Sometimes it is possible to tell you come upon a special game simply by looking at the components and reading the rules.
Stones of Fate, from Cosmic Wombat Games, is just such an entity. It is in its final few days as a Kickstarter item. I had a chance to play a demo of it at Origins Game Fair in Columbus, Ohio last week. I found it to be a cerebral and engaging game that packs plenty of fun into a small package.
Though I will do a full review later as I have only played three full games as of this writing, my initial impressions are all positive.
The number of cards used from a deck of 78 tarot-like cards varies depending on the number of players. Game time is 30 to 45 minutes. The layout also varies. In the two-player game, the card grid that makes up the board is two rows of three cards each. The spread is 3 cards by 3 cards for three and four player games.
In the two-player version (the only one I have tried so far), six cards are taken from the top of the deck and placed face up so the players can view what they are and where they are on the grid. The cards are then turned face down and players will need to use their memory to recall that information or use one of two actions available each turn to peek at one card to recall its content and orientation.
The other two available actions are to place one of five plastic stones around the exterior of the cards in order to increase chances of gaining that card when it is flipped (the final of the three available actions). Each card is worth a printed number of victory points.
On each card, certain sides will contain one of four different zone types that will dictate what happens to the card and the players when that card is flipped. When a card is flipped, it is claimed by one of the players or discarded if nobody meets the conditions to claim it. A new card is taken off the top of the deck and place face down to replace it.
When the final card is drawn from the deck, there is a game-ending scenario, points are totaled and a winner declared.
I would strongly suggest supporting this game on Kickstarter. It is a small investment for a great deal of enjoyment. One of the company's owners live in Indianapolis so there is also a regional reason to support the project.