We’re Doomed! review— Exactly what it says on the tin

I’m really not a fan of co-op games. There are a couple exceptions, like Gloomhaven and The Crew, but they are few and far between. Being forced to work together to solve a game always feels artificial and boring to me, and they trend towards either being easily solved or convoluted past what’s enjoyable. Generally, I prefer positive interactions between players to be part of naturally emergent gameplay, like the times in area control games when everyone coordinates against a runaway leader, or in stock games when two players are invested in the same company and share in improving it, at least until one is more invested or divests. We’re Doomed fits nicely within the subgenre known as semi-co-op, where nominally everyone needs to work together to win, but they still have incentives to work against the common good. While most semi-co-ops simply provide players with inconvenient objectives that they need to complete in order to win with the group, We’re Doomed goes whole hog.

Thematically, everyone’s leaders of world powers who have discovered they’re not long for this world, mostly because this world isn’t going to be around for long. Players will have fifteen minutes to cooperatively pool their resources to create a ship that may save their hides, but the cooperation ends there. The number of seats available scales to the amount of resources pooled, meaning that all but superhumanly efficient groups will have to leave people behind. When there’s a seating shortfall, seats are assigned to players with the most influence first. On a player’s turn, they can generate resources or influence, spend a chunk of resources they’re hoarding to nuke another player and entirely eliminate them from the game at a rate where it’s always more efficient to nuke someone than to build a seat for them, or spend either resources or influence to steal the other from another player. You probably noticed that only one of those actually generates the resources needed to build the ship so even one person can win, and the rest exist to devolve the game into petty squabbles and infighting. I really cannot stress how short that fifteen-minute timer goes, and how much you really need to be going at breakneck speeds to even make a couple seats.

But what really happens is that players will wind up just taking influence instead of resources to try to guarantee their seat, with other players noting that they’re not assisting in building and stockpiling resources to nuke them instead of letting them steal an unearned spot. But then the players next to them will look at their stacks of resources, get paranoid, and steal from them just to keep everyone out of nuke range. Of course, that also doesn’t generate resources, so just a couple rounds in, you’ve already got a table full of people talking shit instead of actually contributing to the project. All that would be dire enough, but then you toss in the events, which mix in even more contention, or plain and simply waste your precious time.

If you ask me, the core gameplay is just about perfect as-is, and the event deck adds in a hit-or-miss breakpoint where the game may flop for some people, but I’ve had friends argue that the event deck can get people who We’re Doomed wouldn’t work for into the right mindset for it, and honestly, this is where the beauty of board games steps in, as you can just toss the deck aside if it doesn’t work for your group.

Tabletop Editor | [email protected]

Nick grew up reading fantasy novels and board game rules for fun, so he accepted he was a dork at an early age. When he's not busy researching the intricacies of a hobby he'll never pick up, Nick can be caught attempting to either cook an edible meal or befriend local crows.



We're Doomed!

Review Guidelines

If your friend group has that guy that fancies himself a natural leader that will organize everyone and get shit done in a crisis, bust out We're Doomed at your next party and watch them die inside as your friends fail to accomplish the basic task of grabbing enough cardboard tokens out of a bag to save anyone. Even better, if you're a chaotic imp like me, just enjoy the absolute madness this game creates.

Nick Dubs

Unless otherwise stated, the product in this article was provided for review purposes.

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