It’s Alive! Review

1 Jun

 

 

Fans of monsters and fast-paced card games would do well to seek out this excellent offering from the great Yehuda Berlinger, as it will sate both your interests and then some.

It’s Alive is a game for 2-5 players and places you in the role of a mad scientist with one overwhelming desire: bring life to your undead creation. It’s certainly a morbid concept and arguably the main reason why it comes with a 12+ recommendation, but it’s nevertheless a superbly fun game that even our 6-year old has started excelling at.

As with many recent board games It’s Alive! features wonderfully old-fashioned art and a nice canvassy field, like you want to hang it on a wall, rather than tuck it away on a shelf. It’s madcap cover also gives you no illusions that this is a game about grave-robbing, which again, we rather like in a morbid kind of way.

All the components of It's Alive

The box includes both English and German instructions, 60 cards, 5 slabs, 5 handy hint play cards and 5 beautifully drawn screens to hide your nefarious dealings behind. The final addition is a number of coins, which will be used to make all your dodgy dealings on the second hand body market.

Each turn sees a player taking a card from the graveyard (depicted by the pile of cards in the middle of the play area). Once you’ve flipped a card over you can do one of three things: buy the card at its face value, auction in off in the hope of getting a better deal, or sell the card back to the gravediggers for half its cost. Once you’ve started dumping cards in your graveyard, players then have the option of buying your discarded card from your disused pile for the full asking price.

It’s a clever play mechanic that has you scrutinising every single move, as you try and work out how far a person is away from finishing their hideous creation. The 8 parts of the body include a head, torso, arm, leg, brain, heart, foot and hand and all must be assembled before you can whip away your screen and shout out It’s Alive! in the most campiest voice possible.

The cards of It's Alive! numbers indicate buying costs.

These cards are instrumental to your success in It’s Alive! and a fair amount of strategy is required to get the most for your money, as you only start with 12 coins. Things are further complicated by the inclusion of Coffin Cards and Villager Uprising Cards. Coffin Cards are expensive, but are wild cards, able to represent any body part you still need, while the Village Uprising Cards require you to hand over coins or money indicated by their price. Needless to say a poorly timed Villager Uprising can really hurt your chances of winning.

The game itself is fast and furious, with play quickly alternating through each player and dealings can get extremely devious as you try and sell off cards for profit, while trying to make sure that you don’t carelessly give away a body part that a player might need to raise their unholy beast. It’s not uncommon to hear people constantly badgering each other with lines like: ‘Surely you must have the last part now?’ and the last 5 minutes of play are a madcap dash as you constantly try to outwit each other and breathe life into your stitched up cadaver.

It’s Alive is a game that all the family can enjoy, but it’s surprisingly deep gameplay and macabre tone make it better suited for elder children and adults. Pick it up now from http://www.boardgameguru.co.uk for a bargainous £5. You won’t regret it.

 

 

 

 

 

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