Nathanaël Dufour
France
Lille
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Just finished what is honestly a really good scenario.

1. Scenario
The setting is really mysterious, and for a while it seems like things are almost normal in this little town...
There's none of the metastory you have on the official scenario, (very minor spoiler for Asylum and Prophecy of Dragons
Spoiler (click to reveal)
obviously there's no cubes nor Syaans, nor (spoiler for Lumen Fidei)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Elois
here
but still it fits : after all SOMEONE must have given those people the idea to do this evil thing, right ?

It's really well tied up in the endgame as well : we had a moment of "OMG THAT'S WHAT'S REALLY HAPPENING ?" when we figured out (spoiler for Switching gears)
Spoiler (click to reveal)
who was the old lady


We enjoyed it quite a bit. One or two details lack a bit of a context to make sense
Spoiler (click to reveal)
why pick up a figt with the baker ? If e was a boxer or something, or made a comment to that extent, it would feel less out of the blue
, but nothing to jarring.


2. Gameplay

On that aspect, we felt Switching Gears was superior to all the official scenario
THe map lends itself to exploration. We enjoyed the fact that it is not linear, and the sense of freedom to go wherever you want.

The little "traps" you can fall into such as
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the hypnosis
or
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the rat bites
or the bad choices you can make were cool, annoying enough to be relevant but not so much that you feel like it's unfair. (Maybe the final one was, but (maybe because we picked the right option cool) we liked that feeling that what you choose MATTERS)).

Another smart move was to give the agents a shorter path to come back if they failed towards the end, to avoid that 3rd run when you do EXACTLY THE SAME THING and you get fed up etc...

3. Balance
The game is not about fighting, but the few battles are dangerous enough to keep you focused.
The Time is short, as it should be : difficult to do everything in 2 runs, but it's definitely doable (we did it in 3). The locations are BIG, and there's A LOT of them !
But the real challenge comes from the PUZZLES. If you liked Asylum and wished the new scenarios were more like it, challenging your brains rather than your dice,Switching Gears is for you ! It's also MUCH harder than any of the official ones : DO NOT play this with players that hate spending half an hour working on a clue...
It took us maybe 2 and 1/2 hours to solve the two puzzles, part of which included making an actual, physical copy of the items we had (which led us astray, as our copy was imprecise and didn't match properly...)

4. Originality :
There's no "special mechanism" such as the noise of Marcy Case, the madness of Endurance, the bodytransfer of Under The Mask,...

You still get one or two smart and innovative "one in this location" challenges
Spoiler (click to reveal)
the haystack
, which is quite refreshing

5. Humour

The game as a lot of GOTCHA moments when you look at each other and laugh, and that's great.

6. Art (compared to a professional scenario) (for an amateur work)
We all agreed the art was fine and way above what one could expect from an homemade game !

COnclusion :
This is a really good scenario. If it had been an official one (included in the metastory, professional design of the cards, etc...) it might be one of the best.
Be warned the riddles are HARD, and can be really frustrating if you get stuck.

There is none of the mistakes (misprint, rule ambiguity, no closure, reaaaally easy, dead end you cannot exit) that have plagued the latest Expansions. It's an amazing job you did there, Stephanie.
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Steph Pearce
United States
Warren
Pennsylvania
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Thanks for playing, and for the taking the time to write such a thorough review!

I'm glad you enjoyed it.
 
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