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

Crossroads of Heroes


Pat Piper

self published


No. of Players:
2 - 5



G@mebox publisher Frank Schulte-Kulkmann writes about the game:

It was especially the artwork which lured me to take a closer look at Crossroads of Heroes. The game has a Wuxia theme (a genre in Chinese literature) telling about the adventures of martial arts heroes living in the Jianghu - the territory of rivers and lakes where there is lots of dangers outside the safe confines of civilized society. So, that's the backdrop for Crossroads of Heroes, and indeed the players take the roles of apprentice martial artists who strive to rise to the rank of Grand Master of Wulin.


How do I become a Grand Master? Of course by gathering reknown by performing outstanding deeds. Of course these deeds will have to do with a player's mastery of the martial arts, and so the players have to hone and improve their character's skills in the course of the game. At the beginning, the apprentices do not really have many skills apart from their special ability, but each character possesses his own set of (yet unlearned) fighting techniques, and these techniques can be activated through actions, provided the player gives up a number of Qi tokens. These tokens actually are the life energy of a character, so a player needs to be careful when spending them, and the players always have to be on the lookout to restore some of their lost tokens through adventuring.

At this point the love for detail in Crossroads of Heroes becomes visible. Not only does each character have his own special set of technique cards with individual drawings, but furthermore the characters also can find items and other cards which are unique for their character. Beginning with the characters themselves, all these playing components have been designed with much care for detail, and this shows the game's creators have invested much love into this game.


On their turn, the players can travel in the Jianghu, meeting different characters who either will be helpful or need to be faced in a fight. They may visit a sect guardian who may possibly join them on their quest, they may meet a peddler with rare equipment, or they may come upon events and situations in which their reknown can be increased. However, most difficult will be an encounter with a Wulin Master, a powerful adversary who is difficult to defeat but who will teach them new skills if defeated.


Another source of reknown is combat against the other players. Such a duel usually is not fought to the death, but instead the winner of a duel will gather reknown by being more powerful than his competitor. However, this only works once against each opposing hero - after all there would be no fame in defeating a weaker opponent twice.

But let's now look at the combat procedure. Combat is mostly based on the values of the cards which a player was able to assign to his character. These may be learned techniques or item cards, and a player adds up the values of all cards which he wants to use. A duel is fought over three rounds, so the player's must be careful not to use too many cards just for one round, since techniques and certain items may be used only once in a duel. However, there is also small bit of luck included, since many techniques can provide a bonus in combat which may be triggered through revealing a fitting element card from the general draw pile. So the outcome of a combat can be calculated to a high degree, but it may still not be safe.

A player who has gained enough reknown will be admitted to the rank of Grand Master, but if other players succeed in reaching this title in the same turn a final duel must be fought by all contestants. However, on his way to immortal fame many a character actually may be tempted to resort to dark means, and this is no different when travelling in the Jianghu. So a player may use poison darts or employ other unfair methods to gain the edge in combat, and these deeds will have change on his whole philosophy. If a character uses dark means too often, his character will turn from virtuous evil, losing the goal of becoming Grand Master and instead turning into an Evil Scum. It is the ultimate goal of an Evil Scum to kill a virtuous character, and so this player now will aim to reduce the Qi of other players through all possible means.


It is up to each player to chose which way his character will pursue in his adventures out in the Jianghu, and already the basic game of Crossroads of Heroes offers many possible options which the players may pursue. Already my first rounds convinced me that Crossroads of Heroes is a nicely finetuned strategy game in which elements of character development, combat and card management all fit well together. This is rather noteworthy since Crossroads of Heroes is the debut game of Pat Piper, and I hope that he will be able to continue the so far successful story of Crossroads of Heroes!!!

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Copyright © 2019 Ralf Togler & Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany