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Review: 011 – steam, songs, Ragnarök
World is in danger. There is a disaster coming, threatening the whole intelligent life on earth. Only one special song played on the right place in a right time can prevent it. But it must be composed of such tones, that would vibrate the whole planet and prevent son of Loki to finish his master plan. This burden lies on your backs. Can you find the One in time and play your tune? The eyes of the whole world look up to you..
The world thrives on a wave of steam revolution. All machines run on steam. From the ordinary means of transport, through to domestic partners in the machine hall, where people living in metal plate rooms go wash their clothes.
Turin is not different. But over the northern cathedral clouds are gathering. Seemingly harmless, black storm front slowly approaches living city. Only a few people know, what it means. Prophecy says, that the world will be filled with storms and chaos, that will eventually culminate into end of humanity. Loki's son will wake up, kill Odin and cause Ragnarök.
There is only one chosen, such a man, that can play a tune so frightening, Loki will delay awakening for another thousand years. But no one knows, who the chosen one is. The burden to find him falls on you. Foreigners, who should according to ancient clues determine his identity. But beware, you have only 11 hours!
011 is a game that will surprise many. For the first time, it wears already a very unusual name that contains only numbers. Eleven refers to eleven hours remaining until Ragnarok. The game was designed by Marco Valtrani based on stories of the Italian Paolo Vallerga, published by Scribabs in 2011 as their eleventh board game. The first game was another very interesting game called SATOR. Scribabs issue was sponsored by ElfinWerks and everything was created in collaboration with the Swedish band Therion, whose members lend their faces for the game.
The story of the game takes place in alternative world of 19th century in Turin, where the steam revolution has reached unprecedented proportions. But in addition to technology, there is also magic. And that will help you in your quest for finding the Chosen One. You have to choose among eight candidates and only one is right. It could be any of them.
Box cover has an interesting drawing, which refers to steampunk content of the box. An unusual spirit is continued also by unpacking, because most of the component contains non-traditional drawing, with yellow-brown compositions, and interesting ideas.
As the first leaves, rules will fall out after opening, followed by game board made up into quarters and bearing Turin map divided into squares. Several scales winds around the game board and yet there is also a mysterious place in the corner, containing black wheels. It will make sense to you after you punch out cardboard parts from sheets. They contain only 22 chips and several bigger tiles - three gears and a hour hand. Meanwhile you can let your imagination play with this combination.
The description of the content is by far not over. Inside you will also find eight miniatures of heroes and one more representing organ, which was chosen to play a tune that will resonate through the city. The package hides also fifty square cards of discoveries and 55 game cards. Wood in this game is represented by color tokens in the six player colors. The last material that we lack, is just metal and even this one you will find here.
The metal is used in form of four metal hinges, that will help you create the gearing part of game plan. Through them, you will fit three wheels with selection events, so their teeth fit together and turn simultaneously. The fourth stud is used to attach the arrow on a clock face in the bottom right corner of the board. They will count game turns and also time to end the game, possibly the world.
At the beginning of each game, opponents choose their color and take all matching wooden chips. One will they place on a scale of melody composer, the second is used to track the turn order and the third on a scale of the currency in this game - time. The fourth and final chip can they keep to themselves for now.
Players get one character card into their hands and other four action cards. One of the remaining character cards will be postponed aside with its picture down. No one may see it, because it indicates the identity of the Chosen One. His identity will be reveal by clever use of events in the game. This will conclude things, player have in their hands. Everything else you prepare next to the board - two piles of cards, namely research and events and pile of help tokens. You spread all miniatures over the board to set the area according to their icons and you place the organ between the empty boxes for the four sites.
Beginning of each round begins by revealing an event. It affects some of the characters or players, and everyone must follow it. Now is the time for the auction to help determine the turn order of players for this round. The order is very important and you pay for it with minutes. But you must be careful, because minutes are very difficult to get back and only in limited quantities, cause they slip away under your fingers like the real time.
Even in the very first real move of the game, you will see how important is the order of players. The player, who won the auction does not play in this part of the turn! All other players have the opportunity to put one chip with a question mark on any free place on the map.
Now is the time to do, what matters most - move miniatures. We have not mentioned a very significant detail - 011 players do not represent one particular character in the game. Character card in their hand, is only an hint and is unrelated to the game itself. The player can in every move choose any character, with whom has no one moved in this turn yet. He then places his last colored cube on the picture of the character on the auxiliary card to make it clear, that no one else can use its services in this turn.
The player then first uses the ability of chosen character, which can greatly help him in his quest to save the world. Now we finally get to a series of gears, which you can turn by either one, two or three teeth. This decision is up to you, but for every move you spend a time point - one minute of precious time. Each of the three wheels will determine part of what you can do in your turn.
At the beginning, you can perform movement consisting of two parts. The first wheel determines how much can miniature move. The second wheel, adds availability of any modern steam transport. If there is appropriate station within range, then you can use it to ride further beyond characters movement points. Once finished with the movement, you will enjoy the last part of your turn - performing an action based on icon on the last gear.
You can perform one of four activities, all of which have great importance. The first is an investigation, that takes place easily. You can look at randomly pulled card from opponent's hand and it only depends on your luck, if such action will be useful for you. You need to find out, what character your opponent holds in his hand, because it means that this character is not the Chosen One on the card laying next to the board. But investigation is hardened by action cards, which players are holding - you can never know, which card to pull from their hand. This revealing gradually leads to the final revelation. In certain number of players, there is an addition in form of face down package, containing rest of character cards, which were not dealt to players. You can look randomly on one of them instead of the ones from player hand.
