Hallowe'en Gaming 2015 - Psycho Raiders

Hot
DM Updated February 01, 2019
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
7278   0
Hallowe'en Gaming 2015 - Psycho Raiders

Game Information

Designer
There Will Be Games

What better way to get into the spirit of Halloween, as a gamer, than to get some friends together huddled in a darkened room and play some horror boardgames.

Psycho Raiders (2014) by The Eternal Emperors of Evil

 

psycho raiders logo


The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Wicker Man, Rosemary’s Baby, Eden Lake and other films of this ilk have clearly left their indelible terror-inducing hands (and maws) all over the making of Psycho Raiders. In it, one player takes on the roles of the title characters and the other player (or players) is/are the hapless Campers caught in the middle of nowhere, in a van with a flat tire. The Campers win if at least one of them can make their way to the top of the map… while  running  through darkened dense woods…and a tiny  town with questionable locals…. while also being hunted down by the Raiders. The Psycho Raider player is simply tasked with killing every last one of the Campers in horribly delightful ways.


This is a super fun and brutally violent magazine game (that’s right it comes in its own magazine) with pretty good components,(you do have to photocopy the character stat sheets, but whatever) and a light wargaming sensibility. The aesthetics are bang on in terms of the look and feel of the overall package. Not surprising really when one considers the game’s design team at Eternal Emperors of Evil has already established themselves with their now sold out 2nd edition of the magnificent Black Metal Necromancing game: Cave Evil. The stark colour palette of red, black and orange really suits this game and its dark, ominous setting. The comic in the magazine sets up the story and you as the players finish it off.

Campers


The gameplay is asymmetrical as the Raiders come armed to the teeth right out the gate with a butcher’s delight of assorted blades, a pyromaniac’s wet dream in a deadly flame thrower while sporting a sadist’s fervour. The Campers on the other hand start with very little and will need to search the woods, buildings or even try to kill a Raider (HAHAHA good luck with that) in order to take his weapons in a bid to stay alive. The Campers do have a couple of cool defensive actions they can take in order to stave off death. The first is the ability to “Hide”, which I really dig, this mechanic instantly reminded me of the hidden counters that were used in the old wargame Squad Leader. The way it works here is when a character is not in the line of sight of the Raiders, they can Hide by adding one hide token per turn (maximum of three tokens per character) on their current location and move those counters as a way to bluff where they really are on the map. A Raider has to land on that counter’s space and take a Search in order to reveal it. C’mon, that is fucking awesome. The other action Campers can perform is the ability to Scream, which they will use to try to alert nearby townsfolk. Successfully alerting townsfolk allow Campers to give actions to them, granting the Camper players instant access to buildings and special equipment they would otherwise have difficulty getting on their own. The flipside is that the Raider player knows which townsfolk the Campers can trust and which are Sinister and laying in wait to aid the Raiders.  Also, by taking this action that character is no longer hidden and must discard any hidden tokens on the board. This adds a touch a wonderful sense of uncertainty in whether to alert the townsfolk at all.

TorchSpud


Combat is pretty straightforward, as the attacker will roll a six-sided die and will add the weapon and/or the character’s strength to the result. The defender rolls defensive dice based on the same criteria as the attacker.  The higher roll wins and the difference is the damage dealt. The loser must reduce their stats according to the number of hits taken which of course will make them weaker. If a Camper loses all points on her stat sheet as a result of combat, the Raider draws a Kill card deck and reveals at it, if a symbol on the card matches the symbol on the weapon the Camper dies a horrific death as pictured in gloriously graphic detail. If not the Camper regains the points lost on that attack thus surviving to see another minute…or two.

Kill cards


This game kicks ass and makes a perfect Halloween game to play with a group of friends. I skipped over the special abilities and random events but know that they also help to throw players deeper into this film... er game without too much overhead. I dig that EEE chose this to be a hex and counter game and added light wargame elements but on the whole is very much an Ameritrash game. It definitely doesn’t let up and with a playtime of between 15 minutes to an hour, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. My only gripe would be that the rules are a little muddy in places and needed a bit of tightening up, especially with a number of optional rules. I’ve never a fan of games that include a whole bunch of optional rules, I would prefer game designers to select the best "options" during playtesting and integrating as a part of the main rules, but that’s just my hang-up.

Get this game. Play this game. Rip someone’s face off using a hook and chain... in this game.

