The Great Eight?
It’s simultaneously a delight and a bit jarring to see one of Todd Sanders’ games in an actual published box. A delight because Todd Sanders has been one of the most prolific creators of print-and-play games over the last few years, nearly all of them provided free of charge for anyone with a printer and some scissors to slap together and enjoy, and it’s great to see him receiving the recognition he deserves. As always, his designs are crisp and unique, conveying a sense of place with a sort of carefree ease. That goes for both the gameplay and the visuals.
And the jarring part? Well, because the title LudiCreations chose to publish was what you might call a “lesser” Sanders, a perhaps too-simple game called They Who Were 8 that doesn’t quite live up to the bulk of Todd’s work.
Since my greatest pet peeve is repeating myself, I’ll go ahead and link my original review. Here you go. I recommend reading that, because all my opinions on the matter are largely unchanged.
For those who are terrified of clicking links on the internet, way to go, because that link led you to a virus farm. Your reward is not being infested with ten thousand rootkits. Or maybe it really was just a review of the original print-and-play version of They Who Were 8. You’ll never know because you’re too scared to click on something.
Anyway, the idea behind They Who Were 8 is perhaps the simplest card-drafting game of all time. Best played in teams — though you don’t have to — your goal is to accumulate as much glory as possible for your team’s pantheon while shunning the gathering of infamy. To this end, you pick up a trio of cards, each of them cutely representing some action undertaken by your deities. There’s “The Conflict Of…”, for instance, or “The Seduction Of…” That sort of thing. Pick one to play, placing or removing or shifting the position of glory and infamy tokens around the table, then pick one to pass and one to keep.
And that’s it. As I said, They Who Were 8 is one of the simplest games I’ve ever played. There’s some small measure of strategy, especially in the team game where you’ll want to invest at least a bit of attention in protecting your partner, and each of the deities has a one-time ability that can be flipped in order to alter the game state. For the most part, however, it really is just an ultra-light filler where your agency usually comes down to drawing the best few cards. An acceptable choice for when you’re waiting for somebody to show up late to game night.
And that’s all I have to say about that. It’s exciting to see They Who Were 8 given the full treatment, with cards that feel great and hefty cardboard deities that clatter on the table when their abilities are used, if only because it means that Todd Sanders is entering a new era of design. Hopefully this means we’ll be seeing some of Todd’s more exuberant games given similar consideration. Bring on a shinied-up LMNOP, says I.