This month’s blog is about a game I haven’t even played yet, because it just arrived in the mail yesterday. Miskatonic University: The Restricted Collection was a Kickstarter game I funded last last year. It was supposed to have been shipped in November 2018, but like most Kickstarter games, there were some delays. Which is fine, because stuff happens with production and the creators of the game Reiner Knizia and Chaosium have a good reputation in the gaming community. Chaosium is a company which sells games and books based on H. P. Lovecraft’s writing. They also stayed in contact with the backers, letting us know there were delays and they hadn’t run off with our money. Keeping in contact with their backers, is a skill that too many Kickstarter companies don’t seem to have.
Kickstarter is a popular platform with gaming companies, because it lets them get a feel for the popularity of their game before they roll out full production. I’ve backed a lot of games, too many actually, with them. Two in the last week actually, one with the adorable name of ‘Kitten Wizards’!
Miskatonic University is card game for 2 – 5 players, with a play time estimated to be between 30-40 minutes, for players twelve and older. The object of the game is to collect fragments of different grimoires, pieces of different protective sigils, and the odd graduate student or four, for the chief librarian Dr. Henry Armitage. All of these things and people are represented by cards. The winner of the game is the player Dr. Armitage will recommend to the hiring committee as his successor!
All these things are to be found in the restricted section of the library, hence the name of the game. These grimoires and sigils also contain knowledge that man or woman was not meant to know. Which is the main theme for most of Lovecraft’s work.
In the beginning a player chooses a character to play. All characters come with defense cards to ward off the madness which threatens them on their quest for glory and Dr. Armitage’s position. The players get a game board with the character on it and the board also helps keep the player organized for the game
The game is played in five rounds. A round consists of each player going into the restricted section to look for the above mentioned items. A round ends when all the players have left the restricted section. Searching the Restricted Section is done by drawing Library cards, which can give you the sigils, grimoire and grad student cards. A player also has the option of not searching the restricted section and taking a sanity card for the round.
When a player is collecting sigils or grimoire fragments, they want to collect the three pieces which make a set and will earn them points. Duplicate pieces can cause the player to be forced from the restricted section sooner than they would like, since a duplicate card will cause them to be expelled from the restricted section. When a player completes a collection of either sigils or grimoires, they will discard the set to get a Lore card. A Lore card is worth points at the end of the game. At the end of a round, the discarded cards are shuffled back into the deck for the next round.
A player can ward for being expelled from the restricted section by using one of their seven defense cards. These cards will let a player take a sneak peak at the library deck to being a storage area for extra sigils and grimoires, before the round starts. There are also reactive cards which will allow you take take back the actions in that round. After the card is used, it cannot be used again until the next round or the player has four grad students.
At the end of the fifth round, the players add up their sanity points and Lore points and the player with the most points wins.
The game is has been described as a push your luck game, something quick and fairly easy to play. The book/box is really nice and well built, shaped like a book, and with a magnetic closure. The pieces fit in the box easily. Putting the cards in separate bags is a good house keeping tip so the cards don’t scatter all over the place.
I’m looking forward to playing this game, because it seems to be a nice break from long games with involved set up and long turns.