I was given a preview copy of Set A Watch for Review and I immediately opened it up and absorbed the rulebook. It brought me back to my D&D days where our DM would “make something happen” nearly any night that we forgot to set a watch as we camped. Many moments of arguing about whether or not we were wearing our armor and how far we can see, and unfortunately a handful of PC deaths resulted in these encounters. It was a lot of fun though, and I’m surprised the idea of a board game centered around that specific interaction in a fantasy setting hasn’t been seen more often in this industry. The theme of Set A Watch is incredibly unique and the execution of design and game mechanics in the box is awesome.
Set a Watch is a game that does a great job of combining theme with some fun mechanics into a nice package. As a fully cooperative game, you can often lose people with varying levels of gaming experience, but this game will lock into your group quite easily. To start, setting the game up is relatively simple. Each player chooses a character, and randomly sets up their skills, one will be exhausted. Then the players seed the monster deck, shuffling it along the way and then shuffle the locations. There is a bit of setting some tokens on the fold-out board, and then the game can begin.
And the rounds of game are easy to follow as well. The players collectively choose one player to stay behind and tend the flames of the campfire while the other players fight the monsters that pour out of the darkness from the location they are headed to. The player that stays behind gets a small spot of rest, but also keeps (or increases) the size of the flame. They can also use other abilities on the board to look forward to see what the heroes will face as the game continues.
The players that ventured out together roll all of their dice and use the dice to power their abilities and vanquish the monsters that are arranged in conveyor belt-like line from the monster deck. There is a good variety of monsters here with many of them playing off each other and their placement in the line of monsters disrupts the basic “This one is next” type of monster killing formula.
Because of the large variety of characters, abilities, locations and monsters, the replayability of Set A Watch will remain high for a long period of time. Our game group played several rounds in a night and each game was vastly different than the others and we didn’t switch the characters around that much. We had one round where the game ate us alive, and a round where it was a cakewalk, but most of our games created a good challenge where we had to all work together, think a few turns ahead and use our abilities to maximum effect just to get through the night.
All in all I liked it, but who cares what I think, here is the type of game group that would enjoy this game:
- Enjoys a Cooperative game that will last about 45-60 minutes
- Enjoys fantasy RPG settings
- Has ever played an RPG and argued about who will be watching the camp cause “I NEED TO REST SEAN! I NEED TO HEAL! YOU WATCH!!”
- Has ever had Sean slip a note to the DM that they are also resting and woke up to an epic ambush
- Needs a game with high replayability that you can go back to every once in a while for some good fun
Set A Watch will be on Kickstarter soon, and if any of the above meets your game group, you should definitely follow this link here and check it all out:
Junk Spirit Games