Quick Look: JOURNEY INTO THE BEYOND
Designer: LIAM BURNS
Artists: Eamonn McCorrmick
Publisher: HANDSOME MONKEY GAMING
Year Published: Coming to Kickstarter 15 August 2022!
You are already dead. One way or another, you have fallen to the lich Yor’Mir. They have locked your soul within their phylactery, along with their other victims they have slain. Within the phylactery exists a demi plane known as the Ragnorwald. A cursed forest with one purpose: to kill it’s residence over and over. With each death, the victim loses a cherished memory. This memory manifests itself as a ghostly blue crystal known as Essence. But not all hope is lost. There is a way out, a gate which Yor’Mir uses to check on the Ragnorwald. Two small problems: First, whenever someone uses the gate, the Ragnorwald is reset. The second is the gate is guarded by a Keeper, a twisted monstrosity placed by Yor’Mir to keep the residence from escaping. Luckily for you, you are a Champion. A being capable of Awakening these memories. Remember your powers from your past life, collect essence to purchase powerful Items, and defeat the Keeper. However, you are not the only one with this plan… Race to be the first to slay the Keeper, lest you lose your progress when the plane is reset.
Journey Into the Beyond is an asymmetrical competitive tableau building adventure game. Inspired by epic fantasy games such as Talisman and Mage Knight, Journey takes these long winded, large scale games and condenses it into a shorter more palatable experience. Players will notice right away that in the Ragnorwald, death is not only common and inconsequential, but often convenient. Fast paced highly strategic deterministic combat keeps the game flowing, and it’s heavy player vs player elements keeps players interested even when it isn’t their turn. Move around the board, choosing which stories to Encounter. Each Encounter type offers different risks and rewards, from fighting Goblins, exploring Dungeons, and even discovering critical information about the Ragnorwald itself.
Journey into the Beyond – Quick view
Journey into the Beyond has an interesting take on TRPG and is already set in the kingdom of the death, so you won’t have to worry too much about dying. If the term TRPG had you worried, just come back and relax, it is an RPG because you take on the role of some Hero in a Fantasy world and let your character evolve through the game, you won’t need any DM.
RPG and Asymmetry
Like in most RPGs, in Journey into the Beyond you will take on the role of one mighty hero that benefits from his specific traits and characteristics. I already hear some of you saying, “well duh, it’s not possible to have a Symmetrical RPG”. Well you are wrong, one counter example is Munchkin, yes the silly card game in which it is written that you can/should cheat.
But all RPG have it in common that what is important isn’t only the inherent characteristics of your character in the beginning of the game but rather how you decide to develop them, making the most of what you find on your epic quest. And that’s something that I’ve seen implemented rather brilliantly through all the classes I’ve played (and played against) in Journey into the Beyond.
Journey into the Beyond – as such
Journey into the Beyond can be played in three different modes : Competitive – Cooperative and Solo.
Whatever mode you choose, each player will be taking the role of a Hero on a map in the world beneath. One after the other, players will travel that world in order to gather the needed resources to fight the Keeper(s).
In Competitive, players will compete for the resources and will fight one another to get that sweet shiny armor that your opponent just found to the peril of his life. When ready a player will challenge the Keeper of the gate and upon defeat of the beast, win the game. Competitive mode has players hesitate to attack the Boss through all the play, and one really needs to evaluate themself before attacking the foul creature. If players wait to long, someone else will have defeated the creature and won the game before you even give it a try, if you go too soon, you’ll loose precious time battling a creature and will be sent back to base while your adversaries keep on collecting stuff and experience.
In Cooperative mode, the timings are set, you have a certain amount of rounds to prepare as much as possible to face the three elders of the underworld, which is a final battle, which share similarities to MMORPG Raid’s DPS Check, if you are not prepared right you will be obliterated and your party will have lost the game. Back to square one, you are allowed to start all over again☺.
In Solo mode, the hero will fight against 4 nefarious Bosses, preparation is still key. Although the current solo mode might already interest you I won’t get too much in details as the author as foreseen changes for the Solo mode, including the possibility to play on the GO without any board, it is my understanding that you would still require the cards ☺). Let’s say that currently it is a bit long and repetitive to me, but as already mentioned it will change.
And second, you may play the Coop mode in Solo with two heroes without difficulties and this takes less time and is great.
All game modes share similarities in the way players take their turn. By moving on the map, players will choose to either face an event with various result, a monster, to gain loot, or enter a dungeon starting a quest for an extraordinary loot.
Through all those actions and depending on the character you are playing, you will “awaken” (read level up) until you reach your full potential and evolve to a better version of yourself.
One way or another, to get there, you will have to fight; fighting is based on an inherent attack lined to the equipped object you have and the possibility to play a card per fighting-turn. Damages occur simultaneously so you might faint at the same time as that smelly goblin and would have accomplished nothing.
All in all the fighting system is interesting. But after a few fights, your archetype In your class will have evolved and you will have a natural orientation that you will optimize, like for example the choice of an element for the mage. From that point on and through all the play the PvM combat will get repetitive as you grind through the mob smashing your A button.
Note this is only through during one specific play as the amount of classes and archetypes within each class will make every play heavily different.
I’ve only played the TTS version so let’s talk mod and graphics.
The overall graphics are ok, with an interesting Retro look to most of the cards and monster, although the gameplay has nothing to do with it, the art style keeps sending me back to HeroQuest and the illustration on its cards. All in all the board is easy to read and you will not look far to find what you are looking for. Some of the card text color might be difficult to read (like red on black) but it depends on the real print out and does not really matter much.
TTS Mod (Table Top Simulator)
I have played my fair share of TTS mod and I am glad that this one is well organized when you open it. It is easy to understand which pack of cards serve which function. The card appointed to the player’s classes are also sorted nicely. Nevertheless, the choice of dice to indicate counters is a really good one for really life play, I really enjoyed the idea and easy setup it rendered in my plays of 7th continent, but it is not easy to handle on TTS. I personally used some more health and mana trackers to track the number of the round we were playing or the life of monsters instead of the provided dice.
The dice will be great for the real thing☺ ,though.
So a good mod all in all, go and try it already!
Last shout out and expectation
In the TTS Mod a lot of content was present but not listed completely in the rule book already so my guess is that the developer has already prepared some SG (Stretch Goals) or KS (Kickstarter) exclusives for us and they seem great, more Keepers and more Classes alike as expected as SG for such games !
Find out more at BGG.
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QuelqunQui (literally Someone who in French) is an eclectic who can’t stop doing more than one thing at a time.. Quelqunqui is a harpsichordist and gamer at heart that doesn’t abide by rules he doesn’t believe in. When not playing he’s traveling the world for the Belgian Air force.
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