I think I read or saw something like the following online in the previous year or so since CMoN started The Others Kickstarter, “The Others is Eric Lang’s Zombicide, if he created Zombicide”. I think I’ve paraphrased that correctly.
We all know how I feel about CMoN, and the saga that was this Kickstarter project for The Others. It involved lies and deceit, failures to communicate, and if you looked up in a dictionary the phrase “couldn’t organise a piss up in a brewery”, you’d see pictures of CMoN staff.
So having gone all out on The Others (only thing I didn’t get was the artbook and prints) I was definitely going to be getting this to the table. The videos for The Others on the interweb are of varying quality. One or two that are reviewing the game, and going over the rules as part of the now cliched format, have mistakes. Mistakes that I found annoying and made the videos unwatchable for me. A bit like Suzanne on The Dice Tower mispronouncing names. It grates and just eats away at me every time they make the mistake.
Yesterday Jeff, Diego and myself met up at The White Lion to play The Others. We were using just the base game, along with the plastic tokens (instead of the cardboard ones), extra tentacle and heart counters, and lots of extra dice from all the expansions.
For this first play we followed the suggestion of the rule book of playing the Terror story Havan’s Last Stand. Out of the two layout options for the story we would be playing I chose the one that looked the easiest for the players to get around on. I was playing the sin. So I chose Pride, just because he looks so fricken cool. Probably the best looking model in the whole game, and that’s including the expansions
. Although Apocalypse comes pretty damn close. The acolytes chosen to help Pride and his minions in their quest to kill the men of FAITH, were the corrupted nuns.
I was disappointed that I only got one member of the Hell Club Flay out on the map.
So let’s look at what I liked about the game.
I did like the one versus many aspect of the game. It was fun playing as the sin. It works very well in this game. Having turn tokens that you flip when you take a turn works really well keeping track of when you take a turn, for both sides. This allows some flexibility in the order players take their turns, and more importantly the turn structure. It’s not a you take your turn, now I take my turn, then you take your turn etc etc. But more a you take your turn, do I want to react to what you have just done? structure. The sin player gets a turn counter for each player on the hero side. Whilst each player gets two turn counters. There are ways to get extra turns but we don’t need to know that here. So the sin player really does have to decide when they will respond to what a player is doing. Once they have used their turn tokens and the players still have tokens left, you are left there just watching the action unable to do anything about it.
Well that’s not entirely true. The sin player also has their own mini deck of cards. At the start of the game the sin player draws a starting hand of five. The sin player can play one of the cards from their hand per turn. So that’s on their own turn or a player’s turn. These cards are never nice for the heroes. At the end of the round the sin player gets to draw new cards (if they are able to).
And I like that, the tough choice of having to decide when to respond, and when/if to play a card.
I’d like to describe The Others as a streamlines Zombicide. And in some ways it is. Like the things a player/sin can do on their go. It’s move and take an action (fight or cleanse a space of sin tokens), possible use a city space to gain some cool benefit. Movement from a building is simple, no having to spend an action opening doors.
The map tiles are smaller than Zombicide, but similar in layout.
The corruption and wounds on the player boards is a brilliant mechanic. Being able to take corruption to gain an instant benefit when making a dice roll. But there is a nice push your luck element here. Being able to decide which corruption benefits you lose when placing wounds. It’s really nice.
Ranged combat, works nice. And I like that if any enemies that are still standing after the ranged attack try and move towards the attacker and return the favour.
While playing I did feel that during the early part of the game that the heroes had the upper hand. But as the game went on that slowly changed, with the sin player getting the advantage. Especially when the sin comes out on the board.
In one of the final fights I was rolling the combined dice for the sin, a controller, abomination, two acolytes. Which I think was like seventeen dice! Plus on top of that there was some extra dice from the re-roll mechanic. Naturally I totally destroyed the hero in that fight.
Yes there can be some luck in the dice rolling. But having a face that allows you to get an extra dice to roll, and on the hero side also set that face to whatever you want, is nice. But I don’t think that there is much you can do to mitigate bad dice rolling. But there are plenty of ways to boost the number of dice you are rolling, from having other players in the same space as yourself, equipment bonuses, taking corruption. On the sin side, making sure you have other monsters and pentagram tokens in the same space. There is a nice flow to the combat.
Having the stories with their paths and different objectives is nice, as is having a couple of options for the map layout. It’s nice giving the players a sense of control over the path that they take. It’s also nice that the stories are grouped into terror, corruption and redemption. Which focus on different things, like Terror stories are all about combat, while corruption ones are about the struggle with corruption, and redemption is about saving the city.
As a sin player I liked the apocalypse track, and the drawing from the apocalypse deck. This helps redress the balance from the players having the advantage in the early stages to giving the advantage to the sin player in the later stages.
In our game Pride won, but it was getting close. The players only had Pride to kill to complete the final mission.
This was fun, and I did enjoy playing the sin. Jeff and Diego had fun playing the heroes. Next time we play I think I will bring everything along, and have the team building, choose a different type of story maybe. Even have someone else play the sin so I can try playing the heroes.
God I hate you CMoN. I love this game, but I feel so dirty now for wanting to play it again, and liking it so much.
Having played this one v many game, I’m very keen now to play the campaign of Imperial Assault.