Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Red November» Forums » Reviews

Subject: “Something’s wrong cap’an! And it definitely aint the grog…” rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Justin Sung
Australia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
“Something’s wrong cap’an! And it definitely aint the grog…”
“Well do something about it,” grumbled the bespeckled black bearded captain, “What did you do Fred? We're ten minutes into the voyage- something's wrong already?”
“Well sir, I got grog and went to the loo-“
“What’s WRONG I said!” roared the captain, “I’m not here to hear bout your bloody day-“
“A leak broke out and flooded a bi o' the starboard side sir!” blurted Fred, clasping his hands together and shaking them, “I swear sir, I only pulled the flush like normal-“
“Dammitit all you're just standing here then?" The captain swiveled," we need to-"
“Donnie’s on it sir,”Fred saluted, “flood's under control.”
“Pah, wasting my time,” the captain waved him away, clasping hands behind back and continuing to stroll, before Fred’s voice broke behind him.
“You don’t understand sir, Donnie put the fire extinguisher up and we went walking to the quarters, and took out some cards, but then later when Donnie needed the toilet, the door was jammed-“
“Why didn’t you let me know sooner you idiot!”
“Well sir it seems everytime we move somethin’ bad happens so I been waiting here…” Fred gulped and went silent.
“You mean to tell me,” the captain thundered, cheeks growing red with fuming heat, “the whole reason you’ve been standing here for hours, waiting for me to pass this area and tell me-“
“Er, sir.”
“That’s enough- this week’s pay gone Fred- GONE. What if I hadn’t passed this point? You stand here the whole day?”
“Sir-“
“Why I’m so red with rage now I-“
“Sir! That’s not you.”
The captain stopped and frowned. And after a moment of peacable clarity from his rage heard the alarms wailing, their red lights sweeping across the railings and floors.
“Oxygen room sir.”
“Another bloody fire. When did it happen?“
“Just after you walked over here but don’t worry-“
“Donnie’s over there?”
“Yes sir.”
The captain closed his eyes and cracked his knuckles but didn’t move. Fred tugged his collar but didn’t move. Then the captain, pulled out his pipe, and lit it.
“So Fred,” the captain puffed, eyes watering from the smoke and ears ringing from the alarm, “How have you been lad?”

THE REVIEW- and what's COOL about the game
Red November was a game that caught my eye with a cool looking box and great theme. A bunch of gnomes trapped on the Red November submarine- fighting desperately to stay alive until help comes. In this review I will not do a rules section- but I’ll mention some things through my points.
All in all, I like how they designed it. It’s a cool game so… let’s do a checklist of all the cool stuff they put it.

Cool theme- How cool is it to play as a gnome struggling to survive in a submarine crippled with problems? All the game mechanics push hard to make this theme come alive- see all following points

Cool bits- The plastic gnomes are cool, the submarine drawing is cool (and usable), the card art and design have a good metallic submariney (yes the letter y was tacked there- live with it!) feel to them (stronger than playing cards, that’s definitely the case I think). Some other colourful tokens and bits and pieces, and you have a very decent looking game!

Cool equipment- how cool is it to get equipment for the gnomes? I love how in games you pick up some random stuff that could turn out to be exactly what you need (or better), or something useless (or horrible!). In fact getting something horrible is a plus for the next point (trading)…

Cool coop- You can work with buddies in doing cool stuff like, designating different parts of the sub to handle, trading equipment, voting on tough issues. It’s literally impossible for one gnome to solve everything, everyone has to pitch in. I always enjoy it when a new player gets a valuable equipment that can solve various problems, and two experienced players are trying to convince him/her to help problems on different areas of the ship.

Cool events- … except the fires, getit? Getit? … ok that joke wasn’t cool, but seriously, the game throws a lot at you- making sure you control the damage to the three main parts of the ship e.g. engine, whilst ensuring that floods and fires don’t trap you on the sub. It’s cool how you put in a Kraken (seriously, how is a sea monster in a game like this NOT cool?), and how you can swim out and kill it. I haven’t listed anything but you get the idea (it’s cool). It really does feel like the problems are overwhelming you.

Cool risktaking- OK Septaron, that was just tacky. Cool risktaking? That doesn’t make sense, I hear you say. Or don’t. Anyway, the game actively encourages some risk taking on your part. The game mechanics involves rolling dice for fixing problems, and in conjunction involves you spending time on fixing those problems, and the more time you spend the more likely you fix the problem BUT the more likely problems will crop up. What should you do? This isn’t just cool risktaking, this is cool decision-making!
Cool movement/action mechanic- It’s about freedom. You’re not dictated how to solve the problems, the problems come at you, and you choose what order to solve them in. And there’s rarely a quiet moment especially as the game goes on.

Cool connections- One of the best things there is about this game. A lot of things are linked together in this game. As I mentioned before, the gameplay and theme are linked well, the gameplay is all about taking risk. Sometimes you can use disasters to your advantage. There’s a lot of ‘Awww yeah’ moments when a room floods a room that was on fire, it’s very satisfying. Or when you combine the use of your tools to doubly increase the chance of success of fixing the problem.

