I played my copy solo yesterday for some hours, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
It’s nicely made and easy to play but the game itself is like a bunch of disparate ‘choose you own adventure’ events that randomly resolve in resources, a stat challenge, or combat. I’m not seeing any ‘big picture’ story so far. It’s neat exploring each location for the first time, but I rarely feel like I’m given enough info to make an informed choice.
The main gameplay element seems to be about collecting enough food to combat the crippling fatigue…
Still on the first map and already my collection of quest and adventure cards is growing quite large and I can see it quickly becoming unweildy - most of the quest cards are just keywords that open/close story sections on the map locations, so you never ‘complete’ them, and adventure cards are never discarded. The manual even advises to make stacks of ones you rarely use.
I do like how the actual quest cards reference general areas/directions/landmarks, and you can determine where those are by studying the artwork on the maps. The combat is nice too.
But it feels like playing this game is about systematically clearing a bunch of random events to map out the keywords that are required to progress more optimally in a future playthrough (game is time-limited by an event deck). The manual even says to refer to your previous maps when playing a new campaign.
Maybe it’s just me though. I have like three quests that lead off in different cardinal directions, but if there’s an unvisited location on my current map I’m going there instead. Maybe it would feel more like an adventure if I didn’t feel compelled to visit each location. I have the same issue with CRPGs, like visiting all the question marks in Witcher 3. :)