Reviews written by Grudunza
After finally playing through my first solo game of Arkham Horror, I had to agree with what so many others had been saying about it; it's long, the rules are a bit fiddly and have some ambiguities, it's very big in size and there's a lot of setup... and it's very cool! Several games later and it's quickly become one of my all-time favorites.
In one sense, there's not all that much that you actively do in the game with your character... your choices are mostly in the Movement Phase with a little in the Upkeep Phase and some odd choices here and there from encounter cards... but the choices you do make and the strategies you employ can be very important, and what happens is very compelling and engaging, regardless. It's a fantastic system that is not as complex as it seems, really, and is worth the effort to learn and explore.
Full article here: http://fortressat.com/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=BSG-A-really-awesome-game...-except-when-it-kind-of-sucks..html&Itemid=240
In a nutshell, depending on the way a particular game plays out, it can be terrific and tense, or tedious and repetitive. But it's a terrific implementation of the TV show (though I hadn't seen it before playing the game, and that didn't matter), and a great complement to Shadows Over Camelot in the "cooperative game with a traitor" genre.
Though it's subject may be the cheesy B-movie type of zombie film, as opposed to the darker more "authentic" type that some prefer, Last Night on Earth does a terrific job of depicting that through its components and game mechanics.
The game seems to favor the zombies slightly, but good cooperation and a little luck on the Heroes part can help them win. Yes, there is a lot of randomness through the dice and cards, but there are also quite a lot of tactical decisions throughout and even some long-term strategy that can be employed, depending on the particular scenario.
I think the ideal number for the game is either 3 or 5, with one zombie player and either 2 players controlling 2 Heroes each or 4 players controlling one Hero each. But the game also works well for 2 and plays up to 6 (where the zombie duties are split between 2 players), and it even plays okay solitaire, using a basic "auto-pilot" system for the zombies.
This is probably my favorite game to play, as I know it will be a lot of fun and have some drama and story to it. Some games are lopsided, but many seem to come right down to the final turn and are quite tense and exciting.
Of the recent crop of purely cooperative games (including Red November and Ghost Stories), Pandemic is the best to me in that it offers the most interaction and accessibility. Unlike Red November, where it's pretty much every gnome for themselves, in Pandemic there is often a lot of interaction needed between the different roles in order to be successful. The mechanics illustrate the theme very well... the mechanic of shuffling the Infection discards and placing them back on top of the Infection deck is brilliant... and though it is generically depicted (blue disease, Researcher, etc.) instead of with detail (as in Arkham Horror, for example), that works better in this case to make the game more accessible. The average person doesn't care at all that it's "the blue disease" and not something specific... And the game is simple enough to teach and learn that I've been able to introduce it to many different people (who do not play these kinds of games at all, normally), and they've picked it right up, contributed actively to the game, and eagerly requested to play it again. Ghost Stories is also great for what it is, but compared to Pandemic is far more complex and would not be nearly as accessible. That gives Pandemic a great appeal to me, that I can share it so widely, and it's also my wife's favorite game, so more points for that. I still enjoy playing it solo now and then or with more seasoned gamers, so the replayability is definitely there. All around, a terrific entry in the cooperative game genre, and one of the best examples of a "gateway game" in recent years. I mean, would you rather play Ticket to Ride with your friends and family, or Pandemic??