Unboxing Review: Spell Saga, A Tabletop Novel Game

Spell Saga, a self-proclaimed "tabletop novel"-style game, is the brainchild of SUBHEATHEN Publishing, a relatively-new publisher comprised of Todd Michael Rogers and Lauren Rogers. The game is meant to be a solitary event played by just one person, and while it allegedly takes a bit of time to get the hang of, it is meant to evoke an "emotional experience" from whoever is playing it. We here at Bleeding Cool got a copy of Spell Saga in the mail today, and that means today we will be unboxing the contents sent to us.

Before we go any further, keep in mind that we are not going to be showing any of the cards just yet. We want to let our author, Josh Nelson, look at the game fresh when playing it, so we don't want to spoil anything. With that in mind, let's dive in!

The playmat we received with our copy of Spell Saga, by SUBHEATHEN Publishing. (Photo credit: Josh Nelson)
The playmat we received with our copy of Spell Saga, by SUBHEATHEN Publishing. (Photo credit: Josh Nelson)

The box that the items were shipped in arrived pretty badly damaged. Thankfully the contents arrived miraculously intact. We think this may purely be a postal issue alone, so we cannot judge SUBHEATHEN for this. However, it should be noted that perhaps a larger box is necessary to prevent future issues of a similar kind.

Anyway, since the goods arrived intact, we can safely review them. First of all, we got a large playmat upon which the play Spell Saga as intended. The mat has a good layout and an example of what players must do in the game each turn (located on the lower righthand corner of the mat). The playmat's format doesn't match the example's card layout at the bottom 100%, but it's still a good example of what a player might expect from this game.

An add-on of promotional cards and a sticker for Spell Saga. Apologies for the blur. (Photo credit: Josh Nelson)
An add-on of promotional cards and a sticker for Spell Saga. Apologies for the blur. (Photo credit: Josh Nelson)

Next up is the add-ons that SUBHEATHEN included with their box. Within are seven promotional cards for the game as well as a sticker that declares "I survived the Highlands", referring to a major location in the story. This was a pleasant inclusion to the package and we are thankful for the add-ons!

The box for Deck One - The  Highlands, part of the core for Spell Saga. (Photo credit: Josh Nelson)
The box for Deck One – The  Highlands, part of the core for Spell Saga. (Photo credit: Josh Nelson)

Finally, four decks were included in the package from SUBHEADER, for the sake of Spell Saga's playthrough. We received a Prelude deck, likely necessary to set the scene for the story within; Deck One – The Highlands, which is the core for the game; Deck Two – The Forest, expansion to Deck One; and finally, a bonus deck to supplement Deck One even further.

Before we end this unboxing review, it should be noted that the publishers want to make it known that Spell Saga is also free-to-print as well as being an item you can order. If you want to get ahold of the game so you can try it out yourself, you can do so here. All in all, we cannot wait to try out this game and see what it brings out of us! What do you think about the notion of a tabletop novel? Let us know in the comments below!

About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.

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