Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

London Dread» Forums » General

Subject: Anyone get to play this yet? rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Chris Meeusen

Belmont
Michigan
msg tools
Wondering if anyone at GenCon or that was able to snag a copy there has had a chance to play it and give a little bit more detailed explanation of what they think, strengths, weakness, etc before considering pre-ordering it. Thanks!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garett Brett
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
I bought a copy at Gencon (didn't get to demo it though) and after reading about it and going through its rulebook on my flights home had a strong urge to play.

Last night we put it to a 3player test, deciding to use the ally option - the rulebook says you can instead have one of the three players control a 4th player personality/card.

We only played 'the Letter', the first of four stories (mission or scenarios the base game comes with), and it is only about 2/3 of what the other stories offer (chapter 1 and endgame instead of chapter 1, 2, and endgame) - I.e. you can tell its difficulty and length were setup for first-timers.

Given none of us had played it, it took a little longer than the suggested 1hour play time to get through the first scenario. The extra time being taken up by myself explaining the rules/mechanics without ever having seen them play out myself - teaching future friends/gamers will be much easier and I believe in those cases the 1hour for play of 'the Letter' scenario will be fairly accurate.

How I decided to teach it was with a 1/4 run through of the two main phases, the planning and story phase, mocking up card encounters and going through possible decisions and the reasoning behind when and why to move around the board and approach different locations/(dread or plot) cards in beneficial order and by particular characters or with particular items.

I downloaded the app and I feel it helped set the mood (create some tension) leading into our first planning phase. Our first 12 minute planning phase was a fun kind of stressful, we finished with about 30 seconds left to look over and make sure there weren't any 'major' issues with our planned paths.

The feeling of 'dread' came up more in the story phase, when executing the plan, and realizing too little too late that it is a little more difficult to succeed at some dread cards than what was predicted during planning. All said, we left 12 dread symbols on the board (a 5, a 3, and two face downs for two each) and had taken one of the extra token - we didn't gain any dread during plot resolution so we ended up with 14 on the dread counter heading into the end game.

The end game had to be taught then, but that was easy for me given I could introduce the challenge cards as hybrids of what we saw earlier in the dread and plot cards. The choosing to 'go on' or 'stay out' mechanic was also pretty easy to understand, especially after we flipped one of the harder challenges first and all barely (with the use of some resources) passed it.

In any case, we have really bad luck and failed the final showdown... Despite 2 of us completing all 3 challenges and having 5 dice to roll, one of which had a item granting the 'reroll as many as you want', and the third player beating 2 challenges before backing out with 4 dice.

That's right, the 4 dice were rolled first. No hits. Then the 5 dice with reroll, 1 hit, the 4 misses were rerolled and no hits. Finally the second 5 dice rolled and no hits. So on 4+5+4+5 dice rolls we ended up with 1 hit. The dread had been reduced to 6 by succeeding at 8/9 challenges and we needed 2 hits... Yeah, we are that unlucky. For fun, we picked up the dice and rerolled the 14 on the table and got 10 hits out of 14...

Outcome aside - technically failing the scenario with 1 hit when 2 were required - we all had a GREAT time. We also learned a lot, namely the items that give you 1 hit (instead of the one that gave you a reroll) should have been one of our priorities. In other words, there were ways we could have mitigated our bad luck, we just decided to bet on having at least average luck (a hit is 1/3 or 2 of 6 sides of a dice fyi).

We ended very much looking forward to playing again - deciding that if we have a new 4th player or different/new players we will play the first scenario again, but that if its us 3 again we may move on to scenario 2 - after all, we only failed the final showdown because of what was obviously ridiculously bad die rolling.

TLDR my session report

Strengths

- I find most cooperative games can boil down to one player making all of the decisions, this one had a 'small' feeling that this exists - during the story one player can dominate the decision to use what resources to overcome locations requirements - during planning an overall strategy could be dictated by a strong player:

However, I was happy to conclude the timer made it so it is 'very' difficult for one person to do everything for 3 during the planning phase (certainly managing 4 would be almost impossible, especially on harder difficulties with less than 12 minutes). So one of the strengths, in my opinion, is its a cooperative game that attempts to address the flaw of others - being when one player chooses/does-everything and the others are just observers in the main players solitaire game.

- Tension, given the time limit - although not a brand new concept - was definitely created, as was tension over 'discovering' during the execution/story step that the planning was 'far' from perfect. It felt like these types of tension ('out of time' and 'things being different than they first appear') fit the theme really well...

- Theme/atmosphere, the game really does this well in my opinion (ESPECIALLY if you have the app). Without the app the character detail, flavor text, story book likely all serve fine enough. However, the creepy music, narrator, timer with noises, are all recommended by me after one play using it.

- Choice/decisions over Luck*. Yes, even though we lost because of bad luck, I felt this aspect was done well. For two reasons, 1 - it seems relatively hard to lose by luck until the final showdown, meaning you aren't just arbitrarily losing or getting way behind due to luck during the game. And 2 - there are ways to avoid - strategize - and eliminate the luck component to the point where it is fun and doesn't feel punishing.

