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Pompeji: Die Letzten 37 Minuten» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Tried at the Con rss

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Jon Murdock
United States
Euless
Texas
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Had a chance to play this at the recent BGG con. One caveat, these may not be the final rules I'm laying out here.

The theme is interesting. You control a number of people of your color trying to escape the devastation of the volcano.

You receive two heros and then a number of other people (depending on the number of players in the game. You also get one boat. The map is made up of octagons laid with numbered squares melding the corners. To begin you go around the table rolling two six sided dice "one the tens column and the other the ones" and finding the matching square. You place your piece on one of the four adjoining octagons. You are required to use an empty space if there is any. If not, you can share a space. The pieces are designed to stack quite nicely. You also place your ship in a water space.

The goal is to rescue as many people as you can by having them flee through the city gates or be evacuated by your ship.

On your turn you first draw a disastar tile. There are lava flows which enable you to force pieces out of an area and can only be placed to continue an existing lava flow (or come directly out of the volcano). There are explosions which must be placed on a lava flow and are useful only to allow you to branch off any point. An earthquake piece can be placed anywhere and allows you to break up a stack of pieces and have them flee to whatever places you choose. There are also water disastars that move ships and can throw occupants out of a ship. It is important to note that safe points (the squares in the corners) are immune to disastars of all kinds.

You then have one move. You can move any stack of people you control or stack you are tied for control of. To control a stack you must have more of your color in the stack than anyone elses (heroes count double). If the stack is in a ship you can move the ship with everyone in it.

IF your ship is empty, you can move it after your regular move.

A marker is also moved every turn on the numbered squares until it reaches the center signifying that everyone left behind dies. For the last 6(?) spaces you roll the two six sided dice. If you roll less than the # the doom token is on, you move it closer (this mechanic keeps the end from being a sure thing). Additionally if the doom token ends up on a spot where a piece is and that piece is completely surrounded by impassable terrain, they can tunnel out to safety (In my experience, doesn't happen till endgame and is usually too late to matter much).

From the games I played, the strategy seemed to be to dominate one area of the board with a superstack and 'eat' as much as you can and then get them on the ship or out the gate and pray you aren't hit by a disastar. It's also one of those games where you have to look like you're not winning to be successful. Unfortunately that's almost impossible. (Normally I like this mechanic in strategy games, but in a game like this it's obvious who is ahead and someone is almost certain to draw a tile that can ruin you.

To score you count the # of your own pieces you've saved and then multiply by the # of each other color you saved consecutively. i.e You save four of your own, three of Player 2 and one of Player 3. You multiply 4x2x1. You then add a point for each piece of your color someone else rescued.

The game definitely qualifies as light. Much is decided by the initial placement. What tiles you draw decides a lot more. The only way to keep a stack safe is to hide on a safe spot but you can't stay on a safe spot and they don't connect to allow a safe exit.

Thematically, I dislike the 'no one dies' till the end mechanic more for thematic than game reasons. I want to see people get caught by the lava flow or get buried in ash. Maybe I just have a dark personality.

It doesn't seem like this is a 'race against the clock' for escape. It's more of a 'screw your opponent' game which doesn't fit the theme and doesn't feel as fun as it should.

The scoring was also gimmicky, I didn't feel the winner did the most. I'd do a flat score of how many pieces you saved and subtract however many of your pieces die. This encourages you to get people off the map by any means but prefer your own escape.

I had fun playing the game but I don't think I'd buy it. It's not a game I feel satisfaction from winning (too much luck) or desire to try again when losing (again, too much luck). This strikes me as the kind of game I'd play with my little sister on an evening after visiting my parents.....except that she will play nothing except the Queen's Gambit lately
 
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XenoMaster wrote:
I want to see people get caught by the lava flow...


Then try Der Untergang von Pompeji.
 
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Jeff Widderich
Canada
Newmarket
Ontario
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Hey Jon,

Great review for playing the game once ( I presume). The depth of the game is impossible to judge after one game especially with me demoing the game. I try not to flood players with all the rules at once. I have since learned gamers can digest alot more info than I offer. The summary of rules is almost two pages, allowing players to combat almost any situation thrown at them. Jumping into the water, blowing a hole into the aqueduct wall to escape, jumping off an other players boat with a hero, pushing a group of players (with out having the majority)on to your boat with a lava card, sitting tight on a safety square waiting for the two heroes to unite with the group so that the group can jump from safety square to safety square never being in danger of the lava cards etc...... every one at the con used less than 50 % of the options available to them since I didn't show them all if the game didn't present the option. Knowing all the rules makes the game definetly not as light as you would think. The people and animals were saved too easily in most games at the con because players didn't know alternate options to slow down their opponents. The protection of pieces (defensive play) was almost never used.

We have had test games were a total of less than five people were saved, because the "situation realistic rules" almost always offer an option to block your opponent. This game is very deep but players have to read the "summary of moves" and play several times to understand all possiblities.

Having someone die instantly goes against everything I enjoy about the human race. Fighting back until you really have run out of option is what Pompeii is all about.

The game is more about what happens in real life when you are stuck in a natural disaster. We played our prototype and forced all possible situations in the game and turned them into rules. For example: your group is pinned against the aqueduct wall and you draw an earthquake card. Place the earthquacke card on top of the wall and you made yourself a new exit. Your boat is hit by a tidal wave the player applying the disaster can push the pieces on the boat on land or in the water and the boat gets moved one space as well. If you apply the tidal wave against your own boat it might help you to push your boat one space with the cargo intact. Your choice.

Don't judge this one after having an explanation of the basics.
Yes this one can be simplistic as well but creativity is welcomed and makes the game very exciting. Never give up!

Shillking
 
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Mo Verdigast
United States
Bellevue
Washington
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Is this game available anywhere? It sounds like fun.
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Robert Ridgeway
United States
Greenville
South Carolina
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verdigast wrote:
Is this game available anywhere? It sounds like fun.

And the board artwork is evocatively realistic!
 
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