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Subject: CGE Does it again! rss

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Christian K
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Adrenaline


I played this at Essen Spiel and wanted to share my impressions in case anyone is hungry for some initial thoughts

So, I guess the title spoiled it. CGE does it again. What is it that they do exactly? Well, the last years I have played Through The Ages, Alchemists and of course Codenames from them (although that is another catagory). I highly enjoyed them all and did this one as well. So if that is all you wanted to know you wanted to know, well there you go



Gameplay


Okay so you have a modular board with 4 different configurations (based on player count you can make the maps small or large). The theme is a First Person Shooter such as Quake where you are running around shooting each other.

When you shoot a person, you do a number of damage to them and put a number of your tokens on their mat equal to the number of damage you did. When a person has enough damage token on them they explode like a piñata and pay out points to each one who helped kill them based on how much damage they did. It is sorta like area control where the players are the areas running around shooting each other.
The game ends after a certain number of kills and the person with most points wins.

More specifically on your turn, you take two actions from the following list:

Move: Move your dude around the map.
Pick up: Pick up ammo or weapons.
Shoot

There are lots of different weapons with different requirements. There is a chainsaw which only damages a person in your space, a heat seeking missile which can only hit people that you cannot see, rail guns, rifles etc.

You also sometimes pick up power cards which allow you to do additional damage, teleport etc.


Thoughts


Thought #1: This game has minis. I don't really care about minis but they seemed fine. So there. I must admit the yellow one I find pretty cool


Thought #2: This game is smooth. The first thing I noticed when playing this game was how smoothly it played. You take two quick but significant actions on your turn and then it moves on. A single turn feels like it has the right amount of complexity. You have a couple of reasonable options but I don't think this game will trigger people's analysis paralysis (you know someone will prove me wrong ).


Thought #3: Rules are easy. The rules are explained quite quickly and you can start playing. You will not need a 30 minute rules explanation. Even if you want to cover all special cases, you should be able to do it in 10-15 minutes and if you prefer to start playing more quickly 5 minutes should be fine and you can explain the other stuff when it comes up. This is a nice change from Alchemists and Though The Ages.


Thought #4: The game feels pretty thematic. What I mean here is that you are running fairly frantically around shooting people around you. You likely think more about who you are shooting than in an FPS but otherwise it feels like a good board game implementation. Of course, this has more downtime than an FPS


Thought #5: No downside to being shot: I guess this is more of a negative than the positive previous ones. It seems that there is no downside to being shot. If person A is choosing between shooting me or person B, my natural instincts tell me to try and make him shoot person B, but the game gives no real downside to me being shot (in fact, being damaged makes my actions slightly stronger). If I die, I just respawn with my weapons and ammo. Points are given out if I die, but they are also given out if player B dies. On one hand, this seems weird (I expected being shot to be bad). On the other hand, this means that there will not be that any negotiations such as "Okay you don't shoot me I don't shoot you" etc. It is probably good that these are not present (I find such negotiations lame so props to any game which does not incentivise that stuff).


Thought #6: Great implementation of interaction. <-- Most important thought
Interaction in multiplayer games in hard to get right in my opinion. I am bored if I don't interact with the other players and just my tableau. If there is lots of interaction, it often leads to kingmaker situations or situations where two players fighting (interacting) hurts both and benefit everyone else. I absolutely hate both of those things and they can and have often ruined a game for me.

This game is clearly very interactive, you are not just managing you own tableau (ok you manage it a tiny tiny bit), and with the area majority stuff you will probably consider carefully who you target with your next shot. There is an additional are control game where the players are given bonus points based on who delivered the kill shot most times, which makes it not obvious what your optimal play is.
There is no targeting the leader (you can shoot them but it does not really matter for him). There seems to not be a kingmaking problem (although it is easy to invent a situation where it can happen in the game, it is not be impressions that such situations are common). Points are hidden but trackable (smallworld style) so in a casual game, you will not know who is winning but unlike smallworld, even if you track them in your head, there is no obvious way to target the leader. Great! Magnificnet!

Thought #7: I hate the Symbology: Okay, so there are a lot of different weapons in the game and what they do is explained with symbology (but precisely explained in the rules). On a first play, we often had to consult the rules to find out what certain things did. This will of course be better with more plays but it is a thing to consider if you hate symbols like myself.

To give a reference of how much I dislike symbols it is the reason I do not want to play race for the galaxy again (even having played it about 5 times with a few months between each play I never quite got it). Even the symbology in 7 wonders bothers me a lot. So take this how you will


Conclusion
Okay, so as you can see most of the points above are possible. I think the game is good. The most important point for me is point #6. If you can read that and agree with my thoughts on interaction, I think you will enjoy playing this game.
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Zaphod Beeblebrox
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Thank you for the early thoughts on this!

As an avid FPS player in my younger days, I'd be all over this game if only it supported 2P. But I'll seek it out if I go to a convention in the future.
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Randy Espinoza
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Thanks. Any comments on different player counts (how it plays with 3 vs 4 players)?
 
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Mike Cook
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Thanks for your thoughts. I am definitely one who is eagerly reading every bit I can on this game.

As people get to play their copies I hope they can work with the ideas I posted about making some functional bots to make this play great with 2 or even solo. I know whenever I get a copy I will be trying to make it happen if no one else has already.
 
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Tobi Kolb
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I played it twice so far and i consider it the best design of the year.

