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Atmosfear: The DVD Board Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: BANISHED to the BLACK HOLE? rss

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Andres Herrera
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Introduction
--------------
Have you ever played the video boardgame called Nightmare (or Atmosfear, if you lived in Europe) before? You know, where The Gatekeeper hosts the game for a whole hour, transforming every ten minutes? Well, this is a brand new game in the series, featuring a brand new Gatekeeper, great board pieces and a very interesting new concept on "interactive play". Each and every time you play the game, The Gatekeeper says and does different things, which is a great bonus.

Story
--------------
Pretty much the same story as any other Atmosfear title. The people who are playing the game have summoned The Gatekeeper, and they must beat him at his own game before 49 minutes expires. Same old, same old.

Graphics
------------------
Now, here's the thing. There is a real life actor playing The Gatekeeper -- zero computer animation for him. The background is an entirely different story. There are multiple, computer animated areas throughout the game. The lava at the beginning is in my opinion, the worst part of the graphics throughout the game. It just doesn't look that realistic at all. If you're lucky when playing, you will be able to choose one of the Harbingers "homes" to take a look at. There's a forest, a witch's hut, even a giant hand sticking out of lava! The animations in-game aren't all that bad, but they could afford to be a little bit better.

The make-up on The Gatekeeper is done very professionally, and is creepy and enticing at the same time. They've aged a man in his mid-thirties (I'm presuming that's his age), and turned him into an evil freak who is centuries old. The Gatekeeper's costume suits him perfectly (a tattered black cloak on purple skin rules!), and it makes him appear thin and tall. The Gatekeeper himself saved points in this section.

Characters
--------------------
Ah, the characters. The people who have kept the series going for this long. Let's begin with The Gatekeeper. Though only one of the couple of characters not based on real-life people, he has hosted most of the games. I highly doubt he will be appearing as one of the chooseable characters in the future.

Baron Samedi. Some people may know him as the man who just wouldn't die in 007: Die Another Day. Well, there's a whole history to him other than that, folks. He is a voodoo master, and a zombie in the Atmosfear series (he's hosted a game once, too!). He's worshipped by the Ghede clan, too. Let's move on.

Anne de Chantraine. Another real-life person, she was convicted on witchcraft in the 17th century, and burnt at the stake. She is a witch in this game, and has hosted a game once before.

Elizabeth Bathory. In Hungary, she was a Countess who owned a castle near a forest full of wolves. She had an insatiable appetite for virgin womens blood, and on occasion bathed in it. She tricked the girls into working at their castle, where they were promptly killed. Bathory believed she would remain beautiful forever if she touched their blood on a regular basis. She is a vampire in-game, and has hosted a game before.

Khufu. One of the richest pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. His body was removed from his tomb, and never found. He's the mummy in the game series.

Helin. The other character who is not based on a real-life person. In the game, she died of an aneurysm, and she then became a poltergeist, haunting other peoples dreams (and on occasion, killing people in their dreams). All I can say is, thank goodness Helin never existed -- that tale is sad enough.

Gevaudan. The final Harbinger. In a little town in France called Gevaudan, there was a beast who killed people and animals alike. It is said that it was finally caught and killed, but their is no evidence to prove this. In the game, Gevaudan is the werewolf.

Sound
---------------
When you play the game, there is a delightful tune to get you ready to face The Gatekeeper. Whilst playing, there is nice background music to fit the eeriness that is Atmosfear. Though The Gatekeeper can be annoying and disruptive at times (he has a stong accent, too). Sometimes, the game pauses which can ruin the balance of eery in the game. More on that later.

Gameplay
--------------------
"Got the board set up?"
"Check."
"Got the fears put in the Well of Fears?"
"Check."
"Got all of the characters in their starting positions?"
"Wait, no... okay now. Check."
"Got all of the cards?"
"Check."
"All of the keys in the right places?"
"Yup, let's start already!"
"Not until I explain the rules."
*groans heard around the table*
"Just tell us as we go along."

