Through the Portal in Veilwraith: A Mysterious Journey
Enter a hauntingly black and white world as fragmented memories provide ways to escape vignettes in Veilwraith.
I’m certainly someone who loves the artwork of many different games. Something I subjectively see as beautiful or cute often has a little more staying power, although function over form is still important! Veilwraith: A Veil Odyssey Game is an interesting visual experience with its black and white illustrations. Would this be up my alley? Time to find out…
Game Name: Veilwraith: A Veil Odyssey Game
Publication Year: 2021
Designer: Tristan Hall
Artists: José Salvador del Nido, M. Greuli, and Hachimon
Publisher: Hall or Nothing Productions
Solo Mode: Designed for Solo (Included in the Base Game)
Either through individual plays or over the course of a campaign, keys must be collected and foes defeated to escape each vignette. A simple set of rotating actions looks obvious, yet memories and unique bonuses from keys and even enemies open up unexpected paths to victory!
June 17, 2021
June 20, 2021
30" x 22"
The Best and the Worst
In a carefully constructed threat deck, 5 keys are roughly evenly spaced out. The goal is to collect them all and escape through the portal before defeat occurs.
Spirit, otherwise known as health, ticks down from a starting value of 20 rather quickly! To stay alive is tricky.
If the threat deck runs out, it gets reshuffled… With this not-so-friendly figure added in. Immediate defeat can happen at any point, making timely victory the focus.
Each vignette is its own scenario with different enemies and progressively more difficult conditions.
Diving Into the World
At first, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was actually doing. It only took a few rounds before I got my bearings, though.
A wise mystic came out rather early on to put a key into play. Some threats aren’t completely bad, yet her presence resulted in 1 lost spirit at the end of every round. Goodbye!
Being able to collect a key takes a bit of planning and is also an action. So this might mean the key can be picked up, but threats might continue to drain spirit.
The nice part about each key is its dual abilities: It may be turned and/or flipped once per vignette for special actions.
Most gameplay stems from the choice of action to take each round. Typically, only 1 of these is used to explore a key or overcome a threat of some type. But how?
Note the token above each card labeled from 1 to 3. This provides the base value for the action, which might be modified by power tokens or memory cards.
If I used the explore action, it would have a power of 3. It would move under the 1-token and slide the actions right.
This seems simple, and it is! Yet there are rounds when a carefully timed double-action can be very powerful.
Through the Portal
With the proper planning, escaping through the portal can be achieved without too many issues. Yet I will say that the first vignette isn’t designed to be a major challenge.
I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the campaign system. If too many vignettes are lost, the entire system resets and starting back at vignette 1 is required.
Granted, there are modifications and I doubt anyone would throw a fit for tossing in some house rules!
To be fair, I was just beginning my journey through the system and was only interested to see how this worked.
The world is shrouded in mystery, as is the character that you play as. Only fragmented memories form a sort of past, yet these experiences play a vital role.
Memories start out as a basic deck of 20 cards. Upgrades happen during successful plays, replacing these basic cards with more powerful versions.
Each memory can be used to boost the value of an action, gain back spirit, or even ignore a threat for a single round.
Over time, the memory deck grows in power and might focus on a specific action, all while containing 20 cards.
Another Goblin King
Time for an absolutely horrible joke! Brace yourself. Please. When I saw that the foe for the first vignette was going to be the Goblin King, I thought I knew who to greet.
You know: A certain Jareth from the masterpiece of a movie titled Labyrinth! So maybe this character was a little different from David Bowie in some fantastic costumes.
As I mentioned earlier, the Lost Ruins weren’t designed to cause immediate defeat. Still, I didn’t quite cruise through.
The special bonus where defeated keys offered extra spirit definitely helped along the way! But I still missed Jareth.
Might for Strength
Victory! I defeated the Goblin King, collected all 5 keys, and made it through the portal. The sequence of play took me a little longer, yet it was all a learning experience.
