Well, the world has gone to hell and now it’s a chore just to make it through the day. On the somewhat bright side, at least you’ve got your trusty team of survivors to help you through it all. Together, you can work through just about anything! The monsters keep coming, and the hunger sets in quicker than you expect day after day, but with some clever maneuvering you’ll make it through one apocalyptic day after another.
What Is It?
Cooperative – Players work together through a series of missions during the apocalypse.
Modular Board – The board is made up of various tiles (locations) randomly arranged each game/mission. Players will reveal tiles as they explore and adjust their plans based on what they find.
Campaign – Players can play a single mission, play in any order, or play through the narrative campaign.
Hand/Tableau Management – Players will have survivor cards from their personal deck plus scavenge cards they find in different locations in hand. They can only hold 10 at any given time, so they have to be careful not to be forced to discard useful items or actions. They will also have a tableau of gear in front of them, but they only have 4 storage slots, so again must manage effectively to be a well-rounded member of the team.
Action Points – Players get 4 action points per turn and can move, draw cards, play cards, and/or perform actions on cards (i.e. attack a monster). They must use all 4, and must manage them well because it can be hard to do everything you want to do in a turn.
Pick Up & Deliver – Most missions require players to gather certain things (i.e. fuel) by scavenging and bring them to a certain location in order to succeed.
Who Is It For?
- 1 to 6 Players – Solo is a solid experience; it’s can nice to try and maneuver around and only have to worry about your own stats. For multiplayer, I would personally not play with any more than 3 players because there’s just too much downtime between turns, and there’s also the possibility of player elimination
- Ages 12 & Up – Pretty simple gameplay overall, but there’s a bit of strategy in the cooperation and what cards to play when, so it might be a bit much for younger players
- Fans of cooperative games, campaign games, and modular boards/asymmetric decks
- Players who work together/communicate well and don’t mind a bit of randomness
Solo – This changes the targeting and damage output of some weapons, expands the player’s storage from 4 to 6, and doesn’t count scavenge cards toward hand limit. It also adds some allies to the monster deck for players to encounter and later recruit. I think it works perfectly well as a solo game. It’s kind of nice not having to worry about people being too close together or spread out, or having to swap cards at the right times. I also like the expanded inventory. For me, it does have a bit too much set up for a solo game, but if you play solo frequently and like the theme and some hand/tableau management and planning out your actions each turn, check it out!
Gothic Horrors – This is a standalone, different version of the game. It plays pretty much the same, but has new survivors, new monsters, and a new campaign narrative. It also introduces the clock board which has day and night cards that move monster tokens and trigger various events, and the exposure deck (insanity), for use with the Cthulu monster.
The new monsters are cool, and I like a few of the new survivors as well. I also thought the clock board was a very simple addition, but I liked the events and how everything interacted with the board. I thought this box upped the challenge level overall; the monsters seemed a bit more vicious to me, so I think I would recommend playing this one after trying out the more “basic” (for lack of a better word) version.
- Aesthetics – Nice artwork, big board/commanding table presence
- Components – No complaints, everything is pretty nice, especially the miniatures
- I like that the game also has cardboard standees aside from the minis, because they can be a bit easier to tell which character you are, so it’s nice both options are there
- Theme – Mechanisms & the narrative work well with the theme, it comes through well
- Glossary is helpful for clarity on a few rules/keywords
- Replay value seems pretty good; the main gam has 6 unique survivors and 12 missions, and Gothic Horrors adds 5 survivors and 12 missions, plus a unique Kaiju mission, and 3 Jurassic Peril missions. There’s a lot of stuff to try, and if you fail a mission you can go in with new characters to try again. Plus the modularity of the board means even the same mission won’t be exactly the same a second time
- Monster Spawn Cards – I liked that these were added in as an option to mitigate the luck of the dice rolls for spawning monsters
- I like that the characters are so unique and all have their own strengths/weaknesses within their decks
- Rules are a bit vague in areas, could have been more detailed
- The box organization is weird. The 3 inserts for components stack on one side, but then there’s just a trench on the other side for all the cards/tiles, which sits much lower. It’s not great, and makes the rules droop on top
- There is a lot of randomness. What tiles are where, where monsters come out, what cards you draw from your own and scavenge decks, etc. It can lead to quick defeats, as well as long games where you’re having to deal with more monsters distracting you from your main goals
- Hunger is such a huge factor, which makes perfect sense, but some food cards give you so little (i.e. 1 food) which makes the 2 actions it takes to find and play it feel worthless. I wish food cards were like minimum 2 food
- Player Elimination – You can play where once 1 player dies, the game ends and you lose. Or, you can play where if a player dies they are eliminated and you only lose if all players are eliminated (or if you run out of monster tokens). It’s disappointing for everyone to lose if 1 player dies, because you might be really close to reaching the objective, but on the other hand, that means there’s player elimination and if you are out, you just have to sit and wait
- More players = more downtime
- Setup and cleanup can be kind of long
I definitely felt the weight of the randomness in this game. There were plenty of turns where it felt like you really only had 1 option because you didn’t have the right cards in hand, or you were just surrounded by monsters.
That said, I thought that it did its theme really well, and made for an enjoyable experience overall. The main “apocalypse” theme is cool, but the gothic horror theme is even better – you get to fight Dracula, what’s cooler than that?! You get sucked into the world and really feel like you’re just clinging on to a shred of hope of survival, which is pretty neat.
Personally, I would not play this game with more than 3 people, because I just felt like it has too much downtime with more players, but 1 to 3 is solid.
If you like cooperative or solo games, think this has a cool theme, and think you have what it takes to survive, check it out!
My Final Rating – 6/10
Designer – Mike Gnade
Artist – Gustav Rangmar
Publisher – Rock Manor Games
MSRP – $80.00 (each)
*I was provided a copy of this game to do this review*
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