Let’s open some Gates!
Publisher: Renegade Game Studios
Designer: Jordan & Mandy Goddard
Artist: George Cotronis
Game Type: Area Majority/Influence
Game Type: Set Collection
Game Type: Card Play
Initial Year of Release: 2019
Age Range: 14+
Expected Playtime: 45 Minutes
Number of Players: 2-4
Theme and What is it?
Gates of Delirium is a game for 2-4 explorers seeking out the truth of ancient monstrosities trying to reveal themselves in the real world while maintaining their sanity. Sending out investigators to inspect different regions and assist with opening gates. Players will collect ancient runes, map fragments, and pieces of a lost tome to open the gates to the ancient world of pure evil. The goal is to have the most points at the end of the game.
In Gates of Delirium, each player starts with 6 cards in their hand. Players will play these cards over rounds of play. At the start of each round, the first player will decide whether the round will be a Sane or Insane round. The round decision will impact which actions can be played by the players because each card has a sane action and an insane action depending on which way the player flips the card. The goal is to open four or six gates releasing monsters. When gates are opened, a scoring round occurs and game play stops. Points are gained for the monster released and for the area majority scoring with what area gates are opened. Once the final gate is opened, the game stops immediately and final scoring begins. The player with the most points wins the game.
Action selection is added in a very neat way using the dual option cards. Each card has a sane action on one half and an insane action when you rotate the card. Actions of collecting map fragments, collecting lost pages, and deploying investigators are available during the players sane turns while collecting ancient runes, converting investigators, and build gate sections on their insane turns. Jordan and Mandy did a great job making sure each round had more defined characteristics of insane effects other players more while sane rounds are more about building your own position up. Round selection impacts the pace of the game and decisions that are available to all players during that round.
Set collection is completed on both sane and insane actions by collecting ancient runes, lost pages, map fragments, and building gates. Collecting lost pages and map fragments scoring systems were very well designed. There are 20 lost pages in the game numbered 1-20. Collecting lost pages that are collected as a run of numbers doubles the point values for those pages at the end of the game. Map fragments are split into sections of NE, SE, SW, NW. If a player collects all four pieces to complete a map, the maps are
After initial play through of Gates of Delirium, it has a lot of excellent ideas and mechanisms. The use of the insane/sane rounds and different actions being available depending on the type of round was well thought out. The dual use cards gave the action selection some additional thought. Forcing the players to make decisions regarding whether you want to use a card for points or gain area control. The game was quick to learn and strategies were pretty straight forward to gain points for each player.
Game Build Quality
The board is a fairly small board for most area control boards. This adds to Gates of Delirium’s charm as a lighter weight area control game. Cards are differentiated in size and cover art making it easy to set up and clean up. Tokens punched easy and the monster tokens are well labelled to differentiate the monsters. The player boards are small but work well with the cards to make a small tableau with wonderful imagery.
George Cotronis took the Cthulu-esque theme brought it into an area control game excellently! Using different monsters for the meeple scoring tokens and different image types of investigators was an added touch that separates Gates from most games. The use of a specialized area of a universe also allows for Renegade to expand upon this game and build onto it. The player boards look like you’re building your own profile or notebook of the items you collect. The artwork on the gate cards is phenomenal how they made the cards circle around to create an actual gate. Wonderfully done with the design of these items!
Playing through this, I enjoyed the switching sane/insane mechanism mixed in with the card play. The ability to play 2 cards from your hand while using the desperation actions to be able to further your agenda while preventing a trailing player added some depth of strategy to Gates. You can feel the desperation sink in as you take your actions through the course of a game. Developed with a lot of thought and placed into action.
Age Range & Weight
Gates is a lightweight almost ‘gate’way game into the area control and multi-option card play scenarios. The game plays very smooth and is a quick learn once you open the box. The decisions for what cards to play is very straightforward. Strategies available to succeed in the game are able to be recognized early and quickly. The age range at 14+ is reasonable for the theme but game play would be reasonable at 10+.
Jordan and Mandy Goddard created an excellent dark ‘gate’way game into the area control realm. It is a well-produced game with a great premise. It has a solid theme of explorers teetering on the edge of sanity and insanity while attempting to open gates for ancient monsters to enter the world.
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