Who Goes There?: The Kotaku Review

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Who Goes There?: The Kotaku Review

You saw The Thing, right? Well, this is the adaptation of the board game.

Serious fans of the film already know this of course, since Who Goes There? is the name of the original 1938 John W. Campbell Jr. novel that the film is based on, but I just wanted to clarify that, as a working knowledge of either will help move forward here .

Who’s there? (the game), named after the book but with plenty of visual clues taken straight from the 1982 John Carpenter film, originally came out in 2018 and was fairly well received, albeit with a few fairly common complaints. It returned a few years later in 2020 with a Second Edition that, like a video game needing post-launch care, sought to address some of the issues with the original version.

I never played that first edition, so I’m not going to be able to compare it to that. I’m not sure I want to play it someday, as even this more recent revised version has glaring issues that I would have thought would be fixed in a reissue (and I’ll get to those later).

So what is the game really like? Its official summary does a great job of getting across the basics:

Who’s there? is a cooperative game of growing paranoia. At the start of the game all players are human and there is no reason not to trust each other completely, but as the temperature drops and mistakes are made players start to doubt everything and everything. the world around them.

You have to build, trade and upgrade to prepare for the Antarctic terrain, the rabid dog attacks, the crazed fools … and most importantly, the alien entity that is now roaming free in the camp. Everything you build and improve has one goal: to keep you alive and human! Throughout the game, you’ll want to trade with other players and help build more powerful weapons and better equipment, while also passing food and medicine kits. However, be sure to trust them as trading is a huge opportunity for The Thing.

Staying indoors can keep you from freezing to death, but it won’t help you or your fellow humans win. The only way to win is to venture out of the camp! The problem with this is that being away from the camp is the best way to find out about The Thing … leaving you vulnerable and exposed to infection. Whether it’s fixing the boiler, fixing the door, or battling the freezing temperatures outside, you’ll all need each other to survive. But trust is a hard thing to find when you have to beware of … Who’s going?

Basically it’s a game where everyone works together and trust each other to try to overcome a perilous situation, until they don’t, and instead becomes a game where everyone suspects everyone else. world is secretly a murderous alien life form disguised as freezing human flesh.

The goal is for each player to try to survive a set number of rounds (normally 15), and then, at the end of that, board a helicopter and get away with it. Who wins, however, depends on who exactly gets on that helicopter, with human players trying to keep the alien monsters infected, while anyone infected tries to pretend not to be infected and smiles and gets on the helicopter. alongside humans like everything was quite fine. Then there’s a whole bunch of depressing math and luck to find the winner, and I’m not going to talk about that just yet because it gets me down, and I want to talk about all the good stuff first.

Everything until the end of the Who Goes There? Game, which really is 98% of your time, is fantastic. It’s a wonderful adaptation of The Thing, which really nails both the source’s desperation as survival becomes more and more desperate, as well as the growing suspicion everyone is feeling as it becomes clear that an alien is potentially hiding under anyone’s skin.

The conditions are so brutal that it is often difficult to survive in the first place, with dog attacks, terrible weather conditions and exploding boilers making each round more dangerous than the last. Add to that the fact that you have to go out all the time to get the things you need for the escape from the helicopter, then secretly watch and worry about everyone at the table at all times, and things become quite stressful as you get closer to finishing it!

This is all very tense, and the fact that you all have to work together while trying not to work together – cooperating is essential for survival, but cooperating is also the easiest way for alien players to infect humans. – really feels like you’re playing through the second half of the movie, juggling survival with descent into madness.

The comic book style art of the game is reflected in its miniatures, which is a great touch.

The game’s comic book-style art is reflected in its miniatures, which is a great touch.Photo: Kotaku

It’s such a shame, then, that when the end finally comes, it sucks. If the players are able to survive until all the turns are over, a helicopter comes to rescue you, and it’s time for the table – you can play with 3-6 players, but you really want it to be 4 to 6 – to make decisions a little difficult. The party leader, who throughout the game has determined the turn order, can be removed from his post if other players suspect they are The Thing, and whoever ends up at work is responsible for choosing who can get on. on the chopper and left to die.

Everyone who enters the helicopter then adds up the number of helicopter points they have collected throughout the game by braving the weather and exiting, and finally rolls a special dice to generate more helicopter points and see if he exceeds the points threshold required for victory. . There is a catch, however: if an infected entered the helicopter, you must deduct their points from the total.

To win, humans must beat this scoring requirement, even if they … leave The Thing (or several things!) On the chopper with them? And in order for the infected to win, they need to have at least one alien in the helicopter and see the humans not getting the required score.

It’s an incredibly deflating way to end an otherwise great game for two reasons. Firstly, it’s hard to get an idea of ​​who is infected just by gambling (unlike other similar games, like Battlestar Galactica), so the voting at the end often felt like it was just guessing, rather than being the result of any kind of long-term detective work.

And second, a big part of hitting your required point total comes from a dice roll! I’ve played this game twice, and the first time humans lost because an infected person got on the helicopter rolling a 6 and I, the human, got a 1. It doesn’t. It didn’t matter that in the last two hours I had frozen my Ass off, getting three bonus helicopter points, fighting aliens, and suffering from frostbite, as a single dice roll canceled it all.

This is bullshit! To take with their own hands such an important part of the player’s agency at the end of the playing hours sucks. Add the weirdness of being able to win despite letting aliens get on the helicopter with you, and the arbitrary nature of having to consult a flowchart to see if you won or not and who is going? really works overtime to slice any pleasure or satisfaction out of her end.

I still think it’s a really cool co-op survival game, and the parts where everyone works together – which is the vast majority of your time at the table with Who Goes There? – are really unique and enjoyable. Just know that this is a game for people who are much more interested in the journey than the destination.

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Article source https://kotaku.com/who-goes-there-the-kotaku-review-1846938074

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