical generic (“hidden”) side and a different letter of the alphabet on their opposite (“revealed”) side. During the course of a scenario, random events or discoveries that require research are materialized by “hidden” Saga tokens, while points of interest and scripted events are placed directly “revealed” on areas where Heroes can go. When a Hero enters an area containing a revealed Saga token, the player must read a corresponding paragraph. However, for a hidden Saga token, the player may decide to ignore it and perhaps avoid an unpleasant surprise. If, however, the player decides to search the area in order to
return the Saga token to its revealed side, they must then read the corresponding paragraph and follow any instructions that may be given.
As soon as a Saga token is resolved (revealed by a search or by entering its area), the player is invited to look at the bookmark and read the paragraph that corresponds to that token.
Example: Lesceline, the slave, found herself isolated on the edge of the forest. She is observing the surroundings in search of her path. Something makes a noise in the woods behind her (revealed “B” saga token ) while she observes an unusual rocky slope (hidden saga token). She decides to ignore the forest (the Saga token B would have triggered automatically as soon as she enters the area, forcing her to read the corresponding paragraph) and prefers to go to the embankment.
When she reaches her destination, she nevertheless yields to curiosity and carries out a search action to reveal the Saga token that is there, whereas she could have continued her way without any trouble. The player controlling Lesceline turns over the “A” token and consults the bookmark which tells them that this token corresponds to paragraph 150. The player reads and resolves paragraph 150 in the Saga Booklet and discovers a multiple choice text, leading to more paragraphs to read.
Saga tokens can also be placed on the Turn track. They are then triggered as soon as the turn marker reaches their slot. Even though a Saga token placed at the end of a turn is often a bad omen, on other occasions it will be an opportunity to experience a side event.
While the Saga tokens are doorways to enter the Saga Book, the Fate cards represent the unexpected events experienced by the Heroes. Each Song box has two dedicated decks of Fate cards: One for expeditions and the other for camp. At the beginning of each round, a Fate card is drawn and will depict, like a mini-paragraph, a narrative situation that will influence the game conditions of the round or impose an event to be resolved.
All the narrative elements presented so far are combined to immerse players in scenarios with different dramatic stakes each time. But the saga they write will take a different turn when they are invited to read paragraphs at night. The Saga Booklet is a double entry book indeed. At some point you will have to turn it over to access its Night part, deliberately left out of the Day part so as not to spoil the wandering readers.
For the next gameplay article, there will be no more question of narrative aspects… We’re in for action!
HEL: The Last Saga
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- Board Games, HEL: The Last Saga, Kickstarter