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Subject: Snowblind Review - Take a Chance on the South Pole rss

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Guy
England
Chorleywood
Hertfordshire
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I picked up Snowblind on Kickstarter and have had a chance to play a few games (solo and several players) so thought I would pen a short review of the game


OVERIVEW/THEME

Snowblind is game about a race to the South Pole (1-4 players), themed around the Antarctic explorations of the early 1900’s. It’s not a simulation however. Game time is about 45 minutes.


COMPONENTS 9/10
As you can see from the various unboxing videos, the game is beautiful, especially the artwork. The explorers are represented by meeples, not the normal ‘star jump’ ones, but of explorers struggling into the wind. I normally prefer minis but due to the slight abstract nature of the art I think they work well here.
Minor downside is the flag stands, which was one of the KS stretch goals. They are too loose to hold the flag and so are useless. It doesn’t impact gameplay though as the flags can be laid flat.
The cards and box are printed on good stock…….and this is a nice compact box without loads of air, so my shelves thank you for that 


GAMEPLAY 8/10

At its heart this is a logistics and dice rolling, push your luck game
You start with a captain, and another 5 explorers (scientists and sailors). To win you need to earn prestige points; you get these by being the first to get your flag to the pole and back, by getting explorers back to base camp, undertaking scientific experiments etc. Just getting to the pole and back first will not win you the game (as I found out!)
There are a limited number of actions you can take, each has a weather die associated with it on an action board that is passed around the players.
To take an action you first take the action (eg movement) and then roll a ‘weather’ die. Depending on the result, the weather picks up and to avoid exposure you need to consume resources – if you don’t have any resources you become exhausted, if you were already exhausted, that explorer dies.
The turn then passes to the next player who chooses from the REMAINING actions and takes the corresponding die. By the time the action board comes back to you there will be fewer dice (and therefore actions) to choose from……and here is the rub. If you choose to do another action you roll that corresponding die AND any others you have used from previous actions. This obviously, the risk increases the more actions you decide to take during the turn.
Rather than take an action you can pass. When all players pass the turn is over, and a weather card is drawn and puts your furthest explorer at risk…… once the weather card is drawn, the action board is reloaded with dice and the next turn starts.
The weather card deck also defines the length of the game. When the pack ice card is drawn (which can be any of the last three cards) there is one more turn, after which all explorers left on the ice die!


SUMMARY 8/10

I’ve played this solo and with a group. Solo is OK but it really becomes a luck based dice fest. As you get to the last couple of moves, you win or lose based on the luck of the roll with little you can do about it. I think the replayability solo will be limited
However, the game comes into its own playing in a group. The theme really helps here, do you take another action (and dice) and put your explorers at risk of exhaustion or death, or do you pass and fall behind in the race? Despite the simple rules, there are decisions to make all the time, and the risk reward equation to evaluate. Perhaps the game needs a little more player interaction, as it stands its limited to the race element, and possibly taking the dice for the action that the next player really wants to do. For this reason I am not sure how long it will stay on the table, but for now it’s fun and popular.
The banter around the table caught the attention of the rest of the gaming group and I am sure that next game night I’ll have a group of players waiting to play.


KICKSTARTER COMMENTS 9/10

This was a very well run Kickstarter, with Stretch goals limited to the quality of the components and the solo mode. Communications were good and delivery was 20 days early. Also I lost a component and the Pleasant Company Games kindly sent me a replacement free of charge. I’d be more than happy to back future Kickstarters from this company again.
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Frank Weiß
Germany
Grenzach-Wyhlen
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Hello,

Thanks for your review. From your experience: how good is the game with just two? Can you recommend it with just two?
Best regards,
Frank
 
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Jason Vanstone
Canada
Regina
Saskatchewan
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I've played with just two players and it is still a lot of fun. You can actually get more player interaction because there is more opportunity for using the dice the other player needs before they can. It also seems to push each player a little further then they would normally go in a turn, resulting in more games ending due to death of the Captain rather than going to prestige totals. Which makes game time a bit shorter so you can play a few more games in an evening. Definitely worth it for 2-player as well.
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Guy
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Chorleywood
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As Jason said it works well with 2. With 4 players often all the dice are used, meaning there is a level of risk that people are willing to take but not able to because there are no dice left. With 2 players you will rarely use all the dice on a turn because the risk is far too high.

Additionally with 4 players you often have hobson's choice of what dice to use, because so many are taken. With 2 you have a wider choice (and therefore an implied increase in tactical and strategic decisions)

It works well at 2, is some ways better than 4 (though that's a hoot because of the increased competition)
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