Game Buzz: Sleeping Gods

Red Raven Games is pretty much a one man show. Ryan Lukas designs, publishes, and does art for most of the studio’s games. The latest is

image by BGG user K_I_T

Sleeping Gods is a game by Ryan Laukat and published by Red Raven Games. It was Kickstarted back in 2019, and is now finally making its way to backers, with a retail release sometime in the future. It’s a cooperative campaign game, with players acting as the crew of a steam ship called The Manticore, exploring a strange new world. It seems to be following in the tradition of other Red Raven Games like Above & Below or Near & Far, except this one has a title that is devoid of prepositions.

The game comes with an atlas that shows a map, which you open to page 2 in the first campaign, placing your ship in sea region #2. There’s also a ship board where you keep your stuff, which is three coins and one grain at the beginning. The board for Captain Sofi Odessa is placed next to the ship board, and the remaining eight crew boards are split between the players. An event deck of six mild, six perilous, and six deadly cards is created. You’ll start with some adventure cards (Gloria, Soup, Gear, and Flapjacks), and will keep a magnetic box of other adventure cards nearby (don’t rearrange or look at them). Each player gets a command and an ability card, and a new journey log sheet should be started with your level of difficulty indicated.

image by BGG user spencerdeanwill

On your turn, you’ll follow four steps: take a Ship action, draw an event card, perform two actions, and end your turn.

SHIP ACTION: There are five rooms on the ship board. Move the ship figurine to a new room and take the action there.

  • Bridge: Draw an ability card and gain command tokens. This action also allows you to remove any command tokens from all crew members and adventure cards.
  • Galley: Draw two ability cards and gain command tokens. This also allows you to discard one ability card to remove one fatigue from any crew member.
  • Deck: Gain command tokens, and draw up to three search tokens one at a time. You’ll take damage from all tokens you draw, but only keep the resources from one.
  • Quarters: Draw an ability card and gain command tokens. You can also remove three command tokens from crew members and adventure cards.
  • Sick Bay: Draw an ability card and gain command tokens. You can also heal one health from a crew member.

EVENT: Draw an event card, read it, then apply the effect or complete the challenge. You’ll go through this deck three times during a campaign.

ACTIONS: Take two actions. You may take the same action twice.

  • Travel: Move the ship to a new region. You first need to compete a Craft challenge. Decide if you want to use a crew member with a craft icon, giving them a fatigue if you do. Then draw fate, adding one for each craft symbol the crew member has, plus craft symbols from ability cards you choose to discard. The amount will determine how far you can go. There are hazards you could encounter, and if you reach the edge of the map, you can continue to a new page as long as there’s an icon telling you where to go.
  • Explore: Choose a location in your current region and open the storybook to the paragraph indicated. Make a choice, gain rewards or suffer consequences, then head back to your ship.
  • Visit a Market Location: If there’s a market in your region, you can draw seven cards from the market deck and buy any that you wish to.
  • Visit a Port: If there’s a port in your region, you can do any or all of the following actions:
    • Inn. Pay 4 coins to restore two health and remove one fatigue from each crew member.
    • Shipyard. Pay resources to repair your ship.
    • Healer. Pay 1 coin to remove all damage from one crew member.
    • Spend XP. Spend XP to buy level cards for any crew members.

END OF TURN: When done with your actions, the player to your left can go.

As you go, you can spend command tokens to equip ability cards, activate crew abilities, activate adventure cards, activate ability cards, give another player your unused combat token, or have your crew members help out with a challenge on another player’s turn.

A campaign can go as long as you like, but you do meet defeat if all crew are reduced to 0 health or your ship has 11 damage.

image by BGG user tommygunn2011

Red Raven games always look beautiful, and are always quite detailed in their execution. This game takes the storybook concept that Laukat has been exploring and seems to amp it up a bit, making more of a sandbox game than anything with a specific storyline to follow. There’s a lot of cool ideas here, and I can imagine this would be a really fun game to explore. Campaigns are easy to save and reset, so I think there’s probably a lot of replayability. It’s one I’ll have to check out sometime.

That’s it for today. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!

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