Friday 11 September 2020

London Dread

Interesting design is not necessarily good design.

A great evil with the touch of the occult is afoot in London, and it is up to a team of up to four players to cooperatively solve the mysteries and vanquish the evil doers before the city falls fully into the hands of despair. This is done in stages and the first, which is timed (12 mins on normal - you need your own timer), is the most fascinating. Firstly, dread cards are flipped face up in hopes of finding the randomly seeded "plot" locations. Then every player has a "clock" and a set of numbers and arrow directions to program what their movements are for the day.

Only complicated to start with.

Being in the same place at the same time lets people party up to take on harder challenges but at the same time you want to remove as many dread cards from the map as possible too. Missing an event card during the right period also results in an instant game over so it is a crazy and hectic section of the game. Once the timer expires, the next stage begins of seeing how everyones pre-programed movements transpire and what they manage to do in the city.

The last part is where this all really falls down - the end game. Not only does player elimination begin here, so does your realization that it's near impossible to beat this game. In it, you must gather enough dice to challenge the "dread counter" up the top of the board. Every 5 dreads requires one success (33% per dice). Should dread max out, it's automatically game over. For us it was common to require 10 or so successes and only have 7 or so dice to roll. Ultimately, even if you have a perfect game and say only require 1 or 2 successes out of 10 dice you can still fail. Without enough mitigation here this game unfortunately falls to one of the worst in my collection and I along with the rest of my game group don't want it to grace our table any longer.

Not recommended, I give London Dread 1 time clock out of 5.

Insight: Remember no dice are rolled for regular dread cards.

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