RogerBW's Blog

Who Goes There?: first look 05 September 2018

Who Goes There? is a new heavyweight social deduction game for 3-6 players, by Anthony Coffey and Jesse Labbe.

I backed the Kickstarter last August, and it arrived in mid-August this year, two months behind the original schedule. I got the Deluxe Edition, and the box is Huge (38cm on a side), with a fair old bit of stuff in it.

Yikes. Not one I can carry to the pub meet easily. And I'm going to have a fair bit of component punchinqg to do before I can play.

The basic idea, as in the story of the same name, is for your Antarctic scientist to survive until the helicopter arrives, and then to escape on it. But rather than the usual social deduction approach of giving everyone a secret role at the start of the game, everyone starts as a human; in certain situations (if you go without food when it's time to eat; if you sleep on your own; if the camp door is broken) they'll draw Vulnerable cards, and potentially become infected. That first infected player is the Host, and can infect others, though those others cannot then cause more infection. All this happens while the usual events of Antarctic life are going on, with their own hazards.

At the end, the team leader decides who's allowed to board the helicopter. Infected players can't leave unless there's an uninfected human on board too ("in-flight catering") – but the more human players are on board, the better their chance of surviving the flight and making it to safety.

This is the same kind of "social deduction, plus other stuff going on" game as Battlestar Galactica or Dead of Winter (I own the latter, though I may get rid of it now that I have this). There are some very fine components (particularly the infection clickers, to let players show each other their infected/healthy status without letting everybody else know). There are individual role powers (the Deluxe edition has eight roles), so there's something to distinguish the various good guys from each other, but (as far as I can see so far) you don't get into a spiral of declining resources and ability to do anything to affect the game the way you can in Dead of Winter.

Looks good so far, but it'll probably have to wait until I'm gaming at home or driving somewhere before it gets played.

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