13 November 2020
We are only Posthuman after all
Posthuman Saga plunges players into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, leaving them to fend for themselves among the hordes of mutant creatures. This is a game about survival that even when playing among a group can feel lonely.
The set-up will be familiar to anyone who has played an action miniature game before. You begin by popping out an impressive pile of tokens, sorting out decks and collecting all the pieces required for your character. Sorting out components, while a slightly daunting task, especially at the start of the very first game, will immensely speed up the packing up and future setups. Luckily, the game comes with enough compartments and bags to get organised.
Then players select their individual objectives for the game which essentially boil down to laying down a specific terrain, going there and defeating a monster. Do that a required amount of times and it will trigger the end of the game, as well as give victory points along the way. This slightly repetitive gameplay is interspersed with events and story elements – read from the storybook – that build up the world and let players make decisions within the game, reap the rewards or suffer the consequences. While these narratives are small, individual scenarios, they do a good job of grounding players into the world and giving them agency in the stories of their characters.
Posthuman Saga has various gameplay modes, including single-player, two to four-person and team versus modes. However, with the exception of team versus mode, there is largely no direct player interaction. Everyone is secluded to their own quadrant on the board, exploring their piece of wasteland and fighting monsters by themselves. Only bidding for terrain and global events affects all players, but even that feels minimal. For most of the game, you perform actions, wait for the opponents to do theirs, rinse and repeat.
Even when the game tries to introduce co-operation between players in team versus mode, it feels forced. The gameplay remains essentially unchanged except the players in a team must complete objectives together and may share equipment. Overall, Posthuman Saga feels predominantly like a single-player game.
During the first plays, the gameplay loop and discovering the world of Posthuman Saga will keep players engaged. It is fun to see the different types of mutant monsters that come out, even though you may not be the one fighting them. Equally, reading story scenarios out loud keeps the interest of the group going. However, this may become harder to sustain after several plays.
The monsters will soon become familiar, losing their novelty, and the story bits will start repeating themselves. Granted this will take some time to happen - there are around 70 mini character scenarios in the game alone - but there will be a point when Posthuman Saga will run out of new content.
However, the time you will spend in this world, where everything is trying to kill you, will be, despite the grim theme, enjoyable. The game doesn’t pull its punches. Story decisions, how you equip and upgrade your character affect your chances of survival against the mutants in the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Combat, while having elements of luck, gives players a level of control through the character’s custom decks. The core of the game and the setting are well put together. It is only a shame that this is a world better experienced alone… even when exploring it with friends.
PLAY IT? Probably
Posthuman Saga easily immerses players in its mysterious mutant world full of wonder and danger. It is a lonely experience for the player and their character, but can also be a rewarding one.
TRY THIS IF YOU LIKED… Zona: The Secrets of Chernobyl
Posthuman Saga tells of a diﬀerent path of humanity’s demise than ZONA: The Secrets of Chernobyl, but both agree on this: discovering and surviving the world-gone-wrong is fun. As long as it’s kept to the gaming table, of course.
WORDS BY ALEX SONECHKINA
Designer: Gordon Calleja
Artists: Mark Casha, Arjuna Susini
Time: 30-120 minutes
What's in the Box?
- Journey board
- 4 Character boards
- 5 Character miniatures
- 12 Dice
- 8 mission objective cards
- 16 Mission progress cards
- 5 Character cards
- 28 Marker pegs
- 12 Boost cubes
- 20 Counter cubes
- 2 Mission score cards
- 60 Enemy cards
- 4 Mutant boss cards
- 40 Weapon cards
- 20 Equipment cards
- 26 Mutation cards
- Solo mission board
- 64 Terrain tiles
- 2 token bags
- 335 Various tokens
We've also reviewed Posthuman Saga: Resistance Expansion, so if you like this but want more, this could be the one for you!
This review originally appeared in Issue 41 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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