Front Page

Content

Authors

Game Index

Forums

Site Tools

Submissions

About

KK
Kevin Klemme
March 09, 2020
34538 2
Hot
KK
Kevin Klemme
January 27, 2020
19980 0
Hot
KK
Kevin Klemme
August 12, 2019
7096 0
Hot
O
oliverkinne
December 19, 2023
3325 0
Hot
O
oliverkinne
December 14, 2023
3034 0
Hot

Mycelia Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
O
oliverkinne
December 12, 2023
1805 0
O
oliverkinne
December 07, 2023
2255 0

River Wild Board Game Review

Board Game Reviews
O
oliverkinne
December 05, 2023
1987 0
O
oliverkinne
November 30, 2023
2207 0
J
Jackwraith
November 29, 2023
2712 0
O
oliverkinne
November 28, 2023
1827 0
S
Spitfireixa
October 24, 2023
3373 0
Hot
O
oliverkinne
October 17, 2023
2438 0
O
oliverkinne
October 10, 2023
2348 0
O
oliverkinne
October 09, 2023
2050 0
O
oliverkinne
October 06, 2023
2260 0

Outback Crossing Review

Board Game Reviews
×
Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

× Talk about the latest and greatest AT, and the Classics.

Innsmouth Escape

More
17 Mar 2008 10:12 #4191 by Shellhead
Innsmouth Escape was created by Shellhead
[Instead of continuing to hijack the co-op article discussion, I thought that I would start this thread]

Innsmouth Escape is a game for 2-5 players, playable in 60-90 minutes. The board is the smallest four-panel foldout in my collection, but is sturdy and practical. The map depicts a drab beige map of Innsmouth (that doesn't match the Chaosium map the way Fantasy Flight's Arkham Horror map matched up with Chaosium's Arkham) punctuated with a few more colorful icons, and overlaid with a large 6x6 grid. There are 100 plastic Deep Ones, 25 in each of four colors. Four six-sided dice, a pile of tokens of varying types, two decks of cards and 4d6.

One player plays the human who is trying to escape town, but first he needs to collect 8 victory points, by rescuing other humans and grabbing proof of the existence of the Deep Ones. The other players each get 25 deep ones and a shoggoth. Each turn, the human plays a combinaton of three of his nine movement cards, then lays down a pair of facedown chits that describe his new location on the 6x6 grid. Some of the movement cards allow the human to rest and regain hit points. In effect, it's like a role reversal of Fury of Dracula on a smaller scale. The only concession to scaling is that the human starts with 8 hit points and gets 2 extra hit points per additional opponent. That seems odd, that a human dealing with 25 Deep Ones and a Shoggoth gets 8 hit points, while a human running from 100 Deep Ones and 4 Shoggoths gets only 14 hit points.

Combat is a bunch of dice-rolling. The different icons on the map indicate locations where specific actions can be performed or certain card types may be drawn. Each Deep One faction can summon a Shoggoth, a slow-moving but indestuctible creature that inflicts serious damage. Cards offer valuable equipment and victory points to the human, and spells and tricks for the Deep Ones to use.

I haven't played it yet, but I'm hoping that this is another tense cat-and-mouse game like Fury of Dracula. However, I suspect that this game will be less strategic due to the more flexible movement rules, and that there will be a lot more combat. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but more sneaking and less fighting would have been closer to the original story.

The components were a little disappointing. The Deep One figures are comparable to the zombies from Zombies!!!, but otherwise, this game is drab compared to every other Twilight Creations game that I've ever seen. Unlike Zombies!!!, where there was different artwork on all the cards, Innsmouth Escape often uses the same artwork on a whole bunch of different cards. Even compared to Fury of Dracula's muted tones, the Innsmouth map is fairly colorless. And even though I've always regarded a fixation on tuckboxes to be an early sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder, this game badly needs a couple of tuckboxes, to keep the six different card types from getting all mixed together while sliding around freely in the box. And maybe a few small ziplock baggies would help keep the different token types sorted.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
17 Mar 2008 11:17 #4195 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
The Rules, part one. This is strictly from memory, so I may have forgotten a point or two:

The victory conditions are very clear. The Human wins if he collects at least 8 victory points and then moves to any square on the western or southern edge of the map. The Deep Ones win if they kill the Human by inflicting enough wounds. In a 2-player game, the Human dies if he receives 8 wounds. This scales up, to a maximum of 14 wounds to kill the Human in a 5-player game.

