An upcoming board game will task you with building 3D defences on your tabletop before facing the fiery marble-spitting destruction of a dragon.
The Fall of Fafnir is a partly co-op, mostly competitive board game. All of the players are aiming to score the most glory - in other words, victory points - individually, but must work together to avoid their village being destroyed by the dragon, Fafnir.
In the early prototype played by Dicebreaker at Essen Spiel 2023, that village is represented by a line of cardboard standees that line the end of a long board. At the other end sits Fafnir, a 3D dragon shaped like a ramp down which actual marbles will roll toward the village once the dragon has built up a line of small and large fireballs.
To stop the village being obliterated, the players’ characters can build their own 3D defences in the way of the dragon’s breath. The defences include cross-shaped barricades, long trenches and vertical walls. To build the defences, the players will spend their turn moving around the gridded board, collecting resources and gold from adjacent squares, and building defences next to them. Characters can also place two vassals on the board, which aid when collecting resources on future turns.
While saving the village is the key priority, having your defences destroyed by being shunted off their space isn’t all bad. Defences offer both rewards when built and additional rewards once destroyed, including upgrades to the character’s abilities, glory, resources and other bonuses. If the character themselves stands in the way of a fireball, it’s not so good - they’ll lose a victory point.
Aside from moving, fighting and building, characters can pray to gods to gain helpful artefacts with various effects and flip over one of their god tokens to gain a one-time effect, such as bonus scoring conditions or defeating a monster.
As well as Fafnir, the characters will face various monsters on their quest towards the dragon. Fighting monsters offers the choice of retreating (which gaining gold), bribing them or spending the specified resources - often strength - to defeat them and claim other rewards. Defeating monsters can also grant players runes, which they will need once they reach Fafnir’s lair.
Entering the lair requires the players to make their way towards Fafnir by spending runes matching a set of tokens drawn throughout the rest of the game, assigned to increasingly deeper levels of the den.
If the player successfully reaches Fafnir, they have the option of fighting the dragon or turning traitor and seizing control of the card deck used to control the dragon’s attacks (the more glory they have, the more cards they get), changing their victory condition to defeating the rest of the group.
The Fall of Fafnir is currently planned for a 2024 release, with a prototype - with all aspects said to be subject to change by publisher Lucky Duck Games - being shown at this weekend’s Essen Spiel board game convention in Germany.