Posthuman Review

Posthuman is a post-apocalyptic survival adventure game where you’ll move across a variety of terrain, forage for supplies, survive the elements, and fight for your life on your journey to the last beacon of hope. You’ll have to keep yourself fed, collect ammunition, find weapons, and avoid becoming the very things you are fighting. This game was published in 2015 by Mighty Box and Mr. B Games following a successful funding campaign on Kickstarter. Posthuman boasts a number of familiar mechanics while offering an interesting take on partnership/player vs. player, exploration, and custom player creation.

2 player game with all components displayed

The game supports 1-4, or 5-6 players with the “Defiant” expansion. Our journey to the Fortress from set up time to finish took about 2 hours. The game states it should take 30 minutes per player but I think it is safe to say expect longer playtimes, at least when you first start playing the game. I found that this game works best with 1-2 players. The solo game is quite challenging, and neither Gareth nor I have managed to get to the fortress before time runs out. With 4+ players there is a lot of down time between player turns as they wait for combat encounters to be resolved. The designers do suggest that with a 4+ player game that players resolve actions simultaneously, and then pair up to resolve combat together – however the game does not provide enough dice to allow for simultaneous combat resolution with 4+ players. In a two player game resolving combat together is quick and easy. Unfortunately as far as I can tell there is no easy way to acquire more of the custom dice to use in 4+ player games.

Combat is a huge component of this game. Posthuman uses dice rolling mechanics with custom D6s to determine successes or failures during rounds of combat. However combat success/failure is not entirely random. Various skills, weapons, equipment, and attributes can modify dice or add additional damage; but beware some of your enemies may possess these powers as well. Unfortunately there are aspects of the combat that are not very intuitive, detracting from streamlined play. Interpretation of melee combat results can bog down play, and detract from immersion.

The Gamer is able to roll one die for each blue die displayed (shooting attribute + pistol attributes), for a total of three die. One misses (X), one hits because of the pistols ability (?= 1 hit), and the last one hits because of the pistols range (1=1 hit). The human enemy dies, as shooting is resolved before melee, and she can not return fire.
Base melee attack is three dice. One extra die is reward to whom ever has the highest melee value (number in side the axe; 2 vs. 3 in this case). The mutants attack is as follows: 1 miss (X), 1 hit + knock down  due to his abilities (? = 1 hit + knockdown), 1 hit (axe symbol), and 1 block (shield symbol). The Gamers attack is as follows: 1 critical hit (axe with a blood drop), 1 hit (regular axe), and another hit due to the knifes ability (?= 1 hit). The Mutant has rolled 2 hits vs. the Gamers 3 hits. However the Mutant blocks 1 hit. Therefore both contestants strike each other. The mutant takes 2 damage; one damage for each blood drop (1 on the knife card, and one on the critical hit dice result). The Gamer takes 1 damage and 1 Mutation Scar card (because of the blood drop and green symbol on the Mutant card). As you can see, not very intuitive or streamlined. This only a very basic interpretation of 1 round of melee, it can and does get more complicated from here.

Don’t fret about player elimination through combat, if you’re ever brought below zero you are simply knocked out and find yourself back at your original safe house (starting terrain tile). You may have lived to fight another day, but if you collect one to many “Mutation Scar” cards from skirmishing with the Evolved, you’ll be transformed into one of the Evolved yourself! In this case your goal will change from reaching the fortress, to preventing the others from getting there. You’ll use unique “Mutant Actions” drawn at random to attack and hinder the other survivors. There are some variables regarding when, where and whom you may use an actions against but it is exciting none the less to take an active role in preventing the success of those around you.

You’ll need to be the first player to collect 10 “Journey points” through increasingly difficult encounters to reach the safety of the Fortress. Your path may seem straight forward on the centre board, but the real journey unfolds in front of your as you draw terrain tiles and forge your own custom path. Each tile is an adventure in of its self. A terrain tile has several features on it: the terrain, the number of supplies it will yield, the number of encounters need to complete it, and the direction of future paths. You’ll need to complete all the encounters on the tile to collect the supplies and forage for even more. Keep in mind that not every encounter will result in combat. At times you may stumble across an obstacle that requires a test of your speed or mind; some encounters may even prompt moral choices with resulting rewards or consequences. The exploration allows you to collect supplies and journey points in your own way. You may cross paths with other players if you occupy the same terrain, and this opens the option of partnership between players (trading, and using abilities) – keep in mind that there is only one winner in this game. The exploration mechanics in Posthuman are unique, streamlined, and really add to the immersion of theme. The partnership and player vs. player mixed mechanic is unique and adds to that survive at all cost feel to the theme.

There are over three hundred and fifty cards contained within this game, for fourteen different decks. Set up is simple – shuffle the decks, arrange them around the centre board, draw your equipment cards, mark your stats on the character board, and then choose one action from a set of four possible choices. The quality of the cards is great, the meeples are unique, and the art is thematic and immersive. The only negative thing I can say about the quality of the components is that the character sheet is flimsy and the stat tokens are not held well in their slots. Setting up alone will take some time. It is possible the set up may feel tedious or fiddly to some players.

With the custom character creation, the endless combination of weapons, armor, skills, and equipment, the hordes of enemies, and randomly generated individual exploration leads me to believe that the replay value of this game is high. I recommend this game if you are interested in challenging solo play or playing with 2-3 players. This game certainly has it merits: exploration, mutated/Evolved players, theme, immersion etc etc. However, Gareth and I believe that a lot of the interesting aspects such as playing as an Evolved, or trading and partnership are just not well supported at lower player counts, and higher player counts are not well supported with the present configuration of rules and components. There are many intricacies to this game that I just have not been able to include due to the length of this review already, I hope I have been able to highlight key aspects of the game. In the future I hope to go more in depth on how to play and teach this game.  Overall I have really enjoyed this game but I just wish it supported the higher player counts that it claims. We may have to create some house rules or variants to support more players to keep this one around.

Thanks for reading!

Jen Meeple
Written by Jen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s