Is it the game or is it the source material? It is the idea of playing a The Thing board game that brings all the boys to the yard but the game has what it takes to keep everyone at the table.
Let’s go to Antarctica…so we can try to escape!
By using just the infection part of the title, people are not immediately swayed by the movie tie-in. That isn’t that big of a problem when the game is actually good. But The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 is a bit of a mouthful to say.
I like to call this game Resistance/Avalon but an actual game to it. I know those are fighting words but hear me out. In those games, one person is the leader, takes certain people on a mission, and flips over a token to see if it succeeds or not. Do this a certain number of times and the game is over. This game takes that, adds more too it, and then gives it depth.
First off, characters have one of three colors. The missions that the leader has each round has to fill different color requirements. That means the game is forcing you to take certain people you may not trust on the mission. This alleviates the issue of people not even getting a chance to play like in Resistance, Avalon, Secret Hitler, and other social deduction games. The rule in the game says this is required to do additional abilities on the mission but makes more sense to make it a requirement, especially since most people don’t use that other action.
Now that you have the person you don’t trust on the mission, it isn’t just pass or fail. The missions are different each round. You may need to reveal a certain card, roll a straight, have your dice roll over a certain #, or some other things. It allows more ways to affect the outcome and also changes things up. It gives more depth then a simple yes or no.
There are rewards for completing a mission besides being one step closer to the end. It could be rope, dynamite, flamethrower, nothing, or The Thing itself. You need some of these items to progress to the next stage but you don’t know what will be in the next room.
The game does feature player elimination but that isn’t until stage three when you are close to wrapping up anyways. It seems fitting at that point cause you are already thinking someone is bad or just a little trigger happy.
Lastly, the end game will leave you talking. Assuming you can get to the helicopter, it becomes an issue of deciding who is in charge as well as who is going home or is not. One imitation gets out, the game is over for the humans.
There are more elements to the game that gives you more options and helps players but all this sounds like a lot, right? Well it is very easy to digest. It is like a long, heavy, light game. People couldn’t stop playing it at last year’s MAGFest and I’ve mentioned how I have to stop bringing it so I can play other games. There’s just something to this game.
The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31