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Subject: Scenario 1: A New Level of Fear - Solo one character replay rss

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David Arlington
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I had bought this game based on the cool sounding premise on the box, but I had never played it until recently because the rules had given me a bit of trouble in the beginning and I had read reviews that were not so flattering so I just kind of let it sit on the shelf.

But after watching two excellent video playthroughs from Ricky Royal and Shaun Rice, it really seemed like it was a lot more fun to play than those reviews I had read had given it credit for. So I decided to give it a shot and guess what? It WAS a fun game! It got a little samey samey at a couple points because of my character build kind of limited me to what approach I could take to the game. But every time I started to get complacent, an event card would show up that would throw a wrench in my cleverly laid plans and make things tense again.

I played Hoodie Girl who I named Ronni after my one fictional character/alter ego who shows up in a lot of games. Her skill cards indicated to me that she was a bookish Librarian (Bookworm, -1 Toughness = Toughness 0! Ouch!, +2 Intelligence (4 INT yay!), who took some self defense training (good with guns which was/is an irrelevant skill for the item-less Scenario 1, and +1 Fight) after she got mugged one evening on her way home from the library. The second time she was accosted on the way home, her self defense training didn't help and she woke up, terrified on Level 7!

Given her skill set, I was never actually a threat to the guards at any time. With no items, no way to enter a room with a Guard with a gun equipped. With no other players, no way to be in the room with more than one at a time. With 4 Int, and no weapons, and Secure/Pack Limit of 1 for every room, Outwit was always going to be the preferred option to leave rooms with enemies rather than combat. The only way I was ever going to generate Threat was if I got it from an Event card.

So I really didn't have to worry about Threat and Lockdown as long as I could keep outwitting the guards. Let's see how Ronni did in her escape.

Normally I do a turn by turn replay in my sessions to demonstrate the play mechanics, but so many of these turns were the same. Start a turn in a room with a guard and/or a clone. Attempt an Outwit (roll 3 brains on 4 dice), keep a couple reroll challenge dice Adrenaline cards in case I had a bad roll, and keep moving and running.

Most of the time Ronni managed to stay ahead of every one and she had a long line of guards and clones strung out behind her. The two big times she got in trouble was when she ran headlong into a dead end and had to backtrack through the guantlet!

Here are some highlights though:

Turn 2: I did end up getting attacked by a Clone early on when I hadn't stocked up on Adrenaline cards tailored to my strategy yet and I was already down to 2 cards!

Turn 4: An Event card had me place a vent. I almost didn't place it (since it said you MAY place it) because I didn't want Clones coming out of it. Scenario 1 using the Alien Zone rule to spawn clones out of vents as well as Fear tiles. But I placed it in the Purple Lab and in retrospect, as you'll see later on, it turned out to be crucial to my later survival.

Turn 6: Cornered by guards (one in my tile and one in every tile I could move to), I spent an Adrenaline card to lose 2 Fear to gain +2 Int for the Outwit and was attacked by the guard in the room I moved into. I spent another Adrenaline card to gain 2 Fear to gain 2 Toughness, but I still ended up taking one Wound, knocking me down to 1 card left in hand and another Fear for being attacked for a Fear of 6.

Turn 7: Luckily, the guard room I moved into was the Sick Bay and I was able to draw back 2 cards at the start of the turn. Again I lost 2 Fear for +2 Int for the Outwit and left the Sick Bay. The Event card I drew gave me back the 2 Fear but let me lock the door to the Sick Bay. Of course, the guards activated and the guard I left behind wasted no time just unlocking the door I had just locked.

Turn 8: On this turn, the Guards activated twice which was very bad for my strategy of just trying to stay one room ahead of the pack. I couldn't avoid being attacked and had no cards to add Toughness so poor Ronni got knocked out and sent to the Infirmary. Ronni resets with 3 Vitality, 4 Fear and ZERO Threat! But one more KO and her valiant escape attempt ends.

Turn 9: Here's where that vent I had placed in the Purple Lab paid off for me. Since Ronni had just led pretty much ALL the guards and ALL the clones on a chase across the lowest level, popping out of the vent in the Purple Lab halfway across the map was just the thing she needed for her run away/avoid conflict strategy.

Though this is also where the Secure/Pack limit of 1 worked against me a bit though. As a guard/clone moving towards me cannot stop in a tile with another guard/clone, they pass right through to the first available open tile. And for the clones, they could use the vent system as well (though mostly I had tried to avoid giving them a good clear vent path in building the complex). So I didn't have THAT big a start on them when they were leapfrogging their way to me depending on activation order.

But mostly I stayed ahead of them, though I went through all six tiles of Stack B without finding the A-Lift. Though I did not have any Threat, I was still having trouble with Event cards because at only 3 Vitality, I didn't have a lot of room for error.

On Turn 12 an Event card knocked me down to 1 card, one away from a KO. On Turn 13, another Event card kicked my Fear up to 8, but that wasn't SO bad since all the Clones in the reserve were on the map by then.

I thought Ronni was in big big trouble when she hit another dead end, but on my way backtracking through the crowd, I hit a string of VERY favorable Event card activations. When I was on a tile with a Clone, the guards activated, when I was on a tile with a guard, the clones activated. And finally, THERE IT WAS! The A-LIFT! ESCAPE to LEVEL 6!

It was really fun. I am definitely going back to try to get off Level 6 to level 5, but I haven't decided if I should just start fresh with a new character or KEEP the skill cards I had to make it more campaign like.

What do other people do? Draw new skill cards for each scenario or try to run the same character through all the scenarios?
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MoonSylver
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Columbus
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Thanks for this report! Like you, between the rules & the amount of negative comments I've let this one sit & collect dust, having lost my enthusiasm for it.

This session makes me want to give it another go.
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Pedro Pereira
United Kingdom
Belfast
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See the person next to you? Kill! Kill!!! KILLL!!!!
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I just got my copy this past week and have played 2 solo plays escaping both Level 7 and 6 so far. I really like it and I don't usually play solo games, but I really enjoyed this one.

I thought about skill cards and thought about taking the same cards from scenario 1 to the next one since the combo was so good, but then I thought that I'd rather draw a new set of skills, Ronni's getting more experienced after all...

I instantly ordered the expansion for this! Radioactive gas!!!! gulp
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David Arlington
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What I really liked about the game from a solitaire perspective and was not apparent from the reviews I read, was these two main things:

a) Even though I had a strategy I wanted to use, trying to manage my Fear, my hand of Adrenaline cards, how I placed tiles, and the random setbacks of having to draw an Event card every turn really made me have to make a LOT of gaming decisions on every turn. I knew what I WANTED to do with that build, trying to keep executing against the confines of what the game was throwing at me was fun.

b) I get characters are a bit generic and don't have a lot of the "chrome" that I normally love for characters in games that allows me to identify with them, and hence make me care about their survival. BUT the game certainly succeeds in generating the flavor of a lost and confused every man (or woman) trapped in a weird government lab with terror at every turn.
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