The Hero’s Journey
Designed by Mike Everett-Lane
Players 2-4
Length ?
Extra Material Extended Deck, 72 Suit tokens, 1 Pawn for each Player

Every Hero has a Journey.

From your humble origin you will travel far, through deserts and forests, to castles across the sea. Betrayals and pacts, discoveries and chance meetings, the clash of battle and the hum of the marketplace lie before you. Helping you meet the challenges of the journey will be your mentors — soldiers and sailors, bards and lunatics, merchants and savages.

Will the Journey end in Windfall or Calamity? Your story is yet to be written…

Setup

The Stages of the Journey
Place the Events in order from The Origin to The Pact in a single file. These are the Stages of the Hero’s Journey. Put The Rite and The Harvest in a T before The Origin. Shuffle the three Crown Events (The End, The Calamity, The Windfall) face down in a stack at the end of that line. These are the possible Endings of the Journey. Each Hero places a pawn on either The Rite or The Harvest.

Heroes will move through each Event leading to one of three Endings. The rank of the Event card your pawn is currently on is the Stage of your Hero’s Journey. The Rite and The Harvest are Stage 1.

Resource Tokens
Make a bank of the suit tokens. Give each Hero 6 tokens, one of each suit.

The Deck of Challenges
Shuffle the Aces and the Excuse together, and deal 1 to each Hero. Place the rest in a face-down pile.

The Encounters
Separate the 14 personality cards (including the Consul, the Watchman, and the Lightkeeper) into one face-down pile as the Mentor deck. In another face-down pile, put the remaining 11 locations (including The Island, The Window, and The Borderland) as the Place deck. Shuffle the two decks separately. These are the Encounter decks. Each Encounter consists of a pair of cards (one Mentor and one Place.) Turn over three Encounter pairs, in three rows above the Encounter decks.

Becoming A Hero

Your tokens represent your own strengths, skills, and resources — in Wisdom, Power, Nature, Violence, and Craft. You will need them to move forward in your Journey and to face the Challenges that lie ahead.

If you begin on The Rite, you are a Novice of The Order, sent forth from the monastery to save the land from Calamity. Draw 2 additional Moon tokens from their Wisdom. For the rest of the game, when you draw a Moon token, you may choose any other token to draw instead. You also receive a Prophecy: either look at the bottom of the 3 Ending cards, or pay all three of your Moon tokens to look at the top Ending card. You may not speak of The Prophecy.

If you begin on The Harvest, you are the youngest child of a farming family, off to seek a Windfall. For the rest of the game, when you draw a Leaf token, you may draw an additional non-Leaf token.

Whenever you must pay a resource, your personal skills and resources are required. Spend one token (back to the bank, unless the rules say otherwise.)

As your Journey progresses, you’ll also have Encounter cards in front of you. These are the Mentors that are currently with you, and the Place where you currently are. You can have more than one Mentor with you, but you can only be in one Place at a time, generally speaking. If you discard one of these cards, put it face down at the bottom of the appropriate Encounter Deck.

In addition to your own resources, your Mentors and the Place you’re in are also resources according to the rank of the card. So, for instance, if you have The Savage (3) with you and 2 Wyrm tokens, you have a total of 5 Wyrms resources available. Crown cards have a rank of 10, and Pawn and Court cards have a rank of 1.

Whenever you must expend a certain number of resources, you can draw on your own skills and resources, and also those of your allies and your surroundings, by using a combination of tokens and Encounter cards. Pay the tokens to the bank, and/or discard the Encounter card(s). No change is given. For example, if you had to expend 4 Suns, you could discard The Bard (worth 10), or The Desert and 1 Sun token.

If you draw resources, you gain in skills, strengths, and resources. Take the appropriate tokens from the bank. If the bank is out of that resource, the Hero at the lowest Stage will choose what substitute resources the bank will give you. (In case of a tie, the lowest Hero who is closest to your left will choose. If you're the lowest Hero, you choose.)

