Victory Points of View Reviews – Will a game suit you and the people you play with?
VPoV Reviews will not provide you with a rules overview or intricate details of the game. I’ll assume you have a basic understanding of the mechanics and theme of the game. These reviews aim to help you decide if you, or the people you often play with, will like the game.
VPoV Reviews are based on experiences with the following perspectives in mind:
Mine – My subjective opinion. What I like/dislike and why.
New Gamers – Should you present this game to inexperienced board gamers?
Significant Other – In this case, my wife, who is sometimes a reluctant participant in my board game hobby. Will the game play well with your partner/reluctant gamers?
Kids/Families – I have three children. How has this game faired for them?
More Experienced Gamers – People who have experience with games of all styles and types.
Adrenaline, if played with the right people, is an action packed (although not exactly adrenaline pumping), laugh a minute experience with equal amounts of chaos as there is strategy.
The claustrophobic maps mean there is always interaction with players. You may get some respite with the occasional retreat (signalling so in a Monty Pythn-esque “Run-away” voice is mandatory), but it’s not going to last long. And neither are you!
Whilst I’m generally not a fan of “take that” games, this one works because you are constantly taking THAT… and THIS… and a bit of THIS…plus a little more of THAT. You will get hit. Often. You’ll exact revenge just as regularly and the marking system (from certain weapons or from being “overkilled” that allows bonus damage next time you hit that player) fosters some great banter.
The game is nicely balanced, but like a good game should be, you are far more likely to win with a strategic and specific approach. The fact that this could be viewed as an area control game, with the players actually being the areas, and the diminishing returns for players that have been killed more than others means that targets should be shifting regularly.
This game shines when the players get into the roles and events of the game. In jokes, manic catchphrases and vengeance monologues will fill the air with the right crowd, as will the laughter that will ensure.
If I have any real criticisms, they are not entirely the game’s fault. This has not worked well with my family (see below) and you really need 4-5 players for it to realise its full brawl-busting potential. Below four, even with specially designed bots and mechanics, the game just slows down too much and feels less of what it is supposed to be – First person shooter chaos.
And that’s my second minor gripe. I’ve played tabletop games where my adrenaline is pumping. That could be a bluffing game where everything rides on a call of another player. It could be a Euro or worker placement where you have planned your next masterstroke and you just need two more players to play without screwing you up before your genius can be on display for all to see. Those moments of waiting can be equally exhilarating as they are excruciating. Adrenaline provides none of this. It is not adrenaline pumping at all and there are a couple of reasons for this; a) the game shifts so much from turn to turn that you can’t plan too far ahead, so there is no real chance to design a grand plan to be undone and b) the gameplay can be quite slow. Not painfully so, but it ain’t quick.
Still, if you take the game for what it is and play with the right crowd, it’s a blast…TO YOUR FACE!!!
This would be a tricky game to introduce to new players. Arguably, the game is easy enough to pick up and the balancing systems would mean that they would not always be targeted for inefficient moves. For more experienced gamers, the iconography is pretty decent and most rules are quite clear. But, there are loads of guns and alternative firing options for each, which can be quite daunting for players of modern games.
There are limited options per turn and only a little planning needs to be done. In fact, you could play turn by turn on whim and not plan at all and still perform ok, but I feel that new gamers would simply feel overwhelmed with the iconography and options on the cards, misinterpreting firing options that would require quite constant coaching for bets moves and best targets.
That said, in my experience, most players hold onto their first set of guns for most of the game. So there is an argument that they will learn their weapon’s attributes and limitations after a couple of uses.
The lack of penalty for dying means that there is no sitting out, so there is no bitter taste for stuffing up too badly.
Overall, I can think of better games (possibly other area control games) to introduce to new gamers and then bring this one along shortly afterwards. It’s not hard, but it’s not my first choice if I wanted to encourage the hobby. Perhaps, if they were fans of video games, but even then, this is NOT a first person shooter sim. 5/10
SIGNIFICANT OTHER/RELUCTANT GAMERS
This can’t be recommended for you and your partner given the lack of 2 player options. There may be two player variants out there, but I am neither aware nor interested in them.
As for reluctant gamers, again, I would recommend other games before this one. As mentioned, the iconography is generally easy to understand… for more experienced gamers. But for someone who is reluctantly sitting down at your behest in the attempt to be won over probably won’t be impressed. And they probably won’t like being smashed by your carefully selected combo of weapons either.
No-one who is tentative about games will want to bumble their way through a claustrophobic arena getting pounded from pillar to post. 4/10
This will largely depend on the make-up and temperament of the family members. This has NOT worked in my family and after two attempts, it will not see the table with the whole family again. My daughter (at the time 9) and my son (at the time 7) waged war against each other, despite the fact that the game discourages targeting weaker, previously killed players. This did not discourage my son one bit and any opportunity to attack, or make his way to attack, his sister was taken. This, of course, greatly annoyed my daughter who basically refused to play.
If your kids are older, or understand that the rewards lie in targeting the stronger, healthier players, then they may be ok. But it is imperative that they understand that they WILL be hit, A LOT and they WILL die at least once.
You will have to help with their guns and you may find that they use the same one or two guns over and over as they know how to use it, rather than use one or two of their other weapons which may be more effective.
In our case, this was a failure of quite large proportions. It may work in your family’s case, but consider your children’s reactions to being sledgehammered in the face by their brother/sister before you commit to purchasing it. 3/10
Now, here is where it shines. This has been a hit for everyone who I have convinced to play it. And that, like many games, will be your biggest and only hurdle. The artwork, name and description belies the game that is underneath. No-one wants to be beaten up. Thinking gamers don’t want fast and chaotic. Many people don’t like guns/violence. But, I have found by selling it as more of an area control or majority control game which is not as chaotic as it sounds (it’s not, so it’s the truth) I tend to get more people interested.
I’ve played games with all types of gamers in the same game and each has loved it. There are movie quotes, hysterical laughter and a lot more tactical play involved when people have had some experience in gaming.
More than a flesh wound! 9/10
Overall – The game name and marketed theme (FPS) does itself no favours. Inexperienced players and family members with a low threshold for getting pummelled may find the experience to be frustrating or agitating. Or they may love it. But experienced gamers and fans of most other types of games may find they have a fantastic time, even when they die!
"GAME OVER, MAN. GAME OVER!"
Unwashed and somewhat slightly dazed...
"...but consider your children’s reactions to being sledgehammered in the face by their brother/sister before you commit to purchasing it."