Not only did the designer sucessfully port a FPS into a board game, but he managed to do so with very elegant rules. Nothing seeems pasted on and i love the ressource management through the need for ammo. Every decision affects your chances of winning the game but sometimes you just wanna do the most fun action.

An example for this was last games last round. I could have moved so that i denied the player, whom i thought to be my only competitor for first place, some points and still i did the action with the most style.

I love how each weapon feels unique.

AP can definitly be an issue but a game with the shorter setup takes at max 90 minutes. And these are packed with action and the right amount of thinking.

And i didnt even try the other game modes.

A minor quibble are the missing player powers but i feel CGE has a reason for this.

I highly recommend this gem to everyone who likes a good theme, euro game mechanics and games with rememberable storys.


Edit: I think the symbols and weapons design is very nice and after the first play we knew what every weapon was doing. CGW managed to find a system of symbols that can describe alot of different effects very precise and still has that ego shooter feel to it.
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Christian K
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Hey thanks a lot for your comments. I have only played it with 4 so I don't know much about the difference. I suspect it is better with 4 but also good with three (with three you are only two people battling for each area majority).
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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The symbols have a lot of that Portal/Aperture feeling.

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Tomáš Sládek
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Muemmelmann wrote:
Hey thanks a lot for your comments. I have only played it with 4 so I don't know much about the difference. I suspect it is better with 4 but also good with three (with three you are only two people battling for each area majority).


That is the way it was shown in Essen, but the full rules recommend adding a simple bot to your 3p games - on each player's turn, the active player will move the bot and deal one damage to one person in the bot's LoS. The bot has a damage track as any other player and so you can get points from shooting him (and he can get points from you).

But I think 4p/5p is clearly better anyway, this game thrives on player interaction.

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Christian K
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Thanks, yeah I remember hearing about the bot but as many other people I am not so interested in 'artificial' co-players.
 
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Jason Webster
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nbread wrote:
Thank you for the early thoughts on this!

As an avid FPS player in my younger days, I'd be all over this game if only it supported 2P. But I'll seek it out if I go to a convention in the future.


Couldn't you play 2vs2 and have each player control 2 characters ?
 
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Tomáš Sládek
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Dnasearchr wrote:
nbread wrote:
Thank you for the early thoughts on this!

As an avid FPS player in my younger days, I'd be all over this game if only it supported 2P. But I'll seek it out if I go to a convention in the future.


Couldn't you play 2vs2 and have each player control 2 characters ?


That does not eliminate the issue of only one opponent to deal damage to. The area control element of the game is lost because with 2p there's only one person to control each area (= opponent's damage track). I suppose you could rule it so that your end score is the average of your two characters, but I don't think it would help much, you still wouldn't be fighting against an opponent for the kills, just attempting to balance it out evenly. With 2p it's just too zero sum.

I suppose you could do it by controlling 2 characters independently (i.e. have them shoot at each other too), emulating a 4p game.
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James Arias
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How does this game compare vs. Frag?
 
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Mike Cook
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Very different games. Adrenaline has no dice, a tighter map, and is really an resource management and area control game if you have to name the mechanics. Frag is more of a tactical positioning and dice rolling game. Its really just the theme that is similar.
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bob gabriels
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It has only one player reference sheet. on first play, this made the game 15 minutes longer than it would have been if more reference sheets were included in the box. As a further thought : 5 people is too many.
 
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Milos Prochazka
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Muemmelmann wrote:


Thought #5: No downside to being shot: I guess this is more of a negative than the positive previous ones. It seems that there is no downside to being shot. If person A is choosing between shooting me or person B, my natural instincts tell me to try and make him shoot person B, but the game gives no real downside to me being shot (in fact, being damaged makes my actions slightly stronger). If I die, I just respawn with my weapons and ammo. Points are given out if I die, but they are also given out if player B dies. On one hand, this seems weird (I expected being shot to be bad). On the other hand, this means that there will not be that any negotiations such as "Okay you don't shoot me I don't shoot you" etc. It is probably good that these are not present (I find such negotiations lame so props to any game which does not incentivise that stuff).



Not true. Whenever you die, other players get points, while you get nothing. It is always better if you get at least point or two when someone dies
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Christian K
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You are right but on the other hand, if people spend their time shooting you, it makes you more likely to have the most tokens on the other players when they die, winning first place there which nets you a lot of points.
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Pablo G.F.
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Borghal wrote:
Dnasearchr wrote:
nbread wrote:
Thank you for the early thoughts on this!

As an avid FPS player in my younger days, I'd be all over this game if only it supported 2P. But I'll seek it out if I go to a convention in the future.


Couldn't you play 2vs2 and have each player control 2 characters ?


That does not eliminate the issue of only one opponent to deal damage to. The area control element of the game is lost because with 2p there's only one person to control each area (= opponent's damage track). I suppose you could rule it so that your end score is the average of your two characters, but I don't think it would help much, you still wouldn't be fighting against an opponent for the kills, just attempting to balance it out evenly. With 2p it's just too zero sum.

I suppose you could do it by controlling 2 characters independently (i.e. have them shoot at each other too), emulating a 4p game.


Or maybe you could pull a "R.Knizia", and score it somewhat like Tigris&Euphrates or Samurai. In a 2player game each player control 2 fighters, but your score at the end is only the one of the fighter you scored the lowest (so you have to pay attention to both your fighters having a good score)
 
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