Deeper Into the Darkness with Shadows of Kilforth

August 31, 2021 | Stories | 8 comments

Travel to another side of the Kilforth world where dangers lurk and darkness creeps ever closer in Shadows of Kilforth. 

The arrival of Shadows of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game was ages ago and I never thought to even take a close look inside the box! Actually, I marked this as received in March 2020. Now that’s some major gloom right there! Luckily, I finally felt compelled to open the box and get it to the table. How would this compare? I was excited to find out!

Game Overview

Game Name: Shadows of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game
Publication Year:
2020
Designer:
Tristan Hall
Artists:
José Salvador del Nido and Ania Kryczkowska
Publisher: Hall or Nothing Productions
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game

Gameplay is almost identical to the game’s predecessor, Gloom of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game. Other elements see a character choose sides to be affected by global events, while new content opens up many new options. And then there is always the temptation to combine it all!

A Beautiful Scene on the Cover of Shadows of Kilforth
R

First Play

August 24, 2021

Complexity

3

Latest Play

August 25, 2021

Expansions

1

Setup Time

5 Minutes

Lifetime Plays

2

Play Time

2 Hours

:

High Score

51

1

Game Area

44" x 28"

;

Low Score

29

Organized Chaos

Although I didn’t combine both games, I created a partial storage solution that included most of the components.

I’ve been using this organizer for a long time because it’s awesome! It keeps everything together for storage and saves a lot of space during play. Very neat and tidy.

For the solo game, there’s a lot more here than I’ll ever need. But I still like to keep things together whenever possible. Only some tokens are bagged on their own.

My favorite addition in this bunch? The standee bases. We all know how I love to use them for the cards!

Organizing Components for the Full Kilforth Universe with Shadows of Kilforth

At the Very Start

Brother Grenyl was to begin his harrowing journey. When he last looked beyond his guarded eyes, there was a terror not even he had seen before in all his days as a watcher.

From an early age, he locked himself away in the darkest corners near Moneshoba Shrine in search of answers.

Now, there were only more questions. The once peaceful lands stirred with shadows both known and unknown.

Although the outside world held more dangers and struggles for a watcher, Brother Grenyl knew his mission. He quietly packed to leave his solitude behind.

An Intriguing Choir Monk Watcher to Start with Shadows of Kilforth

Emerging from Hiding

The bright sunshine could not be seen beneath the bandages that covered his searching eyes, yet he felt its power. Cold winds whipped his robes in a feathery dance.

So close to others, the desire to see was almost overpowering. Yet Brother Grenyl had fallen victim to that cruel trick of his abilities. The visions were unstoppable.

He plodded towards the outskirts of town with his trusty walking stick. Even without sight, he knew the way.

A heightened sense of hearing brought bits of whispered chatter to his ears. And there was much to listen to.

A Delightful Starting City at Moneshoba Shrine in Shadows of Kilforth

Finding a Purpose

There was talk of the growing darkness, mostly panicked and without merit. Yet another constant topic was the disappearance of Felicia, a missing farmer.

Brother Grenyl could sense her father’s distress. He grew weary imagining the creatures that likely swarmed around him and fed off that fear. This would become his quest.

Yet out in the wilderness, a true pair of eyes would be most useful. He kept his ears open for word of a companion.

On the last trek beyond the city’s bridge, he heard of an archer near the Forsaken Glade who sought adventure.

Setting Out with the First Chapter and a Rumor in Shadows of Kilforth

Ending the KeyMasters

In the deep darkness that swirled through the swampy mists, Brother Grenyl caught wisps of hushed talks. He stumbled upon travelers belonging to The Keymasters.

Just a slight note that I believe this flavor text meant to say “sowing dissent” rather than the sewing sort…

He risked using his watcher abilities for a moment to see how they wove fear and evil together, all from another realm. It was terrifying and hideous. Desperately cruel.

Brother Grenyl was ill-equipped to study this society, yet he would make it his mission to destroy it.

An Interesting Personal Goal at Dark Pinnacle in Shadows of Kilforth

Into the Veil

As he ventured further away, Zelia the archer joined his side and acted as his eyes. She was wary of his true purpose as a watcher, for there was much evil beyond.

