At Board's Eye View, we've been great fans of Dragon Dawn Production's Perdition's Mouth since we first set eyes on the Abyssal Rift original game. Since Perdition's Mouth: Abyssal Rift was published in 2016 there have been several small expansions but Soul Spire is DDP's first major expansion for the game. And it's major in every sense: the box is as big as that for the original game and it's going to come packed with new map boards, cards, tokens, mats and minis. It's a bigger package and with more in it than you'll find in most standalone games but Soul Spire is an expansion nonetheless - you'll still need a copy of the original game - tho', when the game is crowdfunded later this year, DDP plan to offer as an option a package that includes everything you need to play Soul Spire without already having Abyssal Rift - ideal for anyone coming new to the game.
If you've not yet played Perdition's Mouth, it's a horror-themed dungeon crawler that's unlike any other. There's no Dungeon Master and instead of the usual dice chucking, Perdition's Mouth adopts mechanics more often found in euro games. Central to the game is the rondel used to determine each character's actions. During the course of play, players move their character peg around a 'Stone of Destiny' rondel, where they take the indicated actions. This system means that players need to plan ahead; they need to work in concert with each other - not least so they don't block other players from moving on the roundel or, indeed, moving on the map board.
The enemies you're up against are also controlled by a rondel and, as veterans of the original game will attest, they provide formidable foes. Even some of the more experienced RPG adventurers on the Board's Eye View team confess they've lost more games than they've won. And losing and taking damage in Perdition's Mouth can't just be shrugged off: if your character takes a wound in combat, it weakens them, and it's not just loot and treasure that you'll take forward from one game to the next, it's injuries too. Levelling in Perdition's Mouth isn't a one-way street! The game then is tough to beat, and it's the high level of challenge in Perdition's Rift that keeps players coming back for more.
And more, of course, is where we're at with Soul Spire. The new expansion is designed by Ren Multamaki and David Hladky, with some great art from Matthias Catrein, Darko Kreculj and Jamie Noble-Frier. Tho' the expansion follows on from Abyssal Rift, it's not just more of the same. Along with new heroes and monsters, and a set of modifiable modular boards, Soul Spire is more story-driven, and the package includes a Scenario Guide that doesn't just set the scene with flavour text: you'll play the game as a campaign and, depending on how you do, you'll be directed to different 'story nodes' in a format that may well remind you of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game. Whereas Abyssal Rift pitted heroes against cultists and 'insectoids', Soul Spire is a game involving shifting alliances that you can form with the three hostile factions. That means enemies from rival factions can be lured into fighting each other: you can do better in Soul Spire by playing tactically rather than necessarily piling in on enemies.
We mentioned that it's a feature of Perdition's Mouth that wounds and injuries don't just disappear at the end of a game. That's even true for heroes that you take into Soul Spire from the original game, tho' Soul Spire offers as a small concession some upgraded cards that 'veterans' can add to characters' individual decks.
Shown here on Board's Eye View is a preview prototype of Soul Spire ahead of its planned crowdfunding launch later this year. There are bound to be refinements to the game as it continues its development. We've been impressed with the new minis we've seen but we're told these too are still being further improved. We're excited to continue our adventures with Perdition's Mouth and we'll add links to the Soul Spire campaign when it goes live later this year.