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Fortune and Glory: The Cliffhanger Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Boring and Disjointed. A big letdown (for this reviewer, anyway) rss

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Jonathan Moodie
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I really really want to like Fortune and Glory, but after several plays ranging from competitive to cooperative, solo to 4 player, I find myself totally unable to get the least bit excited about the game.

By way of background, I own or have owned and played virtually all of the Flying Frog games. I currently own just about every expansion for Last Night on Earth - which I love.

So upon seeing Fortune and Glory last year, I was immediately excited. All of the typical trappings of a FF game were on the table - fun mini's, the fun photographic art style, a soundtrack, the high quality cards, and a great board!

The theme also appealed to me a great deal - pulp movies in the Indiana Jones mold! Upon reading through the rules, I was even more excited. I think there are some really neat mechanics in the game. Creating an artifact by combining a name and adjective with some attributes was neat. Placing it via location cards. The idea of dangers that can become cliffhangers is really cool. And, of course, lots of equipment and allies. I am an unabashed fan of Arkham Horror and the like, so F&G seemed to fit right in my alley.

But then I actually played it. That's where it started to fall apart. I played it multiple times to try to see what wasn't drawing me in and why I could enjoy a game like Arkham, which has some similar things going on, and why F&G failed to deliver. It couldn't be just theme. So I played, and played, and finally reached my consensus.

Fortune and Glory is about exploring a huge world map and having Indiana Jones adventures tracking down artifacts and running from either the mob or the nazis. The problem, at least for me, is that it is never very well connected. It's just a bunch of random card turns and dice rolls that have no relation to each other.

There is a Dangers deck, a City deck, an Event deck, Enemy decks (generic, nazi, or mob), and some equipment decks.

All of these have the various encounters and obstacles you are to overcome in your search for fortune. Typically, it is structured with a challenge for you to overcome with one of your skills (lore, agility, cunning, combat) by rolling dice. There will be a good outcome and a bad outcome. On Dangers, if you fail you go to the other side of the card and have a CLIFFHANGER! during the next turn. In practice, the mechanic is fine, and the cliffhanger is creative, but the problem is that it is all random and disjointed.

Example: I move into an ocean space and end my movement. I roll and get an event card. It gives me the ability to hurt or help a character in the deep jungle. It's not even tied to the theme, like how I came by it while on a boat. This isn't a deal breaker, but I would have hoped for events or things to be more tied to where you are when you acquired them.

Example 2: I am overcoming dangers while searching for an artifact deep in the jungles of the congo. I draw my danger. Quick - I've been surrounded by Nazi's in a nightclub - use my agility to escape! ...to escape. This nightclub. Deep. In the jungle.

The artifact itself is devoid of thematic meaning as well. The combination of the artifact cards merely tells you how much it's worth and how many dangers you have to overcome. Occasionally, the artifact will have some other power, such as healing, but it is a very rare occasion that that would be more worthwhile than getting it to a city for sale.

Okay - so I get my artifact after boarding a nazi UBoat and saving my plane from flying into a mountain (again - both in deep in the jungle). I then roll and move back to the nearest city where I can sell this artifact.

But I have to have a city encounter first. Much like every other encounter in this game, the city cards are pulled straight from the movies you love and they, of course, have absolutely no relation to where you are. Whether you are in Hong Kong, New York, etc - the encounters are all a mish mash pulled from the same deck.

Because it really doesn't matter where I go or what I am searching for, the game totally devolves into roll, move, flip card, roll again. Since the cards are all randomly pulled from the same few decks, whether my skills have any effect is totally random. Even if I power up my Lore ability, I may never have an encounter where it is meaningful. And just for good measure, my ability to power up any specific skill is also a mostly random exercise.

What I am left with is a very, very simple game, driven entirely by luck, with few if any meaningful choices, that is dressed up in very nice components. Some of my disappointment is directly tied to the fact that this is an expensive game. I think I would be more inclined to enjoy a roll and move dicefest that fits snuggly in that $30-$40 range. But in a coffin box game? That is $100 retail? It's a woeful disappointment.
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George
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I like and enjoy the game, but I totally understand your position. It's definitely the game's biggest weakness.
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Andrew Martin
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I got a lot of grief for asking 'where's the gameplay?' prior to release. Oh the good old days...
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Grant Batt
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Thanks for the review.

It makes me wonder why they didn't incorporate specific decks for specific regions, like they have in A Touch of Evil.

It does seem very strange to have an encounter in a nightclub in the middle of the jungle.

