The Vrahode Game System is very card driven. That’s why we have multiple decks of cards like Overland Exploration, Underland Exploration, and Ocean Exploration.
But you might be wondering “why?”
Well, in our view, a deck of cards, especially a well-crafted one, offers a much more robust variety of outcomes than a strict narrative or even a die. Our desire is to make a game system based around ease of play and replayability. Our hope is to give content creators a versatile, easy-to-learn system that will allow your game group to focus on the story NOT the rules!
Board games are social. That’s why we want the joy of face-to-face play with tangible bits of paper and plastic to come forward – otherwise, you could just play a video game!
With all that in mind, let’s take a look at one of my favorite modes of gameplay: Overland Exploration.
Join the Adventure
Five Modes Of Gameplay
Overland Exploration is one of five main modes of gameplay:
- Overland Exploration
- Overland Rest
- Underland Exploration
- Underland Rest
- Ocean Exploration
As the name suggests, Overland Exploration happens across the vastness of the lands of Vrahode in its known entirety. This makes for long, arduous travel that can take a toll on even the most seasoned adventurers.
The Mathematics Behind Overland Exploration
We spent a lot of time baking a mathematic rationale into how this deck functions by making each area of terrain a little different. There are generally five different things that can happen when you draw a card from the Overland Exploration deck.
- Safe travel
- An enemy encounter
- Finding an item
- Finding a biome-specific item
- Playing out flavor text
As you can imagine, this was challenging to construct a deck around. Many cards in the deck could represent ALL terrain types, but many other cards had to be divided into different terrain types to keep the math intact for optimal gameplay!
Biomes In Overland Exploration
One way we divide up terrain is by biome. Some biomes are considerably more challenging to traverse than others. Here is a short list of Overland Exploration biomes that we use to vary up gameplay and keep the deck dynamic and fun.
(As an aside: Overland Exploration cards are 2.5×3.5″, which is large enough to fit all text for both the biome and the gameplay outcomes.)
Gameplay Changes Depending On Where You Are In Vrahode
Vrahode is a world of wonder, but the gameplay is based on logic. That’s why we believe you’re going to really enjoy the game as you travel through diverse lands that are home to flora and fauna unique to each biome. Forget about fighting random bad guys that just happen to be in the way – every encounter is uniquely tailored to your location on the board.
The same thing can be said about the items you might find, and the frequency with which you may find them. Some items can be found anywhere, but other items are biome-specific.
Then there is the flavor text. It’s designed to inject a bit of storytelling into the game. Normally, I am not a fan of world events that randomly modify play like eclipses or stars aligning, but here, we have localized features that create small challenges and opportunities. Again, it’s based on your location in the Overland, and I think you will like them!
Here’s an example. In Sheltering Ruin, “a stand of old ruins looks like a secure place to camp. If you choose to rest here, you may discard the first Ambush card drawn from the Rest Deck.”
As you can see there are no symbols you have to look up or cryptic “rule speak” on the card, just a simple way to create some granular flavor to a spot on the map.
The Overland Exploration Deck Scaling Mechanism
Of all the aspects of the Overland Exploration Deck, the scaling mechanism may be the most important. Each hero in play is required to draw a card from this deck as they enter new regions. Solo players can often sneak quietly through regions that larger, noisier, smellier parties cannot! The more heroes, the greater chances of running into threats. And those threats? Well, they often end up creating epic challenges!
To be more specific, imagine entering a new region of the Overland with a party of four heroes. The party banner miniature is moved on the Overland map into the new region. Each hero in play draws a card from Overland Exploration Deck as they enter a new region – in our example here, a forest. They then place that card face down on the table next to them. Whoever wants to go first reveals the first card.
When that card is drawn, the party enters the region and must be ready to experience whatever is coming next. In our scenario, the card happens to be a Safe Travel card. It gives a short description of the surroundings and nothing more.
The next hero turns over their card, and it is an Item Card! This means that the hero may draw a card from the Items Deck and place it immediately into their inventory. But this also means the party has ventured deeper into the current region.
Now player three goes. Unluckily, they draw an enemy card. The enemy is then revealed and all remaining cards are turned over as well. Turns out that fourth hero’s card is also an enemy card!
So now our party of four is in a forest facing two enemies. The part pulls out a forest flat (1-A) and places it on the table. We place the enemies wherever we would like around the spawn region on the flat, and our heroes go to the rally region on the flat.
Each enemy is then placed into its own Enemy Dashboard with the appropriate number of wound trays. That’s one for each enemy of a given type. Now battle commences!
Key Takeaways on Overland Exploration
Every biome and terrain type is treated a little differently. This gives them each their own feel, increasing the variability of gameplay in this mode. In addition that, each biome and terrain type has its own unique flora and fauna.
Even items have different odds of spawning in different regions, with some items available anywhere and others specific to biome. Finally, flavor text varies from biome to biome, adding some context and texture to random spots on the map.
We know that you will love our Overland Exploration deck because we do too! This dynamic world is our best effort to create a world rich enough for players and content creators alike!