The Daedalus Sentence is a cooperative 1-4 player game where players are trapped in an alien prison. The power just went out and the players are able to escape their cells, however they now have to find the escape pod on the 4th floor and escape before any of them are captured 2 times.
If you would like to see a playthrough of the game, please check out my YouTube Channel: One Stop Co-op Shop:
The game has some unique game mechanics as well as a very cool board that you will have to rotate each round as players try to navigate the halls of the prison.
The game consists of 3 Phases:
1. Theseus Refresh Phase
2. Player Action Phase
3. Hive Prison Activation
Phase 1: Phase 1 is where the Theseus Board (more information on this board below) is refilled and prepared for the next round. This is also where if you are playing certain variants, you will roll dice or discuss your plans for the character activation phase.
Phase 2: In this phase you will act out your actions. All players act concurrently so no player order is needed. This makes the game feel more real as you are almost working in “real time.” Some variants to the game even have a time limit for this phase.
Phase 3: Now this wouldn’t be much a prison if the enemies didn’t get to activate as well, right? This phase is when you will activate the cards on the Theseus board equal to the alert level. The alert level will increase for every gate you open to a new floor. This means the farther you get towards success, the more the enemies will move!
Your goal is simple. Escape! You must find the escape pod on the final floor and use your cards to activate the pod. If any player is captured 2 times, the game is lost.
The components in this game are fantastic. The cardboard pieces are REALLY think cardboard. I would not be able to bend the player tokens used on the Theseus board if I wanted too. The card stock for the one deck of cards is also stellar. I did not even sleeve them because they don’t need sleeves. It is a good thing the cards are so sturdy since in the end game you will be shuffling the deck of cards quite often. The board itself is sturdy enough and the tiles are of slightly above average quality. I cannot believe I am saying this, but I almost wish the board itself was slightly bigger. Once you get a couple Minotaur’s, a Loctae and a gate token, those tiles can get quite crowded.
The only component I was not 100% satisfied with for the price I paid was the miniatures. The enemy miniatures are fine, however unless you paint them when there are tons of enemies on the board (which happens in the end game) it is difficult to tell the difference between the Loctae and the Minotaur. Also a couple of my character miniatures lean quite a bit, and seem to be made of a very bendable plastic. This does not affect gameplay at all, but when your mercenary Clay looks like he is going to fall on his back everywhere he goes, it does take something away from the game. Also, since the board is the size it is I completely understand why they made the miniatures so small so that they could fit on the board! Hence the reasons I wish there was a bigger board, but that would mean a bigger box. . . Dilemma!
The art in this game certainly adds to the thematic sense of the game. The pictures on the cards of the enemies are not gruesome but are certainly scary. I would NOT enjoy an experience up close with a Minotaur, let me tell you that! The other cards are simple and straightforward. I do really appreciate the arrows on the number cards to assist with determining which way the board should move, or enemies should move. I will say the art on the tiles I am not as much of a fan. The vent tiles have the vent so gosh darn small I sometimes have a hard time delineating between the vent tile and other tiles. The art just feels a little sparse on the tiles. I found myself having to examine the tiles more than I would have cared to in order to determine which type of tile it is.
I will say that the art on the tiles starts to look more like an alien prison when more and more tiles are revealed. You add in the miniatures of Loctae and Minotaur’s walking around, you will find yourself pulled into the story of the game, which I appreciate.
The Theme is strong with this one! Oops wrong game. Every aspect of this game provides you with the feeling that you are trying to escape from a prison. When you open gates, the security level will increase because the aliens know you have escaped and are trying desperately to find you. You in turn have limited (or full depending on how you are playing) information on their movements as well as the movements of the floors. You have to use this information and try and escape as quietly as you can, only opening gates when you REALLY need too as each time you open a gate to a new level, the enemies will get an additional activation per round. As you get to the lower levels the tension builds up and becomes almost palpable. Great theme and they did a good job of depicting the theme in the gameplay.
