Mid-afternoon: wandering the fringe aisles, away from the giants such as Asmodee/FFG and Games Workshop, we rounded the end of an aisle, when something caught our eye – the rich sepia tones of the board pictured above. That image shows the board post-game, which is why the cards are sprawled about the place, but even in this chaotic state, we loved the aesthetic and had to know more! We sat down to a demo and couldn’t have imagined what came next…
In Stworze – from Polish games studio Underworld Kingdom, you play as Slavic demons. My character during our demo, ‘Didko’ has a penchant for eating children, so yeah – it’s kinda dark in places, but even if your character has a dark side, they also have a benevolent one. The board represents inhabited villages and their respective outskirts, which might be remote places like woods and hills. Your demonic self has to complete a series of missions before your competitor demons do. These might involve saving (or hurting!) the children of a local village, confronting a hunter deep in the woods or instilling fear of your menacing self into the populace. It’s up to you how you play.
Each character has one set of stats for daytime and another for nighttime. This means you may be more brutal in daylight, but slink into the shadows and be more cunning at night. You have to choose your actions carefully to match your stats because each action requires a skill check which involves randomly drawing a number of cards from the day or night deck. You have to match or exceed a particular cycle in the waxing or waning of the sun or moon, so the more draws you get (according to your brutality/cunning stats), the better. There are other modifiers that come into play that could boost or reduce the number of cards you draw – with opposing players able to make things difficult for you!
As well as instilling fear into villagers, you can opt to bestow blessings upon them and end up with them worshipping you. This could appeal to you if you prefer not to have an angry mob seek out your lair with pitchforks and torches in hand!
We had the most awesome demo – just as we sat down another couple came to join us, so there were four of us in total. Bartek, our demoer, did a great job of bringing this world alive for us and the five of us exchanged many dark jokes about eating children and unleashing our wrath upon the local villages! We also compared folk tales between those we grew up with and those captured by the game. We loved it so much we came away with a copy of our own (at a hefty discount) and have since bought the wooden insert and official playmat directly from Underworld Kingdom. There are several expansions out/in the works, which add extra characters and alter gameplay, but they’ve not yet been translated into English. I’m pretty sure we’ll be picking those up as soon as they are! Stworze captured our imagination and we love spending time in this twisted world of conniving demons.
Click here to see more pics of other stuff from UKGE 2019.