12 October 2016

Strange Aeons 2nd edition review and comparison

I managed to pick up (the last) a copy of the 2nd edition rules for Strange Aeons through a European retailer F-side Games last week (thanks to a tip on the Lead Adventure Forum).

The first edition of Strange Aeons was released some 6 years ago and I played it a lot back in the days. Basically it is a campaign driven small skirmish game set in the world of Lovecraftian horror where you play either as the good guys - (agents of the Threshold) or the baddies (Lurkers).

Strange Aeons fast paced gameplay takes place on a small 2x3' table using D6 dice and just a handful models on each side. The focus is on playing scenarios ranging from stopping evil cult activities, rescuing people, salvaging artifacts, killing monsters and sometimes just trying to escape ambushes. In each scenario one player always controls the Threshold, and the other player controls the Lurkers, players can switch roles during campaign game to allow both players to advance their teams while fighting the Lovecraftian horrors thrown at them which are generated specially for each new game.

The rules remain pretty much unchanged, and you can read more about the game in my REVIEW from 2010 time flies!!). This review will sum up the new product qualities and what you get in the 2nd Edition book.


In terms of new rules the 2nd edition adds rules for water, snow & ice, destroying inanimate objects, character promotions, rules for fielding child Threshold personnel, psychic powers and a LOT more profiles and scenarios than you got in the 1st edition rulebook, more about that later.

What I found very pleasing was how the list building has been rewritten with less confusing choice of words. In the first edition the game used Build Points and Base Points both using abbreviation BP which was needlessly confusing. The 2nd edition drops that and uses Personnel Points and Equipment points.

We also  get a great index covering the 180 page content in alphabetical order. 

Furthermore almost all of the expansion content from Morbid Adventures and Shocking Tales have found their way into the core rulebook so you no longer need to carry around a pack of individual books. 

The book itself is once again high quality cardstock cover with a protective plastic sheet, pages are of durable thick paper. As you notice it is spiral bound, which imo is a fantastic feature which I always loved from the 1st edition - allowing easy browsing with the book staying open on desired pages when placed on the table during games. The print is cleaner compared to the original, the busy "wrinkled paper" background has been abandoned for a cleaner and easier on the eyes look.

First edition pages on the left, Second edition pages on the right:
The number of "basic" scenarios is 16 with another 16 "quest" scenarios, bringing the number of different scenarios to an impressive 32 - with some scenarios also having different modes of play.

When it comes to profiles you get 4 generic Threshold agent profiles (Character, agent, civilian, child) and 13 ready made specialized characters such as the Psychic operative, Undertaker and Spiritualist. And if I counted correctly there is a massive 67 monster/Lurker profiles to pick from, ranging from Elder Things, Fire Daemons, Zombies, Cultists, Restless spirits, Witches, Serpentmen and many more.


Just as in the 1st edition this version of the game can be played as standalone isolated fights/scenarios, but I would recommend playing the campaign mode where your agents can level up, gain injuries and see your Threshold team grow in size and get rare items as you progress through a campaign. There are monster profiles so expensive as to make it impossible to meet them on the table unless you have a high cost seasoned team with lots of equipment, which increases the incentive to play a campaign game.

As a product and set of rules, the 2nd edition is far superior to the 1st edition rules. You simply get much more for your money in this edition. New players will be able to catch up quickly with older players as there is no need to hunt down all the expansions. Players familiar with the game will be able to play it right away as the rule changes are minimal from what I could see reading through and comparing both editions. The incentive to buy the book if you already own the 1st edition book is mainly concentration of content, better layout of rules and profiles and all that makes it easier to reference the rules. Some profiles have also seen their points value tweaked for better balance.



Publisher:
http://www.strange-aeons.ca/umw-shop/
Author: Mike Atkinson
Contents:  180 pages in full color, glossy paperback with protective plastic sheet rulebook
Format: 2-players, alternate single model activation
Gaming aides: D6 dice
Price: 45 Canadian Dollars (includes both physical and PDF rulebook)



 

4 comments:

  1. I got in at the tail end of the Kickstarter....though I have yet to actually get a game in. Must remedy that!

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    1. Me too! Great book though, well worth picking up as either a new player or an experienced one.

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  2. The only thing stopping me is the price at the moment. next month maybe.

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    1. Yeah I bought it cheaper from the only European supplier, at £24 including shipping to Sweden from F-Side games. Unfortunately is is now labeled as "sold out" at their store so I don't know if they had a small batch from the Kickstarter on sale only.

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