Epic Resort Kickstarter Preview

[This post is not a review, but a preview of a game that is currently on Kickstarter. The final version of the game may be different in terms of art, graphics, or rules.] 

Epic Resort is a game currently on Kickstarter from Ben Harkins and Floodgate Games. Ben had a successful campaign in the past with Legacy: Gears of Time. He is back with another game with another very unique theme and a combination of mechanisms that definitely grabbed my interest almost immediately. The game has players taking the roles of resort owners who want to create a vacation spot for the world's heroes to relax and recharge. The problem with this is that where heroes go, so monsters and villains follow. The players need to attract tourists and heroes to their resort through a very interesting mix of hand management, deck building, and worker placement. Want to hear more about how the game works? Read on!

Players start the game with a deck of basic cards - 7 Apprentices, 3 Street Performers, and 3 Lazy Peons. These cards will serve several purposes, depending upon when they are played. There are 4 phases in a round of Epic Resort.

The first phase, Get to Work, happens simultaneously for all players. During this phase, players can assign cards they have in hand which can be used as workers to staff their attractions. This is important because some attractions have special abilities which can only be activated if the attraction is fully staffed. The decision of whether or not to staff one's attractions also affects one's income.

Players will be getting tourists to come to their attractions. Each tourist they attract will be placed on a track on the upper left of each attraction card. After the Get to Work phase, a tourist will leave the attraction for every worker spot that remains unoccupied by one of the players workers. After this, a player will get income in the two currencies based on the right-most unoccupied space. Sometimes a player will want tourists to leave so she can get more of the Flair resource, and other times she will want to do everything she can to keep any tourists from leaving so she can get as much Gold income as possible. 

For 5 Flair a player could gain 4 tourists to an attraction of hers by purchasing the Legion card, or she could attract the Warlord to her resort by spending 7 Flair. 

The next phase is the Attract, Hire, & Upgrade phase. In turn order, players will perform one of the following actions until both players pass - either attract tourists or heroes to their attractions using Flair, hire new workers or train workers using Gold, or upgrade attractions, which also requires Gold. I've already mentioned the benefits and balance of adding new tourists to an attraction, but recruiting new heroes will help defend attractions from the monsters that will eventually come to spoil the fun (more on that later).

The squire can be used as two workers (as opposed to the Apprentice's one), or he could be saved to use his ability.

This phase is also where the deck building part of the game factors in. During this phase, players can train their starting workers to be more specialized workers. This will often have the interesting effect of having more powerful, but ultimately less flexible worker in a player's deck. Hired workers go immediately into a player's hand. In traditional deck builder style, worker cards which are used will go to a discard pile, which will eventually be shuffled when a player needs to draw from her deck but doesn't have enough cards to do so.

The last option a player has during this phase of the game is to upgrade one of her attractions. These attractions are worth more points (the ones players start with are worth 0), and have special abilities that can be activated if they are completely full of tourists. Upgraded attractions go on top of previous attractions (players have 3 spots in their tableaus for attractions).

Not exactly what you want to see on vacation...

After both players pass, the A Ship Arrives phase begins. During this phase, the harbor section of the board needs to be refilled. Hopefully the only thing that comes up are more heroes and tourists. But, from time to time, monsters will show up on the boat, and attack players' resorts. The monster's text will dictate which player it will attack, as well as any special abilities it has aside from its attack power (the number in the shield). Resolving attacks is pretty simple - when an attraction with a hero is attacked, the hero there loses 1 health. The attraction will lose tourists equal to the difference of the monster's attack and the hero's defense. An attraction with no hero will lose tourists equal to the monster's strength, and an attraction with no tourists gets a damage token (usually 2 damage tokens will completely destroy an attraction). 

Once the harbor is full of heroes and tourists, the Cleanup phase starts. All played worker cards go to player discard pile, heroes with full health (fully rested and relaxed - thanks to your resort) go to scoring piles, the top monster card is discarded for each hero scored this way, and then each hero still at an attraction gains 1 health. Players also lose all remaining Flair, but keep all remaining Gold. After that is all done, players start again with phase 1, Get to Work!

The game ends after the round in which the Monster deck is empty. Final scoring is the sum of a player's attractions (even those that were built over) and all of a player's rested heroes.

Epic Resort is a very solid second effort from Ben Harkins and Floodgate Games. It successfully combines two very popular mechanisms into a fun, challenging, and quite beautiful game. I recommend you take a few minutes and check out the Kickstarter page. This one has already funded, so if you pledge you will definitely be getting a copy! Go pledge now and help us get some of those sweet stretchgolas!!

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