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Subject: A great hidden traitor game (PNP Review) rss

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Bradford Lounsberry
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After spending the afternoon playing 2-player Crimson Creek I wanted to get my thoughts on the game out there. This is based on the Print-and-Play copy of the game. At the time of this writing Crimson Creek is still on Kickstarter and the rulebook is not finalized.

Overview
Crimson Creek places players in a horror movie paying homage to classic 80s slasher films like Friday the 13th. Each player plays a member of a group of young people who are enjoying a delightful vacation in a cabin in the woods. What could go wrong? Well as it turns out they are just in time for the 30 year anniversary of the time when the homicidal maniac named Klein slaughtered most of the town before being hung to death by the last remaining townsfolk. They really should have checked the reviews on Yelp! first.

Components

I've been playing the PNP version of this game so I can't comment on on the quality of the components. I do really like the overall visual quality of the game though. The artwork is appropiately menancing where it needs to be and it has great table presence.

Gameplay
Each player chooses a character that represent the standard sterotypes, Punk, Preppy, Cheerleader, Jock, Goth and Geek. Each character has a unique ability which modifies the game experience slightly, but nothing game breaking. The Jock can move twice, the Goth doesn't get scared when being chased, etc.

You lay out 7 locations on the table (Cabin, Woods, Highway, Lake, etc.) which represent your "board" for the game. The players will move around these locations during the game.

Klein, the bad guy, has a deck of locations that gets shuffled and dealt out face down in a row next to the player locations. Six of these cards represent locations that Klein will attack while the seventh location reprsents his lair.

The other decks are shuffled and you randomly deal 2 clue cards face down on the table.

And you are ready to play. Your goal is two-fold. Survive to the end of the game and have enough information to identify the Killer.

"The killer is Klein!"

Yes I know, but Klein, the friendly neighborhood Nazi war criminal, died 30 years ago. What has happened is that Klein has returned as a vengeful spirit and possessed one of the people in Crimson Creek represented by 10 possible suspects in the game. One of them is doing the killing under the control of Klein's spirit. 6 of those 10 suspects are playable characters which means one of your opponents or even you could be the killer. If a player is possessed by Klein all other players must die for them to win.

What makes a hidden traitor in this game so stressful is how vital it is that everyone works together.

Each player can perform 2 actions on their turn.

Run - Move to an adjacent location (this is a horror movie, no walking.)

Peek - Look at one of Klein's facedown location cards so you know where an attack will happen. This is important for a couple reasons. First you want to avoid being in a location where an attack happens. You can survive it, but it typically results in losing a valuable hiding location and/or your character running away and becoming scared. Being scared prevents you from being able to hide in subsequent attacks. Second the sooner you figure out where Klein's lair is the better. Klein never attacks in his lair and you can use the Declare ability to expose his lair to end the act early. That is a good thing since it results in less attacks.

Hide - Grab a hiding location from the table or take one from another player. These are very valuable when you want to not die.

Share - Privately share information with another player at your same location. You are not allowed to speak out loud about any information you have on locations or clues. You can only point to words on a share information card which has words all over it. Lets you share information privately and quietly without other players knowing. Even in a 2-player game you should use the share information card.

Search - Search for a clue. There are 2 clues in the game. Once you know both of them you know who the killer is. Find the clues of Muddy Shoes and Torn Pants, the Jock is the killer. Find the clues of White Hair and Glasses, the Ranger is the killer. You can't win if you don't know who the killer is.

Ability - Use your character's special ability if applicable.

Declare - Expose Klein's lair and end the act. Normally an Act ends after 3 Klein attacks with his 3rd attack being devastating. Finding his lair each Act is really important.

After a player performs their 2 actions they draw an Attack card. If you draw a calm night card you breathe a sigh of relief and are safe. If you draw a Hatchet you put it face up on the board. Once you have 3 hatchets on the board a Klein attack happens (only 2 hatchets are required for an attack in Acts 2 & 3). It is at this point that your knowledge of locations and ability to survive is put to the test.

A Reveal card is turned face up indicating which card in Klein's location row will be turned face up for the attack. All the players who have Peeked at that card know where the attack is going to happen. They will make sure they are not at that location. The other players who haven't Peeked at that card must either trust information they got from another player, try to infer from other players movements where a safe spot is, be ready to hide (if they aren't already scared) or be chased away to an adajcent location. If adjacent locations are blocked by previous Klein attacks or by characters (only 2 characters per location) then any character on that location is dead and eliminated from the game.

The third Klein attack is even worse because the last 3 location cards in Klein's row are revealed resulting in one massive attack. You better hope you are safe in his lair or there is enough of the board left to escape/hide. Each Klein attack causes the attacked location to be flipped over and is no longer accessible to the players.

