Horizon: Seeds of Rebellion is a thrilling must-play extension of Forbidden West
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Featured Image Credit: Steamforged Games
Last month, Steamforged Games unveiled Horizon Forbidden West: Seeds of Rebellion - a co-operative tabletop adventure set in the titular Forbidden West several years prior to Aloy’s arrival.
In fact, Seeds of Rebellion gets its namesake as it takes place during the early onset of Regalla’s rebellion - a character longtime fans will know as the rebel Tenakth leader. You’ll play as a Tenakth loyalist, under the guidance of Chief Hekarro. Seeds of Rebellion consists of a series of ever-changing combat encounters with narrative ‘scenes’ weaved in between. Steamforged Games is keeping tight-lipped on the story for now, but during these narrative sections, you’ll be required to make decisions that’ll impact the strength of Regalla’s rebellion, the machines you face, and the spread of the Forbidden West’s Red Blight.
Take a look at our recent hands-on experience with Seeds of Rebellion below.
With that in mind, the decisions you make are going to be crucial with each one having a major impact on the campaign - something we should hear more about from the team soon. What we do know is that Steamforged created Seeds of Rebellion in close partnership with Guerrilla so you should expect a canon narrative that compliments that of the video game series.
A few days ago, I had the opportunity to go hands-on with the game and to put it frankly, I was blown away. Seeds of Rebellion rewards co-op play so myself and three others were guided through a demo setup by lead game designer Fraser McFetridge. In the demo, our four Tenakth warriors were tasked with overcoming three Burrowers and a Clawstrider. I can tell you now, the Clawstrider proved to be a formidable foe.
Very similarly to the video games, you’re able to make a series of melee and ranged attacks, or you can play stealthily, stick to the tall grass, and set up environmental traps. Both your actions and where you’re placed on the board affect the machines’ alertness to your location - similarly to the game. You’re going to want to pay close attention to your location because it’ll do you no good going in for the kill on your own.
Between each player's turn, the machines get their own turn. If you happen to be in their vicinity (and they’re aware of it), you’ll suddenly have to defend yourself against some pretty powerful attacks. In these instances, it helps to be located near your fellow soldiers. While my group found the Burrowers relatively simple to dispatch of - after all, they are one of the franchise’s weaker machines - the Clawstrider proved to be much more taxing. It boasts an XP around five times that of the Burrowers. Thankfully, our band of Tenakth warriors came out on top, although one or two of us were desperately on the verge of requiring a health potion.
In the game, we each had our own skills as characters. My character specialised in melee attacks, another in ranged attacks, one in stealth and so on. It just so happens that as we were all experienced in playing Horizon Zero Dawn and Forbidden West, it didn’t take us long to come up with strategies that made the best of our combat strengths, but the game is accessible to new fans too.
I was somewhat nervous about diving into Seeds of Rebellion, but I needn’t have been. I’m not particularly well experienced in playing tabletop games of this kind, but I am well versed in the Horizon video games - and I cannot express enough what a natural extension of that video game world Seeds of Rebellion is. It offers new challenges, namely working together, which is also one of Seeds of Rebellion’s greatest strengths - and yet while the game was brand new to me, it felt so familiar.
In addition to the cards which explain your character’s armour and various weapons, you’ll also have an extra hand made up of five cards that can be used once and replaced at the end of your go. These cards sometimes offer up specialised ammo, perhaps leading to your bow dealing extra damage or layering an attack with elemental damage. There are familiar corruption, shock, freeze, and fire tokens to represent these conditions. In other instances, the cards may permit extra movement, or provide a benefit to the next player if you fulfil a certain condition.
The fact that this hand of cards changes on almost every turn means that Seeds of Rebellion never felt stale. I could imagine myself diving into a combat segment for several hours and never getting bored of the gameplay. It’s dynamic and despite the frightening appearance of the vast number of cards, tokens, and dice that lay before you, it’s incredibly easy to get to grips with.
I should also mention that just like in the video game, you’ll want to remove certain components from the machines you face (with components given an equivalent XP you knock off) if you want to stand a chance at succeeding. It took the four of us the best part of an hour to take down the Clawstrider - a frightening thought given that I’ve had a glimpse of several other much bigger machines that players will be able to face in this game. The hour flew by in a flash though.
The miniatures truly do these colossal machines justice. Eventually during play, you’ll come up against Slitherfangs and Tremortusks. While I didn’t get chance to play a segment featuring these machines, I already have a pretty good idea of just how tough they’ll be to defeat. The Clawstrider miniature was miles bigger than the Burrowers. The Slitherfangs and Tremortusks? They’re enormous. There’s certainly nothing miniature about these miniatures - and the team at Steamforged deserve major props for the incredible attention to detail.
There are even expansions planned for Seeds of Rebellion and having seen the size of the Slaughterspine included in one, I’m pretty confident that players will be itching to get their hands on it as soon as possible. I know I am.
I had heaps of fun playing Horizon Forbidden West: Seeds of Rebellion. I’ve pretty much spent the past couple of days thinking about how excited I am to dive back in when the game is finally released. If you’re a fan of Guerrila’s Horizon series, Seeds of Rebellion is a flawless extension of this world both in terms of lore and mechanics. Playing a board game may be very different to playing a video game and yet Seeds of Rebellion felt so familiar to me, and I know many other longtime franchise fans are certain to feel that way too. This game offers endless hours of fun and is most certainly one to keep an eye on.
Horizon Forbidden West: Seeds of Rebellion launches on Kickstarter on 21 November. Assets are in development and subject to licensor approval.