Essen 2016 – The Daedalus Sentence
Escape the spinning prison of Doom!
Even harder, get the game to your game group.
In the year 2083, an alien race known as the Loctae descended on planet Earth, killing billions and capturing and containing the few million that remained. The survivors were sent to locations throughout the galaxy, to work as slaves or as subjects for genetic experiments. The most infamous of these locations, known as the Hive, is a Loctae space station orbiting Ganymede. Here, prisoners are harvested for their genetic material, which is used by the Loctae to make genetic hybrids engineered for aptitude in any skill the Loctae require. A few have tried to escape, but none have succeeded. Those who are not lost in the station’s labyrinthine halls are recaptured by the station’s guards and then moved to the front of the list of those who are to be processed. The failed escapees blabber about the twisted and spliced creatures that roam the corridors of the maze, as if they were in the Labyrinth of King Minos. The remaining survivors now call their plight “The Daedalus Sentence”, a grim tribute to the facility’s designer.
So let’s get this out the way… The game is pricey and it’s BIG, like ‘Doesn’t fit on an Ikea shelf’ big, Extra Large Pizza Box big… BUT! It’s only big in 2 dimensions so if you want it you’ll find a place for it down the side of the shelf (where mine is) or behind the sofa or something. Also, the price really isn’t that bad for the stuff you get, good insert too check it out.
So game play… You all get a character that has a special ability with it’s own player board and matching mini. Player ability is locked to colour to match the character so I guess I’m not playing Purple EVERY game in this one 🙂 In the second game I played I used Audrey the Sprinter who goes 2 spaces when moving…
So all players start along in the centre of the randomly created Prison… The tiles are placed, by colour, face down around each ring on the board. This way you never know where the doors are, the board changes game to game and you can spin each ring around individually.
The Prison has a central area divided in the player colours and each player starts in their own little cell.
Each player has a number of action points depending on the number of players in the game. Actions are free-form so players take actions in any order they like… Maybe you explore, then I move onto the newly explored tile, activate it to draw cards, you move onto the tile and take a card from me, attack a bad guy… etc
Team Work is required.
So you explore, move, pass cards and interact with rooms. Some rooms are special and have abilities which are laid out on the front of your player board… Unfortunately, the rooms aren’t labelled so you have to look at the images, on the BACK of the player board. They’re straight forward enough it’s just a pain flipping the board over and back… (If you’re clever only one person has to do it, it doesn’t have to be you ;))
Some rooms let you draw two cards for an action (Usually it costs 2 actions for 1 card) or lets you hide for an action so you can’t be caught.
Of course, some rooms spawn Guards… This means picking them up from the box and placing them on that space.
You’re looking for Doors to get out of your current ring…
That’s the door to exit and win the game but each ring has its own door. When you find one you put a number of cards out depending on the number of the door token…
Players then need to get to the door and discard a matching set of cards between them in one go by spending an action each and discarding the cards. Guard cards match all Guard cards but the numbers needs to match by either Colour OR Number…
It’s easy to do, your hand of cards is face up so you can work together pretty easily on it, it’s just trying to dodge Guards at the same time which is the pain!
One the Door is unlocked you can move through it, but so can one of the types of Guard too… the Loctae Scientists… Minotaurs ignore them and just continue to patrol in circles 🙂
When the players have taken all the actions they want to take, the ship itself takes it’s turn…
These cards are laid out and activate depending on the current threat level which rises as the players move through the Theseus. The further out they are, the more cards activate to move the Guards and rings of the ship.
The top row moves the ship and is called the ‘Theseus Activation‘. A standard card will move that colour ring, that many spaces, in that direction. So that ‘Red 1’ card on the top row will move the Red ring 1 space, anti clockwise.
A White cards matches everything so moves every ring…
A Minotaur or Loctae card on this Row spawns a Guard which I’ll get to in a bit.
The bottom row moves Guards and is called ‘Guard Patrol‘. In the same way the Standard cards (and white cards) move Guards on that ring (or all rings) that many spaces in that direction and a Guard cards spawns a guard.
Spawning is… complex… It needs a random card draw to determine where the Guard will spawn so here we go…
So, if it’s a Minotaur card you flip over top card of the deck and if it’s a Standard card you place a Minotaur in the furthest out ring in line with the cell of the colour of the card drawn…
If it’s a White card, add a Minotaur to each ring using the same method… If a Minotaur is drawn, spawn a Loctae, if all Locate are on the board, keep drawing until a Minotaur can be spawned.
If a Minotaur card is drawn spawn an additional Minotaur following the same rules but if you run out of Minotaurs in the supply stop spawning.
Locate all spawn in the Spawning Chamber in the middle of the board, they’re easier 🙂
It’s easy once you get the hang of it, it just requires a couple of Theseus Activation’s and Guard Patrols to get the hang of it
If 3 Minotaur’s are in the same place, convert them to one Loctae if one is available from the box if not leave them there. But, If one becomes available later, swap a Minotaur group for one.
If a Guard ends it’s turn on you or moves through you you’re caught! You get sent back to your cell and you flip over your token on the Theseus board as well as your player board… You lose your power as well as well as adding a penalty power to play, oh, and you also discard all of your cards.
People need to get back to you to let you out…
If a player gets caught for a second time, the game ends as well as the game ending if everyone is back in a cell at the same time.
You win if everyone can get to the outer door and unlock it…
So I played this twice while I was at Essen… Both times with slightly wrong rules but nothing game breaking…
The first game was 2 player and we got to the outer ring before someone got caught then I got caught going back to the middle to rescue them.
The second game we played 4 players and, honestly, we had a dream run… EVERY time we went though a door, we immediately found the next one 🙂
So the big hook here is the giant circular board with rings that move… It’s not a gimmick, it makes for good game play. The game obviously gets compared to Room 25 with moving minis around a moving board with face down rooms…
These rooms are easier to rotate, just put your finger in a hole and push, or pull, but GENTLY! If you’re too rough, or push too horizontally the ring lifts up and it breaks… Doesn’t happen often, but can happen if you’re not careful.
Also, it’s initially fully co-op without a hidden traitor which I prefer. There is a 1 vs many option I haven’t explored yet as well as many variants to change the game up. (Including one that uses very nice looking dice :))
But, the game is fun, and VERY tense given how hard it is to actually kill the Guards. The board is fun and works, the mini’s are great and the insert is phenomenal.
I look forward to introducing more people to it and playing the rules 100% correct and exploring some of the Variants.
Note: The copy I played was a review copy generously provided by Eagle-Gryphon Games, big thanks to them for this game.