Thorgal is one of the biggest comic book series in Poland. Created by Jean van Hamme and Polish artist Grzegorz Rosiński became a nationwide phenomenon. Polish fantasy book? Witcher. Polish comic book? Thorgal. Even though van Hamme is a Belgian writer, we all here in Poland treat the comic book series like our national treasure.
When the owners of rights to Thorgal reached us and asked if Portal Games is interested in creating a board game, we debated it for some time. 2, maybe 3 seconds. Then, we wrote ‘Heck, yeah.” and clicked send button.
And then the question – how to even start? You have rights to your beloved IP, and you can do absolutely everything. Should you do a fast-to-play deck builder like Hero Realms? Should you go for a dungeon crawler like Bloodborne: the board game? A story-driven game in the style of Sleeping Gods? A strategy game like War of the Ring?
There is an infinite number of possibilities. All tempting, all whispering to my ears: “Choose me, choose me.”
The debate in the dev department began. We liked some elements in Sleeping Gods, like a map full of various locations and small stories hidden in the paragraphs. There were these brilliant character-leveling rules in Death May Die. There was Robinson Crusoe, and we knew some elements in it worked well, and fans loved them, like 7 unique scenarios offering a different experience. There was Puerto Rico, and it’s brilliant “I do action, and you all get something.” There was also a Minecraft video game and crafting items. And there is always deckbuilding because we all love deckbuilding, right?
Brainstorming is a fascinating process. You throw all various ideas, and you build a perfect game, in this early process, everything works, fits together, and plays amazingly. These are the days and weeks of the pure creative process.
Then the playtesting process begins, and nothing works anymore. Playtesting quickly kills most of the magic.
What’s left after these months of work? How does Thorgal: the board game differs from these early prototypes? What type of game, what genre of board game it finally became?
It differs a lot. And it is quite a hybrid game, story-driven, but with a lot of euro-style meat on its bones.
We do still have a quick and fun leveling. In the end, we have a fantastic fold-out map for every scenario. And yes, we have – like in Robinson Crusoe – seven great, story-driven unique scenarios. You will have a beautiful map in front of you with all these locations you can visit. Some provide you with resources, some hide enemies and unexpected encounters, some push the story forward with short paragraphs of text. There are some side plots and some allies. Every scenario and every map is a brand world to discover.
It’s not a dungeon crawler.
It’s not a deck builder.
It’s not a story game.
It’s a brand-new, unique, and original beast. And I cannot wait to week after week, step by step present it to you.
Stay tuned for more,