Some may know Jason Anarchy as the designer of Drinking Quest the card-based, drinking RPG. Jason has a new game, Haiku Warrior, that’s similar, but much more subdued. It can be played solo, or up to four players. The cards still drive the adventure, and every card carries a haiku. Jason told me at PAX East that he wanted to make a solo variant for Drinking Quest, but the thought of people drinking alone was too depressing. Hence, Haiku Warrior was born.
The game starts by choosing a character. Each character has their own stats and special power. Info is recorded on your character sheet and then you start flipping cards off the quest piles. There’s 6 main quests, and a free expansion that contains haiku written by Jim Zub, Ryan North, Becky Cloonan, “Fearless” Fred Kennedy, Masked Intruder, Lunar Baboon, Rock Paper Cynic, Parry Gripp, MC Lars, Robin Laws, and more. The number of quest cards you need to best before moving onto the next quest varies by number of players.
If a card contains a monster, you fight it. Combat is dice driven, and fairly simple. If you beat the monster you get gold and souls. Gold is used to buy better equipment, fruit, and other buffs at the start of each turn. Souls are accumulated towards victory. It’s a balance between pushing your luck, inventory management, and luck of the draw. You can also draw cards that have you forage for food, or raid treasure. Pass a save roll for free fruit, hats, or boots. Hats and boots give you special abilities, and have the added cool factor of fitting over your character card to make it look like your character is wearing them.
When you’ve reached the amount of souls needed for victory, you win! Of course you can keep going to see how far you can make it through the game. You can also try the expansion quest, which is more like a hard, monster-only dungeon, instead of the main quests.
I’ve only played the game solo, and I really enjoyed it. It’s light, easy to play, and portable. I keep my copy at my desk at work so I can play a few times over lunch. I’m hoping to rope some of my coworkers into a game soon.
If Haiku Warrior sounds interesting to you, it’s available for $25 from Jason’s website.
A jovial RPG
Worth its price in fruit”
A copy of Haiku Warrior was provided free for review by Jason Anarchy