lets start with the heroes.... depending on how many players are playing as the hero's it depends on how many start....
Corruption is one of the main mechanics of the game. It is both a way for the Sin to consume heroes, and a way for heroes to accomplish amazing feats they wouldn’t be capable of normally. Taking corruption grants heroes powerful bonuses (as long as they keep taking corruption), but when they become fully corrupted, their darkest secrets may come back to haunt them and tear the team from within, or their flesh might simply succumb to the sinful influences. Its fantastically tracked with a little tentacle plastic piece on the characters player board, and it really is hard to know when to take one, and when to avoid one.... as the bonuses can be huge, but the risks..... greater!
The Sins player, on the other hand, has access to the different monsters of each Sin, including Abominations, a Controller, and the terrifying Avatar of Sin! These monsters can attempt to destroy the heroes, or simply hinder their progress on their missions. Each Sin provides the Sins Player with a different deck of Sins cards that can be played at different times to surprise players with different effects, often tied to the strategy of each Sin. Yes, because each Sin taints the game with an overarching mechanic that is always in effect. For example, Pride punishes prideful heroes that venture into the streets on their own, while Sloth punishes heroes who try to move quickly across the board. Heroes will need to learn to deal with the different influence of each Sin, which will always stand between them and their mission.
The Sins are also aided by Acolytes, with each session using a different type. These lowly corrupted servants of darkness can fight and stand in the way of heroes, but they also have a once per round special ability that reflects their previous lives. For example, corrupted hobos take equipment from heroes, corrupted nuns corrupt the city districts, and corrupted doctors keep heroes from healing.
There are 7 different stories that players can embark on for each session of The Others. Each of them brings different special rules, different dynamics, and a unique system of branching missions the heroes need to accomplish in order to be victorious. There are Terror stories, which are more straightforward, focusing on action and combat; Corruption stories revolve around the Corruption spreading through the city and the heroes themselves; and Redemption stories rely on saving the city and the few innocents that remain. Each story can be played on a different map setup, which further makes the dynamic of each session unique.
The board used in The Others is made up of several tiles, each depicting a different city district and different configurations of streets. As the city of Haven still belongs to humanity, and it’s the Sins that are attempting to take it over, the heroes can use it to get different benefits each district offers them. For example, they can go to the hospital to heal wounds, to the museum to get rid of corruption, to the RavenCorp tower to get new equipment, or to the police station to call in an orbital strike. What districts are available on each map, and their location, can greatly change the dynamic of the game.
As the game progresses, and depending on how badly the heroes fare against storyline plot twists and developments, the Apocalypse Track will advance, making the Sins gradually stronger and more terrifying. Apocalypse cards, tied to the type of story being played (Terror, Corruption, or Redemption) introduce new twists and challenges to the game, even bringing in the members of the Hell Club themselves!
Heroes will die. Either in noble sacrifice, torn apart by claws and tentacles, or consumed by the corruption welling up in their souls. The question is whether the FAITH team will manage to fulfill their final mission in time, or whether the Sins will reign supreme over humanity.
This game, when played with 3 or more players is great.... it really is, its not as complicated as you may think at first, and with the custom combat dice you soon get into the swing of how things work, and a couple of read trough's of the rules and you wont need to refer to it much after that.
The flow of the game is easy to teach... A hero has 2 actions, they can either moves, then either attacks the monsters or cleanses the tokens to remove the threats from the board. After each hero, the Sins player may move 1 monster 2 spaces and attack the hero, or play one of his cards to boost things and cause trouble for the FAITH players.
Combat is simple and efficient, and not bloated. Both players roll dice relative to the attack value of their character, including bonuses for supporting heroes, or monsters, and equipment (yes the good guys can tool up!), dice can explode for more hits, you roll some more and then you count how many hits you rolled, and how many blocks the opponent rolls, or with Sin, how much corruption you may have to absorb or cancel.
The stats of all the monsters in the game are the same, from acolytes, though their special ability is different, to the controller, to the big mega beasts. This may sound a bit dull, but it gets rids of all the cards that each monster typically need, reduces setup time, and learning curve as well. Every game will have the same set of 4 monsters and they each have a role to play, and it's easy to teach players. "The acolytes are weak, but they do something when I summon them. abominations are stronger and a bit more scary, and the controller is the strongest, and this one.. this big huge scary thing..... that one you really want to run away from! Its elegant, and keeps things simple, it lets you concentrate on the story rather than be bogged down by hundreds of cards and stat checks, and this game WILL create stories you and your buddies will be talking about for a long time!
The core set only comes with 2 of the sins, other can be added with expansions, but they do a good job of making them feel different. Each sin has a universal ability that sis different and effects how you play with them, and their own deck of cards you draw from and play to keep the theme of that sin.
You will need to get used to the fact that your hero WILL die, not maybe, not if, but they will... its just a matter of time, there is no spawning.... that's it.... but then another hero can come in and join the fray, but you are limited by the number of hero's FAITH has so if they are all gone, its another way to lose... yes even the guy that can turn into a werewolf.. you don't see that often in games! It becomes very important to use your heroes in the right way, and at the right times.
Of course one of the coolest things about the games, is the arrival of the Avatar of the sin, you know.. the dirty great model... these things are terrifying, they can carve through heroes if you are not careful, and you know its the tense end game time when they arrive, but they are beatable, it just takes, skill courage, tactics, and a bit of luck too!
There are important choices to be made on both sides when playing the game, do you want to go accomplish the mission, or put out some fires first, or maybe you need to help a teammate on the other side of the map. Games can be won or lost because you decided to push forward to rush something instead of dealing with things closer at hand, its great as it leaves an element of chaos in the game, and tough choices to make for the hero side. Even when taking damage there is a choice to be made as to which corruption bonus will be removed, some are so good you want to keep them! As for taking corruption or not when attacking its such a hard choice to make, and really adds to the feel of the game, your team become more powerful as they slide closer to becoming one with the thing they are meant to destroy. The Sins player has similar choices when it comes to playing cards, which heroes to target, and when to use the acolyte special ability, do you push and trap them? do you string it out or try and crush them fast, keeping them busy with minions? With a huge amount of scenarios, and combinations of Sin and acolytes there is a huge amount of replay value in the core box, and there are different styles of missions, not all are just simple kill the enemy on the street, some missions are more insidious then that, ( I will leave it to you to discover!) and I like the variety.
So... to sum up, its very very good, there is plenty of action, good tactical thought, upgrades and cards play a part as well for variety, great choice of missions, and characters all feel a bit different too, plus a sad little thing, but its actually set here in England, down here in the Westcountry (Cornwall) and that's a rare and nice touch, either that or the Americans think we will be corrupted first.... not sure which it is! Either way, if you are looking for a one vs many game for your group, you cant do much better than this, its full of theme, good storytelling moments, and will leave you talking about those critical rolls, those times you destroyed the avatar with just one guy left, or the times the avatar ate all your heroes and stomped you, where you will be then talking about how things are going to be different next time if we only try this tactic.....
The game does come in at a hefty £92.99rrp but the amount you get in the box makes it worth it for the price, so head on down to your local game store and grab a copy, you will have plenty of fun with it!
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