The year is 1819. Twenty years have passed since Victor Frankenstein created the creature. Only the creature and Captain Robert Walton, in whom Victor Frankenstein confided shortly before his death, survived a fateful journey to the Arctic. The latter wants to destroy the creature once and for all. A mysterious benefactor funding research in Paris designed to solve the mysteries of life may be Frankenstein's monster.
In this worker placement game, the players are funded by the creature and are tasked with creating a second creature so that it is no longer alone. But Captain Walton has heard the rumors and is on his way to Paris. The players only have eight rounds to collect the required resources and to create another creature. Whoever succeeds best will be handsomely rewarded by the creature.
We tested the German edition of the game. During localization, some aspects of the English version were changed to address a few common criticisms. Since we also play the English version regularly, we will also go into how well these adjustments have worked at the end.
corpses in Paris
In addition to the personal laboratory boards, the game board, which shows various locations in Paris, is the heart of the game. Here the players place their science and assistant figures. There are many printed effects. There are also places where you can get maps. These bring certain effects (Saint Roch and Academy) or body parts. How the individual locations work exactly follows in the presentation of the gameplay.
In the laboratory, the resources and body parts of your own creature are collected. The "resources" are organs, muscles, bones, blood and animals. Except for the bones, all resources are assigned to one of four decomposition levels. At the end of each round, they decompose and are then one level higher.
In addition, the indicators for humanity, prestige and knowledge can be found in the laboratory.
The unused figures are placed on the character card. In addition, all characters have a special ability that is printed on the card.
Collect materials in Paris
Each of the maximum eight rounds consists of four phases. At the start of each round, an event or encounter card is drawn. Events affect the options for action in one or more locations. Encounters hit a person instantly or as the game progresses. These are then usually resolved with the entries printed in the rulebook and the associated decision options.
Then comes the city phase. This is where everyone sets their characters. The science figures, of which you only have one at the beginning, have advantages here.
Above all, in Saint Roch you can positively influence your humanity. The cards that are laid out there have a wide variety of effects. You can collect up to three cards and keep them in your hand until you want to use the effects.
If there was an execution at the beginning of the round, you will find a fresh corpse with materials of decomposition level one on the place of execution. You can also find level one materials in the dark alley. You have to kill someone there for that. Unlike on the place of execution, this costs three humanity points and the police also become suspicious. But this can easily be bribed.
It's better for humanity to let others do the dirty work. The docks are a good starting point for this. In addition to contract killers, you will also find grave robbers, dog catchers and other rabble who will do anything for money.
If the freshness of the materials is not so important to you, you can dig up three corpses in the cemetery without much fuss. Some fresher materials can still be found in the morgue and in the hospital.
In the hospital you can also work (money) or do voluntary service (humanity and prestige).
At the academy you can conduct research to secure one of the cards on display and also obtain additional knowledge with the science figure. You get prestige for donating money. Giving lectures gives money and prestige.
Animal parts can be taken from the slaughterhouse, which act as wild cards and can replace almost all other materials in the next phase of building body parts.
If you need money, you can sell materials stored in previous rounds on the market. You can buy Leiden bottles or ice cream there for money. Leiden Flasks are needed to animate your creature's body parts, and Ice prevents the materials from decomposing at the end of the round.
How do you build a creature?
When no one has any pieces left to place, the laboratory phase follows. Body parts for your own creature can now be built from the collected materials. For this, look at the overview map. If you have the required materials and the minimum level of knowledge, you can build the corresponding body part.
Building a high quality body part requires a little more knowledge and must only use level one or two materials. If you also use more decayed materials or do not have enough knowledge, you will build the body part with low quality.
You can also upgrade body parts. This requires a resource of each type of level one or two and the required knowledge. Unlike building body parts, no animal parts may be used when upgrading. If any number of these are used in building a body part, a die is placed on that body part as a reminder during final scoring.
For the construction of each body part you get one knowledge point.