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Jonathan Moodie
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That's my main gripe. Individual decks for different regions would have added a lot to the game, IMO. Or fewer artifact combos, but more meaningful ones.

gdotbat wrote:
Thanks for the review.

It makes me wonder why they didn't incorporate specific decks for specific regions, like they have in A Touch of Evil.

It does seem very strange to have an encounter in a nightclub in the middle of the jungle.

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Eric Baker
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It bums me out when others dislike something I admire, until I realize that variety is the spice of life.

I can understand the criticism of loopy dangers, but when you think back on the oddball hoops Indiana Jones had to jump through in order to get the Ark of the Covenant, it does make sense.

* A shootout in some Nepal tavern
* Poisoned dates
* Infiltrating an archaeological dig in Cairo
* Fending off hungry snakes
* Chasing after a convoy of trucks
* Stowing aboard a U-Boat
* Surviving the Ark being opened

Again, in no way do I mean to downplay the criticism. But rather than looking at the adventures as self-contained within their specific location, I always saw the heroes, like Dr. Jones after the Ark, as jumping all over the place looking for clues to an artifact's exact location.


The luck-driven mechanic? You've got me there: I've no fan-boy defense whatsoever.
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Jonathan Moodie
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This is all true. I could, as the player, try to weave these together. (And I did try so as to give the game the benefit of the doubt).

Admittedly, as least part of my issue was that for the hype I'd heard for the game and the price, I didn't think I'd have to.

I don't mind some randomness, if there are good choices. This game often felt like a very pimped out version of Can't Stop.

I just never felt like I was making decisions that really pushed the outcome other than press on vs. camp down. Even then, I didn't feel like I had much to make a decision on. At least in Can't Stop I know what numbers I'm rolling for and can guage my chances of success.

So - F&G isn't a horrible game or poorly produced. It's just a bit personally disappointing for me.

DBoonsGhost wrote:
It bums me out when others dislike something I admire, until I realize that variety is the spice of life.

I can understand the criticism of loopy dangers, but when you think back on the oddball hoops Indiana Jones had to jump through in order to get the Ark of the Covenant, it does make sense.

* A shootout in some Nepal tavern
* Poisoned dates
* Infiltrating an archaeological dig in Cairo
* Fending off hungry snakes
* Chasing after a convoy of trucks
* Stowing aboard a U-Boat
* Surviving the Ark being opened

Again, in no way do I mean to downplay the criticism. But rather than looking at the adventures as self-contained within their specific location, I always saw the heroes, like Dr. Jones after the Ark, as jumping all over the place looking for clues to an artifact's exact location.


The luck-driven mechanic? You've got me there: I've no fan-boy defense whatsoever.
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The one thing I have noticed about FF's games are that the first expansion usually completes the game, LNOE has Growing Hunger, ATOE has something wicked.

So I have hopes that we will see some correction for this coming soon.

What I like with ATOE is that not only does each location have their own thematic deck, but each location is geared to a specific skill, so you CAN bulk one of them up and hot the place repeatedly.

Jorune
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Aaron Silverman
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I see your point about thematic randomness, but I disagree that the gameplay is so random. Player decisions in this are way more interesting than in, say, Betrayal at House on the Hill, which really is a move, flip card, roll dice kind of game. No, F&G isn't super deep, but there's a lot more going on here than there is in Can't Stop.
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Aaron Silverman
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Jorune wrote:
The one thing I have noticed about FF's games are that the first expansion usually completes the game, LNOE has Growing Hunger, ATOE has something wicked.

So I have hopes that we will see some correction for this coming soon.


Considering that F&G actually includes components for an expansion, rules for them have been way too long in coming.
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Alex Martinez
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I've heard the complaint before that the encounter deck isn't thematic enough. I pretty much reject them though because, in classic pulp, anything is possible.

For me, the idea of getting attacked by snakes at sea or discovering a night club hidden in the jungle works perfectly well in the setting. In fact, it's one of the things I love about the game. In classic pulp stories, anything goes.

The notion that there aren't any decisions to be made is more difficult to dispute. I completely disagree with it, but then again, it's a matter of personal opinion. Still, the game is all about pressing your luck, racing to and fro, and feels very pulpy to me.

It's actually probably my favorite Flying Frog Game and I think perhaps their best. But, hey, everyone's different, right?
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Jan Colpaert
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I've played it quite some times with my kids and their friends and we did have lots of fun. It's indeed a pulp game and in such a concept everything is possible. It's of course a bit weird to have night club confrontations in the middle of the jungle, but what to think of crusader ghosts guarding the holy grail in a Turkish cave and a SS-castle in the middle of Austrian nowhere, that keeps a hidden "war-room"! You can go on for hours if you would sum up all the totally insane concepts worked out in adventure movies, and yet...you love them all. It's a bit the same with this game. It's stuffed with adventures and cliffhangers and you play through them as if you were in some kind of rollercoaster. One of my favourites!
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dave boulton
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I like the game as it is, its occasional ridculousness fits in somewhat with the whole pulp ideal to me, that said, could randomness be redressed by a big old book of possible outcomes by dint of a d100 or d1000 (YIPE!) roll and a whole slew of specific location type tables? It sounds possible but would be a pain to compile!

Volenteers anyone? What ifn everyone came up with a couple of ecounters each per terrain type?

Isn't there a arabian knights game that did something like this? also makes me think of the inbetween bits of warhammer quest too, hmmm...

Would miss out on all the card photlios of the lovley Lei Mei though *shrugs*
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Mico Selva
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Thank You for the review.

I almost bought this game a few days ago (went with Star Trek Fleet Captains in the end), since I really like the setting and art style. The disconnection between locations is one of the issues why I'm not convinced - the other is too few decision making vs huge randomness. What does it matter which character I choose, if I have no idea what skills I am going to need.

I may still buy it in the future, but an expansion (or a 2nd edition?) fixing these issues would work wonders, I think.
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Alex Martinez
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I think anyone who wants this game to be more than a fun romp is really missing the point. This is not a strategy game. It's an adventure.

That said, it isn't quite as pointless and random as some people are making it out to be. There is still strategy to be had. Most of the gameplay is about time and resource management and a press your luck mechanism.

So what if your character faces a random test? It all balances out in the end because there is a good representation of all the abilities. Furthermore, if you're looking for a game that is all about analysis, why would you buy a game based on pulp adventure?

To me, this game is the best pulp style game I've ever played. It's also one of the best cooperative games. While it certainly isn't highly strategy driven, it's a great, fun game that plays well and doesn't wear out its welcome. Great look, great thematic design. Just a great game, really, unless you want it to be a scripted, on-the-rails Euro style game, which is a fine type of game, but really not something anyone should want from a pulp adventure themed game.
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Grant Holzhauer
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KingCroc wrote:
I think anyone who wants this game to be more than a fun romp is really missing the point. This is not a strategy game. It's an adventure.

That said, it isn't quite as pointless and random as some people are making it out to be. There is still strategy to be had. Most of the gameplay is about time and resource management and a press your luck mechanism.

So what if your character faces a random test? It all balances out in the end because there is a good representation of all the abilities. Furthermore, if you're looking for a game that is all about analysis, why would you buy a game based on pulp adventure?

To me, this game is the best pulp style game I've ever played. It's also one of the best cooperative games. While it certainly isn't highly strategy driven, it's a great, fun game that plays well and doesn't wear out its welcome. Great look, great thematic design. Just a great game, really, unless you want it to be a scripted, on-the-rails Euro style game, which is a fine type of game, but really not something anyone should want from a pulp adventure themed game.


+1

This is no longer my top game (it was my first game, so we played it a lot initially), but I still enjoy it from time to time for what it is: a fun race against the Nazis (usually, anyway).
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Sean Shaw
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I love the game to tell the truth...and THEME IS WAAAY BIGGER ON MY LIST I think than the reviewer oddly enough.

Each their own...

The reviewer does have some interesting ratings....

But someone who ranks Agricola a 10 (very unthematic, realistic, though appeals to those who like card combos and hard choices), Runewars a 9 (what I found MUCH more disjointed than F&G as well), Small world a 9 (a Euro that's pretending that it's a war game when it's basically borrows the diplomacy style of combat...but without the diplomacy and is basically a reskinned game off of another if that tells you how weak the theme can get...though crazy fun with racial power combos), and Dominion a 9 (which is fun...but really...no strong theme in that one)...

I find it ironic that you call F&G disjointed....

Each their own though....

At least you've found some love for Android...though I'd think you'd have similar problems with that game that you had with F&G.



I advise you NEVER play Talisman, Runebound, or any game in that family...I think you'd probably find them disjointed and unthematic. They operate in some ways with a similar card draw idea as F&G...

You still have fine tastes in games, but I think the adventure game genre is probably NOT for you.

