Review: Escape from 100 Million BC – travelers through time
Who would think, that as Mars is still only a distant dream, we will turn our sight back into the past? Somewhere in the corner of China, a time machine appeared. Even the communist regime did not have the courage (and especially foolishness) to organize an expedition without the help of the world. And so it was time for sending applications, just as Musk had previously made for a trip to Mars. The next phase was the selection of the best candidates and then lottery. Only a few of us have the honor of going far into the past and hoping to find not only answers to millions of questions. You never know..
But nobody thinks about that moment, when something could go wrong. The biggest leap of mankind awaits you, if you put your faint in the game Escape from 100 Million BC. And as the name of designer Kevin Wilson (Civilization) suggests, everything will not go smoothly for you. The well-chosen theme of travel time has been chosen by IDW Games and distribution of the 2017 game is left for Europe on shoulders of Esdevium Games.
What do players expect to find in the past? Definitely, they will not be natives or any welcome commitee. On the contrary, kings of the fauna of that time will notice heroes very quickly, pick up t heir scent and see.. dinner. Such a chase with dinosaurs also appears on the lid. Then players open the box and find a large folded game board with a heap of hexagonal squares, that are placed in the center of the table and mark starting point on the paradox scale ranging from green to red.
They pick up six decks (three enemy types, then equipment, adventures, and paradoxes), shuffle them, and place them to the map-side together with tokens and cardboard figures. In the main section of their table, players will also place a time machine board, equip its emergence scale with alert token (on number one) and mark the selected difficulty of the match.
Each participant chooses his hero from very variable professions and gets not only small board with four stats, but also a figure. And he puts this hero in the center field of the map. Players will also receive will tokens in the amount corresponding to willpower of their hero, as well as two random equipment cards. It would seem that everything is ready, but before the fight for a safe return begins, the whole equation needs time and its influence. As the characters traveled to the past, they broke the flow of time, and the first consequences immediately began to manifest. So one or more (depending on the number of players) cracks in spacetime immediately open. The mark of the vortex is placed on the corresponding number on the plan and paradox card is drawn – it bring important personalities from different periods of time to this historical moment. Its figure is also placed on the map near the crack.
Since the members of the expedition are carefully selected, they will not be so susceptible to pressure and despite many dangers, they will come together and work as a team. And players who take their roles will follow them each turn.
The essence of everything in this game is movement. Number of steps the hero can make is determined by his abilities and corresponds to the number next to shoe symbol. They can move on to any free, whether explored or not, space. If no one has ever visited this position, player needs to draw one random tile of the corresponding terrain nad place it on the board. As a result of the icon on the given tile, different situations may occur. The most pleasant ones are the gain of will, equipment or time machine parts. More often will, however, players encounter some adventure or variety of creatures.
During duels and adventures, heroes of the story will have to cope with a variety of pitfalls. To overcome them, they must always succeed in skill test against some difficulty. To do this, they use a dice roll and value shown on the newly revealed card serves as a target. It is possible to increase your chances by using will as well as help with some equipment cards. Instead of fighting, a player can also try to escape the animal (by mastering the speed test) or drive it off with brawn (strength). Failure always means one injury.
From the beginning, however, non-voluntary time-savage survivors will also be on menu. The task of the players is to get them back to their homes by leading them back into the crack they’ve got there. At the beginning of their appearance 100 millions in history, coincidence moves them several fields away from the crack and they wander aimlessly in an effort to find a way back, always waver in wrong directions.
Their movement, like all other unspoiled creatures, is a matter of paradox. This happens as soon as all the heroes have used their movement points and can not do anything anymore. At that point, players roll dice and, according to their results, move the pointer on the paradox scale. Once this token passes the crack symbol, player must places a new paradox token and one appearing castaway on the board. According to red dice, all non-human inhabitants on the map will move.
However, during the course of the movement, heroes can also do other things, that cost nothing. They can pass their belongings to one of the teammates, pick up item from the ground, or escape from the creature. Some positions and directions on already exposed tiles are marked as blocked and can not be passed or the movement in that direction costs more energy (and hence movement points).
Travelers can also return to time machine crash site to refresh. For that, hero immediately refills his level of will and may also unload newly acquired parts of the machine. The most important reason is to complete the repair and go home by bringing all needed parts. If the whole team succeeds before the paradox indicator reaches end of its scale, it all ends well. Otherwise, heroes and the world should not expect anything nice.
Escape from 100 Million BC offers a thrilling cooperative story that takes time travel as its central theme. And it works well. It is to be appreciated especially regarding time castaways, who make everything really interesting.
The game is beautifully variable. On the board, pieces are randomly spaced and you never know, where you could find the desired parts of the time machine. In addition, players have a choice of more characters with special abilities. And the difficulty is adjustable – by choosing it, you specify how many time machine parts team needs to find in order for the professor to get it back into a functional state. And, of course, it is unnecessary to point out that the lower the number is, the easier game gets.
But even repairing the machine may not be enough. This is because any unused equipment cards can cause new paradoxes. Players will probably leave something behind. And these items may find way into our ancestor’s hands and voilá: we stand in front of a completely rewritten history of mankind with the help of just one or two weapons, that should not exist.
Many could be expecting a little more from designer of the famous Civilization. This will probably be the biggest problem for many players who receive this box. Theme is fully functional, but the game as such is purely random, and you will not have the chance to defend against some of those moments. It is true that you will lose once, sometimes not, even with the same starting position. So it could be said that much depends on how you deal with the new situation. But then you pull out a random map and you’re out of luck. But what do you think? How would that look in reality? There is luck present as well in this type of situations.
The biggest surprise is the fact that the game works best in two! Although you can pile up to a maximum of six players on the box. The higher the number, the fewer turns for each participant, and the smaller the share of everything that’s on the board. This results in better experience in lower numbers and a reasonable maximum of three participants.
Cooperation works here at a lighter level, because everyone is moving through the map, fighting and pursuing only a common goal. Turns are very fast, so the players themselves find themselves in the center of attention for most of the time. The game does not offer any breathtaking graphics, but the quality of the components is solid and everything serves its purpose.
Escape from 100 Million BC is an appealing game mainly due to the theme and unpredictability. But if you are not fan of luck, then you will probably be deeply disappointed. The course itself is very solid, the gameplay is at high level and the players are definitely not bored. Escape from 100 Million BC can be really recommended, if you want a new theme into your cooperative adventures and do not mind a healthy dose of luck.
Review: Escape from 100 Million BC – travelers through time
Escape from 100 Million BC sends you into the past using a time machine. But things will not work out well for you. Machine crashes and you’re stuck. It's up to players to find components of the ship scattered around in the enemy's environment as quickly as possible. The individual heroes travel through the board, struggle with paradoxes, monsters of that time and try to cooperate at the same time. Time castaways are also aimlessly wandering the map until you put them back into their time crack, which makes the game real fun. Escape from 100 Million BC is a very random but very nice game.