Foretales is a story-driven card game that puts you in control of a thief called Volepain, who’s getting too old for this stuff, and wants a way out. That’s the general gist of things anyway, and you end up taking on one job that’s meant to pay enough to allow you to live the good life. All you have to do is steal an instrument; easy stuff.
This is, of course, a video game though, and the instrument you pick up grants you the ability to see the future. Unfortunately, all of the future is bad, and you’re going to have to use every iota of your wits and cunning to be able to change it. That’s the long-term aim though, and this is a preview, so let’s talk mechanics.
First of all, there is a tutorial, but I didn’t feel like it actually covered everything I needed to know. There’s a lot of depth here because you not only have to manage cards in your hand, which are mostly character actions, and use those to gain resources. That means you can use a smoke bomb in an alleyway to potentially gain some extra money, or shout in a market to gain an ally who can then help guide you through a new destination.
The resources are fame, food, grim, and money. Fame is renown effectively, and is something you acquire by doing good deeds, or bragging; money is used to bribe people or pay for things; food can heal your characters; grim is something you get by killing opponents in fights.
Fights are generally frowned upon, because killing people is wrong, and the world gets worse every time you do it. That’s alright though, because you can use any of the resources you have to convince enemies to leave any given fight, and if you can do so with enough of them, the entire team will give up on fighting entirely.
You also need to use resources to help navigate through the world itself and actually achieve your objectives in any given area. Sometimes that means looping through the same area cards in order to find the one you want, and sometimes that means searching seemingly pointless places and coming away with a new card to help you actually solve the problem facing you.
As you can probably tell, the biggest challenge facing you in Foretales is resource management. How and when you choose to use your cards and resources will heavily impact how well-prepared you are for the fights and fiends that you’ll be trying to overcome in order to prevent the end of the world, and it’s a lot of fun trying to figure out when and where you went wrong.
There are loads of choices to make, the way you interact with the world feels genuinely impactful, and the voice acting and art style are delightful. Foretales has a lot of potential, and it seems to be built especially for those who love single-player board games and narrative-driven journeys in general. If any of that sounds like your kind of thing, then this is definitely a game you should be keeping an eye on.