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No Escape Kickstarter Preview


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Designer: Jonathan Thwaites
Publisher: OOMM Games
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2-8
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 30-60 minutes


Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com

WARNING: This is a preview of No Escape. All components and rules are prototype and subject to change.

The new recruits have arrived on Titan Station when the unthinkable occurs: core containment breach. An explosion rocks the station, and to your horror, you realize most of the remaining escape pods have been destroyed. Your initial briefing told you about one emergency pod somewhere in these maintenance corridors. Find it before somebody else does; one of you can make it out, but for everyone else, there is No Escape!

No Escape is a fast-paced, tile-laying game of mazes, betrayal, and survival. Players must race to escape the station as the board continuously grows around them. A little luck may get you off the station before it explodes, but beware - everyone else is out to beat you to the exit!

I love myself some cinematic box art.

Review:


Rules and Setup:

Those familiar with Tsuro are aware of its core mechanic: stay on the board and force others off. No Escape flips this mechanic on its head; players must attempt to get off the board before someone else does. The first player off finds the escape pod, while the rest suffer an untimely demise.

Each round, players place a Maze tile to add onto the labyrinth of corridors, furthering the distance their opponents must travel or placing dead ends to make them backtrack. They can also play Action tiles to help themselves or hinder others. Then, they roll the two included dice to see how far they can travel down their corridor. Players may also choose to expend an Energy marker to travel slightly further. The first player to travel past the end of a pathway wins the game; however, if the tiles run out, no one makes it out alive!

The components, in all their glory.

To set up the game, players select a meeple to represent them, as well as three Energy markers that are placed with the green ("full") side facing up. The large starting tile is placed on the table; which side is up depends on how many players there are. After shuffling the Action and Maze tiles together, each player is dealt three tiles as their starting hand. Once the first player has been randomly selected and the extra tiles, dice, and New Path tiles have been placed within reach, everyone places their meeples into the red dot at the center of the board, and the chase begins!

Players all start on the red circle, meaning that players may end up chasing each other down corridors.

Theme and Mechanics:

No Escape goes all in on its science-fiction theme. From the game's premise and mechanics to the artwork of maintenance catwalks and the terms used on the Action tiles, it all brings to mind the claustrophobic panic of survivors trapped in a space station, not knowing what's around the next corner, desperately hoping you'll find your escape (or at least something to make life easier).

A handful of Action tiles. STOP Action tiles are played on opponents' turns to... well, stop them.

Mechanically, No Escape plays like an inverse Tsuro, as players place Maze tiles along the board to further the paths of their enemies. As the maze of tiles slowly grows, paths may end up intersecting or doubling back. The tension of not knowing where your opponent will send you with their tiles is very similar to that of Tsuro, knowing that your paths may very well cross and hoping that you come out on top.

Alongside the tile-laying mechanic, the game also introduces a few key changes to the Tsuro style of gameplay. Action tiles allow for one-time bonuses or penalties, such as allowing a player to draw new tiles for forcing another to lose their turn. The character meeples can also push one another forward, so getting in front of your foes can prove a useful strategy. Energy markers provide a +1 bonus to a roll AND allow for players to bypass one another without pushing them forward. For as much luck is a part of the game, a well-developed strategy can help a failing player to gain the upper hand.

No exit? No problem! use a New Path tile to add a new opportunity for escape.

Game Play:

It may have been because we weren't as used to the mechanics, but most of our games seemed to play faster than the expected 30-60 minutes. Personally, I liked the fact that games went faster than the expected time. I feel that No Escape works really well as a filler game. Once you get a feel for the rules, gameplay goes pretty quickly, and whenever gameplay is extended (through dead ends, Action tiles, and the like), it feels less like an inconvenience and more like a new challenge to overcome.

Outcomes largely have to do with what Maze tiles are drawn and placed, as well as making use of Action tiles. I learned early on that simply placing Maze tiles to lengthen the map doesn't always prove useful, especially if you've only got a Maze tile with a single space on it. Dead ends were very useful in thwarting players' plans, though they allowed players to use teleports the smaller New Path tiles to find an alternate route, and a well-timed Energy marker proved essential to winning more than one game.

Make sure you have plenty of space... you'll need it.

Artwork and Components:

While there are uniform design elements throughout most of the game's components, the majority of the artwork is on the game box and the Maze tiles. Each tile is designed to resemble a series of catwalks, with blue pathways crossing over interconnected pipes and machinery. While this may seem like a turn off to those with a preference for high-detail graphics and artwork, this design choice does well to reinforce the claustrophobic feel of the game and keeps the focus on escaping, not admiring the newest tile placed. The catwalks are also fairly self explanatory in how players can place and travel on them, making it easy for a novice to join in the fun.

Note the middle Maze tiles - both straight paths, but the bottom one only has one section, making it only one space.

Outside of the starting board, tiles (144 in total), eight meeples, and 24 Energy markers, the game also sports two six-sided dice, numbered 1-3. These are rolled for movement, and they function fairly identically to a regular six-sided die, but the split allows for more rolls to fall within the 3-5 range and prevents rolling a 1 completely. Also, as a nice touch, the meeples have a "front" and "back" side to help determine which way players are moving (important when others push them forward). Because this was a prototype, I can't fully comment on the quality of the components, but what I had to work with left a good impression.

Energy markers have a green ("full") side and a red ("empty") side, to help you keep track of how often you use them.

The Good:

Simply put, No Escape is an interesting tile-laying game with a handful of extra mechanics that only enhance the gameplay. It's fast, it's fun, and even if you get screwed out of the win at the last moment, setting up for another game is a breeze. Best of all, the simplicity means that even a novice can grasp the rules and start developing strategies by their second playthrough.

The Bad:

The less-is-more artwork may be a turnoff to some. The simple premise, while fun, could get stale after several plays (though they plan to introduce expansions later on, for what it's worth). And if you draw a bad hand of tiles to start with, you might fall behind early on.

Final Thoughts:

I know I'm sounding like a broken record, but... it's Tsuro in space. What's not to like?

Players Who Like:

Fans of tile-laying games like Tsuro, or of games of deception and backstabbing like The Resistance, will have a blast with this one.


Check out No Escape on:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/239808/no-escape   https://oommgames.com/noescape/   https://www.facebook.com/oommgames/   https://twitter.com/oommgames   https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/oommgames/no-escape   https://www.instagram.com/oommgames/

No Escape is on KICKSTARTER between now and May 17, 2018


About the Author:
David Jensen has tried his hand at everything from warehouse work and washing dishes to delivering pizza. Now, he writes reviews, edits a literary magazine, and works in a chocolate shop. When not busy procrastinating, he's playing tabletop games with friends and writing fiction.








No Escape Kickstarter Preview No Escape Kickstarter Preview Reviewed by David J. on April 26, 2018 Rating: 5

2 comments

  1. On average, how large would you say the boards got? Is this playable on an average dining table for 6 players?

    ReplyDelete
  2. In our games, our dining table was plenty of space. I think it would only become an issue if you got close to using up all the tiles, which never happened in our games but is a possibility

    ReplyDelete

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