Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Frankenstein's Bodies - A Demo At Conpulsion

The gaming highlight of Conpulsion for me was taking part in the "Kickstarter Launch" demo of Frankenstein's Bodies.  Ok so it was also the only game I actually played but it was still the gaming highlight!  After all if I hadn't enjoyed it then it wouldn't have been a highlight, would it!  Anyway...

What is it?

It's a competitive card game for 2-6 players where each player is a junior surgeon working for Frankenstein.  So basically you get to create bodies from various parts and try to animate them.

You have a lab which will look something like this -


That lab is used to complete 2 bodies with as many parts of the same gender and ideally parts that share the same re-animation serum (denoted by colour).

Gameplay itself is "Draw 2, Play (up to) 2" with a 5 card hand limit.  Cards have various effects from the default of being a body part for you to place on the table to carbolic spray to remove infection.  Other cards such as additional Surgeons enable you to avoid infection and stop other players from stealing your body parts.
Oh yes, that happens a lot.  Body parts were flying around the table so much that I'm surprised there was no blood spatter.

Ah but Dave, is it any good?  Would you play it again?

Yes.
It's very good.  Andrew and Jenny have produced a complete game that has been refined and playtested over a number of years.  It works, it is fun and has potential for future development / expansions.  It's theme may be a bit dark and potentially limiting with respect to audience but the game play is simple and effective with fluid rules.

I only refer to the theme as I'm not a horror guy and I suspect that this will primarily appeal to consumers who like horror themed games.  That initial spark of interest from the gamer will largely come from the theme and rightly so as it's a good iconic horror based theme.  The challenge for the game might be in getting those aren't into horror (like me) to pick it up off the shelf without really knowing much else about the game.

So you'd buy it then?
This is part of my quandary.  I don't "do" Kickstarter with 1 exception and that was entirely down to "this must happen" reasons.
The game is also £35 which does have that "cause for pause" value proposition associated with it.  The key benefit that this game brings over other £35 games is that it supports 6 players.
So will I buy it?  Not sure... I'm tracking the Kickstarter so we'll see if I "back" it.  I want to see the game make it into production but at the same time I want to see the game make it into shops as I prefer that to buying online.

Anything else?
One element of the game that held no resonance to me is it's origin but thought it worth sharing.
The game is set in the same "universe" as the RPG 'Dark Harvest: The Legacy of Frankenstein' by Iain Lowson set in a world where Frankenstein had got it right.
I have no knowledge of this RPG (other than knowing it exists) and I just want to stress that you don't need any knowledge of the RPG to play the card game.