Michael Eckenfels, 12 December 2018
PART 1: INTRODUCTION
Fortune and Glory is a 2011 board game from Flying Frog Productions. In it, players (from one to eight) can either cooperate or compete while traveling a late 1930s Earth stuck in the pulp genre, searching for and recovering artifacts. In the competitive game, players are trying to amass the most Fortune (which equates to money but is used as a measure of victory rather than an in-game currency). In the cooperative game, players band together to find and unearth the most artifacts, faster than the Vile Organization they are competing against. In the base game, this is either the Nazis or the Mob, while an expansion (Rise of the Crimson Hand) lets you add yet another. Right off the bat, thxere’s several possible games you can play, and they’re rarely the same game twice.
I am not playing with the Rise of the Crimson Hand expansion; instead, I’ll be playing against the Nazis. As one should when cow-towing to the audience here at Armchair Dragoons. I mean, this game is basically Indiana Jones in a box – how can we NOT play against the Nazis?
I am, however, playing with the Treasure Hunters expansion. This adds a bit of chrome to the game, but if you’re not familiar with it in the first place, it’s pointless to go into a lengthy discussion about it (ed note: you’ve never been accused of having short articles!). I might make mention of it as the game progresses, just to point out the slight differences.
Let’s first take a look at the characters. The bios provided below are from the Flying Frog wiki for this game, while some of the rest is just embellishment.
Grant Jackson, Soldier of Fortune
- Starting Location: Cape Town, South Africa
- Forum Spirit Goon: bayonetbrant
A rough and tumble adventurer, Grant Jackson has spent the last eight years as a mercenary, working in the most inhospitable deserts and jungles on Earth. He has helped liberate war torn cities in the sands of the Sahara and tracked down exotic creatures terrorizing the local villages in the Outback. Trained in the US Army and the school of hard-knocks, he has finally come to the realization that sometimes it’s better to do the right thing than to make a buck. Of course, that doesn’t stop him from trying to do both.
Combat 4, Cunning 2, Agility 3, Lore 3
My Notes: Grant is a fighter at heart and has extensive combat experience. He’s not very good, though, at thinking things through, showing that he’s much better at taking on problems head-on rather than sitting around figuring out puzzles.
Nigel Harrington, Big Game Hunter
- Starting Location: Bombay, India
- Forum Spirit Goon: Bob48
A veteran of the Great War, Sir Nigel Harrington has seen it all. He now resides in Bombay, making frequent excursions for safari and hunting big game in the wilds of Africa and beyond. With a stiff upper lip and a tally ho, Harrington has a commanding presence and storied knowledge of native customs and lore. Leading expeditions to the unknown reaches of the world was his greatest joy, but in the last few years, age it seems is finally catching up with him. Perhaps though, it’s time for one more adventure.
Combat 3, Cunning 3, Agility 2, Lore 4
My Notes: Nigel might not be the combat animal Grant is, but his special ‘Marksman’ ability will definitely give him an edge. He might not be as fast as the other whipper-snappers in the game, but he has brains and knowledge to give to the adventure.
Doctor Zhukov, Master of Science
- Starting Location: Moscow, Soviet Union
- Forum Spirit Goon: Barthheart
One of the greatest scientific minds of the day, Doctor Gregor Zhukov loves little more than to push the boundaries of super science and reason. Preferring to avoid getting caught up in the politics of the state, Dr. Zhukov has used the money granted to him by the Russian government to fund research on his fantastical experiments and expeditions to collect data on ancient technology rather than produce the weapons of war which the money was meant for. So far, they haven’t noticed…yet.
Combat 4, Cunning 5, Agility 2, Lore 2
My Notes: Zhukov is the man at combat and anything requiring brainpower, but he has a limitation as an ‘Academic.’ He’s as slow as Nigel, and doesn’t have a lot of book smarts. However, not having Doctor Zhukov in this adventure is like not having Dr. Hans Zarkov in the Flash Gordon movie. With Grant and Nigel being combat-oriented, Zhukov’s smarts help balance out the group.
Li Mei Chen, Night Club Singer
- Starting Location: Hong Kong
- Forum Spirit Goon: Mirth
At home in the smokey [sic], back alley night clubs of Shanghai and Hong Kong, Li Mei Chen woos the crowds with her sultry voice and seductive sway. Trained from birth in the martial arts, she is a sworn protector of her people as part of a secret order known as the Silent Dragon. As the world falls into turmoil, Li Mei Chen knows that the time to act is now. Dark forces spread across the globe, seeking out the mystic artifacts of the ancient world to harness their power and conquer all of mankind…they must be stopped.
Combat 3, Cunning 3, Agility 5, Lore 2
My Notes: Where the others suck at Agility, Li Mei is awesome at it. She also does very well in fights, having the ‘Martial Arts’ skill, not to mention ‘Stealth.’ And, why Mirth? Because, that’s why.
Each of these characters has a Personal Mission, which if completed gives them something of an advantage. I admit I hand-picked these instead of drawing them randomly, though it might not make sense once I read this on the site. Anyway…
- Grant Jackson: Protégé. If Grant gets a Sidekick Ally during the game, then at the start of every turn, he gets +2 Glory for free. Glory is, strangely, the ‘purchase’ currency in the game.
