Sometime back in 2005 this guy came walking into my store, Atlanta Game Factory. He looked totally out of place among the ne’er-do-wells, nicely dressed in an gentlemanly overcoat and he looked a little bit like an older Steve McQueen. He picked up a couple of games and brought them to the counter, introducing himself in a baritone that would make a tent revival preacher jealous. “I’m Richard Launius, I designed a game called Arkham Horror.” Over the years I got to game frequently with Richard (and discovered that he actually did PC game development in the 80s and was a VP at a major telecom firm). Not only do I consider him a friend, I consider him one of the nicest, most honest, and passionate gamers I’ve ever met in my life. He’s also ridiculously prolific although only Arkham Horror and Defenders of the Realm have seen print. I’ve seen tons of the man’s unpublished board game prototypes. There’s A LOT of them. One of them that he showed me years ago was Trail of the Brotherhood, a co-op/competitive title that pit investigator players against an adversarial occultist player trying to do Lovecraftian bad things to the world. It looked pretty interesting.
Now, a weird company I’ve never heard of called Eos Sama out of China (!!!) is announcing that Trail of the Brotherhood is on their books and going to press, expected on shelves sometime in May. Surprise! Their Web site is very odd, the header has the wrong title (“Trail of Brotherhood”), and the press release is obviously written by a non-native English writer which worries me about the text contents of the game. An excerpt:
Sorcerer Player: In Trail of the Brotherhood one devious player takes on the role of the ancient sorcerer traveling the globe seeking to unify independent cults into The Brotherhood. It is the goal of this player to gain enough Power through the cults and utilize a magical item to summon forth the Old One (Chosen by him prior to starting the game). In order to do this the player will need to prevent the Investigators that pursue him from learning which Great Old One he seeks to awaken. He can do this a number of different ways, including direct attacks from cults in the brotherhood, misdirection and the summoning lesser creatures to do his battles. Once the Sorcerer player achieves joining enough cults to The Brotherhood to provide the power needed to summon the slumbering Old One and possesses the magic item required to complete the ceremony, he can awaken the Old One and win the game.
Investigative Players: The other players (1-3 players) take the role of Investigative Teams. It will be their job to disrupt The Brotherhood, prevent them from gaining enough power to summon an Old One into this world and ultimately to identify through discovery of Clues left in the wake of The Brotherhood’s activities the magic item required for the ceremony – then to obtain that item by taking it from a Cult or the Sorcerer and destroying it, condemning the Old One to continued slumber…at least for now.
Trail of the Brotherhood is part adventure and part deductive strategy as the players enter the desperate world H.P. Lovecraft.>
There it is then. I’m going to try to track down a review copy to cover in my weekly column.