After each attack you add one more Hatchet to the attack deck so the attacks increase in frequency. There is also an exposure chart that increases by 1 with every Run or Peek action that is performed. At variable intervals this exposure chart triggers additional attack cards to be drawn. The game starts out stressful and then just gets worse. Love it.

This game is not a one-man or one-woman show. You need to know what information the other players have in order to stay safe. If everyone is peeking at different locations and sharing all that they know with everyone you are golden. There are only 2 clues, but as long as everyone lets everyone else know what the clues are life is wonderful.

For example, in one of my games today, my partner let me know that he had the clue of Glasses and Earrings. Neither of us were wearing glasses so neither of us were Klein, it had to be The Preppy. And we were doing good that game up until then except for him hogging both clues. Still it was the third act and we had this. Klein was going down!

Then my good friend blocked me into the Cementary and watched as I was brutally murdered. By him. Cause he was the one possessed by Klein.

Another example was when he shared his Clue with me and, based on the clue I had, I knew he was Klein. But he didn't know he was Klein. In a 2-player game you can't simply arrange for the other player to be killed because they game ends when there is only 1 player left (with the exception of the very end of the game). If either of us died, he would win. Either I die and he gets a Klein victory, or he "dies", the game ends and he still wins because "Hay guyz! I faked my own death!" So I had to lie to him about my clue and allow him to innocently believe another suspect was Klein. I ended up winning, he lost.

Since this is a hidden traitor game you can't trust anyone. And with co-op being so important it gives the game so much tension. The player count doesn't seem to matter much. There is only a 20% chance that one of us will be Klein in a 2-player game, but you will doubt everything the person across from you shares.

You'll never want to let the other player get both clues. Ever. If that player turns out to be Klein there is no way you can win the game outside of blind luck. Make sure you get both clues! Then you'll die because you spent the whole act searching instead of figuring out where Klein's lair is.

Overall
This game is fun and exciting with a perfect amount of tension. Every turn of the card is a breath-holding event. It is a hidden traitor game that works really well with low player counts, even 2 players which is really rare. I can't think of another game that pulls this off so well. Great addition to anyone's collection if you like traitor games.
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Dan Licata
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Thanks for the review. I backed this based on Rhado's run through and it looks like a good time. Sounds like you are confirming this.
 
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Greg Toystorian
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Fantastic review Bradford! Thanks for playing the PnP.
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Joao Rodrigues
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If any of you guys are still holding in backing it because you are not quite sure, you might want to test the Print and Play.

And if you have Tabletop Simulator on Steam, you can get this MOD I've set up. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=552304...

The game is very well thought and it really gives us that horror movie feeling. I've backed this after I saw board game brawl review on it and my play test on Table Top Simulator was very smooth. I wish all the best to everyone involved in making this game.
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twesterm
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I thought this actually a really unsuccessful hidden traitor game.

You never know if you're the traitor or not until either the end of the game when the traitor is actually revealed or you happen to find out you're the traitor which is really hard to do...

I think the game is neat, but the hidden traitor aspect failed completely for me and felt the game escalated a bit too quickly with drawing an attack card every turn, the exposure track drawing more cards, and adding hatchets every attack. The next time we play we'll probably just not add hatchet cards because it wasn't that the game was too hard, it's just attacks happened so often that it wasn't fun.
 
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Magic Pink
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twesterm wrote:
I thought this actually a really unsuccessful hidden traitor game.

You never know if you're the traitor or not until either the end of the game when the traitor is actually revealed or you happen to find out you're the traitor which is really hard to do...

I think the game is neat, but the hidden traitor aspect failed completely for me and felt the game escalated a bit too quickly with drawing an attack card every turn, the exposure track drawing more cards, and adding hatchets every attack. The next time we play we'll probably just not add hatchet cards because it wasn't that the game was too hard, it's just attacks happened so often that it wasn't fun.
Then you played it wrong. You can easily find out who the killer is in the first Act.
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Magic Pink
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ralsar wrote:

Another example was when he shared his Clue with me and, based on the clue I had, I knew he was Klein. But he didn't know he was Klein. In a 2-player game you can't simply arrange for the other player to be killed because they game ends when there is only 1 player left (with the exception of the very end of the game). If either of us died, he would win. Either I die and he gets a Klein victory, or he "dies", the game ends and he still wins because "Hay guyz! I faked my own death!" So I had to lie to him about my clue and allow him to innocently believe another suspect was Klein. I ended up winning, he lost.
I think you have this wrong. If there's any point where there's one player left, all they have to do to win is declare who the killer is. So once he died you would have won.
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Justin Davis
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Magic Pink wrote:
twesterm wrote:
I thought this actually a really unsuccessful hidden traitor game.

