Sundays are for going insane or dying to scary monsters.
My investigator dove back into Arkham Noir: Case #1 – The Witch Cult Murders tonight, determined to solve the case before the perpetrators of those seasonal murders disappeared for another year and the trail grew cold.
Unfortunately, he wasted time assembling the big picture behind the crimes (got 2 suspect puzzle pieces instead of a different type of clue). His frantic search for the final piece of the puzzle led him on a wild chase started by a mysterious phone call. The ensuing discoveries unsettled him enough that, by the time the dark man of the with cult showed up, his already frayed nerves gave up and the case ended in failure.
I enjoy the puzzle in the game a lot. But I find that I really focus on the icons, card links, set building and often forget to tell the accompanying story in my head. When I look back after, I can then appreciate the details of the case. So it doesn’t detract, but it keeps the game quite abstract.
Next, I travelled to a grim fantasy world where my party and I got attacked in the depths of a dungeon. With all my party dead, my equipment destroyed and only my bare hands and a bit of willpower left, I set out to emerge from the depths and avenge them in Unbroken.
The game makes such a great initial impression on the table. It takes no time to set up. the double layered resource management boards are great. The art on the cards is grim and evocative. And the sense of hopelessness and scrounging for every resource before time runs out permeates the resource management based gameplay. And it all fits in a tiny box.
The set up literally takes a couple of minutes and you are off for an ascent from the bowels of a murderous dungeon. Each floor is a race against time to find the resources you need to gather energy and equipment to fight the floor boss. Take too long, and they ambush you, leading to unpleasant consequences.
Your energy throughout the run is called Effort. It’s hard to come by, hard to upgrade to more powerful versions and will also deplete if you can’t feed yourself after a boss fight. Run out of effort and you die.
And I did. Twice. :)
My Sage character was cunning. Armed with her spear, she made it all the way to the final boss. But cunning is no protection against poisonous Wyverns. And so she died within a throw of the spear of the exit.
On my next run, my Huntress was good at making sure she was well provisioned with food. But, for 2 levels, she struggled to upgrade her weapon and fought bare handed. By the end of the 3rd level, she was finally wielding a frightful maul when a Minotaur (a creature which painfully counters advanced weapons) cut short her attempt to escape.
It is a shame that the game is mired in the aftermath of the Kickstarter debacle. It’s been review bombed on BGG. However, the game underneath all that controversy is gritty, easy to bring to the table, looks great and has some clever resource management mechanics with a dollop of luck on top. It plays quickly though. So I don’t see some swinginess as a terrible issue personally. It’s a game that will hit my table again for sure.