2-5 players, 1 vs Many, Horror Sin Invasion
Designer: Eric M. Lang
Artwork: Jacopo Camagni, Georges Clarenko
Overview of Gameplay
In The Others one player will be controlling the evil Sin demons of either Sloth or Pride in an attempt to try and wipe out a number of the opposing players (Team members of FAITH) before those players can complete their particular mission. The game is a one vs many and as such the side of “good” will be taking turns moving around the tiled board cleansing areas of corruption and fire or attacking demons. Of course unlike other 1 vs many games in this one the Sin player doesn’t get normal turns. They get a number of “reaction” tokens that they can use after another player has taken their turn to react to whatever they did. So for example, if a member of FAITH moves to a tile and tries to cleanse the area the Sin player can react to it by moving a demon into that tile and attack. The Sin player also has a hand of cards from which they can use 1 per turn at certain times during the turn to sway events. It’s an interesting method for sure, the Sin player just sitting back observing the movements and actions of the FAITH players, plotting and devising devious schemes.
After each round the Sin player can summon back up some of the killed demons to certain spots on the tiles, advance the “apocalypse” track which is always bad for the FAITH players and possibly draw more cards into their hand. So right from the get go there is a bit of a time crunch for the FAITH players to complete their objectives as fast as possible because every round that completes, the game just gets more difficult for them. One interesting aspect is that regardless of how many FAITH players that are playing (Max of 4), once a FAITH player dies they just grab another player tile and continue playing as that new character. Once enough FAITH players have been killed and there isn’t a new player board to grab then SIN wins. So for the Sin player it’s pretty straight forward, just kill the opposing players as quickly as possible. For the FAITH players there are a number of different missions included in the box that all have completely different objectives to complete. If they can complete a mission then the Faith players win.
The components are pretty standard good for a CMON game. The tokens are cardboard but a good thickness and durable. The miniatures are fantastic as to be expected from this particular company with the demons the real standout here. The Sloth demon minis are particularly detailed and the designs are very unique. There is one BIG mini, the Pride demon avatar that is just spectacular, with tendrils coming off of it all over the place it looks super imposing on the board next to the FAITH players minis.
The card quality is so-so, nothing to write home about but the dice are excellent. They are completely custom with a very nice feel and weight to them. However one pretty big complaint I have here, is there just isn’t enough of them included. There are 7 for the FAITH players and 7 for the SIN player and that sounds like a lot in theory but in playing I’ve found myself constantly needing more. And not because of player counts or anything, but because there are exploding dice in this game. What I mean is that both players dice have icons that if rolled give you the ability to roll more dice to increase your results. This seems to happen quite often and I find myself running out of dice to roll and so I have to remember what I have rolled on the prior 7 dice and then do a bit of calculation in my mind when comparing to whatever the other player rolls. It’s an annoyance more than anything.
The game board is comprised of various city tiles that are a good cardboard stock and haven’t warped so they all lay down nice and flat. Unfortunately I feel they kinda missed the mark on the art on these tiles. They are meant to depict city blocks with streets, crosswalks and the insides of buildings. And I wouldn’t say they look bland persay but with the theme that the game has going on I was expecting more…..theme on them. They are well-lit and look clean, which based on the demon apocalypse theme the game has going on I was expecting more destruction and a general foreboding feel to them. Personally the art on the tiles is my biggest gripe in the game as I feel it doesn’t do the theme any justice.
The box is durable and about average sized when compared to other CMON games. There isn’t a normal insert but the standard CMON packaging. I’ve found that you can pretty much expect the same kind of packaging standard from each game from a particular company and CMON is no exception. Once you get the tokens all punched and the cards unwrapped you need to figure out how to properly place them in the box. Now there is a plastic piece that has a slot for the cards….BUT trying to fit that in the box with all the tokens and everything bagged up is a challenge. The minis all take up the vast majority of the box space as they have boxes themselves to make sure they don’t move around. I ended up tossing out most of the plastic insert pieces as there simply wasn’t enough space in the box and bagging up most of the stuff with the exception being the minis. These things are HIGHLY detailed and I was fearful of them getting damaged being bagged together. All in all I’m not impressed with CMON’s storage solution but I do recognize the difficulty in finding a perfect solution to house those fragile-ish miniatures. You will end up bagging up all the tokens and dice and it’s up to you to decide if you want to bag up the token sets individually or not for ease of setup. In any case it would have been nice to have bags included.
