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Band Rocks the Board Game Industry

How well can a musician cross over into the realm of board gaming? In the case of the band Therion, Sweden’s masters of symphonic metal, the probability of success turns out to be very high. In 011 – An Adventure With Therion, this eclectic group has done just that — created a game that can be loved both by fans of the band and fans of deductive adventure games.

Therion’s lyrical content and use of symbolism have frequently included mythology, runology, occultism, religion and metaphysics. If there is any band that could use its own subject matter as inspiration for the themes and plot of a game, Therion is a strong candidate for the task. 011 incorporates the eight members of the band (as of their most recent album, Sitra Ahra) as movable characters within the game. One of the characters is “The Chosen One,” who must be deduced in order to fulfill a condition for winning the game, while another is the “Fenrir,” a traitor that is a reference to the Norse wolf god. Letters of the Elder Futhark Runic alphabet are assigned to each of the characters as a means of symbolic identification, whether it is a starting position on the board or representation on an event card. The board itself is a representation of the Italian city of Turin, with spaces called “mystic buildings” representing landmarks such as the Mole Antonelliana and the Museo Egizio.

The premise of 011 has many layers but is not difficult to understand and integrate even during the first time playing through. The game lasts for 11 five-phase turns called “hours” in which The Chosen One must compose the “Song of Making,” discover the Inscrutable Organ of Eternity and play the song on it before the eleventh hour in which the Ragnarök, the end of the world according to Norse myth, will begin. If the conditions of victory are met, Ragnarök is postponed. The game, designed by Marco Valtriani and Paolo Vallerga and based on a novel by Vallerga, is set in the “year ‘011’ in an alternative 19th century” and would be very appealing to fans of steampunk.

Ways of being eliminated from the game include running out of “time points” which players spend, bid on turn order with, or gain depending on the actions of the player; guessing wrong which character is The Chosen One when declaring victory; being unable to move The Chosen One to the location of the organ when declaring victory; and not having 15 music pages of the “Song of Making” when declaring victory. Deducing which of the eight characters is The Chosen One is achieved by keeping track of the character card assigned your hand and other players’ hands, which can be “researched” as a player action.

011 is not a collaborative game but each player (except the Fenrir, whose role is not decided until hour five) shares the same goal. The players are in a race against time and each other to win the game by saving the world. 011’s deductive aspects are reminiscent of Parker Brothers’ Clue but with more of a challenge. It can also appeal to fans of games such as Arkham Horror for the use of “clue tokens” that can improve the value of certain actions. 011 can be played by three to six people but is best played with at least four as the special rules for a three-player game do not include a Fenrir. 011 is a great purchase for any board game enthusiast or any Therion fan; neither would be disappointed.

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