That's the type of games like Prophecy, and others as I listed above. F&G I think fits perfectly in there and fills that niche of that pulp era adventure which the others don't have.

I don't think adventure games are your type of tea though from what I read in the review.

Still gave you a thumbs though, everyone should be able to express their opinion.



One last thing I couldn't pass up...

Quote:


Example 2: I am overcoming dangers while searching for an artifact deep in the jungles of the congo. I draw my danger. Quick - I've been surrounded by Nazi's in a nightclub - use my agility to escape! ...to escape. This nightclub. Deep. In the jungle.



I suppose you've never seen Indiana Jones and the temple of doom...when he encounters a prince's gourmet feast, dancers, and the whole bit...in the middle of the jungle....



Quote:

Example: I move into an ocean space and end my movement. I roll and get an event card. It gives me the ability to hurt or help a character in the deep jungle. It's not even tied to the theme, like how I came by it while on a boat. This isn't a deal breaker, but I would have hoped for events or things to be more tied to where you are when you acquired them.


ever seen the new Mummy series...

They have it even worse than that...it's not just a boat...it's a flying boat in the middle of a desert where they make discoveries that can help them in the jungle...

You probably don't want to watch such disjointed movie series as these...I suggest you avoid them...

zombie
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Son Do
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Agents of Smersh and Tales of Arabian Nights are very similar games. I love those games, I think I'm going to love FANG.

Thanks for the honest review
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Jonathan Moodie
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Fair enough.

1. In Temple of Doom, he encounters a castle with what amounts to a wizard running it in the middle of the jungle. Not a nightclub. It's a fairly large distinction.

2. I have avoided Talisman and Runebound for just the reasons you've stated. You're probably spot on that most adventure games are probably not going to be up my alley. I really want one to be, though.

3. I don't require great connection from theme to mechanics (Dominion being a perfect example), but this game depends on it. Without that connection, there isn't much of a game here.

4. Android does what I wish F&G would do. There are different types of places to go. So when I go for an objective on the board, I am making a choice about what I know might be there. Seedy locations vs. government locations will offer different possibilities. Arkham does the same thing. While the core mechanic is similar, the locations have differences that make going there exciting. Even in a mostly random game like Tales of the Arabian Nights, there are still those differences depending on what location type you're on. It's totally arbitrary, I know, but I feel much more engaged by TotAN and it's story than by F&G.


F&G has a lot of good ideas in it. There are a lot of things that I do like. I just wish it was accompanied with some more choice and connection. Some of my negativity is connected to having a high expectation and it not being met. I know quite a few people who love the game.

GreyLord wrote:
I love the game to tell the truth...and THEME IS WAAAY BIGGER ON MY LIST I think than the reviewer oddly enough.

Each their own...

The reviewer does have some interesting ratings....

But someone who ranks Agricola a 10 (very unthematic, realistic, though appeals to those who like card combos and hard choices), Runewars a 9 (what I found MUCH more disjointed than F&G as well), Small world a 9 (a Euro that's pretending that it's a war game when it's basically borrows the diplomacy style of combat...but without the diplomacy and is basically a reskinned game off of another if that tells you how weak the theme can get...though crazy fun with racial power combos), and Dominion a 9 (which is fun...but really...no strong theme in that one)...

I find it ironic that you call F&G disjointed....

Each their own though....

At least you've found some love for Android...though I'd think you'd have similar problems with that game that you had with F&G.



I advise you NEVER play Talisman, Runebound, or any game in that family...I think you'd probably find them disjointed and unthematic. They operate in some ways with a similar card draw idea as F&G...

You still have fine tastes in games, but I think the adventure game genre is probably NOT for you.

That's the type of games like Prophecy, and others as I listed above. F&G I think fits perfectly in there and fills that niche of that pulp era adventure which the others don't have.

I don't think adventure games are your type of tea though from what I read in the review.

Still gave you a thumbs though, everyone should be able to express their opinion.



One last thing I couldn't pass up...

Quote:


Example 2: I am overcoming dangers while searching for an artifact deep in the jungles of the congo. I draw my danger. Quick - I've been surrounded by Nazi's in a nightclub - use my agility to escape! ...to escape. This nightclub. Deep. In the jungle.



I suppose you've never seen Indiana Jones and the temple of doom...when he encounters a prince's gourmet feast, dancers, and the whole bit...in the middle of the jungle....



