Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Forlorn: Hope

Forlorn: Hope is a sci-fi tactical wargame.  The basic setup is that a group of marines are boarding the damaged space station "Hope" and there they encounter lots of nasty alien creatures (called "xenos") that immediately set about trying to eat them.  Yes, that does sound vaguely like the plot of a movie, doesn't it?  Lack or originality aside, how does the game play?

You can play the game in two first.  First, as a two player game, with one player controlling the marines and one controlling the xenos.  Alternatively, the game does come with solitaire rules where the player takes on the marines and the system plays the xenos.  No matter which way you play, you will select a scenario to play and that dictates how you set up your forces, the map you will use (the game comes with two), and the victory conditions.  The two sides do play differently.  For the marine player, you roll dice for action points at the beginning of each turn, and everything you do costs action points.  Want to move a marine?  That will be an action point.  Want to attack a xeno?  That will be an action point.  Want to open that yellow security door?  Yep, that is also an action point.  Don't expect to have too many more points than you have marines, so you aren't doing a whole lot with each of them on a turn.

Alternately, the xeno forces don't worry about action points.  Each unit gets to move up to its full movement each turn, and then they can make an attack if in range or a marine.  Simple.  To spice things up, the xeno player gets a hand of Mutation Cards to play during the game.  These all break the regular rules in some way, from making your creatures tougher to getting a special attack to laying eggs throughout the space station.

The game plays pretty fast.  Most units only need one hit to kill, so combat is fast and deadly.  As long as the marines aren't outnumbered, they can usually hold off the xenos if they aren't trying to move.  However, if trying to cover a distance, and/or outnumbered by the xenos, things get nasty quickly.  Because the game doesn't take long to play, you can get a number of plays in one evening, and the variety of scenarios keep the game from getting old too fast.

So how does Forlorn: Hope stack up to other games in my collection?  I have two other games that deal with the same general topic.  Last Frontier: The Vesuvius Incident is almost exactly the same game theme-wise, though strictly solitaire only.  It is also awesome on toast, and hard as all get out.  If I am playing a solitaire "survive the alien onslaught" game, Last Frontier is the one I want to play.  The Awful Green Things from Outer Space also handles a similar theme, but with much more humor and randomness.  Green Things is a two-player only game.  It takes longer to play than Hope does, but in some ways is more satisfying.  Hope has multiple scenarios, though, where Green Things only has the one survival scenario.  So, with all of that, I am unsure if Forlorn: Hope is worth keeping in my collection or not.  It has a lot of play flexibility, but for my money just isn't as fun as the two similar games I also have.  Looks like this one may get traded at some point.

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