If you have at least one built body part and a charged Leyden Flask, you can flip the switch. You can roll two dice for each turned bottle and use a maximum of four dice. If you have collected enough knowledge, you can use the blue dice, which have better chances of success. If the dice result is not satisfactory, you can turn over more bottles to re-roll any number of dice. Cards from the academy also let you influence the dice.
If the dice show an eye, you can animate a body part. Lightning damages body parts. If you have rolled at least one heart, you lose one humanity point.
When everyone has completed the simultaneously resolved laboratory phase, the game board is prepared for the next round in the fourth phase.
Who could convince Frankenstein's monster?
The game ends after the eighth round or when a person has fully brought their creature to life.
Now everyone gets points for the built body parts. High quality body parts score more points than low quality ones. Animated body parts score extra points. If you used animal materials during construction, you now lose points for this.
In addition, there are points for the position on the gauges for humanity, prestige and knowledge. Whoever was able to claim one of the four bonus target tiles receives ten additional points each.
Whoever has the most points wins the game.
Number of people: 2 to 4
Age: from 14 years
Playing time: 90 to 120 minutes
Long-term motivation: okay
Core mechanisms: worker placement, resource management
Author: Dan Blanchett
Artwork: Mikhail Palamarchuk, Tony Sart
Official Website: Subscription: Frankenstein's Legacy
Year of publication: 2023
Cost: 65 Euro
What directly makes this game unique is the theme. The implementation of this is also really successful in the German edition. It just feels good in a macabre way to move through Paris, collecting body parts from a wide variety of (sometimes illegal) sources and then creating your own creature from them.
Unfortunately, the localization failed to make the instructions clearer than in the original and the material also has deficiencies in the same points.
There is just too much text on each page in the instructions. The multi-column layout and the rather small font make it not very clear. In terms of content, however, there is nothing to complain about at this point. The wording is kept clear.
The material is good for the most part. Unfortunately, there are also some problems here, especially in terms of clarity. The texts on the cards at Saint Roch and in the Academy are so small that they are never easy to read for everyone.
Except for the laboratory panels, there is nothing wrong with the quality. However, these tableaus could have been more stable. They are very thin and extremely susceptible to creases and pressure marks during storage. The gauges for humanity, prestige and knowledge have to be set very precisely, as the values here are too close together. The pointers quickly slip in the game.
The general visuals of the game are excellent.
The individual phases of the game run well one after the other. The events and encounters are quite arbitrary and certainly a matter of taste. However, they are essential to the thematic feel of the game.
The city phase is classic worker placement. Since you can upgrade your own characters via the prestige display, you have the feeling that you can do more later in the game than at the beginning.
Because the laboratory phase is carried out simultaneously, there are no unnecessary waiting times. Unfortunately, this is also where the game's biggest flaw lies. Paradoxically, the luck factor is higher in the German edition, despite the newly created option to change the result of the dice.
It's not really a challenge to build only high quality body parts. Since, unlike in the English version, it is only "built" once (there the "muscle side" is built first and then the "skin side", whereby there are only full points for the skin side if all materials come from level one. So it inevitably happens that not all body parts bring the full score if you want to have a finished creature, the scores for all players are practically identical here. Those who are simply more lucky when rolling the dice then easily get an advantage of 20 or more points. A problematic quality in such an extensive game.
Due to the fact that the challenge of building a high-quality creature is not very high and the luck of the dice has a high influence, the replay appeal is not higher, but rather lower than in the English version, despite the roughly a third shorter playing time.
Despite the negative points is Subscription: Frankenstein's Legacy but not a bad game either. Especially thematically it convinces in German all along the line. Unfortunately, the changes compared to the English edition missed the mark a bit and a lot of what makes the original edition so charming has been shortened in order to appeal to a larger target group with the shorter playing time. So, apart from the topic, it's "just" another worker placement game in which you collect resources that you then exchange for victory points or body parts.
|Asmodee | ZMan | The Lord of Dreams | Basic game |... *||62,89 EUR||Buy|
Last updated on 25.05.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API