Designer: Lance Hill
Artists: Matthew Ebisch
Release Year: 2022
Mechanics: Card drafting, set collection
A copy of the game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
OT Fantasy Draft is a up-coming card drafting and set collection game by Lance Hill, published by Funhill Games. In OT Fantasy Draft you’re trying to assemble the very best team of Old Testament characters, all of whom will offer a wide variety of ways to score points and other special abilities.
How to Play
The box of OT Fantasy Draft contains only a single deck of 54 cards, and a paper pad of score sheets. To begin, shuffle the entire deck and deal everyone two cards. Each player returns one card to the bottom of the desk, and keeps the other one secret. Deal out 5 cards to the centre of the table and decide who is going first.
The first player simply takes one card from the draft line and places it in front of them. They then refill the draft line so that it has 5 cards for the next player. Once everyone has taken a turn the whole draft line is discarded and refilled with 5 new cards. The player who went last in the previous round goes first in the subsequent round.
Round and round players take turns pulling players, things, and locations into their team, hoping to be the player with the most points at the end of the game.
The trick of the game is that every card has rules or effects that will affect other cards in your draft line. Samson for instance will destroy Grain, Lion, Philistia, and Temple, but give you points for each card that Samson destroys. Deborah on the other hand doubles the total points of all drafted women. The key is to assemble a team that synergizes well to score the most points.
OT Fantasy Draft is a quick and fun card game. The rules are light and while it’s dead simple to play (literally pick a card on your turn. That’s it), the challenge lies in assembling the best lineup, which may be difficult if you find a man eating lion on your team. Seeing as OT Fantasy Draft is just 54 cards (and a paper score pad), this game is perfect for travelling. As long as you have a place where you can lay out 5 cards for the draft line, you could play standing up, holding the rest of the cards in your hands. Although for optimum comfort I do recommend a table and chair.
I’ve had odd successes and failures with pitching OT Fantasy Draft to players. The non-religious recoil and dismiss the game entirely, I’m sure no doubt due to the perception that Christian themed media is inherently poor quality and exists only to proselytize to its audience.
On the other hand, playing OT Fantasy Draft with some friends of faith, we had a ball. Laughing at the connections and interactions of the cards, like Abraham, who destroys Issac or Job, who destroys all things. The joy came from our shared knowledge and the callbacks to the classic stories out of The Bible.
I was reminded of the first time I played the Battlestar Galactica board game (before I watched the show) and my friends spent the whole game shouting quotes at each other and referencing events from the show that I just didn’t get. It was a fine experience, but without that cultural context most of the flavour was lost. I can only imagine all the references and interactions of OT Fantasy Draft would feel arbitrary to someone who hasn’t done their required reading.
It’s nearly impossible to separate OT Fantasy Draft from another drafting game, Fantasy Realms by Bruce Glassco. Both games have decks full of unique cards with varied scoring capabilities and interactions between the cards in your hand. Where Fantasy Realms has a generic fantasy theme OT Fantasy Draft employs characters, locations, and items from the Old Testament. If you’ve played Fantasy Realms before, the complex interactions of opposing cards in your draft line will feel very familiar.
While I’m not the biggest fan of the gridiron background on all the Location cards, I do like the logo style artwork on all the items, and all the human characters in various football poses, like Moses catching a dove like a wide receiver, or Saul, absolutely dunking on another player. I imagine those who reside in the Venn diagram of Christians, football fans and board game aficionados will be absolutely stoked with this product.
If you have a group of friends who know the Old Testament Bible stories, I’d recommend OT Fantasy Draft. The familiar theme and characters can be a useful bridge for someone who many be intimated by modern games. Experienced players will have an edge over new players, but I doubt that will be a concern for many people. With games so short it’s easy to just reshuffle the deck and play again and being so portable I reckon that you could get 3 or 4 games played in the pews during a Sunday morning service. Not that you should, mind you.
OT Fantasy Draft is coming to Kickstarter March 1st. Click here to go to their crowdfunding campaign!