Tabletop Game / Fortune and Glory
Fortune and Glory, The Cliffhanger Game
(or "FnG") is an Adventure Board Game
developed and produced by Flying Frog. In the game, players take the roles of 1930's era treasure hunters competing with each other (and against Nazis
and mobsters) to acquire and auction-off a variety of mysterious artifacts from around the globe. The game was consciously designed to be the tabletop version of the Indiana Jones
franchise and the 1930s pulp novel genre
as a whole, and gladly plays every single trope it can
from those works. Even its name is a quote from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
In the game, each player chooses a treasure-hunter with specific attributes and special skills. These characters include the mandatory Mad Scientist
, Action Girl
, Rival Turned Evil
, and everything in between. Players generally spend their turns moving around a "Risk"-Style Map
to try and reach the locations of hidden ancient artifacts, and then attempt to acquire them. The "meat" of the game involves the attempts to retrieve those artifacts from the crumbling temples in which they are kept, while overcoming a wide variety of dangers - from rolling boulder traps
to aggressively-territorial locals
. These "Dangers" can be overcome by rolling dice, but if failed they become even more perilous, turning into "Cliffhangers
" that can cause a player to get knocked out and be forced to spend time recovering. All the while, players can work to undermine one another (if necessary), have wild adventures in exotic cities, and accumulate "Fortune" and "Glory" tokens that can be used to purchase different bonuses and effects.
The game supports a good variety of play modes available, including solo play, cooperative play, and head-to-head play, with potentially any number of players. In all three modes, a sense of urgency is enforced through the presence of an additional "automated" player that portrays the Nazis or Mobsters, who spread their influence around the world while attempting to acquire those same ancient artifacts for themselves. Players must either work together to outpace the enemy, or face both enemies and rival players simultaneously - making for very exciting gameplay either way.
Physically, the game's equipment is quite massive - requiring a very large table for the playing board, the numerous distinct decks of cards that have to be kept separate, and a variety of tokens and playing pieces. The game rules are also quite complex, to the extent that the game comes with several large reference cards to explain everything on the fly - even the turn sequence! Nonetheless, the average playing time will rarely exceed a couple of hours (for a prolonged multi-player game), and provides several methods of shortening gameplay by adjusting the goals and rules.
This work contains examples of the following tropes:
- Action Girl: Each and every female hero, since they are all going to do just as much adventuring and combat as the men.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Interestingly averted, as there is no character who strictly fits this trope. It is likely that the developers were either deliberately cautious of coming too close to the Indiana Jones copyrights, or decided that creating such a character would make players fight over who gets to play him.
- Artifact Collection Agency: The Nazis will do their best to collect as many artifacts as they can. This is their only way of defeating the human players.
- Artifact of Death: Although there is an artifact in the game that is called "The [X] of Death", it won't help you kill anyone. It merely increases the amount of Glory the player gets for completing Dangers.
- Badass Bookworm: Doctor Zhukov is a surprisingly good fighter, for a Mad Scientist.
- Badass Grandpa: Nigel Harrington, the big game hunter. He has a 33% better hit chance than other adventurers, making him absolutely deadly in combat. And he gets an an additional bonus when fighting animals.
- Bald of Evil: Jacques Moreau, the "evil" player character (a tomb robber).
- The Baroness: Tresa, the Nazi commander and Femme Fatale, being an Expy of Elsa from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- Booby Trap: A genre staple, many of the Dangers and Cliffhangers in the game will play this trope perfectly straight.
- Bowties Are Cool: Duke Dudley, the British Lord, wears one fairly well.
- Cataclysm Climax: Under certain conditions, a temple housing one of the artifacts will collapse. Anyone who cannot get out quickly enough is going to get knocked out or killed.
- Chased by Angry Natives: Natives are a fairly common enemy to encounter out in the field, although they are weak enough that most characters will likely choose to stand and fight. Escape, however, is always an option.
- Chase Scene: A goodly portion of the Dangers and Events in the game are chase scenes, in a variety of vehicles or on foot, leading up to a variety of different outcomes for the player.
- Combat Pragmatist: In a Shout-Out to Raiders of the Lost Ark, some melee combat cards specifically prohibit the use of guns in order to avert this trope.
- Cool Horse: Manticore. He is significantly better than the regular "Horse" card that you can purchase, but counts as a Sidekick (of which you can only have one).
