This weekend Jane and I were playing a new game we bought called Red November. It is another co-operative game, like Pandemic which I have blogged about several times previously. The story of this one is that you are in a decrepit Gnomish sub that is fast sinking into uncharted deeps and your crew have to keep things patched up and stave off disaster for an hour until rescue comes. A track round the outside edge of the board marks the time and, like a tense movie, the camera switches from one Gnome to another; rather than turns rotating round the players, the next scene will flick to the one who is furthest back in game time.
Victory is far from assured, with numerous challenges to surmount. For example, one card can reveal that the engines will fail in ten minutes and then another throws up a fire (requiring special equipment to fight) in the only path between the Gnomes and the engine room where the fix must be applied.
It is a good, fun game although I can see a few areas where it could be improved. Visually it holds many delights but it would be appreciated if each gnome was differentiated by more than than just colour. On the cards and perhaps on the pieces (although the latter would possibly raise costs) each could look different; it wouldn’t even hurt to give each an ability and weakness to add a bit more depth to character selection and some additional replayability. It would also be nice if there was a quickfire mode to get you started; there are lots of twists to the rules and so our first attempt was slowed by tortuous reading and re-reading to understand what we could and couldn’t do.
Therefore, it does not propel itself to the top of our collection. However, it works well with two of us (playing a couple of gnomes each), can easily be played as a solo exercise (controlling at least three gnomes) and should prove fun with a larger group, if only we can figure out an easy way of explaining the rules to our fellow sailors!