Articles for July 2016

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Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space: Boardgame Review

You remember those days when you were playing Battleship with your brother in the summer of ’86?  Well board games have gone a long way since then and from the line of Battleship comes the so-called “Hidden Movement” genre which takes the concept of a hidden play field but has you running around in a game of cat and mouse trying to track down the opponent and eat him (or escape).

The game is played out on one map of a space station per player. Each player has the same map, and they are dealt a secret card to determine if they are an alien or a human. Each turn, a player moves secretly from a starting location. Humans can only move one space, but aliens can move two — or choose to hide this by moving only once space.

Certain hexes on the map will cause to draw a card, which can force you to announce your location, or a fake location anywhere on the map, or even provide you with a one use effect to help you survive.  The humans who manage to get to a working escape pod wins, or an alien that manages to track you down and can try to eat you. Be careful though! Aliens can also mistakenly eat each other.

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It’s a great game of strategic bluffing, secret identities and hidden movement, and the game can surprisingly create a palpable sense of dread. It’s a great game to take out during Halloween or after you just had an Aliens movie marathon.

The Ultimate Edition you see above is a big improvement as well over the original game. The original game was played with cardboard maps and pencils. In fact, you can actually just print this game out yourself with a PDF you get from Osprey Games, if you were inclined to save a few dollars. But the Ultimate Edition has map books that are laminated and work with non-permanent markers, much like the Telestrations booklets, and are really a huge convenience and make the game much easier to play.

If you are into the whole “Hidden Identity” genre of table top games like Resistance, Werewolf and the ilk, this game offers a great experience that really borders on the supernatural, so to speak.

 

If this sounds like your thin, please go pick up a copy from Amazon and help support us by clicking on the link below.

DeceptionProtegeek

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong

Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is one of those hard to find games that was going for $100 to $200 previously because it was out of print. Based on a Chinese game called CS Files, Deception is the North American version of the game but otherwise plays identical.

I love this game, it’s a Hidden Roles game like Resistance or Werewolf, where the players take on the role of investigators trying to solve a murder. One player is the Forensic Scientist and another is the Murderer (and if enough people are playing, an Accomplice and a Witness). The Forensics exert knows who the murderer is, but nobody else does.

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Nothing like killing a guy with an Amoeba and leaving a Cockroach as a clue.

Each player has a whole bunch of different cards are dealt out that can either be the murder weapon or evidence to how they could possibly have killed the victim, and what clues they left behind.  The Murderer chooses one combination of murder weapon and clue cards, and the Forensics Expert has knowledge of this at setup. A bunch of category cards are then given out like “Cause of Death” or “Location of Crime” or “Murderer’s Personality” which are drawn randomly.

The Forensic Investigator is silent but guides the investigators to the murder by placing bullet indicators on the categories that he feels relate to the murder weapon and evidence left behind by the murderer. It lends to a lot of social bluffing as the murderer and his accomplice try to steer people towards the wrong set of clues and murder weapon, while the Witness and the investigators are trying to puzzle out the Forensics Expert’s cryptic hints.

If the investigators are unable to pin the murder down after a set number of rounds, the murderer makes his getaway and wins the game. It’s a very, very good game although the forensic investigator may or may not find his role underwhelming and feel a little left out.

In many ways, the game is a mashup of Mysterium and Resistance, which is not a bad thing. It does however have the same problems wherein the Ghost in Mysterium and the Forensic Investigator have less engagement with the rest of the group, and we have the same “close yes open your eyes” setup tedium that Resistance/Werewolf games have.

On the other hand, the game sets up a lot faster and easier than Mysterium does, and doesn’t take as long as a convoluted game of Resistance Avalon when there are a lot of special identities thrown into the mix like Percival, Mordred, Morgana and the like.

 

All in all, it’s a worthy addition to any gamer’s shelf, especially for big groups of 6 or more. I can’t really recommend playing this game with 4 or less people, but it’s great at parties or with big groups.

 

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