Tomorrow Dies Today Review — A Golden Egg in a Rat’s Nest

It’s time for a strange analogy. Imagine a decent sized golden egg firmly trapped in a thick matted pile of a rat’s nest. Shimmering golden beams pierce the surface, provoking, begging for freedom. It’s in there. Just there. Waiting to be unraveled. Except that after hours and hours of meticulous study, digging and tugging, when an opening has finally widened enough to inspire hope of imminent recovery, any attempt to do so immediately proves the total pointlessness of the task. The egg and the nest cannot be separated. The whole nest could theoretically be unraveled into neat order, maybe even woven into something pretty to go with the egg, like a golden egg on the end of a hat, but that might not be worth it. . Tomorrow Dies Today is one of those gold infested rat’s nests, the golden egg being an absolutely brilliant cool idea and the nest being one of the sloppiest rules and design I’ve ever views.

Published by Mooney Bin Entertainment, Tomorrow Dies Today portrays 1-7 players as nefarious villains wreaking havoc together in hopes of inciting world domination. Players can choose between three different game modes, each lasting 4-6 hours: solo/co-op, team vs. team, and a unique semi-co-op mode.

The semi-cooperative mode is called Cutthroat, and it’s by far my favorite. One player takes on the role of General Goodman, the big bad leader of the bad guys organization. As Goodman, they have no pieces on the board and can only interact with the game by manipulating other players to do his diabolical bidding. Only Goodman knows the doomsday plan, the organization’s victory condition in a sense. Two to six other players play as named henchmen, all with varying abilities, strengths, and weaknesses. If the named henchmen can accomplish the doomsday plan before the end of the last round, Goodman wins, and the named henchman with the most victory points also wins. On the other hand, one of the named henchmen may betray the organization and work to sabotage Goodman’s plans. If the traitor stops the organization from completing the doomsday plan before time runs out, only he wins. In order to keep the cogwheels turning, Goodman must maintain balance between players, making sure no one is pulling too far ahead or lagging too far behind.

The rounds rotate in three phases each, Plot, Villain and Monologue. During the plot, players plan their turn and declare what they are going to do, and have the option of manipulating the board or purchasing useful gadgets. In Villainy, players complete missions and collect rewards. Players can tithe said loot to Goodman during the monologue in hopes of a good favor. Also during the monologue, Goodman can spend resources to have new gadgets and objectives, among other things. That’s as much detail as I’m willing to go into. There are many, many, more and it’s a confusing mess.

My first attempt to learn and play this game was a nightmare. I was stuck in the configuration for a few minutes. The rulebook lacks images of several essential game components, is littered with typos, contains page after page of poorly formatted walls of gray text, is maddeningly clear, and attempts to simultaneously explain the three game modes using color coding. When I saw that the rulebook mentions an advanced rulebook on the publisher’s website, I thought I was saved, but the advanced rules are nothing more than a handful of clarifications minor and typo corrections. After discovering the advanced rules, I still didn’t know how to play the game. Honestly, the hours of confusion and frustration made me want to cry. For a more detailed experience that closely mirrors mine, see this post in the BGG Forums.

Luckily, the editors created a 45-minute video on the playback. After watching, I was ready to take on Tomorrow Dies Today again and play an entire single-player game followed by a 4-player fictional game of Cutthroat by myself. I put about 13 hours into Tomorrow Dies Today before playing it with someone else. Unfortunately, even with a comprehensive understanding, Tomorrow Dies Today is complex, to say the least. Teaching it is extremely difficult. For a game to run smoothly, if possible, everyone should watch the how to play video before game night. An investment of 45 minutes before a 4-6 hour pre-game instruction is a huge ask , a request with which very few games have run away. Learning this game was like learning to drive by reading a 3,000-page manual that describes what most physical parts of the car do and how they work, without telling you how to actually drive. You just need to figure this part out with a deep understanding of the mechanics. So frustrating.

After the brutal learning curve, I became much more excited to play it with others than I expected. My imagination ran wild thinking of some very unique interactions I would have while playing General Goodman. Acting like Doctor Evil and ordering the people around him just sounded like a blast. I also hoped that the teaching wouldn’t be as bad as my own experience for two reasons: I felt I could explain the game as a whole better than the rulebook, like the how-to-play video, and I thought the thematic adjustment of my henchmen not really knowing what they were doing would work in everyone’s favor. Unfortunately, my hopes did not materialize.

My friends and I all agreed that we had fun together, but we thought the game was, well, to quote a friend, “Five hours, I’m never coming back.” To name a few issues, the overwhelming plethora of mechanics effectively nullified most players’ decision-making abilities, meaning I simply suggested what I wanted them to do and they did. . My players had very little idea about victory point distribution or game progress. When one finally betrayed they did it just to see what would happen and only had one turn to try and slow us down before we complete the doomsday mission. At the end of the game, most players were still trying to figure out the game, let alone strategy. And silliest of all, one of the endgame point goals that one of my players gave gave them a flat 12 points. All other endgame objectives give a maximum of 6 points. This player basically won before the match even started. It’s either a horrible decision or a glaring oversight. I could go on.

Even if an argument could be made that Tomorrow Dies Today plays like an absolute dream if every player had a full understanding of the game, I don’t think it’s worth making that argument. After the grueling marathon that is the first game, no one in their right mind would want to relive an experience like that. Whenever a question was asked that I wasn’t sure about, I poked my nose into the rulebook and if it didn’t work, I checked the advanced rules and if it didn’t work, I checked the BGG forums! Many of these questions have been asked. Let this be a lesson for all game developers. Blind game test. Blind game test. Blind game test. Giving the game to a group of people and asking them to figure out how to play it would have been an enlightening disaster. Either Mooney Bin Entertainment didn’t do a blind test, they were fine with it being a total disaster, or they had a group of evil geniuses tested, in which case I’m calling the CIA. As a final gripe, the insert that came in the box didn’t leave enough room for all the components, so I had to throw it away. At least the figures are metal castings, that’s good.

Ellis is a young table lover with a passion for finding and sharing new experiences. Always looking for a good laugh or a competition, Ellis hopes to draw deserved attention to any conduit of positive memories small enough to fit on a table.

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