This review is based on a preview copy of Greetings Fellow Humans supplied by the designer. The art and components may not be final.
Hello fellow human, can I get you a hot caffeinated beverage? Perhaps you would like a sustaining bowl of baked corn and cow lactation. What do you mean I am talking funny? Is this not how we talk here at the SUPER SECRET FACILITY. I think Steve is the weird one. Look how he walks, totally unlike how we humans walk around. Yes go bother him whilst I check out these pieces of IMPORTANT INTEL. Thank you. Have a nice human day.
Greeting Fellow Humans is the debut game from designer Daryl Fearon, coming to Kickstarter in the next couple of months. Inside the rather charming box is a deck of cards, some trackers and single die the sum total of which will allow you to infiltrate a highly classified base to steal the Intel your race needs to conquer the earth!
The game plays out as a bit of a push your luck affair. Starting out with a few cards to help you along the way, you put together the Gadgets and Sabotage cards you will need to succeed. You can only have 3 gadgets out in total, but in reality you use them so fast that it is very rare that you are going to hit that limit.
On your turn the main aim will see you digging through the files on the base, trying to find the precious intel that you wish to lay your hands on. Drawing a card from the top of any of the decks you’ll either grab a piece of intel, a card to help you out or be hit with an Accident!
If you do slip up and let your disguise fall for a moment you roll the dice a number of times depending on the pile you drew from, if you hit the colour of that pile then you are discovered! The die is rigged so that the riskier piles are more likely to be rolled i.e. 1 in 2 chance for the red pile 1 in 6 for the green, but the more dangerous areas of the base also have the most intel in them! Of course everyone else is also competing to grab the intel before you so going for the riskier piles is the best course of action. Probably?
Once you have gathered enough intel, 3 pieces, you have to escape by once more rolling the dice and seeing if you get caught. If you don’t you win!
Drop your Disguise
I was really excited for the idea of this game but I have to say the reality turned out a lot less compelling. The spectre of player elimination hangs over the proceedings and if you get unlucky you might see yourself sitting by the side line with little to do, though I admit that watching other players push their luck can be an entertainment in itself.
On the flipside of that, one of the games we played was over in about 5 mins because one of the players just got lucky with pulling intel and their dice rolls, to which there was absolutely nothing any of us could do. The game relies too heavily on gotcha mechanics and randomness for their to be any real strategy to it which would be fine in a game where it felt like you had some control over the proceedings, but here there is simply no sense of ownership over your actions.
Thematically the game falls flat: why are you all competing to get out of this base with the intel, why not help each other out? A little more context would go a long way to helping the players get a handle on why they are doing what they are doing. Maybe you are becoming the leader of this particular species if you make it back with info intact, anything to make the game have a little more weight. As it stands the theme feels lightly painted on to the thinnest of mechanics.
I don’t like writing negative reviews, I really don’t, but I just can’t find anything in Greetings Fellow Humans to recommend to you. There are loads of small box games out there that are really interesting experiences and the one that comes to mind for this size, although a completely different game, is Cockroach Poker. For a push your luck experience with player elimination that I really like, I would recommend King of Tokyo.