- Nigel Harrington: Fight for Freedom. He gets one Fortune for beating up a Nazi. He really hates them. Probably, one spilled Nigel’s tea once. Once.
- Doctor Zhukov: Research – Magik. If he recovers an Artifact with a Magik icon on it, he thereafter gets a nice bonus when on adventures with Magik icons.
- Li Mei Chen: Blade Collector. Recovering an Artifact with a Weapon icon will give her a very nice combat bonus.
Without going into a great long review (shut up, Brant) on the game, let’s just say the objective is not necessarily Indiana Jones-ish – in other words, it doesn’t necessarily belong in a Museum, but rather wherever our Heroes can sell the bloody things.
Each Artifact is worth a certain amount of Fortune. Our goal in this game, to win, is to get 40 Fortune. We lose if the Nazis get the Villain Track to 15 – it starts the game, thankfully, at zero. The Villain Track can advance when the naughty Nazis do things like collect an Artifact, or for every three Fortune coins they collect. There’s other things that can make the Track go up, but I’ll talk about that, later.
THE BAD GUYS
So. Where do the Nazis start?
If you answer “Germany,” well, the joke’s on you. I’m guessing the game sees Vile Organizations much the same way as Hydra sees the Nazis; useful to get where you want to go, but when they slow their roll, push ‘em off a cliff. In this game, our baddies begin in…
…the Great White North. Canada. Of course.
Now, before you go and say I hate Canadians – which I absolutely do not – the starting location is determined through card draws. I did, however, find this funny, especially as I’ve tagged ol’ Barth in the game.
There’s always four Artifacts out on the board. At game start, this includes the following lovely treasures of yesteryear. Note that the descriptions are utterly embellishment on my part.
THE SHIELD OF ILLUSION
- Fortune 5, Danger 3
- Location: Amazon Jungle
The Shield was forged by an angry Spartan blacksmith, upset with his wife for constantly asking stupid questions. He imbibed it with magical powers so that it would reflect every question she asked to be the best possible answer in every situation (e.g., “Are my thighs fat? Answer: “YES.”). The illusion is, it doesn’t do anything magical at all; the guy was a bad blacksmith. Still, the IDEA of such a thing means it’s worth a small fortune.
THE JAR OF HADES
- Fortune 3, Danger 4
- Location: Siberia
I mean, it holds some dark secrets from Hades. But then again, it IS in Hades – Siberia. What do you expect?
THE BOOK OF POSEIDON
- Fortune 4, Danger 5
- Location: Western Europe
Full of dirty limericks made at the expense of sea life, the Book of Poseidon is more of a ‘Truly Tasteless Jokes’ for the 1930s, but for fish. It’s pretty useless too, but collectors will pay a lot for it. Unfortunately, it is located in France, so it’s much more dangerous to go and get it there without mastering baguette feasting or drinking the right red wine with your French fries or something.
THE MINE OF LOST SOULS
- Fortune 8, Danger 4
- Location: Greece
As a Temple Artifact, this is represented a bit differently; it’s not an actual Artifact, but rather a Monty Hall dungeon. Our Heroes (and the Nazis, possibly) will attempt to drain it drier than a fluffer on a stag film set.
Last but certainly NOT least are the Nazi Villains. We’re not just competing against some nebulous threat, here; rather, we’re facing actual Villains.
In the game I’m playing, normally there would only be two Villains, but I’ve opted for a bit more challenge and am going with three – Herr Teufel (think Arnold Ernst Toht from Raiders of the Lost Ark – no, really, go look him up, I’ll wait. Better? Okay, great), Tresa (think Dr. Elsa Schneider from…you guessed it, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), and finally, Colonel Stahl, whom is probably like Colonel Ernst Vogel from…sigh…Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
I hate to make so many Indiana Jones references, but come on…that’s basically what this game is. I’m not complaining, I think it’s awesome. I just wish some of these Nazi villains weren’t so similar to villains that have already been created for other fictional purposes. But be that as it may, we’re basically competing against all these guys. They won’t all be on the board at once, unless things are going very, very wrong. Think of all three of them as the adventurers for the Nazis; they’ll be going right for the Artifacts. And they tow along two Nazi Soldiers with them when they do.
Oh – yes, almost forgot. That Zeppelin you saw earlier in Canada (where you normally see such things, of course – ha!), that’s a War Zeppelin. What’s the difference between he two, you might ask? This one drops little Nazi Soldiers like an overworked Lebensborn mother in various locations around the globe. Running out of Nazi Soldier minis is a bad thing, as that is yet another event that can cause the Villain Track to go up.
We’re all set up and ready to play – so of course we’ll cut this off for now and see you in the next episode. Will Grant stop being addicted to motor oil? Will Li Mei embrace his (cough – her) inner voice that keeps telling her to move to Maine? Will Doctor Zhukov stop trying to blow up the universe long enough to save this little speck of it? And will Nigel even remember where he is? Tune in for the next episode!