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A look at Damage Report, a somewhat different disaster aversion game

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Damage Report by Break From Reality Games

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Damage Report from Break From Reality Games was funded through Kickstarter where it made $48,642 of it's initial $10,000 goal. Quite the success. As part of that success, a huge number of cool game upgrades were added to the final product. This game is very different from other games like it. While you can't help but compare Damage Report to games like Space Alert and Space Cadets, it has a very different feel, though it has a similar theme.

What you get in the box

This game is heavy. Really heavy. That's due to how much Break From Reality managed to cram into this box:

There's a nice glossy 31 page rulebook, 12 large ship module boards, 9 small ship module boards, 4 supply module boards, 1 ship hull board, 2 crisis tracker boards, 24 module cards, 100 repair cards, 40 damage report cards, 12 event cards, 110 tokens (which are a mix of glass beads, plastic crystals and cardboard chits), 8 plastic 3D printed tools, 6 standees, 6 player boards, 8 damage indicator tokens, 30 injury/fire tokens, 15 cargo/passenger tokens, 4 runabouts, 6 sand timers, 4 "no teleport" symbols, 1 timer and a cardboard coin (I guess this is a real metal coin in the Kickstarter version).

How does the game play?

The basic premise of Damage Report is that the ship is in danger, badly damaged, and the players need to work together to both contain the damage and make repairs. They do this by moving to different key systems in the ship, investigating what needs to be done to make a repair and then gathering the items needed to make that repair. All of this is done real time as the situation continues to deteriorate and more damage hits your ship every three minutes.

Timers are what really sets this game apart from other disaster games like it. The way the timer works is this: you can only act when the timer is on the green spot. If the timer is any where else you have to just sit and wait. Once the timer runs out you then move it, where you move it is dependent on how damaged the ship's life support module is.

What this mechanic means is that you have more downtime than most other co-op real time games. It's not people frantically rolling, or moving things, or getting in each other's way. It's a lot of discussion on what you should do while waiting for your timer to re-set, then doing that and discussing what to do next. This downtime isn't relaxing. Actually sitting there, knowing that you are running out of time and having to just sit and wait on your timer to run out is all kinds of stressful.

When your timer is on green there are only four actions you can choose from: Relay which lets you move and pick up and drop stuff. Inspect which lets you flip over a repair card and figure out what bits you need to repair a system. Repair which lets you actually place those things and actually repair ship systems. Special: this varies by character and includes healing, carrying extra stuff, a double repair action, etc.

While the players are running around doing all these actions, there's a timer ticking away. Every three minutes, when this timer goes off the players have to draw a card from the Damage Report deck. These cards do horrible things and cause all kinds of damage to your ship generally undoing much of the hard work you have completed thus far. If you hit the bottom of this deck you loose. If you complete the mission objective before then you win.

Closing Thoughts

This game, while similar in theme to other co-op disaster games does something different. It's just as stressful and fun but in a very different way. The biggest stress comes from having to wait while watching the counter count down. If you enjoy co-op disaster aversion games Damage Report is worth checking out. Even if you've tried similar games in the past, this one is different enough that it could change your mind about co-op games.

Damage Report is due in stores soon. Right now you can pre-order a copy direct from Break From Reality here: http://bfrgames.storenvy.com/products/651865-damage-report

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