In the adventure board game Fortune and Glory, pulp heroes travel the world in search of rare and dangerous artifacts while fending off Nazis, zombies, cultists and each other. Watch out for the Nazi War Zeppelin!
Flying Frog Productions published Fortune and Glory with the intent to make it as deluxe as possible, and the game’s production values reflect that. The game includes something like 170 unpainted plastic miniatures, sturdy cards and character sheets, and a lush game board depicting a pulp adventure version of the entire world circa 1930. Like all Flying Frog games, it comes with a CD of music written specifically for this game.
F&G’s game play reminds me of Arkham Horror in a very general sense – players move around the board, sometimes buying items and allies in cities, more often going on adventures to try and secure artifacts before the other players (or the Nazis/mobsters in the cooperative version) can get them first. But there are some very nice game mechanics that set this game apart.
The artifacts you’re seeking are generated dynamically by drawing cards from two decks, which are then combined to form the name of the artifact. For example, one card might say, “The Mask,” while the other says, “of Loki.” Combine them and you’re looking for the Mask of Loki. The combined cards also determine how dangerous it is to find and how much fortune it’s worth if you recover it. An additional card draw places the artifact in a random location on the board.
As players travel to the artifacts, they have to face “dangers” to get to them. There’s a great risk/reward mechanic here, because if you successfully deal with a danger, you can either keep going or “camp down,” which allows you to bank any glory you’ve obtained, preserve your progress toward the artifact, and heal your wounds. However, if another player is at that site working toward the same artifact, you’ll feel pressure to gamble and risk getting “KOed” (losing all your progress) in order to try and get there first.
The dangers feature another fun effect – if you fail one, your turn ends and the danger card is turned over to reveal a cliffhanger. You’ll have to resolve the cliffhanger at the start of your next turn. If your danger was a strange puzzle in an ancient temple, you’d have to roll dice to figure it out, using your character’s Lore skill. If you fail, the cliffhanger might be a poison dart shooting out of the wall at you. You’ll have to make an Agility check on your next turn to avoid it.
One of the most interesting things about Fortune and Glory is how versatile it is. You can play it as a competitive game with two to eight players (though you’ll need at least three to make it interesting, and it might take too long if you have more than six). In this case, players are competing to get the artifacts and sell them off, racing to a set amount of Fortune.
But it works equally well as a cooperative game, in which case it scales neatly from a solitaire game up to eight players. In the co-op version, players are up against a Vile Organization (either Nazis or Mobsters). Villains will move around the board trying to steal artifacts, and enemy soldiers will appear to slow the players’ progress. Plus there’s that Nazi War Zeppelin, which moves randomly around the board boosting the combat abilities of nearby Nazis. Players can sneak or fight their away aboard to destroy it (there’s a Zeppelin mechanic in the competitive game too – it moves around dropping off Nazi soldiers, but it carries gold).
Fortune and Glory does have a lot of moving parts. You’ll lay out about a dozen decks of cards around the board to set the game up. Advanced rules add temples that can collapse and deep jungle spaces that are harder to explore. While I don’t really love the way the rules booklet is organized, the game itself is not actually too complex. After two turns we had a solid handle on things and started to grasp some of the strategies at play, and by game’s end we were able to move through turns very quickly. And while the basics are fairly simple, you'll face plenty of interesting decisions: which artifact to go after, when to press on, when to camp down, how to use your ally and gear cards, and so on. As long as you don’t try to play with eight players, you should be able to complete a game of Fortune and Glory in about two hours.
Flying Frog has a pair of expansions planned in the coming months: “Rise of the Crimson Hand” (a cult you’ll encounter all too often in the base game) and “Treasure Hunters.”
There are so many rich pulp adventure ideas in this game that you end up building a sort of narrative as you play. In our co-op play test, we drew a bunch of mobster-related dangers while hunting for an artifact in the Carribean, which lead us to envision smoky back room deals in mob-controlled Havana. We had a desperate race to deliver a secret package to New York City, a long shot to gain enough fortune for the win before the villains got the last artifact they needed to defeat us. We failed and lost the game, but I’d like to think that last artifact melted all the Nazis’ faces off anyway.