It appears that a new tabletop game developer is fixing to make a splash at this year's Essen Spiel convention. It is where developer Xplored will be debuting their first game: The Bad Karmas and The Curse of the Zodiac.
According to them, The Curse of the Zodiac is a co-op, boss battle board game. Twelve gigantic demigod creatures called Zodiac have appeared and are threatening to destroy humanity, and you and your band of ragtag heroes are the only ones who can stop them. On paper, it's a relatively straightforward experience where teamwork around the table wins the day.
But that's where The Curse of the Zodiac's big unique selling point comes into play. According to Xplored, this board game is will be the debut of a new gaming system called Teburu: a media-rich experience featuring narrative twists and recurring characters, remote multiplayer so long-distance friends can try it out.and an AI game director that keeps track of everything on the board. Because of this, there are no rulebooks or manuals required.
It's a bold declaration of intent. While The Curse of the Zodiac will include pieces like models, a game board, and dice from the look of promotional art, part of the appeal of a tabletop experience is the tactile physical sensation of game pieces and learning how it works. Certain board games out there have used smart device apps to assist with more complex experiences, but there have always been analog alternatives.
We reached out to the developers about this approach to The Curse of the Zodiac. The first question immediately was what exactly made this tabletop experience "media-rich." The creative director of the game, and founder of the company, Davide Garofalo was happy to explain. A free app for both Android and iOS devices will be downloaded to the players' device of choice. The app will then connect in real-time via Bluetooth LE to the game pieces. This includes the dice being rolled, the miniatures, and even the game board itself, all of which have been fitted with various sensors. Through this connection, contextual music and sound effects will play when figures move or certain events occur. In addition, there will be "surprise visuals" for hidden events on the board, as well as fully voice-acted narrative sequences that will integrate into the game's campaign.
Garofalo's passion for the project continued to come through during our correspondence. Appropriately, his inspirations for the project were diverse. He stated, "Over the years, we have accumulated hundreds of board games in our collection, and we host game sessions a couple of times a week in our tavern. On top of many cool board game-based inspirations, we wanted to create a Netflix/Amazon-series-like setting and IP. The Bad Karmas is a bigger-than-life, '80s-style B-movie, brought into the modern-day and played as an interactive, narrative, epic, tabletop game."
But because of all of this level of Bluetooth multimedia integration, Garofalo shot down any hopes for a more conventional analog experience. He declared that no compromises would be made. If you want to experience The Curse of the Zodiac, you will experience it through the Teburu app and system.
If you are attending this year's Essen Spiel convention you can see if this kind of experience for yourself. Xplored will have its own dedicated booth at the event from October 14-17,