Shenanigans on a Sinking Sub

It’s dark and cold on the old sub, and the sides creak from pressure while a bulkhead springs a leak. Fire spreads in the engine room and the crew scrambles, snuffing it as the reactor heats up. Hope seems lost until a hand cranks the emergency release and the sub surges along, peaceful for a moment – and for just a moment, the gnomes on board celebrate. Yes, gnomes.

Red November is a delightful, cooperative board game from Fantasy Flight Games that pits you and up to seven of your companions in a frantic race for survival aboard a sinking sub with a gnomish crew. The whimsical theme and quality components bring levity to hectic and often deadly gameplay; gnomes scurry to and fro, flinging themselves with wild abandon at floods, fires, malfunctioning missile countdowns and even a giant, squid-like Kraken that threatens to crush the vessel.

Gnomes! Art: Fantasy Flight Games

Players help their gnomes by gathering equipment and devoting a certain amount of time to a task. If the engine needs repair, for instance, the gnome can use a toolbox to add to the chances of success. In dire circumstances, gnomes can swig from bottles of grog; this elixir can provide a boost, but can also put a gnome to sleep, increasing the chances they might die in a fire or drown.

If the gnomes can delay the disasters for sixty game minutes, they’ll be rescued. If not, it’s a watery grave. Just beware of that one wily gnome that may find an aqualung – they can escape through the airlock and leave the rest of the crew to die!

Red November is a game for 3 to 8 players, ages 12 and up, from Fantasy Flight Games. You can find it locally at Sci-Fi Genre for $19.95.

Gameplay/ReplayComponents & ThemeFun
The game starts out slow, but picks up to a madcap pace as things start blowing up. The randomness of the catastrophe deck makes each game different, as does the sheer panic different players bring to the game. This is a Fantasy Flight game, so everything is top notch; the art is wonderful and irreverent, and the sculpting on the plastics is superb.Although it depends greatly on the group of gnomes, err players, that you've gathered, the sheer joy of surviving another round is contagious.
Overall score: 15 out of 18 - Pretty darn good!
If you happen to be in Durham, NC…

Groups can embrace the nautical theme and play a game at Fishmonger’s (806 W. Main Street – across from Brightleaf Square) where the long, wooden tables are perfect to draw a crowd. Get revenge on the kraken by taking a bite out of the well-seasoned curry calamari, and if your gnomes ultimately end up fish food, drown your sorrows with their specialty grog: The Fish House Punch – an historical favorite of George Washington.

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3 Responses to “Shenanigans on a Sinking Sub”
  1. John duBois says:

    This is still one of my favorite (mostly) cooperative games. Drunken gnomes on a submarine is too good.

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