Welcome back to Discovering Alone™. Last time we talked about the Hero’s gameplay, but we mentioned very little about the Evil Players. Today, we’re gonna fix that! As you already know at this point, the Hero can only see the nearby Sectors; the many Actions at his disposal allow him to progress with his mission. He plays a game of exploration, deduction and survival. On the Evil side of the screen, things are completely different.
At the beginning of the game, the Evil players follow a mostly randomized procedure to generate a new map layout. Thanks to this, you can still have an always different experience even if you replay the exact same scenario. Each story chapter is narratively described in the scenario booklet, but gameplay-wise, most scenarios are composed by three kinds of cards: a Main Objective, a Bonus Mission and an Ongoing Malus. The Main Objective is the mission the Hero needs to complete to win the game. The other two missions are optional. If the Hero completes the Bonus Mission, he will gain some kind of permanent advantage for the rest of the game. The Ongoing Malus, instead, is a nuisance that is active since the beginning of the game. If the Hero completes that mission, that nuisance is permanently removed. Since they are the only ones allowed to look behind the screen, it’s the Evil players’ duty to setup and manage the missions.
Once the setup is completed and the game has started, it’s the Hero’s turn to become the absolute protagonist of the adventure. The Evil players will have to see what he does, plan a series of traps to stop him from completing his missions, and wait for the most effective moment to strike. They all play together towards a common goal: killing the Hero, or at the very least preventing him from completing his Main Objective.
They don’t have a proper turn, but they can React to the Hero’s Actions. They can Spawn Creatures, Move Creatures, Place Alert tokens or Play Cards. The don’t have to spend Action points to pay for these: to pay the cost of a Reaction, they need to discard a certain number of cards. Creatures and Alert tokens are the main menaces the Evil directly places on the map. Whenever placed or moved, they produce radar signals the Evil players must communicate to the Hero (who can use this info to deduce and avoid the Evil players’ plots). They are usually activated when the Hero enters an Unrevealed Sector that contains some of these menaces, either because of his own recklessness, or a well planned Evil bluff. To make things even more difficult, the Evil players may even place fake Alerts, forcing the Hero to lose time to check all of them, or run through and take risks.
Cards, instead, are mainly used in response, and have a more “instant” use. They all have a Basic effect and a Bonus effect, triggered by some kind of requirement (like the presence of a Creature or an Alert token, or other environmental conditions). If particular requirements are fulfilled (and the Evil players still have enough cards to pay the extra costs involved), the cards can even be chained together to create a bigger combo with one single Reaction. A lot of careful planning is required to pull it off, and a bit of luck too, but when it happens it is a very satisfactory moment for the Evil players… not so much for the Hero, of course! As we mentioned in the gameplay introduction, each Evil player has a different personal deck; moreover, each deck is thematically different, changing its player’s overall gameplay style. For example, the Fury deck is specialized and fighting and dealing a lot of HP damage; the Fear deck is all about sneak attacks and undermining the Hero’s Self-Control; and so on.
A different Evil player will be the Evil Leader during each one of the Hero’s turns. The Evil Leader has a more cards in hand than his allies, so he’ll be able to play more than the others during that round, and he will also be making the calls when the Evil players disagree on the strategy to apply. Since the Evil card decks are different, each turn will be played slightly differently, depending and which deck is used by the Leader. This has two advantages: even if their game is fully cooperative, each Evil player will still feel unique and special; it will also force the Hero to plan his moves differently, each round. It may be better to avoid a fight, when the Fury player is in charge!
The Hero has not an easy life in Alone, but the Evil players have their own challenges, too. They can’t just play everything they want, whenever and wherever they like. They are not only limited to one Reaction at a time; the Hero can also prevent them from doing so thanks to its Adrenaline. Their hand of cards is limited, and without cards, they can’t React anymore; finally, the Creatures and Alerts general pool is limited too (they can’t be replaced when they are killed or removed), and only a certain number of them can be present on the map at the same time. Evil players need to be careful with their resources, just like the Hero.
This is all for today’s update. Thanks for reading! If you liked it and you want to know more, keep following our website, our facebook page and our twitter profile to know when the next installments of this series will be published. To stay updated on all things Horrible, you can also subscribe to our newsletter, of course.
In the next update, we will take a closer look at the story and setting of Alone. See you next time!