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Subject: Not Alone - a quick review rss

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quaoar 10
Germany
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I bought the game in Essen this year. The following review is based on two plays with 6 players (i.e. 5 vs. 1).

What I like:
- fantastic artwork, in particular on the location cards
- great components (wood, poker-like chips)
- you can play this very well with larger player counts, according to other players, it scales well with the number of players
- you can mix expert and occasional gamers and both will have fun
- simultaneous action selection keeps everybody busy and involved
- highly interactive
- simple rules, plays fast
- rising tension when you run out of cards and the creature can infer your location or if the markers come closer to the goal
- small box size
- good value for money

Neutral:
- Bluffing and double bluffing is not everyone's cup of tea
- decisions are more on the tactical, less on the strategical side
- there's definitely some luck involved in choosing the right location for the creature, especially if the hunted players still have most cards in their hand. I can see that choosing wrongly in the first few turns *could* lead to frustration or - in the worst case - an early decided victory. I don't think that this is critical given the relatively short playtime, but it's something to consider
- the theme is only loosely connected with the mechanics. However, I like that the locations and the associated actions make sense for at least some locations (rover = explore = take cards, wreck = use communication system to give directions to the rescue ship = advance on track, ...)
- the artwork on the survival and creature cards could be improved. The monster marker design could be a bit more alike the box artwork

What I don't like:
- Not much actually :-)
- some of the rules/card text could be improved: e.g., I first missed the part that you cannot take the cave card back if you play the cave card. Playing this wrongly severly affects the game's balance.
- some of the survival cards seem to be quite (too?) strong

What remeains to be seen:
- Balancing: in the first game, the creature lost big time, however, the second game was decided in the last turn. I need more plays to judge that.
- Replayability: the number of location cards is limited so it *could* be that after a few plays some strategies turn out to be more promising and games become repetitive. Time will tell! An expansion with new locations would be an obvious fix.

Overall:
We really enjoyed Not Alone for what it is: a lightweight game that is highly interactive, has no downtime, great artwork and components, and the right play time. I currently rate this an 8. Recommended!

EDITED to correct typos.


Update: Additional remarks after three more plays with four players each:

- my positive first impression was reinforced, however there's also some new insights that I would like to mention
- the game plays well with both, 4 and 7 players
- there seems to be a limited number of promising strategies for the creature player (one of which obviously is blocking the rover if he can simultaneously block the lair, i.e. is allowed to play two markers)
- I would prefer if the haunted would have more pressure to actively contribute to the movement of the rescue marker. I think that hiding in the most unlikely places (without actually doing anything) just not to get caught is awarded too much
- the balancing seems to be good, we experienced victories of both factions. However, having some experience helps when playing the creature and depending on the number of players one or the other faction might have an advantage.
- I hope that the game's success will make an expansion with alternative locations possible, I think that otherwise replayability will suffer; I would e.g. enjoy additional strategy options for the creature, e.g. visibly place a marker which is valid for this and the next round.
- I've played the game with three different groups and the feedback was rather positive
- I'm still enjoying the game a lot and I'm happy about its apparent success
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sly moi
France
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Thanks a lot for your come back on the game

 
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Andreas Redhcone
Germany
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I got it over "spieleschmiede" and only played one game with two players.

It worked out very well. It was close (Monster lost, but that was played by me, so ma bad :-D ...)

We both decided, that it is a really good and fast game. We are both eager to test it again.

It could be nice, if there were other location cards for all 10 places. Some alterations, but given how small the rules are, there are possibly not too much possibilities.
Maybe a mutated rover, where you have to loose one willpower to get two locations, but drop all cards but these two or something.
A oasis/beach, where you can meditate and get a willpower back.

Stuff like that.

As I said, I have only played one game - too early to rate.
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David Chapman
United Kingdom
Unspecified
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Oh, alright - except for Codenames
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No, this is NOT my bloody "fursona"
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Anro wrote:
It could be nice, if there were other location cards for all 10 places. Some alterations, but given how small the rules are, there are possibly not too much possibilities.

A oasis/beach, where you can meditate and get a willpower back.


The Source already does this.
 
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benjamin CLOVIS
France
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Just bought it today in Paris.
looking forward to playing it.
Absolutely shocked at how little info there is on this game in terms of reviews and especially videos. Considering the significant buzz around this game at essen the publishers better get themselves in gear.
This is my first time ever buying a game without significant video reviews or walk throughs to guide my choice, and that is only because I'm aquainted with the author. Do yourselves a favour, and get this game video reviewed and walked through ASAP! good luck
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Fred
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clovisIII wrote:
Just bought it today in Paris.
looking forward to playing it.
Absolutely shocked at how little info there is on this game in terms of reviews and especially videos. Considering the significant buzz around this game at essen the publishers better get themselves in gear.
This is my first time ever buying a game without significant video reviews or walk throughs to guide my choice, and that is only because I'm aquainted with the author. Do yourselves a favour, and get this game video reviewed and walked through ASAP! good luck


The end of production only happened 3-4 weeks ago. Considering the time to receive the first copies, to send review copies and the time to prepare Essen, I still consider we are in time. About 50 copies have been sent or given directly to reviewers over the last 2 weeks. I guess/hope that reviews will follow soon. Btw we will be at TricTracTV on November 4th.

