Friday, September 22, 2017

Dave Reviews: One Game Contaminated By Absolute Clusterfuckiness

First Martians

This game, as currently constituted, can eat a slimy pile of assholes.

If you want to watch a review that ends up getting into how the game plays, watch the Shut Up and Sit Down video. Quinns put the time together to figure it all out, which isn't something you should have to say to describe a game, but neither is this: discovering professional reviewers stared at this thing and couldn't comprehend this smoldering dumpster fire without repeated visits to Google and the sacrifice of multiple small animals made our group's inability to finish a single game much less disheartening.

To be clear, 'finish a single game' means just that. Not that we lost. We packed it in halfway through because nothing made sense and we assumed we were playing the game incomprehensibly wrong. And that's what this review is going to be about: how everything about a promising game can go terribly, terribly sideways.

You set up this board full of lovely green cubes and the occasional red one, marking functioning and broken systems. In the middle of the exploration area is your terraforming station, surrounded by three explorable rings. Your goal is to finish whatever mission is placed before you. This may involve, as in the introductory mission, building a few items which start with red (broken) cubes that must be fixed into green ones. However, you don't have enough green cubes to fill the whole board and all the slots on the items you need to build.

This is where I'm supposed explain how you get around this, but it all breaks down. You have the option to swap pieces of the station into the items you're building, breaking one thing to fix another, which sounds pretty cool. However, in the intro mission there's a threshold you're not supposed to cross, which is six red cubes in the stations systems. In order to fill everything as ordered, you're going to end up with seven red cubes.

What did we miss? No clue! And while this was the problem that finally broke the game (hard to feel compelled to continue when you're not even sure what you're supposed to do), we routinely had to grab the rulebook to look for guidance on problems that wound up not being anywhere in the rulebook or were, perhaps, uselessly explained.

Hopefully there's a new rulebook put out, available as pdf and which would be sent to anybody who wants one. That's the least the designers should do. Until that happens, don't bother with this.

Potential score: Seven to eight-ish out of ten
Current score: Every dumpster fire, lit

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