Kingdom Death: Monster – Vingettes of Death: White Gigalion Mini-Review

This is Part 2 in my series of posts about all the news and updates coming out of Gen Con for Kingdom: Death Monster.  You can read Part 1 here where I speculate when we might realistically expect Wave 3 with the delay.


Adam has said that with the Strain System, he is now able to work on smaller pieces of content for the game that still can have a meaningful impact.  Kingdom Death had two strain-related Gen Con releases this year, which will be available on the store likely any day (minute?) now.  The first is Echoes of Death 2, a followup to last year’s Echoes of Death 1.   It introduces an additional 4 strain milestones and unlockable fighting arts, similar to the first EoD.  Adam did make a slight rules tweak to strain fighting arts, you can now only have a maximum of 5 in your fighting arts deck at a time to avoid your game getting bloated with crazy strain fighting arts (you do get to choose which ones to keep in).

Some of the new minis, strain milestones, and fighting arts in Echoes of Death 2

The even bigger news was he released a new monster, the White Gigalion.  Adam had teased an early version of the sculpt for this monster at the end of the video in the Black Friday update, started production on it in January, and managed to have it ready in time for Gen Con.  This is the first new monster to be released for Kingdom Death since the 1.5 release of Gold Smoke Knight (almost 2 years!), and it is the first in what will presumably be a series of “Vignettes of Death” promo monsters sold on the store and/or Gen Con.  It is a standalone showdown that comes with 4 survivors (along with gear grids and stat cards) that you can play outside of a full campaign, making feasible to demo and play this at a game night with friends without the 30-lantern year commitment.


Remember this tease from Black Friday?


The White Gigalion is a variant of the White Lion that uses the White Lion’s AI and HL decks, but has a few slight tweaks.  The sculpt is on a 100mm base, so it takes up more space on the board.  It has two new trait cards make its Grab a little more deadly (it grabs all adjacent survivors with a 20% chance of a bleed effect), and it always runs away from survivors at the end of its turn making it tricky to catch up to and attack.  It’s life, damage, toughness, etc are the same as the Level 2 White Lion, but has +1 additional movement, probably to compensate for the larger base.  It has one additional hit location with a nasty reflex, has a beefed up variant of Sniff if it can’t find a valid target, and always starts the showdown by playing Smart Cat (meaning that you will likely have 2 moods in play from Turn 1). 


New traits and hit location

It plays like a White Lion mixed with a Screaming Antelope.  It’s going to behave more-the-less exactly like a Level 2 White Lion would, except that at the end of a turn it will grab all adjacent survivors, and will run away from remaining threats regardless of whether or not it grabbed somebody.  I went back and forth on whether or not the White Gigalion would run away if it grabs nobody, but the Vicious trait card as written doesn’t have an “if adjacent to at least one survivor” qualifier like Cunning does, and also Rule of Death (NOTE: I was merely invocating “Rule of Death” in my phrasing here to keep my summary brief, but there may have been some confusion that I was using Rule of Death in the incorrect context.  To be clear, the rules as written for Gigalion would dictate it always moves, no ambiguity that would necessitate a Rule of Death ruling mid-play).  If you find chasing a Screaming Antelope around the board annoying, you are going to hate this fight.  Starting the showdown with 2+ moods right off the bad can be nasty, especially if Enraged is one of them, but you can also luck out and just get a single mood, or incredibly lucky and no moods at all.  


White Gigalion having a Gadrock for lunch.

The four survivors that you use in the vignette showdown are pretty well-geared for the fight.  They come from a settlement known as Deadrock, which two narrative sculpts in Gambler’s Chest also come from, so I presume this is Adam’s personal/pet settlement name.  All the survivors have rock-themed names, and one of them even has a lovelorn rock.  Gadrock has a full White Lion armor set with bone knuckles and Gorn, works well as a support class for this fight but can pounce in himself and do some decent damage.  Hungry Basalt has a full Gorm set, a shield, and an axe, so can take on the roll of a tank or can do reliable damage.  Breccia has a full leather set and whip, so she can be used to try to remove moods.  She also has slotted monster grease, so can potentially evade tank in the tall grass.  The Rock Knight, my favorite of the group, doesn’t have a complete armor set, but is wearing entirely bone gear plus the Bone Earrings, so she starts the showdown with +2 speed and +2 strength!  She also has bone darts, and she is clutch for sniping the kitty when he gets far away (hopping on top of the Stone Face will give her additional accuracy and range).  Note that for Hungry Basalt, while you don’t need to own the Gorm expansion to play this, you will at least need to know that the Gorm armor set bonus is that if he is to take two or more severe injuries in a single attack, he only takes one.


