Sunday, February 9, 2014

Review: Zogar's Gaze by Grey Gnome Games

Zogar’s Gaze is a press-your-luck game that uses both cards and dice to deal with the many obstacles in Zogar’s lair. Players draw a random race and class card at the beginning of the game and keep these identities a secret from the other players. Both the race and class have separate win conditions that must be met in order to win the game.  Each turn, players can explore as much as they'd like, at risk of losing all that's been gained!

In addition, Zogar’s Gaze is always on the lookout. If seven of his ever-piercing eyes are revealed, all players lose, and Zogar wins!

Zogar's Gaze is a fast 30-45 minute game, for 1-5 players. I first learned about it from Kickstarter. When I read the campaign page, I could really tell that the designer, Jason Glover, loves what he does. The campaign video was really well done. The Stretch goals added great value to the game. Everything, down to the exclusive Chessex dice, made me think this game was going to be top quality.

I really like the mechanics in Zogar's Gaze. Once you've selected a character you venture into the dungeon in search of APs, TPs or VPs. The deck is a shuffled up pile of Monsters, Traps, Treasures, and The Gaze of Zogar. You choose how deep to go into the dungeon deck, but be warned; If you die, and you probably will, you lose all the items you've taken with you, then have to start over on your next turn. 

Monster battles are resolved with a die roll, but not your classic skill check rolls. Oh no, its a roll to match the dice on the cards. You roll five dice, and, as you can see on the Fungoid Scout card, if you get a specified result, you defeat the monster (two threes in this example). If not, you die. The symbols on the bottom right corner correspond to Items you may acquire in the dungeon. If you have an Item with one of those symbols, you automatically defeat the Monster.

You can leave the dungeon of your own volition at any time, but this game is about pressing your luck. Be brave. Scour the deck for your VP, AP and TPs, which are your personal win conditions. While exploring, watch out for The Gaze of Zogar - once 7 have been revealed, all players lose.

I am going to start rating games on a scale of 20, in homage to my 20 sided die gaming roots. I would rate Zogar's Gaze an 18. It's a game I would recommend for anyone's game collection. If you're keen on press-your-luck games, then this one is a critical hit. I donated my first copy to The Dallas Games Marathon's Library, and will be picking up a second copy soon.

More from Grey Gnome Games.
Here is a tutorial video of Zogar's Gaze.

Matthew Ryan Robinson is an indie game designer and runs Broken Prism Games. In his spare time he also posts on three other blogs about games he’s designing, about his music tastes,  and about his weight loss journey. You can probably meet him at Dallas Games Marathon on Thursdays or Open Stage on Mondays {Youtube Search: Open Stage Penguin}.

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