At the Spiel Fair in Essen, Germany this past year, there were multiple instances of stolen cash boxes from board game companies. One of these companies was LudiCreations who had almost all of their money stolen on the second to last day of the fair. This is particularly devastating to small, indie board game companies (Essen is a huge source of income) and could potentially cause a company to go out of business. Many people came together that night and the next morning to create Steal This Game – a Kickstarter campaign to try to recuperate some of the lost capital.
I backed this Kickstarter and as a thank you reward, got the game They Who Were 8 designed by Todd Sanders. I picked this game because Todd Sanders designed one of my favorite quick solo games, Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden (also to be published by LudiCreations). I went in knowing nothing about the gameplay or the theme. I was really attracted to the simplistic artwork and the stark look of the minimalist design. The game has two ways to play, an individual game and a team game with four players. At this moment I have only played the individual competitive game at different player counts and that is what I’ll be talking about here. The four player team game sounds intriguing, but in my experience, it is hard to get partner games to the table. Also included in the game is a story book about the gods, similar to an origin story or myth. This was a nice thematic touch.
They Who Were 8 tells a story of ‘gods’ vying for the most glory. Each player controls two of these gods, one of their right and one on their left. Players get a hand of three cards, which all manipulate the glory and infamy of the gods in some way. Cards can add glory or infamy, remove glory or infamy, or exchange/move glory or infamy from one god to another. During a round, each player will resolve one of their cards to add/remove/exchange glory and/or infamy from the different gods. Certain cards can affect any god, some cards only can affect other player’s gods, and some cards can impact only the active player’s gods. After each player resolves one card, they then must choose one of their remaining two to pass to the player on their left. The players draw back up the three cards, pass the start player marker, and continue. In addition to these action cards, each god has a special ability a player can trigger on their turn. Using the power does subtract one from that god’s glory. The game ends once all of the glory tokens of all of the infamy tokens are gone from the supply.
The interesting piece of the game is the scoring. Gods are in pairs from the beginning, each player’s left god is paired with their neighbor’s right god. At the end of the game, each pair totals up their glory (+2 for each glory token and -1 for each infamy token). The pair with the most glory is then looked at… the player with the least amount of glory in the pair is the winner, symbolizing the more humble god in the pair.
This is a pretty fast game and one I can pull out with folks before more people show up for game night or as a warm up game. Although the gameplay is rather simple and fast, teaching the game has proven to be difficult in proportion to the ruleset. My first hurdle is the symbolism mixed with the graphic design on the cards. All the card actions are shown as symbols instead of words, and although I think symbols can help streamline a game, I found it to slow down the game where text could have helped. In addition, there was only one player aid, which always makes it hard to pass around to four players. With any game with symbols, I think repeated play will increase my familiarity with the symbols and different actions. The second issue with teaching They Who Were 8 is the scoring system. A player wants to have one of their gods a part of the most glorious god pair BUT have the less glory than the other god in the pair. It took a bit of time to wrap my head around this type of scoring.
I like the game however, I am not sure how often I will pull it out. I am keeping it in my collection and will probably keep bring it to game night to see how the gameplay evolves. They Who Were 8 looks good on the table and provides intriguing card play and token manipulation. Overall, a fun game I look forward to play again.
Final Rating: 3.2/5
See more here: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/138201/they-who-were-8
That’s right y’all! I have one brand new copy of They Who Were 8 to give away. Unfortunately, I cannot ship worldwide right now and can only ship within the United States. There are three ways to enter, giving you a total of 5 chance to win:
- Comment on this post for one entry – a quick comment is fine! (1 entry)
- In your comment, tell me who you want to play this game with. (1 entry)
- In your comment, tell me how you plan to resist and/or do social justice work in the next month (e.g., call my representative, participate in protests, writing, boosting marginalized voices, etc.). (3 entries)
The contest will end on Tuesday February, 28 at 11:59pm. Good luck!