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"Don't Talk To Strangers" - Solo Game Review

Here's a no-frills review of Ben Stoll's game, Don't Talk To Strangers, part of the Steven Rhodes line of games from Cryptozoic Entertainment. I've played this game solo, exclusively.

TL;DR: This is a silly game with excellent, retro-inspired artwork and an amusing premise. It could use "more meat on the bone."

Ten Point Scale Ratings

TIME COMMITMENT: 5 (1 = waaaay too short or onerously too long, 10 = the juice is worth the squeeze)

LUCK DEPENDENCE: 8 (1 = completely deterministic/GOPS, 10 = random lookup table)

SKILL EFFECTIVENESS: 4 (1 = Candyland, 10 = Go)

High Points For Me

  • Quick Set-Up Time: The most time-consuming thing I had to do to set-up the game was shuffle the deck of cards.
  • Artwork: Though some may think the game board a bit busy, everything is colourful and fun to look at.
  • Compact: For those of you who have/desire a small footprint for tabletop gameplay, this is a good match.
  • Affordable: I think I bought this for US$20. I'm impressed with the quality of the artwork especially and I think there's a lot of room for growth and experimentation with what's in the box.

Things I Would Tweak

  • Modular Maps: Create a version of the game with modular tiles so each game can have a different layout of towns and Stranger stopping-points.
  • Extra Point Options: Some locations allow the player to draw from a "loot" deck or stack of "mystery tokens" for additional points. In a multi-player game, these points are kept secret so players won't know the victor until the final moment of the game.
  • Configured Stranger Positions: Do not allow the player to choose where the Strangers are placed. Instead, mark placement locations with A, B, C, etc. so that whenever the corresponding card is drawn, the next Stranger may be placed in an inconvenient spot.

In A Nutshell: I would have more fun with this game if I were able to approach each game like a chaotic romp - scrambling to collect and keep the most points possible - instead of like a puzzle I try to solve before the internal timer runs out (as in, when all Strangers are placed). The way things are now, it's like your goal is to follow your points-gathering formula for as long as you can until the cards tell you the game is over. There's a significant amount of development that can be invested into this game to allow its tiny box to overflow with fun.


Home-Made Mod

Just posting a brief note here to remind myself that I want to make a mod of this game, providing more choices and a chance to extend the game so it doesn't end so abruptly.

TO SUM UP: add two types of tokens and two stacks of cards to the game: "Alien Gadgets" and "Cool Stuff." The first time a player lands on a house, they discard its token and then draw a card from the corresponding deck. Cards are either worth victory points at the end, or can be used to fend off the Strangers and/or reshuffle discarded cards into the draw deck.

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blog | by Dr. Radut