Panic Station in Review

This week’s Cracked LCD is a review of Panic Station, a complete hot mess of a paranoid co-op game that can either be an extraordinary example of metagame psychology and player interaction or a tumbledown wreck of sloppy rules writing, gamey mechanics, and narrative disengagement. I think it’s utterly fascinating, even when it doesn’t work. It’s divisive and has as many haters as lovers and I think that’s a great thing. Particularly in a medium where people go into reviews more worried about whether or not they should buy the game rather than where its successes, failures, and innovations lie as a work. But yeah, think John Carpenter in board game form.

In the bonus round, Choplifter HD gets the write-up. Wait for a sale.

10 Responses to “Panic Station in Review”

  1. KyleS January 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Thanks Mike. I admit I am tempted.

    So this has a Thing vibe going on I take it? Sounds like it.  

  2. Michael Barnes January 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    I would be willing to bet that this game was cooked up either before, during, or after a viewing of The Thing. The only thing that’s missing is Wilford Brimley.

  3. aQO10M3vZg November 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    282736 249008Reading, watching movies or plays, or comparable activities that may bring inspiration. 889463

  4. McGuillan January 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm #

    A new genre is born; paranoid co-op boardgames. I’m keen on purchasing any game that promotes this type of gameplay, warts and all in the case of Panic Room. I’m looking for Shadow over Camelot as well but with my tight budget, I’ll stick towards buying another copy of BSG (gave the other to a friend after I moved).

    The best part of BSG isn’t finding out who is the Cylon but the moment after the Galactica executes a jump; the board clears, everything calms down and everyone turns on each other immediately. Grudges resurface, paranoid seeps in and people get tossed into the brig or out the airlock if you have the expansions.

    I’ve wanted to write a long post about your obvious talent in absorbing the building blocks of boardgaming but haven’t had the time. Needless to say, you should consider designing your own; although, do you feel you are more critic than designer?

  5. McGuillan January 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    A new genre is born; paranoid co-op boardgames. I’m keen on purchasing any game that promotes this type of gameplay, warts and all in the case of Panic Room. I’m looking for Shadow over Camelot as well but with my tight budget, I’ll stick towards buying another copy of BSG (gave the other to a friend after I moved).

    The best part of BSG isn’t finding out who is the Cylon but the moment after the Galactica executes a jump; the board clears, everything calms down and everyone turns on each other immediately. Grudges resurface, paranoid seeps in and people get tossed into the brig or out the airlock if you have the expansions.

    I’ve wanted to write a long post about your obvious talent in absorbing the building blocks of boardgaming but haven’t had the time. Needless to say, you should consider designing your own; although, do you feel you are more critic than designer?

  6. Bill Abner January 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

    I’d love to play a Michael Barnes design so I could rip that SoB to shreds!

    Eat it Barnes!

     

  7. Michael Barnes January 20, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Well, I have had Milch und Gherkin in development for a while.  It is the ultimate Eurogame. And there’s King of Vampire Boxing, which only exists in my mind. Maybe at some point I’ll do the applied knowledge thing and whip something up.

    If I ever do get around to producing I’ll assign the review to you, Bill.

  8. Bill Abner January 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    And his flannel.

  9. Danimal66 January 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm #

    Didn’t care for this one but I am swimming in so much new stuff I can’t keep my head straight. I need some help with these games.

    Sorry to change subjects what do you think of Core Worlds?

  10. xmiyux January 20, 2012 at 8:00 pm #

    The bit in your review about it working with some groups and giving you stories to tell and grudges to hold over to other games completely describes my academic game club. The high school kids loved it and the first time I played Host and successfully bluffed them into believing one of their number was the Host was priceless.  Weeks later they would still accost one another in the hall during class change to yell at one another for a betrayal, a lie, or general manipulation.

     

    It was great to see how deep it had sunk its hooks.

     

    All that said. The rules, even 2.2, are kind of jacked. We played a game way wrong according the the designers answers on the Geek – yet we played it exactly to the wording of the rules. That is frustrating to me.

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