Demo Duo: Legends of Sleepy Hollow (spoiler free!)

Disclaimer: This preview is from a prototype that was provided by Greater Than Games to Open Seat Gaming, but opinions are our own based on several plays of the game. The components are not exactly the same as in the published version of the game; you can check out their Kickstarter to see what component upgrades there are. 

As you likely learned from our article on Friday the 13th, Sarah and I are really into games that are focused on classic horror. So, when the opportunity came for us to try the first chapter of Legends of Sleepy Hollow prior to the Kickstarter launching today, we were all over it. In today’s Demo Duo, we take you into the world of Tarrytown so that we can start the search to find Ichabod Crane.

These standees will be minis in the Kickstarter version!

Game: The Legends of Sleepy Hollow
Designers: Ben PinchbackMatt Riddle
Publisher:  Greater Than Games (Dice Hate Me Games)
Main Game Mechanisms: Action Point Allowance, Co-operative Play
Number of Players: 1 to 4
Game Time: 30 to 120 minutes (per chapter)

Description: In Legends of Sleepy Hollow, you are dealing with the disappearance of Ichabod Crane – and if you know anything about the story of Sleepy Hollow, then you know that’s a bad thing! You play as undertaker Jeremiah Pincke, Revolutionary War veteran Matthias Geroux, minister Elijah Kappel, and tanner Emily Van Winkle and work together in order to make sure that you can solve the mystery! Along the way, you will use an action point allowance system to take certain actions, work out the clues, and move toward the resolution of each chapter so that you can figure out what has happened to Crane and to your little town. Tarrytown is counting on you – and if you succeed, you will become the heroes – maybe even the Legends – of Sleepy Hollow.

The abandoned schoolhouse is creepy…

Gameplay: No matter how many players are in the game, you have to take along all 4 of the characters so that they can take care of each other.  You are given a character player board for each character that you play and that indicates what your actions are, how many actions you have, and how much health you have. Each character has a number of action tokens and movement – you can either move, then do an action (which spends an action token), or vice versa per turn (you cannot move, action, move again however).  If it is your turn and you have no more action tokens, you reset and all of the “single use” actions (skills and items) can be used again. This cycle keeps repeating throughout the game.

The War Veteran is a skilled sharpshooter

All four of the characters go, and then the enemies get their turns, which are indicated by the action sheet that is provided in the “open first” envelope. One of the coolest parts of gameplay is fear – if you get attacked by an enemy and you take damage, you accumulate fear, which gets mixed in with your action selection tokens. That means it’s going to take longer for your character to reset, which means you can’t use the cool abilities that do lots of damage as often. That balance is challenging, and you have to keep an eye on a lot of factors to keep up with whatever you want to try and get taken care of.

As with many campaign games, there is a campaign to go through that really gets you immersed into the story. You get a card that shares what the premise of the particular chapter is, which you can read aloud in a creepy voice if you want to. Then, there are several envelopes you open during different points in the chapter, allowing you to move forward in the story. In the last envelope, you’ll find the end of the chapter and… well, I’ll let you find out what else is in there. 🙂

As with any co-op game, you will find that there are multiple ways to lose (which requires you to start the chapter over). If one of the characters is incapacitated (loses all hit points), if one character accumulates too many fear tokens, or if you get overrun (you go to spawn a certain enemy and there are no more left), you lose.

Preview Thoughts: 

Marti: I have experience with campaign-style games like Mice and Mystics and Warhammer Quest (the original version, not the card game). Legends of Sleepy Hollow doesn’t just follow in their footsteps – it gives them a run for their money! The game is intense and you feel like you’re running through the scenario, frantically searching every nook and cranny while fighting off the horrors that are trying to stop you.

It took us about two hours to get through the first chapter on the first try. Part of that was because we were being too cautious (I admit, that was my fault lol) and part of it was learning the system. Once we got into the system, we actually went along at a fairly quick clip. That being said, I was engaged the entire time. I didn’t feel bored and I didn’t notice that we had been there two hours until we finished the chapter. I looked at the clock and exclaimed: “I can’t believe it’s 10 PM already!”

If you like classic horror, if you like intrigue, and if you have been looking for a well-done campaign game that doesn’t pull any punches and keeps you engaged throughout the entire story, then you want to go look at their Kickstarter page and back it.

Sarah: This campaign and storytelling game is very immersive. The overall gameplay feels like the Vampire Hunters’ side of Fury of Dracula plus Adrenaline plus the threat of being overrun by your enemies. Each character has their own player powers, movement range, attack range, and health points.

One of the most standout aspects of Legends of Sleepy Hollow is the cooperative play. You have to have all four of the characters working well together as a team in order to make it to the end of the chapter alive & not losing the game. Overall this game is very well done, quite engaging, & loads of fun!

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