We finally got play the pre-production version of Aftermath: The Beginning, but it was well worth the wait. Developer and creator Nicholas Fong of FongoMongo Games out of Edmonton sat down with us and we were able to play a few games to try out some different gameplay options.
In short you’re helping rebuild an isolated country after a disaster, and the role you play gives you abilities that can define your approach. You want to gain influence and control to help you with the rebuilding, but there are many roads to the endgame, some more morally…questionable…than others.
Aftermath is quick to pick up, and moves rapidly around the board. There is always interaction, even when it isn’t your turn. It’s one of the few games I’ve played where increasing the number of players doesn’t slow the game down, and in some cases can even speed it up. Initiative order changes every turn as players bid resources for control, and determining the winner usually comes down to the last turn as areas and influence shift back and forth.
Some players are on the side of law and order, while others are starting fires and spreading disease to undermine other players…that they plan to put out or cure later to gain influence among the population. Some roles work well in teams, but eventually it’s every player for themselves.
The board is a number of interlocking hexagonal tiles, allowing for near infinite variety in playing area. Larger tiles are worth more if you can control them, with smaller ones being worth less. Sometimes a strategy can be picking up numerous smaller areas and letting the other players fight it out over the larger ones.
Each player role comes with a card that outlines that role’s special rules, and tokens for tracking influence on the board.
Determining the length of the game is achieved by selecting the number of objective cards are in play, with a single objective per territory making for a 20-30min game, all the way out to 2-3 hours if the full deck of objective cards is used to provide multiple challenges for each territory.
There is a political aspect to the game as players conduct side deals and form impromptu teams. This is encouraged through the use of Publicity cards, which can give you boosts, or undermine your opponents as word spreads of your deeds…or misdeeds.
I know I’m buying a Kickstarter copy of my own with the expansions because I see this being a staple of our gaming group. It’s flexible, fast, fun, and has a great table dynamic so people don’t get bored waiting for other players to take their turns.
Be sure to check out the Kickstarter while there is still time!