Requiem Vampire KnightRequiem Vampire Knight is a board game project for which its publisher, KiniGame, is currently seeking $40,000 on Indiegogo. Based on a French graphic novel series with the same name, the concept behind the game is a war between factions of criminals resurrected as vampires, zombies, ghouls, and other monsters.

First the positives…

With this concept, you might expect a straight-up battle game, but you’d be wrong. While combat is one part of Requiem, there are more interesting aspects to it than that. The playing board of Requiem is made up of double-sided, square-shaped cards. Each card has a white-bordered land side and a black-bordered ruin side. During the course of the game, a player will move his units around the board and plunder lands for their resources. Each provides a unique combination of science, magic, gold, and blood. To plunder a space, the player flips the card from its land side to its ruin side. Ruins can’t be plundered for resources but they can be restored to land, only to be plundered again later.

The science, magic, gold, and blood resources are then used by the players to activate power cards. Some of the basic power cards improve movement or increase the strength of an attack in combat. These may vary a bit between factions (the game’s first two factions are Resurrectionist Vampires and Pirate Ghouls) but others provide unique abilities. For example, for the cost of a science and a gold, the ghoul player can return eliminated armies to play at the beginning of the next turn. For two gold and one magic, the vampire player can restore a ruin as a free action.

Combat is resolved simply by comparing army strength (including card-based bonuses). There is no dice-rolling, so it’s all about positioning and timing. Also, while eliminating all of an opponent’s armies is one way to win the game, they normally return to the board after a turn. Therefore, it’s fairly difficult to do without careful planning.

Another way to win is to occupy an opponent’s capitol, which is the home space where his armies are resurrected—making that no simple matter either.

Requiem setup

Now for the negatives…

Despite the interesting and almost abstract game play, Requiem Vampire Knight features a very dark theme and Gothic artwork that will be unappealing to many people.

A complex system of iconography is employed on the power cards and elsewhere in the game. I found it somewhat difficult to read and interpret during the game.

And on the issue of interpretation, the translation of game rules from French to English will, I hope, receive some additional attention before publication.

Both power cards and land/ruin cards are square. They’re also graphically similar in many other ways. They’re difficult to separate during setup, though they’re in no way interchangeable during the game.

Finally, the land/ruin cards are just that, cards. As I’ve said before for other games, cards used for a game board can blow around and are difficult to pick up.

In sum…

There’s a decent game underneath here. Some of the rest may be addressed before publication. But whether you’re willing to back Requiem Vampire Knight, I suspect will depend mostly on how the theme fits your taste.

KiniGame is a Purple Pawn advertiser and provided a complimentary prototype of Requiem Vampire Knight for review.