Second Opinion – Smog: The Thirteenth Hour
So yesterday I gave you my – rather underwhelmed – first impression of Smog: The Thirteenth Hour.
Well today I got to play the game, and I am happy to report that it’s gone way up in my esteem.
I’m not taking back what I said about the components.
I’m still dismayed about the counters, which I had to cut out myself, and which really didn’t look that special. And the box lid inlay turned out to be pretty much superfluous.
But I am more mindful of how much you get for the money.
And most importantly what you get is a great little fast-playing and atmospheric boardgame.
We fired up a 200 point starting scenario entitled The Thirteen Strokes of Midnight which involved us lining up three models per side. I took Miss Ticklenott, Piotr Goodenough and Dr Proteus Treves, and my opponent fielded Mister Honk, Professor Sawbone, and Jeremiah Crow.
The game was a straight kill your opponents setup. As it turned out, the winner would be decided as the first to kill two opposing minions.
I won’t give a full turn-by-turn, but suffice to say plenty of cool stuff happened. The game is simple enough that it plays really fast, but there are just enough character-specific abilities that each model has its own play style.
Mister Honk, a giant ape in pince-nez and tails, leapt in and out of melee combat. While Professor Sawbone, immaculately attired but with his face hidden behind a sinister tribal mask, weaved etheric spells to augment his lethally precise strikes.
It was Sawbone who dealt the killing blow in fact. Ticklenott had alread died after an ill-advised, and most unladylike, run down the alleyway to unleash a blast from her alien cannon, and then Mister Honk tag-teamed in the professor to plunge his etherically-charged spear into Dr Proteus’s chest.
The smog rolled in and it was game over.
I had already suspected I’d like the card play mechanic and it did indeed work really well. Selecting the right balance of cards for the turn was key to getting best use of your characters.
There was an element of randomness in that some cards you might draw are better than others. The ether deck, especially, provides a random assortment of effects. But they’re flavourful and represent the unpredictable nature of such magic.
And hey, I like a fun-filled splash of randomness in my games anyway.
So, now I have actually played it, I must confess I’m rather impressed by it. It is a rather elegant and fun lightweight game, which provides a good excuse to paint up some of those gorgeous Smart Max minis.
Which is actually a problem. Because now I want to get more of them.
And they’re so damn expensive!