Fortune and Glory is a board game from Flying Frog where players take on the roles of 1930’s explorers, scientists, reporters and club singers as they explore ancient temples, dangerous tombs and terrible traps in the search for fantastic mythical treasure.
It is also a board game that costs around 100$. Well, that’s the ‘fortune’ part of the title right there.
On the other hand, every single dollar is visible in this game. Instead of the expected cardboard counters, there are quite a few plastic miniatures and plastic coins. The cards are made of some high quality glossy stuff that I suspect could survive several drinks spills. The box itself is about twice the length of most games. Hell, the game comes with a soundtrack(!) of quite good background music for playing the game.
I have to take a moment to mention the art style for this game. They use pulp style illustrations for some of the cards, but every character and quite a few other cards use color photos of people dressed in period clothes. Some people have criticized the photos as looking like cosplayers you would see at conventions but personally, I consider that to be a huge plus. They look like people having fun dressing up as mobsters and sexy reporters. Fun is infectious. It is impossible to look at the character photos and not want to go grab your own prop to dress up with.
Which brings us to the game itself. The game has several gameplay modes. I highly recommend trying the simplest mode first, which is competitive.
Do you remember the first Indiana Jones movie where Indy breaks into the temple and comes out with the treasure, only to lose it that asshole archeologist who was waiting for him? That is competitive mode in this game. Players race against each to grab treasure, doing their best to sabotage each other and claim artifacts for themselves.
The more complicated mode is cooperative mode where players work together against a common enemy. The enemy in this case is either the Nazis (hiss!) or the Mob (Boo!). Which is sort of like the third Indiana Jones movie where everyone is kicking Nazi ass and grabbing treasures before Hitler gets his slimy paws on it.
I like cooperative mode because it lets me and my wife play against the board and work together. There are not many fun games on the market that can do that. The only downside is that when it is the bad guys’ turn, you have to go through a five step procedure to do their turn. I am sure that I will get the hang of it eventually but it was quite cumbersome the first time around. On the other hand, the villain turn requires random rolls to determine their actions, making it completely impartial which is perfect for a cooperative game.
My wife and I lost our first game this weekend but we had a lot of fun playing it. When you attempt to get a treasure, you have to complete challenges drawn from a deck. The challenge will say something like this.
“Your plane engine suddenly stops working! Someone has sabotaged you! Roll blah blah to fix the engine!”
Now if you do the roll, then you get Glory and everything is peachy. If you fail, then you flip the card over and must do the Cliffhanger. The Cliffhanger is a hard dice roll that you need to make or end up knocked out and sent back to your home city. The thing is, you aren’t allowed to resolve the Cliffhanger UNTIL YOUR NEXT TURN. Which means in true cliffhanger spirit, you are left staring at the terrible fate awaiting you while everyone else does their turn. Delicious.
My Russian Mad Scientist character was in a plane crash, fell down a mountain and navigated a terrible ancient labyrinth in my quest for the Helmet of Atlantis while an evil Nazi vixen was chasing me and trying to get the Helmet for her diabolical Fuhrer. That was ONE adventure that I had in this game out of several. Pretty damn neat.
Essentially this game is always about pushing your luck. There is always a safer, slower way to do things but you are always racing against someone for that treasure. Going slow lets you heal and recover between challenges but when a Nazi goon is one step away from the treasure, sometimes you can’t stand to stop and rest. It is certainly a game for thrill seekers and risk takers.
So is it worth 100$? It depends on the players. If you like working together, then you will like it. If you like screwing each other over, this game can accommodate you too. If you love pulp cliffhangers with lost temples and terrible villains, you are going to want this game. If you can handle the ups and downs of glorious fortune and cruel twists of fate, then you will love this game.
(On a completely different angle – after playing this game, I called my wife’s breasts “Fortune and Glory” and she didn’t mind a bit. That is a good game if you ask me.)