Visual Appeal /Theme
Overall I find the theme awesome and the visual appeal to be mostly excellent with the notable exception of the board tiles as I mentioned earlier. I didn’t have a demon apocalypse themed game in my collection so this one filled a nice gap and the minis on the board to look really awesome when playing. The sculpts of the minis are outstanding and super unique as well with tons of detail going into each mini. The artwork on everything was top notch, even on the board tiles even though I think they should have been more diabolical in nature.
Great rulebook! I was initially daunted by the thickness when I got it out but it was super straightforward to learn. They did a great job of explaining the turns and laid out each action in great detail. The back of the manual had a round/turn reference which I love so I can lay it down and go through the motions learning easily. Not only that but I found it actually interesting to read. It is adorned throughout with excellent artwork and little thematic snippets of flavor text to add to the ominous theme. This is one of the better rulebooks that I’ve had the pleasure of learning from.
Table Talk/Fun Factor
There is a lot of table talk surrounding this as the FAITH players will need to coordinate and plan how they want to proceed to complete their objectives. The Sin player won’t be doing as much discussing obviously but will still be involved in many aspects of the board state watching for the perfect opportunity to react. Because of the Sin players reactions the game board is always changing so the FAITH players will need to work with each other on the fly. This makes the game very interesting and exciting. Also the way the corruption mechanic works to enhance your abilities during dice rolls, you can choose to become stronger but more corrupt and if you become to corrupt you will take damage. This is a really fun mechanic that adds a bunch of strategy to the game.
Optimal Player Count/Replayability
So the way the player counts are set up you could play the game 2 players. One controlling the Sin and the other controlling 3 FAITH characters. The gameplay works the same regardless with the FAITH player replacing any dead characters with another player board until they run out. It’s pretty simple as well to control multiple characters although I find the game much better if you have multiple people controlling their own characters. That way you can focus on your own thing and still have discussion and give advice on an overall plan of attack without having to worry about every little situation yourself. So personally I think the game plays best at 5 players. 1 controlling the Sin and 4 others each controlling 1 FAITH character.
They really went far to create a bookoo of replayability as well. Let’s see there are 7 completely different FAITH characters that you will experience, 2 completely different sets of Sin demons with different powers and strategies. Playing as Sin you also get to pick 1 of 3 different types of demon acolytes to use in conjunction with the demons. There are 3 different types of missions, a more straightforward fighting style, one based more on the corruption aspect of play and the other focuses more on rescuing innocents and preventing deaths. Each of these comes with 2 different main missions with different objectives and each of those comes with 2 different tiled map layouts. That’s a lot of different possibilities for a game. On top of that there is 1 more mission that is like an end of game style mission meant to be played after you have experienced all the others. Needless to say, the variability is incredibly high here.
Positive Final Thoughts
I have had a great time playing this game. I’ve tried out both of the Sins twice each and played as all the heroes and each one offers up a unique experience. The gameplay is surprisingly smooth and easy to understand as it’s mostly based on the board state rather than having a million actions to remember. The theme is interesting and the game does have a number of expansions already released to further enhance your gameplay if you so choose. Overall as far as 1 vs many style games go I think this one is at least on par with Fury of Dracula for me for being my favorite 1 vs many game. It’s got more variability and replayability options than Fury does but I prefer the board and powers that Dracula offers.
Negative Final Thoughts
My biggest gripe are the board tiles lack of theme considering the game is based on a demon invasion. They just look like standard city tiles with a couple tiny indications of demon graffiti like a corruption icon spray painted on the wall. The storage solution is a little wonky as well with the huge mini holder boxes within a box and trying to fit all the tokens in there. More dice would have been nice as well although this isn’t a game breaker by any means.