The world as you know it has been turned upside down! 12 giant, terrible monsters known as Zodiacs have erupted from the earth and seek to destroy all in their path. As chaos reigns, you ask yourself: where are the heroes? Sorry to say, but the role of hero today will be played by you. This is the drama central to the boss-battle board game The Bad Karmas And The Curse Of The Zodiac, a digital hybrid game by Xplored utilizing the new Teburu gaming system. Bad Karmas just hit Kickstarter today, and we got our hands on a prototype of the game for this preview.
How Does The Bad Karmas And The Curse Of The Zodiac Play?
In The Bad Karmas And The Curse Of The Zodiac, you take on the role of a titular "Bad Karma," an unlikely hero imbued with incredible talents that must work together with their teammates to take down these huge, hulking Zodiac monsters. To play the game, players set up their Teburu board and place a map overlay on top, syncing Teburu's digital board with dice, an LED base for the huge Zodiac miniatures, and RFD minis. From there, players use multiple smart devices (we used an iPad and an iPhone) to navigate the game.
At the start of the game, the app sets the scene. It describes how the monster emerges from its lair, what it looks like, and other important story information. The app then instructs the players on where to set the Zodiac monster, blocking terrain, and each hero. From there, players take turns activating their hero (if you're playing solo, or with less than four total players, you control multiple heroes).
First, the players decide which order they'd like their heroes to activate in. Then, each hero can move a number of spaces on the board and choose one of their digital attack cards (as pictured below) to launch an attack. Most abilities involve dealing some damage and applying statuses to the Zodiac monster, or otherwise help their allies or harm their foe. The cool part about the Teburu gaming system is that the board and app track all of this. If you try to move your character too many spaces, the board reads that movement and pops up with an error message. And it tracks all status effects, so you don't have to remember that you've stunned the monster, or where the monster will move if you've pushed it.
The movements of the Zodiac monster are also tracked by the game. These boss monsters are tenacious, and attack in between each hero's activation. In our prototype scenario, which was a simple skirmish against the rock and lava Zodiac monster called Aries, our team of heroes barely survived an onslaught of attacks. Aries was a ferocious opponent, and would sometimes dash across the board, slamming into heroes in its path. Or it would spew lava, burning surrounding heroes, vent steam, blinding our heroes, and even at times grab a hero and toss them across the board!
How Does The Teburu System Impact Gameplay In Bad Karmas?
With most of the heavy lifting done by the Teburu game system, all us heroes had to do was stay alive, manage our health, dodge attacks (as best we could), and try to chip away at Aries' health. This is truly a boss-monster battle, with Aries having tons and tons of hit points. As we chipped away at the monster, we slowly upgraded our heroes' powers, striking harder, and with more precision, while causing debilitating status effects.
Though we were playing with rough prototype miniatures, we really loved the look and feel of the design of every character. From the hulking Zodiac monsters (we were provided with both Aries and Gemini, but only had gameplay access to Aries) to our heroic Bad Karmas and the surrounding crystalline scenery, everything we saw was absolutely inventively designed. As mentioned above, in our testing we had access to the skirmish mode against Aries, but the full game of The Bad Karmas And The Curse Of The Zodiac allows for both single-battle games and a campaign mode where characters level up and grow stronger between each encounter.
All in all, we are totally enamored with the gameplay flow of The Bad Karmas And The Curse Of The Zodiac, and can't wait to dig into the full game. This really is one of those digital tabletop hybrid games where the technology at hand adds to the experience in a meaningful way. This isn't just "click here for some flashy visuals," the tech behind the Teburu board and the way it impacts gameplay is truly integral to the gameplay. For example, the LED base that the Zodiac sits on shows four rings of color, and this can show sides of the monster (because positioning matters) that are weakened, off balance (perfect for pushing), and more.
What Are Our Initial Thoughts On The Bad Karmas?
From top to bottom, this is a game that rewards careful strategy and cooperation. But, because so much of the gritty details are tracked via the app, it still moves quickly. It's a game that you can play with your deepest strategy nerd skirmish gaming friends, or with your casual friends who just want to roll some dice and smash some big monsters. So no matter your play style, these big boss-fight style battles are thrilling and a desperate fight to the bitter end. We'll definitely be keeping a close eye on The Bad Karmas And The Curse Of The Zodiac as the Kickstarter progresses.
To learn more about The Bad Karmas And The Curse Of The Zodiac, or get in on a pledge of the game yourself, head over to their brand new Kickstarter now.