Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de

Beyond the Rift

[Beyond the Rift]

Nikolas Patrakka

Dragon Dawn Productions

No. of Players:



G@mebox author Ralf Togler writes about the game:

Niffil and Olazabal, Elisa and Bastian are back. As are the Boneworms, Chi’leens, Acolytes and Guards, the well known enemies of the Perdition’s Mouth world. It was in 2016, when I met Thomas Klausner at SPIEL in Essen, while I was watching a demo of the great looking dungeon game Perdition's Mouth - Abyssal Rift. Shortly after I sat down and was introduced to the game (Thomas was one of the co-authors). I quickly learnt that exploring dungeons can also work without dice and without any turn order (as far as the turn of the heroes is concerned), an interesting experience. In fact, the game won one of our G@mebox Stars and got high marks as you can see in my review of the boardgame.

One year after that Thomas introduced me to the Multamäki family (who are the people behind Dragon Dawn Productions and game authors at the same time) and from now on, I regularly checked the news of the Finnish publisher. This spring Ren Multamäki informed me that there would be a Kickstarter campaign for the newest offspring of the Perdition’s Mouth world: a card game with similar game mechanics, but without minis and boards. Ren offered me to play a prototype and here we are: I played some first rounds and can tell you now more about the game.

[Beyond the Rift]

Click on image to enlarge!

Of course, as a card game, Beyond the Rift, Perdition’s Mouth: Abyssal Rift Card Game is less complex than the original game with the huge box and the impressive minis. It focuses on the confrontations and the fights against the enemies. The board game came with detailed rules for the terrain, line of sight and the movement details of the heroes and the enemies. In the campaigns you were often asked to prevent acolytes from fleeing, and you had to divide and find tactics to be quicker than the enemy. The card game on the other hand is much more reduced to the basics of the fights, but still the main principles of the game are kept up. On the other hand you get more options to attack and combine actions for that than in the board game. That makes the game richer in variety as far as the fights are concerned.

As in the original game, each hero comes with her or his own unique deck of cards. Depending on the number of players, a specific number of hand cards is drawn every round of the game. And this is our hand to fight and defend against the enemies. Movement is not necessary in the card game, but enemies always come into play in the quest area with a distance of 2 to any hero. Not all weapons or spells can reach them there, and so they must be engaged (or they do so at their own will) to a hero area. For this, each hero has her own hero area in front of the player with other hero’s areas again 2 distance from your own hero. This is important, because - as in the board game - you can aid other heroes in their fights by auxiliary actions, at least if these actions have a reachment of 2.

[Beyond the Rift]

Click on image to enlarge!

The questions arouses whether it is enough just to concentrate on the fights in a Perdition’s Mouth world. And I would say: yes it is. The hero decks are very unique and widely varying. Bastian, the fighter for example, attacking mainly with melee weapons while Elisa doing mighty magic, resulting in huge fire storms, from the distance. As a result, you have to learn the individual techniques of your favourite hero to survive. And surviving is quite essential. As the board game, the card game is campaign driven, and you only move to the next scenario, if at least one hero survives the mission.

The missions also tell us more about the strange world of Perdition’s Mouth that Ren Multamäki - as the main author of the board game - has invented some years ago. That’s why we also find totally new enemy in Beyond the Rift, the orcs. I had the chance to speak with Nikolas Patrakka, the author of the card game, about this, and he explained that the heroes dig deep in history in the campaigns, and so they visit their home countries. Bastian, the fighter, comes from a land of permanent war, a war against orcs... And I can tell you that fighting against these creatures was invigorating for me. I mean, from time to time you are fed up persuading these cowardly Acolytes and getting hurt by nasty poison from the Chi’leens. Sometimes a man like Bastian has to do what he was made for: hack and slay! That’s what orcs are good for, aren’t they?

[Beyond the Rift]

Click on image to enlarge!

Nikolas Patrakka, a nice Swedish guy who lives in Germany now for about 10 years, also told me, that he wanted to create a scalable game. As a result, the game is well-balanced whether you play solo or with more players. Aiding is still not to be sneezed at, but the game is much better to play with few heroes than the original board game. You still have many options to adjust the game to your favourite difficult level, so you can grow with the challenge. Quite interesting, Nikolas is a game enthusiast who came in contact with the publisher some years ago as a game tester for expansions of the board game. Later, in 2017 he was part of the German speaking staff for Dragon Dawn Productions at a convention in Rostock, and that’s where the idea for the card game was born.

Let’s conclude with a comparison to the Lord of the Ring LGC with all its expansions: Beyond the Rift, Perdition’s Mouth: Abyssal Rift Card Game has not in the least to hide behind those big productions. The Finnish publisher has already proven that dungeons can also be explored without dice. And the newest offspring in the Perdition’s Mouth comes with rich varieties, even in the base game. You must remember that I only played a pre-production, the Kickstarter campaign will only start on 19th of July this year (2021). So I think that there might be even more cards at the end of the campaign, and who knows, maybe there will be more hero decks with new campaigns as an expansion one day. But in contrast to the LCG concept you already get a lot of different campaigns with the core game. The game mechanics are comparable, but Beyond the Rift has more options for the players to react on different game situations. And, of course, the story further leads us in the dark fantasy world of Perdition’s Mouth. I pretty much liked the Stone of Destiny of the board game, but the card game has its own charm, too. And it plays much faster. So whenever you only have 30 minutes (or a little bit longer) and want to play a game in the Abyss Beyond the Rift is a very good option to go for...

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Copyright © 2021 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany