Innsmouth EscapeHere is another interesting Cthulhu title from Twilight Creations, the folks who brought us Cthulhu Rising (Knizia's pasted-on Mythos abstract title) and Zombies!!!
Innsmouth Escape is a pretty interesting take on the One VS Many approach to board games because it's really more like Many VS One. In most games with this kind of division of players, the single player is a keeper or something like that, controlling monsters and attempting to stop the other players, who play cooperatively with each other, to complete some task. In this game, the task of the Many is just to "kill" the One.
The One is a human student who is visiting Innsmouth on a field trip. Who the hell thought Innsmouth was a great field trip location? Your goal is to save your friends and get the frack out of dodge.
The Many are Deep Ones, bent on stopping the human from escaping.
The game depends a lot on cards and luck of the draw, and if you're playing 1v3 or 1v4 it could really go either way. The fewer players there are on the Deep One side, however, the higher the chances are that the human will win. That's an obvious design flaw, but it is what it is.
The thing this game takes a lot of flack for is the repetitive artwork on the Deep Ones cards (The cards the human uses have a bit more diversity). That is a major annoyance, to be sure. You get the feeling they blew the budget on the many (awesome) Deep One miniatures and couldn't afford to pay an artist to create more artwork for the game. This also extends to the game's board, which is an annoyingly low resolution map of Providence and NOT Innsmouth. These are minor annoyances that only slightly detract from the enjoyment of the game by the time you play it for the second time. The biggest disappointment comes the first time you examine everything. After that, you just have to accept it as it is.
The gameplay is pretty uncomplicated and quick to learn. Games can last under 30 minutes but still can involve strategy despite the heavy luck of the draw factor. Is the gameplay satisfying? Yes, I'd say so, but only if you have 3 or 4 Deep One players. The other possibility would be a sort of 1v2 scenario where each Deep One player controlled 2 teams of Deep Ones. I haven't tried it yet but I think it would work just fine.
Here are the summaries of the problems with the game:
-Repetitive/mediocre artwork (actually the main graphic would be quite cool if it weren't featured EVERYWHERE in the whole game)
-The rules fail to offer a way to scale difficulty for the human player appropriately
-Silly story, but like, whatever man.
-The theme is honestly a bit pasted on but they did a good job integrating it to a believable point
And the good things:
-It's fun if the right number of players are playing
-The cards and rules are fairly clear
-The quick time to clear the game makes it a pretty awesome filler on "Cthulhu Night" between bigger, meatier games
-You won't burn through all possible cards and strategies in a single playthrough
-The Deep One minis are badass
Overall I give it 6.5/10 stars.
Hope this review helps!