Gameday First Play – London Dread

“It was a fine day by London’s standards. Which meant it was a day slightly less likely to suffocate you and poison your lungs.”

~ Stefan Bachmann, The Peculiar

London Dread is a co-operative game set in Victorian England. Players take on the role of investigators trying to uncover plots on the way to confronting a story specific finale.

The game is gritty and thematic, featuring a series of dark events and story lines (such as the appearance of a caped killer on the streets of London) with a hint of the supernatural.

The game begins with a board covered in face down cards and the standees representing the players in the middle of the board.

The players will work together, revealing these cards, moving around and ‘defeating’ them using symbols on their character card and on cards from their deck…

But, this is all programmed in real time in a similar way to Space Alert if you know how that game works.

To program, you have a clock and a set of tokens with two of each number from 1 to 6…

The scenario will tell you what time you start and then you place your numbers in the clock to program actions in that order… To move, you flip over the numbers to see the arrows on the back and point in the direction you’re moving. North, South, East or West.

When finished, you should have a wheel of things to do and when other players need to be in that same space to help, they should have the same number in the same slot (and have the movement in place to get to the right location).

After 12 or so minutes of uncovering cards to find the required plot cards then programming movement to complete these cards, in order, while defeating any other cards that you turned over.

You all take the 7am action (or whatever your start time is), then the 8am one etc simultaneously.

If you have a an arrow you move into that section of the board, if you have a number you go to the card in that number slot in the location you’re in.

You look at the symbols all players characters on that particular card have, including a random card draw from a personal deck of cards, and if you have enough you pass it, if not it stays.

Once all 12 actions have been taken, you should have completed the story card to progress, no idea what happens if you don’t! (we never failed this)

Any cards you haven’t resolved that are face up have skulls on them, this number of Skulls is added to your ‘Dread’ which acts as a sort of end game tracker… I think (I don’t remember, I just focused on not messing up the programming bit and having people shout at me :))

You so this 3 times then have a very confusing end game bit that involved rolling dice to try and kill people…

In the end the game came down to a die roll, that we lost.

All in all, considering I don’t really know how to play it fully and how the admin of the game works I enjoyed it.

I like the programming and stuff and the teamwork required there as I did when I played Space Alert. The story itself was quite dark and pretty fun…

I look forward to playing this again now I have the basics down and pay attention to the rest of the game 🙂

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