The Little Match Girl floated above the cobblestone paths that twined through the cemetery, drifting between the graves as snow fell from the sky and passed through her. Many winters past, she had died on the side of the road, with dozens of burned-out matches covering the ground around her. She was never cold anymore, but winter and winter’s servants remained. Her blue ghost-light shone in the darkness, keen and hard as an icicle sword. She never forgave. She never forgot.

Winter Tales is a board game of stories and quests in the fairy tale land of Wintertown for three to seven players. In every game, you control characters from iconic literature, supporting the faction of spring or winter and creating the story of Wintertown over the course of the game.

In our first preview , we examined the ways you can move characters and complete quests around Wintertown, and in our most recent preview , we introduced how you can intercept an opponent’s characters with battles and traps. This time, we’ll look closer at the ongoing influence of completed quests on the memory track and the final struggle for Wintertown in the game’s epilogue.

Memories of the Past

Because Winter Tales is a storytelling game, the creation of a continuous, compelling plot is always of the utmost importance. Within the game, the memory track allows the separate elements of the plot to connect and intertwine into one consistent narrative. Whenever a quest is completed, the winning player chooses the story card that best summarizes the quest, and places it on the memory track, along with the quest token and the bookmark token.

When a new quest begins, you and the other players must tie the story of the new quest to the events of the most recent quest, creating a coherent plot line by referring back to the story card chosen to exemplify the last completed quest. In this way, the memory track weaves the individual stories of quests together to inspire a grand narrative that spans the entire game.

As an example of how the memory track guides the story’s development, say that the most recently completed quest was Winter Propaganda, successfully completed by the winter player. As a new round begins, James, a spring player, decides to move Alice and attempt to complete the A Glimmer of Hope quest located in the Fair of Wonders.

The story card placed on the memory track to exemplify the Winter Propaganda quest was a letter posted across Wintertown, maligning the resistance and its leadership. The spring player activates Alice, draws three story cards, and links the game’s plot to the last quest, saying, “ Alice wanders the streets of Wintertown, attacked from every corner by the voices of the people, who read the vicious letters and recognize her as a leader of the resistance. Alice knows that the rebels’ morale won’t withstand this direct attack for much longer. They need something to rekindle their hopes and dreams. Nowhere is more magical than the Fair of Wonders , Alice thinks. That may be the place to find hope for our cause.” Now that the quests are linked, the spring player is free to move Alice and begin the A Glimmer of Hope quest in the Fair of Wonders.

The opportunity for players to tie quests together leads to the creation of an intriguing plot that moves beyond single quests and ties the events of the game together into a story. A typical game contains three quests before beginning the epilogue, but Winter Tales allows players to modify the length of the game by playing up to seven quests before beginning the epilogue.

The End is Nigh

When the final space on the memory track is filled with a story card representing a completed quest, the epilogue is triggered immediately. The faction that wins the epilogue wins the game, so every player contributes to the final struggle for Wintertown. The player who began the epilogue starts by playing all of his story cards, explaining the final efforts of his characters to claim Wintertown for the spring rebels or the winter regime.

After the first player has played all of his remaining story cards, the turn passes to the other players, and every player takes a turn to play any story cards remaining in their hands, expanding the story of the final battle for Wintertown and continuing the epilogue. All players are given the opportunity to advance their faction’s prospects and create an epic conclusion to the grand events of the narrative. Once all players have played their last cards, the amounts of story cards for each faction are tallied alongside the outcomes of the individual completed quests earlier in the game. This final score determines the ending of the story and the winning faction concludes the story, telling of the rebirth of spring or the initiation of an eternal reign of winter.

The Future Is Yours

In Winter Tales , players create the saga of an epic journey, containing the lives of memorable characters fighting for their beliefs. The quests that are undertaken in every game weave intricately together until an entire story is created, mapping the journeys of every character in the game. No matter how the game ends, Winter Tales creates a satisfying experience and a memorable story that can be retold time after time. Join us next time as we explore some of the ways that you can modify your game experience, and look for this game at your local retail store in the second quarter of 2014!

Winter Tales is a narrative board game of storytelling and fairy tale adventures for three to seven players, set in the grim chill of Wintertown. Players control the lives of their favorite fairy tale characters as they seek to complete quests, creating a new fable. In the course of the tale, players tell the story of soldiers battling in the streets and plazas, and rebels laying cunning traps. Can Spring return, or will Winter reign eternally? Craft a new story in Winter Tales !

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