And another 2014 Solitaire Print and Play Contest review coming your way!
The Seeker in the Forest of Wyr, a game from Todd Sanders.
You are a Seeker and you are travelling through the forest. Kind forest spirits like, the Menninkäinen and the Keiju, are willing to help you. However, the deceitful Ajatar only want you to lose the way through the forest of Wyr.
This is a card game. There are three decks; a Seeker deck, a Quest deck and a Stage deck.
The Quest deck consists of a couple of quests and at the beginning of the game you draw one of them. The Stage deck or the Forest deck is divided into three levels; level one is easy and level three is much harder to travel through. The Seeker deck are you hand cards, the cards you use to travel through the forest of Wyr. On these cards you find two numbers, plus on five of them a magical object with a special ability.
At the start of the game you must draw a quest and you must shuffle it through a part of the level three cards of the Forest deck. Stack the forest cards, face-up, with the level one cards on top. Then place eight cards, in four rows, in a tree shape on the table (2, 3, 2, 1). This ‘tree’ is the forest, the Seekers Path. Lastly, place the remaining cards in a stack above the topmost ‘tree’ card. The goal of the game is to complete your quest before it reaches the bottom row of the forest. The game ends at the moment when the quest reaches the bottom row.
On every Forest card you’ll find a number with an arrow and, sometimes, a spirit symbol in the upper left corner. A bonus in the lower left corner. A penalty, plus the initiative number, in lower right corner.
Before you draw any cards, you must choose one of the two bottommost forest cards (the roots of the tree). A Forest card with a number and an arrow pointing upwards means you must play Seeker cards with a total value that is higher than the value on the Forest card. An arrow pointing down means that you must play Seeker cards with a total value that is exactly one lower that the Forest card. Then you draw four Seeker cards. If you succeed, you’ll get a bonus, otherwise a penalty. A bonus can be like adding that card to your hand (Menninkäinen cards also have a value) or removing the whole row from the game. Penalties, like remove a magical item from your next hand from the game, add a card with no value, a dead-end, to your discard pile or draw one less card on your turn, are more abundant.
Once you have succeeded or failed, you, depending on the type of card, remove the card from the game. Then you slide the card, immediately above, into the gap. If two cards can be moved, the card with the lowest initiative number must be moved first. Then choose another Forest card to travel trough and, again, draw up to four hand cards. If the draw deck is empty, reshuffle and rotate the stack 180 degrees. Why? On every card you’ll find two numbers. The next time you draw the same card, you have to use the other number.
When the Quest Card reaches the bottommost row of the Forest the game ends. If you have met the goal of the Quest, you win the game. For example, in the Arrival of Spirits quest you must collect seven or more Menninkäinen, or in the Expectation of All quest you must end the game without any dead ends in your Seeker deck.
Deck building, hand management, some special powers and push your luck. All mechanisms I really like and this game brings them together.
It’s a game about taking risks. You must choose your path before you exactly know if you actually can take it. Therefore you have know your deck well, know how your cards are rotated. One side of your initial Seeker deck has much lower values than the other. So you might want to travel through parts of the forest where you must have exactly one lower than the amount on the forest card, before you go on and travel through the parts where you must have a higher value than the value on the Forest card.
The values on the Forest cards become more higher throughout the game. Because of the three different Forest card levels and the initiative numbers you are slowly prepared for the more difficult cards. It’s still a challenge, but luckily you aren’t struggling against values you will never be able to beat. If you aren’t able to travel through the level three forest cards, it means you’ve made some poor choices yourself.
The magical items in your deck are interesting, but I’ve almost never used them. Except the Watch of Broken Time, a card switching item. This one is very useful at the end of the game, when you can switch the quest card with a card at the bottom row.
The benefits and penalties of the Forest cards are much more interesting. They make sure that you have to make some difficult choices. Which paths you choose also greatly depends on the goal you have to meet, this makes that this game has a nice replay value.
Lastly, the art looks very good. It’s very clean, but it does add a nice dark flavour to the game.
So, The Seeker in the Forest of Wyr is a very nice game. With most PnP games I have the feeling that it is enjoyable for a couple of times, but I feel this one is here to stay.