That's the biggest downfall of the game. You have to explain the rules BEFORE playing. You can't pause or stop this game at all once you've started, so you may as well get it out of the way. I'm not going to explain the mechanics of moving around the board, setting up, etc. I'm just going to ignore all of that and talk about what happens on-screen and the keys.

You should know how to use a DVD remote before you play this game. Choose Play Game, and watch the little CGI cutscene. Listen to The Gatekeeper, and follow his instructions. After you say which Harbingers are in and which aren't, the game will begin. The Chosen One (the "slave" of The Gatekeeper) rolls and moves, and you move around the board. You will experience lag in the game -- don't worry, there isn't a problem with your game or DVD player. The game splits into several paths, and the DVD randomly picks a path -- that causes the lag. Sometimes (but rarely), there will be a path chosen that requires you to choose one of the following: one of the six Harbingers, one of the six good keys, one of six doors or one of six "Realms" (the homes for the Harbingers). Sometimes you will end up in a Realm, other times you may earn a key. Or you could get nothing. Oh well.

You may have noticed I said "good keys" just now. By this I mean the keys with the following colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Try your best not to get the black key, otherwise you will not be able to win until you get rid of it by either duelling, fate card or The Gatekeeper giving it to someone else. Once you have one of each good keys, work your way to the middle of the board, to the Well of Fears. Pick out a fear, and if it's yours, press Menu on your DVD remote right away. You've won!

Overall score - 8/10
-----------------------
While a handful of board games have attempted to incorporate VHS tapes for a more visceral experience, the technology usually proved too clunky and unmanageable to provide enough fun to make it worth the hassle. But since it relies on digital technology, a DVD is inherently more precise, this makes it easier to work in to such games as Atmosfear. The game has a horror movie feel to it, featuring mummies, vampires and assorted other beasties and ghoulies. The cards drawn by players often correspond to time marks on the included DVD and ask you to be interactive with your fellow contestants, for instance: "at 46:50, start to giggle insanely. If any opponent asks why you laugh hand them this card and this message: I'm having the last laugh: You're BANISHED to the BLACK HOLE". It's a game for extroverts and technology lovers but if those factors, or the monsters in the design, don't scare you off, it should be a lot of fun.

Perhaps even more fun than the original Nightmare games! Grab five other people and have a great night playing Atmosfear!
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Ziegreich
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My kids loved the bit where you have to go stand round the corner while the others supposedly gossip about you or something. The Gatekeeper's mocking attitude can also be fun the first or second time around.

But really... as a game?

I never quite got my head around the mechanics first time around. Not because it's so complicated, but it struck me as being far too complicated for what it is. Replays just got tedious and I ended up selling my copy cheap via the Net - terrible, since I got it as a gift in the first place!

I guess this is an okay party game for pre-teens who enjoy the mock horror, if they get someone to explain the game for them and guide them along.

But there are so many better ways to spend your money on games.
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John W
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Gamer805 wrote:
The game splits into several paths, and the DVD randomly picks a path -- that causes the lag. Sometimes (but rarely), there will be a path chosen that requires you to choose one of the following: one of the six Harbingers, one of the six good keys, one of six doors or one of six "Realms" (the homes for the Harbingers). Sometimes you will end up in a Realm, other times you may earn a key. Or you could get nothing. Oh well.

You may have noticed I said "good keys" just now. By this I mean the keys with the following colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Try your best not to get the black key, otherwise you will not be able to win until you get rid of it by either duelling, fate card or The Gatekeeper giving it to someone else. Once you have one of each good keys, work your way to the middle of the board, to the Well of Fears. Pick out a fear, and if it's yours, press Menu on your DVD remote right away. You've won!
This review is almost entirely about the theme, look, and technology of the game.
This section is about the only part that talks about gameplay, and it's mostly about the rules. thumbsdown

While I like BGG attention on Atmosfear/Nightmare, this review completely dodges the gameplay flaws in this DVD version that greatly sabotage the fun that was offered in the VHS version.

