Preview: The Island of Doctor Necreaux: Second Edition

Infiltrate Dr. Necreaux’s island, rescue the scientists, and save the world! A cooperative pulp sci-fi adventure game.

I have a question, why do these evil types all get islands? I mean, those suckers are expensive, but somehow they always have the cash. It’s got to be paid in cash because no way a bank is giving Dr. Evil a 30 year loan based on his good rep. I mean, can you imagine the interview at the bank? “So becoming evil, what field of medicine were you in? Actually, it’s a PhD. Before this evil thing came along I had a very profitable paper route…”. Yeah, no. It took 52 (edit: 4) of us to get the downpayment for the ranch, and we’re not doing anything evil, yet. (edit: ye we are)

Let’m eat Pulp!

Dr. Necreaux’s island is a pulp sci-fi adventure game for 1-4 players. (edit: we’re waiting on the 0-4 player game, one day) The game has a whole bunch of fiddly bits and some great cards. Even better, this game is a redo. Which means all of those of you who told the designer that XXXXXX feature or card or whatever, doesn’t work, well, they fixed that.  But from what we can see, there was very little bad to begin with, and this second version makes all the good parts better. It’s like having sprinkles on your ice cream as an option, then realizing that there are multiple flavors of sprinkles. (edit: vanilla, no sprinkles, I’m boring) The evil Dr’s plan is straight out of at least 3 movies and a couple  hundred books… kidnap the smart scientists, force them to make a bomb, blackmail the world or be destroyed. The irony there is if the earth doesn’t pay and is destroyed, there isn’t exactly a plan B for the Dr. But that’s diving to deep anyway…

The players have one mission, find the scientists, grab the escape rocket, and get the hell outta dodge! Reminds me of my wild and wholly childhood on the streets of Berkeley. (edit: he grew up in a house) We set a goal, (edit: taking the trash out is NOT a goal, it’s a chore) and find ways to get to the goal in a creative way. (edit: he’d go to bed at 6, saying he’s to tired to take out the trash) Each player is a super spy, duh, (edit: duh, oh, never mind), and they are sent to the island because the world just won’t pay, they never do. Each spy has 3 traits that you can pick from the deck. Each time you play the game these traits will be different, increasing the replay-ability of this game.

There aren’t turns in the conventional sense. The players all play simultaneous but when they’re done, the clock moves one step closer to zero and the big bad boom.  This makes for some crazy game play and that’s exactly what we like around here. (edit: speak to me brother) Players draw cards based on how fast they want to go, higher speed means more cards… which is a two edged sword, you get more cards to find the scientists and the escape shuttle, but you might also grab some traps that you can’t avoid because of yiur fast speed. (edit: Oh the humanity!) But go to slow and well… big bad boom.

The Dr, and his island of misfit bad things, have traps and sneaky devices, that will delay your progress and if they can delay you enough… big bad boom, end of game. So this is one of those dance on the fine line games, which is great. This game is perfect for those in your game group who insist on guarding the door while they have the most powerful weapon, and those that run into a room to take on the dragon with a trusty butter knife. (edit: hey!)  You know you have both in your group. (edit: vanilla, no sprinkles, I’m boring)

Let’m see art!

The art is arty. We love to see art that fits the theme and this certainly does.  Also, the cards have no funky boarder, and we like that as well. Our fear is this… are the cards thick enough? I know that’s not a big deal to some, but since this game is really card focused, we know the cards will take a beating. If they’re thin and frail, well, it aint pretty after just a few plays. Let’s hope they’ve take this into consideration. We love that the game board comes with a breakdown of the rules, it really helps to look at the board rather than The Island of Doctor Necreauxhaving to pull out a long rulebook to see what’s next. (edit: true dat, street cred +1)  Another geeky cool thing is that the rulebook IS downloadable and that makes us backers happy even if we don’t read them.  The fact that the rules are there is great. (edit: cool dat, street cred -1).

The art on the 76 adventure cards looks great… the backgrounds of the 26 skill cards is (edit: vanilla, no sprinkles, I’m boring) . Maybe with some encouragement from the fans, meaning more backers, they’ll consider something more on par with the rest of the cards.

Let’m Play it!

As you can see there are a bunch of fiddly things on the game. Some of the cards have skills that have charges and knowing when to use them is part of the strategy. We don’t know all of the cards, but it stands to reason that since this is a co-op game.  I’m dying to find out what I can do with an “unstoppable token”, the applications are someone infinite and spur the imagination. “Sorry officer, I had to run the light, I have an unstoppable token”, comes to mind. That alone is worth the price of admission…

In general I’d say this game is a bit more than beer & pretzels, but nothing to spend your time trying to find out if there’s a national tournament for it. (edit: not at this time, stop checking) If you want to have a fun time, and of course making up a meta story to go with the spying, this is the game for you. Playing against the clock where the time is lowered by actions in the game, is a cool mechanic that won’t get old fast. Definitely reminiscent of Forbidden Island, and it’s spawn. (edit: he only spelled 2 of the last 7 words right, earning my pay)

Let’m Stretch it!

(mumble) Yep, there are stretch goals, and hey, what do you think of the SF Giants winning the World Series again? I hear they have a new closer and really, with 33 blown says last year. they need help in that area. If they had even half…(edit: removed 3 paragraphs of sports talk that is just meant to distract you). So I guess this is the time to tell you that the stretch goals are… not as amazing as the rest of the game. While we get that the designer is trying to add content, we’re just not inspired to tell our friends about how amazing this game will be with a lien finish to the cards. ‘Cause friends, even at the ranch, that’s nothing to write home about.

Even with this missed opportunity, this is a great game and that’s what you’re backing in the first place, not the stretch goals alone.  Frankly, if the only reason you back ANY game is the stretch goals, you need to get out more. This is a great game.

Let’m stop doing subtitles!

Most co-op games are much more complicated and for a sci-fi pulp fiction game, that just wouldn’t be appropriate. The amount of depth is perfect for the theme and that’s what makes this game so much fun. Just like any Bond film, it takes itself just the right amount of seriousness.

We think you’ll like it, and we know we will… that’s why we backed and asking you to do the same.