Things Get Played - Journey - Wrath Of Demons

So, in the quickest time I think I have ever done this, I got two games of Journey in today! I can't remember when I got a new game AND got to play it so quickly!

Btu first, I feel I need to remind people of what my first introduction to the story this board game is based on is:

With that in mind, I was aware that this was not going to be a comedy game where the Monkey King plucked hairs from his head to power attacks, or questioned the sexual preferences of his opponents and team mates. But I was giggling at the memories as I played.

To be brief, the game is quite fun! I read the book of the original story years ago, so I was aware that Pigsy and Sandy were not the names of two of the companions, but old habits and so on, I still referred to them as that. But flicking through at least Monkey's cards (I was playing him), I was happy to see a few references to things like The Book Of The Dead, especially in the way that they operated in game.

Anyway, we played the first two quests, which are introduction games for the rest of the rules. The first mission was to team up, get towards a house within the first few turns, break down a door, and rescue some villagers. At the same time, a gate would spawn bull demons, and we had to stop them killing Tripitaka. On top of that, we could aim for a Heroic Victory, which meant that we would have to gain and use skills and meditate during the game as well. Taking to long to rescue the villagers would also spawn a demon as well, and rescuing them was a source of Good Karma (A form of XP in the game), so it was in our interests to act fast.

It too us about 1.5 hours, and that was with checking the rules, as well as realising during the game we were skipping some things such as the Pilgrim Dice powering up our weapons when attacking. A few things stuck me as interesting in the first play through:
  • The concept of Facing in a board game to determine attack locations and things like that. I've seen it in wargames, but can't remember seeing it in a board game like this. It certainly added a tactical level as different characters have different attack zones. You can't just assume because they are in front of you they are a viable target. 
  • Movement in this game was odd at first. There is no diagonal movement, and you have to surrender some of your movement to turn in place, so it appears at first that movement might take a while. Bigger models actually have to pivot on one base section, meaning they get a strange gait when moving in some areas. Again, this added a level of planning, as we had to make sure not to get in each others way, and that we could move into attack positions when needed. 
  • Good Karma vs. Bad Karma. The game offers tow XP style situations. There are mini-objectives like rescuing villagers which reward good karma, and cleansing a demon after defeating it also rewards this. But downright killing a demon without cleansing it earns bad karma, as do other situations (I assume, we were only two missions in). Both kinds of Karma build to different rewards, including weapons upgrades, but they have consequences. Bad Karma brings corruption, and cleansing demons could fail, restoring them and leaving you exposed. Some missions also require Heroic Victories to be gained by building up a level of one kind of Karma, so it wsas worth talking at the table on who would do what. 

Game two involved us rescuing an unconscious Pilgrim early on to start the game, gathering sutras, raising good and bad karma, and potentially closing a gate (We went for a quick victory rather than heroic for time sake). This game was a lot quicker, even though there were more enemies on the board due to two spawning gates. Again, this was quite fun, and I believe we had this over in about half an hour. That was how easy the rules were to pick up between the games.

Will I play it again? Absolutely! In fact, I am kind of annoyed I didn't spring for the extra expansions for this game now that I see how it plays. As for the replay-ability, I would imagine it has quite a lot. The game is fun, and after working as a group, I could conceive people playing a few games a week in a campaign style, aiming for standard victories, then Heroic Victories. If they get to the end, the characters seem to have enough differences that switching characters would open up new challenges. Monkey for instance is fast and aggressive Cho is tank like, and Tripitaka is your stereotypical squishy class, but with some advantages for closing spawn points. I can see this game becoming a favourite fairly quickly for me!


  1. Can you post your opinions after the 3rd and 4th scenarios? The first two just teach you the rules, and are REALLY easy. The rest, aren't so much.

  2. Sure! That was always the plan. Not sure if I'll get a chance for the next few weeks though as I'm a bit busy.


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