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Moes1980

First Impressions

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So, I got the game for Christmas and I just tried it tonight on solo play. Basically, I woke up on an island, learned that I needed to try to find a boat, but then I got trench foot, slowing my movement. I died of hunger before I found the boat while two unknown monsters were following me. That is about all I want to say to avoid spoilers. 

So, first of all, I like the game mechanics. Simple and easy to play with a nice combination of narrative and skillful planning involved. The game moved along at a nice quick pace. 

For me, the game has decent replayability. For one, the game has 5 scenarios, each scenario gets a random map set up, random character(s) to use, and some limited randomization of the adventure/monster decks (my first scenario told me to use only one card out of 2-3 for three different numbers). For me, that is pretty good replayability. For example, I love the new Arkham Horror game, but it only comes with (I think) 4 scenarios. The maps are different for each scenario, but they are not random. If I don't see any problem with replayability with that game, then I certainly don't see any problem with the replayability with this game. Yes, both games are the most exciting the first couple of times you play a scenario, but they still have an appeal in that you can draw different cards, use different characters, and get a different narrative with each game, even if the overarching story is the same for each scenario. Also, there is the simple fact that there are very few board games that I own that I have actually played 4-5 times. 

 

What about the idea of the game being unique? I really love this idea. Before I opened my game I really didn't know what I was going to get. In fact, I thought there was only island and desert terrain, so I was super excited to find that I had island and bayou. If I actually manage to play the game several times and feel hungry to relive the experience again, I can buy a new copy, with new terrain, new quests, new characters, and play the same game again but relive the experience of true discovery. I think that is pretty sweet. If I end up playing it only 2-3 times before moving on to another game (which is what I usually end up doing, as I have quite a collection to work my way through), then that is cool too. I also really like that if one of my friends have a copy, we can take turns playing each other's copy for new experiences. Some others on the forum have suggested trading games, which also sounds like a neat idea. 

I just have one reservation. I have heard in other reviews that the game is fun during the exploration part, but falls apart later on when you are running around trying to accomplish tasks. In my first game, I died before I got that far, so I can't speak to that. But the idea of the nature of the game-changing halfway through is not necessarily a bad thing. I guess I will just have to play more and see. 

Overall, seems like a fun game I can play with more casual players with a novel idea in that my copy is unique. It is not my favorite game (looking at you, Twilight Imperium!), but I think it was certainly worth the price of admission, and might even be worth the price of buying a second copy if I actually manage to exhaust the scenarios in my copy and I am still hungry for more.  

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Good to hear some insight into this game! I have checked out a few reviews, and they seem to be less than enthused. My local comic/game store has a copy that I have been thinking of checking out as a demo. I just love the survival theme of the game!

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Just a bit of counterpost.

 

I've played through all 4 story scenarios with a friend, so 2-player setup.

Short summary - we were not impressed. We managed to explore quite a lot in each of the 4 scenarios.

At first it was really nice, the mechanics were simple but engaging and exploration was fun. Really felt super thematic.

The first big negative was how combat actually worked. It is totally random. We failed easy hunts, but managed to defeat almost impossible boss, all due to luck or lack of it.

Second disappointment came during scenario 2, as we explored quite a bit in scenario 1, scenario 2 felt a lot less exciting. Also the story content felt lacking. It is supposed to be scenario driven game, but actually there is very, very little narrative here. The scenario specific content is minimal.

Third scenario, different terrain - Bayou, but actually it played almost the same as Dessert, another disappointment. During this scenario we also started to really feel the repetitiveness of Night cards and Project cards.

We played scenario 4, didn't feel much different from scenarios 3-4. It looked to us that scenarios do no impact overall game flow too much.

Impressions after 4 scenarios:

Negatives:

1. The storyline is very thin.  Scenario content is minimal. Considering how short are scenarios, 4 is ridiculously small number.

2. There isn't all that much to discover. There are not many exploration cards. Probably after playing once through all scenarios you will know all the secrets.

3. There is lack of content everywhere - Not enough night/exploration/project cards to provide good replayability.

4. The tiles feel empty - very few landmarks here and there. Most of the spaces are just empty. It even looks like artists didn't know that the tiles will be covered with hex grid. So at time it is very difficult to be sure which type of terrain is on specific hex.

5. Enemies and combat feels very underdeveloped. There is very little variety in terms of enemies, they all behave more or less the same. Combat is very luck driven and boring. I understand that game was meant to light and simple but current combat solution feels just lazy. Also, the art on enemy cards, I know it is specific art style, but to be honest it feels very cheap.

6. Characters - the balance seems to be very off here. Some have some powerful abilities which are in use all the time. Others are lacklustre as their abilities are useful maybe once per game or not at all.

7. Uniqueness - after careful analysis of game structure it looks like it is just semi-random mix  of compatible components. It looks like all components offer the same level of complexity and use the same generic mechanics. So, despite different composition I expect each game to play in a same way.

8. Generic - unfortunately that's how the game felt for us. Plain and a bit boring. Good core mechanics, it is a shame nothing has been built on top of them.

9. Price - Looking at the amount of components in the box and amount gameplay content the feeling of overpaying is overwhelming. There aren't many components. Many of the cards are duplicates, the art and flavour text are very sparse. At the same time and for the same price I've bought Arkham Horror 3rd edition and difference in content is quite shocking.

Positives:

1. The first impression of the first scenario was very good, it truly felt like exploration of unknown.

2. The core game mechanics works well, especially for survival themed game. Exploration, gathering and crafting, it all feels right.

3. The characters - the ones with useful abilities feel quite different and can shape experience a bit. Character art is also nice.

 

Final opinion, quite average, rather plain and boring game. Good foundations for something better, but underdeveloped. Evident lack of content in the box.

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