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Key art for Vantage features a view of a planet with multiple biomes as seen through the porthole of an escape capsule dropping in from orbit.
Image: Stonemaier Games

Vantage is an open-world science fiction roguelike unlike anything seen before on a tabletop

Jamey Stegmaier, co-founder of Stonemaier Games, has made an indelible mark on board gaming since he entered the space in 2011. Not only has he designed and published incredible strategy games like Scythe and Viticulture, but he also helped produce and publish Elizabeth Hargrave’s genre-defining nature-themed board game Wingspan and its sequel. On Wednesday, he announced a secret project, the culmination of seven long years of work. It’s called Vantage, and it might be one of the most exciting tabletop projects slated for 2025.

Stegmaier describes Vantage as an open-world, cooperative, roguelike science fiction-themed adventure game inspired by modern video games. In a recent livestream, he noted that the primary inspiration was the iconic The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but he’s also drawn in themes and mechanics from such disparate titles such as Elden Ring, A Short Hike, and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.

Players will take on the roles of explorers headed to an unknown extrasolar planet. A malfunction leads to a crash landing, scattering from one to six players all across the map. There are 100 landing sites in total which, together with 800 additional location cards, make up the unnamed planet’s singular, cohesive surface. Cards are organized in such a way that players can freely traverse the entire planet, moving vertically and horizontally across its surface in the style of The 7th Continent.

The trick is that you can’t show what you see to the other players at the table. Each player only has their own perspective — their own vantage point — and must communicate what’s in front of them to the other players.

To be successful, players must share as much as they can about the strange new world in front of them. Because of the roguelike nature of the game — which wipes your character, their skills, assets, and other abilities away when you fail to survive the experience — the only true measure of advancement is your own personal experience of the mysterious planet itself.

“The only thing that persists from one game of Vantage to the next,” Stegmaier said, “is your information, your knowledge of this planet and how you might apply that to future games.”

The way that the game limits communication, combined with a huge number of cards in the box — more than 1,700 total, Stegmaier said — should make every journey unique.

“Even if you play the same character, and you happen to crash land in the same location as before, you can just go east instead of west,” Stegmaier said. “You can go north instead of south. You can interact with that location in a different way than before. So there’s a lot of replayability that I’ve baked into this game.”

“It is not a campaign game,” Stegmaier stressed. “You are playing until you win, or until you fail. […] And then you start over from scratch.”

While the design has largely been completed, as well as most of the game’s art, Stegmaier said that Vantage is currently in a blind playtesting phase. That means prototypes are being run through a gauntlet of players who have no idea what to expect when they open the box. Next comes graphic design and finalization of the materials inside the box — especially the manual that will help onboard new players. More information, including pricing and the final release date, will he shared in the months to come.

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