Brother Grenyl felt the power take control when he learned a powerful spell that sent him and Zelia through a veil door. To what end? It seemed to change them.

A return to Moneshoba Shrine saw him master the art of trade with little gold, and Jonis the ox became his steed.

Zelia was not quite partial to the giant beast, though he would make travel all the easier and even safer.

Through the Veil Door and a Newly Acquired Title in Shadows of Kilforth

A Terrible Plague

Brother Grenyl appreciated the quiet company of Zelia. She was more of a guide to him than a simple set of eyes could be, for she was a patient teacher with the bow.

He learned how to understand the weight and texture of an arrow, and the secrets only the wind could tell.

In the desert, Zelia felt sluggish. He felt a great heat emanating from her, more than mere desert exhaustion.

By nightfall, his friend and teacher breathed her last. Brother Grenyl held her powerful hands to the end, when her strength faded away. Alone again. Mayhaps forever.

A Terrible Plague and the Fall of Zelia the Archer in Shadows of Kilforth

Piecing Together Clues

Jonis, the ever-vigilant ox, softened to a certain degree. There was more to him that a mere beast, though to see him would be far too much for the grieving watcher.

He returned to the home of The Keymasters and found a way to breach their ranks. But the victory felt hollow.

Brother Grenyl set his not-so-literal sights on finding the missing farmer’s daughter. A revered shrine seemed to indicate that she had been there recently… But why?

Only a mysterious actor offered a glimpse of the future through her intriguing artistry. Onward the journey went.

Puting Together the Puzzle with Chapter 1 of a Saga in Shadows of Kilforth

Beyond the Stampede

When night fell in Evalfor Seina, the ground began to shake. Minute by minute, the intensity rose until even Jonis was unable to keep his steady footing.

It was an enormous stampede of buffalo! Uncontrolled and fearful of something, they raced across the plains.

Brother Grenyl sensed the presence of someone nearby who found shelter in one of the very few stands of trees.

Quickly, he set Jonis loose to prevent him from being trampled while he scaled the trunk to huddle on a low branch. The buffalo fairly flew by, with no damage done.

A Buffalo Stampede Under the Gaze of a Martial Artist in Shadows of Kilforth

Home to the Acid

To get out of character for just a moment, this started a side story that turned out to be hilarious! More soon…

In the west, Brother Grenyl felt the tug of his ancestral home. It was a rather terrible place, gathered around a literal acid pool and almost inhospitable.

No one knew why his family stayed, for they were not all watchers. To return would be difficult, both physically and mentally. There was no time for such a frivolous visit.

Chances were good that the acid had spread and it was a barren wasteland. That was, if his family had any sense.

An Interesting Call for Help from an Acid Pool Home in Shadows of Kilforth

In Search of Felicia

Brother Grenyl continued his journey with Jonis, but he refused to risk more by seeking out other allies. Zelia…

The ever-present pressure of time kept him marching on, though, for there was still no sign of Felicia.

He learned of a forest temple where she might have been taken from an exiled noble. Mara intrigued him, for she was desperate yet without the shadows he knew so well.

By chance, an ancient spell crossed his path and his knowledge made its intricacies clear. Although it seemed unrelated to Felicia, Brother Grenyl sensed its importance.

Traveling in Search of Clues in Shadows of Kilforth

By Wind and Strength

Far in the west was where Brother Grenyl met a man of no words. He was absolutely silent, yet he knew the secret way into the secret temple. It would open only with wind.

Ironically, the bodyguard’s knowledge was left untouched for ages since he was unable to utter the words to the spell.

Unable or unwilling? The journey to find Felicia raised more questions and accepting another ally meant taking facts for granted. His history would remain unknown.

A fierce band of bandit raiders was no match for the speechless bodyguard, Jonis, and Brother Grenyl.

Uncovering More Clues in a Saga for Shadows of Kilforth

The Penultimate Tale

Several trips back to Moneshoba Shrine revealed more information. Silence became the backdrop to everything Brother Grenyl did. Aside from Jonis’s hooves, that was.

A dash of pepper and the assistance of a trickster provided the combination to sneak inside the temple. Where could Felicia be? This search was proving rather futile.

In a weak moment, he removed his bandages to see. The creature that raced away was marred with darkness.

Brother Grenyl spent the night in anguish. Her trail was crystal clear, yet the destination was still murky.