NOT-SO-COOL PROBLEMS- you knew they were coming.

EARLY GAME- There’s no delicate way to put it- the early game sucks. It just does. Later on, the whole ratio of the more stuff you do to the more chance of bad things happening is great. You feel panic as you put out a fire, only to have something else spring up right afterwards..
In the beginning, nothing’s wrong with the ship and the more you move something bad happens. The beginning story I wrote illustrates that point, you don’t really feel like moving, when there’s nothing wrong- because if you move bad stuff happens. A lot of newcomers are very confused what to do at the beginning- they don’t want to do anything, but they have to. Thank goodness it’s cooperative, and everyone else has motivation to tell them what’s going on.
EDITED NOTE- one of the below comments mentioned that you're supposed to race and equip yourself before stuff happens. This is a valid point, and gives motivation for what to do early on, but it doesn't change that- "If I move, bad things happen" feel.

THE BOSS GUY/GIRL- That’s what I call the person who tries to take charge. I guess all co-op games have this problem, and in this game there’s really no stopping him/her from commanding everyone like a captain- that's up to you!(NOTE: there is a rule about how a gnome can escape the sub, and win if everyone else loses, giving the game a competitive option- and vice versa, but nobody’s done that, because it’s not fun to go outside and wait)

LUCK CAN SWING WILD… MAYBE TOO MUCH- For me personally, quite a few games go one of two ways- the game has the worst of everything hurled at you at the beginning, so that about 10 minutes after you move, the submarine engines are broken, everyone’s suffocated to death, and half the submarine’s flooded. Or you basically skip merrily through the game, shrugging after you push your luck for the tenth time and fly through.
This is somewhat of a hazy point, because it’s, well, luck. I hate how people judge a game through the first play through and people did just that as we played through a session in which they brushed aside my warnings and cruised through with no problems. “How is that hard?” they ask. My frustration had me envisioning me shoving their faces against an axegrinder at the worst of times(jks, you’re alright guys)
Is this point the game’s aka designer’s fault? There’s no such thing as a perfect game (I get the feeling someone will counter that point), and this might not even be a problem for some, but for the unfortunate like me it is.


BIASED VERDICT- This game would probably be a 8/10 in reality. It really does an excellent job of connecting theme and gameplay, and giving you plenty to do in the game. and the flaws are certainly not the crippling in any way. I lowered it because for ME personally (7/10) because I’ve had too much luck in the extremeties.
Thanks for reading

EDIT 20/3/12
- Fixed some sentence problems/structure. Deleted some unnecessary stuff.
- Added in a point made by a comment (have appropriately credited that)
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jarratt Davis
Australia
Adelaide
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Nothing wrong with the Grog?!? You haven't seen how the little blighters _make_ it have you!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mike Fox
United States
Fort Worth
Texas
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Good, fair review. I kind of like the early part of game. It's like when you know someone's going to pop out and scare you at any moment, so you try to brace for it as best as possible, yet the person waiting to scare you has the advantage and jumps out of nowhere. But I like mitigating the early stuff as much as possible as you wait for that first chain reaction to start the meltdown mode. That nervous feeling---you know things are about to hit the fan any second---is what makes the game cool.

Anywho, good, fair review. I presently have the game rated 8/10 here on BGG. Thanks for sharing your perspective.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Rob Robinson
England
Rotherham
South Yorkshire
flag msg tools
I fight lost wars, see light, fear sight
badge
I open my mind, need flesh, fear mine
mbmbmbmbmb
I always imagine that during the early stages of the game, you hear the sirens whooping, claxons ringing, and warning lights flashing.


During this 'calm before the storm' we always race straight to the Equipment Stores and kit ourselves out with as much equipment as we can lay our hands on.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Horace Silver: The Cape Verdean Blues || Horace Parlan: Happy Frame of Mind || Dexter Gordon: Doin' Allright || Hank Mobley: Roll Call
badge
mbmbmbmbmb
zombiegod wrote:
During this 'calm before the storm' we always race straight to the Equipment Stores and kit ourselves out with as much equipment as we can lay our hands on.

Yup. Then the guy with the most good stuff draws "Stumble" and has to discard down to one card.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Justin Sung
Australia
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmb
Thanks Mike Glad to see you enjoy the game

Thanks for your point Rob, I've admittedly added that into the review a little bit- it is about racing to equip, but still... the nature of the early game is still quite strange in my opinion.

To everyone else- Ha! Too true- I didn't mention about the risk taking involved with grog. There's a ton of other cool stuff about the game anyway, no need to go overboard...

Ah yes, "Stumble" A very mild named card for the grief it causes.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Cristiano Batista
Brazil
Porto Alegre
Rio Grande do Sul
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Good job Justin!

The little story is funny too. Red November starting with a little narrative seems to be a trend. hehehe

I love this game, and I also rated it as 8/10. I already mentioned it in another thread, but, it is one of the best games I have to play solo! This is another aspect of this game that pleases me a lot.

About the early game, well, I can't remember the last time I set the game up as per the vanilla rules. I always use the "A Greater Challenge" optional rule, in fact it is not "optional" anymore in my group. hehehe
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.