Home Gaming I Miss the Days When You Could Burn a Witch and Bury Them Under a Tree With No Consequences

I Miss the Days When You Could Burn a Witch and Bury Them Under a Tree With No Consequences

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I Miss the Days When You Could Burn a Witch and Bury Them Under a Tree With No Consequences
Box art for Harrow County: The Game of Gothic Conflict

Before I begin, I was sent a prototype of this game, and may receive a copy of the finished game. I have received no money for this preview. You can check out my video preview below, and get your own copy here.

Graphic novels are something of a mystery to me. Not just novels, comic books too. I am pretty sure that I just don’t do them right. I either get super sucked into the story and just zip through all the text to learn what is going to happen, or I completely ignore the text and just look at the pretty pictures. I feel like that means I am not doing it right. Shouldn’t I be taking all of it in at the same time? I dunno. So as a result I rarely check them out.

Harrow County being demoed at Gen Con 2022

Luckily for me, Off the Page Games is a thing now. They take graphic novels and turn them into games. Now games, I can understand. Games I can fully appreciate. The first one of these was Mind MGMT, which was a mega hit for them last year. For their second offering they are bringing to the table Harrow County, which is based on the graphic novel of the same name. While Mind MGMT was a hidden movement style game, Harrow County is an area control one.

In the game each player will take on the role of one of four factions; the main two being the Family and the Protectors. Each of these factions (the other two as well) plays differently: the Family is more of a bag builder, while the Protectors is more of a tableau builder. Each round you have a set of 4 actions that you can choose from: abilities that let you move, strengthen your battle power, or summon more troops; attack; use your unique legendary ability; or activate and power up the wild ability.

As you do this you will flip over a mason jar that matches that action, disallowing you from taking that action again that round. Then your opponent will make their choice. One both of you have taken 3 different actions the round will end with scoring the bramble patch (whomever controls it each round gets points) and a check to see if the end game has been triggered.

The only other thing that MUST be mentioned is the box. The box itself serves as a cube tower, and the cube tower is how combat is resolved. Each player will have built up their combat strength (number of cubes), and once combat is triggered all the cubes are dropped into the tower. Whichever side gets more to fall out will be able to start removing their opponents figures for a cost of cubes. Pretty simple. However, what this leaves out is that all the cubes do not always fall out of the tower, there are always some that remain inside, which randomizes what is going to pop out each battle.

The player with the most points after the end game is triggered will win. It is also worth pointing out here that each of the first several games sees you adding more components and rules to the game, increasing the complexity of the game.

So what do I think?

Delectable

The look of the game is fantastic, as is the slow drip of mechanics you get as you play through the chapters. Additionally, the asymmetric nature of the factions is fantastic, getting to attempt to accomplish the same goal in completely different ways is a delight, and this does not even include the different characters you can play within each faction, which adds yet another layer to the mix!

Tasty

Combat. It is simple, and solidly strategic, requiring you to take the time to upgrade your forces prior to combat happening. However, you are dealing with a cube tower, which you are either going to think is a delight, or will frustrate you.

Edible

You have to commit to this game to get the most out of it. You will need to play 4 or 5 games before you have dropped in the bulk of the mechanics. This makes it easy to learn, but it also means that you will have to play that many times with all of your opponents before it all comes together fully. This can sometimes be challenging to do.

Bringing it all together

Harrow County is a fast paced area control game that utilizes a cube tower. All the factions are asymmetric in how they play, and in some cases how they win. The art is awesome, and for fans of the graphic novel you will find easter eggs galore. Due to the game slowly increasing the complexity through repeated plays you will find that you are not really getting the full experience until you have played the game several times.

I am just a dead witch buried under a tree, what about that makes you think I can read all that?

* Game looks great
*Cube tower is a fun way to resolve combat, if you like that sort of thing
* Very asymmetric factions
* Game slowly introduces mechanics which makes learning simple, but requires many plays to get the whole game

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