You've read that right: "In the Ashes" is not played with miniatures placed on tiles like other board games, but everything is played within the book. My intention over the past few years has been to distill the entire experience provided by the great thematic-narrative games into a compact and portable product, yet with great depth in mechanics, story, tactics, and atmosphere.
"In the Ashes" can be seen as a solo dungeon crawler with an epic campaign, legendary battles, and a dramatic story that will provide you with memorable games anywhere, all within the confines of this book.
This means that by drawing and marking on the paper:
And all this you'll do in the book, using nothing more than a pencil (or a pen).
"In the Ashes" has been designed from the ground up to be played solo. You'll play through crucial moments in the lives of various characters, switching between them as the story requires. However, there's nothing stopping you from playing in a group, reading, fighting, drawing, and making decisions together.
If you're looking for an experience inspired by games like "Descent", "Imperial Assault", "Gloomhaven", "Kingdom Death Monster", "Tainted Grail", "Mansions of Madness", "Arkham Horror LCG", "Journeys in Middle-Earth", or "Sleeping Gods", but in a totally different and original way, portable and compact, this is your game.
It takes a second to start playing "In the Ashes", and another second to pack it away. Whether you have only five minutes or an entire afternoon, you can play it on the train, at the beach, at a bus stop, on the sofa, or even lying in bed. There's no need to erase anything, even when you want to replay the campaign after finishing it.
"In the Ashes" follows a "open and play" philosophy: you'll learn to play as you progress through the first pages, in a tutorial of increasing complexity fully integrated with the story. However, detailed rules are available in the final pages for consultation whenever you want.
You don't need a table, an app, to print out a character sheet, or even an eraser (there's no need to erase anything). Forget about constantly flipping from page to page to read sections or check statistics, as the book has been designed to minimize upkeep so that you can spend your playtime fully immersed in the different scenes, applying your strategy to each challenge.
You also don't need dice (though you can use them if you like), as the sources of controlled randomness are in the book itself. As you progress through the story and unlock new characters, you'll need not just luck, but also your memory, insight, and precision to maximize your attacks.
The goal is for your gameplay experience to be as close as possible to your favorite thematic-narrative games. That at the end of the session, you remember the epic scenes and twists in the story you've just experienced, without realizing that you've done it all within a book. And that you can stop and resume the campaign at any time and place.
Instead of physically moving miniatures on the board...
... you'll draw their movement on the board in the pages.
Instead of placing and flipping your cards on the table...
... you'll create powerful combinations by marking them on paper.
Instead of using tokens to fill in attack sequences...
... you'll color in the status and damage marks with your pencil.
Instead of throwing dice to roll on the table...
... you can open a page corner at random and consult the die result (although if you like physical dice, nothing stops you from using them). When you switch characters, you'll discover other very original sources of chance. Plus, there are several ways to control the randomness.
There are many other mechanics you'll discover as you progress. The tutorial will gradually incorporate elements into the game for a smooth learning experience. But you can always review the rules on the summary page at the end.
For example, when making certain decisions, you'll have to make marks on symbols in the outer margin of other pages (without peeking). You won't know how that decision has affected that page until you get there.
You'll delve into the most dramatic moments in the lives of several characters entangled in a wicked plot. Each with their own fears, grudges, and desires. Their truth.
Over time, you'll level up. You'll gain new abilities and, if you're skilled, find legendary items. You'll need them to face the dangerous bosses.
Each page of the book features evocative, full-color artwork created by artists Jesús Gonzalo, Goretti Pérez, Álex Santaló and Darío Pérez.
© P. Aguilera and DEVIR, 2024. All rights reserved.
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