|2-8 Players||1 hour|
Based off of movies like "Friday the 13th": Players are all campers at summer camp. Two psycho-killers show up one night. The campers try in vain to run away.
The board is set up by placing the main board on the table. Courage chips are randomized, and placed face down on the squares marked with an "X" -- than the map tiles are shuffled, too. After players decide which of them will play first, the psycho movement cards are given to the player who will be playing last -- for placement between the "last" player and the "first."
All playing pieces start in the center of the board, at camp. The psychos are laying down.
Players have two goals: first they must find their "courage" by uncovering a chip that matches their color. Second, they must escape the board.
The first four players are given a free movement for the first turn -- they place two map tiles and move without rolling any dice. This allows for paths to be made before the psychos give chase. After that, turns proceed as follows:
When an event card is drawn, a player may have found a cabin, a mountain, a lake, or worse still they may lose a turn because they tripped and fell.
With one special die roll, a player receives an extra path tile (called a "reserve tile" in the rules) in addition to the event card. This tile may be used to replace another player's new trail -- hopefully forcing them to blaze a trail and summon a psycho.
If a player is at a dead end, or wants to move off of the current path, they may "blaze a trail".
After all players have moved, the psychos move by virtue of a random movement card.
If two players are moved onto the same space together, they push each other. Both players roll a 12 sided die, the highest roll wins (ties re-roll). The loser is knocked down and loses two turns.
If a psycho lands on the same space as a player (not knocked down), then the player and psycho fight. The 12 sided die is rolled and the number is compared to a chart on the rule book. Low numbers mean the player was wounded, high numbers mean the psycho was defeated -- middle numbers mean nothing happened. Players can absorb 3 wounds and still play -- but once they receive their fourth wound, they are knocked down. When this happens they lose 4 turns (one for each wound counter).
On a player's turn, they may leave the space with the psycho without fighting. However, when it is not the players turn, each time this psycho is summoned, the psycho won't move anywhere -- they fight the player they are already with.
If a player wishes to move on trails that already exist, they are allowed to move two spaces. Since there is no new trail being created, the event die is not rolled either.
After a player has picked up their courage chip, they must try to escape the board. Once they reach the edge of the board, they must "blaze a trail" in order to escape. A successful trail blaze wins the game.
This game has a bit more style than the other two games from Immersion Games. Unfortunately, this game falls victim to the very thrills it tries to emulate. The concept is catchy, the game's construction is clean for the most part -- the rules even answer the majority of player questions. The problem here is that the game mechanics worked too slowly and awkwardly to keep the zombies interest.
Camp Wanagi starts with a good premise, and promises the players to be chased by "randomly" moving psychos -- and still be done in an hour of play. We played a six player version, and honestly the only promise that we felt was kept was that the game ended in an hour. When you read the rules and the box, you get images of B movies where campers run for their lives, but get caught by the psycho because of a stupid decision -- The fun of the movie is in the adrenaline rush as you know that the camper will be caught. The problem in trying to make this into a game is that the game players aren't as stupid as the movie characters.
Before I bring up specific shortcomings of this game, I want to point out some good design decisions that make the game function reasonably well. First, players are given an initial task of searching for their courage chip. Without this task, players merely race off of the board. This particular element of the game keeps the game interesting as the players mill about trying to find their chip before the others can. It also gives the psychos a chance to give chase. The second good comment we had is that these rules were fairly complete. With only one exception, we could find answers to our rules questions after some research in the rule book. Thirdly, the blood counters were a nice touch -- the blood red gems had most of us cooing about the coolness of that choice.
We struggled to put a finger on the major flaw of this game -- most complaints about the rules were quashed as the rule book did contain the answers to our problems. A simpler one page reference sheet would have been nice to have. Additionally, the specifications of how to start the game could have been assembled in a more obvious way -- but the content was there. The biggest complaint was that the game wasn't fun. One of the reviewers pointed out that in another horror movie based game, Zombies, players regularly interact with each other -- usually to encourage conflict and compete. Camp Wanagi, rarely provides opportunity to thwart other players in a fun way. Players get knocked down and don't play for 2 - 4 turns, and occasionally a tile can be replaced in their path -- but there isn't a lot of fun in that. When a game consistently requires players to lose turns, the game gets dull to the players who aren't active.
Strategy-wise, the game breaks down to luck. I happened to be the winner of our game because I was knocked down the most often by players and psychos. There were, however, three other players all withing one turn of winning as I escaped to win. Because I was knocked down by a player early, the psychos avoided me. The player who knocked me down happened to find my courage chip for me, and he had placed a nice clean path in front of me. So once I was able to get up, I didn't have to roll an event die -- there was no new path. I did enter into combat with a psycho, but as each player rolled the event die, I merely kept fighting. When my turn came around, I ran away from the combat and the psycho wandered away. Because I was able to follow someone else's work, I escaped very quickly once I could get up.
The "random" psycho movement never really entered into our six player game, because on the psycho's turn, they usually were in combat and didn't move anyway. Using a reserve tile rarely happened, because we never rolled the die to get a reserve tile -- two players received tiles on the second to last turn, at that point, the trails were already blazed to the edge of the board, so the tiles were meaningless.
Overall, Camp Wanagi is a lot of decent presentation, but a dull game to play.
A final word of caution -- for a game theme revolving around psycho killers, we disagree with the game designer's specification of ages 10 and up... most movies of this type are rated "R", meaning you must be 17 years old to buy a ticket without an adult. At the very least the game should be recommended for ages 13 and up. Ten-year-olds shouldn't be thinking about chainsaw wielding maniacs.
Where to buy:
The only place to buy this game is online at Immersion Games. As of June 2003, it costs $35.
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