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GTM #260 - The Hunger
by Renegade Game Studios

 


Race the Sun in The Hunger, a New Deck-Building Game from
Richard Garfield and Renegade Games

 

Vampires awake from their torpor as the eternal roses are blooming. You have until sunrise to run to the labyrinth and pick the most beautiful bloom, hunting for humans on your way, tempting familiars into helping you, and increasing your powers to become the most notorious vampire.

Renegade Game Studios is proud to present The Hunger, a deck-building game from famed designer Richard Garfield where 2-6 players take on the role of vampires hunting humans to gain victory points, fulfill secret missions, and eventually acquire a rose and return to the castle before sunrise. The more you hunt, the slower you become, which will make it difficult to get back before daybreak. Can you become the most notorious vampire? Or will you burn to ashes at sunrise?

 

A Storied Legacy

The Hunger is the next game from famed designer Richard Garfield with collaboration from Guillaume Gille-Naves, who has worked with Garfield on games like King of Tokyo and Bunny Kingdom. While the games share little thematic ties, each has benefited from the partnership.

“Each [game] represents exploration of different game mechanics that interested me at the time,” Garfield said. “I knew [Gille-Naves] before I worked with him on these games - but my work on those games convinced me he was an excellent and passionate game developer that would improve any project he took on. I was delighted to be able to work with him on The Hunger.”


The Hunt is On

In The Hunger, players will earn victory points by venturing out of their castle and hunting for humans while the sun is down. They’ll have 15 turns to collect as many victory points as possible and return to the castle to avoid imminent death and defeat.

A player’s turn is split into three distinct phases. First, they must play every card in their hand in any order they choose. Next, they calculate their speed based on those cards and may move a number of spaces up to that amount in one direction, the further you get out from the castle, the more victory points hunted humans are worth, but you must always make sure you have the time to make it back before sunup. Finally, a vampire may hunt, using any remaining speed to select a group of cards to add to their deck, including fresh humans who are almost always worth victory points as soon as they are claimed.

But it’s not so simple. while these human cards do earn players victory points, you’ll find they do little else to aid your hunt when you draw them. Unlike more traditional deck-building games, The Hunger aims to have the player find the difficult balance between adding more victory points to their score and clogging up their deck with human cards who had nothing of value, or at worse can actively hurt them by taking away speed or even forcing them to move in the wrong direction.

“Most deck-builders your deck grows in power, in [The Hunger] there was a reasonable chance your deck was never going to be better than it was at the start. There were cards - vampiric powers and familiars - that improved your deck, but it wasn't the generally the familiar arc of 'better and better'. Improving your deck was a strategy, but it wasn't vital to win,” Garfield said, reflecting on the creation of the game.

Cards you hunt don’t have individual costs, instead they move along a grid of available options that you purchase with your remaining speed when you hunt. The only stipulation is you must take every card on the grid spot you choose to hunt in. Each turn, unselected cards become cheaper, eventually creating a glut of cards that can earn you big victory points if hunted. But of course, you always must be aware of the consequences to your deck.  While there may be temptation to hunt a tasty human, do you really want the drunks who accompany them and will move you the wrong way when you play them on a later turn? Is it worth gorging on excess humans if you have a mission to hunt fewer humans than any other vampire? The choice in The Hunger is always yours.

 

The Encroaching Sun

Players will have to find a balance between making sure they can retreat safely to the castle and venturing further out onto the board, where humans are worth more victory points. In the furthest reaches of the board, you may even gain a rose by traversing the labyrinth, granting you new and powerful ways to earn victory points as you begin your long trek back to the castle.

Furthermore, missions both public and private can be undertaken to earn additional points, many of which encourage riskier plays to ensure victory. While this may make it seem like pushing your luck is the optimal choice, victory points mean nothing if you don’t make it back to the castle by the 15th turn, and bloated vampires may move slower than you would like.

“The clock in this game is much harsher than most games. In a typical deck-building game the clock is the point where everyone counts up their points and see who won. In The Hunger it is where some of the players might burn up in the light of a new day,” Garfield said.

This set clock means nearly every game is going to end in nail-biting fashion as bloated vampires ace back to the castle, discovering if their gambits have paid off or if their victory will dissipate in the sun.
(The Moon Track)

Player order is also determined by who is furthest away from the castle, and the pool for hunting is only replenished when every player has taken their turn, this means vampires further out will get to select their victims first, while those close to the castle will have to choose from whatever humans remain. However, what these cautious vampires lose in points can be gained in a bonus by being the first back to the castle. There’s not just one path to victory in The Hunger, finding the right balance is key.

 

The Night Comes

Can you survive the night and become the most notorious vampire? Find out when The Hunger releases this September. All first edition copies of The Hunger come with four additional familiars: Callo, Night, Lupo and Farkas, for use in the main deck, be sure to purchase the Hunger when it releases in just a few weeks to not miss out on this exclusive content!

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Derek Shuck is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in everything from the local paper to the biggest websites in the world. His grandma once called him “The John Wayne of Words.”