Having bumped into Steve and Jeff at the comic book shop for Free Comic Book Day (look elsewhere on here for reportage), we decided to hold a board game night at Steve’s house. Steve purchased the last copy of ROOM 25 at Victory Comics due to the 25% off sale, so he aced me on that one. The description reminded me strongly 0f the Canadian horror/suspense CUBE movies, and we had to give this one a try based on the descriptive text.
“Trapped in a prison in which each room has four doors but apparently no exit, the players must try to find Room 25, the supposed exit to this nightmare. But some amongst them might be guardians of the prison, waiting for the right moment to strike. In the cooperative game Room 25, not everyone wants to escape from imprisonment – but who is the traitor? Each turn, the player moves are preprogrammed, requiring discussion, negotiation – and possibly betrayal.”
— From the Box Cover
There are three modes of play– solitaire, cooperative and semi-cooperative, where two players assume the role of mission saboteurs called “Security”. Forget the other two, semi-cooperative is THE way to play this game. Also, I wouldn’t suggest fewer than 5 players.
Once the “cube” is built, you take turns (using an innovative sliding turn scale) to program two actions from four possible actions, per each individual character. They are Peek (into a room), Push (some hapless sap into a room), Move (into a room), and Control (move the row up or down or side to side one square). Once you place your action tokens, just like RoboRally, your character has to do them.
There are six different characters that add a lot of color to the game (Bimbo, Dude, little Girl, Scientist, etc), but really, they are just for color– each character is functionally identical to the rest of them. Which is too bad, really.
The game got started and proceeded swiftly. Young Chris Gibson went for the edge immediately by moving without looking. The results were inevitable.
The game continued and slowly the map revealed itself as the layout slid back and forth and up and down.. cards were peeked at, people were shoved into rooms…
(that’s my bimbo being shoved into the Cold Room).
Each tile does something… usually nasty. There’s a fire room that instantly annihilates a player. A water room that drowns a player, a Poison Gas room, a couple of Cold Rooms, etc. etc. The idea is to run for the exit tile which is the “Room 25” of the title. Two hidden security guards are also participating that wish to keep you from achieving the goal.
I do like hidden traitor games and that is the only way to play this one– it was greatly entertaining. We were sabotaged by Andrew and Steve, but they had to be subtle about it. Well, Andrew was subtle, anyway.. Steve has a hard time processing that concept.
Steve’s such a good winner.
Second game of the evening was the best game in the world, COSMIC ENCOUNTER. I don’t have to have my arm twisted to play that one, but some of the group were whining about wanting to play STONE AGE (I’m looking at you, Jeff and Andrew). I gladly helped Steve browbeat the crowd into playing CE. Yippee! The old guilt trip works every time!
We started with a little video instruction for the newcomers from Tom “My Favorite Game in the Universe is Cosmic Encounter” Vasel, and discovered either we (and the rulebook) did something different or Tom does his challenges with the Cosmic Cone backward! We were baffled! Then we didn’t let it bother us and proceeded.
I drew THE PYGMY and something I’ve played before, and went with the Pygmy. Each planet counts as half for conquest purposes and only four counters can ever be on a planet, which limits offensive challenges. I loved this.. they say the Pygmy has the power of Half, but it’s really “The Power of Crappy Real Estate!!” YAY!!!
I forget the rest of the powers but I think there was THE BARBARIAN (gets extra compensation), FILCH (Steals cards), SORCERE (switches cards before being revealed), and couple I’m forgetting. I was at a serious deficit throughout the game. Nobody is that eager to align with the Pygmy, as it’s hard to offer anyone anything of value as compensation. Likewise, nobody was that eager to attack me either, and I was the only player who didn’t loose his power or have his home real estate invaded. Again, crappy real estate in action.
At the end of the game, Steve and his daughter Nicole shared the victory while Steve and I were the runners up with 3 bases. Any day you spend playing Cosmic Encounter beats a day when you didn’t play Cosmic Encounter. Huzzah, fun was had by all.