Quick Look: Drop Bears
Designer: Matthew Aslin
Artists: Matthew Aslin
Publisher: Platypus Industries
Year Published: 2022 (Launching June 28th on Kickstarter)
I saw a post on this game ages ago, was interested, then completely forgot about it. When a copy was offered to Everything Board Games, I was at the front of the line to try it out. I had a solo and multiplayer play of this game and sent some actionable feedback to them that I think will be addressed prior to completion. When I chatted with Platypus Industries, I felt an instant camaraderie with their friendly and positive attitude and was refreshed with how they were eager for honest feedback – both the good and bad. I’ve seen enough to know this crowd has the right approach to take their game and company to the next level. By the time they get the final product out, people will be lining up to play it.
From the Publisher:
This is the setting you are dropped into as an inexperienced group of 1-4 campers that ventured into the night. Your objective: survive until dawn.
Drop Bears is a cooperative game where campers must carefully choose actions to stay alive while the whole Australian Bush hunts them down.
The game belongs in a horror category based on the amazing cover art which is matched if not surpassed by the component quality inside. This prototype had top quality card and paper stock, art paper, and custom wooden tokens and 3d minis. I am in love with the Australian theme and associated folk lore. This was what attracted me in the first place and it didn’t disappoint.
My favorite part of the game was its absolute disregard for your feelings. Those drop bears are coming whether you can stop them or not. And if you can’t, well, you’ll likely die. I love how there are no apologies for this. No half measures. They drop, you may or may not die. If you die, pack that character up (just like a tidy take-out meal), they’re gone. BUT this isn’t a player elimination, you can spawn a new camper. Really enjoyed that part as I did die. Went unconscious once too. What’s important is that you get up, step over their useless body, and move on.
I think this is being worked on or already fixed, but I’d like more variability. In the bears attacks, in the items, and some more control provided by those changes.
This coop game comes out swinging. It encourages you to venture out of base camp in search of items and survival but you never know what’s lurking out there. As wise men have said before me: plan ahead or plan to fail. Meanwhile, it’s also said that nothing goes as planned. So, with that nonsense advise, you’re well on your way! Good luck!
Areas they did well:
– Art, component quality, and images
– Balance of survival (victory) points to win and allowing them to be a currency
– Replayability through random tile laying exploration, unique powers, etc.
– Provokes tension and sense of fear
– Respawning a new camper instead of player elimination
– Adaptations for player counts
– Hardcore play and no sugar coating. All-in, whether you survive or not.
– Playable solo mode and optional variant play
– Action choices and free actions
– Turn length
– Drop Bears automatic movement/targeting criteria
Areas they could have improved:
– More item options, and variability in other areas
– Readability of hextiles (too dark/small objects)
– Few rulebook adjustments shared with publisher
– More consistent Drop Bear Attacks/outcomes.
– Ability to keep survival points as a player with a penalty perhaps instead of full loss on death or going unconscious.
I am excited to see the final form of this game with all updated changes. I know they are working hard to get a fine polish on this title. They got quite a few fans following along and I think you should click one of the below links to see some more on Drop Bears. They are not first-time publishers, and that experience shows through in the prototype I received. I’d recommend this one for anyone with a stiff upper lip, experienced adventurers, eager victims, and fans of folklore, suspense, exploration, and coop games. Final note, I think the game is actually closer to an hour playtime.
I’ll see you next time, back here at The Game Table,
If you’d like to connect with Platypus Industries or learn more about the game, here are a couple of links to get you in the right place:
Kickstarter Page: https://www.kickstarter.
Find out more at BGG.
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Brad Hiscock, aka “Zerility”, is a construction project manager and electrician by trade who was the owner of a 6-time award winning electrical company. His passion for board games has led him from playing hundreds of original titles to creating a design and publishing company of his own, Convivial Games. As an up and coming collaborator on many projects, he is always eager to try new games and meet new people.
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All of Brad Hiscock, aka “Zerility”‘s reviews can be found HERE.