A fierce and fearsome beast stalks the land, slaughtering livestock and helpless villagers. Your small band of hunters are the only hope of tracking down the beast and saving the ravaged land. This is the premise for Studio Midhall's Beast, designed by Elon and Aron Midhall and due for release on Kickstarter this Fall.
Beast is a card-driven hidden movement game. One player controls the beast and up to three other players each control a hunter. If you play this as a two-player game, then the hunter controls two characters. The beast has a deck of compass direction cards and plays these face down to denote its movement. This means the other players know where the beast was and how far it's moved but not where it is at the moment. The beast becomes visible (reveals its current location and the movement cards that got it there) when it attacks and when it is successfully scouted by a hunter. When a hunter's movement takes them over a space through which the beast has moved, the beast places out a trail token. Players can also try to deduce the beast's location through its summonses (Beasts can summon creatures from its pack).
Actions in Beast are all card-driven but the hunters and beast have their own permanent action cards supplemented by action cards taken in a draft at the start of each round. In addition, the hunters have access to item cards and the beast a deck of ability cards. This injects a good dash of variety so that your plays of Beast won't all play out the same way. Players also have a choice over which hunters and which beast to use: they all play in a subtly different way. Shown in our Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of the game with just a single map but our expectation is that the finished game will offer alternative maps and scenarios. The map is important because each location represents a particular terrain type and certain actions can only be taken in specific terrains. Again, this is all information that can help the hunters to track the beast. There's scope too for transforming terrain types as well as for upgrading your beast and hunters' capabilities. Players will be collecting tokens (puzzlingly referred to as 'grudge' tokens) which are used to pay for upgrades.
Tho' Beast certainly works as a two-player game, we found it really shines with three or four players because the hunters need genuinely to cooperate in order to optimise the effectiveness of their actions. Unlike many familiar hidden movement games such as Scotland Yard (Ravensburger), the player controlling the beast isn't merely trying to escape capture for a set number of rounds but is seeking to fulfil their own distinct objectives. The ability to summon pack members also gives them more to do. Coupled with the variety of adversaries, this puts Beast a notch above other stealth movement deduction games like Letters from Whitechapel (Sir Chester Cobblepot/FFG).
We're looking forward to seeing how Beast evolves further over the course of its KS campaign. And of course we'll add a link to the campaign when it goes live.