Roll Call: Escape, Pandemic: The Cure, Love Letter, Incan Gold, Mansions of Madness
Roll Call is a new series that’ll summarize the past week’s gaming exploits, and who was doing the exploiting. This week had two good gaming sessions in it. Players and viewers alike are welcome to add their thoughts to the comment section at the end of the Roll Call. Spoilers for games like Mansions of Madness are clearly marked.
Thursday Game Group: 4 Players
Escape: The Curse of the Temple (2012, BGG 6.9)
30 Minutes This real-time dice roller is always good for a giggle. It clocks in at exactly 10 minutes per round due to the timed soundtrack. Not much to it: roll your dice as fast as possible to get the symbols needed to discover new rooms, unlock cursed dice, collect gems, discover the exit, and escape!
Good fun for two rounds, which was enough. A good starter but too light for this group’s main game of an evening.
The Cure Outbreak (2014, BGG 7.1)
45 Minutes An excellent reworking of the 2008 cooperative game Pandemic. I’d say this cooperative dice rolling version has ‘fired’ the original for me. The dice mechanics are tight and dispense with fiddly cards while maintaining the theme and tension.
Now that we’re playing it properly (infecting at the end of each player’s turn) it is tough enough to keep even seasoned gamers on their toes. Despite very efficient play the game got the better of us, but it was close. Down to the last die roll in fact. I can see this one hitting the table on a regular basis during the board game interlude between Descent/Imperial Assault campaigns.
Love Letter (2012, BGG 7.2)
15 Minutes This little gem just keeps giving. At the high school games club we’ve literally worn out a sleeved version. The copy I keep at home makes regular appearances when it’s time to play a family game and, even with a couple of unrepentant miniature gamers at the table, was a winner on game night. There’s just the right balance of luck, bluffing, card counting, and skillful play. I love it every time I play it – and I’ve played it A LOT – and would play it again at any time. Great filler game for 3 or 4 people.
Incan Gold (2006, BGG 6.7)
30 Minutes With one of us having to leave to do ‘dad duty’ we broke out Incan Gold and found it surprisingly fun, even with just 3 players. Essentially a push-your-luck game. During each of 5 rounds you explore an Incan ruin. Before each card from a pre-set deck is revealed everyone chooses in secret to go on or head back to camp with whatever treasure you had accumulated. Of course, the longer you stay in the greater the potential rewards, and the risks.
We’ll play this again I’m sure but it is meant for larger numbers and didn’t really get a fair workout with the three of us. It would be great fun with five players and I’m sure we’ll play that way in future and then report back.
Friday Night Games: 2 Players
Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition (2016, BGG 7.7) Escape From Innsmouth adventure. Big time SPOILERS below the break. To summarize: we’ve played this adventure three times and lost every time!
The game’s so good it’s even fun losing three times in a row. You get just that little bit closer each time… Did I mention there are SPOILERS below the break?
Stranded in Innsmouth the adventure starts with a knock on your dive hotel room’s door by a creature not quite of this world. For the next two hours it’s a mad dash trying to avoid mobs in the street, cultists, fire, and the nightmares that fill both your waking and sleeping hours.
You have to make it to the dock after contacting Agent Craven (aptly named little bugger!), collecting evidence, lighting a signal lamp, and ringing the town bell to summon the rescue boat. Oh yes, and opening that darn puzzle box! All this would be easy for our intrepid investigators if we weren’t being stalked by an angry mob and horrors drawn directly from the Lovecraft mythos: Deep Ones, Dagon, Mobs, and Cultists.
This one is really, really tough and I’d love to be able to say we beat it but it’s time to cut our losses and move on to another adventure. This app driven hybrid board game can really spin a compelling tale. One that never ends well but is fun in the telling. Highly recommended!