The Deep One player(s) set up first, filling up the 6x6 town map grid with 25 Deep Ones each, with no more than four per square per Deep One player. Then the human starts anywhere on the map except where there are human captives.

The map is necessarily drab so that it is easy to spot the six types of very important icons:

Equipment: When the Human lands on a square with the Equipment icon and token, he discards the token and draws cards equal to the numeric value of that Equipment symbol, ranging from 1 to 4. Some of the equipment is weapons, of which the Human can use any single weapon at a time, while carrying the rest. The rest of the equipment appears to be one-shot items, though this is not explicitly stated anywhere in the rules.

Victims: The Human character is a student who was visiting Innsmouth with a group from Miskatonic University in nearby Arkham. The Deep Ones attempted to kidnap the entire group, but this one Human got away. He is trying to escape Innsmouth, but first he needs to rescue 8 victory points worth of kidnapping victims. When he lands in a square with a Victim icon and token, he discards the token and draws Victim cards equal to the number with that symbol, ranging from 1 to 3, I think.

Encounters: When the Human lands on an Encounter icon and token, he discards the token and draws the designated quantity of Encounter cards, which I think is actually just one. These encounters are generally favorable.

And there are other key locations on the map for the Deep One player to consider starting at. When the Deep One player has one or more of his Deep Ones at one or more of these locations, he may be allowed to perform an action. These locations are Cards, Spawn and Shoggoth.

The Human turn:

1. Reveal current location. He flips over movement cards and two location tokens to reveal where he moved last turn. The location tokens will be a letter and a number, defining a location on the 6x6 map grid, while the movement cards will prove that he was able to move there from his previous location.

2. Draw cards. If the Human moved to a location containing both an icon and a token for Equipment, Victims, and/or Encounters, he discards those tokens and draws the appropriate cards. Some cards must be played immediately and will say so. Some cards have a Spawn symbol, and must also be played immediately, and a Deep One, if any are available from the discard pile, is played at the Human's location. Once those card tokens are discarded, that type of card can no longer be drawn at that location.

3. Combat. The Human attacks first, using a weapon of his choice. His default attack is a club, which allows him to roll 1d6 and kill a Deep One on a roll of a 5 or 6. The best weapon that I've seen played so far was a Tommy Gun, which allowed the Human to roll 3d6 and kill one Deep One for each 4, 5 or 6 rolled. If any Deep Ones survive the Human's attack, they now get to attack, inflicting 1 wound if they roll a 4 or 5, and 2 wounds if they roll a 6. After each Deep One attacks once, they all die at the end of this round of combat. The Shoggoth cannot be damaged by human attacks, and it automatically inflicts 3 wounds on the Human. The Shoggoth is not discarded after the attack.

4. Movement. The Human has 9 movement cards. The movement values of the cards are 3, 2, 2, 1, 1, 1, Rest, Rest, Rest. During the movement phase, the Human must choose three movement cards and place them in order. Each move will be in a straight line for exactly that numeric amount. For example, if the Human played, 2,1,3, he would move exactly two squares straight in one direction, then one square in any direction, and then finally exactly three squares straight in one direction. He can't move through the Shoggoth's square, he can't double back within a given straight line move, and he must move the full amount. A rest card yields a movement of 0, but allows the Human to discard one wound token.

The Deep One turn:

1. Movement. Each Deep One moves up to 2 squares, with no diagonal movement. The Shoggoth moves just 1 square, with no diagonal movement. Each Deep One player is limited to a maximum of 4 Deep Ones and 1 Shoggoth per square, so the maximum population of a square in a full five-player game would be 16 Deep Ones, 4 Shoggoths, and 1 Human.

2. Draw Cards. There are 3 Cards symbols on the board. Each Deep One player can draw a Deep One card in this phase for each Card symbol square where he has a Deep One. Maximum hand size is five, and the Deep One stops drawing when he reaches that limit. He does not overdraw and then discard down. These cards may or may not specify when they can be played, but either way, a given Deep One player can only play one card per turn, at potentially any time up until his next Draw Cards phase.

3. Shoggoth. If a given Deep One player doesn't have a Shoggoth currently in play, and he has at least 3 Deep Ones on one of the two Shoggoth symbol squares, he can sacrifice those 3 Deep Ones in exchange for bringing a Shoggoth into play.

4. Spawn. There are 3 Spawn symbols on the board. Each Deep One player can bring back a discarded Deep One in this phase for each Spawn symbol square where he has a Deep One. If he already has all 25 of his Deep Ones in play, he is not allowed to bring in Deep Ones of a different color.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
17 Mar 2008 11:38 #4197 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
The Rules, part two:

More about the Human's movement phase... after the Human has used a given set of three cards, they are discarded. Once he has used up all nine movement cards, he gets them all back. Or if he has just used up the six non-Rest cards, he can take them all back.

Otherwise, I think that I already most of the rules above. So I will tell you more about the components.

100 plastic Deep One figures, 25 each in bright red, blue, green and yellow. They stand up very reliably, and the figures are of uniform and decent quality, with no excess to be trimmed or deformed or overly bent figures. They are about the same size as the figures from Zombies!!! The rules say that there is supposed to be a Human figure, too, but my set didn't have one. So I borrow a bronze thug from Blood Feud in New York.

Four white six-sided dice, unremarkable in appearance but of decent quality.

Five decks of cards. One big deck of Deep Ones cards, and then four small decks for Equipment, Victims, Encounters, and the nine movement cards. The card artwork is good, though the color palette is limited, heavy on black and a slightly sickly yellow color. Although each of the Victim cards got original artwork (not counting a couple of pairs of twins), most of the rest of the cards use the same artwork for the whole deck. The Equipment cards did get a variety of artwork, though. The cards themselves are a little too flimsy, and will get wrecked in the hands of those players who tend to aggressively bend the cards they hold in their hand. Even slightly clumsy shuffling might bend these cards out of shape. I recommend sleeves, and also a couple of tuck boxes to keep them from getting mixed in the box.

A stack of tokens, almost as tall as a roll of dimes. Some are used to mark the Equipment, Victim and Encounter draw locations. Some are used to represent the four Shoggoths, because they would be too huge if they were represented by figures in proper scale to the Deep Ones. There are wound tokens, to keep track of wounds on the Human. And there are two sets of six location tokens to represent the current location of the Human on the map grid.

The map board, as noted aboved is a drab, four-panel folding affair, depicting the steets and waterways of the fictional town of Innsmouth, Massachusetts. It has a brief summary of the turn sequence on two edges, and is overall a simple but practical map.

The box is a sturdy square shape, but somewhat smaller than standard FFG boxes like Arkham Horror, Game of Thrones or Fury of Dracula. It's closer in size to Twilight Creation's Zombietown, USA box, though slightly smaller. The interior is lacking any type of practical storage, having just an insert that allows you to put the board on top to discourage pieces from sneaking out of the box. I will be using a couple of tuckboxes to keep the cards from getting mixed up, plus a ziplock baggie or four for the tokens.

The rulebook is small but glossy, almost exactly in between the quality that I expect from Twilight Creations and from Fantasy Flight. There are some color diagrams, but it's mostly just nicely organized text in black and white.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
17 Mar 2008 12:05 - 17 Mar 2008 16:08 #4201 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
And now I've had a chance to actually play Innsmouth Escape. My opponent was an old friend who loves games in general, AT, Euros, railgames, wargames, CCGs, rpgs, PC games... he only draws the line at collectible miniature games and larps. Aside from playing Arkham Horror and a few other games from my Mythos collection, he had no knowledge of Lovecraft's writing or themes, though he will playing in the Call of Cthulhu campaign that I am starting up next weekend.

I set up my 25 green Deep Ones to guard everything that looked useful to the Human: the Victims, the Equipment, and the Encounters. I didn't quite have enough guys to protect everything with 3 Deep Ones, so I put just one on an Equipment x1 square. So the Human started there, to immediately grab some equipment. He whacked my Deep One with a club, and I declared that there would be genocide.

In the course of our game, the Human got a Map, which gave him a movement bonus, a potion that he could drink for a movement bonus, and a magical ward that allowed him to move through the Shoggoth's square, which is not normally permitted. That ward had to be a one-shot deal, because otherwise it would neutralize all Shoggoths for the whole game. More importantly, he drew a Tommy Gun early on, which meant that he was destroying me in combat.

Guessing where the Human had moved was generally futile for the first turn or two of any given cycle with his nine movement cards. Just spreading out my Deep Ones to maximize the chance of encountering him was more effective, except that just 1 or 2 Deep Ones usually fared poorly against the Tommy Gun. So the Human got very bold about rescuing Victims, and quickly racked up 6 points. By then, he had exhausted many of his card draw locations, which made it easier for me to guard the remaining ones. Then I got reckless and sacrificed 10 Deep Ones to play a card that, for practical purposes placed a stationary Shoggoth in each of the six squares on the eastern edge of the board. He could move there, but would automatically receive 3 wounds.

So the Human instead did a bold strike at one of the more heavily guarded remaining Victim locations, and got 2 more Victory points, but finally took two wounds. Then he basically cake-walked off to the south edge of the map and won.

There were a few problems. The Tommy Gun was ridiculously powerful, and my Weapon Jam card only gave him a -1 on combat rolls for a turn. His non-weapon equipment cards were too powerful unless they were one-shot items, but nothing in the rules or card text indicated that they were to be discarded. Since the Human had no restrictions on hand size or card draw, each additional equipment card seemed to make him extremely powerful. So we house-ruled the non-weapons to be discarded after one use.

Another problem was keeping track of which Deep Ones had already been moved. I started knocking over the ones I moved, then standing them all up in the Draw Cards phase.

But over all, the worst problem seemed to be that this game didn't scale down properly for two players, With 36 locations, the 25 Deep Ones would be hard-pressed to adequately patrol the town, given that just one isn't much of a challenge for the Human. But if we had played with five players, those 100 Deep Ones would have been able to put an average of nearly 3 Deep Ones in every single square,and those four Shoggoths would present a formidable obstacle course for the Human.

I tend to enjoy games based on Lovecraft's writing, so I really wanted to like this game, and I still sort of like it. I suspect that the only serious problem with the game is scaling, and the answer is probably to change how it scales. In Fury of Dracula, there are always four hunters in the game, regardless of whether there are 1, 2, 3 or 4 players to run those hunters. So maybe Innsmouth Escape would be improved by always having the same number of Deep Ones in play. One Deep One player could control all 100, while 2 players could play 50 each, or 4 players could play 25 each as per the rules. Three players would be more problematic, but maybe they could just play 25 each, too.

Ultimately, I will need to play the full five-player version to see how that would work out. I suspect that the map isn't really large enough to fit a serious dogpile situation in any given square, but the real concern is if the game is too hard for the Human with 100 Deep Ones.

My friend who is unfamiliar with the Mythos did enjoy the game. He like the movement system and he really liked the card draw tokens, and the way the Deep One icons worked. However, he thought that our game was extremely easy for the Human. He said that we could have played 10 times, and the Human would have probably won all 10 games.

Using the old review system from Pagan Publishing's excellent magazine The Unspeakable Oath, I am currently rating Innsmouth Escape at 7 phobias out of 10.
Last edit: 17 Mar 2008 16:08 by Shellhead.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
17 Mar 2008 13:02 - 17 Mar 2008 13:12 #4202 by Thaadd
Replied by Thaadd on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
I got a chance to paw over a copy of the game at Con of the North, but did not actually have time to play, sadly. All I can say is the components look good, and I am horribly biased being friends with the designer, but... but he's really enthusiastic about the mythos involved.

As an aside, you should have another game night. I might actually be able to make it to one, one of these days.


and
Last edit: 17 Mar 2008 13:12 by Thaadd. Reason: 2nd picture did not show?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
17 Mar 2008 13:16 #4203 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
Yeah, I should do another AmeriTrash Day one of these days. The last one was between Christmas and New Years. I will see if I can fit one in sometime in mid-April. I'll let you know.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
17 Mar 2008 17:32 #4217 by Mr Skeletor
Replied by Mr Skeletor on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
Love that human!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
17 Mar 2008 23:25 #4225 by darrell
Replied by darrell on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
Mike, thanks for the in-depth overview and review of Innsmouth Escape.

To answer a few implied questions:

1) The game has no relation to Arkham Horror or the (presumed upcoming) Innsmouth Horror. The Arkham line is Kevin Wilson's baby, and I wouldn't dream of stepping on his toes.

2) Yes, you discard the non-weapon equipment cards. That's why they all have the terminology, "Play to do X" -- since as all AT players know, after a card is "played" it is discarded. :)

3) No, I'm not working for Twilight Creations now. This was an independent deal: I designed the game, and they agreed to publish it. (Okay, maybe that question wasn't implied. But in case anyone was curious.)

BTW, I'm going to be doing a ton of playtesting between now and the end of April, probably weekly at that same local game shop, mostly on Sundays. If you're available, I'd love to have your input.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
18 Mar 2008 00:00 #4226 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
Darrell,

Thanks for the invitation to playtest on Sunday. I usually don't have anything going on Sundays, so I plan on dropping by that day. And I will definitely post here after I get a chance to play Innsmouth Escape as a 5-player, which will be happening right after my Call of Cthulhu session this Saturday. Having had a chance to think about Innsmouth while writing it up here made me realize that I really liked the mechanics that you introduced with the game. And your rulebook did a great job of clearly communicating the rules in a logical and organized manner.

--Mike

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
18 Mar 2008 01:01 #4229 by Michael Barnes
Replied by Michael Barnes on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
OK, Shell, you've done the groundwork now send us a front page review of this thing! YOU CAN BE FAMOUS JUST LIKE MAKA, JUR, AND YOUR OTHER PUBLISHED F:AT BRETHEREN!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
18 Mar 2008 10:00 #4235 by darrell
Replied by darrell on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
Mike, note that this Sunday is Easter, so I'll be stranded in the frozen northlands with my wife's family, celebrating the resurrection of Christ and making my father-in-law playtest my new two-player monster war game. (That's a war game with monsters, btw.)

But the following weekend(3/28-3/30) is scheduled to be an orgy of playtesting, including an afternoon at the Source.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
18 Mar 2008 10:06 #4236 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
Michael,

I will write up a more proper review for the front page this weekend, after getting in at least one 5-player game, and hopefully a 3-player game, too. I've got a feeling that Innsmouth Escape has a sweet spot in terms of scaling and balance, and I aim to find it.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
18 Mar 2008 10:17 #4237 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
Darrell,

I always forget about Easter, it seems to show up randomly every year since the timing is based on some pagan calculation involving the moon. Okay, I will see you there on the 30th.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
18 Mar 2008 14:21 #4240 by Pat
Replied by Pat on topic Re:Innsmouth Escape
Ok - a box of Deep ones...who cares how it plays? Just kidding. I like games like this for the sake of simplicity and cool themes. Me thinks a proper review is in order.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Moderators: Gary Sax
Time to create page: 0.257 seconds