GTM #205 - The Banishing
by WizKids/NECA

You know that feeling of finishing a game, and looking around the table sheepishly to see who might be interested in a second go? This is that game. Countless possibilities with eight Guardian characters to choose from and a setup of little more than shuffling a deck, players will quickly learn and rush to play again.

The Banishing is a cooperative board game that’s ready to play out of the box within minutes. Yourself and up to four other ‘Guardians’ must battle monsters and the undead, who never cease to arrive, all while trying to collect enough cards to banish these monsters once and for all.

The Banishing uses a deceivingly simple, collect-three mechanic, with matched sets unlocking unique actions, abilities, and spells. As each Guardian heroically enters The Void to collect symbol cards to contribute to The Banishing, they may be forced to encounter monsters. Should the Guardian return unscathed, they can perform a standard action or unlock the power of a unique ability with a matched set of symbols. Perhaps the Brute will unleash their raw power and slash through a group of cowering monsters. Maybe the Bard will charm their fellow players so they will be able to shake off their wounds. Or, will the Sorcerer conjure up a set of cards the team desperately needs.

But, watch out! Each Guardian has a limited amount of health and players must ensure these monsters don’t knock them out or they’ll be exhausted and unable to perform their unique and powerful actions. Players must work cooperatively, and always look out for each other. The Guardians must remain vigilant, as what’s good for them may spell disaster for their companions. If the Guardians manage to survive through each treacherous journey to The Void, they’ll still need to collect the correct symbols to banish the monsters or they have failed and allowed their world to become overrun with the undead.

Eight characters with six unique skills each leads to tons of different combinations and ways to play. Cooperative board games often tweak the abilities of each character only a little, which can lead to players feeling inconsequential. The simplicity of the collect-three mechanic at the heart of The Banishing means that there is space to make each character feel distinctive, making every player’s actions matter.

The Fighter is the quickest to jump into a fight and can look after their own. The Healer ensures the party’s health, but also has great insight into The Banishing. The Sorcerer can destroy huge groups of monsters and conjure magical items out of thin air. The Thief works in the shadows and manipulates The Void. The Witch is extremely powerful, but often at great cost. The Bard raises everyone’s spirits and ensures they have the tools to survive. The Brute grows in strength with each wound they take. And, the Cultist trains a powerful familiar to fight on their behalf.

Simple-to-play, but challenging-to-win, The Banishing evokes the experience of a tabletop campaign and makes it accessible to players, novice or experienced. Every play through gives the players a little more insight into how to win and three difficulty levels means that the game will always be challenging.

Sean Rumble, proud member of the Game Artisans’ Guild of Canada, was inspired to make The Banishing from his many fantasy roleplaying campaigns, tabletop and online, and a television series about a teenaged vampire slayer. The Banishing was proudly designed to be extremely simple to learn, portable, and accessible to play for those with limited color vision in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.