Fate (literally) can turn your best strategy topsy-turvy
Could be hard to understand
Insured is a new card game by RES Design, a 3-8 player battle royale game where players fight, claw and rend each other to bitter death.
Except, that’s really not the case. Think of battle royale games and you think of fierce firefights, or skating under the radar until you unleash a combo that you’ve been building all game. Although there are some character classes in Insured that do directly harm other players, most of the abilities involve trickery, sacrifice, or even actually helping other players… but sometimes at a cost.
This card game brings some truly unique mechanics to the table. Essentially, each player is to try staying alive against the multitude of natural disasters that the main event deck provides. Although there are some positive cards, majority of them are detrimental. Each disaster consists of various combinations of five different elements, and to block them, you either need to purchase Shieldstones, or be deemed unaffected by a Fate card. Otherwise, the player takes damage and runs the risk of death.
The main game play revolves around managing both your resources – hearts and coins. Coins buy you Shieldstones, which in turn give you hearts when blocking damage. Unlike many games where equipment is permanent, Shieldstones in this game are limited by durability and time. After a certain amount of turns, your Shieldstone expires, sometimes returning your investment in purchasing them.
Doesn’t all this sound a little familiar? Perhaps explained to you by an old friend that contacted you out of the blue, or an attractive person grabbing you at a shopping mall…
If you haven’t guessed by now, Insured is heavily influenced by the concept of insurance, and by the creator’s focus on unique personalities. To win, one either has to accumulate either 20 Hearts or Coins. To that end, one could use the Extremist, a high risk high reward character that doubles your damage and when you gain hearts; or the Puppeteer, which allows you to swap your fate cards and tempt the oracles. Or you could get down and dirty with game play and use characters like the Angel and Demon which heal and damage other players directly.
Many edutainment games fail because they lean too much on the educational aspect, and forget entirely about entertainment. I mean, if I wanted to learn via a game, the main point is that I’m playing a game! Insured expertly navigates that common trap, combining unique roles and well thought-out mechanics that ensure the game is actually fun, even for those with absolutely zero interest in insurance.
As with all card draw games, luck will always be a big component. The Fate cards can literally destroy your entire economy or life, but smart planning and predictions can still get you far. The game is remarkably balanced no matter what role you take, and is heavily reliant on the player’s power of guesswork.
The game is also light, and replayability may be a slight issue, but it is the perfect game for those game nights where everyone could take a break from slaying dragons in dungeons. While Insured may lack expansive world building or lore its main focus is its tight game play. Players who buy this expecting a deep lesson on insurance would also be disappointed… but really, are you going to buy a game expecting a Prudential life plan?
Insured is currently available on Kickstarter, standing at about 90% funded. This is definitely a game worth picking up if you enjoy games with distinct gameplay, and it will be unlike any other game in your collection.