Atmosfear: The Gatekeeper
|Actor(s)||David Whitney as The Gatekeeper|
|Publisher(s)||Flying Bark Productions|
|Publication date||8 July 2004|
|Genre(s)||Horror and terror|
|Setup time||1-2 minutes|
|Playing time||up to 49 minutes|
|Skill(s) required||Dice rolling
It is recommended to create a perfect "Atmosfear" before playing the game, which includes dimming down the lights and turning up the volume for the video. The players then write their "greatest fear" on individual slips of paper and place it into the well of fears.
When the Gatekeeper starts the game, players starts collecting keys. After the players collected all six different colour keys the player then can try to win the game by returning home to the central hub. When the player reaches home on the player's next turn the chosen one picks a "fear" from the well and if it is the player's fear that player wins the game. If no player is able to accomplish this within forty nine minutes, the Gatekeeper is declared the winner.
The game is set in a place known as "The Other Side". This place has six Harbingers, each of whom has authority over a Province. To play the game, each player adopts the persona of one of the Harbingers: Gevaudan the werewolf; Helin the poltergeist; Khufu the mummy; Baron Samedi the zombie; Anne de Chantraine the witch, and Elizabeth Bathory the vampire. The final character in the game is the Gatekeeper, whose job is to ensure that the other characters do not escape from The Other Side.
In both booklet and DVD instructions it is recommend that players create a perfect "Atmosfear" before playing, which includes dimming down the lights and turning up the volume for the DVD (with a suitable 5.1 Surround soundtrack). The players then write their greatest fear on individual slips of paper and place it into the Well of Fears in the center of the board. Before the game begins, the players need to use the DVD remote to tell the Gatekeeper which characters are playing. At least 3 players are required. He will then choose a Chosen One which acts as an authority during the game, handling disputes and acting as an enforcer for the Gatekeeper. The Chosen One rolls first to start the game. Afterwards, pressing Stop or Pause on the remote is not possible.
The object is to win the game before 49 minutes expires. To do this, the players must collect six keys of each color, then head to the Well of Fears in the center of the board to face their "greatest fear" and finally press the Menu or Title button on the remote to win. However, if the countdown reaches zero, the Gatekeeper is declared the winner.
Starting from their characters' Headstones, players take it in turns to roll the dice and move clockwise around the board and can choose to roll one or two dice each time. Whenever the Gatekeeper appears on-screen, all players must stop and follow his instructions. Failure to do so will result in punishment. Players start collecting keys by either landing on the stone marked with a key on the game board or taking them from other players by duels. Players must collect all six different color keys. Although players only need one key per color, players can collect more which prevent other players from completing the game. If the Gatekeeper tells a player to take a key, they must take it from the realm they are in unless instructed otherwise. A Black Key is also on the board and must be avoided, otherwise the player who has it in their possession is "cursed" and unable to win the game regardless of having one key of each color. Players can get rid of the Black Key by passing it on to another player when their pieces both occupy the same space or try to lose it in a duel. If a player lands on their own Headstone or if an opponent lands on it, the player can either earn a key from their realm or take a key from that opponent respectively by rolling their own key rack number or the opponent's number on the die. During the game players may come across objects to either make the game harder or easier, these include flight, dueling, black holes, Fate cards and Time cards. Flight allows players to travel from one flight stone on the game board to another unoccupied flight stone. Dueling allows players to duel other players to steal one of the players' keys. A player can be either be banished to a black hole by the Gatekeeper or stumble into one on the game board, in which case the player is temporarily out of the game. Players are only released from a black hole either by the Gatekeeper, having a Fate or Time card that releases them, getting their number on a dice roll or having possession of their corresponding colored key. In each case, a player must still move to a nearby black hole and wait for their next turn before being released. Fate cards are cards with instructions which the player must follow. The Gatekeeper will require a player to pick up a Fate card during the game. Just like Fate cards, Time cards have instructions which the player must follow, but players only carry out these instructions at a certain time in the game as defined on the card. The inner track (which is the only place on the board that players can travel in both directions) can be used at any time as a shortcut, though punishment will come to players if the Gatekeeper catches them there without six keys.
After the players collected all six different color keys the player then can try to win the game by returning home to the central hub to face their fear. When the player reaches home on the player's next turn the Chosen One picks a fear from the well. If it isn't the player's fear, they must return to their Headstone and try again, but if it is their fear, that player wins the game.
