Players: 3-5 Players
Play Time: 45 Minutes
“Stories claim that Eden is a land of beauty without compare, and that its residents are bestowed with eternal life. However, the way to Eden is not open to all. Should it be discovered, the paradise will once again fade into darkness.
Your sources indicate that Eden slumbers somewhere in the vicinity of a certain Frontier Town. In order to discern its exact location, you must first seek the eight Fragments of Ancient Knowledge hidden across the land.
As you arrive in the Frontier Town, you meet the eyes of several other outsiders who no doubt have the same goal in mind…”
Argoat is a competitive card game by Y. Ohashi. It is a part of the Worlds of Mystery series and places players in a magical land full of frontiers. The game can be played by 2-5 players and takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to complete. Unlike the other two games in the Japanime Games Kickstarter, Argoat has a medium amount of difficulty behind it, and utilizes more than just cards.
In Argoat, players will move around various frontiers in order to obtain knowledge that will eventually lead them to Eden. The first player to obtain all eight pieces of knowledge and find Eden wins the game. Players will use their meeple to move to one frontier per turn, then follow the directions on the frontier. Frontier Town allows the player to place a new frontier, effectively making the board larger. Some frontiers come with a Dark Forest card that may or may not have Eden on the other side.
The addition of new frontiers throughout the game keeps the game feeling fresh. Every frontier has a few roads connecting its borders, which somewhat limit where a frontier goes. Players are free to place a frontier wherever they see fit as long as the borders connect appropriately. There is a fine amount of strategy through the game, but it mostly comes down to where you should go and finding the best location to place frontiers down. Players also need to anticipate where future frontiers will be placed, adding a bit of deduction to the game as well.
The game moves at a decent pace, without much downtime for the players. There are two ways to play: A beginner friendly mode and a more complete experience. The beginner mode is slightly shorter and is recommended for a group’s first couple of games. Both games are enjoyable, though I did prefer the second mode, which added more diversity to the early portion of the game.
Some frontiers give items, which effectively shake up the way the game is played. Some items allow the player to move to specific locations or obtain knowledge early. There are also two bunny tokens on the board as well that can give the player extra movement if they pay emeralds, which are obtained in Frontier Town. Strategies will change throughout the game as they obtain new knowledge, find themselves with extra currency and react to other players. Players may also trade knowledge, emeralds, and items in an effort to give themselves an edge. Experienced players will find themselves hesitant to trade though, and we found that the mechanic wasn’t used too often in our later playthroughs.
Argoat is an enjoyable game but doesn’t quite hold up to the other Worlds of Mystery titles. Like the other games, it has gorgeous art by Asahiro. Argoat benefits most from the art, as it is full of diverse settings that make the theme feel magical. The art is easily the best part of this game, and the gameplay itself doesn’t feel as special as Pralaya or Miraris. The game feels like it is missing some kind of component to make it great. Usually, a game ends right when it is getting exciting, likely due to the win condition being a bit too easy to achieve. A key part of the game is supposedly learning about what is on the other side of the woods, but there is no risk in just going into the woods without knowing after obtaining all of the knowledge. If Eden isn’t on the other side of the Dark Forest, you can just go to the next one. Argoat would benefit from an extra lose-condition, such as going through the woods and not finding Eden (And not being able to continue).
Argoat is a fun and unique experience that is held back by being in the middle of casual and hardcore. It has a charming presentation and is well-designed, but it feels like it is missing that special something. The right crowd will find a lot to love in Argoat, but this one doesn’t have the universal appeal that the other Worlds of Mystery titles have.
Argoat is a fun and unique experience that is held back by being in the middle of casual and hardcore. It has a charming presentation and is well-designed, but it feels like it is missing that special something. The right crowd will find a lot to love in Argoat, but this one doesn't have the universal appeal that the other Worlds of Mystery titles have.