Game Review: Fog By XOIIOX Games

Number of Players: 1-4 (you can use the three player rules for 1 player)

Time: 45-80 Minutes

Gamer Type: Casual

Game Type: Race, Survival

Complexity: 5

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Paradise is a funny thing. We spend all of our lives trying to get there, then something goes wrong and we are trying to get away from it. In Fog: Escape From Paradise by XOIIOX games, you play a deity trying to help people get off the island. In a semi-cooperative game, villages rush to get to the last boats to get them off the island. It is a fun and exciting game that keeps you thinking and moving.

Story

In this game you find yourself as a deity facing a problem: a mysterious fog is eating the islands around the area. People who go into the fog never return. One of the major islands in the area – one with three villages on it – is next in the path of the fog. In Fog: Escape from Paradise, you are entrusted with the lives of the people to get them off of the island. If you do not beat the fog, the villagers will die. 8 of 10 for story.

Artwork

The box for this game is a standard medium box, which will make it fit on your shelf quite nicely. The box art is fun and keeps with the theme of the game. Once you open the box, you are greeted with a well-designed and drawn board, plastic pieces for debris on the beach, and tokens for the villagers. Overall, the feel of the game is quite well-developed. I would love to see standees or minis for the villagers, but that would only slightly add to the depth of the game art. Overall, the art really draws the players into the game. The fog screen (while making it tricky to play on a small table with 4 players) adds even more to the game. 8 of 10 for art.

Mechanics

Wargamers, get ready: other than initial tile placement there is no randomization. Normally, I am not one for games without randomizers, but this game really won me over. Because the initial layout is always different, the game is always different. A draft system replaces a randomizer, which allows other players to pick which pieces are “theirs.” Selection plays a big factor in how you play the game as the boats in the game (your finish line) only leave when certain conditions are met (and sometimes leave before some players want them to leave).

The movements in this game are also very dynamic. You start your turn with 7 movement points (MPs) to get your people to safety. While running in a straight line only takes one MP, the remainder of your options cost more. Players, jump, crawl, push, and squeeze their way to those last three remaining ships. I love that the game is semi-cooperative; sometimes you need other players to board the ship for it to leave. However, each deity is trying to get the highest score. Put this together, and you have an amazingly complex game with a very simple rule set. 9 of 10.

Strategy

Strategy is an interesting area in this game. It is all strategy. There is no point after the beginning of the game that you will be surprised by a random card or feature. The fog is inexorable, it moves every round. Each turn, everyone has the same options (though some villagers have specials that let them move more). Each player sets their strategy, and then that is how they play the game. Offensively, you can keep swapping characters to move your opponents back. Defensively, you can move your characters as a block, making sure that no one gets past you. If you are a rush player, race for the boat baby; use all those moves you can. You can even build engines by lining your villagers up and pushing them up the beach. This game has a deep strategy and really pushes players to think out their plays long before the game starts. You can also mess up the boats so they leave before others are ready, so watch for that type of attack. 9 of 10.

Novelty

This game is a race game. With no cards modifying the movement of the players, this can seem like it is very static; however, we do see a lot of dynamic options which make it difficult to “plan out the whole game.” Each turn, the board has changed, and that means you have new input as to what is best for you. While looking at that you need to look at what will benefit your allies/enemies. The game is very deep in this element. This game takes a number of classic race game concepts and adds a few more. Each time you play, this is a new game, and it really drew me in for a game with no randomizer (6.5 of 10).

Overall

Wow, 41.5. This is the biggest score of the year so far. With a score like this, you should get over to Kickstarter and make sure that this game makes it to publication. This game is a monster fun game that anyone can play. While it suggests 12+, that is mostly because of small pieces and kids who put things in their mouth at 11 years old. If you have a kid who eats plastic, set up a time to talk to the doctor, and watch them when you play the game. I would rate it 8+, but you do have to watch to make sure no one eats the plastic pieces (this goes for drunk friends, too). Personally, I cannot wait to have the production copy of this game on my shelf. This game is a great game for anyone. XOIIOX has come out the gate swinging with their freshman offering.


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Author Profile

Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Dr. Christopher W. Smithmyer
Dr. Christopher Smithmyer is a writer for NRN, the Vice President of International Affairs at Brav Online Conflict Management, and an Adjunct Professor of MBA Business at Doane University. He is also part of the founding team at BlackWalletLTD, one of the leaders in stable coin 2.0 ecosystem maintenance. Dr. Smithmyer’s focus is international business and finance, along with reviews of board games, weapons platforms, and survival items.