The six Harbingers in the game are: Gevaudan the werewolf; Helin the poltergeist; Khufu the mummy; Baron Samedi the zombie; Anne de Chantraine the witch; and Elizabeth Bathory, the vampire. Each of the Harbingers is based on either a real person or a myth, except for Helin. Helin, "in hell" reversed, is the only Harbinger entirely created by Brett Clements. Helin is also the only character with barely any background information, because Brett wanted players to use their own imagination for this character. Baron Samedi got his name from the ancient Arawak Indian God of the Dead. Anne de Chantraine is based on the first "official" witch who was burned at the stake. Elizabeth Bathory is based on a serial killer who is believed to have murdered and drunk the blood of about six hundred and fifty virgin girls. Khufu is based on a Fourth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh. Gevaudan is based around a man who was hunted by armies of people for supposedly carrying the sickness of lycanthropy.
The final character in the game is the Gatekeeper, whose job is to make sure the other characters cannot escape from The Other Side to the real world. The Gatekeeper's character is based on the old cemetery gatekeepers, whose job was to guard cemeteries from grave robbers.
After nine years of development, the Gatekeeper was released on 8 July 2004. In just six months of its released, 60,000 copies was sold, growing to 600,000 worldwide sales. The Gatekeeper came with a DVD instead of a videotape, which - with the help of random programming - allows the creators to give a whole new game every time the DVD is played.
- "Horrible History". Flying Bark Productions. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
- "The Gatekeeper Sentinel of The Other Side". Official website for Khufu The Mummy. Australia: A Couple 'A Cowboys. Archived from the original on 13 February 2007. "The Gatekeeper’s duty was to play prison guard to a pack of unearthly creatures ... keeping them securely locked away from the real world."
- Clements, Brett. (Transcript). Email Interview with Well of Fears http://www.marrowproductions.com/wof/index.php?input_selection=005. Retrieved 10 July 2010. "I dreamed up the characters; researched them (most are based on historical characters, with the exception of Hellin)." Missing or empty
- Clements, Brett. (Transcript). Email Interview with Well of Fears http://www.marrowproductions.com/wof/index.php?input_selection=005. Retrieved 10 July 2010. "Question: What is the "full" story on Hellin? Is there anymore to her back-story, or if there is not, would you be willing to add to it? Brett Clements: Hellin is the most evil character I created for Nightmare. Her name, a play on "in hell". I can't imagine what that would be like (hell that is) nor would I like to. And so she remains unfinished; leaving her to your imagination. I think the unknown is scarier than reality." Missing or empty
- Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "Baron Samedi, the zombie, is named after the ancient Arawak Indian God of the Dead."
- Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "Anne de Chantraine, the witch, is based on a 17 year old French girl who was one of the first 'official' witches ... burned at the stake."
- Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "The Countess Elizabeth Bathory, the vampire, was a Hungarian noblewoman ... who is believed to have murdered and drunk the blood of ... [about] six hundred and fifty virgin girls."
- Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "Khufu, the mummy, is based on an actual Fourth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh."
- Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 17. "Gevaudan, the werewolf, is based around as actual Frenchman who was literally hunted by armies of people for supposedly carrying the sickness of lycanthropy."
- Paulsen, Steven (1996). "Cowboys and Atmosfear". Bloodsongs (Australia: Bambada Press) (7): 16. "The Gatekeeper is entirely the creation of Brett Clements and is based around the cemetery gate-keepers of the 17th or 18th Century, people who literally used to guard the cemeteries from grave robbers and such."
- Thom, Greg (11 August 2004). "Far from being board - How DVD plays a new role". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia: News Limited). "[Philip Tanner] has been working on Atmosfear since 1995."
- "Fear factor". The Sunday Mail (Adelaide, Australia: News Limited). 27 June 2004. p. 2. "On July 8, the new DVD boardgame Atmosfear: The Gatekeeper will hit the shelves."
- Fewster, Sean (15 July 2006). "DVD REVOLUTION Rebirth of traditional family fun Pirates join battle of the board games". The Advertiser (Adelaide, Australia: News Limited). p. 33. "Nightmare was resurrected as the DVD game Atmosfear in 2004, and sold 60,000 copies in just six months."
- MacLean, Sheena (23 March 2006). "Digital growth needs strategy". The Australian (Australia: News Limited). p. 39. "Atmosfear ... has notched up 600,000 in worldwide sales since its release in 2004."
- Thom, Greg (11 August 2004). "Far from being board - How DVD plays a new role". The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia: News Limited). "Unlike the linear-based storytelling format dictated by videotape, the deep data pockets of DVD allow more than 300 varied storylines and responses from the Gatekeeper, so no game truly plays the same way twice."
- The official website of The Gatekeeper
- An archived version of the official website, archived by Wayback Machine.
- Atmosfear: The Gatekeeper at BoardGameGeek
- Nightmare series and Atmosfear series at BoardGameGeek