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Vainglory's Grotto Review

Vainglory's Grotto Review

Vainglory's Grotto Review

Today we'd like to discuss another game we brought with us on our recent vacation. Vainglory's Grotto - a Kinfire Delve game published by Incredible Dram Studios!

We're huge fans of roleplaying games here at DHG and this is an interesting take on that genre, in the form of a card game.  Let's dive in and discuss this game and what we liked and think could be better.

Game Overview

The Kinfire Delve series of card games feel a lot like the Arkham Horror LCG, which is a good thing, since we love Arkham. In the game there are two characters, but each game can be played with up to four players using player cards from other Kinfire Delve games. 

The main goal of the game is to reach the Master of the Wells of Atios. To do that you must work your way through the 52 card deck of challenges, traps and enemies. Only once you cannot add any more cards from the deck to the layout, that's when the Master of the Well and its four guards come into play. 

Each player, called Seekers, uses the cards in their hand to defeat one of four cards in the Well, once one is defeated, the next card gets drawn and replaces the defeated card. 

Some cards should be defeated before others, as they cause ongoing negative effects if they are left in play.  Cards in the Well are defeated, by a player placing down a card of the same color and if needed, getting assistance from their fellow players - then hoping they also roll that color die. 

Overall it's a fairly straightforward game and one that can be revisited as you build out your kinfire delve collection. 

Game Components

There are a few different decks of cards in the box. These consist of the well cards, the master card and the player cards. There are also 5 dice in the box. three of which have colored sides matching the card colors. 1 has automatic +1 and -1 symbols. the 5th die is actually never rolled. It's a 10 sided die with numbers on it. It is use to track the groups overall health. Finally, there are tokens in 1 and 3 denominations that are use to track damage to a well card.

Game Setup

Players start by choosing a character, either from this game or one of the other sets if they have one. They then collect the deck of cards for that character along with their lantern card.

Players together then select 1 of the three Master cards and place it face down in the center of the table returning the rest to the box without looking at them. They also set aside the four guard cards. 

Finally they shuffle the 52 Well cards and deal four to the table in the north, south, east west positions around the Master. Setting the remainder aside in a Well deck and leaving space for a discard deck. Finally they discard the top four cards on the Well deck.

Gameplay

On a player's turn, they decide which of the four Well cards they want to face. 

Each card has a color and a value which is almost but not always higher than the value of a single card in their hand.

A player places down one card from their hand that matches the color and contributes to the value of the well card. The goal is to have a total value greater than the Well card. The active player can ask a fellow player to assist by adding one of their cards to the Well challenge. Finally, the player rolls all four die (not the health track die) and adds +1 for any die matching the color.

If the total of their card, the other player card and the dice adds up to more than the Well card, the Well card is defeated. Printed on the card is a reward. Often the reward is to discard cards from the remaining Well deck into the discard pile - getting the group closer to the Master at the end.

On the other hand, if you fail to reach the number on the card, you place down tokens on the Well card for the value to did achieve and you can continue to defeat the card on a future turn. Unfortunately, this also means, you face the consequences of not successfully defeating a card. This often adds cards from the discard pile back onto the Well deck (pushing you further away from the master).

One you do finally run out of cards to add to the table from the Well deck, you have reached the Master.

Players then remove all remaining Well cards and put down the four guard cards in their place then turn over the Master. Initially you cannot attack the Master card as it's impervious to all colors. However as you defeat the guard cards, the Master becomes vulnerable to specific colors.

Once they are vulnerable, the players can start to attack the Master and once the combined value of damage is over the Master's value, the players have one the game!

Overall Impressions

Honestly for a travel type game this is a pretty good roleplaying adventure. It's small and easy to pack to take with you and it's not difficult to get into. We love games with huge grand stories, but in this instance a small story works really well. It has some great flavor text on each card to help immerse you in the store.

One of our biggest concerns is how much physical space would we need to play this. At home we have a large 48" X 48" table, but on the road we need to make do with what we had. It still worked perfectly. It was not a huge game and the fact its all cards and dice made it totally work for us.

We definitely recommend this game for two players and we've actually got another story from the series that we are eager to play through "Scorn's Stockade".

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