- Designer: David Bernal
- Publisher: zacatrus
- Players: 2-4
- Time: 24 min
- Age: 12+
- Review copy provided by zacatrus
24h was a game that caught my eye in the preparation stage for Spiel 2019 as I’ve always been a fan of the all-versus-one deduction games – Scotland Yard was one of the first games that I truly loved, and it remains one of my all-time favorite games. In this new game, there are actually 4 different scenarios in the box where one player acts as the hunted while the rest of the group tries to hunt them down. The title of the game is fitting as each of the games lasts no longer than 24 turns; and you can easily imagine that each turn takes an hour of time.
Each of the scenarios has its own board, and there is a shared deck of objective cards which are used to randomize the setup for 3 of the 4 scenarios. The cards are not needed for the Minotaur scenario as the object there is always the same! In each game, there will always be one hunted and THREE hunters. Even if you don’t have a full complement of 4 players, you will need to play with all three of the hunters. I will briefly explain each of the scenarios
Scenario 1: “It’s Sonny Sciabola’s Time” – in this scenario, one player is a Mafia guy on the run while the others are the police force trying to catch the criminal. The board shows a city map with multiple numbered locations of different colors. The mobster gets an objective card dealt to him at the start of the game which lists the four objective spaces (one in each color) which the mobster must visit before the end of the game in order to win. On a turn, the mobster can move to one adjacent space and writes down the space on a tracking chart. Then the police each get a turn to move around, set roadblocks to inhibit movement, or ask for clues such as whether the mobster has ever been on a particular space thus far in the game. If the policeman thinks he knows where the mobster is, he can try to arrest him. The mobster wins if the gets to all four of the target spaces before the end of the 24th turn. The police win if they either arrest the mobster or prevent the mobster from getting to all the target spaces.
Scenario 2: “The Labyrinth’s Guardian” – In this scenario, the tables are turned. Here, the solo player is the hunter, the Minotaur, who is trying to hunt/prevent the adventurers from stealing his treasure. The boiard is made up of a bunch of interlocking rooms, with doorways between some of the rooms. The treasure is located in the treasure chamber near the center of the board. The adventurers go first, moving around the labyrinth or using their actions to gain clues about the location of the minotaur. If an adventurer gets to the same space as the treasure, he picks up the token and then must carry it out of the labyrinth for the adventurers to win. On the minotaur’s turn, it can move up to 2 spaces per turn – though once the treasure is taken, it can move 3 spaces per turn. If the minotaur enters a space occupied by an adventurer, that player is eliminated. The adventurers win if they can take the treasure out of the maze within 24 turns. The Minotaur wins if it either eliminates all the players or if the treasure stays inside the maze for the duration of the game.
Scenario 3: “Das Boot” – The single player here is the captain of a German U-boat while the rest of the players are English patrol boats trying to capture/sink the U-boat. The U-boat player gets an objective card which tells him which 4 lettered targets must be destroyed by torpedoes. The U-boat has 17 fuel points available to it during the course of the game as well as two one-time use tokens to give some extra movement. On the U-boat turn, the U-boat can either move to one neighboring hex (which costs a fuel point) or it can shoot a torpedo at one of its targets. The U-boat has exactly four torpedos, each with its own range, and the boat must be the right distance away from the target in order to hit it. The patrol boats can move around the board, place mines, or use sonar to get clues to try to determine the location of the u-boat. If a mine is placed in the space where the submarine is currently located, the English boats automatically win. Otherwise, the U-boat wins if it hits all four of its targets before running out of fuel. Otherwise, the English win.
Scenario 4: “Arsene Lupin’s last heist” – Here, the famed criminal Lupin is in a Parisian museum, and he must steal the Emerald in the allotted time while the other players are the gendarmes who will try to stop him. There is a weird thematic disconnect that there are sewer tunnels which can be accessed from within the museum – but whatever, it’s just a board game. The objective card tells Lupin where he enters the museum and which are the two possible exits which he may leave the museum from. Lupin moves around the board, and when he is in one of the four spaces surrounding the emerald, he places the emerald on the turn track when it was stolen to show the detectives that he is now trying to escape. The Gendarmes can move around, listen or search for clues, and can try to arrest Lupin if they think he is in a space adjacent to them. If Lupin can get it, take the gem, and get out in 24 turns, he wins – otherwise the Gendarmes are victorious.
As I said at the start, I have always liked this sort of game, both for the challenge of being the hunter or being the hunted. While none of the four scenarios here have the depth of Scotland Yard (at least it doesn’t feel like it to me), I do really appreciate the fact that there are four completely different games to play. The publisher has even graciously included two player screens in the box so that you could play two simultaneous games at once.
For me, this is a two-player sort of game. Regardless of the number of players which you have (2 to 4), the game always uses all the characters. For me, I’d rather control all of the hunters rather than make it a cooperative affair. Of course, YMMV, and for many groups, there is probably an advantage of having a few extra eyes on the board and a few voices to discuss the possibilities.
Each of the games plays quickly, probably 20 minutes each once you know the rules to each scenario. While we haven’t done it yet, I could easily see a scenario where we have four players, and we draw chits to see who gets to be the single player for which scenario and play through the whole set of four boards.
Each of the scenarios does have a slightly different set of actions (for both hunter and hunted), but the player shield nicely summarizes all of the possibilities, so it makes it fairly easy to remember what are your options depending on which scenario you are playing.
If you are a fan of the genre, this is a worthwhile release to check out. It comes in a nice small package, and as I said, the variety that the box offers is a big plus in my eyes.
Until your next appointment
The Gaming Doctor