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.
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/Replay||Components & Theme||Fun|
|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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