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What's He Building in There?» Forums » Reviews

Subject: He's building a surprisingly good game! rss

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Jesse G
Canada
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Hey all BGG's,

So our game group FINALLY got together last night, its only been 5 months! ouch! Its a painful reality that board gaming is not more of our daily focus… Anyways, One member had received What's he building in there? over the holidays from a Kick Starter campaign.

At first glance, after a poor reception from another KS game, i was really not sure what to expect. Trying something new in board gaming is always exciting. So What can you expect from What's he building in there? He's building something good!

What's he building in there?
Players: 2-6
Play Time: 2-3hrs
Age level: 12+


You play an evil genius/scientist who is attempting to build a doomsday device or likewise devious experimental weapon as well as an escape vehicle. Each device and escape project have 3 stages of resource requirements. If by the end of the game (round 15) if you do not have the resources to build one stage of both projects, that character loses the game.

Such as:


The game sets up on a long worker placement board. One side has an area that allows for resource procurement, the middle area is a market place where resources can be exchanged or converted into other resources or monies. Then there is the "Genius at work" tracker and below that is the "Manual labour workforce" that is required for any stage of a project. Finally the far left of the board has a "Victory point" area where players can spend money to add virtual" upgrades to you lair. Like guard dogs, fences and evil pets. Sort of a thematic add on.



Some of the raw resources that can be gained can in turn be "refined" into more valuable building supplies that each stage requires. Some projects need raw glass while others need refined copper. As well each stage of the projects requires a greater amount of resources and materials. Besides resources, players also need to generate and save "Genius at work" points to create and invent


The game is a worker placement with a great economy system. I am no expert on euro worker placement games but i get the gist. The game board has many areas that are only used in games of 5-6 players. These areas allow for more opportunities where money and other perks can be gained. The board also includes a space that allows a player to gain 2 money AND take first player token.

I did not really understand why this might be prevalent, but after a few turns i figured its one of the most powerful options in the game. The game requires that you resolve each area on the board in a specific order so that after the placement and resolve phase, the First player can choose to build inventions, which can be essential and vital. As well, when a new round beans the first player has all of the spaces on the board available. It may not be clear where to go 100% of the time its nice to have options.

The theme of the game is great… i did not get a chance to read the manuel but was told that the background in the manuel adds to the game. I have had the opportunity to beta and alpha test a few games previously and i noticed some minor details in the game that some of the more refined ( non-KS) games lack sometimes. As well as a few observations and thoughts

Things such as:
In this picture close to the bottom, it depicts a market place card with grey/silver circles and one circle that is 1/2 gold. This 1/2 gold indicates that if you place your Scientist on the top space ( gold being the only area the scientist can go) rather than a henchman ( grey/silver begging the only area a henchman can go), that the scientist will receive 3 of one resource rather than the normal 2. What i am getting at is that the gold graphic is on the opposite side of the detail that explains this on the card… minor but worth refining.


Money and remaining resources of no use:
I had "finished" stage 2 of both my escape plan and doomsday device with 2 rounds togo. I thought perhaps that these could be used for SOMETHING, perhaps an expansion could alter this.

After we all played for 2 hours, my wife just lost…:
My wife needed something she thought she could get later in the game, but after clarifying we found out that she thought if she had the refined version of an item, that that may be used as such or as the base version of the item which is what she needed to recoup losses from failing to get what she needed for stage 2. Overall after all that she scored NO points.. seems like a big waste of time to not get ANYTHING!

Overall i was quite impressed, i really enjoyed the tension all the players felt. I saw nail biting, hands grasping at foreheads, heavy exhaling. It was no jokes… it was tense. Rounds pass so quickly its hard to see a few steps ahead. I really enjoyed the market and economy setup, as well as the overall flow, it has you thinking non-stop through the whole game. I ended up in 3rd place with 54 points, 2nd place got 65 points and first got 74 points.

The only downtime was trying to figure out what to do with my un-required resources once my projects were built.


What's he building in there?

Component Quality -8/10
Gameplay - 8/10
Strategy - 10/10
Theme - 9/10
Kid friendly - 6/10

Overall - 8/10
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Wayne Applewhite
United States
Fairfax
Virginia
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Thanks for the review. I too just recently played a 2-player game of What's He Building in There and it was also tense. My opponent was so mad at himself for missing 1 resource that he thought he would get and did not, that he turned red, growled, wiped his forehead, got up from his seat and paced the floor several times, and then growled again (this must be a sign of a really good game with tough decisions to make). As we added up the scores, he won by about 5 points I think...don't remember the actual scores but it was close!

Now to play with 3 or 4 players and decide which I like better; 2 or more.
 
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