Launching on Kickstarter just after SHUX concluded, Harrow County: The Game of Gothic Conflict is a board game designed by Jay Cormier and Shad Miller. Harrow County is based on the comics of the same name and published by Off the Page Games, a publisher dedicated to comic-book based games, who previously released Mind MGMT.
A quick look at the Harrow County box reveals the first unique feature of the game, a cube tower integrated into the box.
Harrow County has asymmetrical gameplay. The Protectors want to rescue the townsfolk and the Family want to extend the reach of their storm circles to destroy buildings (such as in the bottom left corner).
I played Emmy for the Chapter 1 game at SHUX. The Protectors play a sort of track improvement game, collecting action tokens from the board to improve each action row. Whereas, the Family plays a bag-building game, adding these tokens from the board to a bag and drawing them on their turn. All characters have different legend abilities, such as Emmy’s shelter action.
Players flip mason jars to select actions for their turns. Each round players will only activate 3 of the mason jars. If players flip the Wild mason jar (with the skull symbol), they gain a green skull token and take a single move, spawn, or strengthen for each skull token they now have. Points are also tracked on this board, the first player to 7 points triggers the end of the game.
After Emmy’s turn, the townsfolk can move along a safe path. Here Emmy has created a path back to the home space using haints. Rescuing townsfolk earns 2 points. The central space of the board is the brambles and the player occupying this space will earn a point at the end of the round. However, it only takes one cube to remove a haint from the brambles, instead of two.
Combat was not so kind to me. Unlike a dice tower, not all cubes that go into the cube tower come out.
In the end Levi defeated Emmy, but that is just Chapter 1. Chapter 2 introduces new legends. The Protectors can play as Emmy, Bernice, or Malachi, and the Family can play as Levi, Corbin, or Odessa. Kammi becomes available in Chapter 4, and other bonus tiles and new mechanisms are introduced along the way. Harrow County really changes up in Chapter 5 when the witch Hester comes back to life and the game goes from 2 players only to 3 players.
Harrow County: The Game of Gothic Conflict is successfully funded on Kickstarter and open for backing until October 27. It will be another year before the game delivers, so I’m off to read the comics in the meantime.