Purchase game here: http://summoning-of-evil.myshopify.com/products/psycho-raiders

 

Photos

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Log in to comment

OldHippy's Avatar
OldHippy replied the topic: #212930 20 Oct 2015 20:06
This game sounds great. A sorely underused setting. I'll have to give it a whirl with you some day. Great write up too! Thanks Doc.
stoic's Avatar
stoic replied the topic: #212934 20 Oct 2015 22:12
I need to weave together a Leatherface mask to play this.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #212937 20 Oct 2015 22:37
I got my Psycho Raiders yesterday, and it looks awesome. The rules are longer and more detailed than I expected. The scenario is pretty simple, but they get into all kinds of detail about possible behavior within the confines of the situation. Barnes is right, this style of game really is a throwback to the old SPI games, not counting the horrific subject matter. Some of the artwork in the magazine is horrendously bad, some of the worst that I've ever seen, but it is certainly a deliberate design choice.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #212941 20 Oct 2015 23:44
I would really like to try this one.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #212946 21 Oct 2015 07:09
I played one on one last night. This game is totay renegade. It's ironic that one of the most progressive, innovative and maverick designs of the past several years is, for all intents and purposes, a design 35 years out of date by most standards. It has more to do with Legend of Robin Hood than Betrayal at the House on the Hill. All of these "dripping with theme" buffoons and anyone that thinks that a big FFG (or Kickstarter) production is necessary for atmosphere or storytelling needs to take a hard look at this brilliant.

I played as the campers and I can tell you that no other game captures the terror of being hunted down and murdered by amoral psychopaths better. The hiding, the possibility of sinister townsfolk, hoping that Joey shows up in his Camaro...this is a game that has rules for answering the phone and unsafe driving.

It's early on in my relationship with the game, but I would be comfortable with declaring it the best horror game I've ever played. Shit that happens I. This game is WAY scarier and more terrifying than anything in any other horror game to date. It nails the psychological simulation.

And the package...the way the comic leads into literally turn 1 of the game...fucking brilliant. All of the abhorrent, sloppy artwork, the crude "funnies", the disturbing piece of fiction...it's one of the best-packaged games I've ever seen. The whole thing is evocative and _rude.

This game is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #212947 21 Oct 2015 07:49
So be honest... would this game be better with better production values? Nice board, minis, etc.?
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #212948 21 Oct 2015 07:57
No. The effect would be greatly diminished. It would be like watching an old 1970s exploitation movie that you've seen 10 times on a 5th generation VHS tape in full HD.

Some things need to be grimy, atavistic, and unpleasant. This is one of them.

Besides, the game is completely up to the level of aesthetics that used to be considered acceptable (or even good) in hobby games.

I'll take a distinctive, highly stylized look over FFG/Thomas Kinkade quality illustrations nine times out of ten.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #212957 21 Oct 2015 09:39
My resolve to not buy any more games was weakened... I just bought it. I'm having people over Saturday for the annual Betrayal at House on the Hill game. If I actually get this in time, perhaps we will play this instead but it probably won't get here. Also it maxes out at 5 and I think I'll have 6.

After Betrayal we are going to try Cthulhu's Vault for the first time.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #212958 21 Oct 2015 09:40
Where were all you people last year when Calendale and myself were raving about it?
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #212966 21 Oct 2015 11:44

charlest wrote: Where were all you people last year when Calendale and myself were raving about it?


I read your review last year with great interest, but I was still recovering from being unemployed for 10 months.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #212968 21 Oct 2015 11:52

Shellhead wrote:

charlest wrote: Where were all you people last year when Calendale and myself were raving about it?


I read your review last year with great interest, but I was still recovering from being unemployed for 10 months.


By "all you people" I mostly meant Mr. Barnes.
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #212981 21 Oct 2015 13:00

charlest wrote: Where were all you people last year when Calendale and myself were raving about it?

'All those people' like Mr. Barnes generally likes to wait for more important and influential voices in the game review world to say their piece about a game before looking into and falling in love with this reviewer's "Jeu du jour" as we commonly say in our tiny circle of Gaming Literati (see my Barnes endorsed Horus Heresy review).

Don't be mad at me, bro.
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #212982 21 Oct 2015 13:01
I already had a copy when it came out last year but when you and Calendale reviewed it I thought to wait a bit (a year?) to review it, I thought more people would have jumped on it at that point and it would have been sold out. Looks like that didn't happen. Hopefully with Warcvlts coming, that buzz will give PR the recognition it deserves.
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #212989 21 Oct 2015 13:34

Michael Barnes wrote: I played one on one last night. This game is totay renegade. It's ironic that one of the most progressive, innovative and maverick designs of the past several years is, for all intents and purposes, a design 35 years out of date by most standards. It has more to do with Legend of Robin Hood than Betrayal at the House on the Hill. All of these "dripping with theme" buffoons and anyone that thinks that a big FFG (or Kickstarter) production is necessary for atmosphere or storytelling needs to take a hard look at this brilliant.

