Bloody Oath! What an ambitious experience this game is promising to be. I’m not obligated to tell you anything about the quality of the gameplay in this ‘unboxing’ post, but TBGD is going to play a few games of Oath and publish a review in a few weeks, so keep an eye out! Oath is the latest Kickstarter delivery from Leder Games, with packages just starting to roll out in Australia and soon to the rest of the world. The game touts a legacy-like experience, with actions taken by players in one game influencing the next – the game ‘remembers’ and ‘evolves’ as you play. Anyway, I’ll stop rambling and let you get to the pictures!
1-6 Players | 45+ Minutes | Designed by Cole Wehrle
As per Leder games convention, Oath features a four letter long name and art by Kyle Ferrin. I adore Kyle’s artwork (you can see my praise in my other Leder Games reviews) and the adjustment to a darker and more gritty style fits Oath‘s pseudo-medieval setting really well.
The box was bigger than I was expecting (Ticket to Ride size but wider), and is completely covered in whimsical art inside and out. On the back of the box is a quick run down of the style of game, including a list of the components. While the back of the box doesn’t really discuss the specific gameplay in terms of mechanics it does emphasise that the game is easy to get into through the how to play book and various aids.
Upon opening the box you are greeted with the how to play rulebook, and the rules reference and player aid cards.
Oath presents it’s rules in a similar fashion to Root, a ‘Learn to Play’ book that acts as a tutorial and runs players through an introductory game teaching essential rules. A more dry, clinical rules reference is also included. Several heavy games have adopted this method of presenting rules and I think it’s one of the best ways that publishers have found to teach games. Additionally, the large reference cards included are very welcome.
Because rules are represented differently in two books, the ease of finding a rule while in play doesn’t need to be balanced with ease of teaching the game. Based on my experience with Root, I’m expecting that Oath will be easy to learn and teach, and rules will be easy to find in the reference book. I had a quick look through the ‘Setup for your First Game’ page and I was impressed with the way the cards are organised to make playing your first game as simple as possible.
Oath has a number of cardboard components although in my Kickstarter copy some of these are superseded by deluxe components. The cardboard is nice quality and punched pretty well, although a couple of the coins caught and I had to carefully remove them to avoid tears. The player boards are all the same stock but come pre-punched. There are also some dividers for card storage and a few other miscellaneous cardboard components.
The upgraded Favour tokens are amazingly intricate metal coins. I have a fair few games with metal coins, and these coins are pretty stunning, certainly high in the ranks. They very satisfyingly interlock thanks to the ‘rampart’ edges on each face. The Secret tokens (books) are made of a nice weighty resin and the gold embossing looks really stunning. Everyone is a sucker for custom dice, and the attack and defence dice look great in colours that complement the rest of the game components.
I’m very impressed with the game board. Leder chose to go with a neoprene mat which comes rolled up in the box. It’s a very large ‘board’ and it looks stunning. The print quality on the fabric is better than I’ve seen before and the finish gives it an iridescent sheen which is very striking. If you zoom in on my close-up image you can really see the detail in the print.
The cards look similar to the Fort cards, which were great quality, but unfortunately not linen finish. I didn’t open them for this unboxing because they are organised specifically to aid in playing your first game, and I didn’t want to get them mixed up. While I prefer linen finish cards, with the sleeves it’s not an issue in this case. I’m really impressed with how the sleeves have a quaint bordering that fit with the production, they aren’t just generic.
Finally, the meeples that come with the game are so striking! They are very high quality, and are all screen printed on one side with details. The wood is a nice quality, Leder has really picked up the production values on their wooden pieces since Root‘s first edition, which wasn’t the best.
The game box is well stuffed and very well organised inside!
A small tray is included to keep the favour and secret tokens as well as the dice in. It has a lid to stop the tokens from falling out while boxed.
The empty insert has three compartments, and is a bit shorter than the overall box to allow for the play mat to fit in the box when rolled up.
The big well in the top right is for storing the cards, and they will fit when sleeved. Cardboard dividers are included to separate the player cards and make ‘Chronicling the Game’ (putting away the ‘state’ of the game) easy.
Oath is just delivering through Kickstarter at the moment. I’m lucky to live in Australia where we are a bit closer to China so we get it a little early. Leder usually releases games to retail soon after Kickstarter backers get their copies, so keep an eye out in you local stores for this game if it interests you and you missed the Kickstarter!
Overall I’m very impressed with this production. Of course I knew Leder games wouldn’t skimp on any of the components of this game but there were a few surprises for me (the deluxe tokens and chronicle book) that really show the company is continuously pushing to make their products better and better. I’m very excited to get together some friends and start playing this game, and hopefully it won’t be too long before I can put some thoughts together as a review here on the blog – subscribe if you want to be notified when it goes live!
The copy of Oath used for this post was provided to The Boardgame Detective by Leder Games.
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