Agents of SMERSH Review

agentsofsmershAs mentioned in my Kublacon Postmortem last week, the other game that I ran was Agents of SMERSH (Affiliate Link).  This is a game based on Tales of the Arabian Nights. I have not played Tales of the Arabian Nights, but the premise intrigued me.  Every turn, players encounter fairy tale situations, and must make a choice.  Based on this choice, they look up the result in a book of tales.  They could become rich, cursed, thrown to the other side of the map… I have heard a lot of complaints about it, and most of them involve the randomness of the game.  It is a cross between a DM-less roleplaying game and a choose your own adventure book.  Agents of SMERSH hoped to improve that formula by slathering it with a healthy dose of James Bond frosting.  So is it better than the original?  Review time! Continue reading

The Brilliance of Friday: A Review

FridayFriday signals the end of the week, and the start of our two days of fun.  Oh, not that Friday?  No, I’m talking about the solo game by Friedemann Friese.

Friday is a solo deckbuilding game about surviving on a deserted island.  Our Man Friday must survive three seasons, culminating with a fight with the various pirate ships circling the island.  Should he survive to defeat the pirates, he escapes, victorious!  If not… Well, jaguars need to eat too.

There are three decks in the game.  The fight deck, the island deck, and the aging deck.  Let’s talk about the fight deck first.  The fight deck represents Friday’s knowledge of survival on the island.  As you would expect, in the beginning, he is terrible at it.  The deck has a 2, three 1s, a whole bunch of 0s, and five -1s.  Whaaaat?  His average value for the deck is zero?  Yes indeed.  Challenges will allow you to flip a number of cards for free, and compare the value of the cards to the difficulty of the task.  If you meet or beat it, you can add the challenge to your deck as a valuable skill.  If not, you lose health.  And here is the first point of brilliance in the game. Continue reading