Rock Knight’s pre-printed gear grid sheet

I’m no expert on fighting the White Gigalion,  I’ve only done the fight a couple times and lost most, but my suggestion in this fight at least is to save your survival for dashes to catch up with the White Gigalion and attack it.  This means that you will need to just take hits and grabs if it’s not going to cause a severe injury to the head or bleed you out.  If you are lucky, you might be able to burn it down in 3 turns before you likely run out of survival and have to get more creative with catching up to it.  Using Gadrock as a support role to boost Basalt and Rock Knight’s damage may be a better use of his survival than having him chase after the lion as well.  If things start going south after a round or two, just reset it and try again.  I won’t judge.  Unless of course you are playing it in the campaign.


The White Gigalion comes with a strain milestone that if you defeat it in the vignette showdown, you add the White Gigalion to all campaigns that have the White Lion in it going forward.  I won’t spoil the flavor text, but it explains why this is the case.  It doesn’t fully replace the White Lion, you can still choose to fight the White Lion in most cases (and there is no Level 1 White Gigalion, only Levels 2 and 3), but the Dead Antelope event will always trigger a White Gigalion going forward.

So why bother choosing to fight a White Gigalion?  For the gear of course!  Aside from dropping a few more resources, White Gigalions drop a Hooked Claw strange resource that lets you craft a couple additional gear pieces, all of which are pretty awesome:

  • Hooked Claw Knife – When your wound causes the monster to react by moving, it causes an additional wound.  You will tear lions and antelopes to shreds with this.
  • Lion Slayer Cape – Reduces all damage suffered by 1 (to a minimum of 1) if wearing fur armor
  • Oxidized Beast Katar – Deadly paired katars that get +4 on a perfect hit (with a base 5 strength)
  • Dense Bone Arrows – You never run out of these arrows, and they are sharp!

Some pretty cool builds you could make with all this gear, and in my opinion make the White Gigalion very much worthwhile going after, as long as you have Dash!


Vignettes of Death will likely be a big hit on the store, probably sell out its initial print run quickly, and will probably be an on-going series he releases at future Gen Cons.  In the update, he teased that the next vignette will be the Nukealope, a Screaming Antelope that ate a Nuclear Scythe (and likely the Gen Con 2020 release).

I’ll go over this in more detail when I talk about Campaigns of Death (which probably will be my next post), but it sounds like variant monsters like this will be more common as part of the Strain system.  Adam is very much interested (obsessed?) with the ecology of the Kingdom Death world, and the Strain system is the representation/manifestation of survivor’s actions having a direct impact on that ecology.  As a result, expect to see a number of mutations/strains of existing monsters, some of which might just be introducing new trait cards, while others may introduce new models/sculpts like this one, or even entirely new campaign story arcs (once again, more on that to come in the Campaigns of Death post).

I’m not terribly worried about vignette and/or variant monsters becoming an easy cash-grab for Kingdom Death.  They’ve already proven they have tons of original monster ideas in the works, and so far these variant monsters have been in addition to what was initially promised in the Kickstarter.  Now that Kingdom Death is capable of releasing a monster on their store without going through Kickstarter, this does raise a question about whether or not Adam will return to the Kickstarter model on future endeavors, which I will also discuss further in a later post about the future of Kingdom Death after Wave 4.


