Stranded in an abandoned place, humans are mostly extinct, only a small group of people remain. How are we supposed to survive in this post-apocalyptic world? That's the question Tough Calls: Dystopia asks itself. In German, the narrative reasoning game appears as Tough Calls: Nach dem Untergang by Nice Game Publishing.

Robots that have taken over the world - super-resistant bacteria that devour all organic matter - the sun going out... Tough Calls offers different scenarios that we can live through. How we deal with this situation is entirely in the hands of our own creativity.

tough decisions

In Tough Calls, 3-6 players each take on the role of a faction leader struggling to survive in one of 10 dystopian scenarios. After initially introducing our faction using a scenario-specific opening question, our goal is to win the highest number of votes. For this, all players have to answer a question each round and convince our opponents that our answer offers the best solution for the survival of the whole group. After everyone has answered the question of the round, there is a secret ballot. Each leader must give a vote to the competitor who they think gave the best answer. He does this by throwing one of the election markers in the form of can straps into the ballot box. A new round then begins; the next player draws three question cards and chooses one. This is then answered by everyone.

sanduhr

Time is running out... for players who are getting too bogged down. Because you can optionally use the enclosed hourglass for answer rounds. Photo: Sven Karsten

As soon as all players have drawn a question card, the question round is over and a random event card belonging to the scenario is drawn. All factions must then react again and present their solution. When everyone has reacted to the event, the final secret vote takes place. Here the own faction marker is thrown into the ballot box for the faction that was the most convincing throughout the game. At the end the votes are counted. Can tabs count as one vote, faction markers as two votes. The leader who collects the most votes wins the game.

Creativity is required

Since the game only provides the scenario and asks individual questions, the fun of the game depends particularly on the players. Everyone has to respond to the game, grow out of themselves and find creative solutions. This gives Tough Calls a certain role-playing flair. For each question that you have to answer, you grow more and more into the character/faction you have just imagined. It's just a pity that you are torn out too quickly by the few questions within a round.

The game material feels cheap at times, except for the cards.

The game material feels cheap at times, except for the cards. You have the feeling all the time that you could easily crumple the cardboard plates. But luckily you don't need them too often as Tough Calls puts the focus on the conversations. Photo: Sven Karsten

It is also important to discuss before each game how serious you are about the game. Do you take the game completely seriously or are fun factions (e.g. like from the video games Fallout or Borderlands) allowed? If there are mixed groups here, where one person plays a nonsense faction while the others play seriously, it can quickly happen that you lose the fun of the game and there is nothing to get around it.

The problem with the scenarios

Unfortunately, Tough Calls quickly wore out due to its 10 scenarios within a group. You usually don't have that much leeway, since the scenarios differ greatly in the story, but there is hardly any difference in terms of play. All scenarios provide a solid framework that is difficult to break out of. It's always about the survival of our colony and how we do it within our means. We are often very limited in terms of space, everything outside our whereabouts is threatening. As a result, the same ideas that you have already experienced in a previously played scenario come up again and again. If you play it in different group constellations from time to time, it could also convince over several games. Especially if you don't take the game too seriously in a couple of games.

About Tough Calls - After the sinking

 Number of players: 3 to 5
Age: from 12 years
Playing time: 45 minutes
Difficulty: easy
Long-term motivation: low
Classification: Roleplay

Author: Diego Burgos, Margarita Pino
Illustrations: Dmitry Vishnevsky
Publisher: Nice Game Publishing, Fractal Juegos
Official Website: Link
Year of publication: 2022
Language: German
Cost: 24,99 Euro

Summary

Nice Game Publishing and Fractal Juegos are launching Tough Calls: Nach dem Unterfall, a game that could be something for fans of role-playing games like DnD or Shadowrun. People who are not into creative games will not have any fun with this, as creativity is the main focus here. However, the game stands in its own way due to the similar scenarios in terms of creative expression. The tips in the rule book also reduce the gaming experience somewhat. For example, that you shouldn't contradict your opponents in order not to interrupt the flow of the game. The discussions that can arise during role-playing games are a great fun factor. Since these are only suggestions that you don't have to heed, we happily discussed our games or agreed with the others, because that's what makes such a game so appealing. A nice discussion in a dystopian setting.

Preview Product Rating Price
Tough Calls: After the sinking Tough Calls: After the sinking* 23,91 EUR

Last updated on 8.02.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API