Board Games

One Play Review: Not Alone

Played Not Alone last night for the first time. Although I’ve only played once, I feel as though I got a pretty good handle on this interesting new title from Ghislain Masson and publisher Geek Attitude Games.  Not Alone is a “one versus many” style card game about a group of explorers (AKA The Hunted) who crash land on a planet. One player takes the role of The Creature, who is attempting to track down and assimilate The Hunted.

Each round, the Hunted all simultaneously play a place card, which represent one of the various locations on the island. The Creature player then places his tokens, which represent his physical creature form and various abilities, on one to three different locations. Players caught by the creature lose one of their will tokens and when the creature catches one or more Hunted players, he moves one step closer to victory. Likewise, when players lose all of their will tokens they must “give up” before playing location card, which also advances the creature assimilation marker. At the end of each round, however, the Hunted players advance on their rescue track. This basically means that time is on the Hunted players’ side. Both the Creature and the Hunted players have special cards that can be played during various phases of the game to break the basic rules of the game or alter them in some way.

As to the balance of the game, I can’t speak to it with any credibility as I’ve only played it once. In our game the Hunted won somewhat fairly easily, but I was able to recognize several mistakes I made early on. If I were to guess based on my limited experience, it seems pretty balanced with about a ten percent variation in wins versus losses on either side depending on your play group. None of the individual mechanisms in Not Alone are particularly interesting or innovative, but the way they are implemented to build a game that is fulfills a unique role in my collection, supporting up to 7 players in under an hour. Additionally, the art by Sebastien Caiveau in Not Alone is exceptionally beautiful for a $25 card game. Not Alone will be getting a wider US distribution soon by Stronghold Games. I strongly recommend you check this one out!

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