Review: After the Virus – infection is not over yet
We know exactly, what awaits us. A lot of movies, books, and prognoses have prepared us for this awful future. Prospects are not at all nice. Apocalypse is here, and undead are all around. We do not know where they came from, but we know they want only one. Our brains. It is not about peace, water or money. Their motivation is quite different and a much simpler need. Hunger.
World after the apocalypse has already called us in many games and it is not over yet, because the undead are back in new game After the Virus. Popular designer Jacob Fryxelius from FryxGames has prepared it for all nobrainers. This is hot news from Spiel 2017 fair in Essen, where it also made an impression thanks to unique illustrations by Daniel Fryxelius.
All that adventure and tension is hidden in a small box, on whose lid we see four main heroes surrounded by hungry zombies. Players will find cards inside, but it’s all covered with three character boards. Each participant chooses his own hero, receives a board and a set of cards. It consists not only of equipment and weapons, but also of other cards and even some zombies. Their number depends on the number of players in the game. Everyone shuffles his own deck and puts it in front of them.
Players choose one scenario together to fight, and they will determine position of the waves on their pointers. At the same time, they also marks zero on scale as start of the rescue, and besides its plan, they prepare one card as starting equipment. After that, they will begin to build a common gaming area. There they put together a deck of zombie cards, that have values ranging from of one to four (the numbers corresponding to number of zombies, that comes with card). The second deck is then created out of separate action cards. Likewise, injury tokens will be left aside.
At the beginning of each round, players take five cards from their drawing deck. If he encounters an undead, he must place the card in front of him. This is the enemy, that will attack him. Then players can all make their own action together.
In the first place, a player can play a card of an item, equipment, building or training. But he has to play it rotated by ninety degrees. If the player wants to prepare the card to be able to use it (turn it by 90 degrees back), then he has to use another action point and pay a handful of cards – drop them off without using. It is only then, that the effect can be used. This is usually some text description of a skill.
If a player has a card, that he does not want to use, he can use it for exploration. He discards it on the storage pile and takes a new one out of the deck. But he can place it on a table in front of him in a special position. From there, its possible to collect it only by paying cards in the hand symbol. The player can immediately play it among his active equipment. Participants can also use one-time effects, but their cards are discarded immediately after activation.
But even attacking undead monsters is choice of a player! He can leave a zombie to attack him. This will get him injured, but attacking enemy will die in the attack and player will no longer have to bother with it. This only applies, if there is only one zombie present on the card. Otherwise, they must be discarded one by one and only after the last attack, the card can be discarded. Every hit is marked on the monster head with help of the wound tokens.
Affected player can choose place of injury. Token is then placed on the head, hand, or leg of that hero. These will limit players (less weapons or inability to run), if they are not healed. Other player might do this healing action in his turn. By default, a player may have two weapons, that sometimes even require ammo.
If some of the participants have their drawing pile empty (and it’s always a question when, not if), they must shuffle their discard pack. In addition, he must add new undead. This is because, at the same time, after each depletion of the drawing card deck, player must raise attackers wave marker by one.
Players are trying to save the survivors. They simply play and activate them at the cost of a few cards. This way, you can move your rescue pointer one field forward. Instead, player can also take and use the top card of his deck. The decision depends on whether or not rescuing the survivors is the main topic of that particular scenario. It would not bring anything to players then, so they would rather choose the second option.
Game ends, when the team succeeds in meeting a common goal. However, the victory is far from certain, because if one player gets a third injury, his hero will die. And that means an immediate end for all participants.
After the Virus is a card game, in which players do not build their deck. They have it fixed and only the undead cards are added to it. Otherwise, the player must be able to do it all with their starting set, which is constantly spinning again and again. But as more rounds pass, new bounces are added to the deck. Players must therefore remove enemies constantly, so that their numbers do not overcome their heads.
It all has excellent variability. The characters themselves are different with changing starting equipment. So players must communicate well and use all the skills to make the whole team have a chance to succeed. If any of your teammates is in trouble, you can cure him. In addition, there are more scenarios to choose from, so you do not have to go through the same tasks and stories in the new game.
It will be a great joy to go through a book of scenarios, as there is a total of sixteen of them. Each color has some meaning and players can choose one of several variants by length. The story will give you not only a story, that is linked across all scenarios, but also specific goals and other rules.
Otherwise, everything is solved quite classically. A little bit of change is the cardplay style, because the playing of cards still does not mean, its available. Player must throw away some other cards from his hand in order to build, activate and use it at all.
The game offers a stronger emphasis on strategy, as the participants decide for themselves. Only discovering zombies is a matter of luck. In the opposite fence, when players do not come up with the desired cards, the bid can be affected. At the same time, player has to think of the fact, that each good card from the deck brings light to the moment, when a new enemy gets in the package.
Each participant has his own zombies to fight. This is a much better feeling because every player fights for himself. However, they can help each other, because the whole process takes place in real time and otherwise, it would not be coop. Because everyone can talk and plan about it.
You may have registered it in description of the content, but this game can be enjoyed by a maximum of three participants. In two, its excellent and in three it gets even better. The only thing, that betrayed the new green box, was originality in our eyes.
Length of the game varies depending on the variant of the scenario you choose. Those shorter have a time of about thirty minutes, but that does not mean, you will win. Individual tasks are definitely not easy and players often expect a good challenge.
Graphics will probably not be good for everyone. But at the time of realistic drawings everywhere, that adorn many new games, this approach is a welcome and original change. It’s good that the authors are not afraid to go in the opposite direction, as they did with their previous Terraforming Mars game.
After the Virus is a special cooperative game, in which players add enemies to their decks. And as they are scrambling through their decks, they come across and have to stand up. There are no dice and the hits are clear beforehand. No effect from cards or dice is done. Unfortunately, there is not so much collaboration, but After The Virus is still an interesting and fun cooperative game to play.
Review: After the Virus – infection is not over yet
After the Virus is a new type cooperative game. Somehow, we would not expect to be overwhelmed by the subject of the undead, but here we have the zombies and brains really at your fingertips. The player are in an ingenious way degrading the package, because they will have a zombie, and players have to deal with them using the hero himself. The game is fun and easy to access. The difficulty and the increasing length of the game make it more a matter for experienced players. After the Virus, however, despite these technical criticisms, is a great game.