I have some mixed feeling on the Gameplay mechanics. Here are some of the positive aspects of the game for me, and below I also point out what I did not like about the game.
The Theseus board is one of the coolest gameplay mechanisms I have seen in a while. On the board there is an area for 2 rows of 4 cards. The top row cards are used for determining which level of the prison will rotate which way it will rotate (clockwise or counter-clockwise) and the amount of rotations. The bottom row delineates enemy movement by determining which level the enemies will move on, if they will move clockwise or counter-clockwise, and how many spaces. When you play with the 1st variant, all these cards are face down and at the beginning of the round you roll a 6 sided die. Depending upon what number you rolled, you will reveal that many cards on the Theseus board starting from the upper left card, then the lower left card etc.
At the beginning of the game, the prison is at an alert rate of 1. This means only one card from the top of the row and the bottom row will be activated per round. However for every gate you open to a new floor, the level is increased by 1, to a maximum of 4. This means that enemies could potentially move up to 4 times per round. Whoa! With the prison not being THAT big (I think the lower levels only have about 12-14 tiles in total) those enemies can get around pretty quickly!
Now you may be asking how do enemies get on the board? This also is done through the Theseus board. If ever there is a Minotaur or Loctae enemy card on the Theseus board and it is activated you spawn one on the board! Now it is slightly complicated how they spawn, but there is a method and it is actually quite cool. You may need to re-read this section 4-8 times to have it sink in, but once you start spawning enemies it becomes second nature. Just pray that you do not draw a wild card when determining where a Minotaur should spawn. . . Or you are in for a treat!
Here is the thing this is not all the Theseus board does! Each character has a really thick cardboard piece that has their picture on it. They sit at the top of the board doing nothing unless you are captured. When you are captured they are turned over, and provide a symbol that reminds you of the negative effect while you are captured. Once you are freed (IF, IF you are freed I should say ) you take your token off the board completely. If you are caught again, the game is lost. Nice simple mechanic for keeping track of who has been captured and their negative effects while being captured etc.
There are six different types of tiles you will see in the game:
Communication Relay: You can take an action here to swap any card in hand with any card in the Enemy Activation section of the Theseus board. This is a great way to manipulate which enemies are moving, or even preventing a spawn of an enemy!
Control Room: You can take an action here to swap any card in hand with any card in the Prison rotation section of the Theseus board.
Ventilation Duct: You can use this tile to crawl to a tile on an adjacent floor, as long as the tile has already been revealed.
Hatchery: You can spend an action to hide here (maybe hiding behind the eggs?). If an enemy walks into this room you are unseen and are not caught! This can be a very important tile in the late game.
Research Laboratory: Normally you can only draw 1 card for 2 actions. Here you can draw 2 cards, for 1 action! VERY important tile to keep yourself stocked with cards to open gates and defeat enemies.
Gates: Here you will find the access number needed to open the gate, and once it is opened you can use it to go up and down between levels. The catch is the Loctae can use these too!
These tiles provide you with ample decisions to make on your turn. Should I go and hide in the Hatchery? Do I want to spend an action to replace that Minotaur card in the Enemy Activation section of the Theseus board? Also since the tiles are randomly placed each game, you never know what you might find. . . . Although most of these tiles are helpful, some of them will spawn Minotaur’s or even worse a Loctae! So be careful!
I enjoy any co-op game that allows for player differentiation. The player abilities provides this differentiation and each character is well balanced in my opinion. I have played with all of them, and have found positives and negatives of each one. The only character I feel is better than the rest is the scout. She can explore through vents and even go down to lower floors without increasing the alert level. Other than that, the player abilities are a great add to the game.
Multiple-Use of Cards
I just think it is awesome how this game uses one deck of cards. I love how when I draw a Minotaur our Loctae card in hand I am cheering, but if I see one in the Theseus board I am crying. I like how the cards in my hand can be used to defeat enemies, open gates, and if you are playing with any of the variants, allow you re-rolls of dice or simply flip more cards face up on the Theseus board. A multi-use card is one of my favorite mechanisms. It saves space, but also provides you with more decisions.
