A Beautiful Island sits in the Great Ocean. The island of Zanay is inhabited by many nations but not all is well. There has been an approaching wall of fog. As the fog approaches the villagers have realized that they need to leave. Boats were made and are ready at the shore but the fog approaches faster than before. Nobody has returned fro the fog that has gone into the fog. You as one of the island guardians will guide the masses out to the boats through all the chaos. This is the world of The Fog: Escape from Paradise published by XOLLOX Games and designed by Robert Müller-Reinwarth.
The Fog is a type of racing game where you are trying to be the first on the boats. The trick with this game is that the board is a funnel that opens up to the boats and most of the spaces are full of villagers or obstacles so you will have to push, squeeze and jump ahead of the competition to get onto the boats.
Setup in the game has you placing out the 32 islander tokens and the 15 obstacle markers randomly on the board according to the reference numbers of open spaces and obstacles next to each row. Then the preparation markers for the boats are placed out, these score points for the first properly seated villagers on the boat. Then each row of the boat gets a boat scoring token.
The Fog takes place through three phases of the game. The first phase is the Drafting phase. The villagers and the obstacles are placed randomly on the board and now the players will take turns drafting the villagers into their tribes placing their marker ring under the villager token. Once all the villagers are claimed then its on to phase 2.
This is the phase where all the islanders move into the boats as the fog moves in (Don't get got)
In the Second Phase of Fog is the phase where all the action happens. This is the phase where all the islanders move into the boats as the fog moves in (Don't get got). The players take turns according to the turn tracker. The turn tracker is rather unique it allows a different player take two consecutive turns each round (check out the picture in the gallery). During the active players turn they get 7 movement points. Moving a villager costs between 1 and 4 movement points. There are six basic actions you can take from running (move one space) to Cross where you cross (jump) over an obstacle. Run is the only action that allows you to move back towards the fog. All the other actions move you towards the boats by jumping over other tokens, swapping spaces, pushing or squeezing between other tokens or obstacles. The tokens all have a specialty symbol on them that allows you to only spend 2 movement points to take the move action that it correlates to.
When the villagers get to the water the movement changes and is a little more restrictive. When the villagers make it to the boats they can enter any boat in any position. Some of the positions on the boat have an image of a villager on them, these are the productive boat positions. If there are still bonus tokens available for the boat you just loaded into then you can take one token. Watch out as another player can drive off villagers from the productive spots if they are a better match for the spot. Each of the rows on the board will score points as set at the beginning of the game.
This game made me really feel for the tokens as they raced to escape The Fog
The last phase of the game is scoring so you add up all the points you score by loading into the boats and subtract points from villagers that you lost to the fog as it moved up the beach.The Fog also has 5 optional rules to change aspects of the game and give you more repeatability and variety to game play. There is a solo version of the game where you 3 factions and play them one at a time as you would with three players. The only difference in the solo variant is that you are trying to get all the villagers out not just one faction.
All in all this game really presented you the panic of a crow trying to escape in a game. The Fog made me really feel for the tokens as they raced to escape. the imagery of people pushing and jumping over other people as they all scrambled on the boat was stressful and fun. I really thought that the drafting of the villagers added a lot of complex strategy to this game that was already full of strategic movement. There will be two versions of the game available on Kickstarter a regular and deluxe version with some upgraded components.
Year Published: 2022
Recommended Ages: 10+
Time to Play: 45-120m
A pre-production copy of The Fog Escape from Paradise was provided to Bert's Tabletop Games for review purposes . Final products may vary from what is portrayed in this article.