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Loop, Inc session report - Tri-Con, Sioux City NE, September 3rd
Time travel has been a popular theme for board games the last couple of years. While I was disappointed Temporum didn't really feel like time traveling, I loved the mechanics of Steam Time. Of all the time travel games, however, perhaps the most thematic mechanic is the hand-management aspect of Loop, Inc in which players must repeat past actions in the same order while reliving the same day three times and adding new actions to the queue each time. So clever.
Anyway, Loop Inc has become something of an obscure game since its release, so I thought it would be fun to run a session at Tri-Con. I was joined by Josh and Kenneth for a three-player game. I decided to use all of the Kickstarter extras for the game. Some of those, like the future trip cards, are indispensable and probably should have been included with the base game anyway. Others, like the Butterfly Effect tiles, are easy additions and add a nice thematic flair to the game.
All three of us started out the game in Day 1 by drafting actions to get us components for our time machines. We also all drafted Ad actions to promote our trips. We all made an easy trip Day 1 with an Ad. But Day 1 is always easy. All three of us were within a point of each other. Things would get a lot more chaotic later.
(Josh tries to decide what to do next. Loop, Inc is a real brain-burning puzzle sometimes.)
It quickly became apparent to me during Day 2 that I had selected the wrong pair of components during Day 1 to outfit my first time machine with. While the pair was present on other trips, those trips didn't require duplicates of the components I had. I was faced with the prospect of either drafting an action card to Exchange the components I had or outfit my second time machine in a similar manner as my first, which might be okay during Day 2 but would not be very useful at all during Day 3. Still, I didn't want to expend the action or time to Exchange, so started outfitting my second time machine in a similar manner as my first. This would prove to be the wrong decision for me. Meanwhile, my opponents were both being more efficient than I was. They were launching their time machines sooner, visiting more valuable trips or visiting trips first, and moving the Butterfly Effect tiles to locations that were advantageous for them. I wound up having to take two tears (in the space-time continuum) during Day 2, one for being the second player to visit a trip and one for failing to be able to execute an action fully. After Day 2, I was starting to fall behind. My opponents were neck and neck, but I was five points back. Still, I figured if I could have a good Day 3 and fulfill my Performance Goal, I would have a chance to make a comeback.
(Time machines all over the place towards the end of the game!)
That proved to be a pipe dream. I drafted an Office early so I could score its points at the end of the game, which I figured I would need. But that hope was short lived as I accumulated two more tears, both for being unable to fully execute actions, and eliminated myself from the game as I disappeared from existence. I actually forgot about this rule during the game and continued to play, not that it made any difference. It was interesting to see just horribly wrong a game could go if allowed to spiral out of control fully, though. As for my opponents, they were both continuing to manage their hands much more effectively. They were within a couple of points of each other at the end of the game, but Josh edged Kenneth out during the end of game scoring thanks to having taken no tears at all and having maneuvered the best Butterfly Effect onto one of his trips.
(My poor board at the end of the game. Five tears because I forgot I was supposed to be eliminated at four!)
Josh - 41
Kenneth - 38
Bryce - 26