The Great Brain Robbery
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"What do we want?"
"When do we want 'em?"
Welcome to the Old West, Zombie style. The undead line cooks at Friedey's Chuck Wagon are fed up with having only one Brain to pass around. So they've decided to take matters into their own hands and rob a speeding train full of Brains. They'll bring home the best Brain they can find, and then pass that around instead.
Hey. No one said it was a good plan.
Game Synopsis: This is the fourth game in the Friedey's series, and the first Cheapass board game to come in a sturdy cardboard box. The "Board" is composed of eight double-side Train Cars, and the Train grows and shrinks throughout the game. New cars appear in the front as players move forward, and old cars fall off the back, well, sort of randomly. To win the game, you need to find the Brain with the highest IQ before the Train comes to a stop, and defend it from all the other Zombies who'd rather beat you up than find a better Brain on their own.
Cheapass Games does it again with a fast-paced hunting game as you race around the board(s) trying to find the right brain to cram into your skull.
As with the other [page scan/se=0820/sf=category/fi=stockall.asc/ml=20]Friedey's games, it should be played in a zombie accent.
Very very good fun, and not a quick game to play--set aside some time to really get into it.
Our grouup played three Cheapass games this week - this one, Big Idea and Kill Dr. Lucky.
When the players were asked afterwards which was their favourite, the majority picked this one.
However, for this game to really work for a group, the players should not be too serious-minded - if only to be able to stand all the bad jokes that the game is likely to generate.
Of course, as with many other Cheapass games, this one has an incredible 'value for money' but it also has a higher replay value than many other games from them.
When twisted people get stuck on an idea, the results can get quite unusual. James Ernest seems to like Zombies a bit more than most people would consider healthy, and The Great Brain Robbery shows this off.
The idea is that you are once again tossed into the role of a Zombie fast food jockey at Friedey's, the Restaraunt of the Undead. You and your co-workers are getting tired of having just one lousy brain to pass amongst each other, and have formed a plan. You have decided to rob the local train as it passes through the area, find the best brain on the train, and pass that around instead.
Nobody said it was a good plan.
While this game is touted as a board game, it is more or less essentially a mini-RPG. Your character has various characteristics which give him/her/it a bonus for certain situations. Some brains let you run faster. Some make you fight harder. Some are cheese. You see, since you're not that smart, you sometimes pick up what you thought to be a brain, plop it into your skull, and discover it to be a nice block of Cheddar. Anyway, each time you get in a fight, you get experience. Each time you pick up a brain (or piece of cheese) you get experience. You use experience to pay for installing better brains.
The board consists of several larger cards (about 8.5' x 5.5') which have an overhead map of a train car printed on each side. Each car is different. You start in the cabose, and end in the engine.
By the standard rules, the game can go on for quite some time, or be over in just a few short rounds. This is because the rules call for random selection of the next train car as you move out of the present car. You could draw the Engine, and if you have a good brain, end the game by landing on the brakes.
There is only one irritating quality about this latest example of James Ernest putting his Wal-Mart cardstock to its maximum use: Brain tokens. The rules call for 'about 50.' I used my Icehouse set of 60 pyramids and ran out. Buy a bag of flat marbles from a garden supply store if you don't already have some. About $1.00 for a bag of 100, usually.
The Great Brain Robbery sounded like an interesting idea: zombies on a train, fighting over brains! In actual practice, it doesn't work. Our group managed to play a single game, and we quickly discovered that: 1. zombies who lose fights with other players get rewarded with an experience point, and 2. zombies who win fights get to rearrange the losers' brains. Our play group quickly devolved into a dogpile where each player attacked the only one with a brain. The attackers had nothing to lose, and only experience to gain. The defender couldn't stop the repetitive challenges. The direct conflict between zombies is very obviously player vs. player conflict, a point on which our group is divided.
In the other Cheapass games about zombies, it's not a big deal to have to draw cards (Give Me the Brain), or get stuck with all the cheese and score poorly (Lord of the Fries). Fighting in The Great Brain Robbery results in the losers customarily being stripped of all their hard-fought brains (the one in their head and the two in their hands), leaving them with nothing but experience points that are next-to-useless. Having spent ten rounds accumulating enough experience to 'install' a brain, only to see it casually discarded, is a depressing event, and is so cruel that it's hard to derive sadistic glee.
Will I ever play the Great Brain Robbery again? Maybe. Will I be able to convince ANY of the other players to try it another time? No.
Your Zombie races through the train to land on tokens that buy brains with IQ values, as well as additional powers for moving and fighting. Cost increases as IQ does, but even free Government brains are slightly better than nothing. You may start a fight by landing on an enemy; the winner steals or discards the loser's brain. The loser gains a token, making it advantageous for the stupid to fight the clever. Dice rolls, added to your brain's powers, determine movement and fighting. You win by having the highest IQ when the Engine Room is reached and the brakes are applied. We'll never change our minds about this game's imagination.