If you’re new to Kingdom Death and are looking to pick up expansions, this would not be at the top of my list of expansions to get.  In terms of plastic, this expansion seems on par with what you would get in a single-monster expansion at a similar price, but the it lacks the amount of content that the existing monster expansions have.   I would suggest getting Gorm, Flower Knight, Dung Beetle Knight, Sunstalker, Dragon King, and Spidicules first before getting White Gigalion, as all of those expansions will give you new quarry monsters with brand new AI and HL decks, new Fighting Arts, Disorders, Terrain, and tons of new gear to craft.  Once you start getting into the nemesis and special monsters (Lion Knight, Manhunter, Slenderman, Lion God, Lonely Tree), it gets a little more debatable which to get first, as those expansions will provide you fresher experiences and more content overall, but you will probably get more mileage out of having the White Gigalion as a quarry monster.  Depending on what changes to some of these monsters come in Campaigns of Death, I might even push some of those ahead of White Gigalion when we have Wave 3.

For people that already own the existing content and want something new, I recommend picking this up.  But maybe wait until it goes on sale at Black Friday.

A Tale Like None Other: A (Spoiler-Free) Tale of Ord Review

The Tale of Ord

Designer: Rita Orlov
Playing Time: 
3+ hours per chapter
Campaign Mode: 
4 chapters
MSRP:  $165.00
Logged Plays: 
Played and completed all 4 chapters solo
Copy Purchased By Reviewer

Let’s cut to the chase: The Tale of Ord is the best “escape room in a box” style game I have ever played, hands down.  It is also my favorite cooperative/solo game released in 2018.  If you love escape room games, you owe it to yourself to buy a copy of this game.  Buy a copy now, because there are only 100 copies left for sale.  Once those are gone, there are currently no plans by the designer to reprint this game!

(Note: If and when this game is sold out, I will update this section of the review to reflect that.  If you are reading this note, then there are still copies available!)

…Still need more convincing?  OK, read on.


The Tale of Ord is best described by its designer Rita Orlov as a “tabletop narrative puzzle adventure”.  Similar to escape room games like Exit and Unlock, you will work through a series of puzzles and riddles contained in documents, drawings, and artifacts that come packaged in the game.  Unlike most escape room games, you are not under any time limit or pressure to rush through Tale of Ord, and it will likely take you 15-20 hours to play through the entire game over the course of several sessions (it may take less time if you play with more people, I played it solo).  Since I was playing it solo, I often would work on the game for 30-60 minutes at a time leisurely while having my morning coffee, and mull over a possible solution for a puzzle I was stuck on as I went about the rest of my day.


Contents of the first chapter’s envelope

In The Tale of Ord, you play as private investigators hired by the dean of Emerens Institute to look into the disappearance of two of his professors.  Professor Rose Woning had been researching Nordic runestones and a mysterious relic she suddenly vanished months ago, and just recently her husband Dr. Andres Woning has also gone missing.  Over the course of a 4-chapter story, you will uncover what happened to them, research the origins of a relic buried in Norse mythology, and “unravel the secrets of fate and time” to quote the product page.  That’s quite the claim!  How many games do you own that let you unravel the secrets of fate and time?  (Well, I guess T.I.M.E. Stories…)


By removing the time limit element that so many escape room games have, Rita was free to design more complex, challenging, and interconnected puzzles than you would normally find a typical tabletop escape room game.  Puzzles in the game may have multiple steps to them, require you to crack codes and ciphers, do actual online research, and other activities that would probably be too time consuming to put into an 60-minute timed game.  And the puzzles are tough!  I don’t want to get into the specifics of any of the puzzles, but The Tale of Ord does things I’ve never seen done in an escape room game before.  It fully takes advantage of the medium and does things that wouldn’t work in a traditional escape room, and likely would be too cost-prohibitive to include in a more mass-market game.

