GTM #217 - Endless Pass
by WizKids

Ragnarok approaches… and the Midgard Serpent, Jormungandr, is stirring. The spawn of the Serpent, a horde of serpentine monsters called the Endless, are now scattered throughout Midgard hiding in deep canyons and valleys, awaiting the ­final battle. While many Vikings have attempted to enter such places wishing to aid the Gods in their struggle, none have returned.  The Endless Pass is one of these places… will you enter and emerge victorious?

Endless Pass: A Viking Saga, designed by Núria Casellas and illustrated by Craig Petersen, is a competitive card game for 2 to 6 players. To win the game, you must be the last Viking standing or the first to earn 10 Glory, while surviving the turn. If none of the players survive, then the player with the highest Glory will be honored as the most worthy Viking in Valhalla.

The dangers of the Pass…

During their turn, the Vikings will either Walk the Pass or Hide. A Viking that Walks the Pass will first Search the Pass by taking cards from the Pass Deck, the deck where the Endless dwell... Any Endless found on the Pass Deck must be placed face up on the table. All other Pass cards can be kept hidden in your hand as loot, which can be stolen. In the Pass you may find GREEK FIRE or magical STORM HAMMERS that will allow Vikings to defeat Endless, but also RUNES to heal or gain more Glory. Next, the player must face any Endless in their path and survive by playing Action or Pass cards (Endless Encounter). After the Encounter has been resolved, the player will be able to perform other actions such as Heal, gain or lose Speed for the next turn, or fight with another player for Health or Glory (Viking Battles). Defeating Endless or other Vikings will earn you Glory.

The players will have a number of Action Cards in their hand available for that turn, which will allow them to defeat or avoid Endless or other players such as ATTACK, DEFEND or EVADE or perform other actions such as STEAL, SPEED or HIDE.

At the end of the turn, the player will replenish their action cards and the turns will continue clockwise.

A Viking can only avoid Walking the Pass by playing a Hide action card at the start of the turn. In that case, the turn is over, no replenishing is allowed. However, the player can then decide to change the direction of the game. The direction can only be changed by playing Hide cards.

Vikings or Heroes?

Players will use player boards to track their Health and Glory. These boards also indicate the Speed of the player (number of Pass cards to draw) and the number of Actions that a player can have in their hands during their turn.

The boards are double-sided, so as well as playing in the same conditions, players can also assume the roles of Viking Heroes with different Speeds and Actions and a unique player power. For example, you can play as Steinbjorn the Berserker, who destroys Endless with his bare hands (can use Evade cards to defeat Endless) or Brynhild the Valkyrie, who can defeat two Endless with her Blessed Blade (can use an Attack card to defeat two Endless).

Are the Endless… endless?

The Endless are persistent monsters. If they are not defeated, they will continue on their path to the next player. Therefore, any Endless that are Evaded or Defended against are still in play for the next player! This fun and cool mechanic was inspired by the old “endless” or “infinite” running platform video games. In these single-player games, the player can only jump, attack, pick up treasure or health (or some similar actions) and must keep moving forward in a seemingly endless world, trying to survive the perils on the path. What happens to the monsters when the player jumps them? Well, in those games, nothing… they are left behind. In Endless Pass, the Endless are met by the next player in the Pass. The name of the game is also inspired by this move, as the Endless keep “passing” from player to player.

And… who are The Nine?

The Nine are the Hunters of the Pass: they are fearsome and won’t be easily defeated. While The Nine follow the same rules as the Endless, they have special resistance or damage icons on their cards. The promotional card is an exclusive version of a Nine Endless, and you can substitute it for the weakest hunter (the one resistant to the Storm Hammer) to make The Nine even more powerful and dangerous. Or, you can select The Nine at random from your 10 hunter cards to add more variation to your game.

And the winner is….

There are several ways of winning this game, allowing you to explore different strategies. You can be the last Viking standing and win when all other Vikings have been eliminated; you can be the first Viking to earn 10 Glory (in both of these cases you must survive the turn); or you can win when all players, including yourself, have been eliminated and you have the most Glory.

Each game will offer great variability thanks to the choice of player boards, number of Endless in play, different winning conditions and player strategies, and luck with Action and Pass cards.

Look for Endless Pass at your Friendly Local Game Store this April!