- Cool Old Guy: Nigel Harrington can be played this way, particularly during a Cooperative game.
- Crossover Cosmology: Powerful artifacts of gods from the Norse, Egyptian, and Greek mythologies all exist in the game, as well as Lovecraftian Horrors and a few fictional deities. It is not directly stated, whether these artifacts actually belong to the gods for whom they were named.
- David Vs Goliath: You can be forced to fight a panzer tank on foot. This is in no way an easy battle, but can still be won.
- Death by Materialism: While neither villains nor heroes can actually die permanently, both can get themselves removed temporarily from the game for this reason. In the case of heroes, this will likely happen if a player keeps pursuing an artifact despite being seriously wounded or ill-equipped.
- Death Course: Once an artifact's location is reached, the player has to go through a set number of Dangers in order to acquire that artifact. Each danger has the potential of knocking the player out. After recuperation, the player would need to start the process all over again to get that artifact.
- Distinctive Appearances: Each hero's portrait and playing-piece looks distinctive in order to make them easily recognizable, with race, gender and clothing being very different from one to the next. Some players go even further and paint the playing pieces to be even more distinctive.
- Expy: The majority of villains are lifted straight out of Indiana Jones, with little more than their names changed.
- Herr Teufel, the Nazi expert on the occult, is possibly the most direct Expy. His name is based on Herr Toht, from Raiders of the Lost Ark, and absolutely everything else about him is lifted from that character.note
- Tresa, the Nazi Femme Fatale, is an Expy of Elsa from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- Colonel Stahl, based on Colonel Dietrich from Raiders of the Lost Ark - though both characters could really be said to be a prototype of every Wacky Nazi Colonel ever to come out of Hollywood.
- Angelica Hamilton, the "Queen of the Silver Screen" - an Expy for Angelica Huston, in her early-90's roles of gothic witch, a-la The Addams Family and The Witches.
- The "Natives" Enemy Card should by all rights have been named "Hovitos".
- Grave Robbing: All characters and villains, essentially, but Jacques Moreau is explicitly described as a "tomb robber".
- The Great Depression: The setting of the genre this game so lovingly bases itself on.
- Interesting Situation Duel: A few cards, such as the "Fistfight at 5,000 Feet".
- Just a Flesh Wound: Heroes can not only deflect wounds, but will always survive even the deadliest events with such a wound, which takes but a few turns to heal.
- Literal Cliffhanger: The strictest form of this trope is averted, which is surprising for a game literally called "The Cliffhanger Game''. A few cards do involve falling off of cliffs, nonetheless.
- Made of Iron: Heroes are impossible to kill, despite the incredibly-deadly dangers they are going to face. Getting shot by a tank, for example, will only knock them out for a few turns.
- Malevolent Architecture: All temples are set to collapse, and most are filled with traps.
- Near Villain Victory: A well-set-up game should always end this way - assuming the players aren't the ones to lose by a small margin.
- Never Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight: Averted, as characters armed with melee weapons (or even totally unarmed) have at least some chance of defeating enemies armed with any weapons.
- Religion of Evil: The Order of the Crimson Hand.
- One Danger card is called "Sword Fight", and the clothes worn by the man in the picture leave no room for question as to whether this refers to the bazaar scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Nonetheless, the card goes one step further to specifically instruct that "no guns may be used during this fight".
- Temple of Doom: Artifacts are usually housed in these.
- Those Wacky Nazis: May be chosen as [one of] the primary antagonists. In this case, they are played automatically (using dice to determine what they're going to do next), and are on a mission from the Fuhrer to gather a certain amount of artifacts from around the world. If they complete this mission, the human players lose the game.
- Two-Fisted Tales: The game is one big love letter to the genre.
- Treasure Map: Location cards have these on them, although they are only used to guide players towards the extremely generalized (i.e. subcontinent-level) positions of the artifacts on the world map. There is, however, a Common Item card called "Map" which can serve as one of these - a single-use item that helps the player overcome a Danger or local terrain modifiers.
- Whip It Good: Probably the closest this game comes to directly referencing Indiana Jones is the Gear card "Bull Whip". It gives a combat modifier, and can be risked for a chance to change the outcome of a fight.
- World Tour: A decent-length game will have players scouring the entire planet for artifacts, and visiting many major cities around the globe.