Theme and What is It?
*Note* Copy of the game provided by the publisher for review purposes.
Outpost Siberia is a resource management co-op card game. Players take on the role of a group of scientists trapped by a storm at a Siberian outpost besieged by a collection of bizarre animals and other things. Their only hope is to use their resources wisely while keeping the beasts at bay.
The game uses some clever mechanics. There’s a deck system that shuffles several events both good and bad into an “Expedition” deck that must be drawn from at the end of each players turn. This is matched with an “Outpost” deck of cards that are used to fill a players hand as well as build a community supply.
The biggest mechanic in the game is dealing with and managing the threats that appear during the game. At the end of every players turn they must draw a card from the “Expedition” deck and deal with the consequences. There are twelve events, both good and bad, in the deck the exact number of each varying on the difficulty level. The remaining eighteen cards are threats or creatures.
One of the largest components to winning the game is a variable player order. Each round the players decide who goes first, second, etc. Figuring out the best order to take your turns is a large part of winning the game. So much so, that it is called out in the rules.
From the get go the game was interesting. The rules are simple, and a good example of gameplay is given to help focus the play. I immediately liked that the cards have multiple uses. They are a type of card (Threat or Event), a resource for the supply, or an attack to be played from the hand. I enjoy this conservation of space and it allows cards to act as their own reward for defeating them.
Quality of Components and Insert
The cards are of good quality, nice and sturdy. They have a good resilience and retain their shape well. I would prefer the corners be slightly less sharp, but that’s a personal preference as I find the sharper corners more prone to catching and bending if dropped accidently.
The insert is excellent. It holds everything in place and makes putting away and set up easy. Though there is no room for any future expansions.
The art in the game is fine. The pictures are good and easily distinguishable as to what they represent. The only negative here would be that I do wish the events had individual art. I suppose that it was done for easy of recognition as to what type of card you’re drawing, but a bit of extra art here would have been nice.
The game is interesting. The speed at which it plays means that it doesn’t get bogged down with tedium or overstay it’s welcome. However, I found myself divorced from the theme by simply trying to figure out the puzzle of who goes next and why. I was engaged and never bored, but I just wanted a bit more. All of the individual player powers were very similar uses of discard a card to pretend to be a specific card. After a few rounds we never really felt we needed to do that as we’d built up a decent supply of cards and never wanted for anything lowering part of the challenge for us.
Difficulty and Age Range Suggestion
Outpost Siberia is challenging without being complex. I think the age range on the box of 12+ is very accurate. I think younger children will be able to understand the rules but might become frustrated by the difficulty of winning the game.
Outpost Siberia is interesting, but ultimately not for me. I found the game a challenge, which I enjoy but I was never drawn into the game beyond the logic puzzle of figuring out how to win.
I think where I fall comes down to how some of the threats were treated and a few of the cards wore on. For example, the flare felt underpowered in every instance. The hero powers were mostly ignored as we usually had more than enough cards in the supply and we needed the cards in hand to function as attacks. Which made the hero powers feel pointless.
I can see where other groups will have fun with this game, the conversations that crop up, and the things people need to figure out to complete the game and win. It’s a solid game and I think there are groups out there that will love it.