If you grew up in the ’80’s like me, you probably read your fair share of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. I was obsessed with them as a kid, and when I heard about Fallen, I knew I had to check it out. You see, anytime I’ve played an RPG, I loved the game, but not the time commitment involved. Conversely, when I play most adventure game, I love finishing in an evening, but I really miss the story-telling that gives my adventuring and fight purpose. Fallen is the best combination of RPG and adventure board game I’ve experienced yet.
Fallen is an adventure game for 2 players, one playing the hero and one playing the villain. Each game is uniquely set up as the villain player randomly chooses three story cards. Each story card is filled with challenges and rewards that are open to the hero depending on how s/he plays out the story. Each side has basic information about their hero or villain laid out on the table. In addition to this, each side has a hand of cards they can use at the right time to gain an advantage.
A round consists of the villain reading adventure text followed by options. Each option leads to a different challenge. Challenges can test a hero’s intelligence, strength, or acrobatics. One of the coolest aspects of the game is the way each side faces a challenge. For the hero, he is alone to face the challenge with whatever gear and weapons he has on him. The villain, on the other hand, faces each task by sending one of his minions to face the hero. The winner gets experience points, which the hero will use to buff his abilities or the villain will use to summon bigger and badder minions. Challenges also offer players an opportunity to add cards to their hands or regain resource tokens used for re-rolls and other actions.
In combat, each side starts with base dice, and then uses cards to add to their pool. There is also a re-roll mechanic in place, but it costs the player resources, so it is limited. The hero completes his roll step first, giving the hero an opportunity to see what he’s up against.
Rating this game is troublesome for me, and here’s why: I played with a friend who went all in on the Kickstarter campaign, so the choices we had available were myriad compared to the base game you can purchase now. He has extra characters, extra villains and so many extra story cards they barely fit in the box. As a result, I have to down grade a game that I would otherwise give a 10. Honestly, Fallen is the type of game I have been looking for for a VERY long time. If you want to play a “Choose Your Own Adventure”, then this is your best option. I love the game, but I don’t like the idea of having to buy delay-released expansions.
Rating note: 8 out of 10 for the retail version; 10 out of 10 for the Kickstarter version.