The Wolf sits beneath the statue in the center of the plaza, honing his knife, running the whetstone along the blade in long, smooth strokes. The snow is falling softly all around, making every noise seem muffled and frightened. In an alley, a small light flickers once, like a lightning bug in a jar. The Wolf rises quietly and pads through the snow, creeping toward the alley entry. Inside, it’s warmer, and the snow is melting off the ground. A ghostly figure floats above his head, a small light in its hand; behind him, a hulking metal giant closes off his exit. “What a small brain you have,” says the Little Match Girl. “The better to trap you with,” grates the Tin Man. The Wolf pulls back its teeth, and snarls.
Set in frosty Wintertown, Winter Tales is a narrative board game of imaginative storytelling for three to seven players. Players are split between the factions of Spring and Winter, and together weave the story of the conflict for the future of Wintertown. Controlling popular fairy tale characters such as Alice, the Scarecrow, the White Rabbit, and the Wolf, players attempt to complete quests and accelerate the story toward a final battle for ultimate control of the town’s fate. With the storytelling engine embodied in Winter Tales, players are invited to create a vivid and memorable story with every game!
Enter an Absorbing and Fantastic Setting
Every game of Winter Tales begins with Wintertown, where the Regime of Winter reigns supreme in the aftermath of the bloody War of Autumn. Soldiers patrol the streets, the Winter Prison is stacked with inmates, and the screams echoing from the Mad Hatter Asylum grow louder as the temperature drops. Mangiafuoco, the grizzled and wheelchair-bound veteran, rules Wintertown with a cold iron fist, supported by the reanimated Wolf and the figurehead ruler Snow White.
In the shadows, the hope of Spring has not been forgotten, not by certain heroes, now branded rebels by the Regime of Winter. These rebels have united to form the resistance, working in secret to subvert the dictatorship of Winter and bring new hope to the inhabitants of Wintertown. Alice has escaped from the Mad Hatter Asylum, and is rallying support together with the Scarecrow King and the Tin Man. Even the Little Match Girl has returned from beyond the grave to wreak her vengeance on the servants of Winter.
Quest for Victory
At the beginning of each game, players are separated into the factions of Winter and Spring, with each side working toward opposing goals. In order to accomplish their goals, the players must focus on completing their own quests, while interfering with opponents’ quests. Each turn, a player activates one of his characters, giving himself the option to move that character and work toward his quests.
As characters successfully complete or foil quests, the quests form Memories in the overarching story. As the game progresses, players link these quests together, forming a story that influences other quests. Each successfully completed quest brings either Winter or Spring closer to victory and gives them a definite edge in the final battle for Wintertown. Once a set number of quests have been completed, players launch into the Epilogue. In the Epilogue, all the quests are tied together and each faction makes a final push to triumph over Wintertown.
When there is an even number of players, only Spring and Winter are battling for the fate of Wintertown, but if there is an odd number of players, a new faction emerges! One player will take on the role of the Writer, who controls members of both factions, and uses them to accomplish his own objectives. As the Writer, his mission is to make certain that neither side ultimately triumphs, but rather that the game ends in a draw, leaving the story to be completed in a future game.
Tell New Stories in Every Game
In order to move, fight, or work on quests, players must use Story Cards, which feature artwork that can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Whenever a player makes progress toward a quest, he must discard a certain number of Story Cards and interpret the artwork into his story.
For example, a player may wish to move his character—the Wolf—into position to begin a quest. After the player activates his character and draws Story Cards, he must then discard a card to move, intertwining the artwork on the card with his narrative. The player discards a card like the one to the right and says, “The Wolf prowls the streets of Wintertown, looking for some lawbreaker to prey upon, when, looking up, he sees the heights of Dorothy’s Mansion ahead of him. He decides that this would be the ideal place to start a fire, or cause some other mayhem!” The player would then move the Wolf to his destination.
Other players have the opportunity to interfere with the active player’s plans as well. When actively questing, players each play several cards in turn, detailing the efforts of the rebels or the soldiers regarding the continuing quest. By playing the most cards and weaving an engrossing story, a faction can triumph and claim the quest for either Spring or Winter.
Players are not safe from interference during movement either. If a rebel happens to cross a space with a soldier in it, the soldier has the opportunity to begin a battle. In a battle, players alternate playing cards and telling the story of their fight, until one side gains an advantage. If the rebel loses, he can become incapacitated, and even be dragged off to the Winter Prison or the Memory Lane Cemetery.
Soldiers are not free from harm while moving, however. In certain locations, rebels may gather to spring a deadly trap on passing soldiers. In a trap, players must secretly bid Story Cards to determine the ultimate effects of the trap, possibly ending in defeat and incapacitation for the unfortunate soldier of Winter. Trickery and deceit are the best weapons of the resistance, rather than overt force.
Modify Your Game Experience
While Winter Tales is already immersive, it also includes the use of modules that can be added for an even deeper experience. By using the Power Module, each successfully completed quest offers more benefits than simply adding a new Memory. Instead, one faction will gain a special power and a greater edge in the ongoing struggle. Each quest offers different powers and rewards for completion, ranging from a rebel safe house, to Winter propaganda.
The Objective Module allows players to compete for smaller stakes by striving to complete objectives as well as quests. By placing spies and garrisons, the Winter faction can bring itself closer to victory, while the Spring players can effect rescues and make vital connections between locations. Objectives can count as Memories for one side or another, but the greater effects of a quest can be sufficient to overwrite memories previously formed by objectives.
By using the Skill Module of Winter Tales, characters gain special powers, making playing every character a new and different game experience. Some characters, such as Granny Dorothy, may be able to move through secret passages, whereas others, such as the wealthy White Rabbit, can draw more Story Cards, giving them more opportunities and resources.
In Winter Tales, each player must take control of these well known characters and use them in completely new ways, questing, battling, and telling the story of Wintertown. Will you join the rebels and seek to bring about the return of Spring? Or will you enlist with Winter’s Soldiers, and ensure that the icy reign of the Regime never ends? In Winter Tales, the choices are yours, and every story presents a new opportunity for storytelling and imaginative play!
3 - 7 players
The copyrightable portions of Winter Tales are © 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. No part of this product may be reproduced without specific permission. Licensed by Raven Distribution s.r.l. The ALBEPAVO logo, the Raven Distribution logo, and the Wt System logo are ™ of ALBEPAVO. Fantasy Flight Supply is a ™ of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.