OATH – First Impressions – The Boardgames Chronicle

It is quite common in boardgames world, that you are being influenced by and attracted to already known designers and publishers. I am huge fan of ROOT created by Cole Wehrle from Leder Games. I have played thoroughly base game, Riverfolk and Underworld Expansion, solo mode and even digital version! So when I saw that there will be another game from the same publisher and designer, I knew excellent game with a great replayability awaits me!

The OATH arrived, spent some time on the “shelf of shame” (with un-played games) but finally hit the table. This was also connected to the fact that our group recently finished the Gloomhaven camping (article about this still to come) and while waiting for the Frosthaven, we decided to play a couple of sessions of this pretty innovative design.

But first things first, let me first tell you a little about the game!

The Game

Let us have a look what huge, heavy OATH box contains! Just click above!

In Oath, one to six players guide the course of history in an ancient land. Players might take the role of citizens bolstering the old order or scheme to bring the kingdom to ruin. The consequences of one game will ripple through those that follow (I really like that mechanic!), changing what resources and actions future players may have at their disposal and even altering the game’s core victory condition.

The core rules are pretty simple: Players will spend their turns adventuring within the Chancellor’s realm and the lands that surround it. They will gather support, recruit warbands, and discover dark and dangerous secrets. Over the course of the game, players will collectively populate the world with a cast of strange and wonderful characters and institutions. This world is essentially a shared table, which every player can interact with and seek to control.

Enough for the introductions, let us see how our initial session went!

The First Sessions

In our first game we took the following roles (yep, that is the same team as from our Gloomhaven campaign!):

  • Chancellor – Michael
  • Orange exile – Kuba J
  • Blue expression – Kuba G
  • Yellow – Dominik

We followed the suggested set-up, which meant that in the first game the main goal was to control as many sites as possible (with alternative victory condition to hold most banners and relics). That would drive this session of course into more area-control type of game:

How the things developed? Let us see! PS. You can click on each and every picture to open it in new window maximized.

The set-up of our first game – as per suggestion in the Rulebook, this is pretty standard way to start.
One would think – “I am Chancellor, surely they will not start to attack me from the start”? Nope, not today. Dominik and his yellow exiles pretty quickly hit my main territory but were bloodily repelled.
A false information that “Chancellor is Winning!” was spread and lead to the Jakub J Orange Exiles attack on my keep. Not only I lost, but special ability removed all my warriors! What a calamity!
Kuba J decided to follow-up on his success (which, by the way, was very lucky!) and obliterated poor Dominik. In the end, we play for the Supremacy and each site counts!
Situation mid-game – all options are open, Chancellor (me) controls 2 sites, Orange Exiles (Jakub J) has influence in 3 territories while Blue Exiles (Kuba G) decided other path – of a Vision!
That evening in our game no visions were destined to be fulfilled. The brutal horde of orange grunts quickly struck the Blue Exiles so they would not be able to hold the Dark Secret.
In teh meantime I managed to restore much of my previous strength but was stopped half-way by… of course Orange Exiles!
The game ended after 8 full turns, with Orange Exiles (Jakub J) winning as Oathkeeper of Supremacy.

That was fun to play this game and we learned in the process a lot. The king-making aspect is widely known in Oath but we really did not have a problem with this – whoever was close to victory was attacked; pity, that in the end main contender was too strong to stop him 🙂 Congrats to Jakub J!

First Impressions

While I am writing this article seemingly based on one play, I already had a chance to familiarize more with that game. My initial observations are as follow:

  • We have here an easy mechanicwhich translates into multitude of options
  • Without any doubt, this is one of the most beautiful and graphically appealing boardgames I have ever played; great KS extras make this experience even deeper
  • In essence, I am a historical wargamer, who loves to have the games firmly anchored in some context; while I managed to internalize the ROOT, so far OATH is a bit abstract for me. Hopefully, with time I will fall in love with this game 🙂

I hope this to be just a start to a wonderful journey with OTAH – I cannot wait to report our next sessions when I will be playing as exile (overthrown Chancellor 🙂) Stay tuned!

Leave a Comment