Piecing Together the Final Clues and Keywords in Shadows of Kilforth

A Destroyed Home

Try as he might, Brother Grenyl never risked visiting the acid pool of his childhood. It may have been his home, but it held no meaning to him now. His path was ahead.

Breaking out of character again, having the acid pool labeled as Brother Grenyl’s home was rather funny to begin with! But then I drew this fantastic night card…

The only place on the map was the acid pool, so it was summarily destroyed by a bridge collapse. Ha ha ha!

Technically the route there was blocked, yet I liked to think that the pool itself was completely covered up.

A Destroyed Home and a Bit of Comedy Relief in Shadows of Kilforth

The Power of an Ally

Brother Grenyl found Felicia in the darkness of Bleak Swamp. The gloom and shadows had almost taken her when he approached without fear. He knew what she was.

A seraph could be a deadly creature, much as she was when her powers were unleashed in the temple.

Yet Felicia was no monster. Only a lost child frightened by her abilities. As a watcher, he felt a kinship to her.

With a gentle hand, he guided her away from the shadows. Felicia would stand with him against the gloom that was invading the land at an alarming rate. No more fear.

A Powerful New Ally from Bleak Swamp in Shadows of Kilforth

Content Warning

Just a heads up that the next few sections and images might be a little darker than usual. The Render of Flesh isn’t exactly a friendly sort of enemy, so feel free to skip on by a little bit! I also think I described this battle in a little more violent detail than I typically do. Still definitely in the PG, possibly PG-13, realm! Only providing a little warning.

If you’re not in the mood for this imagery or retelling of a darker battle, do a search on this page for “Session Overview” and you can skip to the end with my usual final thoughts! Or, continue reading, if you’re interested.

An Ancient Battle

As soon as Felicia was rescued, Brother Grenyl felt the presence of a sinister being across Kilforth. He needn’t look beyond his bandages. This was new and fully evil.

Dark Pinnacle, home to The Keymakers, turned out to be the battleground. Had the society found a way to open the veil themselves? It was a harrowing thought.

Despite the terror that threatened to envelop him, the modest choir monk held his ground. He simply had to.

It was the Render of Flesh and to stand before him was enough to make even the most powerful cower. But no…

Finding the Ancient in the Mountains of Dark Pinnacle in Shadows of Kilforth

Everything at Once

Brother Grenyl used all of his knowledge and power as quickly as he could. There was little time to close this doorway and defeat the ancient. Could he?

Brave Jonis charged at full speed to attack with his great horns. The noise of the collision was sickening. Jonis fell to his knees, winded and weakened but not dead.

As lightning flickered across the sky, the battle waged on. Injuries were taken by both sides. Blood poured forth.

The trick of the snake charm spell reflected a fair bit of damage back, though. Brother Grenyl steeled himself.

Dealing Tons of Damage to the Render of Flesh in Shadows of Kilforth

The Final Attack

Panting and close to collapsing, the watcher found a moment in the battle when his opponent paused.

Calmly, almost in a moment when time stopped, Brother Grenyl removed the bandages from his eyes. He raised his lids to stare straight into the ancient. Beyond it.

The visions would normally be terrifying, yet the pair locked eyes for an instant. With knitted eyebrows and burning intensity, Brother Grenyl launched his final blow.

It was more than a physical attack: He leapt beyond the veil to snuff out the ancient utterly and completely.

The Final Victorious Roll Against the Render of Flesh in Shadows of Kilforth

Session Overview

Play Number: 1
Expansion: Adventures Expansion Pack
Accessory: Pimp My Shadows Expansion Pack
Solo Mode: Included in the Base Game
Play Details: Easy Difficulty Level
Outcome: 29 Points (Win)

Such an exciting ending! Maybe it looked a little easy, yet Brother Grenyl was down to his final bit of fate and on the cusp of defeat. I loved this session! This might be my new favorite in the Kilforth series, although not by a huge margin. So much to explore and enjoy in this volume!