Quote:

Example: I move into an ocean space and end my movement. I roll and get an event card. It gives me the ability to hurt or help a character in the deep jungle. It's not even tied to the theme, like how I came by it while on a boat. This isn't a deal breaker, but I would have hoped for events or things to be more tied to where you are when you acquired them.


ever seen the new Mummy series...

They have it even worse than that...it's not just a boat...it's a flying boat in the middle of a desert where they make discoveries that can help them in the jungle...

You probably don't want to watch such disjointed movie series as these...I suggest you avoid them...

zombie
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Andrew Martin
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I think Agents of SMERSH would be a better choice (assuming you have the encounter book) and I'm not even all the fond of SMERSH. The entire genre seems like a waste of time to me. Better to sit around and have a conversation if a game barely has any mechanics.
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AMartin56 wrote:
I think Agents of SMERSH would be a better choice (assuming you have the encounter book) and I'm not even all the fond of SMERSH. The entire genre seems like a waste of time to me. Better to sit around and have a conversation if a game barely has any mechanics.


I think of it more as RPG-lite. You still get to have a fantasy adventure, but it plays quicker and with less fuss (although, of course, less options).

I haven't played SMERSH, but I love Tales.
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AMartin56 wrote:
I think Agents of SMERSH would be a better choice (assuming you have the encounter book) and I'm not even all the fond of SMERSH. The entire genre seems like a waste of time to me. Better to sit around and have a conversation if a game barely has any mechanics.


I understand your sentiment, but I at least look at these games as storyteller generators. Yes, we could just sit in a circle and each take turns telling a story, but these type of games are just another way of doing that. They have the added benefit of putting ideas into the story that I may not have considered in the first place.

I do not feel that every time I sit down to play a game it must be some mechanically driven Euro. Sometimes, yes, other times, no.

Jorune
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The "nightclub in the jungle" complaint is one that has come up a lot and I think that is a result of the complainer not having read the rules thoroughly (which is a necessity as MY complaint about the game is how disjointed the rule book is). If the rule book had been read thoroughly, one would have seen the part where they describe a character at an artifact location as "going on an adventure" even to the point of naming it something like "Alexander Cartwright and the Skull of Hades" or whatever. At this point is where the actual "movie" would begin. Just like Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, which starts with a fracas in a nightclub, then to an airplane with no parachutes, then a raging river, a jungle full of vampire bats, Pankot Palace with its gross out dinner, an assassin in the night, a hallway full of bugs, human sacrifice, a foiled theft of the Sankara stones, a captured ally, fights with thugs, mine car chase, more fights, a flooded tunnel, a perilous bridge, and a fight with the villain while literally cliffhanging.

You have to visualize every artifact hunt as a different pulp movie. Not everything is literally happening in the Amazon Jungle.

If you don't like the game, that's fine...but at least be aware of what the rule book states that the game mechanics are symbolizing.
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I, too, was greatly disappointed in this game after high expectations.

The only prior experience I had with FFG was Last Night on Earth, for which I have gotten tons of enjoyable play out of, and have collected every expansion and web enhancement, even the special edition soundrack. So when I heard of Fortune and Glory, I was beyond excited to gte my hands on it.

Just like Jonathan, I kept this excitement well into punching the tokens, reading the rules and setting up for the first game. Until partway through my first game where I just found it to be a letdown. For myself, it isn't exactly any thematic disconnect - I'm fine with nightclub jungles and random waterfalls. It's just a far lighter outing than I was anticipating. Roll, move, draw card, roll. There are few meaningful choices and limited push your luck.

Unless we're sitting down for a Co-operative run, it also feels very insular for each player aside from a few of the "screw your neighbour" events and the rare artifact race. As a result, it feels like a missed opportunity as everyone is off on their own adventures rather than competing (Indy and Belloq, Rick and the Americans). There are more than enough artifacts to go around and other than distance, risk and reward, there isn't anything that sets any apart from the next one.

Comparisons to Arkham are fair are far as the random elements go, but Arkham has enough added elements to make things meaningful. The monsters in the streets ned to be kept under control, clues need to be gathered, other worlds neeed to be explored and their gates closed/sealed. Not so with FANG, where you are always zipping from artifact to town, managing a single resource of Glory.

I expected a little more meat from a coffin box and was let down. I love the production values of the components, but the game itself fell kind of flat for me. Agents of SMERSH, although a different genre, was closer to the experience I had hoped for.
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Dan Buman
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I'm guessing the first expansion due out in March will add a lot to the game. There is tons of potential there with the existing base game. I know that has been true for other Flying Frog Games!!
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