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Ever play an RPG? I’ve come across many stories of characters, some start of as merchants to find out they have draconic ancestry, or maybe the trope of a beggar who was adopted into the royal family. Brotherwise Games‘ Call to Adventure is a tableau building, card drafting, dice rolling, storytelling game. Each player crafts the stories of their heroes, facing challenges, succeeding or failing, triumphs or tragedies, these all are the making of a great hero.
Players are dealt out 2 Origin, 2 Motivation, and 2 Destiny Character cards, and a Hero card. Each of them will also start out with 3 Experience Tokens. Players will choose 1 from each of the 3 types of Character cards dealt to them, this will serve as the foundation of what their character will be. The Origin and Motivation card will be revealed while the Destiny will be kept hidden, kind of like a hidden objective. At this point players have the option of telling a little bit about their characters, like the name, or a little more detail to their origin and motivation. The cards chosen will be placed on their Player boards that have the Corruption tracker placed next to the white diamond (triumph) with a 2 in it.
Once all characters have been revealed players can now start and reveal the Act I cards, 4 cards will be revealed (5 if you are playing with 4 players). These will be challenges, and traits available to the heroes. Challenge cards are differentiated from Trait cards with the 2 effects that can happen, printed on either the top or the bottom of the card. If a player chooses to take on a challenge they must choose a path on the card. After a path has been chosen, players look to the side of the chosen card and listed there will be the difficulty and the abilities/attributes that can help in succeeding against it. The player will then look at their board and take as many runes that match the symbols on their board, along with the basic runes. A player may also spend an experience token to gain a dark rune, which makes the corruption tracker go down should the moon face be rolled. Once all the runes have been gathered, the player will toss/roll the runes. Successes are counted by the slashes or the ability/moon symbols shown face up. Slashes count as 1 success, and the ability and moon face count as 2. If the player matches or exceeds the difficulty of the challenge, they can add the path they took to their story. Traits are simpler in that the player just has to fulfill the condition of the card to gain it.
Players go on with their turns until a player has placed 3 cards underneath their Origin card, after which the next Act will be revealed. Other players can now choose from them, while the players who have completed their first act are limited to the current one. This gives other players a chance to catch up. This goes on once more until a player has successfully filled up their second act with 3 story cards, and the third Act is revealed. The last round will be triggered once a player has placed 3 cards underneath the final Act, other players will get one last chance to get more points. Once the game is over, players will then reveal and retell the story of their heroes, and tally their score.
Scoring is based on 5 things in the game; Triumph (white diamonds), Tragedy (Black diamonds), Hero cards played, Antihero cards played, and Story Icons. Triumph and Tragedy points are made up of all the white diamonds and black diamonds, respectively, earned in your story; this includes the corruption tracker and destiny card. After that is the Hero and Antihero cards played, which is 1 pt for every card played. Story Icons gives points based on the symbols on some of your story cards. these symbols represent Divinity, Justice, Nature, Arcana, Royalty, and Villainy. 2 of the same story icon gets you 2 points, 3 gets you 4, while 4 or more gets you 8.
I’ve brought the game to the table quite a lot and is well received among all my friends. The stories started out pretty standard heroes of justice, but every now and then you get the wacky character that “wins” despite being the lowest score. The game makes for a fun way to come up with a character for a tabletop RPG, or just storytelling in general. The game is fun with just the mechanics, but the most fun I’ve had with it was when we tell the stories as we take on each challenge, even the failures get added to the stories despite not being on the player board. Co-Op mode I’ve only played with 2 players, but it was quite fun despite losing even though we defeated the adversary. Solo mode on the other hand I feel is too easy. I highly recommend this game for those of you who love to play RPGs, or as a gateway game to those who want to get into RPGs, as it helps kinda like a storytelling exercise.