10/30/2014

Published on 10/30/2014 Written by 0 comments

Play Report: Last Night on Earth

Since it's Halloweek, we decided that our last game of the night should be thematically appropriate.
I had just bought last night on earth, so we opened it up and got cracking.  Here are my thoughts on the game:

1) Packaging.  The box has tons of room, but the interior plastic trays are poorly thought out.  When
the game is new and all the tokens are still in their cardboard frame, it fits beautifully.  Once you punch out all the markers, there's no good place to put them where they won't slide around in the box. If the "card" areas had been made deeper, all the other bits would have fit perfectly.  Not the end of the world (though that's the theme of the game), but something that could be improved.

2) Gimmicks.  The game comes with a CD for background mood music.  The music is fine, but the CD is too short to last a full game.  Especially a first full game where you are stopping to look up rules and figure out strategies.

3) Speaking of rules:  The rule book could use some work.  The first read-through does a very good job of explaning the game.  But when it comes to looking something up while playing, information is scattered all over and many things are mentioned in more than one place.  So you can't just say "The gas can - I saw that on page 3."  Because it's also mentioned on page 6 and 8, and the information you're looking for is on the one on page 6.   Even with the info scattered like this, an index would go a long way towards helping. There is a FAQ in the back, and a link to an online FAQ, but with the game being more than a year old, an updated rule book would be nice to see.
4) Parts:  The plastic figures are very detailed and a good size for handling.  The cards are a comfortable size and good quality stock.  A couple of the board pieces I have are already curled as if from moisture.  They are still quite usable, but it's mildly annoying to have the edges not meet perfectly.

That's the starting board with over 100
pieces for GFoL1666
4) Now on to the good stuff - game-play.  Our group was a mix of experienced gamers and a couple of newer people.  Setting up the board took a bit of time, but nothing that drove us away. (Unlike The Great Fire of London 1666, which is a fun game, but the set up is so daunting that we rarely take it out.)  Playing with 6 players, we had 4 heroes and 2 zombie players.  We went straight for one of the advanced scenarios and dove in.  Basic game-play is straight forward, with "turn steps" cheat cards for everyone to follow.  The game took us about 90 minutes to play, and will probably be 15 minutes shorter next time now that we won't have to hunt for rules. Having gone back to reread some of the FAQ's today, I notice we were using some of the rules incorrectly.  This likely didn't make a huge difference in our outcome, but it's frustrating to find out after the fact.  See number 3 above about the rule book.

Here's a quick scope of how to play: Part 1, the zombie turn. Zombies advance the turn number, then draw cards that may help them.  Then they roll to see if any more zombies can be added to the board. Then they move each zombie 1 space (slow movement as the "shamble"), resolve any fights if zombies share a location with heroes, then place newly spawned zombies.  Part 2, the heroes turn. Heroes roll 1d6 to see how far the can move, then decide to either move OR search the building they are in (draw a card). Then if they have a ranged weapon, they can make ranged attacks. Then if any zombies share a space with them, any fights are resolved the same as in the zombie turn.  Lather, rinse, repeat.
This framework is followed, to try to achieve the specific goal of whatever scenario you are playing.

5) Takeaway thoughts:  Despite some flaws in the rule book and the annoyance that caused, I'm eagerly looking forward to playing Last Night on Earth again.  If you have a group that likes themed games and has a little bit of patience, go grab this title, it's a worthwhile investment.  If you're not sure, try watching the TableTop episode where Wil plays this game and see if it's for you.

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