How can a review not point out the problem of having to pick your fear (out of 5) to win?
In the VHS game, as long as you didn't pick your fear, you'd win. If you picked it, you died (IIRC).
Where's the logic in "if you pick your greatest fear.... you WIN" (?)
Where's the gameplay in a 20% chance of success (in a 5 person game), even if you somehow got all the keys (which we never did and the game sabotaged anyone who got close)

Atmosfear DVD's gameplay is worse in almost every way except for the multiple-path selection that is possible by using DVD technology instead of VHS.
Too bad the designers screwed up every gameplay change they made to the VHS version.
Interested BGGers who care about gameplay and balance should try out the VHS version first, and see through this DVD's "review" which is basically an unexamined advertisement for the game.
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Andres Herrera
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reapersaurus wrote:
Gamer805 wrote:
The game splits into several paths, and the DVD randomly picks a path -- that causes the lag. Sometimes (but rarely), there will be a path chosen that requires you to choose one of the following: one of the six Harbingers, one of the six good keys, one of six doors or one of six "Realms" (the homes for the Harbingers). Sometimes you will end up in a Realm, other times you may earn a key. Or you could get nothing. Oh well.

You may have noticed I said "good keys" just now. By this I mean the keys with the following colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Try your best not to get the black key, otherwise you will not be able to win until you get rid of it by either duelling, fate card or The Gatekeeper giving it to someone else. Once you have one of each good keys, work your way to the middle of the board, to the Well of Fears. Pick out a fear, and if it's yours, press Menu on your DVD remote right away. You've won!
This review is almost entirely about the theme, look, and technology of the game.
This section is about the only part that talks about gameplay, and it's mostly about the rules. :thumbsdown:

While I like BGG attention on Atmosfear/Nightmare, this review completely dodges the gameplay flaws in this DVD version that greatly sabotage the fun that was offered in the VHS version.

How can a review not point out the problem of having to pick your fear (out of 5) to win?
In the VHS game, as long as you didn't pick your fear, you'd win. If you picked it, you died (IIRC).
Where's the logic in "if you pick your greatest fear.... you WIN" (?)
Where's the gameplay in a 20% chance of success (in a 5 person game), even if you somehow got all the keys (which we never did and the game sabotaged anyone who got close)

Atmosfear DVD's gameplay is worse in almost every way except for the multiple-path selection that is possible by using DVD technology instead of VHS.
Too bad the designers screwed up every gameplay change they made to the VHS version.
Interested BGGers who care about gameplay and balance should try out the VHS version first, and see through this DVD's "review" which is basically an unexamined advertisement for the game.


Sorry you don,t like my review I wanted to try and say things about the game that I liked. And cover parts of the game that most reviews overlook (Graphics, Sound, Characters).

I played this game a lot and won a few times.

Also I don't think picking your own fear is a problem. The game is about fear. So by picking your greatest fear. You are beating your greatest fear.
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rob taylor
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an exciting game but less than 1% skill.. still enjoyable tho
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Nunya Business
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Gamer805 wrote:
reapersaurus wrote:
Gamer805 wrote:
The game splits into several paths, and the DVD randomly picks a path -- that causes the lag. Sometimes (but rarely), there will be a path chosen that requires you to choose one of the following: one of the six Harbingers, one of the six good keys, one of six doors or one of six "Realms" (the homes for the Harbingers). Sometimes you will end up in a Realm, other times you may earn a key. Or you could get nothing. Oh well.

You may have noticed I said "good keys" just now. By this I mean the keys with the following colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Try your best not to get the black key, otherwise you will not be able to win until you get rid of it by either duelling, fate card or The Gatekeeper giving it to someone else. Once you have one of each good keys, work your way to the middle of the board, to the Well of Fears. Pick out a fear, and if it's yours, press Menu on your DVD remote right away. You've won!
This review is almost entirely about the theme, look, and technology of the game.
This section is about the only part that talks about gameplay, and it's mostly about the rules. thumbsdown

While I like BGG attention on Atmosfear/Nightmare, this review completely dodges the gameplay flaws in this DVD version that greatly sabotage the fun that was offered in the VHS version.

