Saturday, September 23, 2023

Finding The Lost Ones: Greenbrier Games On Their Newest Game Of Otherworldly Adventure

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Kickstarter’s hottest new game is Lost Ones, a 1-4 player co-op game all about story and the consequences of one’s choices. It has everything: evil fey, childlike innocence being put to the test, minis. The project is in its final days on the site, so we thought we’d have a chat with Julie Ahern from Greenbrier Games to get the scoop on the fantastical new game.

Lost Ones didn’t start out the way we see it, right? How did it journey from its origin to the form we see here?

JA: The idea of Lost Ones stems from the Of Dreams and Shadows’ world. In that adventure/combat game, you play a hero from the four kingdoms, fighting a magical invasion. Gordon’s first design is amazing, but we started this journey of Lost Ones with the kernel of an idea of spending more time making the narrative and world building elements part of the gameplay. Setting the game in Otherworld, the land of magic which is trying to invade was a brilliant way to show the games are of the same universe, but a completely different game style.

What drew Greenbrier to Lost Ones?

Lost Ones Box and Contents

JA: Funny story. While we had talked to Gordon about the concept from the start, we have done that with plenty of designers many times. Often, it’s an academic discussion, or the matter goes no further until we as a publisher set up a contract. Gordon didn’t just noodle the idea around in his head. The next time we heard about it was when it was posted on BGG! While we had a chat about keeping us in the loop, one look at the game and we knew we wanted to continue the journey regardless.

What’s something that the player should get out of the game, or what’s the feeling that the game wants to evoke?

JA: Think back to the stories and games of your childhood – Link in The Legend of Zelda, The Goonies and Neverending Story – that’s what we’re hoping you get from this game. You are unlocking a mystery, on an adventure, and uncertain of imminent doom at any given time. The trepidation of moving in any direction is balanced by the curiosity of what is to come and then the satisfaction when you finally “unlock” an exit.

How do choices affect a board game like this?

Lost Ones cards

JA: Well, as a player, each choice is a balance of gaining information and resources, with depleting your hand. Since you cannot redraw until you get to a rest point, or have an effect that allows you to draw another ability it becomes a puzzle of whether or not to pay the cost to learn information (what foes are in the area or where a Hollows Tree may be located) versus that character turning on you and needing to fight. Maybe you go to a new place and find a cool thing, but it’s not what was needed for the path you’ve chosen for this game. For me, it’s ok, because I am fine with resetting and using that information for the next session. (And since there is solo play, I don’t have to wait for other players if I don’t want to.) For minmax players, there’s’s going to be a lot of thinking out your steps carefully. 

Were there any stories in particular that inspired the look and feel of the game?

JA: If you have read traditional fairy tales as a kid, you’ll feel right at home. There are nods to the mythology of Celtic, Slavic, Native American origins and more in the game. It’s not necessary to know any of these to play… but it may give you a clue if a character you meet will help or hinder you! 

How did the art style for the game come together?

JA: Matt Forsyth is the talented artist for the original Of Dreams and Shadows game and it was a natural fit to include him in this game as well. We added Florian Moncomble’s talents to create the map art. 

How does the solo mode for the game work compared to the regular game play?

JA: I think the biggest difference is the conversation of weighing the pros and cons happens internally. Balance-wise your hand limit changes so the difficulty is on par. If you are a social player, you will prefer 2 or more game play. If you are not, there is nothing missing from the solo game experience.

What does the expansion add to the game?

JA: Starting with this first expansion, the world will change slightly and then add on a new pathway. That means you will replace tiles on the established map, as well as expand the map to find a new way out. I did say first because down the road we plan to release more. Also, the story here is not just about learning what is happening in Otherworld, but getting some closure on some characters’ storylines.

Is there a character or story that you particularly love in this game?

JA: OH NO! I am going to be that person. The next character coming out is my favorite. I got to help create her, and so we have a special bond. Also, I promise she will be a part of the Kickstarter before it ends. That is all I can say!

You can still back the Lost Ones Kickstarter until it 8PM on November 2nd, including a special “Late Backer” pledge that gives you access to the BackerKit in case you can’t back everything you want right now!

Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!

Images via Greenbrier Games


  • Dan Arndt

    Fiction writer, board game fanatic, DM. Has an MFA and isn't quite sure what to do now. If you have a dog, I'd very much like to pet it. Operating out of Indianapolis.

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