Excitedly, I looked at the memory upgrades. So many choices! Did I want to focus on an action? Or might it make more sense to bolster an existing memory card?
I settled on trading might for strength. Whereas the old version gave me +1 fight, this was +2 fight with an ability.
Was it the right choice? No idea! Exploring upgrades is a big part of gameplay, and I would learn as I progressed.
Overcome by Threats
Oh, my. The next vignette was much more difficult than I thought it would be. I managed to juggle a handful of threats at once, yet it all caught up over time.
Just a quick note that the game includes a nice spirit dial, yet my copy was missing it. A replacement is on the way, so I just used my giant d20 in the meantime. It worked!
Yet my strategy didn’t. I could see how some luck was involved, but I also can’t blame every loss on randomness.
I lost a ribbon, which seemed pretty bad this early on. Still, permanent death is something I prefer. Who knew?!
The Nesting Woods
Alright. Let’s just take a moment to say that these woods are officially haunted. While taking a photo, no matter how I looked at it, my camera showed moving areas!
It’s simply a product of the black and white artwork, though it was a cool and thematic moment for me.
Every vignette defines the main foes and all of the threats to be used. Additionally, each has its own unique ability.
In the Nesting Woods, I had an incentive to flip every key so I could add a power token to the influence action. This would prove to be very useful on my quest to succeed!
Perfectly Bad Timing
Recall my quick mention of the Archfiend above? I found myself shuffling the threat deck just as I was about to defeat the final key. Not too shabby, but still slow.
Into the deck this card went, ready to show up at any point. I still had a good chance of succeeding, though.
I worked hard to limit the threats in play. Spirit was still lost, but at a rate I could handle. Then, I had my explore action teed up for the next round for an immediate win.
All I needed to do was draw any card but this one… And do you know who showed up?! Agonizing instant defeat!
Play Number: 1-5
Solo Mode: Designed for Solo (Included in the Base Game)
Play Details: Vignettes 1 and 2 (Standard Difficulty Level)
Outcome: 2 Wins and 3 Losses
It was far from easy, yet I made it through the Nesting Woods at last! Maybe I didn’t set myself up for survival through the campaign, yet I enjoyed learning from my mistakes and finding out what each type of enemy was capable of. I pulled off excellent turns with multiple actions and had a generally awesome time! Simplicity in some respects made the game even more fun to play.
Price & Value
Challenges & Mechanics
Design & Theme
Components & Rules
Achievement & Enjoyment
Distinctness & Randomness
+ Pros (Positives)
- Perhaps the artwork would have been better in color, yet the black and white style fits in well with the setting.
- Even with such a simple choice of 3 actions, setting up future rounds or finding ways to survive isn’t obvious.
- Upgrading memory cards is an important step that customizes a deck to provide unique ways to progress.
- Each vignette is different in its own way to set up challenges that ramp up in difficulty and require new ideas.
- Aside from the usual learning of a new game, the time needed to play is very reasonable at under 30 minutes.
- Finding ways to chain actions is very satisfying, particularly when all the threats can be cleared at once.
– Cons (Negatives)
- The box is enormous for the components, unless it’s assumed there will be a plethora of new content soon.
- Some of the text is very small and more difficult to read, especially on the vignette cards that define setup.
- Bad luck can be overcome with some strategic choices, yet some elements are very deterministic and final.
- There is a good deal of content in the base box, yet playing the campaign over and over doesn’t have any variety.
Escape Through the Portal
- Overall Goal Progress 75% 75%
Goals and Milestones
Complete vignette 1.
Complete vignette 2.
Complete vignette 3.
Complete vignette 4.
Continue the Conversation
What do you think of Veilwraith: A Veil Odyssey Game? How far have you made it through the vignettes? I fear my campaign will end early with the speed that I’m losing ribbons, yet you never know! The upcoming challenges will be tough and I look forward to lasting as long as I can. Pardon me as I take a break to say, “You have no power over me.”