06 March 2017
A fun theme and smart mechanics are let down by the difficulty of co-operation and over-dependence on luck in this sci-fi social deduction title
Channeling the humans-being-hunted theme of film classics such as Alien, Predator and The Thing is Not Alone, a compact card game that sees one player take on the role of a mysterious beast chasing down a gang of up to six of their friends.
Both the beast and the human explorers are trapped on a planet with ten locations, represented by cards with bright and beautiful artwork, avoiding the clichéd muted and metallic palettes of so many space-set games.
Each turn, the players lay one of the location cards in their hands facedown – to begin they only have half of the habitats available – to reflect their movement. Each location provides a specific power, such as The Rover’s ability to access unexplored areas for the chance to pick up survival cards, which have a number of useful effects.
The humans can discuss where they are going out loud, but it's best to avoid it because the beast is on their tail and gets to select the location they will visit afterwards.
When the players’ cards are revealed, they activate any powers at their location – except if the beast dwells there or has affected the region with one of its hunt cards or tokens.
If the beast lands on a player, the player loses a will cube. Lose all three and the beast moves forward a space on the central tracker board. Humans move forward at the end of each round, or when they activate particular powers. The first team to reach the win space, wins.
It’s as simple as that, with the beast trying to second-guess the players’ movement, which becomes more limited as they use location cards to move – having to spend will cubes or risk visiting the beast’s lair (where being caught means losing an extra will) to pick up their discard pile.
The combined hand management and hidden movement mechanics are smartly implemented, and the cards are beautifully illustrated, but too often the game depends on wild guesswork on the part of the beast player and discourages the human players from discussing their strategies, resulting in a rock-paper-scissors approach to laying cards. A shame, as the theme and appearance really are excellent.
Publisher: Geek Attitude
Genre: Hand management
Time: 30-45 minutes
This review originally appeared in the February issue of Tabletop Gaming. Pick up the latest issue of the UK's fastest-growing gaming magazine in print or digital here – or subscribe to make sure you never miss another issue.
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