Review: Spire’s End – Hildegard (Favro Venture) – English

Ever since you were a small child, you (Hildegard) have been yearning for an adventure in the wide world. You wait and wait and your patience was running out, but then adventure literally a figuratively fell into your lap in the form of a mysterious parcel. In fact, you woke up one day and the parcel was on your doorstep or did you get it from a postman? You’re not sure anymore – and it doesn’t matter – but what you do know is that you have to deliver this mysterious parcel in pristine condition to an equally mysterious baroness. What awaits Hildegard on her adventure?


Hildegard, the fiery heroine of this adventure, is one of the main characters from the streamlined adventure game Spire’s End. In Spire’s End, players experience an adventure through a deck of cards, dice, cubes and a lot of tough choices. Spire’s End Hildegard is the spiritual successor to Spire’s End and, in terms of story, a prequel to a fan favourite character. As a result, Spire’s End Hildegard is a standalone adventure set in the beautiful world of Spire’s End written and developed by Greg Favro. Like the original Spire’s End, Hildegard is a game somewhat akin to classic “choose your own adventure” books and games. Equipped with a deck of story cards, dice and cubes (to keep track of your skills, gold and other items), one or two players – with any second player taking on the role of Hildegard’s sister – step into the world of Spire’s End. In terms of gameplay, Hildegard Spire’s End offers an even more streamlined adventure game.


If you have the play mat – highly recommended as far as we are concerned – roll it out on the table. Place the pile of story cards. For ease of play, you can divide the pile by chapter. Put the dice and cubes within easy reach and you are ready to play. If two players are going on an adventure, also lay out the specific cards as indicated in the rule booklet. Turn over one of the three possible starting cards (all numbered ‘1’) and you are ready to play. The game has almost no setup, intuitive rules and minimal components. After a quick read through the rules of the game, which consists mainly of examples, you are well prepared for your adventure.

Many paths to wander

The deck of cards clearly shows the actions players have to take. The cards take players by the hand through the story. The cards confront players with choices and challenges. Cards often indicate which cards players should take from the deck and turn over. The cards are numbered and some cards have different backs for extra clarity during the game.

On many cards there is a choice and, as in real life, choices have consequences. As players are faced with different choices, they will be able to take multiple paths that can lead to multiple endings of the adventure. Not every ending is equally satisfying, so players will slowly explore the game and the world. This makes this adventure replayable for several times, but not infinitely. Each adventure will take a few hours, depending on the ending. After each chapter (four in total), you have the option to ‘pause’ and ‘save’ the game like a checkpoint in a video game. If you reach an ending after this checkpoint, you can start again from the beginning of this chapter.

The different choices give players different resources and confrontations in addition to different paths. Some items give you a better chance in later parts of the game. By bringing some trail mix, you may be able to distract some dangerous animals. As you will play the adventure numerous times with different approaches, you will optimise your choices to get the best ending.

Challenges and confrontations

Spire’s End Hildegard does not only consist of choices (and the consequences of your choices), but some cards also depict challenges and battles. Hildegard can handle a slingshot just fine and uses it to deal with many confrontations. These challenges and battles are settled by rolling a set of dice. The goal? To collect as many bullseyes as possible.

The dice depict different symbols that together can form a bullseye. Besides the regular dice, there are also wild dice that may have other positive and negative effects besides a bullseye. The challenge card shows how many bullseyes a player must roll, how many dice a player may roll (the accuracy) and how many different turns (a set) a player has to achieve the goal. During a set, the player rolls the specified amount of dice. After each roll, a player must keep at least one die, but a player may roll the others again. After rolling regular dice, you can roll one of the available wild dice. With skills and items, you can influence the course of a challenge. Goal achieved or not? The card indicates the consequences. Sometimes you get a bonus if you exceed the goal. Often challenges yield items, gold or progression in the story.

Besides challenges, there are also battles. Battles proceed similarly to challenges. Again, players try to throw bullseyes, but always have a single set. After the set, it is the opponent’s turn. Both player and opponent incur damage when the required symbols are thrown. Players can attack but may also block. Again, special items and skills influence the course of a fight.

What I describe above is the standard course of a challenge or battle, but Spire’s End Hildegard varies the course, by confronting players with surprises. Because the special rules for these battles or challenges are described on the cards, it can very occasionally happen, that something is slightly unclearly described, but fortunately a Q&A is available with the answers to certain questions you might have.


Spire’s End Hildegard is a beautifully designed and written adventure. The adventure is light-hearted, surprising and interactive. The simple yet interesting gemeplay makes the game inviting and not overwhelming, allowing almost anyone to tackle this adventure solo or cooperatively. For fans of choose-your-own-like games, Hildegard is highly recommended. The dice mechanism for tackling challenges is reminiscent of push your luck dice games such as Yahtzee and Age or War and, apart from the pleasant story, for me it is an absolute highlight, making Hildegard stand out from other games in the same genre. Our first adventures provide completely different experiences and we are far from done with this adventure!