Truly unique games something that I keep an eye out for. Vast: the Crystal Caverns, is one of the more unique games we have - although more and more games are trying to do similar things. What Vast does that no one else has done is every player has different game play and victory conditions. There are five roles in the original game players choose from; the knight, goblins, dragon, thief, and even the cave itself!
In order to win the game the knight needs to kill the dragon. The goblins need to kill the knight. The dragon needs to wake up and escape from the cave. The thief just needs to sneak around stealing treasure while everyone else is trying to kill each other. Lastly, the cave is trying to collapse and bury everyone in rubble before anyone else can achieve one of their victory conditions.
Not only do each of the roles have different victory conditions, they also play differently. The knight will be doing different tasks like killing goblins, exploring the dungeon, and breaking crystals to gain strength. The Knight will need to gain strength in order to take out the dragon. While similar the dragon is trying to slowly wake up and, once he has had his coffee, escape from the dungeon. Some of the things that help the dragon wake up is eating goblins, hoarding treasure, and improving the dungeon for the other players.
Goblins try to manage their clans from the unexplored regions of the board always, lying in wait to attack the knight. The thief is somehow immortal as even if killed comes back on future turns to steal more and more gold. However, they don’t want to get killed as each person gets benefits if they manage to off them. Lastly, the cave is one of the most different play styles as they are completely separate from the rest of the players. They need to destroy crystal tiles but before the destruction can begin all of the tiles have to be placed. They wind up being the timer for the game as they will inevitably win if one of the other players doesn’t hurry and accomplish their goal.
While it seems like it would be complicated each role is rather simple to play. Mastering all five would likely take a while. No reason to switch it up unless the players want to give all the roles a try. And because they know it will likely be confusing each of the characters have a reference sheet to help. Mixing the simplicity with everyone having different goals is what makes this one of my favorites.