Not Alone is an asymmetrical hidden movement card game designed by Ghislain Masson where one to six players are explorers who’ve crash-landed on a mysterious planet and one is an alien creature hunting them down. The hunted players play place cards to move around the planet and the creature player has to figure out where they’ve gone and catch them.
The game comes with 97 cards, of which 7 are reminder cards, 20 are hunt cards, 15 are survival cards and 55 are place cards. There is a small board for tracking progress along with 6 tokens for tracking and 18 will cubes.
The artwork for this game is beautiful. Sébastien Caiveau did an amazing job and created some truly stunning sci-fi pieces. My personal favorites are The Shelter, The Source, and the box art.
There is a lot of empty space in the box, but the box still kinda needs to be that big to fit the board and the rulebook, so I’ll give it a pass. Given how much extra space there is, I think the board could have been bigger. Currently to set up the game, you have to deal out place cards to place the creature’s tokens on, and I think those spaces could have been incorporated into the tracking board.
The rulebook is overall very nice. There’s a nice little intro story on the front that really helps set the scene. The visual depictions are very helpful for understanding setup and the game examples. The rules are thoroughly explained, and I like that there’s a short section on the back offering further clarification on the powers of certain place cards.
The game is divided into four phases. In phase 1, the hunted players will each play a place card face down, deciding where to hide. In phase 2, the creature will place their hunt token on a place they think someone is hiding. In phase 3, the hunted all reveal their place cards simultaneously. If the creature catches one or more hunted players, those players each lose a will cube, the assimilation tracker moves up, and they can’t use that place’s power. The hunted players that aren’t caught may either use the special power of the place they went to or take one place card back from their discard pile. In phase four, the rescue counter moves up and players prepare for the next round. Each player also has special cards they can play during certain phases. Each hunted player gets one card at the start of the game, and the creature has a hand of three which they refill at the end of each round.
The game is fun. The cat-and-mouse mind games are engaging without going too deep. It’s easy to set up and fairly quick to play. With a playtime around 30 minutes, games never feel like they’ve gone on too long.
There are a few rules that are easy to forget. It can be really hard to remember to move the rescue counter up at the end of phase four, so it might help to specifically designate someone as the counter-mover. The ability to choose between using a place’s power and taking one card back from the discard pile is also frequently neglected. Most of my players forgot about it and those that didn’t never chose to take a card back instead of using a power.
There is a bit of a learning curve to this game. It might be harder for people who are entirely new to board games because there are a lot of moving parts to keep track of and while the rules are easy to follow in practice, it can be a lot to take in all at once.
I am slightly concerned about game balance. During my playtesting the creature had a pretty consistent win rate vs the hunted, even though we rotated the role a few times. We played two, three, and four player games, and they generally all felt the same balance-wise, though I think the hunted had the best luck at four. However, the games still felt really close.
You are allowed to talk with other players about what you’re doing (though you can’t say what cards you’re playing), but this seems to help the creature more than the hunted. In my playtests it was better for the players to not discuss anything.
This game four out of five cthulhus. Amazon doesn’t currently have the Not Alone base game in stock, but it does have the two expansions. You can check those out at the links below, but remember that we are an Amazon affiliate and if you make any purchases using the links provided we will get some $ back.(4 / 5)