The Final Collection of a Choir Monk Watcher in Shadows of Kilforth

%

1 Play

Affordability

Price & Value

5

Functionality

Challenges & Mechanics

10

Originality

Design & Theme

7

Quality

Components & Rules

7

Reusability

Achievement & Enjoyment

7

Variability

Distinctness & Randomness

10

+ Pros (Positives)

  • All of the cards create an almost endless source of stories and adventures with gorgeous artwork and flavor text.
  • Combat is quite common, yet the ability to hide, sneak, and find other ways around enemies is rather interesting.
  • Only a portion of each card deck is used with each play, leading to plenty of variety for all sorts of characters.
  • The 5-chapter saga provides the foundation for the main part of the adventure, but there is a lot to explore.
  • Most of the world is very dark and serious, yet the unpredictable card order can lead to unexpected humor.
  • Each play usually lasts at least a couple of hours, but the end result is a sweeping tale and a very fun experience.

– Cons (Negatives)

  • The various art styles are all beautiful, yet there is a bit of a disconnect when many of the cards are together.
  • A fair amount of luck is needed to do well with the dice, while some events are unavoidable and rather harsh.
  • In terms of combining the Kilforth titles, there is a lot of overlap with the class skill types: Only Rebel is unique.
  • Although stories often develop naturally from card combinations and flavor text, some effort is still needed.

More Shadows of Kilforth

Explore related posts about Shadows of Kilforth!

Victory Conditions

Defeat the Ancient

  • Overall Goal Progress 100% 100%

Goals and Milestones

R

Win at least 1 game against the Bishop of Pride.

R

Win at least 1 game against the Render of Flesh.

Continue the Conversation

What do you think of Shadows of Kilforth: A Fantasy Quest Game? Is there a part of the Kilforth world that you prefer? I was very pleasantly surprised! Although the mechanics were basically unchanged from the original, the different cards and small changes brought this to life in a different way. I can only imagine the fun when everything is combined!

8 Comments

  1. I’ve been waiting for this write-up! I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels the disconnect in the multiple art styles. Curious if you’ve formed opinions about the newer gameplay elements yet– choosing sides, new loot, etc.

    Reply
    • The different art styles are wonderful on their own, yet together there’s just something… A little amiss? I’ve seen collections like this work as it encourages appreciating each artist. That works to a certain extent here, but I feel like there are many more differences than in the original.

      No solid opinions on new gameplay yet! Choosing sides seems interesting but doesn’t feel like a central element of play. Maybe it isn’t supposed to be, but I kind of hoped it might have more effects. I might not have seen enough to see it fully in action, though!

      Reply
  2. Maybe I’m not educated enough on art. But from your pictures, I don’t see much disconnect.
    The only ones that – to me – stand out (without standees, hur hur) are, in your last picture, Snake Charm and Calm. The Choir Monk, while looking maybe somewhat different for my untrained eye, is not different enough for me to actually notice (unless I’m looking for it, like now).

    Reply
    • Yeah, I don’t think I highlighted enough cards to show the different art styles here! Some of the characters look extremely realistic, while other artwork depicts them a little more… Abstract? I’m not educated in art, either, and if that’s a major critique, it’s still very minor in the grand scheme of things. Nothing here took me completely out of the world: It just felt like I was looking at things from different perspectives that felt a little jarring here and there. Certainly not something that even came close to lessening the overall experience, though!

      Reply
  3. I agree with the art disconnect. Actually since i read that the gameplay is similar to the first one, I ended up getting the first one instead of the second one specifically because of the art consistency.

    Reply
    • That’s usually the consensus: Both games are very similar gameplay-wise, so choosing the game that appeals to you aesthetically or thematically is recommended. The original is fantastic and I hope you enjoy playing it!

      Reply
  4. Like you, I’ve had this since it was released but never did more than open the box. I’m not suggesting the art issue is a big deal, but it does seem like an ideal situation to have all the art done by a single person like in Gloom. I wonder what happened with the change in artists?

    Thanks for the write up. Haven’t pulled GoK out in quite a while. Need to do so.

    Reply
    • Sometimes it comes down to an artist being booked with other projects, cost, or even the desire to work with a new artist! I really should show some actual examples of what I’m talking about because although noticeable, it’s still not enough for me to say it’s a major problem. I think I was spoiled by the original and came to expect a specific art style for all of the individual cards. This is more… Eclectic? Although that’s really not the right word I’m looking for.

      Thanks for reading and I hope you have a good time playing the next time you get your copy to the table!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy