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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.
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.
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.
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?
But feel free to continue here! I haven't played it so couldn't say much but it has fans here.
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.
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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