Game Review: Dig Down to “Kinfire Delve: Scorn’s Stockade”

kinfire delve: scorn's stockade game boxThe Starless Nights have returned and it’s up to you, adventurer, to carry your Kinfire Lantern to the Well of Atios and solve the puzzles, overcome the obstacles, and win the combats in your quest to reach the bottom of the Well. Once you do, you will meet Scorn, the Well Master. Defeat him and you shall be the champion!

Kinfire Delve: Scorn’s Stockade is a 1-2 player deck-building game that takes about an hour to play. It is part of the popular Kinfire Chronicles series from Incredible Dream and introduces two very different Seekers: Naz of the Windstrikes and Feyn Longstride. Naz is a Tactician able to move progress markers between challenges, while Feyn is the Bard of Destiny and can discard cards to allow a Seeker to re-roll if they’re in trouble. Because it’s part of Kinfire Chronicles you can play Seekers from other titles in the series, allowing up to four players to tackle Scorn’s Stockade!

As is typical, I tackled this solo, first with Feyn, then with Naz. I found Naz a bit easier. You can play both Seekers as a dual-hand solo challenge if you’re inspired.


The game components are very good, including a tough, rugged box. The game components are 100 playing card-size cards, split into Master, Well, Gauntlet, Exhausted, Seeker Character, Kinfire Lantern, and Seeker Skill cards. There’s also a 10-sided die to track health, 3 skill dice, and a success/fail die, along with 38 progress tokens. Here are most of them:

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - components

The chits in the bowl are all the progress tokens. the upper three leftmost cards are Feyn Longstride (blue) with his skill, character, and lantern cards, and immediately below him are the same cards for Naz of the Windstrikes (gold). The other four cards are Exhausted, Master (labeled “Scorn”), Gauntlet (you can see “Implacable” showing), and the huge Well deck. Our challenge is to fight our way down the entire Well deck to reach the bottom, where we will be able to battle the Master once we fight through his Gauntlet.

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - basic setup

Each round we focus on one of the four challenges surrounding Scorn. The above picture shows that they are Relentless Hound, Cliffs of Forever, The Headsman, and The Throne Room. I’m playing as Naz, so I have my character card facing up – it has a unique power – while my Kinfire Lantern card is down. The Lantern cards are powerful but need to be activated to be used.

Notice that each challenge has a border color. There are three possibilities: red, green, or blue. To overcome the challenge, our attack must be the same color or a white “wild” card color. Those attack cards have similar color schemes, and many are dual color:

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - skills

Intimidate is a white “wild” card and can be used against any challenge, but you can see on the top left it’s worth zero points against the challenge. Why use it? Because then you can utilize its special ability: “Don’t roll this turn: Add 1 progress to every challenge, then [down 2] for every challenge you complete.” The +1 isn’t very much, but if you can plan ahead so that you’re almost winning multiple challenges, being able to go two cards down the Well for each completed challenge (once you add that +1) is a big deal.

Quick Thinking and Fist of the Wind are both dual color cards, as you can see just below their value. Notice the very bottom of each card has a different numeric value. Those are the Boost Abilities for the cards; any card can boost another to make it more powerful. In particular, Quick Thinking is a powerful +3 against puzzles and therefore worth saving until you go against a puzzle challenge.

Since I’m playing as a single Seeker, I draw up 8 skill cards from my deck to begin. Notice the health die with “10” facing up; I’m in great health to start!

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - full starting setup

The game never takes up more space than shown, so it’s an easy play on smaller tables or even desks, though I don’t think you could make it fit on an airplane tray. Enough talk, though, let’s play!


Of the four challenges surrounding Scorn in the initial tableau, I’m going to assault the Cliffs of Forever as it’s only a 6:

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - our first challenge

All cards have descriptive text, card abilities, and list a reward for overcoming it and a penalty for trying and failing. The symbology is quickly learned: If I overcome the Cliffs of Forever, I’ll be able to go down 1 level in the Well, but if I try and fail, I’ll break one heart / lose one health. Also note that it’s an OBSTACLE, as shown at the top; this means that the Quick Thinking action card will be worth +1 as a boost since it’s not a puzzle.

I play Duel of Honor, worth 4, and hope to roll two successes with the dice…

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - attack the cliffs of forever with Duel

That’s a red +1, two blue +1, and a white wild. Against a green challenge this has a total value of +1, meaning I have attained 5 of the 6 required to overcome the Cliffs of Forever. A fail! Consequence: I place 5 progress tokens on the challenge to denote my hits, then lose 1 health and move this card into the discard pile.

IMPORTANT: One of the interesting aspects of this game is that you do not automatically replenish used cards in your hand. You play until you run out of cards, then “exhaust” yourself to draw back up to your starting limit. When you do, you also draw an Exhausted card, and they tend to be pretty heavy and can even cause you to lose the game immediately. Conserve your cards!