If the bank ever runs out of all its resources in all 6 suits, there is a Curse Upon the Land that affects all Heroes. Every Hero must select the suit in which they have the most tokens, and pay half of those tokens to the bank, rounding up. If you have a tie for which suit you have the most of, you can pick which suit to discard half of.

At any time during your turn, you can trade resource tokens with another Hero, at any mutually agreeable rate. At the end of your turn, you’ll also be able to trade with the bank.

Finally, the Challenge cards are the obstacles and tests you must overcome to move forward in your Journey. The Challenge card in your hand is your ability to influence the Fates’ decision over what sort of obstacles you will face. But beware — the other Heroes seeking to outstrip you in glory can also wield their influence against you! You have a hand limit of one Challenge card.

The Play

The player closest to his or her own origin goes first.

Turn Order

On your turn, do one of the following actions:
A) Travel
B) Rest
C) Attempt The Next Stage

After taking an action, you may Trade Resources.

A) Travel: A New Encounter?

Should you stay where you are, or travel further down the road, in search of new places and allies? You may find what you seek, but the seeking will cost you….

Traveling gives you the opportunity to get new Encounter cards. If you Travel, first decide who is coming with you — you may keep up to one Mentor when you travel. Any Mentors you leave behind will give you a parting gift or lesson. Draw one token from any suit on that Mentor’s card.

Then you may travel to one of three Encounters: the Wanderer’s Encounter (the top pair of cards), the Traveler’s Encounter (the second pair), and the Seeker’s Encounter (the third pair).

You can take The Wanderer’s Encounter, and all the resource tokens on those cards, by paying one resource to the bank.

To take The Traveler’s Encounter (and any resources on them), you must pay 3 resources: one onto each card (Mentor and Place) in the Wanderer’s Encounter, and a third to the bank.

Likewise, to take the Seeker’s Encounter, you must pay 5 resources: one onto each of the cards in The Wanderer’s Encounter, one onto each of the cards in The Traveler’s Encounter, and a fifth to the bank.

After taking the Encounter, place the two cards in front of you. Move the other Encounter cards up one position, and reveal a new pair of Encounter Cards in the Seeker’s Encounter position. You must discard your old Place card if you had one.

B) Rest: Learn and Gather Strength

If you choose to rest, you may learn from your Mentors, or gain resources from your current Place, and learn from your current Stage in the Hero's Journey.

You may choose an Encounter card that is at an equal rank or less than your current Stage, and draw 3 resources for it: 2 for one of the suits on the card, and 1 for the other (or 1 for each suit on a Pawn or a Court). You can also take 1 token from a suit that is on your current Stage card.

If you have no Encounter cards, or none that aren’t higher than your current Stage, you can draw 2 resources, one from each suit that’s on your current Stage card. If you Rest at Stage 1, pick 2 of the three resources on the card.

C) Attempt The Next Stage of the Journey

From your Origin to the end – whatever that may be – the way will not be easy. But what choice does a Hero have but to press onward?

There are two ways to move your Hero to the next Stage of the Journey: with a Matching Encounter card, or by Meeting a Challenge.

Matching Encounter Card
Some Mentors and Places are ideally suited for the next Stage of your Journey. For instance, The Soldier can take you to The Battle, and The Forest is rife with Chance Meetings.

If one of your Encounter cards bears both suits of the next Stage card, you may discard that Encounter card and move forward. Pawns and Courts may be used for Matching Encounter cards. Rank doesn’t matter when playing a Matching Encounter card.

Most Stages have two Matching Encounter cards (The Origin has three, and The Chance Meeting has one.) Fourteen of the Encounter cards can be used for Matching Encounters, and control of these can be critical to succeeding in your Journey.

Meeting a Challenge
How will the Fates test you? A force of Nature? A riddle of Wisdom? A clash of Violence? A display of Craft? A test of Power? You can try to influence their decision — but beware of other Heroes who might do the same!