The other three events are much easier and include research, that brings you some useful options, like transferring time to music and the like. If the wheel turns to a symbol of music, you can take one verse of the fifteen required to play the song of making. The last option, that you might choose, is moving one of help tokens on the board in any direction you like. If it ends up on position of your current character, you can take it. For these tokens, you can increase the success of the investigation, research, and composing music.
This part of the game is played by all rivals in the given turn order. But at the end of the whole round, when actions are finished, the last player can perform another activity: specify one of four coordinates pointing to position of organ on the board. He takes a card from the location deck and places it on one of the four cardinal points around the organ miniature. This will determine, on which side cardinal point is a musical instrument located according to this place. Once the plan contains all four cards around the organ, location of organ is finally clear. The player, who reveals the last of the four cards, has the right to place a miniature in the designated area of the city. In addition, he gets time bonus for this action.
At the end of the round, you move the hand of the clock one step closer to Ragnarok. Now you can proceed with next turn. The moment you think you know the identity of the Chosen One, you have collected all 15 pages of music and organ location is known, you can try to save the world and reveal the identity of Chosen One. But first you must move Chosen One miniature to organ location and then confirm by looking at the hidden character card. If you are right, and he really is the right person to play this song, you save the world and averted Rangarök. Otherwise, you must not disclose the identity of the Chosen One, but you are out of the game. Others still have time until the clock strike twelve hours.
011 brings to the world of board games something, that has not yet been seen. The game combines the experience of deciphering the identity of Cluedo, moving around the game board, strategic planning in the selection of characters and auction for turn order. All together creates seemingly crazy mix, that works and is surprisingly fun.
The game combines some interesting ideas into a unique whole. The very theme of averting the apocalypse by playing the song is unusual enough. If we add swivel wheels, that force you to reckon with its unpredictable movement, the 011 has great potential to deliver.
We did not mention in the rules description, that if you play in more than three players, there awaits one major twist. One of the players is to become evil incarnation of Fenrir and will try to oppose others and destroy the world. However, if the players do not like this dirty style, they can easily disable this option and compete without it.
Regardless of this option, the game is compound of cooperative and competitive gameplay style, which always brings an interesting experience. Players must have a common goal in their mind, while trying to gain advantage for themselves. In the game, however, there is nor real strong interaction other than auction and picking cards and searching for Chosen One, because players have no motivation for it.
The key is to properly combine all three parts of the puzzle. You must be able to play the song. The hardest step is, however, to reveal the identity of the Chosen One, because it depends not only on tactics, but also on luck. Players can draw cards only at random, so you can pull card out of opponents hand, that you have already seen before. You can can easily write all your findings on the attached pad.
Since players do not have any fixed character, they always have quite a wide selection at the beginning of their turn. Everything is determined with the turn order, because while the first player can not prepare any clues for him, the last player gets to determine one of the organ coordinates and can also gains an additional bonus in the form of time points for this action. This game skillfully balances the advantage the first player has.
There is always something going on in the match, so players quickly get submerged into saving the world. Individual round do not last long (since you are not playing with too contemplative opponents)and the battle to save mankind should last about sixty minutes. In more players it rises to ninety.
You will find a little modification for three players in the rules. You play without incarnation Fenrir. For two players there is no available variant, although the game can be adjusted so that players get more characters in the hand. It is also playable like this. Otherwise the game would be basically the same, only the initial number of time points should be reduced to make the game not too simple. Only auctions will be a little bit boring.
But with three (or two), the game is a little less entertaining. The characters do not move that much, you have to use investigation differently and game lacks tension with missing incarnation of Fenrir. With less players, the differences between players are smaller and it can often happen, that more players are trying to achieve victory in one turn.
011 is a really interesting game, that brings new to world of board games. In particular, the use of moving parts on the board is great and is not very widely used in games. From our reviews, we have encountered a rotary system only in Vikings (review) and Civilization (review). But 011 is a game of detective effort and the battle to save the world and this is reflected in its atmosphere.
The game does not have challenging rules, although you have to find your way around a little in the terminology and how the author intended some principles to be used. But ultimately, you will be pleasantly surprised by how competitively-cooperative game with goal to play a song can be and burden your strategic threads. Just be prepared, that the winner is not determined only by skills, but also by luck, which is based on the investigation of the Chosen One identity. And yet, this whole search is really worth it. How could it not be, when you are saving the world?
011 steps out of line of regular board games. It offers an original theme, which is even more originally transferred into board game shape. Players are still moving miniatures around the game plan and trying to achieve some goal. But the most important is the proces itself and how to achieve the task. Here come the true news – cog wheels bulit into the board and clock counting down time to the end of the world. Players must use deduction to discover identity of the One, but still help each other in discovering another informations, so they do not fail to save the Earth in the wheel of competition. The winner can be only one – player who manages to play the song and save the world. During the match, you will meet betrayal and searching of location of organ, whose position players themselves determine by choosing clues. Turn order is precisely balanced here. Someone might get a little disappointed by illustration of the cards, where portraits of music group Therion are used. You will enjoy the game most in four and more players. In three the betrayal is not present and you lose a bit of tension there. Despite the little downsides, 011 is an interesting game, which will intrigue with its processing value and mechanics mostly fans of all competitively-cooperative games.
Published: 2012-04-24 07:30:00
+ turning wheels on the board
+ you must uncover identity of the One and location of organs
+ in fifth round, one of players will get posessed and his goal changes
+ time is money
+ interesting balancing of turn order – first and last positions have their specific advantages in disadvantages
+ enough tactical options – you play for all characters
- some players may dislike graphic with pictures of Therion members
- with three players poorer, need more players
Graphics: Paolo Vallerga
Players: 3 - 6
Suggested age: od 12 let
Playing time: 60 - 120 minut