In the designers' pre-publication publicity for Soul Tokens they talk about trying to come up with a combination of Cards Against Humanity and Game of Life (Milton Bradley). That's pretty much what they've achieved in Soul Tokens.
In terms of board game play, the core game mechanic is a simple unadulterated roll & move. No learning curve here: even if you've never played anything more complicated than Snakes & Ladders, you won't need to watch a Rodney Smith tuition video to understand that you roll the dice and move the number of spaces indicated. The spaces 1-84 represent years of life, and when you land on a space you pick up a card from the stack in the corresponding age range.
You'll already have started off with cards indicating your race, gender and a couple of characteristics, and the cards you pick up on your journey through life all shape your in-game persona. Cards will also give you money, 'negative money' and/or soul tokens. And as is suggested in the name of the game, it's the soul tokens that count because the winner will be the player who has amassed the most soul tokens when all players have reached the end of their game of life (ie: death).
The cards you get are entirely random, tho' you do get some choice over Job and Career cards when you pass the appropriate spaces on the board. Players can mould their characters tho' by trading cards, maybe offering money or even soul tokens as sweeteners. It can be particularly rewarding to have certain card combos so if I have a card you need, it could be worth you paying me a precious soul token to secure it. Some cards have a 'take that' element, forcing an opponent to discard money or a soul token, or allowing you to steal from them.
It's the cards and players' emerging personas that give Soul Tokens its party game playability. As with all such games, the fun you get out of this game depends on what you put into it. If you just draw cards and solely have regard for their gain/lose a soul token effect, this game will fall very flat. If, however, you play it for laughs and maybe even role-play your developing character, then Soul Token can be an enjoyable party game. Think of the Community Chest card in standard Monopoly: you can ignore the flavour text and just take the $10 or you can act out your excitement or disappointment at winning second prize in a beauty contest. To get the most out of Soul Tokens, you need to be willing to run thro' the gamut of emotions that would've been summed up in that 'second prize' award.
The reference to Cards Against Humanity will probably have rung alarm bells that Soul Tokens includes content that some players may find offensive. You're probably not going to be breaking this game out to play when your prim maiden aunt calls round, but if you do then you might want to fillet out the handful of cards that use 'bad language'. You may find it more problematic when certain card combos come up that reinforce popular racial stereotypes; tho' that could turn out to be down more to the players than the game. Bottom line, Soul Tokens is nowhere near as offensive as Cards Against Humanity but we'd still classify it as NSFW (Not Safe for Work).
Soul Tokens is on Kickstarter right now. Click here to check it out.
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