In this game there are only 2 enemies; Loctae and Minotaur’s. Minotaur’s will spawn much more often in the game is there are 10-15 cards in the deck. There are only about 3-4 Loctae cards (thank goodness!). Each enemy will immediately capture you if they are ever on your tile. However, Minotaur’s are somewhat stupid, and Loctae are not. The Loctae can change levels if they get to a gate (even an unlocked gate!). The Minotaur’s will always stay on the level they spawn. Here is the thing though, 3 Minotaur’s on the same tile, CREATES a Loctae! Ouch!!
Here is the other thing about Loctae, they are activated by EVERY type of enemy activation card, even if it is not the right level! This means that they move a TON between turns, especially when you have opened a gate to each level.
Fighting in this game is very streamlined. Normally I would prefer this to be a bigger deal (rolling dice, using modifiers etc.) but in this game it really works to have fighting so simple. All you do is discard an enemy card from hand to eliminate a Minotaur. Now if you have a Loctae card, you can eliminate 3 Minotaur’s! Or if you try to eliminate a Loctae without a Loctae card, it takes 3 Minotaur cards! Cool, nice and simple and it makes sense. The Loctae are like bosses and are harder to kill, and the Minotaur’s are easier to defeat but there are more of them.
How you open gates is really quite awesome! Each gate has a number (one has a 0 for the number too which I think is cool). This number denotes how many cards you have to draw when you spend an action to find the key code. Once you draw the cards they are laid out on the table, and you can spend actions discarding cards that match the colors or the numbers on the cards on the table. You can cooperate on this by working together to discard the necessary cards (You will need to do this on the last gate to escape as you need 6 cards for that one!) This mechanic provides an additional use for the cards in hand and allows a way for player to cooperate. Love it!
Not a gameplay mechanic, but something that I think affects gameplay. There are 7 variants to this game! That means there is a lot of replayability in choosing which variants to use. You can mix and match all of them, and create a new experience. The first variant which has all cards on the Theseus board start facedown is a must. However for my wife and I, the timed variants were not our favorite as we prefer to take our time during the action phase.
Let’s get this out of the way. Everyone knows the box for this game is too big. I do not have any room on my shelves for a pizza box! It would have been one thing if it was large from a height perspective. But no, instead it literally is the size of a pizza box from Domino’s (and that would be a LARGE pizza!). The box itself though is HIGH QUALITY so I do not want to give the impression the box is horrible. But I am slightly frustrated that I have no good place to store the game. Maybe they did this so you have to keep the game out on your table all the time? If so, nice work!
I enjoy games with more than one objective. Think of Burgle Bros. for a minute. Your have a similar goal to this one, escape the bank without be caught by the guards. The catch is you ALSO have to break into 3 safes. This forces you to explore the bank WHILE avoiding the guards. In Daedalus Sentence I have a singular goal. To escape. This means if I find the gate tile right away on level 2, why would I go exploring? There is no reason for me to try and sneak around and defeat Minotaur’s. I wish this game had another objective other than just to escape. Maybe we have to save someone on level 3 before we can leave. Or maybe we have to defeat a certain amount of Minotaur’s to ensure they do not pursue us when we do escape. . . I just wanted something else to focus on besides just escaping.
Equipment or Gear
Along with the objective, I felt like this game is missing something else, and that is you being able to find equipment or gear along the way. I want to be able to search a storage room and find some crazy alien broom that allows me to fly to a different floor, so something like that. Or maybe some alien WD40 that allows you to escape from your cell on your own if caught! The different tiles are cool, but on a 4 level board, you start wanting to see something else. . . You could even make it where when you search, a small portion of the items you find could hurt you, so that this mechanic doesn’t make the game too easy.
