Seeing as the second edition of the game is out now and everyone’s getting it in their BGGcon goodie bags, I figured it was time to give this one another try at work.
It’s tempting as a work lunchtime game: 20 minute play time, no board, just cards, 2 players, how hard can it be?
Very hard. Incredibly hard. Portal hard. The rules are deceptively simple, other than list of small things you have to remember constantly which, since the game is so short, come up all the time. Example:
One last horror game for this season: a run-through of Tragedy Looper.
A fairly unique puzzle/deduction game that pits the 3 players against a single GM-like “mastermind”. The mastermind needs to bring about a calamitous event of some sort, the nature of which is written down in that particular scenario. The players need figure out what the roles of all the NPCs are in this scenario then prevent the disaster from occurring.
This is definitely in my top 5 games, and quite possibly my #1. Essentially a base builder where you place faction powers on the board, upgrade them, and move around to trigger them using a Euro methodology
As a small tangent, we have the Polish print of this game so we play with a translation sheet on the side, visible in corner of the photo.
Like other Portal games, this one is very asymmetric. Not only are the faction powers and play styles very different, they also have different winning conditions. Some factions use hit points to win, some instead totally ignore those and win by doing research on other factions, while one does both and then wins if it hits 20 points in one or the other.
A common criticism of the game is that for something that’s as simple as it is, it has an oddly vertical learning curve, and that’s not really wrong. It takes a bit to make your first move, but after you get going it really feels like a light euro with a dark sci-fi theme. The slightly obtuse manual doesn’t really help in that regard.
Also, the game allows for a particularly obtuse Polish 80’s reference:
The above room would be worth 18 points btw, almost enough to win the game by itself.