To move to the next Stage by Meeting a Challenge, first put one token of each of the next Stage's suits on that Stage card. Then, check if you still have enough resources to reach the next Stage. You must have resources in both suits of the next Stage, and the total number of those two resources must meet or exceed the rank of the next Stage.

For instance, you have the Savage (3 Wyrms), 1 Wyrm token, and 2 Knot tokens, and are attempting to get to the Battle (Stage 4). After placing 1 Wyrm and 1 Knot token on the Battle, you have 3 Wyrms and 1 Knot left, so you have enough to attempt a Challenge. Or, after placing 1 Sun and 1 Moon token on The Pact, if you had The Bard (10 Suns) you would need at least 1 Moon token to try for The Pact, since you will need 9 resources in both Suns and Moons.

A Challenge Is Issued
First, draw the top card from the Deck of Challenges, and play either of your Challenge cards. If no one else plays a Challenge card, that card is the Issued Challenge.

Any Hero who isn't at a higher Stage than yours can be a Challenger and attempt to change the nature of the Challenge you're about to face. All Challengers must also meet whatever Challenge is Issued. Starting on your left, each Hero has the option to play their Challenge card, face down. After playing their Challenge, the Challenger must bid at least one token, placing it on that card. The next Challenger, if there is one, must exceed the last bid. Proceed until the highest bidder is determined. You may also bid, and any Challenger may increase her bid until no one outbids her. The winner of the bid reveals the Challenge card and makes their sacrifice to the Fates by paying their bid to the bank. All other Challengers take their bid tokens back, and can either discard their Challenge card or take it back into their hand.

The Excuse is wild, and the Challenger who plays it names its suit when revealing it.

Meeting The Challenge
In addition to you, all Challengers must meet the Issued Challenge. You meet the Challenge first, followed by the Challenger on your left.

To meet the Challenge, a Hero counts the number of his resources (including Encounter cards and tokens) in the Challenge suit. If the Hero has as many as his Stage, he successfully met the Challenge and draws 1 token of that suit.

If a Hero doesn't have enough resources in that suit, he failed the Challenge, and must subtract his current Stage from the number of resources he has in the Challenge suit. He must either expend at least that many resources (in any suit), or lay down his pawn and lose his next turn.

For example, you are at The Market. Your Mentors are The Sailor (4 Leaves) and The Author (2 Moons), and you're in The Desert. After placing 1 Moon and 1 Leaf token on The Chance Meeting, you have 4 Moon tokens and 1 Leaf token left, so with your Mentors you have 11 Moons and Leaves, more than enough to attempt Stage 7. You play the Challenge of Moons, but are outbid by another Hero who issues the Challenge of Waves. Since you’re at Stage 6, you need to have 6 Waves to meet this Challenge. The Sailor has 4, but you have no Wave tokens, so you fail the Challenge and don't get to move to the next Stage. You must also expend 2 resources (Stage 6 - 4 Waves = 2), so you discard the Author. Then you take your Moon and Leaf tokens back from the Chance Meeting card. The other Challenger is at The Discovery, and has The Sea. She needs 4 Waves, and has 10, so she meets the Challenge and draws 1 Wave token from the bank.

After all the Challengers have dealt with the Challenge, you may move forward to the next Stage if you met the Challenge. (If you spent tokens to bid on Issuing the Challenge, you still move forward to the next Stage even if you no longer have matching resources that meet or exceed that Stage's rank.) Pay the tokens you placed on that Stage to the bank. If you didn't, stay on your current Stage, and take those tokens back.

Put the Issued Challenge card back into the Deck of Challenges, shuffle it, and deal one new Challenge card to every Hero who needs one.

Events
After moving to a new Stage in either manner, you must apply that Stage’s Event.

The Origin: Chance Beginnings.
The Hero to your left secretly places 1 Leaf and 1 Wave token from the bank into a closed fist, with the other being empty. Choose a hand, and take the tokens if you chose correctly.

