In the year 1890, the rule of Her Majesty, Queen Victoria, is undisputed. It extends to the far reaches of the globe, making London the very center of the world. However, all is not well in the mysterious city cloaked in fog. A secret, sinister force known as The Cult works behind the scenes with some terrible goals in mind. They're plotting to overthrow the Queen, destroy the Empire, and bring about the Rise of Moloch.
The second tabletop entry in The World of SMOG is the brand new CMON and Guillotine Games title Rise of Moloch. It’s an epic adventure, designed to be played over the course of a campaign consisting of six different Chapters, each one leading into the next. There are many different paths players can follow, and everything from Events, to Upgrades, to the results of different battles and encounters, will shape the way players experience the game as they progress. No two campaigns will be the same.
One player will take on the role of the Nemesis, the head of The Cult. The rest of the players control The Gentlemen, members of the Unicorn Club with a wide array of skills and talents. The Gentlemen must ally themselves against the Nemesis and its Agents if they are to have any hope of derailing the plots against the Queen.
For each Chapter of Rise of Moloch, the board is set up with different tiles to form a stage. Each stage will be a mixture of indoor and outdoor locations constructing the streets, alleys, and buildings of London. The players will have to negotiate their way through doors, walls, and obstructions if they want to complete their tasks. The round unfolds across that stage, with each side using the environments and their team of characters to defeat their opponent. The rules for both the Gentlemen players and the Nemesis will be altered with new missions and goals for each Chapter.
As the Gentlemen and the Nemesis match wits, they will alternate back and forth executing actions. Each Gentlemen player gets to choose two actions for their turn, allowing them to move around the board, attack their opponents, interact with objects, or spend some time recovering. The Gentlemen each have unique abilities and they will upgrade their skills in different ways throughout the game. Some are adept at ranged combat, and others like to get their hands dirty with melee conflicts. Learning how to use them as a cohesive unit is important.
Each of the different Chapters has a time limit and a unique set of goals for both the Gentlemen and the Nemesis to accomplish. At the end of the round, if either side has accomplished their goals, they'll win that Chapter. If all the Gentlemen are neutralized at the same time, it will spell victory for the Nemesis player. The Cult will also rejoice if the timer runs out for the round. The results of one Chapter will directly affect the situation in the next one. Many campaigns of Rise of Moloch can be played with a different story unfolding every time.
At the start of each Chapter, one of the Gentlemen will be nominated as the Leader and will assign Role Cards to the other players on the team, giving them a unique ability. For example, the Bouncer can dish out extra damage during a battle, and the Samaritan can heal teammates.
After a fierce encounter with the Agents of the Nemesis, the Gentlemen will be a little worse for wear. A short rest to nurse their wounds and recover their energies will do them a world of good. Between each Chapter, there is an Intermission phase. It's a chance for the Gentlemen players to remove any wound tokens they've acquired and restore Ether equal to the number on their character board. During the Intermission, Gentlemen get the chance to gear up, with equipment cards and Upgrades that will help them in the subsequent Chapters. They'll need it too, because as they improve their abilities, the Nemesis will be gaining Conspiracy points and advancing their schemes.
The Gentlemen team will get to choose from a number of different characters with a host of skills that will come in handy in a variety of situations. There’s Sir Walther Cavendish: a scientist and inventor that enjoyed all of the benefits that came with being a Steam Lord, but a fall from grace has left Cavendish in the Queen's debt. Now, he patrols the streets, strapped in to his thermoelectric suit, looking for Agents of the enemy. Another member of the Unicorn Club is Emma Swanson: she was raised to be the wife of an aristocrat, and she took full advantage of the opportunities her position afforded, learning horseback riding, fencing, and shooting. Word traveled to the Unicorn Club, and she surprised everyone when she outwitted the testers and bested them in physical combat. Then there’s Drago. Born into riches, he was bitten by a beast on a hunting trip. Now, cursed with a condition that turns him into an animal when he flies into a rage, Drago has called upon his cultured upbringing to help control his emotions. Still, you don’t want to get on his bad side. Cavendish, Swanson, and Drago are only a few of the members, but all of the Gentlemen are valuable assets willing to fight and die for the Queen.
It’s a good thing the Unicorn Club is full of such well accomplished members because they’ll have to face off against the sinister members of The Cult and the twisted family of the Grotesque Company Circus. The Cult is lead by the High Priest of Moloch, who can call upon gravediggers, necromancers, and a whole team of zombies. The Cult is determined to summon Moloch, and they will go to great lengths to accomplish their goals. Members of the Grotesque Company Circus also stand in their way. Titus is a strongman who is heavy on the muscles, but light on the brain power. Then there’s the Hammersmith Sisters. Their two heads share one body… and a talent for swinging a mallet.
It will be a struggle through the streets of London as each side tries to destroy the other. Will those loyal to the Queen win out and defeat The Cult, ceasing their nefarious plans? Or will the Nemesis have their way and bring on the Rise of Moloch? The stage is set, but the Chapters are waiting to be written. On January 17th, the Kickstarter will launch and the secrets of Moloch will begin to reveal themselves.