I’d love to do more but please do consider that publishing is still our night job soblue
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Teik Chooi Oh
United Kingdom
Chorley
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Thanks to friend's recommendation, I went to check this out with some friends. We loved it and all bought a copy. Great game.
 
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Mirko Zennaro
Italy
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ohm nama shiva wrote:
clovisIII wrote:
Just bought it today in Paris.
looking forward to playing it.
Absolutely shocked at how little info there is on this game in terms of reviews and especially videos. Considering the significant buzz around this game at essen the publishers better get themselves in gear.
This is my first time ever buying a game without significant video reviews or walk throughs to guide my choice, and that is only because I'm aquainted with the author. Do yourselves a favour, and get this game video reviewed and walked through ASAP! good luck


The end of production only happened 3-4 weeks ago. Considering the time to receive the first copies, to send review copies and the time to prepare Essen, I still consider we are in time. About 50 copies have been sent or given directly to reviewers over the last 2 weeks. I guess/hope that reviews will follow soon. Btw we will be at TricTracTV on November 4th.

I’d love to do more but please do consider that publishing is still our night job soblue


Dou you have contact for italian localization?
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Fred
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mizenn wrote:
Dou you have contact for italian localization?


Yes we have and definitely there will be an Italian version
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Daulken Kifson
United States
Texas
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I love that this game made the hotness list!

I played a prototype of this game at the UK games expo (and went back 3-4 times to get in extra plays), then got my own prototype copy and played that several times as well.

Even after probably 10 plays now or so, I have to say I enjoy it best with just 2 players (mechanically, it feels much more like a bluff/outthink your opponent game with just 2) but it's still very enjoyable with more than 2.

Congratulations guys, it's well deserved!
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Fred
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Daulken wrote:
I love that this game made the hotness list!

I played a prototype of this game at the UK games expo (and went back 3-4 times to get in extra plays), then got my own prototype copy and played that several times as well.

Even after probably 10 plays now or so, I have to say I enjoy it best with just 2 players (mechanically, it feels much more like a bluff/outthink your opponent game with just 2) but it's still very enjoyable with more than 2.

Congratulations guys, it's well deserved!


Thanks a lot meeple
 
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Mirko Zennaro
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ohm nama shiva wrote:
mizenn wrote:
Dou you have contact for italian localization?


Yes we have and definitely there will be an Italian version


Awesome!!!

Is it possibile to know the publisher?
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Fred
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mizenn wrote:
ohm nama shiva wrote:
mizenn wrote:
Dou you have contact for italian localization?


Yes we have and definitely there will be an Italian version


Awesome!!!

Is it possibile to know the publisher?


Not yet, WE have been approach by several publishers and we are consider the different partners. I should be able to give an answer next week.
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M Van Der Werf
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Seems an okay game.

I only played with 6 though and found that a total mess. The creature player has too many players and cards to look at which breaks the entire 'i guess that you guess' thing. It was pretty obvious the creature player was hardly able to pay much attention or use the info out there in a meaningful way and just played towards more damaging locations more.

The system that the creature decides after the group players is nice though and is prohibits too much discussion. However it goes a bit far, there is almost no discussion between the group as a result it seems except stuff like 'i got a card' or 'what shall I take with Rover?'. I think it would have been nice if the group had some means for tactical play together, for example an action that let's you swap a location card with a buddy blindly so you can signal as well ("i want you to go there next turn"). It would also be great if some locations depended on the number of guys there, ie can only activate this with 2 players, or each player gains will equal to the amount of players on the location.

Overall it seemed a bit too random, there needs to be a bit more to go on to really get those mindgames going. For example I would prefer if the creature had an open hand so you get to use that information in the mindgame. And the cards for the groupteam and some locations could just have been more interesting, some card sais "discard piles for the group are placed face down for 1 turn", super random memory element all of a sudden..

Idea is nice but it could have been so much better, as it is just a 6 out of 10 and best with 4 players I think.
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John Carey
United States
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Kansas
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Thanks for your review and update! Sounds like it could be pretty fun for large groups, although I always feel hesitant in games like this that one side will generally always win. I had that beef with Last Night on Earth. If the humans were experienced players the zombies were hard pressed to win. At least with the core game.
 
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quaoar 10
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If this should be the case, you can adapt the starting positions of the two markers to make it easier or harder for the two sides. This should at least mitigate this problem.
 
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