Some cards allow you to draw additional cards to increase your hand size and some of the challenges, as an action, allow you to draw more cards. You can also just go for it and hope that you get lucky with the Exhausted cards! There are a couple of challenges that allow you to remove an Exhausted card on success. Those are very helpful!


I did pretty well for the first dozen or so Well card, and even managed to take out The Throne Room, as you can see:

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - further in the game

Shattering Blow is worth 5, I rolled two +1 red, and there was 1 progress token already on The Throne Room. In total, I hit it for 8 versus its 7. You must equal or exceed its value to win. The reward for beating The Throne Room is to remove an exhausted card, which I had just drawn to rebuild my hand. A win.

Before we leave this tableau notice the gnarly Headsman; if you try to beat him and fail, the penalty is a massive -6 health. Since your max health is ten, this can be a quite deadly consequence. How do you beat it? By moving progress tokens onto it before you attack. That’s why Naz is so useful!

As challenges are overcome, new challenges are drawn from the Well deck. Some might require unobtainable conditions, leaving them stuck in the tableau. Others can combine to have bad consequences…

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - two obelisks

You might not be able to read the text, but I have two of The Obelisks showing. If a third one comes up, I instantly lose the game. This means Naz needs to immediately defeat one of these! Good news: I have my lantern enabled (the reward from an earlier challenge) so I can defeat both in a single move:

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - naz lantern

This is extraordinarily good luck because Alter allows Naz to defeat both Obelisks by attaching one to the lantern card once it’s overcome. The text says “Copies of any challenges attached to this card are immediately discarded from play.” Perfect, and it’s a 5, so all I need is a single success from the 4 dice to succeed at getting rid of both. A roll, and… Success!


After much battling, and ending up with 4 health, I’m just about done with only two more cards in the well. I have four Exhausted cards, but fortunately, they don’t combine to sink the game:

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - exhausted cards

These are Estranged, Traumatized, Regretful, and Guilt-Ridden. Estranged and Guilt-Ridden combine, so if Haunted was added, I would have lost, and similarly Traumatized and Regretful combine, with Discarded being the third card that would cause that set to lose me the game. In a previous solo playthru I was sunk by the Exhausted cards. Not this time.

I’m just a few cards away from reaching the bottom of the Well and being able to take on that Scorn punk already:

kinfire delve - scorn's stockade - near end game

Did you notice that The Ancient Lock has no numeric value? It requires that you have already had the Master Key event appear. Since you keep delving into the Well, discarding the number of cards indicated each time, it’s quite likely that card will never show up. In this instance, making The Ancient Lock a dead card. You’ll have to figure out how to replace it since it cannot be overcome.

I’ve opted not to show the final phase where you’re battling the Master because the Gauntlet cards add a very interesting nuance to the play and I don’t want to spoil that for anyone. Suffice it to say that the powers of Scorn that I got (there are three possibilities) only allowed me three attacks to beat him or I’d lose the game. I barely eked that out with lots of boosts and a little bit of using my Naz “move progress tokens” capability. Success and with only 4 health left!


I really enjoyed Kinfire Delve: Scorn’s Stockade. It’s simple enough that you can pick up the gameplay in just a few minutes and jump into a game, but there’s enough nuance and strategy with card management, deciding what penalty to endure so you can conserve skills, and randomness with the dice rolls that it’s also quite challenging. Yes, it’s a bit of a drag to draw a card that instantly loses you the game – like Exhausted – but since they combine, you do have the advance warning when two of three cards have already been drawn. Consider it more bad luck than a complete surprise. There’s also a way you can win the game without ever battling Scorn but that’s quite an unusual occurrence!

The components are excellent and the gold is a foil print so they’re shiny and sparkly. A few of the card effects might have you scratching your head on first read, but I found that they all made sense with a bit of thought. Two or more player seems like it would be great fun, a nice co-op that’s entirely suitable for younger gamers. I highly recommend this one, and also appreciate that it’s very affordable, unlike too many of the miniature-stuffed $100+ games in the market nowadays.

Kinfire Delve: Scorn’s Stockade, 1-2 players, designed by Kevin Wilson with Art Direction by Katarzyna Redesiuk. Published by Incredible Dreams. $19.99.

Disclosure: Incredible Dreams sent me a copy of Kinfire Delve: Scorn’s Stockade in return for this candid review.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

dave taylor vertigo film swirl backgroundPlanet Dave is run by Dave Taylor, who has been writing about film, cars, games, and his lifestyle for many years. He's based in Boulder, Colorado and assures readers he's only occasionally falling into a gravity well or temporal distortion field.

Planet Dave via Email!

Read my latest missive in your mailbox, it's what all the cool kids are doing!