Harrow County Gen Con preview – Our hopes are high for another fantastic adaptation

Last year, Off the Page Games turned a remarkable, award-winning comic, Mind MGMT, into an amazing board game that blew Mike and me away. Now they’re working on another game based on another award-winning comic! Horror County, written by Cullen Bunn and illustrated by Tyler Crook, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in 2015, nominated for an Eisner Award for Best New Series in 2016, won the 2016 Ghastly Award for Best Ongoing Title, and Bunn and Crook won the 2016 Ghastly Awards for Best Writer and Best Artist respectively. So yeah, Mike and I were excited to visit Off the Page at Gen Con and see if they were cooking up another masterpiece.

Harrow County is a wacky asymmetrical 1v1 duel with multiple factions to play and even the possibility of a third player joining in! The main objective of Harrow County is to be the first player to reach seven points and each faction has different methods of obtaining these points. As the Hester family, I scored points for destroying my opponent’s buildings, but my opponent, playing Emmy and the Protectors, scored points for saving villagers. Two methods of gaining points are shared by all factions, killing an enemy haint (minion) or ending a turn with their own haint on the center tile.

Here’s how it works. In turn, players choose between four actions, without repetition, represented by mason jars. Both players have the same four actions, but they may differ slightly. The first action involves several smaller actions: moving, spawning hauntings, or adding force cubes to battlefields. The second action involves wild actions, which can be used as one of these three smaller actions and increase in number of actions each time they are used. The third action differs widely from faction to faction and is primarily aimed at achieving each faction’s main objective. Like the Hesters, this action placed storm tiles to devastate my opponent’s buildings. Finally, the final action involves combat. In short, the fight is resolved by dropping cubes representing the color of each player in a tower contained in the game box! The player with the majority of cubes emerging from the tower wins the battle, and throughout the game players can increase their chances by adding more cubes to the pool.

My first experience of County Harrow was fascinating. My opponent got ahead of me by two points at the start of the game but I managed to stay on his heels and took my seventh point just in time! It felt like my opponent and I were playing tug of war with three different strings at the same time. Too much concentration on one string left another vulnerable. This triple tension led to an experience at the edge of my seat where we were both able to get our final point in a number of ways, like three neck and neck runs at the same time.

County Harrow already looks very promising and there are plenty more we haven’t seen. We’ll be keeping an eye out as Harrow County launches on Kickstarter in November, and we’re both excited to see what else it has in store for us!

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