Updated: Jun 18, 2020
If this game's title seems weird, wait till you hear the premise. As in Dark Souls (Steamforged), the players are told at the start that they are dead. You have, it seems, woken in the afterlife. If heaven or hell have any physical location then game designers Isaac Liu, Man Chi and Ivan Poon imagine the dead must go to Kowloon because in this game the players are at an ethereal casino gambling for control of the three creepy living dolls that will stalk Hong Kong on your behalf hoovering up mobile phones, sardine cans and other items that are later exchanged for souls. It's only by collecting this bric-a-brac that you'll accumulate enough souls to cash in for reincarnation.
If any of this makes any sense to you, we'll be mightily surprised. This is a game that sounds like it owes its design to the influence of banned substances. The art too, by Roxy Dai, is distinctly weird, tho' the 'Crazy', 'Hinako' and 'Joker' devil dolls have their own fascinating appeal.
There are a lot of regular six-sided dice, and you'll be rolling them, but mainly only to indicate which of the devil dolls you'll be 'buying into' in the casino (1/2 for 'Crazy', 3/4 for 'Hinako' and 5/6 for 'Joker'). There are also custom six-sided dice (1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2) that affect how far the dolls move on their perambulation through Hong Kong. Otherwise, dice are mostly used as a currency, along with actual currency (designated, in a nod to the game's otherwise inexplicable title, in units of billions). The ultimate currency in Billionaire Rumour, however, is souls. That's what you are collecting and you'll sometimes be risking some of your stock of these (or even take a loan of souls pushing you into negative territory) in a bid to accumulate more. We did say this was a gambling game. When you place your gambling tokens, other players don't know which of the dolls you are competing to control, so Billionaire Rumour is also a game where there are opportunities for bluff and deception.
Billionaire Rumour is bizarre but fun. Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of the game. Publishers HeadBlown Studio are planning to bring the game to Kickstarter very shortly so it won't be a surprise if there are some tweaks to the rules and some further clarifications. In their current form, the rules incorporate some examples but it would make the game more accessible if there were more example of turns and how they work. We're still puzzling tho' over the game's title...
Billionaire Rumour is live now on Kickstarter. Click here to check out the campaign.