For each level except for the first level has 2 random tiles you will place in the configuration. This is out of a 4 tile random stack for each floor. Although this provides some randomness to the levels, I wish there was simply more randomness. After playing 6-8 times I know on average how many Research Laboratory’s or control Rooms there are per floor, and this means the floor becomes more predictable as you move around. I guess I just want more tiles that can be randomized into the floor to make each game more unique.
When you start the game, you find that the majority of time spent is you deciding on what actions you want to take. What happens though when you get into the late game, and there are 13 Minotaur’s on the board, 3 Loctae and you are activating 8 cards on the Theseus board, the game starts to slow down for me. In a 4 player game I have 3 actions. After we all complete our 3 actions (which may only take 2-3 minutes at most) we spend almost double that time activating enemies on the board. To me the board becomes out of control as so many things are moving each round, and you spend so much of your time just moving the enemies and the board instead of moving your own character. I wish there was a way to decrease the amount it takes to activate the enemies. The problem is, with 4 activations, and Loctae moving with each activation, there is just no way to make this go faster. Yes there is tension on what card you will flip, but I prefer to spend more of my time in a game doing character activations, instead of enemy activations.
The player aid in this game is a bit crazy. The size of the player aid is too big, they have pictures of the tiles on the front but no explanation of what they do so you have to look it up anyways. The backside of the player aid is chalk full of words, almost setup like an essay instead of an aid. I found that after the first game I just played with the rulebook as it was easier to find what I needed there, versus the player aid.
Overall the mechanic of being captured is cool, and in theory I like it a lot. You are carried back to your prison cell; there is a negative effect that affects all players until you are released. However what stinks is how this mechanic is implemented. First, when you are captured you can do nothing during your turn. This means as a player you are just sitting there, doing nothing. Sure you can help others but in a world where everyone who plays co-op games is worried about alpha gamers this is a perfect time for an alpha gamer to start telling people what to do. Now if you just lost one turn, that would be fine, but instead you lose all your turns until someone comes to free you. Usually you are captured when you are getting close to the end and so most players will be on the level 3 or 4. They now have to have 1 player spend actions to go all the way back up to the first floor and free you, and then come all the way back. Meanwhile the other players just play cat and mouse with the enemies. Or better yet, they just sit tight in a hatchery. So now you have one person playing the game and all the others just sitting and watching and activating enemies.
So for me, although the mechanic is cool in theory, if someone is caught when all players are in the 4th level, I usually just call it a game and start over.
Setup: 3-5 minutes
Takedown: 3-5 minutes – Really appreciate how easy it is to set up and takedown this game.
Playtime: 60-75 minutes
As there are 7 difference variants to this game, 5 characters to choose from and there is randomness in tile layout I think the play again factor is relatively high. What hurts this rating is the single objective and lack of equipment or gear cards that could provide the game with more variability.
Medium, Any Player
I would say this game is not heavy per-se but I would not call it a light game. There are a lot of rules, and some of them are less than intuitive. However as long as a single players knows the rules of spawning, and how the Theseus board works, any player can play this casual or not. Since there is a single objective, I believe it is easier for everyone to understand how to play.
Overall, I think this game has some really great mechanics, and the way the board moves each round is intuitive and is a fantastic mechanic. The game has its great moments, but for me and my gaming group it fell a little bit flat after multiple plays. I would say that by play 4 the game lost its shine for me. The ways I could see this game improving are having multiple objectives, equipment or gear cards you could search for, change the capture mechanic, and finding a way to decrease the time it takes to activate enemies in the late game.
Is this game worth the hefty price tag, which my guess is due to the box size and quality, the fantastic quality of components etc.? Obviously that is for you to decide, but for me I am not so sure. Still, I would recommend to anyone to give the game a try! It certainly is not a bad game, I just have other games I would prefer to play. If you are looking for a co-op sci-fi stealth game, this may be for you!
- Last edited Mon Oct 2, 2017 4:48 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Thu Feb 2, 2017 1:34 pm