Unfathomable from Fantasy Flight Games – Preview

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Steve Mayne
Steve Mayne
Writer, Perfectly Trustworthy, Story-Teller, Gamer, Hawaiian Shirt Aficionado, He/Him.

Introduction

Earlier this week Fantasy Flight Games live streamed an unboxing for their upcoming large box social deduction game Unfathomable. I watched the stream and read the article that was published a few weeks earlier and I’m going to share my thoughts here and let you know some of the things I noticed and am looking forward to seeing.

Unfathomable is a new entry in the Arkham Files setting that encompasses most of FFG’s Lovecraft based games. Unfathomable is designed by Tony Fanchi but based on the original design for Battlestar Galactica which was originally designed by Corey Konieczka. Even though the game shares roots with BSG this wasn’t a reskin and several changes have been made to how the game functions.

Who’s Behind It?

What is it About?

The basic story of Unfathomable is that you are the crew and passengers of a luxury liner bound for Boston when a murder occurs mid journey. The murder is just one of a larger series of happenings that will require the players work together to make sure they reach their destination. However, some of the players are secretly hybrids or cultists looking to sink the ship in service of their dark gods. The identity of the hybrids is kept secret at the beginning of the game but could be revealed through play. It will be up to the non-hybrid players to complete tasks, make sure the ship stays safe, and to protect the passengers. While the hybrids job will be to sow chaos, cause tasks to fail, and work towards the destruction of the vessel without being discovered.

They talked a little about the mechanics but decided to save much of it for a later gameplay live stream. Some of the few things they did talk about were the introduction of a new position in the game, Keeper of the Tome. This is an item found at the scene of the murder and the player with the tome will have access to some special abilities. On the back of the card is a priority list of which character gets control of the tome depending on which characters are in play and f the tome is forced to change hands. A similar list is on the back of the Captain card that shows who’s in charge and what abilities the card imparts to the holder.

There will also be character specific Mythos cards that will require the player of a specific character to resolve the card instead of the usual mechanics. Passengers that will be in danger that you have to protect, and the usual dials that BSG used to reflect the health of the ship, distance to Boston, supplies, and sanity of the people on board.

If you’re a fan of BSG you’ll recognize some of the things I’ve talked about. So the game has some similarities to BSG but is still its own game.

The game is releasing in September which is when GenCon is taking place this year. While they didn’t say it’s releasing at GenCon, I can’t believe the dates are a coincidence. Also anything could go wrong between now and then so it might be delayed beyond that as well. I hope it arrives since this feels like a great Halloween game.

When is it Coming?

What’s Next?

They didn’t talk about the game itself. They did say they will drop additional articles covering some of the bits from the game and how they’re handled. There’s also a gameplay livestream coming that will answer some of these questions.

Beyond that, they didn’t speak of expansions, crossovers, or the inclusion of other familiar characters who may appear in the game. However, based on past experience I imagine there will eventually be expansions and other types of additions.

In the long run I’m interested in the game. I like BSG, though I haven’t gotten to play it often it was fun when I did play it. Unfathomable looks to be a fresh take on that game with a few similarities but its own feel and ideas.

I’m also happy with some of the other information they revealed. The 10 characters in the game are all original to the game. They haven’t appeared in any of the other Arkham Files. A large part of that is Unfathomable takes place around 10 years before the events found in the other games. Additionally, this is a very diverse cast of characters. There are 5 crew and 5 passengers, 5 people of color, 5 women, 1 non-binary character, 1 Muslim, and 1 Native American. Even with all of that, I’m pretty sure I’m still missing one or two qualifiers they used as well. Personally, I love when this happens in gaming, more representation means more people playing the game. To me that’s always good.

Add to that there are some things I didn’t even discus in this article. Like them adding reasons for the hybrids to stay hidden. There are advantages to be revealed but there are still reasons to stay undercover. Revealed hybrids stay on the board and interact with Deep One invaders, passengers, and the other players to influence the end of the game.

That’s where I’m at. I’ll pay attention to the project and if anything else gets revealed I’ll let you know what I learn.

Until next time, stay safe and be well.

Conclusion

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