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Subject: Incredibly strong Red November vibe, true or false? rss

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Kristo Vaher
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Red November is a cooperative game with a submarine that is under attack. I watched a video of Captain is Dead (for consideration due to the latest Kickstarter) and felt like this is Red November, perhaps a little too much.

* Both games have an event deck of bad stuff happening, namely things exploding and needing repairs.
* Both games have a similar map and rooms to move between.
* Both games have item cards that can be collected and used.

Captain is Dead has unique character skills, which is pretty nice. But the event effect and dynamics are more interesting in Red November, especially the fires, flood spreading and of course the pretty unique action time track for actions as well as a lot of event disasters.

I find Red November a fascinating game, albeit not 'great'. And watching a video of Captain is Dead I see a lot that I would like to be in Red November, but at the same time the puzzle of Red November is far more dynamic than just an event deck due to how some events work.

This is what pushes Red November towards greatness (albeit not into great):

* You can do actions and decide how much time something takes. It's both a nice simulation mechanism of time, but also a push-your-luck mechanism.
* Some events cause fires, which have to be put out to use rooms again.
* Some events cause rooms to flood half way and even fully. Fully flooded rooms are a puzzle in their own right, with flood spreading once doors opened.
* Some events cause timed disasters on the time track, which have to be avoided by doing some actions before that time 'catches up with you', technically.

I really love those things about Red November. How about Captain is Dead? Can it compete? What are the things in Captain is Dead that can be considered towards 'greatness' in gaming?

Thanks!
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Sean Herman
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I think what makes this game great for me is how thematic most of the systems feel and the inclusion of anomalies that can create quite different games. The systems all make thematic sense, the "knowledge" specialties of workers make sense, the fact that each role/color has multiple options for specific skills improves replayability, and the skill cards and events deck keeping you involved when it isn't your turn all make it a great action-selection coop for me.


I don't know anything about Red November. Keeping that in mind:

* Some events cause fires, which have to be put out to use rooms again. - In TCiD aliens in rooms block room systems from being used. This seems fairly analogous

* Some events cause rooms to flood half way and even fully. Fully flooded rooms are a puzzle in their own right, with flood spreading once doors opened - In TCiD there isn't much like this but there is an engineering door that can get closed and, when combined with teleporters being offline can quite bothersome.

* Some events cause timed disasters on the time track, which have to be avoided by doing some actions before that time 'catches up with you', technically. - In TCiD the when the external scanners are online you can see upcoming events and plan for them (if one event causes an injury to everyone in a room you can make sure the room will be empty, if one event would ruin the game you can make sure that on that players turn he/she has three command cards to negate the effect). This seems fairly analogous.


* You can do actions and decide how much time something takes. It's both a nice simulation mechanism of time, but also a push-your-luck mechanism. - In TCiD I don't really see anything analogous to this. Sounds like an interesting mechanism if it isn't too random.
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David Fenton
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SeanH wrote:
* Some events cause rooms to flood half way and even fully. Fully flooded rooms are a puzzle in their own right, with flood spreading once doors opened - In TCiD there isn't much like this but there is an engineering door that can get closed and, when combined with teleporters being offline can quite bothersome.


This last point is I think one of the big things. AS cards take systems offline, it greatly reduces the flexibility of the group. For example, when Teleporters are online, any player may move any other player (or themselves) from any location to another with one action, regardless of if they're injured, there are aliens in the room, etc. If the Teleporters go offline, players can't move other players, may take several actions just to reach a room, and can't leave a room if there's aliens present. Likewise, Computers going offline remove the skill deck (so players can't draw skills needed) and even completely disables one player. Other systems remove advance warning, remove availability to remove enemy ships (that greatly speed up ship destruction), or a few other things.

While these don't directly introduce a timed component, until they're fixed they cripple the capabilities of the crew, and thus need to be dealt with as fast as possible (or require a difficult choice whether to proceed even a few extra turns without them).

TCiD isn't so much a race against time (though later event cards definitely get worse), as a game where you're trying to get the right players in the right places to keep the ship alive until you can win. It's possible to lose in about 5 turns if you don't work as a team, win before hitting the second round of event cards (if you play well and get lucky), or fight all the way to the bitter end and either win just in time or get utterly smashed by the final set of events. It's much more about planning ahead, prioritizing, and making difficult choices than racing.
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Eric Jome
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Slashdoctor wrote:
I really love those things about Red November. How about Captain is Dead? Can it compete? What are the things in Captain is Dead that can be considered towards 'greatness' in gaming?


I own and have played Red November many times. I have played The Captain several times and have helped playtest it when under development.

All light co-op puzzle games are basically the same game. I don't particularly enjoy any of them; I often say you can't really win, but rather all you can do is "not lose". They are controlled by randomness and player decisions matter only in not making bad choices. Even when you make good choices, cards come up wrong and you lose.

That out of the way, I find the story that The Captain tells much more compelling than the simple, limited game play of Red November. The Captain is meatier, a tougher puzzle with better flavor. Red is in comparison obvious and simple... and very dominated by randomness.

I think if you're happy with Red November, you'd probably be happy with this too.


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Jens Alfke
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The games have somewhat similar mechanics, and I like both, but I prefer TCID. The unique character abilities add a lot to it (as they do in Pandemic.) The game feels different when you play as a different character, and especially when your group uses a different subset of characters. And unique abilities give every player the chance to shine by doing something uniquely badass.

And of course there's the theme. I like submarine movies, and gnomes are funny, but it's hard to beat playing a tense episode of Star Trek.

That said, I agree that the time-track mechanic of Red November is brilliant, and the topology of the map comes more into play because there's no teleportation and because routes are frequently blocked. As I said, I like both games and I'm happy I have both!
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Pete
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The Captain is Dead revolves primarily around manipulating the Skills deck. I don't own Red November and it's been a long time since I played it, but I don't think there is a comparable mechanism in Red November.

To me TCID feels a lot more like Pandemic, because you're trying to get 3 blue cards to this guy or 5 orange cards to that guy or 4 green cards to that guy at particular times and at particular locations. The character abilities mirror this...we found ourselves referring to the Soldier as "the Medic" and the Chief Engineer as "the Scientist."

Pete (supposes if you're looking to compare "vibes" the game can be described as Pandemic with more characters on the Red November map)
 
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