You’re in the halls of Valhalla, regaling your fellow Vikings with tales of how you met your fate. Which warrior will earn the most glory, having faced off against the deadliest foes?
What Is And That’s How I Died?
And That’s How I Died is a set-collection card game for 2-5 players, ages 10 and up, and takes about 15-45 minutes to play. It’s currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, with a pledge level of $25 for a base copy of the game, or $45 for a collector’s edition which includes upgraded cards and a playmat. Both versions also come with a print and play PDF of the game. The Kickstarter campaign will run until October 4th.
And That’s How I Died was designed by Nikola R. Petrov and published by Mind Inventions, with illustrations by Fabricio Vainer.
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And That’s How I Died Components
Note: My review is based on a prototype copy, so it is subject to change and may not reflect final component quality. Mind Inventions sent me the collector’s edition of the game, so my review is based off of the upgraded cards. They did not yet have any copies of the player mat produced yet, to send to me for evaluation.
A game of And That’s How I Died contains:
- 90 Adventure Cards
- 10 Achievement Cards
- 5 Instruction Cards
The upgraded cards in the collector’s edition have holographic rainbow card edges, the effect of which you can see below. These cards feel a bit different in hand than a standard deck, but not in any way that impacts shuffling and playing.
The cards also have a textured playing surface that is similar to linen, but made up of grids of dots.
How to Play And That’s How I Died
You can watch a how to play video here:
The goal of the game is achieve the most glory points, by creating different adventures using both the cards in your hand and in the card pool on the table.
Shuffle the 90 Adventure Cards and deal a hand of 6 to each player.
Shuffle the 10 Achievement Cards and draw and place a number of cards equal to 2+ the number of players face up in the middle of the table. Return the leftover Achievement Cards to the box.
Draw 6 cards from the Adventure Deck and arrange them face up on the table to form the Pool, leaving space for a discard pile and the Adventure Deck.
The player who most recently went to the gym is the first player, with play proceeding clockwise.
On a player’s turn, they will complete the following 4 steps in order:
Play an Adventure
This is a mandatory step. Using either cards from your hand or from the Pool, you will say, “Once I…” and then lay down a “I”, “II”, and “III” card in order, arranging them in your play area. When you take a card from the Pool, immediately replace it by drawing from the Adventure Deck.
If you are unable to create an Adventure from the cards in your hand and/or the Pool, then you can show your hand, discard it, then draw a new hand of 6 cards and proceed.
Several cards allow you to optionally use their effects, which you may only do at this stage, immediately after placing the Adventure. Simply follow the instructions in the text at the bottom of the card.
Check Your Pulse
Add up all of the “wound” numbers at the upper right corner of each “III” card in your play area.If you have less than 15 wounds, proceed to the next step.
If you are at 15 or more, then you are “dead,” and play will end for you there. Note that at this point your adventures are locked, and players can no longer use Effects to alter your cards. Discard your hand, and claim one of the Achievement Cards on the table.
Draw Back to Six
If you have less than six cards in your hand, draw back up to six. Play then proceeds to the player on your left.
The game ends when all players have each received 15 wounds. At that point, players will add up all their glory points, and whoever has the most, wins.
When adding glory points, if you have any Adventures where all three cards are the same color, then that Adventure is Legendary, and worth double the glory points:
And That’s How I Died Game Variant: Storytelling Mode
There are also rules included for a 3+ player casual mode, where you disregard achievements, damage, effects, and scores, and focus solely on the names of the cards and the artwork, as well as their card type. Play for this mode works in the following fashion:
- Create a Pool of 6 Adventure Cards. Each player draws 2 cards to their hand.
- The first player is the first Storyteller. They take a hand from either the Pool or their hand and place it on the table. Note: if a card from the Pool is chosen, you must refill the Pool with a card from your hand.
- The first player starts telling a story about the card that they played, spending a minute or less.
- The player to the left of the Storyteller is the first Heckler. Like the Storyteller, they may use a card from their hand or from the Pool, and continue telling the story in free form. There will only be one story in this round, so Hecklers can also change the story, placing a card of the same type over another, previously played card.
- After the first Heckler has played their card and added to the story, play continues to the left in that fashion until everyone has played two cards. When all players have run out of cards, the Storyteller declares, “And that’s how I died!”
- Everyone draws a new hand of 2 cards and the next player clockwise becomes the new Storyteller.
- Once all players have had a chance to be Storyteller, the game has ended and players vote for the best story, though you’re not allowed to vote for yourself. The player with the most votes wins.
Why You Should Play And That’s How I Died
And That’s How I Died is very quick to get to the table and teach. The basic rules of the game are easy to grasp, and the general order of play is fairly simple, but there’s some strategy as you’ll need to keep a constant eye on both glory points and wounds. Different cards of the same type can have wildly different values. A Hydra ( a type III card) will cause you 5 wounds, whereas a Goblin Type III will only cause 1 wound.
There’s definitely a push your luck aspect to the game. Do you try to complete more, lower-value adventures, or wrap things up quickly and go for a big Achievement Card? The longer you play, the more risk there is that someone may swap a card with you on one of your already completed adventures, possibly breaking up one of your Legendary Adventures and halving your points. Of course, you can do the same to someone else- turnabout is fair play!
I’m not personally a big fan of the Storytelling Mode, but I could see roleplayers enjoying the communal storytelling. Still, I imagine that most will play And That’s How I Died using the standard ruleset.
There are a few issues with the game that I hope will be ironed out before production. One of the ones that tripped me up is that two of the card colors are a little too close together, especially if you’re not playing in bright light. Thankfully, there are symbols for each of the colors as well to help differentiate them, but I would like to see different colors used.
I also wish that Mind Inventions had included either a scoring board and tokens, or a scorepad and pencil. When we were playing, we would just take out our phones and use the built-in calculator to score. But it felt inconvenient, and seemed as if the game were cutting corners needlessly.
While Mind Inventions did not include one of the playmats with my otherwise collector’s edition of the game, I’m concerned when looking at the image of the playmat on their Kickstarter page. Currently, there is only room to lay out 2 complete Adventures. However, you will find yourself playing a minimum of 3 Adventures, and often 4 or 5, before you’re killed. So hopefully this will be taken into account before the end of the campaign.
Ultimately, this is a fun, lightweight game with a good sense of humor. It’s easy to get to the table, and provides just enough strategy to keep you competitive and on your toes during gameplay. There’s a high level of interactivity with the other players thanks to many cards having Effects. However, if you’re not a fan of “take that”-style gameplay, you may not enjoy that aspect. But if your idea of fun is busting out a flagon of mead and describing your heroic death, then you should definitely take a look at And That’s How I Died.
For more information or to make a pledge, visit the And That’s How I Died Kickstarter page!
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Disclosure: GeekDad received a copy of this game for review purposes.