Highlights from our latest day in which we played almost entirely new games (to us) but the learning burden seemed light. Big highlights -
Love it. Basically a mashup of Fallout theme with Caverna style worker placement and base building plus a few twists of its own. Yeah, Fallout Caverna! My favorite new game of recent months and definitely within my top 3 new games in 2017.
*In Outlive, everything is simple, but the simplest thing is incredibly difficult.
This game had several of us talking to ourselves as we tried to play out our turns. It was the only way to think through the choices and consequences . . . Well I could move this to grab that equipment before it goes BUT then how do I get to the water supply AND will someone else take it before I can get there AND if I do this first I could get pressured AND I don’t have enough food to feed my survivors SO should I do this instead BUT oh I really want that Exo Skeleton BUT do I have the materials to repair it? So on and so forth . . . . .
Imagine this, over and over again. It was glorious. There were several times where after several minutes of thinking out loud and planning we executed our perfect move only to realise it was illegal. Back to the planning committee! Even this was fun, not at all frustrating.
The variable ‘strength’ of the units that take actions on the map, prohibition on ending movement on an area containing another of your units, and the need to actually move to the placement area (with just two moves per unit) are a really new spin on worker placement. The pressure mechanic is fantastic too, really forcing you use theory of mind to anticipate other players likely moves.
Also glorious, I won, woohoo!. None of us got anywhere near a full bunker, and doing so seems crazy difficult in a 4 player game due to the amount of food you’d need to recruit / feed the survivors since rooms need to be filled with survivors to activate. I scored a lot of points by building two rooms early on that gave equipment fixing discounts, then fixing equipment which both gave me points at game end AND significant benefits during. Thanks to a combination of equipment which gave me extra bullets and microchip resources when I visited the Mine area, I ended the game with a stockpile of ammo that any gun nut would have approved of. This also, together with some armor that made me pressure resistant meant only once in the entire game did I get pressured and need to give away a material.
Which is another implementation of Race for / Roll for the Galaxy. It is simpler . . . . at least at first.
Each turn you select from your hand 0 - 1 Worlds and 0 - 1 Developments to play. To pay the cost for these you need to discard cards equal to their combined value, with a discount if you only play 1 card. Some cards give discounts. Some Worlds require Military Power to play which you can only satisfy via having played cards with Military Power on the same or earlier turns.
Winner is the first person to reach 50. It is quite likely that several people pass 50 in the same turn.
Each card you play adds to the number of VPs you gain each turn, or the number of new cards you draw, or adds military points, or provides discounts, or several of those together. A hand size of 10 provides a hard cap.
Some cards synergise with other cards you play, for example providing bonuses for multiples. Some cards synergise with cards other people play, for example VPs based on the number of certain color worlds other folks have played.
Here is the really funky thing. The initial turns are stupidly simple. Your choices are few and your ‘Empire’ of played cards is easy to keep track of. The ramp up in complexity is exponential though. Several turns in you might be drawing the hand size limit or more and needing to discard down and THEN choose which cards to play and how to pay for them. You are checking your opponent’s played cards to see if something you do might benefit them. You are trying to put together combinations which enable multipliers. Then it comes to the Empire admin and you are tracking VPs, Card Draw and bonuses from numerous cards.
I’d say the complexity level starts out at something well less than half that of Roll for the Galaxy but then doubles it or more within the final few turns.
Reading this in London? Contact me if you’d like to join our gaming group. We play on weekends near Canada Water in a pet free, smoke free, gluten free house (mine!). There is usually pizza and cake