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.

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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.

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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.
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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
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Patchwork Review

Overview

Patchwork is a quilting themed game created by Uwe Rosenberg, known for designing popular games such as Agricola, Caverna, and Le Havre. In Patchwork two players are competing to create the best quilt from a variety of unique patches. Your goal is to have more buttons than your opponent when the game ends. On your turn you have 2 simple options: purchase a patch to put into your quilt or skip your turn in order to acquire more buttons.

 

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Setup

Each player receives a 9×9 grid board and 5 buttons (the currency used in this game). The patches are randomly arranged in a circle on the playing surface and a pawn is placed after the 2×1 piece (clockwise direction). At the center of the circle goes the Time Board, which players use to keep track of how much “time” they have left to finish their quilt. Finally, place the five 1×1 pieces on each of the empty squares on the time board. You are now ready to play!

 

Playing the Game

On your turn you have 2 options:

  • Purchase a patch: Choose any 1 of the 3 patches in front of the pawn in the clockwise direction. Each patch has a button cost, a time cost, and anywhere from 0-3 buttons printed on it. The button cost indicates how many buttons you need to pay to gain the patch, and the time cost shows how many spaces your token advances on the time board when you purchase your patch. Then place your patch on your quilt board so it doesn’t overlap any other pieces. Move the pawn to where the patch used to be, changing what patches are available to be purchased. If you are further along the time track than your opponent, your turn is done. Otherwise, you go again!

 

At some point, your token will land on or pass a special spot printed on the track and trigger an event:

Button: Count the number of buttons printed on all of your patches and gain that many buttons from the supply

1×1 Patch: If you’re the 1st player to reach or pass that patch, take it and place it immediately in your quilt at no extra cost

  • Skip your turn and gain buttons: Advance your token on the time board until you are on the space in front of your opponent’s token, then gain a number of buttons equal to the number of spaces you moved.

 

If you are the first player to fill in a 7×7 area on your board, you receive a special bonus worth 7 buttons. When your token reaches the end of the track, you’ve run out of time to finish your quilt. Count up all the buttons you’ve earned throughout the game, taking away 2 for every empty space in your quilt. Once both players have reached the end, the person with the most buttons wins

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Jen’s Final Score: -2 (12 buttons minus 14 buttons for the empty spaces)
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Gareth’s Final Score: 24 (31 buttons + 7 bonus minus 14 buttons for the empty spaces)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts

Despite its simple gameplay and looks, there is a fun strategic element to this game. Each turn can take a lot of thought, deciding whether the 3 available patches will fit well into your board or even taking a low time-cost patch so you can string 2 or more turns together, grabbing an even better patch further on in the circle before your opponent can. The design of the game also makes it difficult to predict the final outcome, and players always seem to be equally matched right up until the last turn. The game’s casual nature makes it a great choice for a nice quiet evening with your partner. It’s easy to get this game to the table with its quick set up and simple rules.

 

I find that some people unfortunately judge the game by its box. When I showed this game to some of my usual gaming friends, they took some convincing to try it out as they had a hard time seeing past the seemingly boring quilting theme. This game also requires a decent sized table to play on as well; at the start of the game all of the patchwork pieces need to be spread out and require a fair bit of space.  It’s too bad that the game only comes in a 2-player format, disqualifying it from your group game nights. I feel that it has the potential to be a good game with up to at least 4 players. Perhaps a larger version is in the works, as Uwe Rosenberg’s previous 2 player games (Agricola: All Creatures Big & Small and Le Havre: The Inland Port) were based on his larger games? Just wishful thinking 🙂

 

Final Verdict: Great game, love it, definitely worth picking up if you tend to play a lot of games with only a friend or your partner

Gareth Meeple