You never know if you're the traitor or not until either the end of the game when the traitor is actually revealed or you happen to find out you're the traitor which is really hard to do...

I think the game is neat, but the hidden traitor aspect failed completely for me and felt the game escalated a bit too quickly with drawing an attack card every turn, the exposure track drawing more cards, and adding hatchets every attack. The next time we play we'll probably just not add hatchet cards because it wasn't that the game was too hard, it's just attacks happened so often that it wasn't fun.
Then you played it wrong. You can easily find out who the killer is in the first Act.
Easily?
 
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Magic Pink
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Ruskicowboy wrote:
Magic Pink wrote:
twesterm wrote:
I thought this actually a really unsuccessful hidden traitor game.

You never know if you're the traitor or not until either the end of the game when the traitor is actually revealed or you happen to find out you're the traitor which is really hard to do...

I think the game is neat, but the hidden traitor aspect failed completely for me and felt the game escalated a bit too quickly with drawing an attack card every turn, the exposure track drawing more cards, and adding hatchets every attack. The next time we play we'll probably just not add hatchet cards because it wasn't that the game was too hard, it's just attacks happened so often that it wasn't fun.
Then you played it wrong. You can easily find out who the killer is in the first Act.
Easily?
Yeah. If the whole group focuses on it you can have it done pretty quickly. It can conceivably be done in two players' turns.

The point is the other poster said you don't find out until the end of the game and that's just not so.
 
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Justin Davis
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Ok, I see where you are coming from. I have a feeling, though, that if everyone is concentrating on figuring out who Klein is on Act 1, there are going to be a several dead player characters before Act 2. I will say the one time I played (need to play again), that I didn't draw a single calm night card during Act 1. So, only 2 characters go more than 1 turn before Klein went on a full killing spree. We were too busy trying to find a safe place to concentrate fully on finding out who he is.
 
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Magic Pink
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Ruskicowboy wrote:
Ok, I see where you are coming from. I have a feeling, though, that if everyone is concentrating on figuring out who Klein is on Act 1, there are going to be a several dead player characters before Act 2. I will say the one time I played (need to play again), that I didn't draw a single calm night card during Act 1. So, only 2 characters go more than 1 turn before Klein went on a full killing spree. We were too busy trying to find a safe place to concentrate fully on finding out who he is.
Well, not really, the time before the first attack seems to be the best time to go all out searching since everyone will most likely have a place to run to when the attack location is revealed.

after that, yeah, it's going to get tougher.
 
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Justin Davis
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If you didn't peek, how do you know where to run? You might as well just stay still if no one has peeked. That way, if Klein doesn't attack your location, you aren't scared.
 
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Greg Toystorian
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Justin,

Even if you didn't peek, other players have. So you should copy their actions and move to their location to be safe. Each player has to survive in order to win. And being scared isn't as bad as being dead.
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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Magic Pink wrote:
ralsar wrote:

Another example was when he shared his Clue with me and, based on the clue I had, I knew he was Klein. But he didn't know he was Klein. In a 2-player game you can't simply arrange for the other player to be killed because they game ends when there is only 1 player left (with the exception of the very end of the game). If either of us died, he would win. Either I die and he gets a Klein victory, or he "dies", the game ends and he still wins because "Hay guyz! I faked my own death!" So I had to lie to him about my clue and allow him to innocently believe another suspect was Klein. I ended up winning, he lost.
I think you have this wrong. If there's any point where there's one player left, all they have to do to win is declare who the killer is. So once he died you would have won.
Interestingly, the Klein player is just like any other player, but with an added restriction. Any player can win by being the last surviving player and being able to identify who Klein is. However, the non-Klein players have an additional way they can win -- by surviving until the end of Act 3 and being able to identify who Klein is. Even if the Klein player is among the surviving players at the end of Act 3, and even if they know they are Klein, they will still lose if there is even one other surviving player.
 
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Justin Davis
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Understood. My point was that if player 1 and player 2 are searching for clues and sharing the information instead of peeking, then survival becomes problematic.
 
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David "Davy" Ashleydale
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Ruskicowboy wrote:
Understood. My point was that if player 1 and player 2 are searching for clues and sharing the information instead of peeking, then survival becomes problematic.
I think it's probably fun to play the game with first time players without discussing strategy much and letting them see how not working together is a recipe for failure.

Then the next time, say something like, "Okay, that didn't work. This time, let's ensure that the first few players Peek as one of their two actions."
 
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