Fighting colossal beasts has been a thing from ancient times to the most recent pop culture. Greeks had their myths about Hercules and other heroes. We have Godzilla movies, the Witcher franchise, Monster Hunter videogames and thousands of other stories that keep on amusing generation after generation.
Primal: The Awakening by Reggie Games is a board game that takes on themes similar to these. The game was designed by Tommaso Mondadori and Alberto Parisi and is launching on Kickstarter today. Let us show you how it plays and what it is.
A New Home
Thyrea, a new continent, was discovered 9 years ago and kept being explored by some brave individuals. The megaliths present there hinted at some ancient monstrosities but members of the exploring crew had no idea what was coming for them.
Thyrea, the supposed new home of humanity turned out to be populated with colossal, endlessly hungry beasts that pose a threat to every newly built settlement on the continent. Luckily, a group of hunters is planning to get rid of them once and for all. And you will become one of its members.
The Hunt Begins
When going on a hunt you have a set of heroes to choose from. There’s Dareon well trained in fighting with swords bigger than his body, Mirah the master of bows who never misses, Thoreg who sports a colossal hammer and Lionar who much prefers a classic set of a sword and a shield. Each of them has their own hunter board hosting action and mastery cards as well as a miniature. Decks of every hero can be upgraded later on with stronger and better cards.
Like in Monster Hunter video games, a large part of your adventure will be devoted to tracking and killing colossal monstrosities that often look like dinosaurs. They also have their own boards and cards that show their current stances, behaviours, objectives and additional perils.
When preparing for a new fight you can craft some gear including all types of weapons, helmets, armors and other equipment useful when trying to survive against something 10 times bigger than you. Primal: The Awakening also has deckbuilding elements, and you can tailor your set of cards to your gameplay style and preferences.
Fighting for Survival
The combat is quite complex and requires proper equipment and positioning to have a chance at defeating a monster. Each opponent you will face can be attacked from the front, from the rear, and both flanks. Perfect positions for fighting them depend on what monster you are tackling. Additionally, the type of terrain your character is standing on can either help you or make your actions more risky.
All scenarios share the goal of defeating a huge monster. The combat with these is based entirely on cards and positioning. There’s no dice like in many other games which leads to lesser randomness and more strategic gameplay.
Playing cards requires discarding other cards in varying amounts, so you need to plan each turn perfectly and pick the strongest options while losing ones that would help you less.
Played cards create a sequence that is applied to the monster. These sequences can also defend players instead of dealing damage. Planning your actions together with other hunters is the key to surviving and defeating the beast.
Monsters have their own AI decks that dictate their behaviours and make them slightly smarter and unpredictable. Figuring out how each monster tends to act is vital to defeating them.
The Campaign Mode
If you want to play the game in a more epic, and story heavy way – the campaign mode will be perfect for you. You will be able to fight all the monsters in up to 15 game sessions and retain your characters while constantly upgrading their equipment and action decks. If you use expansion quests and monsters, you will be able to make the campaign even longer.
Campaign mode also features a special forge that allows crafting new gear between quests. Beating more monsters opens additional items that can be obtained thanks to the forge. Alchemist Lab works in a similar way and grants some optional rewards unlocked as you keep progressing through the game.
Primal: The Awakening on Kickstarter
Primal: The Awakening looks amazing, especially in the miniature department. Every monster looks huge, scary and powerful and all of them have plenty of detail and variety. The game is component heavy. We don’t know much about the expansions yet, but considering the core box, we are probably getting tons of stuff.
The gameplay of Primal: The Awakening looks refreshing, and is a great take on the monster hunting genre with lots of detail and customization. The campaign is launching today. You can find the link to it below.