The Epics are Coming – Part 2
If you missed the first post in this series you can check it out here. It will give you the basic flavor for the game.
Let’s talk about the engine that runs Rise of the Epics. Like many cooperative games, Rise of the Epics is a juggling act. There are lots of things that players need to pay attention to and keep in check while trying to complete the main objective of the game: discover the Ruling Epic’s weakness and take them out.
When you play Rise of the Epics you will notice some similarities between it and Pandemic. Players are moving around a board, trying to keep cubes from building up on locations all the while collecting sets of cards to turn in to beat the game. This was intentional. I wanted make teaching and learning the game as easy as possible and having an established game like Pandemic as a reference point will help. But that is where the similarities end.
Let’s get into some of the elements in the game that players will have to keep in check:
Operating in a hostile environment comes with inherent risk. Players must manage this risk as they make decisions and take actions in the city. Players can use up to 4 actions on their turn. If any action ends where the Ruling Epic has control that action is considered risky. This means that players will have to plan their movement to be as covert as possible. Unless, of course, there is something pressing that must be done. Then they must take the risky action and hope for the best. At the end of their turn, the player will roll a die to see if their risk made them visible to the Epic or if they are safe.
To rule a city, an Epic must control it. Control is represented in Rise of the Epics by cubes on the board. There are three different kinds of control and players must interact with each differently. Security (red) represents the Epic’s policing force. Removing Security is always a risky action. Surveillance (blue) represents their security network. Removing these draws Security from surrounding locations. Population (green) represents the fearful or hostile population in the city that will interfere with your operations. Players cannot remove these from the board. You must attempt to operate covertly around this Control, but sometimes risk is necessary to achieve your goals.
This represents the overall threat to the Reckoners operating in the city. The riskier their actions, directly confrontational they are, or the more missions they botch, the more the Ruling Epic views them as a threat. Threat is measured by a Threat Track. The higher the Threat goes, the more Control activity there will be on the board and the greater the chances of them failing their threat rolls. If the Threat Track fills up, players will have to confront the Ruling Epic whether they are ready or not.
As the game progresses missions will become available that they can (and sometimes must) complete. Doing these missions will give players bonuses in the game that can help them complete their main objective. Completing missions does come with a risk of exposing your team. Each mission has a Risk value that, when the mission is completed, players must roll higher than to stay covert. Roll lower and your team has been exposed causing the threat level to increase.
While players are trying to juggle all of the above they must still find time to gather the required Evidence to discover the Ruling Epic’s weakness. Evidence spawns on the board in random city locations and players must go there to draw Evidence Cards. They will need these cards to turn in matching sets to discover the weakness of the Ruling Epic.
Rise of the Epics is about balance; deciding if something is worth the risk or not. It is about teamwork to control that risk. As the threat rises players will have to make increasingly hard decisions to balance all these elements and, hopefully, defeat the Ruling Epic.