Omicron Protocol Review



Quick Look: Omicron Protocol


Designer: Brendan
Kendrick, Bernie Lin
Publisher: Dead Alive Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2–4
Ages: 13+
Playing Time: 60–120 Minutes


Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com
Review
Omicron is the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet. A protocol
is an official response of procedure with how to deal with a situation. Usually
a diplomatic response from a government, but also used in business dealings. In
reading the backstory for the game, the name creates more questions of what happened
in our future world to require the action of quarantining a city, leaving the
residents to fend for themselves.
Omicron Protocol is a scenario-based strategy combat game. There
are 2 sides competing against each other to accomplish the objective of the
scenario. Although they are not facing off against each other, they are
competing for the same objective, which means the opposing force has to be dealt
with.
One of the Survivalists

We played Omicron Protocol with 3 players. We played with two players controlling 1 faction against the other player and their faction. The
offset didn’t put the game out of balance from the point of the pieces on the
mat. It is also hard to say if the two-headed team was better than the one. There
was an advantage for the two players being able to talk over their strategy. At
the same time, the individual player was able to coordinate their actions easier.
Seeker’s backstory

The game has some starter scenarios for learning movement and
abilities. The system is straight forward and we found it easy to understand. The
difficulty came with the number of options available and deciding which was the
best path forward to complete the objective. This is where the individual player-team had
some advantage, as they were handling the entire team instead of just part of it.
The multi-player team ended up focusing more on the abilities of their
characters and that required more conversation and bartering between the
players.
There are multiple levels of strategy. Strategy starts in the
pre-game setup when each faction chooses which characters are being sent on the
mission. The introductions have preselected characters; however, in the full-game scenarios, players choose. Individual abilities of the characters, how they
can interact, and how they pair up with the factions special abilities that can
be used become considerations for who goes out into the field.
Along with the dealing with the other faction, there are the
Cyber-Memetic Sociopaths (CyMS). The name has been changed to fit the backstory
presented but the CyMS (pronounced “sims”) are basically zombies attracted by
sound (but the news can’t say there really was an outbreak of zombies). As you
are working to complete the objective of the scenario, the noise you make can
draw the attention of the CyMS. The opposing force can also take actions that
draw attention towards the other team as part of their strategy.

Survivalist Faction (from Dead Alive website)

Setup
To begin play, it needs to be decided who is going to play which
faction. In the base game reviewed here, there are only two factions, the
Survivalists and the Peacemakers. It is noted that additional factions are planned
for.
A scenario is then decided on. You have an option of 4 scenarios
along with 2 learning scenarios. Each game scenario has special rules that
include how the board is set up (it does not appear that any of the scenarios
presented use the background scene of the mat).
The factions now decide who they are sending on the mission. The
characters are revealed and added to the game board in the starting areas.
Gameplay
The main goal is to complete the objective. Omicron Protocol is
not an arena combat (but you could create such a scenario). The backstory is
one where people are working to survive the situation they have found
themselves in and working to get out of the quarantined city.
As the scenario progresses, more Cyms enter the area. This provides
an increase in pressure on the players for how they play the scenario.
The factions take alternating turns with their characters. The
CyMS are then able to take action after each character if the conditions are
right. Once the Scenarios objective has been reached by one of the factions, a
winner is declared.
Theme and Mechanics
There is a strong backstory for Omicron Protocol. Along with what
was presented in the rulebook, there were links to additional stories to build
a stronger background.
After choosing your team from your faction, gameplay is handled
with additional mechanics.

Peacemaker faction (from Dead Alive Games website)

Each faction starts their turn with a set number of action points.
Those points are divided by the player(s) between all of the characters in play.
During the turn a faction needs to balance the use of their action points to
utilize all of their characters. This can lead to some interesting conversations
when there is more than one player directing the actions of the characters on
the board.
Combat is determined using a dice pool. A number of dice are
rolled, and those that are equal to or greater than the target score hits. The hits are
used for several different actions from the character. They can deal damage,
trigger abilities, or if the dice are not spent (including those that don’t
score), they can be used for improving future attempted roles.
The mechanics were easy to follow–it was just a matter of
remembering what options each character has and deciding when and how to use them.
Artwork and Components
Reviewed a prototype, so artwork and components may change.
The miniatures are good depictions of the characters represented
on the faction member cards.
The Good
  • Multiple levels of strategy
  • Minis! How can you go wrong with a game that has
    minis?
The Bad
  • Early play is slow due to the number of options and based on
    situation, character, and faction.

Final Thoughts
Omicron Protocol was fun and presents some unique options.
Being a scenario-based game allows players to develop their own
scenarios. It was mentioned in the information I have that Dead Alive Games
will be making available more scenarios and working with players to share
scenarios developed by others. There could be solitaire scenarios or ones for
larger groups. I believe the larger group scenarios would be harder and longer to
play due to the interaction required by the players on the same team.
We also looked at the possibility of have the odd player (we had three) take on the role of the CyMS. This puts them in a non-win situation, but gives
them constant activity of their own “faction.”
Not only is Omicron the fifteenth letter of the Greek alphabet, in
mathematics it is used as the symbol for growth rates, and in other instances
it is tied with Omega, the end.
Players Who Like
  • Zombie games (just call them zombies when you’re playing)
  • One-on-one strategy combat
  • Miniatures games
During play testing (from Dead Alive Games website)


Check out Omicron Protocol on

           
On KICKSTARTER now. Campaign ends June 20, 2019.

Daniel Yocom – Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.


See Daniel’s reviews HERE.

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