Return to The Library in this cooperative deck construction game.
What Is The Librarians: Adventure Card Game?
Based on the popular television series that ran on TNT for four seasons, The Librarians: Adventure Card Game is a cooperative game for 1-4 players that takes 60-120 minutes to play. It’s for ages 14+, not so much for content but as there’s a reasonable amount of complexity in how cards interact. It’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a core pledge level of $60 for the base game and $95 for the deluxe edition, which includes two expansions. There is also a $145 collector’s edition pledge, which includes everything from the deluxe edition as well as a thematic playmat, metal dice, and more.
The Librarians: Adventure Card Game is from Everything Epic, and is designed by Brett Schofield.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
The Librarians: Adventure Card Game Components
Note: Everything Epic sent me a Demo prototype. Rather than including the whole game, there were just enough components to play the introductory adventure, “Assault on the Library,” with two of the four characters available in the core game. Also, as this is a prototype, it does not represent the final quality of the components.
The core game will include:
- 4 Hero cards
- 122+ Player Deck cards
- 3 First Player cards
- 8 Mini cards
- 154+ Adventure cards with 4 replayable missions
- 4 Player Aid cards
- Damage, Progress, and Special tokens
- 8 Custom Dice
- 4 Hero Boards
As this is a prototype version of the game, I’m not going to spend much time talking about the components, as the quality is likely to change in the production version. I will note that I received metal dice with my copy (available in the collector’s edition pledge) and they have an impressive heft. You’d definitely want to use a playmat or dice tower for rolling them.
How to Play The Librarians: Adventure Card Game
Work together to defeat all the missions of an adventure.
Select an adventure. Be sure to follow any specific instructions on the setup card for the adventure.
Take the Mission and Disturbance cards for that adventure, and organize them into decks of ascending order, with the top card having the lowest number.
Construct the Adventure deck according to the adventure’s setup card. Shuffle it and place it face down above the disturbance deck.
Place all dice and tokens within easy reach.
Each player selects their Hero and deck. The Hero is placed face-up in the player’s play area. Shuffle the Hero’s deck, and draw five cards as the starting hand. Place the Hero’s deck in your play area, and place the top four cards of that deck face down at a 90-degree angle above the Hero’s deck; those are your 4 starting energy.
Decide on a First Player.
The Librarians: Adventure Card Game is played over a series of rounds. Each round is divided into 5 phases:
Players can play any artifacts, attachments, or sidekicks from their hand that they have energy to pay for. Each player can only control one artifact and one sidekick at a time, however.
Each player in order, starting with the first player, draws and resolves an Adventure card. There are three different types:
- Complication: When drawn, immediately follow the instructions on the card. Often involves a dice test.
- Enemy: Enters assigned to the player who drew it, unless they already have an enemy. In that case, it goes into the “unassigned” area near the Adventure deck.
- Obstacle: Enters in the unassigned area.
At any point in this phase, each player may assign one unassigned enemy to them.
Any ready character can exhaust (rotating the card 90 degrees) to do one of the following actions:
- Challenge Box. Many cards, including enemies, obstacles, and mission cards, have a challenge box to show how that card may be defeated. You will gather the number of Challenge dice indicated, as well as a number of Character dice that match the challenge box’s symbol as indicated on your character’s card. In the example below, Eve is attacking the Relic Looter assigned to the player controlling her. The Relic Looter’s challenge box shows that you would roll 2 Challenge dice. Looking at Eve’s card, you would normally roll 3 dice for that particular attribute (tactics). However, her attached weapon card has “Response: when attached character declares a tactics check, spend a token to roll +1 dice.” As that card still had tokens on it, Eve spends one, rolling 4 dice instead of 3.
You would then compare successes and failures. In this case, Eve had 5 successes compared to 2 failures rolled on the Challenge dice, so the Relic Hunter would take 3 wounds. As you can see on his card, he can take 4 wounds total, so he’s not defeated yet.
- Action Card. If one of your cards in play has “Action:” on it, you can take the action listed.
- Meditate. Gain one energy, discarding the top card from your deck.
- Rest. Heal 1 damage from that character.
Enemies that are both ready (untapped) and assigned to a player will attack, exhausting and dealing the damage listed on their card to a single character.
Any mission that has enough progress is advanced, flipping over the card and reading the instructions on the back to continue with the adventure. The card also shows how much progress is needed to advance, based on the number of players.
Then, the Disturbance card gets progress tokens equal to 1+ the number of unassigned and ready enemies on the table. If the progress is equal to the number on the card, you would flip it over and resolve the text on the back.
Ready (untap) all cards in play.
Each player, in order, chooses to take any combination of energy and cards to a total of 3, then the next player on the left becomes the First Player.
If players encounter the text, “The players win the game” on a Mission card, they win. Alternately, if they find, “The players lose the game” on a Disturbance card, they all lose. Players also lose if all the players are ever eliminated from the game.
Why You Should Play The Librarians: Adventure Card Game
First and foremost, if you’re a fan of the TV series The Librarians, you’re probably going to want to back this game. Many of your favorite characters and artifacts will appear as playable cards, using actual stills from the show. Great care has been taken to be faithful to the series, giving each of the playable Heroes special abilities and a pre-constructed deck that matches their skills and personality in The Librarians. Below you can see just a few cards from Jacob’s deck, which have a different feel from Eve’s. Each of the Librarians will feel and play differently.
But let’s say you haven’t watched the show. Would you still be interested in playing the game?
Beyond the IP, this is a robust adventure card game. The gameplay is challenging, and judging from what I’ve seen so far in this demo version, there is a lot of player interaction available. There is also much more of The Librarians: Adventure Card Game that I have yet to experience with just this limited demo. In the core box alone, there are two additional characters (Cassandra and Ezekiel) and their pre-constructed decks, as well as three more missions. The game includes deck construction rules, allowing you to customize a character’s deck to your own tastes. There is also campaign-style progression, which unlocks cards upon successfully completing a mission. Here are the cards unlocked when you win the “Assault on the Library” adventure:
Looking beyond the core content, there’s plenty more that Everything Epic has planned for The Librarians. Besides two announced expansions in the Kickstarter campaign, a “Season 2” add-on is teased as a stretch goal. You’re not likely to get bored of this game.
Whether or not you’re a fan of the television series, The Librarians: Adventure Card Game gives players a highly thematic and expandable living card system. To find out more or to back the campaign, head on over to The Librarians: Adventure Card Game Kickstarter page.
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a prototype of this game for review purposes.