Ancient Greece and its mythology never fails to amuse us. The setting filled with power-hungry gods, mighty heroes and legendary feats is perfect for movies, books and of course: all sorts of games. Since almost all of us at KA have quite a soft spot for the lands ruled by Zeus, we couldn’t resist taking a bigger look at a certain game that happens to be launching on Kickstarter today. And from what we’ve seen, it deals with the theme brilliantly while mixing a set of different mechanics into a pretty unique brew.
Kleos Takes Shape
Kleos is the fruit of many years long passion of its designer: Jim Kavanaugh. Jim, like many of us here, got into tabletop gaming thanks to Dungeons & Dragons and Magic the Gathering, and has since played board and RPGs for over 2 decades. During all that time he often created custom additions to games he liked, or designed systems of his own.
All of the above led to creating Azure Horizon Games, a company which according to description, has a mission of creating “fantasy and mythology themed games”. Kleos happens to be the first project undertaken by Jim and his team. The game was being designed and heavily playtested for over 2 years and is now ready to be showed to the Kickstarter board gaming community. Let’s take a closer look at it!
Contest of the Gods
Kleos. An ambitious, new city state in ancient Greece, ready to become another legendary place that generations will remember and sing songs about. It didn’t take long until the olympian pantheon learned that there’s a brand new area ripe for the taking and desperately in need of a patron deity. All gods sure would end up starting a bloody war with each other if Zeus didn’t think of his own, more civilized way to resolve the matter.
A celestial contest gets announced and whoever ends up victorious will once and for all become the ruler of the new city state. Ares, Artemis, Hermes, Athena, and Dionysus have 5 days to prove who is the most glorious deity worthy of it. They take their weapons, their most loyal heroes and the vilest mythical creatures to show each other who’s the greatest leader of them all.
Welcome to Ancient Greece
Kleos can be played by 1 to 5 players and usually a single game takes between 1-2 hours. Each player has to choose one of the five main gods and receives their own dedicated Divine Deck as well as a set of tokens and a Player Board made to host 4 minions and a champion hero.
Next: the starting temple hexes get shuffled and put randomly in certain assigned places on the map. Players then place their champion on their temple and add his or her corresponding card to their Player Board. Everyone then draws two cards from their own Divine Deck and 5 cards from the Fates Deck – used by all five gods.
Cards can be used each day to get you closer to victory and they belong to a number of categories. We have Minions that have special powers and can traverse the map to fight others, powerful skills known as Acts of the Gods, Blessing Cards that boost your troops and finally: Curses that cripple the forces of your enemies.
Minions, like champion heroes, have their own set of stats representing their attack, defense, cunning, tactics values and disposition (used for recruitment). When the game begins you can place all minions you have freely on your Player Board.
The Most Glorious of Them All
So, since we now know about most of the tools used for the battle, it’s worth mentioning how to win the entire contest. In short: it’s all about Glory. You gain it for every single achievement during the game and whoever has the most by the end of the fifth day – wins.
You get glory when you recruit certain minions and each time you defeat somebody else’s minion. Champions are worth twice as much. You can also amass points for controlling various territories like Market, Arena and Theatre. Controlling the Port also gives two Glory Points by the end of each day.
Phase by Phase to Victory
So what is the structure of all five days of the contest? Each of them days starts with a Daybreak Phase where you draw a card from your Divine Deck, move the day marker forwards, change the first player to the next person and populate the isles located on the upper part of the map with cards from the Epic Minion Deck. Players who are far behind others get Zeus Cards, which are extra powerful and make for a fantastic catch up mechanic.
Secondly, we have a Play Phase where you put your cards into the game field. You can add new minions to your army, use Acts of Gods, blessings and curses to boost your heroes and make the lives of others more miserable.
The Action Phase is where the meat of the game happens. Each of your minions can move between hexes or travel from a port to one of the five isles. You’re also able to recruit new units from the islands during this phase. Your troops can use the attack action to challenge others or perform opportunity attacks on units leaving their hex. The combat is based around dice rolls as well as stats visible on minion cards.
Dusk Phase is the final one and involves discarding unwanted cards, drawing new ones, earning glory for controlled areas.
Kleos on Kickstarter
Kleos should be available on Kickstarter today and we believe it’s without doubt a fantastic project to back. The mixture of card game and board game in equal proportions makes for a really multilevel experience set in one of our favourite universes of all time. Variable god powers and the high variety in cards allows for endless combos and makes each game unique and a proper ancient legend to remember. The catch up mechanics like the Zeus deck work great to make the contest even harder and encourage players who are a bit behind to keep on fighting.