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Playing videogames carefully

Armello is a virtual boardgame about a lion king afflicted by a magical disease called the Rot, and the clan leaders, all different kinds of animal, who would replace him. Players draw cards each turn for weapons, spells and feats of trickery; armed with these and pawfuls of glowing dice, they claim villages, embark on quests and duel each other in turn-based combat, seeking Prestige points or the means to breach the castle at the centre.

The computer-controlled king also takes his turn. By day, he sends the royal guard to defend or tyrannise the kingdom, and picks favourites from among the players – whoever is leading on Prestige gets to pass a law, such as a ban on magic. By night, the king’s corruption spreads to infest map tiles with hideous winged demons. There are three routes to victory: amass the most prestige, defeat the king hand-to-hand before he succumbs to the Rot, or gather enough spirit stones to assume the mantle of healer, allowing you to cleanse your ailing lord and send him peacefully to the afterlife. The journey will be eventful either way, the balance of hero stats and the whim of RNG telling a fresh story each time. But there is only ever one final outcome: the king will die.

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