The Forevergone from Rob Richmond pits players against one another in psychic battles, leaving the last one standing as master of the tormented city of Forevergone. The card game is at once reminiscent of classic dueling games such as Magic: The Gathering in its bold themes, yet it feels much more streamlined in play. While many card games base their battles on summoning, Forevergone has players make their own attacks, causing the game seem faster and even more brutal.
There is a bit of a learning curve to The Forevergone, primarily tied to the unique language of its rules set. Rather than a draw pile, it is a player’s “Ether”; the discard is “Memory”; and damage is delightfully referred to as “Trauma.” Players will master the terms within a few minutes, and the game aesthetic is all the more vibrant for them. Directing attacks at spheres of one’s mind instead of simply marking down damage points gives a new dynamic to gameplay since some attacks may blast the memory while others take from the draw pile, giving strategic players the chance to knock out an opponent’s most powerful cards.
To play a round of The Forevergone, players create decks through builds from the five Disciplines of psychic warfare. Illusionist uses misdirection or dodges, Egoist protects players from Trauma, Kineticist comes out swinging with brutal direct attacks, Telepath focuses on crippling counters, and Seer heals damage already done. Rounds allow each player to play two cards, whether building up their own strengths through permanent bolstering Tech cards laid in front of them, or attacking with Power cards. The key to The Forevergone is managing the Reaction cards, which can pile upon one another as players cancel or redirect other cards, painting a swirling battle only true masters will survive.
Play continues until one player receives 15 points of Trauma, unless stipulated by a particularly powerful Seer Tech that allows its owner to continue until the opponent knocks it out. The special rules on each card give a wide variety of options for each round, such as the Telepath’s Cascade causing an entire hand to be played out, the Illusionist’s Doppelganger duplicating an opponent’s card, or an Egoist’s Wall of Nothing blasting a Tech directly into the opponent’s Trauma pile. Players will have to be constantly on guard as well as interpret their own strengths and opponents’ weaknesses to deal the most damage the fastest.
Along with its solid mechanics, the theme of The Forevergone is enveloping. Its story of a post-apocalyptic world with psychics as outcasts fuels the imagination. Art by Jakub Wisniewski is hauntingly beautiful, filled with bright power and energy that seems almost to battle with its own shading and darkness. The universe even offers a soundtrack from The Vailix.
The Forevergone is a dueling card game for two to four players aged 12 and up. Rounds take less than half an hour, longer with more players, less than 15 minutes with just two. With its fast gameplay and strong mixture of luck and strategy, players will find it addictive and be ready to change up the Disciplines in their builds and battle one another again.