I played as the campers and I can tell you that no other game captures the terror of being hunted down and murdered by amoral psychopaths better. The hiding, the possibility of sinister townsfolk, hoping that Joey shows up in his Camaro...this is a game that has rules for answering the phone and unsafe driving.

It's early on in my relationship with the game, but I would be comfortable with declaring it the best horror game I've ever played. Shit that happens I. This game is WAY scarier and more terrifying than anything in any other horror game to date. It nails the psychological simulation.

And the package...the way the comic leads into literally turn 1 of the game...fucking brilliant. All of the abhorrent, sloppy artwork, the crude "funnies", the disturbing piece of fiction...it's one of the best-packaged games I've ever seen. The whole thing is evocative and _rude.

This game is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.


Thank-you for out reviewing my review in five short paragraphs. You should give writing reviews a shot sometime.

True story and I don't give a crap how cheesy this sounds but last year while gearing up for my review asnd playing tons of solo games, one night I decided to post updates on facebook as the game progressed. The response was pretty cool and at one point a buddy of mine typed something, akin to screaming at the screen, to the lone Camper not to trust the Sheriff. When he turned out to be Sinister he responded "I TOLD YOU!!!" Awesome.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #213020 21 Oct 2015 17:18
This game is fucking OUTSTANDING, and anyone who disagrees is objectively wrong on every possible level of consciousness.

This is THE game of the year, IMO. I've played it twice now, once as the Raiders and once as two of the townsfolk (we played a 9 player game and I chose to sit out until they were activated....note that I was Sinister). Mike nailed it: it delivers a sense of doom like no other, to the campers, and delivers a sense of purpose and straight-up evil to the Raider player.

If you miss out on this, you suck at life.

Michael is wrong about one thing: If this had really nice, 100$ bits, it would be just as good or better. I've already considered ways to make that happen, such as translucent miniatures for each "hidden" marker, etc. The art couldn't change, and the magazine would have to be included.

Masterpiece.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #213021 21 Oct 2015 17:21

charlest wrote: Where were all you people last year when Calendale and myself were raving about it?


To be fair, you weren't really a "Fort Guy" then, really. You should know by now that the Fort is a very exclusive club consisting of people who are natural-born cynics, who see the hypewagon, laugh, and rarely get upon it for a ride, and that are VERY selective on whom they seek out advice from, let alone trust that advice as valuable.

Don't take it personally, but until you've proven yourself here at the Fort, you're just another piece of shit huckster selling people what they want to hear. That's how many of the F:ATties that I've spoken with feel, at least.
Michael Barnes's Avatar
Michael Barnes replied the topic: #213024 21 Oct 2015 17:52
I have NEVER played a game that created a stronger sense of fatalistic, nihilistic doom. The fucking world is at stake in Eldritch Horror, but it doesn't feel nearly as crushingly grim as Psycho Raiders. I'm just kind of blown away because it does some things that you usually say that horror games "can't" do when the topic is discussed. When you are playing the campers, it really does capture this feeling of being HUNTED like nothing else. And there is no motivation, no storyline or context for it...they are just soulless, merciless killers.

The townsfolk switching thing...oh my god, that is genius. You've got the campers running toward the town (Crucible, which is a GENIUS name for it given how it becomes a crucible for ridiculously emergent gameplay), and maybe even phoning them. Or screaming for them. They may even come out to help. But then they can just turn on you at the whim of the Raider player or whoever is controlling a Sinister character. You are never safe.

There was one bit in my first game that just really stuck with me. Ginger screamed for the mechanic, he came running out of the gas station after grabbing a hammer. Randy ran toward him, Dawn was in the woods (where she ran across a body) hiding with Spud in pursuit, and Ginger was also heading up to the gas station. The mechanic threw the keys to Randy, he and Ginger caught into the fixer-upper parked outside. Dawn had used a hide token to fool Spud and wound up making it to the car too. Randy floored it...and immediately flipped the car on the turn just north of the gas station. Randy was pretty badly hurt so he told the girls to run and he got out of the flipped car to confront Torch and Beau and stall them. Torch set him on fire with the flamethrower. Beau stood by and laughed. But the kill draw missed. Randy had one point of speed left at this point, and the damage roll on the fire would have put him down on the next turn. But it started raining, and it put him out. It's like he just wouldn't die, and he gained a little will back to clobber Torch with the tire iron. Beau tried to stab him, but missed because Randy used a once-per-game dodge. Randy fought back, but dropped the tire iron on a natural one.. Beau ran the saber through his eyes. It was strangely sad, grim and utterly brutal in a way that board games NEVER are.

