Kickstart This! #284:  Cartographers Heroes + 3 Map Pack Expansions

Designers:  Jordy Adan (Rolling Ranch, Trudvang Legends), John Brieger

Artists: Davey Baker, Luis Francisco (The Bloody Inn, Coup, Cartographers, Flash Point: Fire Rescue, FUSE, Haggis, The Resistance, The Resistance: Avalon, Roll Player), Lucas Ribeiro (Cartographers, Lockup: A Roll Player Tale, Space Cantina)

Publisher:  Thunderworks Games (Cartographers, Lockup: A Roll Player Tale, Roll Player)

Genre/Mechanisms: bingo, grid coverage, line drawing, paper-and-pencil, polyominoes, roll-and-write, solo/solitaire game, territory building

Funding Status: At the time of this posting, Cartographers Heroes is already fully-funded. Pledges currently total more than 16x the initial funding goal with 2 days left to go on the campaign!

Player Count: 1-100

Solo Mode: yes

Complexity: light

Risk: medium-low

What It’s About: “The standalone sequel to the critically acclaimed map-drawing game Cartographers. It includes all-new map sheets, scoring cards, explore cards, and ambush cards with unique abilities. Cartographers Heroes can be played on its own or mixed with components from the original game for a greater variety of gameplay possibilities.”

How It Works: “In Cartographers Heroes, players compete to earn the most reputation stars by the time four seasons have passed. Each season, players draw on their map sheets and earn reputation stars by carrying out the queen’s edicts before the season is over. The player with the most reputation stars at the end of winter wins.”

“The game is played over four seasons. Each season is divided into multiple turns, and each turn has three phases: the Explore Phase, Draw Phase, and Check Phase. At the end of each season, players earn reputation stars.”

During the Explore Phase, a new card is drawn from the Explore Deck. During the Draw Phase, “at the same time, each player independently chooses one of the available terrain types and one of the available shapes depicted on the revealed explore card. Then they draw the chosen shape on their map and fill it with the chosen terrain type. Most explore cards have one or two available terrain types and one or two available shapes to choose from.” When an Ambush Card is revealed, players draw a Monster on their neighbor’s map. When a Hero Card is revealed, players draw the Hero on their map, who has the power to kill Monsters in that Hero’s attack pattern. And during the Check Phase, players check to see if they’ve reached the end of the Season based on the time value of all the Explore cards that have been revealed.

“At the end of each season, the players are evaluated. They earn reputation stars based on how well they followed the queen’s edicts. Once winter has ended and players have been evaluated for the fourth time, the game is over. Each player totals the reputation stars that they earned across all four seasons, writing their final score on their map sheet. The player with the most reputation stars is the winner. In the event of a tie, the tied player who lost the fewest reputation stars to monster terrain across all four seasons is the winner.”

Comparisons: Flip-and-write games are essentially roll-and-write games, but instead of rolling dice players flip cards to determine the parameters of their writing each turn. My two personal favorite roll-and-write games are actually flip-and-write games: Cartographers and Welcome To…. Silver & Gold is also supposed to be pretty good. Some other well-rated roll-and-writes include Railroad Ink: Blazing Red Edition, Railroad Ink: Deep Blue Edition, Qwixx, Roll Through the Ages: The Bronze Age, That’s Pretty Clever, and Twice as Clever.

What Should I Pledge?:
$22 Hero of Nalos: includes the Retail Edition of the game with Skills Mini-Expansion 2.
$40 Explorer of the Planes: includes everything in the Hero of Nalos pledge level, plus Map Packs 1-3.
$50 Legendary Explorer: includes the Collector’s Edition of the game instead of the Retail Edition, with everything else in the Explorer of the Planes pledge level, plus 20 colored pencils.
$90 New Recruit Cartographer (All-In): includes everything in the Legendary Explorer pledge level, plus the original Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale, the first Skills mini-expansion, the Ambush mini-expansion, and the Red Playmat.

$22 Cartographers + Skills Mini-Expansion
$22 Cartographers Heroes (Retail) + Skills Mini-Expansion 2
$50 Cartographers Heroes (Collector’s Edition)
$7 Skills Mini-Expansion
$7 Skills Mini-Expansion 2
$4 Ambush Mini-Expansion
$8 Map Pack 1: Nebblis
$8 Map Pack 2: Affril
$8 Map Pack 3: Undercity
$20 Red Playmat

KS Exclusives
The Collector’s Edition offered as a part of the Legendary Explorer and New Recruit Cartographer (All-In) pledge levels will not be available at retail. This version includes a custom plastic insert, 20 colored pencils, all 3 Map Packs, and the Skills Mini-Expansion 2 in addition to the items included in the Retail Version.

All-In Total: In the continental U.S., you’re looking at $90 for the New Recruit Cartographer (All-In) plus $5 in shipping for a total of $95.

Cartographers Heroes + 3 Map Pack Expansions completes its Kickstarter on Friday, October 23rd and tentatively ships in July 2021.

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