How can a review not point out the problem of having to pick your fear (out of 5) to win?
In the VHS game, as long as you didn't pick your fear, you'd win. If you picked it, you died (IIRC).
Where's the logic in "if you pick your greatest fear.... you WIN" (?)
Where's the gameplay in a 20% chance of success (in a 5 person game), even if you somehow got all the keys (which we never did and the game sabotaged anyone who got close)

Atmosfear DVD's gameplay is worse in almost every way except for the multiple-path selection that is possible by using DVD technology instead of VHS.
Too bad the designers screwed up every gameplay change they made to the VHS version.
Interested BGGers who care about gameplay and balance should try out the VHS version first, and see through this DVD's "review" which is basically an unexamined advertisement for the game.


Sorry you don,t like my review I wanted to try and say things about the game that I liked. And cover parts of the game that most reviews overlook (Graphics, Sound, Characters).

I played this game a lot and won a few times.

Also I don't think picking your own fear is a problem. The game is about fear. So by picking your greatest fear. You are beating your greatest fear.


Pay that guy no attention. He seems extremely angry at the game for no reason. angry
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"Every Board Game I Reach Is Dead"
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reapersaurus wrote:
This review is almost entirely about the theme, look, and technology of the game.
This section is about the only part that talks about gameplay, and it's mostly about the rules. thumbsdown

While I like BGG attention on Atmosfear/Nightmare, this review completely dodges the gameplay flaws in this DVD version that greatly sabotage the fun that was offered in the VHS version.

How can a review not point out the problem of having to pick your fear (out of 5) to win?
In the VHS game, as long as you didn't pick your fear, you'd win. If you picked it, you died (IIRC).
Where's the logic in "if you pick your greatest fear.... you WIN" (?)
Where's the gameplay in a 20% chance of success (in a 5 person game), even if you somehow got all the keys (which we never did and the game sabotaged anyone who got close)

Atmosfear DVD's gameplay is worse in almost every way except for the multiple-path selection that is possible by using DVD technology instead of VHS.
Too bad the designers screwed up every gameplay change they made to the VHS version.
Interested BGGers who care about gameplay and balance should try out the VHS version first, and see through this DVD's "review" which is basically an unexamined advertisement for the game.


Wow dude, that's a bit harsh. I see a lot of reviews on here these days which follow a very standardised "I like this game, it is good" format, but there's no need to lay into the writers. Don't like the review? Skip it, find the good ones and thumb them to draw other users to the best material. Criticism should be constructive and help the writers boost the quality of stuff they do in future.

What's wrong with having reviews from players who never played the VHS version anyway? This is a review for Atmosphere the DVD game, not the VHS one. I have never played the VHS one and found this DVD game to be perfectly acceptable. I'll admit that my opinion of it has gone down hill some since I became a proper BGG, but there is no denying that this was one of the key gateway games that got me into the board gaming I do today.

Why don't you do us a comparative review in which you can inform people of your own opinions? goo
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reapersaurus wrote:

How can a review not point out the problem of having to pick your fear (out of 5) to win?
In the VHS game, as long as you didn't pick your fear, you'd win. If you picked it, you died (IIRC).
Where's the logic in "if you pick your greatest fear.... you WIN" (?)
Where's the gameplay in a 20% chance of success (in a 5 person game), even if you somehow got all the keys (which we never did and the game sabotaged anyone who got close)


Wow...angry much? And I just have to point out that your logic is nor just rude and unnecessary...but totally wrong.

In the VHS version you had to land on the Well of Fears by EXACT roll, many times having to wait many turns to even get a chance to draw a fear. If you drew your fear and yes the chances were lower, you were completely OUT of the game for good.

In the DVD version you don't have to land by exact roll on the Well of Fears, you do have to draw your own fear which is harder but the logic is you are "facing your fear". If you fail, you simply return to your headstone and try again as many times as you want.

The Gatekeeper throws mostly setbacks your way during the majority of the game, but the last stretch he starts practically giving you keys on a silver platter.

It balances out in my opinion and if it really grinds your gears that bad, then freaking switch it around! It's not rocket science here!

The reviewer has obviously played the VHS games and the gameplay is mostly the same so it's completely understandable that he would focus on the new elements which just so happens to be the DVD and technology.
 
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