- Options given for fewer than 4 players. I like the way the game works with allies, and even though I haven't played a 4 player game (only the 3) I can foresee how an ally-less run would play out - there'd be more challenge in areas x and y and it'd be easier in area z (for example, without allies I'd guess players would have to team up and visit more spaces together instead of alone with allies, this would require more coordination and possibly more/different challenge).

Weaknesses

- *The Luck component. Like most coops, there is a lot of random element that goes into setup and reveals and ultimately your challenge is different every time because of the random nature of encounter appearance. If you hate the idea of losing a game because of bad luck, you probably don't want to play a coop at all - that said (my opinion), unless you are playing a strict Euro strategy game there will always be a luck component and that will be a weakness for some (this game is no different). Of course, overcoming the games where you have bad luck (as a group especially, 'we are not alone in our misfortune') is part of the fun of a coop, so while I list this as both a strength and weakness it ultimately comes down to a 'more replayability and more fun' thing to me.

- The Rules, I'd grade them about 75%. There are a few missing elements (end game details - specifically, what to do with investigation pile and how many dice to start with) that I looked up on online forums and what-not. The other rulebook failing is it doesn't give you a great 'how to teach the game' feeling/direction - and I feel the result of this absence is exacerbated since the first stage of the game is timed.

Definitely figure out how you intend to teach the game before simply starting it, as you will likely fail to do what you need to do during the time limit planning phase if you don't understand the mechanics (you won't have time to stop and consult the rulebook).

There are a lot of pros associated with the rules/rulebook though: There are great examples in clearly laid out boxes/sidebars and the flow feels there (wasn't a pain to read). Also, there is a lot of flavor in the rulebook text, tongue-in-cheek stuff that made me smile.

So the rules aren't a 'fail' they just aren't perfect, I'd suggest reading them once, then reading them again with all of the cards/board in front of you.

Verdict:

The 3 that played our first game last night can't wait to play again, we were talking about it afterwards, and discussing strategies for next time. The tension was fun and didn't detract from the experience.

I'd recommend this game to anyone that likes coop games, anyone that likes sequential puzzle solving (in the form of we need to do a) first, then b), then c) and 'here is why'), anyone that likes creepy/dangerous themes done well in board games, and <even though the first scenario seemed relatively easy> I'd suggest London Dread to anyone that wants a challenging coop as I can see (from the cards/components opened but not used in the first session) that the future scenarios will pose much more of a challenge.

FWIW one of our three that played hates coop games, and she had a great time and wanted to play again too. That is a success in my books.

I wouldn't recommend this game to the player that does very badly with a time limit or always wants to take moves back - or maybe I would because this could help them overcome that issue of theirs :)
20 
 Thumb up
3.25
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christian K
msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Craig Somerton
Australia
North Ryde - Sydney
NSW
flag msg tools
designer
Duplicitous!
badge
I don't play to win - I play for enjoyment and social interaction.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the write-up. You've certainly increased my interest greatly.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brandon Thompson
United States
Louisville
Kentucky
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just played this game two-player and we both enjoyed it but agree with a lot of your review. I have an iPad and no Android devices, so I wasn't able to use an app to add to the mood, which is too bad. We were able to squeak by with a win, but it wasn't a pushover. There were some questions that we had in regards to how the 'Final Showdown' and 'Endgame' are to be approached with regards to the antagonist abilities; page 12 of the rulebook says under 'Setting up the Endgame': "Take the Antagonist from the Antagonist box in the top left corner on the board and place him in the Endgame Antagonist box. This indicates that rules on the Antagonist card are now active." However, the Story Guide, page 5 says that "The Antagonist special rules are not active until the Final Showdown." Some clarification is needed on that point.
We enjoyed the game, though, and want to get a group together to play this as a campaign. It also seems like the sort of game that's ripe for expansions...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Chris Meeusen

Belmont
Michigan
msg tools
Thanks for the detailed write up. I think the other one big question that comes to mind is that since there are only so many scenarios/missions, how do you guys think it does with replayability?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Garett Brett
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
flag msg tools
zekks wrote:
Thanks for the detailed write up. I think the other one big question that comes to mind is that since there are only so many scenarios/missions, how do you guys think it does with replayability?


I'd say most completionist players are going to want to play it at least 8 times, each scenario on normal difficulty and then once again on the harder difficulties. There are also extra options/rules to change to make the game harder. That assumes you pass all the scenarios and don't struggle/retry before moving on...

The setup dictates your endgame challenges will change randomly each time you play them, as will the location cards used and their placement, so every game will definitely be different. You will have to adapt your approach (not necessarily your overall strategy though) based on how things play out or are revealed.

Add to the fact you may want to play the game, each scenario, using different characters (as they have different strengths/weaknesses in relation to the scenario I'd imagine) and you could have a few more plays there.

I have played a few different coop games, and this game seems it will be more replayable/enjoyable games 2-3-4 because the scenarios are significantly different (in comparison to games where only the end boss is different or whatever), but then probably less replayable/enjoyable after when you are no longer taking in the plot for the first time.

My take is you'd get 4-8 really enjoyable plays out of this, then you could get even more enjoyable plays out of it depending on if you are a challenge lover. Well worth it in my opinion but not 'endless replayability' the sort a competitive (non coop) game might offer.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.