Posted on March 31, 2009 by Billzilla
Flying Frog Productions has only produced two games so far; so far — in my humble opinion — they have two winners. The First, Last Night on Earth, is a zombie survival exercise with real goals to achieve that put Flying Frog on the adventure gaming map. Their most recent title is A Touch of Evil, and fans of the Johnny Depp version of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow will find this game somehow familiar…
Players begin by each choosing one of eight characters to portray. Each character has a score of from one to five in four abilities: Spirit, Cunning, Combat and Honor. Players may increase these scores during the course of the game through a variety of means, and all four abilities will come in to play at some point. In addition, each character also has their own unique ability to give their player a particular advantage. Once characters have been chosen, one of the four monsters is selected to be the primary opponent for the game; the Scarecrow, the Werewolf, the Vampire, or the Spectral Horseman. The players all begin the game in the Town Hall, and move out from there, collecting Investigation tokens as they progress through the board’s locations. These tokens can be traded in like money to receive healing or to obtain useful items around town. After each player has had a turn, the Villain’s turn commences as it unleashes through the draw of a Mystery card, which the players must then deal with. Once the Villain’s turn is over, the First Player marker is passed on player ot the left, and a new turn begins. A turn track keeps tabs on the time in-game. Typically, players have a set number of turns to root out and destroy the Villain before darkness overtakes the land.
Town Elders are sort of like non-player characters in D&D; they exist both to help and to hinder the characters, and in this case, each also harbors a dreadful secret, including that they might be secretly in league with the Villain! The Town Elders add spice to an already rich game, as players can spend time discovering these secrets – which may or may not turn out to be time well spent. Secrets are drawn and assigned to each Elder randomly from the “Secrets” deck, and may change during the course of play.
I found a great deal to like about this game. The proto-Colonial American setting is rich with possibilities, which I found inspiring. The fact that players have the option at the start of the game to play co-operatively or competitively is also intriguing, and I liked the tremendous play variation offered by the many random elements. These elements are typified by several different decks of encounter cards, some specific to a location and obtainable only by moving to that locale, while others, like the Mystery cards, are drawn each turn. There are eight different characters to choose from, and each of the Villains has a group of minions and events at their disposal to add even further variety to game play. I also like the fact that the First Player role shifts each turn; this is especially important in the competitive version of the game.
A Touch if Evil is a bit pricey but the production values are outstanding, with thick, laminated cardstock components and board that will stand up to many hours of vigorous play. A Touch of Evil is for two to eight players of ages 12 and up, and playing time tends to fall between one to two hours. If you like your adventure with mystery and intrigue already added, A Touch of Evil will be an immensely satisfying experience.
Review by Bill Bodden