They have been preparing us for the idea since we were little. They trained us to fight demons we had never seen. We spent our whole childhood in the abbey, which taught us not only the right faith, but above all a number of different arts of fighting. But when the real gates of hell flew open, none of us were ready for the real horrors that emanated from him. Even the scariest ideas were just a fairy tale for children.
At the end of the world, players must also face the board game Planet Apocalypse, created by designer Sandy Petersen and successfully released under the banner of his company Petersen Games. But it wasn’t just about the author’s whims, because boxing and his future were supported by almost 2,500 players in the Kickstarter campaign. The novelty arrived at the tables only a few weeks ago, also in the European distribution of Esdevium Games.
The box in which the apocalypse is located is huge. After lifting the lid, the player is rolled out of hellish sulfur and, above all, a large twisted S-shaped game board, which the player places in the middle of the table, with the invasion side up. Next to the board, he prepares the card of the Lord of Hell, his figure and the figures of the henchmen, marks the starting value of the lives of the main villain on the scale and places the invasion tokens on the map. Nearby he will also lay out a control panel, where there are scales of destruction, despair and the lord of hell. They all start at the start. But there is also room on the board for a legion card, tokens of courage, gifts and dice of despair.
The player himself chooses his hero, places his piece on the starting line of the whole adventure and sets the health scale to the default value. Participants will also prepare a few luck, hardness and dice tokens for their characters.
Each round consists of three large phases and it all starts with the part dedicated to the whole team of heroes, where the players choose a captain from among themselves (respectively, his role is shifted counterclockwise). This role is responsible for the other members of the adventurer group, so it decides some common choices in the round.
However, the main content of the team part of the round is the possibility to perform some activities together. If they are at the beginning of the journey, they can recruit a new unit of soldiers as a patrol. Adventurers can also treat each other, even if there is an opponent with them. But he must pay with a point of courage. The same currency is also used to pay for a card from the gift offer, which offers the owners an advantage. The player places a card with its description on the board of his hero, where he has space for six such improvements.
But then it’s time for the individual heroes to get into the fight pretty much for themselves, but they still have to keep in mind the good of the group. Gradually, all players get to their turn, which usually consists of three options. Players can use them in any order. They can move one or two territories in any direction and also attack. But if he is stunned from the last move, he must give up one of these activities so that his character has a chance to recover.
Whenever a hero is in the same location as one of the monsters, he can attack them with the help of dice (according to his statistics) and try to eliminate them from the game by comparing them with the toughness of the opponents. He gets points of courage for killing each monster. In battles with enemies, heroes can even help themselves if they are in the same position.
As a last resort, players can use their patrols and set them up as an assault on a given location. But this is not the only use of the accompanying soldiers, as we will find out as soon as the last phase of the round begins, because the players have all played their actions. This is the time for the enemy phase, in which the despair of the heroes on the scale increases according to their number, because the number of enemy raids is not decreasing and who would not despair at least a little in such a situation.
The enemies attack the heroes (but the hits can be swallowed up by soldiers on patrol instead) and those who have no one in range move towards the starting position. If they reach it, they leave the game board. However, new monsters will also appear on the plan if one of the players has discovered and now shares a position with an invasion token. And yet at this point, players can influence the enemies with their traps they set, further reducing their numbers.
And while the death of monsters gives players courage, the defeat of their companions increases the value of the scale of destruction. However, the player can take a replacement for him and start from the beginning without the acquired equipment. Players are waiting for more waves of enemies and hope to survive not only the traps of the weaker monsters, but also the Lord of Darkness at the very end. They can win or be defeated as a team. In both cases, however, they will eventually have to face the inevitable apocalypse.
This is what the game Planet Apocalypse promises in the title and you as a player feel that you are a part of it from the beginning of the game. But the heroes are not afraid and, with their heads held high, they wait for the arrival of hell and stand firmly in the face of their probable destruction.
Players must gradually cut their way through a lot of monsters, which become stronger and stronger as new and new waves of enemies approach. But only at the end will they show how well they built their character (it’s also fun!) With the help of gift cards, for which you can exchange the accumulated points of courage (equivalent to experience). Fortunately, these will make it possible to compensate for the birth defects that each character got in the wreath, similar to the Tainted Grail.
There is a pile of dice in the game, which carry an iron ball called a coincidence. There’s a good portion of that in the game. So much so that you can get the impression at first glance that it’s all about happiness. Fortunately, this is not true, because a lot of skills, but also game elements allow you to fight bad luck, and in the end, success depends on a really good plan, and only in the end does a pinch of chance decide.
The game offers various difficulties, but in general this is not an adventure for opponents of defeat. This will be part of your endeavor as well as victory. Game time is not exaggerated and count on some ninety minutes. The only exception is a game with a maximum of five participants, when it is still a fous. However, the difficulty increases accordingly, so even now you will not feel that you will get something for free.
The double-sided map is a chance for nice variability even within the basic box, but in order to have enough heroes, enemies and cards, you need to buy another expansion box. You only get one boss! Well, honestly, that’s not exactly good news considering the size and price of the foundation.
In the end, however, the game content is repetitive. There is nothing to pull you out of that constant carousel of recruiting new soldiers, healing and fighting. And that’s what ultimately affects the overall impression, which could be excellent, but unfortunately improving the character and atmosphere is not enough to save everything else.
In addition to the basic instructions, you will also find components and rules that are not part of this box in the rules manual. This is a bit confusing for beginners, but at the same time it serves as an interesting attraction.
From a processing point of view, someone may be comfortable with the fact that everything is bigger than usual. Miniatures are not mini at all, everything is so bigger and gives a massive impression. A big plus for the character of a cacodon, which will be appreciated by all lovers of the Doom game. The pieces are really breathtaking and the impression of the game is stunning. Maybe thanks to that you will breathe in the real atmosphere that Planet Apocalypse abounds, although its rules are not exactly friendly. This is because the handbook is really massive, although much of it is occupied by strategic advice.
Planet Apocalypse doesn’t look like that, but the heroes running around the plan are ultimately the main characters in the tower defense game. Enemies flock to the players, gradually revealing their identity and not giving them time to breathe for a moment. But it’s all about a combination of chance and planning, but above all, the game is really difficult. So if you like a challenge and you are attracted by an almost horror impression, then Planet Apocalypse is an interesting choice and one of the better tower defense games.
Planet Apocalypse offers a well-designed tower defense game with lots of interesting ideas, which together are responsible for quite complex rules and a bold manual. At the same time, however, the game retains only a ninety-minute playing time and does not have time to lose the tension at all, in which the player is getting stronger and stronger waves of enemies. It is a clever combination of happiness and planning in a reasonable proportion. Plus, the game doesn't get lost on every table because it's monstrous. If you had all the boxes available, we believe that Planet Apocalypse would become a gem and a great experience. Unfortunately, this is how variability collapses the basic box for evaluation.