Hope: Chronicles of Osmae wants to take the all-too-familiar dungeon crawling formulae and inject a healthy dose of party management and Dark Souls vibes into the mix. The upcoming board game for two or more players will bring its massive campaign and ambitious pitch to crowdfunding early next year.
Creator Fabien Suarez worked for three years building out the world and narrative behind Hope: Chronicles of Osmae’s dark fantasy setting. The movie writer then teamed with Christophe Janin to transform all of these threads, characters and dangling threats into a cooperative board game that looks like equal parts Kingdom Death and Baldur’s Gate 3’s social elements.
Player-characters will hail from one of four houses and have fled their homeland in search of Osmae. The path leads them through treacherous terrain teeming with monstrous threats, represented by miniatures three or four times larger than the 14-15mm figurines representing their heroes. Characters will level up throughout the purported 60-hour long campaign and manage both a class and house-unique collection of stats and item durability - weapons and gear must be maintained or else risk losing them during skirmishes.
When not traipsing through some dismal cave or beast-ridden burrow, players will converge in a shared camp where the interests of the four noble houses can get a little heated. A separate system built around worker-placement mechanics turns Hope: Chronicles of Osmae into a competitive power grab over individual interests and accruing influence with outside factions.
To that end, players can recruit NPC survivors that they meet on the road to Osmae and train them to fill several different roles in their house’s retinue. Some will carry out camp tasks and help with that phase of the game, while other can become mercenaries deployed on missions in the stead of the player-character. While that sounds cowardly, death is permanent in this title. Someone else might be able to retrieve the items off your corpse, but there’s returning spilled blood back into your corpse.
An adventure book contains all of the maps players will need - no massive pile of cardboard tiles necessary here - and triggered events will keep most tactical players on their toes. As combat wears on, fatigue cards will limit just how hard you can push your character and their hirelings, and the relationships forged during the camping phase might prove pivotal when swords are drawn and magic is being flung across the field.
The ultimate goal of the board game’s 50 scenarios is to uncover the mystery of the island where Osmae is said to reside. At least, that’s the shared goal of the four houses. But only one amongst them will hoard enough influence to secure an ultimate advantage at the end of the game. Yesterday’s battlefield ally is today’s political enemy.
Hope: Chronicles of Osmae is published by 2:35, and Klaus Pillon II provided most of the illustrations. The team is currently planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign in the second half of 2024, and wider retail plans are still up in the air. That said, Suarez and Janin told Dicebreaker at Essen Spiel 2023 that they’re already designing extended adventures with more scenarios following the core board game’s release.