The Guardians have woken up, and the Foxen Clan won’t let their village be destroyed by these ancient monsters. Skulk Hollow is a 2-player asymmetric game from Pencil First Games. One player takes on the role of the Foxen Clan while another player takes control of 1 of 4 different Guardians.
Tiny Foxes or Giant Guardian?
Each side in Skulk Hollow has its perks. The Foxen Clan relies on different classes of characters to overwhelm their enemy. The game comes with 4 Guardians which each feel very different. These large creatures have powerful attacks and the ability to heal.
Gameplay revolves around each side having a curated deck of cards. These cards will dictate movement patterns, attack types and special abilities. The Foxen Clan deck is stacked with different characters that can be deployed onto the battlefield. The fierce fox people attack with melee or ranged weapons. This team gets the advantage of playing up to 3 cards during their turn. After just a couple games, you’ll realize that your choice of which leader you use in the Foxen Clan changes your strategy.
The Guardian player gets fewer actions on their turn but has to rely on the specialized attacks that are unique to that Guardian. Each Guardian also has a unique win condition outside of killing the leader of the Foxen Clan. Each of the Guardians have a complexity level to indicate how difficult it is to play as that creature.
These Guardians feel genuinely unique and have to be approached differently as the Foxen Clan. I’ve played Skulk Hollow the most as the Foxen Clan because it feels like a puzzle that has to be solved as you attack the Guardian. The Guardian is represented on the primary game board with a large wooden figure. The second board represents the different areas on the Guardian that can be attacked.
In order to take down the monstrous creature, the Foxen Clan warriors will mount the Guardian to attack and disable their actions. This is where Skulk Hollow feels like the board game equivalent to the video game Shadow of the Colossus.
Finding Your Strength
What I love about Skulk Hollow is the lessons learned each time I come back to this game. My wife Erin and I love to sit down and play games during the weekend and Skulk Hollow has been a huge hit for us. Playing as the Foxen Clan has made me realize the dependency on utilizing the whole team. Some characters can attack from ground locations while others can quickly scale and attack.
Skulk Hollow has a power cube system that can be a huge advantage. This gives players access to additional actions during a turn based on the amount of power cubes they have allocated on the foxes. Some of the Guardians have this same ability and it can be a big advantage when used properly.
After playing so often as the Foxen Clan, I do feel like the scales are tipped in the favor of the Guardian overall. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Skulk Hollow offers a challenge that I don’t feel in many games. It works so well as a 2-player game because there is much more strategy than good hand management. Every turn has you anticipating what cards your opponent is holding and which move gives you the greatest benefit.
Presentation at it’s Best
Opening the box of Skulk Hollow feels like an experience in itself. I was amazed by the quality of the components and how everything is organized in the box. It feels like you’re stepping into this world that has been built just for your table.
The attention to detail on each wooden component and each illustration is incredible. Skulk Hollow is a really special 2-player experience. The only knock against the game is that I felt like there were some questions I had that the rulebook didn’t clearly spell out. The rulebook is gorgeous but I found myself hitting Board Game Geek two or three times to find an answer.
While my wife and I have been the only two in our family to play Skulk Hollow, I could see my 14 and 11 year olds really enjoying the game. This game is a great option for gaming with older kids (10+) and for gamers looking for a challenge. It could be a little intimidating for a newer gamer and wouldn’t be my first choice with a friend who rarely plays games.
Skulk Hollow is a world that is worth venturing into. The mighty Guardians and ferocious Foxen Clan are locked in a battle that will bring you lots of strategic fun.
You can purchase Skulk Hollow from your local game store or purchase it on Amazon today.
Pencil First Games provided us with a retail copy of Skulk Hollow for this review. This in no way influenced our opinion of the game.
- Fantastic, high-quality components
- Each role in the game feels unique
- Strategic gameplay has you looking for the right moment to strike
- Foxen Clan can feel underpowered at times