Most board games don’t take three years to finish, but I knew I was signing up for a long haul with Kingdom Death: Monster game when I agreed to start a campaign with my friends in Chicago.
In a thirty lantern year campaign each year takes between two and five hours to complete. Ergo, with a group I was only seeing occasionally (and missed most of a year), I wasn’t really surprised that it was about three years after we started that we finally closed out the campaign that we had started not long after I picked up the game.
I’ve played a reasonable number of games of KDM by this point, but for one reason or another I had never had the chance to fight the Gold Smoke Knight yet. The GSK is a capstone monster that occurs in year thirty, the final year of the KDM People of the Lantern campaign. The rest of the game had gone well, we had some pretty good characters and equipment so we were feeling pretty cocky going into the combat. I’ve owned the game for four years, but I’ve refrained from looking at any of the information about the GSK during that time; I really wanted to go into this fight without any foreknowledge of what to expect. I say that, but I suppose after four years of playing the game I thought that I could probably guess what the boundaries of the combat were going to look like.
As anticipated the GSK was a bad-ass hard to hurt and hard to not get crushed by. The fight pushes the capabilities of even a well trained team, and if you don’t avoid damage you’re going to lose out very quickly. We only saw one of his legendary attacks, but only because we were using a tactic to anticipate upcoming attacks. The legendary was as bad an attack as I’ve seen without outright killing you. Most of his attacks were pretty bad.
Whenever you hit a monster they potentially get a reaction. The GSK wasn’t the worst for reaction cards, but he also had very little that you could consider helpful. There is about one crit-able location that was any good, so and several that were negative. So trying to land critical hits is not a good strategy for this guy; thankfully we weren’t banking on crits.
How did it end (spoilers)?We won, but we lost. It's pretty obvious that there is no way to survive KDM. No matter what you're always fighting an unwinnable game. Its a metaphor that isn't very obscure, none of us get out alive.
As I write the the whole world is locked down in quarantine and I’m not expecting to be able to play KDM with my friends again for a while.