THEY WHO WERE 8 (Passport Game Studios)
Though it may not seem as exciting in the world of role playing as slaying dragons or escaping dungeons, They Who Were 8 sets players as bards, crafting glorious and infamous tales of their gods’ exploits and majesty. Tales are rarely remembered how they were first told though and many different tellers can change heroes to villains!
Players start off They Who Were 8 with a pair of god cards, one set to their right and the other to their left. In this way, players pair their gods with the other players to their two sides. After this, opening hands of three action cards are dealt and the game begins.
In each round, players play and then discard an action card. Cards serve to add, subtract, swap and move infamy and glory tokens on the god cards. After all players have finished their action, they pick a card from their hand and pass it left, and then the discard and draw piles are shuffled together with players each drawing a new card. The only thing that interrupts play are the single use god powers (though renewable through one of the action cards). Rounds continue this way until glory or infamy tokens run out, at which case the game ends immediately.
One of They Who Were 8’s most interesting twists on gaming is determining the winner. Not rewarding braggadocio, the winning player is the one whose god is the more modest character in the most glorious tale. Pairs of gods add their glory and subtract their infamy collectively to determine the tale’s total. After the highest total is determined, the two gods glory and infamy is calculated separately and the lower total is named the game’s winner.
This victory condition makes for interesting strategies as you want to heap glory on your perceived opponent, but not too much as action cards and god powers can provide tricky swaps. Because of all of this, your timing on adding and subtracting to victory has to be precise. What card did you pass? What god powers are left? Do you have the action card needed to deplete that last glory token? It’s deceptively complicated in its simplistic rules.
In addition to the standard game, They Who Were 8 also offers a team-play version, pitting two teams of two against each other. This version gets rid of the paired gods rules in favor of just adding glory and subtracting infamy to determine the winner. It’s a fun addition, but a lot of They Who Were 8’s interest comes in the original game’s victory conditions. (Passport game Studios) by David C. Obenour