Inferno

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Inferno
Designer: Red Baron
Type: Fictional World
Countries: 83 (Large)
Board Info
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Inferno is a map of Hell based on Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, an epic poem written in 14th century Italy. The board makes liberal use of border modifiers to add strategic complexity; these modifiers are indicated through the use of special symbols.

[edit] Background

Dante's vision of Hell is a curious mixture of medieval Christian theology and ancient Greek mythology. It has a place for every type of sinner, sorted along Aristotelian lines into nine great circles. The condemned souls are kept in their proper places by prison wardens taken out of Greek mythology, and the geography of Hell itself is largely derived from Greek mythology.

In the poem, Dante follows a more-or-less linear path through the circles of Hell to get to Purgatory. Following a simple straight line path would make a dull Warfish game, though, so liberty has been taken to redesign Hell in the shape of a serpent. This allows Dante's path to curve back upon itself so that interconnections can be made between distant sections. Dante's original path is still preserved, however, and the game attempts to accurately portray his journey.

To better appreciate the map, it is helpful to know a bit about the story:

  • As the poem opens, Dante finds himself lost in a dark wood, pursued by the Three Beasts of Worldliness. His beloved, Beatrice, intercedes for him in prayer, and in response God sends the poet Virgil to guide him. To return home, though, Dante and Virgil will have to make a perilous journey through the center of the Earth into Hell and then out again.
  • They pass through the Gate of Hell into the Vestibule, or Entry, of Hell. Here they encounter Outcasts and Opportunists. These two groups chose no proper place on Earth, so they are condemned to have no proper place in Hell. The boatman Cheron ferries Dante and Virgil across the river Acheron.
  • They pass through Limbo. This is the garden spot of Hell, filled with souls whose only fault was never to know Christ. The souls here are not in torment, and live lives much as they did on Earth. Here reside virtuous pagans such as Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Virgil himself. Here stands the great Citadel of Reason. Minos guards the entrance to the next section.
  • The section beyond contains souls who committed carnal sins. An everlasting storm rages to torment the souls who in their lives let their passions drive them. Famous lustful people of the past such as Cleopatra and Achilles are found here.
  • They next come to a gigantic garbage dump that holds the Gluttons, those who in their lives wallowed in food and drink, producing nothing but garbage. These souls are tormented by Cerberus, the three-headed dog. Dante meets a fellow Florentine who was known as Ciacco the Hog.
  • The next section holds the Hoarders and the Wasters, who in opposite ways abused their possessions, and who are condemned to push large weights around and eternally battle each other. Here also they come up against Plutus, a Greek god of wealth.
  • They come to a great tower that stands by an enormous marsh that is joined to the River Styx. In the slime of this marsh the Wrathful attack each other eternally, and the Sullen are buried in the muck. Phlegyas, boatman of the Styx, helps ferry them across. Dante encounters Filippo Argenti here, one of his old political enemies, who is among the Wrathful.
  • They reach the Iron Gate of Dis, entrance to the inner part of Hell, and have some trouble getting in. But a Heavenly Messenger arrives and gets them past the Rebellious Angels at the gate, and past Medusa, who has come to turn them into stone. But they enter safely and find themselves in the domain of the Heretics, who are condemned to eternal torment in a cemetery as punishment for denying the afterlife.
  • Next they come to a place where those who committed violent or bestial sins suffer. Here are the war-makers, the murderers, the suicides, the perverts, and many other related types of sinners. Dante and Virgil are menaced here by the Minotaur. The chief feature of the landscape is a boiling river of blood. They come to a waterfall plunging over a great cliff, and fly down to the next level on the back of Geryon, the Monster of Fraud.
  • At this next level reside those who committed sins of deceit or theft. They are sorted into deep pits in the rock according to their chief sin. Flatterers, seducers, grafters, and hypocrites are among the types of sinner found here. Cacus the Centaur is one of the guardians. Passing through this section, they come to the Titans, who guard the deepest level of Hell.
  • The deepest level is a frozen sheet of ice formed at the confluence of the rivers of Hell. Here are the souls who on Earth were traitors, buried in the ice to a level matching the severity of their treachery. Some are merely frozen to the waist, others are completely buried in the ice. At the very center Satan himself is trapped, a traitor against God, vanquished to this spot by Christ after the resurrection.
  • Dante and Virgil follow the Lethe (the river of forgetfulness) out of Hell and into Purgatory, from which they will eventually return to the surface of the Earth. (And in the game, back into the woods.)

[edit] Gameplay

Hell's guardians are indicated by symbols with horns, and Heaven's guardians by symbols with halos. Modified dice are used to make Hell's guardians difficult to conquer (since they're the prison wardens) and Heaven's guardians easy (since they're intruding into the underworld to help you). There are also a few gates and buildings which are made hard to conquer, though they aren't given an attack advantage like the guardians. Symbols used in the game and their corresponding border modifiers are shown below.

Symbol Description Attack Advantage Defend Advantage
Path Icon Dante's Path none none
Damned Icon The Damned none none
Hell's Guardian Icon Hell's Guardians +2 +1
Heaven's Guardian Icon Heaven's Guardians +2 -2
Architecture Icon Architecture none +2

Originally, six-sided dice were used by default, but this produced a defensive and rather tedious game, so in recent versions the default attack dice (but not defend dice) are set to seven-sided. This makes the game livelier, since it rewards aggressiveness.

There are four heavenly guardians in the game. Virgil represents human reason, and greets Dante in the woods. Beatrice represents divine love, and assists players to move from the Violent & Bestial section back to the Carnal section. Saint Lucia, representing divine light, helps players move back and forth between the Hoarders and Wasters section and the Traitors section. The Heavenly Messenger assists players to get through the Gate of Dis into the Heretics section.

To win the game it is important to use the guardian positions properly. Hell's guardians have a strong offensive advantage and a moderate defensive advantage. Heaven's guardians have weak defenses but are useful pathways for attack since they have the same attack advantage as Hell's guardians.

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