The Journey: A New Place.
Take the Place card from the Wanderer’s Encounter pair, along with any resources on it. Shift the other Places up, and reveal a new Place for the Seeker’s Encounter. While on The Journey, you can have two Place cards. If you take a new Encounter while on The Journey, and you already have two Places, discard one of your old ones.

The Battle: The Chances of War.
Since you are no longer on The Journey, you must immediately discard down to one Place. The Battle affects all Heroes. Each reveals a face-down Mentor or Place card from the Encounter deck, and adds its Rank to the number of Wyrm and Knot tokens she has. The one with the highest total draws 1 Wyrm and 1 Knot. The one with the lowest total must skip his next turn. If there's a tie, the one with the most Wyrm and Knot tokens wins. Discard those Encounter cards and reshuffle each Encounter deck.

The Discovery: What’s In The Chest?
Discard your Challenge card, and draw 2 of those resources (or 3 resources of any suits if you discard The Excuse). Then look through the remaining cards in the Deck of Challenges, and take any Challenge card. Reshuffle the Deck.

The Market: A Trading Place.
If you have at least 3 Knot tokens, draw 1 Knot token. While your Hero is on The Market, you may make 1:1 trades from the bank.

The Chance Meeting: A New Encounter
Take the top face-down cards from the Mentor and Place decks. Discard a Place if you have two.

The Betrayal: A Broken Oath.
You must give your highest-ranked Mentor card to another Hero. If you have no Mentor cards, you must give all your Wyrm and Knot tokens to the other Heroes, in any way you deem fit.

The Pact: Sealed Under The Sun and Moon.
If you are the first Hero to reach The Pact, reveal the Ending. Any Hero reaching The Pact may pay 2 Sun and 2 Moon tokens to trade any of your Mentors for any of the three face-up Mentor cards. Place those tokens on your old Mentor card. Take any resources that were on your new Mentor card.

Trade Resources
At the end of your turn, after taking one of the three actions, you can trade resources. Trade resources 2:1 from the bank, or from any Encounter card if the bank is out of that resource. The resources you trade need not match each other (so, if you needed a Moon token, you could pay a Wyrm and a Knot token for it). Trading a resource with the bank is not the same as drawing a resource, so a Harvest Hero will only get 1 token if he trades two tokens for a Leaf. If you’re on the Market, you can trade 1:1. You can make as many trades as you can afford.

You can also trade with any other Hero at any mutually agreeable rate. Trades between you and another Hero can happen any time during your turn.

After your turn, play proceeds to the left.

Game End and Scoring

The first Hero to reach The Pact reveals the top Ending card. This is the last Stage that all Heroes must reach — there will only be one Ending. You can only reach the Ending by meeting a Challenge. You’ll only need to place one token on the Ending before making the attempt, and you will need to have 10 of that Ending’s suit (Wyrms, Knots, or Leaves).

Once the first Hero reaches the Ending, all other Heroes get one more turn. The first Hero to reach the Ending triggers one of these Events:

The Calamity: All Heroes must discard any Encounter cards that do not bear a Wyrm. Every Hero totals their non-Wyrm resource tokens, and must pay half that many tokens, rounding up.

The Windfall: Each Hero draws 2 non-Knot resources for each of their Encounter cards that bears a Knot, starting with the active Hero and proceeding to the left. When scoring, Knot tokens and Encounter cards with Knots count double for all Heroes.

The End: The first Hero to reach The End may draw 2 Moons, if they began on The Rite, or 1 Leaf (and the bonus token) if they began on The Harvest. When scoring, starting with that Hero, each Hero may either play their Challenge card, or reveal the top card from The Deck of Challenges. Encounter cards bearing that suit count double for that Hero. If it's the Excuse, all Encounter cards count double.

Scoring
Total the number of resource tokens. Add a bonus of 6 if you have at least one token of each suit.
Multiply that total by your current Stage (10, if you’re at an Ending).
Finally, add the total of the ranks of your Encounter cards (Crowns are worth 10, Pawns and Courts are worth 1.)

Good luck, Heroes!

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