We got Loch Ness in 2011 at Indy Con. Along with Campaign Manager 2008 and Nuns on the Run this is one of the games we won there last year. My wife wanted this game because it had a Scotland theme. When we got the game we knew nothing else about it. So did Loch Ness turn out to be a good game to win or not?
In Loch Ness players trying to get points for taking pictures of the Loch Ness monster. Each player has three cameras they place on spaces around the Loch. Inside the Loch, there are spaces for the monster to move, and each space is associated with one of five land areas. The start player and the next two players will pick one of their movement cards. Each player has a card numbered 1 through five. Players will then place their three cameras, one at a time, on one of the camera spots. After all cameras are placed, Nessie movement cards are revealed and the monster meeple is the total of the three movement cards. If any players have a camera on the land mass next to the space the monster stopped they will score points based on the point value of the placed camera. Furthermore, if a player has a camera pointed right at the space the monster stopped, then they also can take Nessie cards. These are three cards needed to make a complete picture and for each complete picture bonus points are earned at the end of the game. After the first turn, each player gets to claim a special ability. The start player picks first. These abilities allow players to do things like look at another player's movement card, place an extra camera, and other things. Then three players once again pick new movement cards from their remaining cards, and each player will get to move two of their three cameras. This continues until the game ends. Every time Nessie moves on the board, a small monster meeple is moved on the score track the same amount. When the small meeple reaches 65, the game ends. Bonus points are given for cards collected, and whoever has the most points wins.
The Game We Played
We played a three player game. This meant that everyone always would be playing one of their cards. In addition to that we used the optional Hotel ability. This meant that every time we played a movement card we would not get it back until after we played all of our cards. This game has a really large group think component where once the first player makes their guess where the monster where surface everyone else gets close. Throughout the game, I tended to score the most points with my cameras, but I rarely had my camera on the spot I needed to be in order to get a picture card. On the opposite side of the spectrum, my wife did not get as many point from having her cameras on the right land mass, but often the one camera of three she would score would be in the right spot to also get a card. On one turn, we had the monster move seventeen spaces, which really sped the game up. When the game ended, my brother only had two more point than me. However, I got less bonus points and my wife got a lot from all of her sets of picture cards. I lost with 66 points, my wife finished second with 76 points, and my brother won with 77 points.
My Rating: 3 (it's ok)
My Thoughts: This game seems to be a game that is all about making the best educated guess. If taken seriously, this game would be frustrating but it is a light, fun game with a goofy theme.
Her Rating: 3 (it's ok)
Her Thoughts: This game is just ok, but I like the Scottish theme.
Combined Rating: 6
We have several other games that we like more than this one. However, we think this will some day make a good family game, and the Scotland theme makes it a keeper for us. Loch Ness