Vast: The Mysterious Manor & The Haunted Hallways

After so far a very interesting year with many new titles we were able to try out, we arrived at yet another type of board game, the asymmetric one. In asymmetric board games, nothing will be the same and every player will have a different way to play an win. In Vast, this is exactly what you can expect. The game is designed for five players, but can be played with less, starting from two. Every character has it’s own role to fulfill and will target one another. With the theme to our liking, colors amazingly bright and awesome miniatures, we had to try this out.

How to play.

Since everything in this game is asymmetrical, even the setup for every character is different. Follow the rulebook closely to see what each character needs and where they start on the board. The board however is always setup in the same way. Place the board on the table and place the starting pit tile in the center face up. Place the four armory tiles facedown on the matching spaces and the entrance tile above the staircase face up. Shuffle all remaining tiles and place them in a facedown stack, then place six tiles as shown in the rulebook next to the pit and entrance. Collect all poltergeist figures, treasures, breach tokens, walls and place them close by. If you play with less then five, the rulebook shows what roles are best to play with your player count and what small changes your set up might need. Once every player has chosen a role and set it up, you are ready to play.

All characters are able to move, reveal tiles and attack their enemy in some way. But like I mentioned before, every character plays different. The rulebook has two pages dedicated to each character to explain how to play and show examples. Every character also has an overview sheet that explains your goals, targets and also who might target you. The paladin can start first in every game (if a player chose him to play with). The paladin’s goal, is to kill the spider. The skeletons start second, their goal is to kill the paladin. Next is the spider, she wants to gain twelve terror to become her most powerful form and then escape the castle. The manor is the next one to take a turn and wants to complete 14 seals. The warlock is last to play and wants to dominate five pieces.

Most characters can only move over revealed tiles. If you reveal a tile, flip the dark tile and rotate it as you wish. Most characters have to rotate it in such a way that at least one open edge touches another open edge from an adjacent tile. Each tile has an icon on it that tells you what will happen. You may find a treasure or spawn a poltergeist for example. All icons have different meanings for each character. The spider will be in search for blood tiles for example, since blood can help keep her eggs save. The skeletons will travel to armory tiles so they can gear up with weapons. Once the tile is revealed and icon resolved, place new dark tiles and place them on every empty spot touching an open edge of the revealed tile.

Every character also has some way of attacking enemies. While every character does so differently, this will happen most often when you enter a tile with an enemy on it. If your strength is greater then your enemy’s defense, you will hit your enemy. A hit will often resolve many effects depending on the characters in play. The spider will transform in her spiderlings form for example, while a skeleton will die only to respawn later in a different place. Other characters have a certain amount of health and will permanently die when their health is depleted. If your attack however is not greater then your enemy’s defense, you miss your attack and have to retreat to the tile from where you came from.

Throughout play, various characters can breach a wall or create a wall. Since most characters can’t move through walls, they will have to find a way to break down the wall, or walk around. If you create a wall, simply take the wall token to close the open edge from the tile. If you breach a wall, take the token to show the wall has been taken down. The first player to complete their goal, wins the game.
Remember that the rulebook, overview sheets and every character board, shows many rules and explanations in order to help you get to know your character, but also to help you show who you have to watch out for.

Playthrough of the game.

Starting our first game, it took a while to figure out how to play this game and how best to fulfill our goal. But after a few rounds, we started to develop our best strategies. We played our first game with two and chose to play with the skeletons and the spider. Normally the paladin will try to kill the spider, however with two players the skeletons will try to kill the spider. The player count overview in the rulebook made it easy to choose our characters for our first game this way. During gameplay Tomasz however did have some confusion since the skeleton’s cards target everything towards the paladin. Once I learned I could transform into three forms that all have it’s own benefits and disadvantages, I tried to play them all to the fullest. Tomasz was very annoying with his skeletons being able to walk on crypts (empty spaces on the map) and tiles and also simply respawning as soon as I killed one of them. However, at the end of the game, I managed to gain all the terror I needed and quickly pulled of the greatest escape the manor has ever seen by moving over the walls. Better luck next time skeletons.

After playing this game several times now, we have noticed this game is really better for more players. When playing with two, you only have a couple of characters to choose from, while if you play with even three, you have many more choices. Also the interaction between players when playing with two is just lacking if you compare it to how this game plays with three or more players. If you also have the expansion, the Haunted Hallways, it does add two more roles to play with that replaces two characters from the base game. If you however have more people to play this game with, we would definitely recommend it. Every game is different, unexpected and highly interactive. Also, if you have a chance to get the expansion for this game, buy it when you have the chance. All the treasure tokens and walls for example, are replaced by 3D models which creates an awesome look for your game.

Final Thougts:

Vast is an asymmetrical strategy game with various roles to play with. After playing this game with two only and later with four, we noticed this game is much better with a bigger group, rather then a smaller one. Vast is also not for every one since it takes some time for every player to figure out what to do and how to play. If you are able to play this game with a minimum of three players who don’t back down from a learning curve, then we definitely recommend this game. The art of the game is fun since all the roles have fun bright colors, the tiles fit in well with the theme, and if you play with the expansion, you also have 3D walls and treasures to brighten up your game even more. Since nothing is the same, expect the unexpected, plan your best strategies and use your character the best you can. May the best role win.

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