It was such a narratively specific turn of events...but it could have unfolded 1000 other ways up to that point, and that exact situation will likely not happen again. It was thrilling too, even though there was no chance for Randy to win in this situation...but we played it out because we _had_ to. We had to see what happened, and it was crucial to the themes that Randy keep fighting, keep trying to survive. Because he stalled them, it did actually turn into a win for the campers, Ginger ran through the chapel, hidden, and off the map. Just after the Raiders walkie-talkied to the Gravedigger, who was sinister. He was coming into the church with a shovel when she got out. Skin of the teeth.

I'm revising my GOTY 2014 picks. It's a joint win for Psycho Raiders and Mushroom Eaters. I can do that, it's my award.
Hex Sinister's Avatar
Hex Sinister replied the topic: #213028 21 Oct 2015 19:30
Jeez, it's been out a year already? I don't know where time goes these days. Moving this to top of priority list.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #213034 21 Oct 2015 20:16
According to my tracking number, now it appears that Psycho Raiders will in fact make it in time for my game night Saturday. There will be 6 of us, so do you think it will work to have 2 people run 2 raiders each, and the other 4 run 1 camper each? Assuming horrible luck on the part of any given camper, how long will someone have to sit out once he gets got?
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #213043 21 Oct 2015 22:20
Nobody sits out.

Have 2 players as Raiders and 1 each play a camper. When a camper dies, they play a townsfolk...not knowing what their role is until the point where a Raider tells them that their specific guy is evil. Raiders can't play townsfolk until after a reveal, IMO, and when a townsfolk turns, the Raider takes them over and the dead camper player takes over a different townsfolk.

It works pretty well because campers don't seem to die until they've already gotten most of the way to town. That's a limited view, only 2 plays, but it worked for us.
Deleted's Avatar
Deleted replied the topic: #213044 21 Oct 2015 22:24
Oh, and spectating is like watching a horror movie BEING FILMED. It's oddly satisfying. It's the same thing as watching a Spatracus gladiator battle, sort of. Cheering on your side and sipping bourbon.

Good times
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #213045 21 Oct 2015 22:38
I can't wait! I'm hoping I can digest the rules in the short span of time I'll have. Is the first play kind of rough?
Dr. Mabuse's Avatar
Dr. Mabuse replied the topic: #213052 21 Oct 2015 23:58
One thing I deleted from my post was that there used to be a radio station (Psycho Raidio) that you could play in the background. It was atmospheric as fuck with bits of dialogue from the Raiders. Hopefully they'll bring it back. EEE did this with Cave Evil which was so awesome I would listen.to it at work. www.cave-evil.com/KVVL/

Nate and his crew KNOW what they are doing.

The whole package is phenomenal.

UPDATE: Found a bit of the soundtrack here:
microtoxin.bandcamp.com/album/psycho-raiders-radio-tracks
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #213062 22 Oct 2015 10:17
That soundtrack looks like a fun addition to the game. I will probably still make my own soundtrack as well, focusing on actual music from that time period. Haven't decided if I will go with creepy Tangerine Dream style early electronica, '70s metal, or maybe just the current Top 40 from the week of Halloween 1978.

Damn, I would need to subscribe to Billboard.com to get that official chart. Looking elsewhere, I at least found a top 40 for 1978, which includes these possible appropriate or ironic candidates:

Stayin Alive / the Bee Gees
Hot Blooded / Foreigner
Miss You / The Rolling Stones
We Will Rock You / Queen
We Are The Champions / Queen
Two Out of Three Ain't Bad / Meatloaf
Dust In the Wind / Kansas
Love is Like Oxygen / Sweet
Three Times a Lady / the Commodores
Baby Come Back / Player

Expanding it to include 1977:

Torn Between Two Lovers / Mary MacGregor
I'm Your Boogie Man / KC & the Sunshine Band
Hotel California / the Eagles
Easy / the Commodores
Fly Like an Eagle / Steve Miller
Looks Like We Made It / Barry Manilow
So Into You / Altanta Rhythm Section
Dreams / Fleetwood Mac
Don't Give Up On Us / David Soul
Mr. Breeze / Lynyrd Skynyrd (Didn't make the Top 40, but deserves inclusion)
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #213081 22 Oct 2015 13:24
I'm unclear on something... the game blurb says there are 4 campers but everything else seems to indicate only 3 campers. Which is the correct number?