The Tale of Ord has a refreshingly original narrative to it that doesn’t involve escaping the lair of a serial killer, trying to find the cure for something in a lab, solving a murder mystery, or any of the other countless tropes used in escape room and deduction games.  While the game deals a lot with Norse mythology, it isn’t a “viking game,” we have plenty enough of those already in tabletop!  The game is very much set in modern day, and you approach the mythology more from an archaeological point of view.  You actually might even learn some actual history and facts about Nordic culture and history from playing this game!  The narrative ties very closely into a number of the puzzles and brings everything together in a cohesive manner, it doesn’t feel like a “box of puzzles” with a theme slapped on it like some other games out there.  The writing in this game is solid, and the characters you interact with over the story feel fleshed out.  And yes, I said “interact” with, this game has some augmented reality elements to it where you may be required to email and call characters in the game, so having a computer and phone will be necessary at times (they’re just bots and pre-recorded messages you are dealing with, not actual people/actors, if you had concerns about playing this at odd hours of the day and/or an aversion to talking to people on the phone like I do.)

Let’s not forget to talk about the prop quality in this game!  One of the reasons there are only 500 copies of this game in existence is because each copy is hand-assembled by the designer herself.  You can really see that a lot of thought, attention, and love went into preparing each and every copy of this game.  Who knows, there might even be something in it personalized just for you!  Paper documents in the game feel authentic, and props are made of actual wood, metal, and other things that I can’t mention without spoiling stuff.  The wooden components in particular are very nice looking and make for excellent keepsakes of your experience when you are done with the game.  The final big set piece of the game still sits on my desk in my office, and I’m tempted to put together a little puzzle of my own that uses it for co-workers to solve!

The first chapter’s puzzles are pretty straightforward, but later chapters are very challenging and will probably take longer to work through.   For those that get stuck and need a hint, PostCurious has providing an excellent online hint system that not only will give you hints and the solution to every puzzle in the game, but also a way for you to confirm if you have the right answer to a puzzle or not without spoiling the actual answer if you aren’t correct.  This was great for times were I was pretty sure I had done what the puzzle wanted me to do, but the actual answer I reached wasn’t obvious to me as being correct.  Not to brag, but I actually completed the final chapter of the game without using a single hint.  While it took me much longer to finish than previous chapters, it made my ultimate victory all the more rewarding.  If you have the patience, I recommend using the hint system only as a last resort, as great of a hint system as it is.


I realize that $165 is a lot for a single game, especially for a puzzle game that you can’t replay once you know the solutions.  Like some of you reading this, I also was initially hesitant to buy into something so pricey from a new and unknown company/designer, but I took the plunge based on the positive initial reviews, and boy am I glad that I did!  As I’ve mentioned, it will probably take you 15-20 hours to play through, so the price-per-hour comes out to be slightly cheaper than some shorter puzzle/escape room games out there, and definitely cheaper per-hour than an actual escape room.  This is the most expensive game I have reviewed on my site, but I stand by my claim that it is worth every penny.

If you are looking to save a couple bucks on your purchase, you can get $5 off by signing up for PostCurious’ mailing list, or $10 off if you solve a puzzle!  Shipping is also free in the US.


I know I’m repeating myself at this point, but as I said in the intro of this review, this is the best puzzle tabletop game ever made.  It took me 9+ months to finish it, because I purposely paced my way slowly through it, taking long breaks between chapters, namely because I didn’t want it to end.  But what an ending it was when I finally got to it!  I’ll always cherish the time I had playing this amazing game, and will be the first in line to pre-order Rita and PostCurious’ next release.

Speaking of which, Rita is actively working on next game now!  14th century alchemy in Prague plays a big role in it, and her Easter Egg Hunt puzzle challenge (which you can still play, posts for it are on PostCurious’ Facebook page starting April 19) earlier this year was a bit of a teaser for it if you want to check it out.  She has told me that she’s aiming to release it in 2020, so you have a little bit more time to work your way through The Tale of Ord first.


Rita’s next game will be heavily inspired by 14th century alchemy

REVIEW SCORE: 10 out of 10 (Amazing)

icons8-plus-24 PROS

  • Challenging and unique puzzles.  Really felt I earned it when I solved the final puzzle of the game.
  • Fresh narrative, that tied in well with the puzzles.  I learned a lot about Norse mythology and history from this game!
  • Amazing prop quality, final set piece sits on a table in my office as a memento of the amazing experience I had

icons8-minus-26 CONS

  • High price-point may be a barrier to entry for a lot of people
  • It’s going out of print 😦