Discover: Lands Unknown is a new board game from Fantasy Flight Games and Corey Konieczka which you can play by yourself or up to three other players.
Konieczka is a highly rated designer. His previous successes include Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game, StarCraft: The Board Game, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, Space Hulk: Death Angel, Gears of War: The Board Game, Eldritch Horror, Star Wars: Rebellion and Star Wars: Destiny.
Fantasy Flight Games are trying to invent a new category of board games. They’re calling this category unique board games, and the premises is simple enough. Each copy of Discover: Lands Unknown is different from any other.
I see the marketing angle and the sales advantage straight away, but I wonder if the attraction of Discover: Lands Unknown as a unique board game is as attractive as it is for the first game they launched under the concept? That first game is KeyForge, from Richard Garfield, the creator of Magic: The Gathering, in which players use decks of cards to battle against each other and forge keys. The unique game concept for KeyForge is interesting because it gets around deck building via money. It’s not yet clear why it matters that your copy of Discover: Lands Unknown is different from anyone else in your circle of gaming friends.
One of the reasons why the importance of the unique game aspect to Discover: Lands Unknown is because Fantasy Flight Games are unwilling to tell us much about the game! They’re trying to be mysterious.
I’m not mocking.
Here’s what they say in their announcement;
In the spirit of this sense of mystery, this announcement article and future previews will show as few components as possible while still diving into the mechanics of the game. Just like your survivors embarking on a mysterious adventure, you never know what fate awaits. Still, if you want to go into the game without any hints of what you’ll find within, it’d be best to turn back now!
We know that the game works with between one and four players and that it can sometimes be cooperative. Sometimes. Right? When it gets tough, it may make more sense to throw your fellow survivors to the wolves than face them yourself.
Discover: Lands Unknown is about survival. You wake up with a headache, no memories and in a strange place. Who you are is determined by the random selection of characters who come in your copy of the game. Where you are is defined by the random tiles that come in your copy of the game.
In addition to surviving you’ll also get some random quests with your game that (presumably) reward characters for completing.
Each turn players have to decide how much of their stamina they are willing to spend to achieve a thing to help them survive a little longer. I imagine the trade-off is the stamina itself and that you need it to survive.
You might like...
I’m certainly interested in this new approach from Fantasy Flight Games. I assume there are patents or trademarks and whatever other barriers to entry they can erect behind them as they pioneer into this space. Will it be popular?
I’m also very much interested in the economics behind this all. Is it now cost-effective to print thousands of unique board games en mass?
Most of all, I think the idea of a survivalist solo board game designed for maximum replayability is a good one and I’m tempted.