Right in time for my christmas vacation this game arrived on my doorstep and because of the general very good impression it left I feel the urge to let you guys be part of what a wonderful Perditions Mouth Christmas we had. I will start with all the good stuff which we experienced first and come to a few shortcomings I think this game got afterwards. I'm no native speaker so should something not be clear because of my language skills just let me know so I can clarify things.
Here we go:
First off: I enjoyed the time with this game greatly!
Thanks to Timo and the whole dragon dawn staff to bring such an mechanically intresting and themewise very refreshing dungeon crawler to the light of public. You guys just did a fantastic job!
Let me tell you what happened during my Perditions Mouth Christmas 2016.
The game arrived at sometime during the week before christmas and had to wait until the 24th for me to arrive also to get all the respect and attention it rightfully deserved. My brother and me dived right into the game after getting up (around 11 am) and we didn't stop playing - only the occasional break to get something out of the fridge to eat or drink - until 6 or 7 pm. We just had a wonderful time. Even though we played a few things wrong, had to check the errata for a few of the scenarios and the FAQ Section we dived deeply into the theme and mechanics.
So deep, that after everyone of our family went to bed (must have been around 3 am) we decided to finish the scenario and played until the first grey light of dawn greated us and the new day. What a great start for some relaxed holidays!
The next day after getting up we played again all day. And in the evening we brought the game to friends with whom we played again until 4 or 5 am. Same procedure on the 26th. And so on. We were literally during the holydays doing nothing but eating, drinking and playing this wonderful game. Oh, and sleeping...sometimes... almost nothing if I'm honest I think you get the impression. We were tremendously hooked.
This kind of behaviour went on until the 29th of december and it was quite an interesting process.
The first fascination for the theme, the miniatures and the nicely arranged scenarios developed over the course of this marathonesque play session(s) to an incredible fun way of interaction with the scenarios through the extremly tactical gameplay. The first few scenarios are beatable even without a deeper understanding of the mechanical side of enemy behaviour and even without the most perfect way to let the heroes use their abilities. But, oh man, there are a few unforgiving bastards of scenarios in this box.
And, yes, these were the real instruments with which we learned to tactically outplay the game. We had to correctly predict the movement of enemies (especially these super ugly teleporting, ranged attacks using summoners, who can be incredibly - damn I say incredibly - annoying). We had to guess correctly - and all the time also preparing for the worst - how many steps the enemy side will take on the enemy wheel. Had to postion our heroes in this exact one way in which it is possible to lure the summoner to Simma (weakest caracter) and get it bashed to a wall by Bastian, and afterwards finished off by Tyra for the last damage it needs to not being able to attack poor Simma during his activation.
We had to check out cleverly how it is doable to rightfully spawn and move these boneworms in a way that they are blocking at least the acolytes shortest escape route. Or find the exact timing when it is save for Elisa to teleport back and forth getting these nice treasures or - beware! - activate this nasty trap.
It was ridiculous fun and engaging to solve these tactical puzzles. It never felt dry or boring. It was full of tension and excitement
And it was a deep tactical experience. We spent lots and lots of talk before the scenarios to put together the perfect group of heroes for the job. And after our unevitable first failed attempt we discussed different tactics which seemed doable under the circumstances the map and the enemys presented to us in this specific scenario. Long story short: We really had a blast. What a fine game. What a nice time to have with your friends.
This game can be really hard and unforgiving, but all the time we had the feeling that every scenario is absolutely doable. We just needed another tactical approach and a new try. And another one and another one and another one. We just played it a lot during this vacation. I enjoyed it. I had a wonderful time with my friends and I am glad this game could be produced in exact this retro stylish, brutal and deeply immersive way it has been produced.
Thanks a lot!
Now this is posted in the reviews section and no game is without flaws, so I want to also give an overview of the few shortcomings this game (as every game in general) has:
Firstly: The rules on enemy movement and their general behaviour were a bit unclear to us in the first few sessions. Do they operate this lever to let the Chileens out of the cage or don't they? It's not in the rulebook wether they are doing this or not. We checked out hte rules threads on BGG and Timo (the designer of the game) answered a great ammount of questions regarding all the stuff players got wrong or weren't clear with in a short period of time. This can't be taken for granted. It's just awesome customerservice.
Thanks to the discussions and answers here on BGG it became generally clear to us:
Like in most cooperative games you have to play the enemy as intelligent as possible, but in PM you also have to use every mechanical instrument the game gives to you to make the enemy turns as inefficient as possible.
That sounds contradictory doesn't it?
After we got a hang on which parts of the enemy control system are free to manipulate by the player (spawn pools, positioning around spawning locations and stuff like this) and which ones are the parts that we identified as something which falls under "intelligent enemy behaviour" we were quite clear with the situations.
We never had these "Ugh, I don't know... let's just say... ugh... they go there or something..." kind of moments. The Enemy AI is programmed very well. The enemies are different and behave differently but they are alway doing hte same stuff (moving and attacking). So it really is not so complicated. Mostly the lever interaction was a part we needed some response about the intention of the rules. And we got these.
Secondly: A few of the scenarios (the hard ones) require some very conservative way to play them. Perhaps I will post something in the tactics section about our approach to the last sceanrio which was just a feast of standing near the entrance in the perfect combination of aiding and healing Bastian while he slew hordes and hordes of monsters all by himself through a specially made hole in the wall (thanks: gloves of transmutation) while Olazabal had blocked the only other route to the heroes position with her ability to crate a wall segment on a free space.
It's been crazy conservative to play. I mean it's not been boring (we played all the sceanrio with the hard side of the enemies so everything with summoners and Chileens in it - which is almost everything - never got boring) it was just a test of will and an example of having a veeeery long breath to slay all the monsters while the demon couldn't get to the position we were holding due to the configuration of the map.
Something similiar happened in another scenario. I can't imagine another tactical approach to these slaughterfeasts of scenarios with soooooo many enemies on the board then bit by bit, one by one killing them off and getting treasures and victims afterwards.
I would love being proven wrong by the way.
I don't think this is a really hard negative. It's just a special tactic we encountered a few times through the playthrough and the one that seemed most doable. And even though it was fun in the end (I didn't regret even one session of this wonderful game). I - for my part - couldn't come up with another doable tactic regarding the hardest missions in Perditions Mouth, but I would have loved to.
Just: nothing else did work and it's not the most heroic way of playing. It's conservative. Not bad, not boring, but a bit on the not so temper filled, wild, engaging side of things.
So let's come to my conclusion, my overall thoughts of Perditions Mouth:
I like this game a lot. I'm very, very glad I backed this. I had a great time with my friends who are btw often quite skeptical when it comes to boardgames and they loved this game. I'm so happy that these kind of innovative interesting mechanics got implemented in such a strong, theme heavy game and wish the guys of dragondawn publishing all the best for their next projects. I hope these projects will be great sucesses, because you guys earned it. You brought to me and my friends one of the most engaging and fascinating gaming experiences of the last years.
Thank you very much!
Great review, thanks! So when you say conservative approach and slaughtering all enemies; you mean letting all the enemies spawn from all three pools and killing them all? That's kind of amazing. It also means you don't have to kill the spawn points, so you don't have to raise the threat level that way.
Glad you enjoyed it!
Yes exactly, letting all enemies spawn and killing them off. Particularly the last scenario is very well suited for this approach because the acolytes in this scenario don't try to escape. But with some thoughtful moving of boneworms it's also possible to block the acolytes in other scenariosquite long enough until Elisa can teleport to them and let them vanish in some fire AoE or something.