Indie Boards and Cards the company that brought us great games like The Resistance and Flash Point Fire Rescue has a new game on Kickstarter called Melee. Melee is a 20 minute war game for 2 -4 players designed by Rikki Tahta who brought us great games like Coup and Coup: Rebellion G54 with fun fantasy artwork by Xavier Gueniffey Durin.
It is the dawn of a new year. The old king has just died childless, and the new succession must be decided before the end of this year. You are a local baron or countess with as good a claim as anyone else, so now is the time to grab the throne. Your peers understand only force, and your subjects understand only gold. Gather your men, pay your knights, and assert your claim. Everyone will recognize the strongest and richest as the rightful monarch.
Each player will start with a castle, a unit of foot soldiers and some gold. The game begins with a drafting session that has players bidding on special abilities and purchase units (soldiers, knights, catapults, and camps). The game will play over four seasons (turns) and each one players will simultaneously choose one of three actions to perform: tax, build new units, or move/attack.
This game has a very unique combat mechanic. To attack you move your unit(s) into an occupied territory, then the attacker secretly palms a minimum one gold into their hand from their supply. The defender simply guesses how much gold the attack has in their hand, if they are correct they have successfully defended their territory, wrong and they have lost the battle. Regardless of winning or losing the attacker has spent their gold. While this may sound completely random gold looks to be scarce in the game and with only 5 actions over 4 rounds for the entire game there isn’t a lot of time to gain it, plus players must spend at least 1 gold per attack so this mechanic certainly has me intrigued enough to back the project.
For each season except for winter (the last season) players are allotted only one action, in winter they have two with each player taking both actions before the next player. This makes the game play very quick and can make for a brutish and short game.
Melee was originally released by La Mame Games at Essen 2014 and was a hit with a lot of folks there. It looks to be a very clever, fast, brutish, and potentially nasty game. It also looks like it will be a tremendous amount of fun. If you are a fan of this style of play you really should check this project out on Kickstarter here.