A horror story in London...
Designer: Asger Johansen
Artist: Snorre Krogh
Playing Time: 60-90 Mins
BGG Rating: 6.6
BGG Ranking: 3810
Publisher: Grey Fox Games
Mechanics: Cooperative Game, Simultaneous Action Selection, Variable Player Powers
Sleeves: TCG 63,5x88mm, MUS 41x63mm
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.
Quick play overview:
This phase is limited to 12 minutes (or less if you prefer a harder game), where players simultaneously decide how to divide their 12 actions between moving between zones and visiting a specific location in the N,W,S or E zones. It's important that all the PLOT cards are resolved during these 12 actions. Players should also resolve as many other cards as possible because each remaining card will add dread at the end of the game.. and dread is bad.
Timer is stopped and now the day will be resolved.. starting from the 6 in the morning and each player will declare what they are doing at that time.
If you decided to move to another zone, just place your standee to the appropriate zone.
If you visisted a specific location (a card) you will do a test to pass the card (usually you need to have certain ability icons on your character/items/allies, while other times you will need to do a succesful dice roll). If multiple players are at the same location at the same time, they combine their resources and thus have an easier time passing the test.
After all the 12 actions are resolved and if you finished the PLOT cards, the game moves into the last phase THE ENDGAME. Players will have to confront 3 extra challenges that will provide bonus or malus, depending how each player did. If at least one player survived the challenges, the FINAL SHOWDOWN with the antagonist will start.. where all remaining players roll the dice they got during the last challenges and see if they can get enough hits to win…
…the FINAL SHOWDOWN is a bit of a let down compared to all the rest of the game. The first 90% of the game is very good. The timed phase where you try to communicate in panic when to meet with others to finish a hard challenge etc.. then the resolution phase where you see your plans fall appart as somebody forgot to move to the right zone but you still somehow survive by spending the (very limited) resources… an excellent experience.
If you like coop games and you don't hate the timing aspect of the game, this is a great game to try and play once in a while.
The gameplay is interesting. The time aspect of the game will make you sweat. But once you start going through the story and you hit the right actions with other players.. it gives a good feeling.
Art & Graphic Design: 7/10
The art is dark as it should be for the type of the game. It's not the type of art that I love most but it's good fort his game.
Graphic design is not the best as the icons are not clearly visible and the red »dread« is also a bit hidden in the darkness of the art.
Rules & Complexity: 6/10
Rules are a bit long but well written.
The problem is only that the 3 parts are so different between each other that it's like playing 3 games.. so you have to keep checking the rules to not forget something.
Unless you play the scenarios in short period of time.. you will have to check the rules every gameplay.
Serial killers and other stuff in London… is a good theme. The time limit mechanic also gives you a feeling that you have to hurry to catch the bad guy before he gets away.
Fun & Replayability: 5/10
This game is not really made for »fun«… the time pressure makes you sweat.
The story part makes you happy that you did not do a stupid mistake that would cause chaos. The last part with a big roll to finish off the game is a bit of a let down compared to the rest of the game.
By playing the 4 scenarios once, you know the story, but the story is not really the driving force behind this game. The setup is different enough that you could play the game a few more times if you like the gameplay.