Preview – upcoming Essen release from White Goblin Games – Panic Station
Game design and graphics: David Ausloos
Do you enjoy Sci-Fi Survival Horror films? Well here comes Panic Station, another new Essen release from from White Goblin Games. Designed by David Ausloos, Panic Station is a paranoia-driven cooperative game in which you control 2 characters (a Trooper and and an Android), members of the Extermination Corps who are sent to investigate the presence of fiendish alien life forms. These life-forms are parasites which can and will infect players so they are not household pets!
I got a peek at the rules and here is an overview –
The not so simple object of the game is for the humans to find and destroy the Hive, using one of their surviving Troopers to torch it by playing 3 gas can cards to fuel his Flamethrower.
I say cooperative but there’s a catch. You see, one of the players becomes a parasitic Host and they will be doing their best to keep this a secret whilst infecting as many team members as possible to help stop the humans from winning! So a cutthroat, sneaky, game where you don’t know who to trust and time is running out on the survivors? Nice!
The players use cards that represent their characters and keep a minimum hand of 5 cards which can include Check cards (for heat scans which detect infected characters), infection cards, and various other items which you will collect to help you in your quest to destroy the Hive. There are Exploration cards which represent rooms and these are played and explored as you search for the Hive whilst very likely, alerting parasites to your presence. The artwork is darkly thematic and looks pretty effective.
Each turn has 2 phases – the Parasite phase and the Team phase
The Parasite phase – simple – Check to see whether parasites move and attack characters in the same room.
Team phase – Each player uses their Action Points to do the following –
1- Explore – players lay down Exploration cards and search rooms
Icons identify different types of rooms –
Run – players gain an extra movement
Parasite Alert – triggered by entering certain rooms
Storage – You can find useful items
Team search – Players can search rooms together
3- Fire Gun – Your Android (only) can fire a gun assuming they have found Ammo cards. Troopers need to survive by cunning until they get the chance to toast the Hive with their flamethrower.
4 – Search Location – find useful items, trigger Parasite Alerts
5- Activate computer terminals to –
Perform a Heat scan to identify infected team members – using the Heat Check cards, players will learn the number of infected players, but not necessarily who they are!
Open all security doors
Reveal Location – Hidden locations can be discovered
6- Heal in Sick Bay – players can heal wounds
7- Use Item – you will want/need to use items to help you survive
Trading – an interesting rule is that a player MUST trade an item with another player when in the same room – a good way to infect others… or gain something useful… who knows?
The way you can play the game outside of the core rule structure is pretty open subject to the following from the rules –
Players are free to play their roles as they see fit. They must carefully watch for suspicious behavior that might indicate that a player is infected. Infected players must be subtle, gaining the trust of others and making an infection attempt at the right time.
Players are free to accuse others during the game, even if these accusations are ill-founded or outright ploys to draw attention away from the infected player, but the infected players and the Host must never actually reveal themselves, even if accused correctly.
Panic Station certainly looks like a tense, devious game. It seems that a key to survival is TRUST NO ONE! And of course this worries me as I am rubbish at being sneaky and underhanded so I am sure I will be found out but you know what? It sounds like a lot of fun anyway.