By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on June 22, 2018
Every second Sunday of the month, DumeeGamer.com hosts a board game afternoon in a local pub in Roermond. We have a selection of board games, but visitors can also bring their own game. Last week, one of our regular guests brought Roar, a hybrid board game which you play with a board and... an app! You can download this app in the Google Play Store or the App Store. We could easily find it and downloading it via Wifi took only a couple of minutes.
Not a lot of things are cooler and more fun than an abandoned laboratory; let alone if the laboratory in question belonged to doctor Swindle, who was as brilliant as he was mad. Three scientists discover his long lost laboratory and make an extraordinary discovery. It seems that the good doctor managed to create life. And, as is usually the case when scientists get involved in stuff like this, things go awry really quickly. Instead of creating something cute and cuddly as their first experiment, these "brilliant" people usually decide that it would be fun to create a monster! Now, doctor Swindle's monsters finally escape their prison and start decide to do some sightseeing in the city. You, as one of the three scientists that discovered the lab, must now recover the escaped experiment. There's only one catch; the monster you've created is kind of invisible...
The goal of the game is to locate the monster before it causes trouble or, when you are the one playing as the monster, not to let the scientists catch you before you've visited all the locations on your objective list. One player is the monster and plays the game with his or her phone or tablet. The other players control the scientists. There are three scientists in total, so you can play this game with up to four players. It's also possible to play this game with only two players; one player can control all three scientists. The scientists are tokens on the playfield, so everyone can see them, but the monster, being able to cloak itself, is only visible to the player that plays it via the app on their smartphone! The scientist have no clue where the monster is because they can't see the monster and will have to use other methods to locate it!
Each scientist has a special ability, which can be very helpful to catch the monster. One can travel fast, one can scan the environment when he or she thinks the monster is near and one can block off streets, so the monster can't come that way. Each ability can be used only once per game, so the scientists have to be clever and choose the right moment to make their move. The monster's objective is, as mentioned earlier, to visit a number of locations around the city. When the monster manages to visit all the locations shown as his objective before the scientists find it, the player controlling the monster wins the game.
The double-sided game board shows a map of the city. There are hospitals, parks, funfairs, road works; in short, everything a bustling city needs. When you would visit these locations, you will hear specific sounds; Children cheering at school or at the fun fair. Sirens indicate an nearby ambulance, these kind of things. When in the street, you will hear noises of machines or vehicles while, in the park, you will hear birds chirping. And because the board is double-sided, it offers two game modes: simplified or advanced. On the advanced side, all the buildings and locations are actually drawn on the board, but you'll have to guess what they are exactly and which sounds would go with that location. The simplified side of the board shows the locations as icons, which makes them easier to identify and, as one would suspect, makes it easier to match sound to the appropriate location.
Every round starts by scanning the environment with the Smartphone. By doing so, the game locates the scientists and checks if they didn't cheat while moving. The player who controls the monster can now move it to the first location on his or her objectives list. After the monster made its move, a sound will be played which gives the scientists a hint as to where the monster might be now. of the location where the monster is now. The scientists can use this information to decide which way they should go during their next turn in order to successfully intercept the monster.
A round of Roar is relatively short, but I don't mind that at all. Sometimes you just don't want to spend hours on end to play just one game. And it makes Roar the perfect game to play when you simply don't have that much time to spare. The replay value of Roar is very high. There are three kinds of monsters to choose from and because the city contains lots of different locations, a game will never be exactly like the ones before. Besides, it is just awesome that a board game is combined with an app on your Smartphone. And, most importantly, it works like a charm!