Thursday, April 9, 2009

Komrade Gnomesky is Drunk at the Helm!

Red November!

Andy, Ray, and myself broke the wrapper on Fantasy Flight's Red November this evening and in no time we were up and running. Running around a sinking Gnomish sub that is. Red November has all the qualities that make a game great; easy-to-follow mechanics, great pieces, nice artwork, and an overall FUN factor that can't be beat. After reading multiple positive reviews I took the plunge.

The game can be played with anywhere between one and eight players, one of the reasons I picked it up. Not that I see myself playing it solo, but it's an option. Having it support a whopping eight players on the other hand, now that can make for some true chaos!

The setup, as the play on words suggests (think Red October) takes place on a submarine. This submarine however is going through a series of events, both minor and catastrophic that are dragging it, and its Gnomish crew, down to Davy Jones' Locker. As players take their turns, they move about the sub picking up items and attempting to fix the various problems cropping up. That's where the neat mechanic of the game kicks in too, in fixing things. Each action you take, from opening and entering a hatch to fixing the engine takes time in minutes. As each minute ticks past you move your turn counter along the outside of the board's track, along the way picking up random items and of course random events, none of which are ever a positive thing. You bid how many minutes fixing the problem will take, roll a die and add that number to it, if you're successful, great, problem solved. If you fail however, you've not only not fixed the problem, but wasted those precious minutes to boot.

Many random "issues" to crop up are things like flooded rooms and rooms catching on fire. More severe issues are things like the on board missiles launching, the engine room melting down, or the air running out. Of course there's also the Kraken, and that one's as ominous as it sounds. If you manage to run around like a chicken with your head cut off, put out all the fires, keep your 'ship vitals' tracks from skyrocketing, pump water out of flooded rooms, and clear jammed might just survive long enough to get rescued!

Oh wait, did I forget to mention the Grog?

On the BoardGameGeek link above there's plenty of great pics put up by gamers, but I couldn't find that perfect one that showed all of the box contents in one go. The one I've got above here doesn't do it any justice either. For such a small box, it comes absolutely crammed to the gills with pieces, counters, figures, and the like. The price, at around $20 bucks is amazing considering quality boardgame prices nowadays, but I wouldn't have minded paying a few extra bucks if it meant getting a larger board out of the deal.

This pic from the rulebook sums it up. Fun and frenetic. If you're looking for a good beer 'n pretzels game that delivers for you and your group, and you don't have time to learn a tome full of rules, then do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

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