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Any CAMP GRIZZLY fans out there?

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03 Oct 2015 22:20 #211837 by Shellhead
After a couple of people mentioned Camp Grizzly a week ago here at F:AT, I briefly looked it over at BGG and then impulsively bought it from the publisher's website. The publisher, by the way, calls itself Ameritrash Games. Camp Grizzly is a co-op game where players control camp counselors who are attempting to survive a killing spree by Otis, a serial killer with a disturbing fixation on bears.

Even though I didn't pay for fast shipping, I got Camp Grizzly two shipping days later, in a battered shipping box. Fortunately, the game was shrink-wrapped and wrapped again in bubble wrap, so it was in immaculate condition. Good production values for all the components, except that the playing card stock is a bit flimsy and will likely need sleeves after a few plays. The style of the art is a bit cartoonish, but I really liked the look of the board and the pseudo-weathered card backs that simulate various signs at the camp.

The rulebook is colorful and interesting looking, and seems organized at first glance, but I could tell that this was originally a Kickstarter game once I started reading the rules. There are numerous gaps and mysteries in the rules, including explanations of such basic mechanics as movement and combat. The FAQ posted at BGG helped us figure out most of the rules, and the rest were reasonably easy to guess at based on the theme. Unfortunately, the rules issues slowed the pace of our first game, causing a 90 minute scenario to play out in just under 3 hours.

The basic structure of the game is simple. Going clockwise around the table, each player moves, and if ending movement in a cabin, draws a cabin card. Cabin cards include campers, cameos, weapons, plot twists, and surprise attacks by Otis. Campers are like sidekicks, and each one has a special ability and/or weakness. Cameos are wandering NPCs who have a limited AI based on a specific goal. Otis functions the same way, stalking campers according to a limited AI that focus on targets who are alone, afraid, and/or wounded. Otis and all the cameo characters move and act in a turn in between the first and last player.

Otis levels up, which is neat. Every time he kills somebody, a token advances on the body count track, and certain spaces increase his movement, attack, or damage ability. In combat, a counselor can only fight Otis if armed with a weapon. If the counselor wins, Otis temporarily leaves the board, to return to a random location the following turn. If Otis wins, the counselor takes damage and panics, getting one free move away from Otis. Each counselor has a damage track which affects movement (like the Speed attribute in Betrayal at House on the Hill), with the final space indicating death.

The board features a variety of cabins and other camp-type locations, with campfire in the center. Half the paths connecting cabins are well-marked and easily traversed, but the other half are tricky shortcuts called nature trails. Get lost on a nature trail and you end up in The Woods. It only takes one turn to return from the Woods, but you might get injured or even attacked on the way back.

To win, the counselors need to collect a set of three objective tokens that correspond to one of four possible finales. Things like car keys, a car battery and a gas can. The finales are interesting because they can break down the co-op element. If most of the counselors are ready to flee the board for one finale, they might resent waiting for stragglers as the bodycount rises or Otis draws near. So some of the counselors can bolt early and try to win via a finale, abandoning the rest to a cruel fate. But if they assay a finale and fail, the surviving players back at camp can try to gather a different set of objective tokens and try to win via a different finale. If nobody wins via a finale before the bodycount hits 13, Otis and the counselors are all sent to the campfire for a final battle.

Aside from the rules struggle, our 6-player game was very thematic and fun. But based on one play, it's hard to say if this game will continue to be fun after a few more plays. 90% of the cards got played in our game, not counting finales. We tried to get all the players out together with one big try for a finale, but two of us got cut down and the bodycount was up to 12, so they left one counselor behind. Their finale involved a swimming chase, and due to good die rolls and some permanent bonuses, they all easily escaped Otis. So the ending seemed a bit easy and anti-climactic, though only half the players survived. I wouldn't warn anybody away from Camp Grizzly, but I wouldn't give it a strong recommendation unless somebody particularly liked horror-based games with a sense of humor.
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05 Oct 2015 09:06 - 05 Oct 2015 09:09 #211882 by R.P.Kraul
The rules: minimalism is great, but the rulebook is too minimalist. It doesn't really say how to resolve fights with Otis in the finale. You sort of have to take hints from barn finale. The cards are flimsy. After only 8-10 plays, the tops of mine are dinged. I will be sleeving them.

Honestly, the replay value is high. The cabin cards, like AH mythos cards, can push the game in one direction or another. And although the game seems simple with limited options, I've never had two games that played the same. In one solo game, I was forced to resign when Otis reached maximum stats, and I had only two badly injured counselors left--and neither of them had a good weapon. Items, campers, board setup--these things provide nice variety. If the game has a replay weakness, it's the number of finales available (only four). I'm hoping that the expansions--if Ameritrash Games ever releases them--address this issue. More counselors would be nice, too.

