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1% Evil Dead 2 Preview


A while ago I discovered “One Percent” (“1%”), a nice and very entertaining game designed by Luke Melia from Iconiq Studios that provided hours and hours of fun to me and my family. As per tradition, all the good games must have sequels and cover-up version and I was very pleased when I learnt that Luke designed a new version of the game based on Evil Dead II movie. It is possible you may be too young to remember, but Evil Dead II is a horror/comic cult movie from 1987 where an amazing Bruce Campbell gave life to Ash Williams, a hero cut to fight evil spirits with a chainsaw. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend to as I loved that movie and its amazing sequel (Army of Darkness).

As a big fan of the movie, I pondered with myself if 1% and Evil Dead 2 would be a devilish combination worthy of being written in the Necronomicon of Amazing Boardgaming? Or would it be a groovy explosion of fun? Anyway.... I dared to open the lid of the preview copy kindly provided to me to discover all that there is to know about this game.

What Is 1% Evil Dead 2?

As in the original version, One percent is a game where Players take turns in trying to “guess” the total amount of a certain symbols (suit) on all the cards in play in that turn (or lead their opponents to guess incorrectly). Whoever wins, can collect some reward cards increasing their chance to roll a winning combination on their dice. This is a key mechanic in the game as at the beginning all players only have 1% chances to win by rolling a “0” on two dice.

The new version of One Percent keeps the “push your luck” and “player misdirection elements” of the original gameplay but it also adds a few new twists to the reward phase. These changes provide the players with different challenges forcing them to find new strategies in order to win. The artwork of the game has also been obviously updated to fit the Evil Dead franchise and the artist, Eliza Bolli, made a great work in keeping the irony of the original movie so that younger players can still enjoy it. The reward cards in particular are really well made and can now be easily identified from all the other cards as they look like the pages of the Necronomicon. As happened to Ash in the movie, reading them may have unexpected results....

Start Reading From The First Page: Components

One Percent Evil Dead 2 comes in a very compact and portable box that includes also a very practical insert to hold two separate sets of cards and the two dice. The first deck of cards is composed by Reward Cards, each showing one single digit on a d10 dice. Being this a thematic game, the dice is now held by a severed hand and it is designed to resemble the drawings on the pages of the Necronomicon. The back of the cards completes the overall impression by depicting the cover of the Book of the dead itself.

With respect to the original version, there are also 5 special cards that trigger some powerful effects. As you will find in the next section, these special reward cards are different from those that were featured in the original game and are designed to make the game more interesting.

The other deck includes 50 “Play Cards” or just “Cards” depicting one of five different suits (Heads, Deer, Chainsaw, Hand and Boomstick) and a number from one to five. The different suits are obviously strongly tied to the movie and they are very well thought and nicely rendered on the cards. I quite like the artworks in particular as they are not too gory and they are a clear innuendo to iconic scenes of the movie so that everyone who has seen it can easily tie them up with specific moments or events...

Overall, the game components are of very high quality and there is a lot of value for your money in this little box. It is clear that the team spent time and efforts to make this new version of the game a high quality product. For example, the cards have a better linen finish thus are much sturdier. The rulebook also has been improved with more streamlined rules and clearer game example/diagrams. I also loved the icons of the players have been updated to suit the overall theme instead of just using the previous ones. I know it may seem a small thing but there is a serious effort going on in this game to keep it true to its theme and I really commend it.

How many time do I have to bury you? Gameplay If you have played 1%, you know the game setup is pretty quick as you just need to place three random Reward Cards face up in the centre of the table and to distribute three cards to each player. The cards are kept secret so no-one knows which suits and numbers everyone has in their hand.

All players must then roll two d10 and sum-up the results as the player with the lower score will go first. The first key rule of the game is that if any player rolls two “0” at this stage, they automatically win the game. You never really expect this to happen but, when it does, the player is always rendered speechless realizing they won without even playing.. It's is a bit like Sudden Death the other way around...

Once setup completed, One Percent is played in rounds each of them comprising a “Play Phase” and a “Reward Phase”. Starting from the first player, each player takes turns in calling a number and one of the five suits that are shown on the cards (for example, “5 Heads”). The aim is to guess the minimum amount of a certain suit accounting all the cards held by the active players. In the example, when a player says “5 Heads” it means he thinks there is a total of at least 5 Heads in play.

The interesting aspect of this game is that players can say whatever number they prefer as far is higher than the number predicted by the previous player. The guess may be based on what they have in hand or what they think the other player may have but it is also possible the prediction is aimed solely to trick the opponents.

At any time, in fact, a player can declare that the previous player prediction is false by “calling” it (i.e. there are not 5 Heads in game). Once a player “calls” the previous player prediction, all other players have to decide to either agree with the prediction or to side with the player saying that the prediction was false. Once all players have taken a side, they all reveal their hand and sum-up the numbers of the cards showing the same suit of the prediction to determine if the latter was true or false. The players who judged wrongly are eliminated, new cards are distributed and another Play phase starts until only one player is left. In the end, you must survive and take out all the deadite playing around you.

The last player standing will then have a chance to win by choosing any 3 rewards that can include one or more of the reward cards face-up on the table or one or more possibility to roll the 2d10. Once the rewards selected, the winning player can roll the two d10 as many time as he chosen. If you remember, at the beginning of the game all players were only able to win by rolling two “0” but, as the game progresses, players can also win by rolling any number shown on their reward cards. I think it goes without saying that the more rounds a player wins, the more the Reward cards they own, the easier is to roll a winning combination and close the game.

We Just Finished Our Fist Game, “Does That Sound “Fine”? Final Thoughts

I must admit that I am always a bit torn when a re-brand of a game I played comes up. Sometimes, the newer game is just aesthetically different while in other cases the game rules have been altered just enough to feel you are playing a different game. In other words, my main concern is always “Does this new version deserve a space in my (very busy) boardgame shelf?”. In addition, I had a lot of expectations for One Percent Evil Dead 2 as I found the original game to be very enjoyable and accessible.

After playing a few games, I have to admit I am quite happy I had the chance to play this new Evil Dead variant as it definitely does not disappoint. In terms of gameplay, the main difference with the original 1% are the new Special reward cards. I know it may not seem a big difference but these new five cards are much more interactive and powerful than the ones in the original game. For example, you can avoid to take a side after someone calls a prediction to ensure you get to next round. Or you can force a player to keep one of their card face down in a round so they have no idea of which number and suit is on it. Considering how critical is to get Reward Cards in this game, these new Special ones can play a critical role in a game and push your strategy and luck even further.

In addition, the new components are even better than the previous ones that were already of very good quality and this is not negligible considering 1% price is very affordable. GROOVY!

One final aspect to discuss is obviously which 1% is better? Personally, I would say that both are really great games and you can definitely have both in your collection. If you have already the original one, the Evil Dead 2 version can be a nice switch to alternate with the original one for more fun. Personally, I think the original game can be a good first one to play to learn the gameplay while the Evil Dead version can be introduced later as it provides some additional challenges.

The newer game can also be a nice thematic game to bring out for Halloween or in any other spooky occasion all through the year. I know it is still very early but remember that Christmas is just a Necronomicon page away from Halloween and it is not easy to find good stocking fillers...

If you want to be ready on time, make sure to check Evil Dead 2 One Percent that will be available on pre-order of Gamefound from Tuesday the 28th of May.