My opinion is based on two back to back plays of the game. It just doesn't seem very good. I enjoy Tales of the Arabian Nights, but Agents of Smersh seems to somehow miss all of what I enjoy about that other game. AoS doesn't seem to have the sense of a character story arc that TotAN always seems to provide, win or lose. Also, I am skeptical that the co-op format really works for this type of game. Random stuff happens, and then you either lose or beat the game. In TotAN, you move through the story and have a sense of progression regardless of how your encounters are turning out. The Book of Encounters also feels very tacked on. You make your reaction choice before you even hear any story, making the whole thing seem rather pointless both mechanically and from a storytelling standpoint.
Maybe we were doing something wrong, but my impression is that the game is flawed. The mechanisms seem unbalanced and fail to support the storytelling aspects. TotAN's place is secure.
UPDATE: OK, I was playing it wrong. You can't try to immediately chase down the Intel like Gates in Arkham Horror or infection cubes in Pandemic. You can take your time and built up your skills first. But, barring an unlucky series of encounters, you can take as much time as you need, to the point that the endgame may not be much of a challenge. I'm still not crazy about the experience this game provides.
Chaotic fun. The best feature of the game is that there's several ways to win. I occassionally enjoy it, but it has quite a few flaws. The random draw of cards is punishing, and you'll often sit with a hand full of patches and no inverters. The cards that let you search the deck and pick a card are necessary to mitigate this, but they slow down the game. If you happen to have a timepoint that contradicts someone else's card, you'll spend a lot of time just flipping that one back and forth. I used to like this game more than I do now. My tolerance for this type of randomness and potential for game length drag has definitely decreased over the last year.
I wanted to love this, but despite all the enormous effort around giving this game "theme", it just felt like rolling dice to me. The dice rolling mechanisms just aren't that exciting, and the card effects are meh.
D-Day Dice, on the other hand, has a much more interesting dice rolling system, co-op interactions, and card play. D-Day Dice does this type of game right, and it killed ES for me.
A fun little game. Remembering what each side of the Igor die means is a bit of a chore at first. Considering the size of the box, I would have thought to be a "bring your own bits" game, but all the pieces you need are in there!
Quick, random, fun card game. It's actually a better than I thought it would be, but don't go in caring too much if you win or not, because it's largely out of your hands. This game has less strategy than "Falling" if you can believe that. However, it's fast and amusing so my lunch group enjoys it.
Amazing potential to generate narrative even with the random nature of the game. It's got depth to spare, but I am afraid it overwhelms my ability to keep track of the game state. Dawn of the Zeds and Astra Titanica are more my speed.
I'm surprised I didn't like this more, but after one play, the whole group was rather "meh". There seems to be too much chaos and randomness for a deduction game. Asking questions began to get tedious towards the end. Maybe with experience it would get better, but I don't have much desire to play it again.
This can be fun, but only with the right group. There's not a whole lot of actual GAME here. This would be the test - imagine that the box contained only a slip of paper that said "You're a ninja, and you deliver hamburgers. Discuss." If your group could have fun with only that, then you'll enjoy the game. Storytelling during deliveries is a must. The 3 x d6 die rolls make for quite the steep bell curve (nearly 50% of rolls total in the 9-12 range) that makes skill checks a bit different than in other games, an aspect I think I like, because you have a good idea beforehand of whether you will make the roll. Some of my new-gamer friends request this a lot.
PLUSES: Great theme. 3 x d6 resolution system makes for a tight bell curve, allowing you to have a good idea of chances of success before rolling, and also the value of upgrades.
MINUSES: Gaming elements are very thin - only the theme keeps this from being a pure exercise in "Roll higher that 12! Now roll higer than 14!" Necessary money and honor tokens are not included (in a SJ game? Say it isn't so!).
I like a few things about this game. The tic-tac-toe card selection forces some tough decisions, and I really like that. I also like the seal mechanism. However, the whole ends up being somewhat less than the sum of the parts here for me. It doesn´t feel like the game really goes anywhere. All the rules ambiguities (STILL not clarified by Mayfair, as far as I can tell) push me over the edge on this one - this game is not worth agonizing over what the cards really mean. I think I would always go for Jambo over this one when in the mood for this flavor of game.
This game has a lot of very neat things about it. The components are great, and many of the mechanics are pretty cool. However, the game just leaves my wife and me with a "blah" feeling by the end. Once you picked up an extra die or two all the challenges became too easy. It doesn't really have the excitement of some other games in this genre (although I know others with the opposite opinion). I'd much rather play Runebound, Dungeoneer, DungeonQuest, or Talisman when I'm in the mood for this type of game.