Have you ever wanted to search the jungles of South America for a lost temple, or climb the mountains of Tibet looking for secret treasure? Have you ever wanted to fight Nazis on a Zeppelin, or tangle with gangsters in depression-era Chicago?
In “Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game,” the newest board game from Flying Frog Productions, players search the globe for ancient artifacts, all while battling fiendish Nazis and sinister mobsters who want the treasure for themselves. If this sounds like an Indiana Jones adventure, you're right on target. The game is modeled on the pulp cliffhangers of the 1930s, with more than one nod to Harrison Ford's iconic hero thrown into the mix.
Players select different characters to play with different skill sets. These skills can be augmented by buying gear and allies in cities. Will you play the dashing British duke, the feisty American reporter or the mad Russian scientist?
By drawing random cards, different artifacts are created and placed throughout the globe. Players win fortunes by recovering the artifacts and glory in overcoming dangers to find them. As soon as a player fails a danger, however, he flips the danger card over to reveal a cliffhanger that must be resolved at the beginning of his next turn.
The game can be played cooperatively as the heroes try to collect enough fortune before the Nazis or the mob reaches their objectives in an impressive card-driven mechanic. Players may prefer the competitive scenario, where each hero is out to collect the most artifacts for himself. Event cards can be collected and played against opponents, throwing hurdles in their paths and increasing your chances of winning.
This is not a high strategy game, and that may turn off some gamers. In addition to the randomness of more than a dozen card decks, there is a lot of dice rolling in this game. Each danger requires rolls to overcome, and while players may do some actions to mitigate a negative roll, the chance factor definitely outweighs strategy.
What designer Jason C. Hill lacks in a strategic game mechanic, however, he more than makes up for in theme and fun. One actually feels transported to the time and era through the inventive story of the cards and period-appropriate photos and artwork.
As one has come to expect from a Flying Frog game, “Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game” contains numerous cards, playing pieces and chits. For a small company, Flying Frog puts a lot into its games, and its dedication to creating a fun and exciting experience definitely shows in game play.
Cody K. Carlson holds a master's degree in history from the University of Utah and currently teaches at Salt Lake Community College. He is also the co-developer of the History Challenge iPhone/iPad apps. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org