Review: Godforsaken Scavengers

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Overview

Godforsaken Scavengers is a solitaire, survival card game for 1 to 6 players, ages 14 and up, designed by Tomáš Bachtík and Tomáš Felcman, and published by Drawblack. Games are intended to last between 20 and 45 minutes.

Setup

Being a card game, the sole component of Godforsaken Scavengers is cards and setup consists of shuffling those cards to create different decks.

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Setup looks a little something like this:

  • First, the Draw Deck is created by shuffling together all 1st, 2nd, and 3rd tier cards.
  • Next, the player(s) choose a scenario card. This tells players how many area cards need to be shuffled together to form the Area Deck.
  • Next, the Affliction cards will be shuffled together to form the Affliction Deck.
  • Players are dealt any cards specified on the card of the chosen Scenario, the starting player is chosen, and play begins.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Godforsaken Scavengers is quick and simple. On the first player’s turn, they will divide the Draw Deck into three roughly equal Scavenge Piles and place them on the table. Play proceeds clockwise from the first player and, when play returns to the first player, Feeding is resolved (we’ll talk about this momentarily).

Here’s what a player turn looks like:

  1. Scavenge – When it is time for a player to scavenge, they choose one of the three Scavenge Piles laid out before them. Once they have selected a Scavenge Pile, they cannot draw from any other Scavenge Pile on that turn. They may draw as many cards as they wish from their chosen Scavenge Pile until they decide to “Collect” or until they draw a Peril card, thus ending their turn. (It’s also important to note that, once a Peril card has been drawn, all scavenged cards from that round by that player are discarded and they will be unable to collect any of them.)
  2. Collect – If the player ended their scavenging voluntarily, they may now collect any scavenged cards that they wish. Players cannot have more than 5 cards in their hand at any one time and, unless explicitly stated, players cannot use scavenged cards until they are collected and they cannot intentionally discard them.

It’s as easy as that. You can push your luck for as long as you want while scavenging, but, the longer you draw the better your chance of drawing a Peril card and potentially losing everything. There are certain cards that can be played to prevent such things from happening, but you may not always have one handy and other players may not be so generous with their cards either.

As stated above, once play has returned to the first player, all players resolve Feeding. At the end of each round of play, each player will either feed successfully, or they will starve. In order to feed, each player has to harvest (discard) a number of scavenged cards from their hand with point totals that together equal the feeding requirement for the area in which they are currently located.

Some cards may be harvested before the Feeding and, when this happens, they are placed in front of the player and harvested once the Feeding commences. If a player straves during the feeding, they must draw an Affliction card and discard one card from their hand. (If a player has 3 Affliction cards at any time, they are dead and out of the game.) Players can also choose to not discard any cards during the Feeding and starve intentionally. In rare cases, this may be a sound tactic.

At the end of the Feeding, a new area card is revealed from the Area Deck and play proceeds in the above manner until all (or some, or one, depending on the scenario) players have completed the final area or until all the players have been taken out of the game.

Artwork and Quality of Game Components

The artwork of Godforsaken Scavengers is crisp, dark, and minimalistic. Cards are dominated by blacks and grays, but the splashes of color that are present are striking and vibrant.

The cards themeselves leave something to be desired in terms of quality. They do not feel like the sturdiest of cards and, were I you, I would sleeve them ASAP. I fully intend to do so as soon as I get some sleeves. (Due to the nature of the game itself, you’ll want to get fully transparent sleeves or you’ll have a lot of trouble trying to play the game.)

The box is a nice slip case, however, it accrued some minor dings and other imperfections during shipping (it came from the Czech Republic). Apart from that, it feels very sturdy and I am pleased with the quality of the box overall. It does not take up much room on the shelf and is perfectly sized to hold all of the cards.

The rulebook is, by far, the most disappointing component in terms of quality. I was significantly less than impressed by it; both its construction and its layout. While I’m sure translation weirdness comes into play, the rules themselves can be vague and leave you wondering if you’re doing anything correctly. I was able to get a firm grasp on gameplay after struggling through a session having just read the rules and later finding a gameplay video and reading some clarifications from the creators on Kickstarter.

Verdict: Yea

Godforsaken Scavengers is a genuinely fun game with a huge amount of potential. It has a small footprint, especially when compared to its replay value. In addition the the standard gameplay, Character cards are included to give the game a little something extra by giving each player a different ability (and weakness) to utilize during gameplay. There are some other game altering features listed in the rules as well as both mulitplayer and solo player campaign rules. You’d have to play for quite some time before you exhausted all of your options with this one.

I don’t know if the creators are planning on doing expansions for this game or not. If they do, I will be first in line to buy them. If not, they game is already great and stands out on its own. If you have a chance to play this one, you should. If you have a chance to buy a copy for yourself, I would definitely recommend it. This is a solid game for groups and for solo players.

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