I agree with you on recommending Camp Grizzly. This game is for folks who love horror--and especially for those who appreciate the tongue-in-cheek American slasher films.
Last edit: 05 Oct 2015 09:09 by R.P.Kraul. Reason: typo
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05 Oct 2015 09:06 #211883 by charlest
Back when I reviewed it a few months ago we played four times in a pretty short span (3-4 weeks) and were still having fun. Some of the card did get repetitive but the sheer fact that Otis can be so damn lethal always kept us on our toes. The finales go a long to way to differentiate plays as well.

Outside of the context of playing it repeatedly for a review, it's a game I plan on playing once every few months.

The mechanisms are simple and solid, but the game rides on its quirkiness and unique feel. It's what I wanted from past Flying Frog games like Last Night on Earth to be honest.

Good game and I'm looking forward to the expansions.
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14 Dec 2018 19:44 #288197 by Scott Rogers
If you don't know CAMP GRIZZLY, it's a great horror themed game by Ameritrash Games. The art is gorgeous, the game play is delightfully dark and the whole product drips with theme.

Despite having to wait a very long time for final expansions, this game is one of my favorites and one I'm glad I have in my collection.

Any one else own or have played this game?
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14 Dec 2018 20:00 #288201 by Gary Sax
Some discussion of this one over in the boardgame played thread, very positive opinions in general. There was also a brief thread on it ages ago:

therewillbe.games/forum/10-ameritrash/19...-camp-grizzly#211883

But feel free to continue here! I haven't played it so couldn't say much but it has fans here.
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14 Dec 2018 20:06 #288204 by engineer Al
We are all big fans of it out here in the CT camp. Josh & I talked about it in a recent podcast:

therewillbe.games/podcasts/6179-it-came-...18-halloween-special
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14 Dec 2018 20:53 #288208 by Shellhead
I missed out on the original Kickstarter and will probably never get a chance to buy the expansions, but I bought the base game from their website 3 years ago. Camp Grizzly is a great game, and even non-gamers like it. It quickly moved into the top five of my collection and remains there.
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14 Dec 2018 21:49 #288211 by Josh Look
Going out on a limb here and saying that I am the world’s #1 Camp Grizzly fan.
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15 Dec 2018 00:45 #288216 by hotseatgames
With all the recent buzz around here, I'd like to grab a copy. So can someone detail what the options are for this? Sounds like it needs a reprint Kickstarter?
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15 Dec 2018 02:05 #288217 by Scott Rogers
Camp Grizzly is a great game and I really love the art syle of the cards. Every slasher film cliche is well represented. I somewhat recently finally received the expansions which adds more cousellors, campers, cards and best of all, ending scenarios.

The entire concept and execution is great although the cards could be bigger to show off the art and the core game with expansions doesn't fit it the original box. I'm thinking about scanning and photoshopping a bigger box to fit everything.

Regardless if you like horror games, I highly rcommend it.

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15 Dec 2018 08:35 #288224 by Shellhead

hotseatgames wrote: With all the recent buzz around here, I'd like to grab a copy. So can someone detail what the options are for this? Sounds like it needs a reprint Kickstarter?


There are usually a few for sale on Amazon, and the company might still sell it direct from their website. But I suspect that they ran into an expensive production problem with the original Kickstarter and didn't make much money from the game. Otherwise, why would it take three years for them to finally send out the stretch goal expansions? So I don't expect a reprint Kickstarter. The best hope would be if a bigger company like Asmodee were to purchase the rights to Camp Grizzly and publish their own edition.

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15 Dec 2018 09:02 #288225 by ubarose
Did you back the Kickstarter? They said expansions would be available for purchase this fall/winter, but I haven’t seen them yet.

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15 Dec 2018 09:47 #288227 by drewcula
Which I guess begs the question; how necessary are the expansions?

Tangentially related; can anyone offer a compare and contrast to Last Friday?

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15 Dec 2018 09:51 #288228 by Shellhead
Interesting question. FFG in particular used to publish base games that looked like they needed at least one expansion, and that expansion was likely ready to go as soon as sales of the base game passed a threshold. The base game for Camp Grizzly is very solid and doesn't need anything to complete it. However, there are only two scenarios for each escape route, so I could see those eventually wearing out their welcome with enough repeat play. Maybe the whole game might become too familiar with repeat play, and that's where the expansion material would become valuable, especially if they add in additional scenarios for the escape routes.
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15 Dec 2018 10:10 #288230 by Josh Look
It’s still available. I wouldn’t worry about the expansions, I’m hoping they come out eventually, but the base game provides more than enough play, which is a surprise because it doesn’t look like it would at first blush. $50 is too much if you’re looking at it from a material value, but it’s a steal from a play standpoint.

A bigger publisher, even a small time one, would actually be the worst case scenario for this game. There’s a certain charm to how low budget and DIY this game is, it’s perfect given the films that inspired it and their similar history. I want the game to be successful but at the same time, I love that it’s this somewhat hard to find, not well known thing that you have to hear about word of mouth.
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