Sleeping Gods is a different sort of RPG. Or board game. Or both. See, this is where it gets a little hybridy. It’s a board game with a map book, storybook, character placards, beautifully-illustrated encounter and monster cards, and XP that carries over between play sessions. The best way to describe it might be that it’s a super lightweight Gloomhaven.
And I think that’s a good thing.
Sometimes you want to delve into a fanciful world with well-developed locations and mysteries aplenty but don’t want to sit down to play D&D. That’s a niche that Sleeping Gods seems to fit just fine.
You play as the captain and crew of an ocean freighter that’s been sucked from the 1920’s into a strange, magical world. You’re not the only castaways from Earth in this place, but there are natives aplenty, both human and otherwise. And the only way home is through the power of the gods themselves.
The catch? The gods are slumbering, locked away after an ancient battle. To gain their aid is to awaken them, and that will take the power of magical totems. Collect enough of them, and you’ll be able to get back to Earth.
Along the way, you’ll shop in cities, explore ruins, and fight battles at sea and in temples to the sleeping gods. Your crew will learn new skills, gain power, and becomes either heroes or villains in this unfamiliar land.
The choice is yours.
Really, that’s the big draw here, along with the stunning artwork. The array of choices is incredible. Each location you explore is going to present you with decisions to make, some changing depending on what quests, items, or additional crew members you may have acquired along the way.
And you can go back and try different paths on subsequent plays, because unlike a legacy game, Sleeping Gods encourages you to go through more than once, with different endings available and new gameplay options unlocked depending on your performance at the end.
Play as much or as little as you want during each session. The game has a build-in save mechanic to help you pick up where you left off.
If you love RPG adventures but can’t commit to one of the sloggy behemoths of the genre, this game is designed just for you!
The original Kickstarter version of this Red Raven Games gem is not available as of this post, but the company reports reprints have shipped and should be available again early this year (2022).
Have you played Sleeping Gods or other RPG-like board games? Share your experience in the comments!