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Escape from Sunset Island: Zombie Apocalypse Simulator» Forums » Reviews

Subject: An absolutely fantastic game rss

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Ever since I saw the game “Escape from Sunset Island” on Kickstarter, I knew that I had to have it. The interplay it creates between cooperation and competition seemed like an intriguing and unique take on the zombie genre, which I have always been a huge fan of. Now that I’ve finally had a chance to play the game, I’m happy to say that it does not disappoint and provides a gaming and zombie-fighting experience unlike any other.

For those who don’t know, or couldn’t figure out from the title, the goal of the game is to escape from Sunset Island, one of the few safe havens that remain after the zombie apocalypse. Or at least it was a safe haven. Thanks to a lab experiment gone horribly horribly wrong, the infection has reached Sunset Island and it’s up to you, yes you, to escape from the island. To do so you need to search the town for supplies (food, water, and gasoline), avoid the zombies, and make it to either the marina or the airport. Along the way you might find things that can help you out (weapons, medkits, an abandoned jeep) but some other things (zombie spawns) are best left unfound. (That being said, if you’re the zombie player, your objectives are far simpler. You just have to find the delicious, delicious humans and eat their brains.)

Now, this seems like a pretty common plot for a game, and it is. However, this game has a twist: there are other players out there who also need the food, water, and gasoline, and there isn’t always enough to go around. To further complicate things, supplies weigh you down (taking away one point from your movement roll each turn), and it’s almost always in your best interest to work with other players, at least until they betray you and leave you as zombie chow.

Going lone wolf is easier said than done. Carrying your own supplies to the escape point is difficult and that’s assuming your one of the lucky players to find a gas can, which is much scarcer than food or water. The players definitely need each other; they just can’t trust each other.

If you’re interested in reading the rules in greater detail they are all on the Escape from Sunset Island website.

I played one game with a group of six people, and two more games with a different group of six people. Both of these games lasted about an hour and a half but neither felt like they took that long. Even when characters were forced to make hard decisions, turns passed remarkably quickly. In fact, I’d like to make a bold claim, “Never in my life, have I played a game of this scale with turns passing so quickly between characters.” There never feels like there’s a break in the action, or that you’re just sitting around waiting until you can do something important.

Additionally, when a player is eventually killed by zombies, they become one themselves. This was an incredible decision from both a gameplay and thematic perspective. Although becoming a zombie technically means you just lost the game, it doesn’t feel like losing. It feels much more like starting a new game with different objectives.

Speaking of thematic decisions, I have to say that the both the setting and the characters really come alive. There’s not much more to the characters’ development than short bios and scattered quotes in the instruction manual, but from those alone you get a pretty good sense of who they are and how they ended up at Sunset Island. The game board is also superbly designed. Unlike other zombie games which are usually set in dull, gray, nameless cities, Sunset Island is vibrant and beautiful.

The game itself plays very smoothly. At the beginning there’s a “honeymoon” period where players have a chance to gather weapons and supplies, with little to fear from the zombie player, but that period comes to a crushing halt after a few zombie spawns are revealed or a player falls to the horde. If a critical team-member is zombified or betrays his team, things become very difficult for the remaining humans.

I know that a game with so much dice rolling might turn people off, and while I cannot deny that there is a large element of luck in this game, I will say this: Never once did I feel that any of my zombifications were a result of me being unlucky or the zombies being lucky, more often than not they were a result of quick maneuvering by the zombies or poor choices by me.

There is a minor hiccup when it comes to character balance. I know that this was intentional to some degree, (For example: The pawn, Paul Regret, has no special power, signifying how some of us just aren’t cut out for the zombie-hunting lifestyle.) However, the bishop, Stuart Grimsby is nearly impossible to kill (Possibly due to a form of divine protection). Instead of rolling one dice, when attacked by zombies, he rolls two, which creates a massive change. When attacked, holding a weapon, most characters have a 33% chance of dying, a 17% chance of avoiding the attack, a 17% of killing the zombies, and a 33% chance of getting bit. By being able to roll twice, Stuart Grimsby is able to reduce his chance of dying to a miniscule 11% and increase his chance of avoiding damage all together to a strong 55%.

That being said, all the characters (except Paul) can do something useful, and it’s rare for someone to be disappointed with who they get.

Overall, Escape from Sunset Island is a fantastic board gaming experience for both gamers and non-gamers, and I can’t thank R&D Straker enough for giving me the chance to review it. Although there is a ton of tactical depth, the simplicity of the rules makes it so that the game is both accessible and fast playing. I cannot recommend it more to fans of the genre or those looking for a deeply psychological gaming experience.

P.S.: Since I’m playing with a beta copy of the game, I don’t feel comfortable commenting on the quality of the components as they are subject to change.
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Jason Webster
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T.C. You must really like the game a lot.As of the date of your postyour gamer profile this is the only game you own. Also you have been a member since 2012 and this is the only game you have ever given a rating. That rating was a perfect 10!

So either you really like this game and all other games don't even come on to your radar.

Or you are just here to promote the game.


Anyone else out there play this yet? I would like a few more reviews before diving in.
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T C
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To be quite honest, I don't use Board Game Geek all that much. The only reason I had an account for a long time was so that I could download things from this site.

My girlfriend was able to nab me a beta copy of Escape from Sunset Island, and the producers mentioned to her that they would appreciate a review. I was happy to oblige them.

If you're curious I enjoy all kinds of games, Escape from Sunset Island being just one among them. Other favorites include Carcassonne, Dominion, Resistance, and Summoner Wars.
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Jason Webster
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Skydragon222 wrote:
To be quite honest, I don't use Board Game Geek all that much. The only reason I had an account for a long time was so that I could download things from this site.

My girlfriend was able to nab me a beta copy of Escape from Sunset Island, and the producers mentioned to her that they would appreciate a review. I was happy to oblige them.

If you're curious I enjoy all kinds of games, Escape from Sunset Island being just one among them. Other favorites include Carcassonne, Dominion, Resistance, and Summoner Wars.


:-)
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T C
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Since reviews are still forthcoming, is there any question in particular that I could answer for you?
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Gene Chiu
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With regard to each player's powers, Paul Regret does have one advantage and that is positional advantage. He is the only player who is relatively safe from the zombie in the early parts of the game. Unlike other players who start in the same location as the zombie and other players, Paul starts off in the outskirts of the board. He gains an early advantage in that he doesn't have to waste the first few turns running away and can look for useful items early. Also, in a 7-player game, most of the other players end up competing with each other in looking for items while Paul can check out 2 right away.

I played a 7-player game and found that Paul Regret isn't as bad as he first appears. I first thought it would suck to play Paul, but I saw that starting far away from the zombie and other players is certainly a rather subtle advantage that should not be overlooked.
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