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Subject: Another The Others review rss

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Emivaldo Sousa
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The Others is a one versus the world game, meaning that there is an Overlord (in that case called Sin’s Player) against a group of three or four other players.

The game involves moving miniatures around a modular board and rolling dice. The sin’s Player controls an invading monster force and the Faith Players control a team of seven specialist heroes - and I am not going to go into the ruleset in detail as this is mostly a general overview of the game.

Presentation:
The components are top notch. Minis are amazing, art is evocative of the theme, cardboard pieces are thick, card stock could be a little better, but I sleeve everything and, to be honest, they are of good quality anyways.


Theme:

It is not for everyone as it deals with the Apocalypse and the seven capital sins, but the art is evocative and great all around. The gameboard ends up being very generic, though, and I would really like that the districts had their names written on the boards. Instead of going to the hotel or the Lab, we just refer to the places as here and there. The minis are fantastic and the heroes are mostly memorable ranging from werewolves to Philip-Seymour Hoffman, and the monster design is somewhat novel and bizarre. That said, most do not truly encapsulate the spirit of the sin they represent. They are just cool, tentaculated monsters, which didn’t help the actual theme of the game. But as generic monster invasion it works well and, nitpicking aside I felt immersed in the game well enough, not really playing as a Sin, but as cool monster menace.

The underlying feel of a corrupted place and decaying society is definitely well represented, and the tone is just adult enough to be interesting and silly enough to be fun.


Strategy, tactics and luck:
The game benefits greatly from understanding what is going to happen next, especially if you are playing as the heroes. Good tactical play is also often rewarded and defending a position or taken an undefended one is incredibly helpful.

That said, luck plays a huge role. Dice are rolled often (and an explosion mechanism guarantees that things will be, at the same time, unfair and memorable at least once per game) and the right card becoming available at the right time can be decisive. I can really see this setup frustrating a few gamers, but excesses tend to happen on both sides and most games will probably be decided on the last stretch. It is a game not designed to be absolutely balanced, but to tell stories (remember when I rolled six explosions and then I rolled again and got five more explosions?). On paper, though, I would say that balance is a bit more in favor of the Sin’s Player, with the exception of a few scenarios (as it should be, monsters have to be menacing, in my opinion).


Variety:
I am a kickstarter backer, with no extra stuff, but the kickstarter extras offer a lot. Seven different groups of monsters, several different groups of corrupted humans (firemen, doctors, hobbos,…) and a bunch of heroes.

It is enough. There is some pleasure to be had in the indecent amount of plastic Cool Mini Or Not projects throw at you, but I must confess I am not the guy that buys everything anymore. It really is too much and after a bit you start to not see much difference between the first and the 100th hero.

If I had just the retail box I must confess I would have wanted more. As it is, I might track the Apocalypse box at a later date, as it appears to offer a somewhat different experience.

The different stuff, as is now the standard for CMON expansions, do not alter the game much, but since you mix and match a bunch of elements to create a single game, the end result can generate very different games. Some, admittedly, completely unbalanced for one side or the other. But even those tend to offer good fun, because you will rarely find a completely unwinnable situation: you might just have to be extremely lucky.


Odd piece of information:

People I have played with have found the ranged combat rules (and the heroes that perform ranged attacks) a bit odd and sometimes not very useful. It did not detracted from the game and we all could find cool theoretical uses for those heroes that not necessarily have come into play yet, but there you have it.


Verdict:
Fun, intense, thematic gameplay that offer frustrating and cool moments, often at the same time. Feels fresh, varied and I really enjoyed it. Black Plague and this one were both hits for me and I fell that The Others is put together more seamlessly than BP (still with some rules issues, mostly about timing and most already discussed here at BGG). A dice thrower with a bit more of meat on its bones, it is a keeper for me.
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Emivaldo Sousa
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I had the opportunity to play it a little bit more and I would like to take a more in-depth look at the game “modes”, or different types of mission at our disposal, to complement the review, if you will.

Terror missions are the most straightforward and, I think, the most balanced missions. I have yet to lose as overlord (I am not gonna say sin’s player, too much conditioning for that), but when it got close it was a terror mission.

Corruption missions are way tougher on the heroes, since gaining full corruption can hurt the heroes a lot and, on top of that, the game mode itself presents a few more options to inflict said corruption. This mode introduces a simple but nice storytelling element to the game, but the role of the Overlord (and its objective) remain largely the same. There are no new challenges for the Overlord. It would be good if, for example, one of the dark past cards were good for the heroes (the saint: the overlord now can only play sin cards if the controller is in the game). It only gets easier for the Overlord to trash the heroes, who are now facing more challenging objectives (or at least similarly challenging) with more restrictions.

Redemption missions are way tougher on the heroes, since gaining full corruption can hurt the heroes a lot and, on top of that, the game mode itself presents a few more options to inflict said corruption. This mode introduces a simple but nice storytelling element to the game, but the role of the Overlord (and its objective) remain largely the same. There are no new challenges for the Overlord. It would be good if, for example, when players lose the civilians, they could keep the token to use as “inspiration”, to make a re-roll or gain another benefit. It only gets easier for the Overlord to trash the heroes, who are now facing more challenging objectives (or at least similarly challenging) with more restrictions. On top of that, the hidden objective element kills a lot of the strategy and adds a huge luck factor in a game already full of it.

In the end, Redemption and Corruption games are very similarly structured and a bit of a missed opportunity, I think.

The last mission of the game is a different story. It is very fun to play, and it changes the Overlord approach to the game a bit, allowing for moves that are more aggressive and more combos with creatures. It is, essentially a Terror mission with more interesting monsters and, although one can argue that it is more difficult than a regular terror mission, it is also not overly punitive and heroes can strategize more efficiently.

The idea of sacrificing heroes and making your last voluntary corruption move counts is one of the strengths of the game, and I think we have two game modes that obfuscates that a bit. I would have not minded having one, but I would prefer another, more interesting type of mission in the place of the other one. Or maybe more terror missions with different objectives. I would also not mind to see a scenario in which the Overlord had time against him for a change.

What are your thoughts?
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Drew Dock
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Good review on the mission front How about this for a new mission format?
the Heros start spread around the map and the sins player starts with controller and aboms within one district eg the docks. (Acolytes are spread out around nests as norm with remainder counting as dead)

Sins player needs to spread his influence around the map by corrupting/ controlling X amounts of districts. (Causing a reverse turtle, with sin player having to move around)

Start of story
Place three tokens face down around map

End of round story
If no tokens revealed raise apoc track by one
(If controlling a district choose one effect to take place per district)
If 3 acolytes hold a district place an alter
If 3 abominations hold a district place two tokens one that covers a city action
If mix of 3 place one token or draw a card.

Mission tree
Hold the docks
Have monsters in hero free starting location for 2 turns
|
----------------------------------
| |
{Spread of evil} [Corrupting darkness]
{Have one monster in each} [ Corrupt 3 districts]
{district for a full turn}
| |
--------------------------------
Summon avatar
|
Insidious foothold
Hold 2 districts for a full round

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