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Updated: Oct 16, 2023

The film Jason and the Argonauts has arguably the best examples of Ray Harryhausen's stop-motion animation. Tho' this card game from Alcyon Creative is predicated on the original Greek myths rather than the cinematic iteration, if you've ever seen the 1963 movie then this game will instantly put you in mind of it.

Argonauts is a solo or cooperative game for up to four where players control a pre-designed team of four heroes: three are face-up but one starts the game exhausted (ie: face down). Each hero has specific skills and a class, and some have additional special abilities. Players are working to get through an Adventure deck made up of face-up encounters organised in a pre-set order interspersed with randomised face-down cards. Each turn you draw a card from the Adventure deck and resolve it by meeting its requirements using the skills, class or special abilities of your heroes. You can combine heroes to meet a card's requirements but you can only combine heroes from different teams.

When you use a hero, they are exhausted, so flipped face down, and the hero that was previously exhausted is flipped face up and so is available for use. You collectively have four face-up indicator cards representing your food, crew and the state of repair of your ship. Some of the face-down Adventure cards can be helpful but most add to the teams' perils, making the voyage of the Argonauts a punishing challenge: event cards and failing to beat a monster can cause damage to your ship or lose you crew or food (flip the indicator cards), and if you flip all four of any of the three categories of indicator cards, it's game over. The game gives you two 'Favor of the gods' cards which can be used once each to prevent an indicator card from being flipped.

Argonauts is designed by Konstantinos Iovis, Lefteris Iroglidis and Ionnnis Stamatis, with art by Giota Vorgia. It's essentially a puzzle optimisation game where you have to make choices over how to make the most effective use of your teams. You always have all four teams available to you (for a two-player game each player controls two teams; in the solitaire game you control all four; it just becomes a little clunky with three players as that requires just one player to control two teams), so the teams are the same regardless of player count. The game works as a co-operative but it's at its best a solo game: a kind of Greek myth Patience. The composition of the Adventure deck is always the same - it's just that you don't know what event cards will come up next. On the one hand, that allows for more tactical planning of your actions as you get to know the cards and the likelihood of them coming up. On the other, it can make repeat plays feel repetitive. However, you can step up the level of challenge by leaving out the 'Favor of the gods' cards...

Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of Argonauts. Alcyon Creative is bringing this game to Kickstarter in October packaged with two other light Greek-myth themed card games (Troy and Deus Ex Machina). Click here to check out the KS campaign.

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