GTM #216 - The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch
by Jason Koepp

The Industrial Revolution has brought great prosperity to the British Empire. Giant factories churn out new products at a rapid pace. But those factories also belch out huge gouts of black, greasy smoke. This causes the skies over London to be perpetually darkened, and a foul rain to fall almost constantly on the city’s denizens. In these rain-choked streets and alleyways, a new Cult has started to plot against her majesty, Queen Victoria. They seek the fractured pieces of the Moloch Stone. When all of them have been brought together, the forgotten god Moloch will once again enter the world. The task of saving the Queen falls to the Gentlemen of the Unicorn Club. This extraordinary group of individuals come from all over the British Empire, each with their own, unique abilities and training that make them oddly suited to the task of preventing a new era of flame and ruin.

The stage is set for The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch from CMON. The game utilizes a 1-vs-Many system, where one player takes on the role of the Nemesis, controlling the actions of the Agents and Minions of the Cult of Moloch, while the others become a Gentleman of the Unicorn Club. Over the course of six Chapters, the players vie for Moloch Stones. Each encounter has its own special rules and objectives that both sides are looking to complete. The winning side of each Chapter will be granted a bonus in the next encounter.

Gentlemen fall into one of four Job categories that will define what they’re good at during the game. Knights are big and powerful. Mekamancers are good at ranged attacks. Arcanists help the other Gentlemen live up to their full potential. And the Dilettante is the master of having the right tool for the job. During each Chapter, players select a particular Role that their Gentleman will play during the encounter.

Meanwhile, the Nemesis has plenty of tricks up their sleeve. Each Chapter they’ll have an array of Agents and Minions they can send onto the board. Minions are plentiful, though fragile. Agents, on the other hand, are almost as powerful as a Gentleman, with their own special abilities they can unleash during the game. The Nemesis also has access to the Chaos deck. These cards give the Nemesis all sorts of benefits when played, from making their Agents and Minions more powerful for short bursts, to forcing a Gentleman to reroll their attack, to spawning new Minions on the board. 

At the start of each round, both the Gentlemen and the Nemesis place their activation cards face-down on the Activation Board. One at a time, the cards are flipped over, showing who’s next to activate. During their turn, a Gentleman will move around the board and attack the Nemesis’ forces, spending precious Ether to enhance their already-phenomenal abilities. But players must beware, for each Ether they spend will go directly to the Nemesis player’s pool. It is often a delicate balancing act, as players decide when they want to boost their abilities at the cost of giving their opponent the ability to enhance their Agents or use special Nemesis powers that can greatly alter the situation in the Chapter.

Between Chapters, players can upgrade their character’s abilities, equip new gear, and prepare for the next conflict. The Gentlemen will head back to their club and regroup, sharing information about what happened and healing up from their wounds. But for every enhancement the Gentlemen players get, the Nemesis will be right beside them, able to modify their own powers. The longer the Gentlemen take when preparing for the next Chapter, the more the Nemesis will be able to consolidate their power.

In the end, either Moloch will be spawned and London will fall, or the Gentlemen will once more protect the Empire from its downfall.

The fate of London, and all of the world, is at stake. The Cult is in the final stages of bringing Moloch back to the world. Will Queen and Country stand tall at the end of the day, or will the planet be consumed in smoke and flame?

The World of SMOG: Rise of Moloch will be available in your FLGS in Q1 2018.

Jason "Polar Bear" Koepp is a Content Producer for CMON and Editor in Chief of the Tabletop Gaming News website. He lives in Atlanta where he enjoys baking and sharing the results with the others in the CMON offices.