Games on mountaineering's thematic are not that numerous. One of the most famous titles remainsK2. There is one that, without necessarily going unnoticed, did not necessarily have the success it deserved. Let me help you discover toSummit: The Board Game.
In 2016, on Kickstarter, launched a campaign to support the game Summit: The Board Game. It was a success and the game arrived on your doorstep in 2017 (if you backed it). The game for 1 to 6 players, published atInside Up Gamesand from first time designer,Conor McGoey(Vault Assault,Gorus Maximus). Summit invites you to live the rise of a cruel and dangerous mountain.
The first thing that surprises is the graphic choice.Jordan Danielssonoffers us here a rather bias and original view. With a mix between a cartoon style, with an abstract and dark look. It gives an immediate atmosphere to the game. As for the board, we can see an empty mountain that will appear to us as and when you progress your team of mountaineers. The mostly black mountain at the beginning of the game will gradually become covered with snowy white tiles. Starting from an abstract design, the final result is quite pleasant and representative of the certain madness of the game. Finally, graphics that really sticks to the game’s atmosphere. An original but effective choice.
The game offers to relive a deadly race climbing a famous mountain (put here the name you want). It is not one but three modes of gameplay that will be proposed to you. Before talking in detail about these game modes, let's focus on the gameplay.
On your turn, you will have to choose, from the three tiles you have in hand, one to place on the board. Each tile has important information and you have to pay attention to the details, like the color of the rope (watch out for the air holes), the number of knots (more takes you longer to move) and that everything connects the path well (everything has to be connected). We will gradually see the mountain develop before your eyes. Depending on what you choose, the climb will be more or less difficult.
Once a tile is placed, the player can move their mountaineer. Depending on how they are loaded, having a light or heavy backpack, will give a different displacement rule. You’ll climb or go down, following the path of ropes. The more knots there are, the longer the path will be. Watch out for traps and air holes that can waste time, oxygen or life (because yes, you can die!).
Finally, you roll two dice. The first is the weather dice. It will play a fairly important role in the ease or difficulty of the climb. If the weather is against you, the need to eat will be felt even more. The mountain has a magical side and especially unhealthy for the players. From one turn to another, the weather can change quickly. The second is the presence or absence of an event that you will draw. Before drawing your hand size back to three tiles and it goes to the next player.
Simple, isn't it? Yes, but that's not all. As I told you, there are three game modes.
Do you want to beat each other happily? So try the competitive mode. The goal of the game is to survive the climb and return to base camp. If there is more than one player, it will be they with the most victory points, that wins. Points are earned during the game through cards and actions. An element is added in the competitive version: Karama. You will have cards related to this Karama. Each player can play cards from their hand whenever they can. The more good Karama you have, the more bonus points you will earn at the end of the game. Being nice is cool. And conversely, the lower your Karama, the less you will gain from losing it. But who wants to hurt others ... What is this Karama for? As I told you, you have cards in hand. These cards allow you to do good ... or bad actions. The good ones favor your opponent but in return you earn Karama. The bad ones slow down the others (maybe even worse) but make you lose. It will be necessary to judge what is the right moment to help or hinder your opponents. In this version, the game becomes happily deceitful, unpredictable and dangerous. Death can happen unfairly at any time. Beware of the mountain but also the smile of your neighbor. What it gives you at one time, can prepare you for worse at another. The competitive mode is very fun, it must be admitted. Be careful though, as between the draw of tiles, the cards in hand and the role of dice, it is necessary that you like playing with luck. Because yes, it is quite present. After all, you are not in a game of optimization, and thematically, this chance fits well with the madness and magic that operate around this mountain.
The second game mode will allow you to climb to the top of this damn mountain. Together you are stronger ! In this cooperative mode, you’ll forget Karma and its magic. The goal is to reach the summit and then go back down to base camp. And no matter if there are deaths on the road, you are a team, as long as one of you comes back alive, your glory will shine. In this mode, we add two new tracks: Sherpa and Time. So you will have the main opponent, Time. You will have to act quickly and correctly to win. Sherpa is here to help you get vital resources. But beware of new violent events that may occur.
The last mode is for those who like to play alone. Solo mode works like cooperative mode except you can only rely on you.
The game, unlike the size of the box, is not a big "expert" game. The rules read pretty well (even if the mix of modes can disturb on a first reading) and the game is easy to learn. The duration of games vary depending on a lot of factors like the choice of the game mode. The role of chance is quite important but not omnipresent. Moreover, it participates a lot in the vast replayability.
At first glance, it's the graphics that attracted me to this game. This abstract, cold, spare side pays tribute to the theme of the mountain. There is a lack of life (the absence of pupils in the eyes for the characters) that reinforces the survival side of the game. The « minimalism » of illustrations plunge you directly into the atmosphere. An atmosphere that will not leave you throughout the game. The competitive mode remains the most fun mode to play. Here, no mercy. All shots are allowed to survive as long as possible. The idea of Karma is very well founded. This forces you to make choices over the course or long term. However, the cooperative mode remains appreciable by offering a challenge and an idea, close to the realism of such an expedition. At the character level, the game offers an asymmetrical setup. Everyone does not start with the same physical abilities. From one party to another, it forces you to adapt and prove that you are a survivor. The strategic choice of the game seems quite simple: find the shortest way to get on and off by staying alive. But it is not so simple... Replayability and the fun of playing are very important. Knowing how to best manage own resources and objects becomes crucial to survival. The placement of the tiles, a little like inCarcassonne, makes the mountain appear step by step, like a "fog of war". It's very well thought out. For each game, the board will be different and the way up also. The games may be a little long but we did not see the time pass (except in cooperative mode because we were fighting against the game, haha). Mix between a party game and a game for players, Summit stands out. It’s ease of gameplay, replayability, fun, difficulty to win, choices, graphic bias are all points that make it a very enjoyable to play and replay. The designer offers us an original game and certainly one of the best on this theme.In the snow, no one will hear you fall ...
Do you find the game too realistic? You want a fantastic touch to it and more? Beware the legends are sometimes true... The game is released at the same time as its expansion:Yeti (Beware the legends are sometimes true…). This small expansion offers a new non player character : the Yeti. This mythical creature (will someone say real?) will be as guardian of the mountain. During the game, it will follow you in your expedition and when you do not expect it, it will go so far as to trap you ... fatally. But kept calm, the Yeti does not take sides, it attacks everyone. It's a good … beast ? Very well thought out, this expansion does not add too many rules and fits well overall. On the other hand, it offers a slightly offbeat side and a uncertain presence. But the Yeti meeple is so classy ! Without forgetting that if you survive the Yeti AND the mountain, your glory will be even greater. A good expansion, a little empty, but well brought and pleasant to play. I recommend it. No doubt.
Technical Score 8.5/10 The cardboard is good qualities, the graphics are sober but are in line with the theme. The rules are clear and well detailed. For individual trays, it is possible that some tokens do not fit easily, too bad. My BGG Score 8.5/10 (Very good. Enjoy playing and would suggest it.) A very good game, the best on this theme. Maybe sometimes too easy but leaves very good feelings. Several game modes for even more fun and replayability. Combined Score 8.5/10 And now it's over to you...