Moonshiners of the Apocalypse – Disgruntled Wargamer

Moonshiners of the Apocalypse

Dessa and the younger of our two kids came home from the local game store with a couple games. This one, “Moonshiners of the Apocalypse,” and another which I’ll detail in a later post. We took our time with this one, playing for short bursts, across a couple of days, then basically starting over and getting it done in a matter of hours. It wasn’t the game that drew our interest out — we had work, school, and regular life things happening with limited play time. Overall, I think we all enjoyed this game. If you’re in for some strange fun, give it a go.

Unboxing

It’s a nicely sized box, pretty standard fare, with a big plastic insert for figurines, cards, and the little wooden bits. The rulebook looks nice, with consistent artwork, and it all looks like something like Wizard of Oz before leaving Kansas… only, in color. The board is sturdy, and it looks like the game was printed directly on the board. Could be paper, but I don’t know. Mysteries of the manufacturing process.

Some of the things were too hard to pry out of the plastic case, so it got messy quick.

Without doing any research or anything, we were confused as to why there were these zombie looking pieces. They turned out to be drunkards, as the theme of the game is running moonshine during some plague. Appropriate for 2020/2021/202also.

I have a small complaint about the miniature pieces. If a game is going to do minis, do them in 28mm scale! Also, the drunkard minis are pretty useless, because you need to have the appropriate drunkard match their ability card. You can’t do that if they’re all the same shape and form. The drunkard pieces ended up sitting in some colored bases, and never getting touched. We elected to use the standup cards instead (which actually look great).

Gameplay

The way this works, is there are 7 days before this balloon comes to collect the person with the most gold. That person gets to buy their way out of the plague infested mid-west America to a much better, plague-free zone like Mexico or Canada. Sounds to me like there should be a sequel in the making.

You get two actions in the morning, and two actions in the afternoon, then nighttime happens. Each day, a different player is the first player, marked by passing a bottle around the table. The player with the bottle is the first player that day. You keep track of your actions with some chips that you put on your player card.

You can explore, to draw Relic cards. You can trade those for scrap, which you need to build cornfields, stills, workshops, and saloons. You can also fight the drunkards who are on your property. You need to do this to rescue people and turn them into workers on your land. During the night, they grow corn, turn it into booze, and then sell it at the saloon. If you get this process going, you earn more gold per turn than just trading scrap for gold. It’s all about the exchange rate. They don’t really explain this in the book, you just have to figure it out, or be told.

When you fight drunkards, you’re not really fighting… you’re drinking. They’ve got this chart on the top of your character’s card that tracks how many bottles of “the good stuff” you consume. You’ve also got an endurance and inebriation tracker on the bottom. It’s possible to pass out, and miss the rest of your turn. It’s also possible to buy a hangover cure, and not worry about it.

The only hiccup here is exploring and drinking use the same dice but in different ways. Each face is printed with a drinking half, and an exploration half. It makes it confusing for new players. There should have just been a set of dice for exploring, and a set for drinking.

This is one of those games where a good mix of competitive players and social players can get together and have a good time. If I were a drinking man, I’d say it’s probably a good game to enjoy with a real bottle. But I’m not, so do what your liver can handle.

We played, chatted, snacked, and had a good time.

At the end, I ended up with the most gold – having figured out the economy of the game quicker than the other two. There’s a bit of exchange that goes on the final night, when the balloon arrives. All your stuff gets exchanged for gold. The rate isn’t great, so it’s better to have generated gold via the moonshining than generating scrap, relics, or whatnot. It is in the name of the game, people!

I’d play again, with two or more players. It has a ruleset for single player, but that seems to miss the point for me. Also, there are cards that were a kickstarter exclusive. They’re events, but I don’t know what they do, because they didn’t come with our game. That’s the danger of buying kickstarter games, I suppose. Only a few weird things (the figurines, a misprint in the rules, not clearly stating how to win, and the dice) made us scratch our heads. But overall, the game has good quality, a great feel to it, and rapid, strategic gameplay. Worth every penny.

Your thoughts

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