After Us is a deck building and resource management game from Pandasaurus Games and designed by Florian Sirieix. It plays 1-6 players and runs approximately forty to sixty minutes.
Get Your Hands Off Me…You Damn Dirty Ape!
The very first thing you will need to do is find the shared central player board and the four sets of ape cards. There are four different types of ape in the game and each will have a level one deck and a level two deck. So begin by separating your Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Mandrills and Orangutans in their separate strengths, labeled on the top left of the cards and place them in the relevant spaces on the shared board, all face down. The level twos will be along the top with the level ones on the bottom.
Set a general supply of the main resources in the game. Fruits, flowers and seeds as well as the battery tokens should all be within reach of each player.
Shuffle the object tiles and pick three at random and place them near the shared board.
Each player will get a player board of their chosen colour as well as a deck of eight Tamarin cards of their suit. They will also take four action discs and two coloured pieces, one for the point track on the shared board and one for their fury track on their own personal board, oth starting at zero. Finally they will shuffle up their deck and take four cards as their starting hand and are ready to begin!
The game is split into three phases per round, each played simultaneously. However before we jump into the gameplay there are two mechanisms to explore.
Rage: Rage is how you thin your deck. You will need to build up rage, predominantly by getting more Gorillas into your deck and using their frames to go up on your track. You also get rage from action tiles which will come up later. At any point during the game you can spend four rage points to trash a card from your active row. That card is removed completely from the game and you will get a rage bonus shown on the top right of the card.
Objects: throughout After Us you will have access to use upto three objects, selected from a selection of seven that come in the box. Objects all cost batteries to use and offer a wide variety of special abilities. The pinball machine will allow you to draw an extra card in phase one; the games console lets you keep one of your apes to take into the next round; the mobile phone will swap out one of your previously bought cards for another type of the same level; the minibar swaps one resource for another; the ghetto blaster allows you to discard one of your drawn cards to draw another; the moped allows you to buy another ape card using energy and the computer is an immediate five points.
Phase 1: Assembling The Tribe
Playing simultaneously, you place your four cards on the table in front of you and arrange them into any order you want. On each card there will be partially complete or complete frames shown by a black outline. Some frames will give you resources, others points, and some will ask you for a cost to get something else. Other conditions might include having multiple Tamirins in your row or having three different types of ape instead. Whatever the condition, it must be met before rewards can be taken. The rearranging of the cards is vital as you will gain the rewards on each completed frame from top to bottom, right to left so placement is everything. However, any frame that hasn’t been completed will not give rewards. Once you have settled with your placement you can take your boon!
Phase 2: Attracting New Apes
Next up in After Us is the deck building part of the game. Using your collected resources each player may attract one more ape card to their tribe. Firstly, you will select one of the ape action tokens and place it face down on your board. Whichever you take will dictate which apes are available for you to get this round. You will also get a bonus action so choose wisely. Gorillas will give you two rage, Orangutans, two batteries, Mandrill, two points and Chimpanzees will allow you to reactivate one frame in your card row. Each ape is attracted by a different resource, with Gorillas wanting seeds, Mandrills crazing flowers and Orangutans needing fruit. Chimpanzees will take anything as long as it is paid in only one of the three options. However before you decide you can use your action tiles bonus. You can pay three of one type for a level one ape and six for a level two. The level twos are much more rewarding and so holding off and saving resources might pay off better long term than filling your deck with lots of level ones. The cards are selected face down so there is no guarantee what you are going to get but whatever ape you attract is placed on top of your draw pile so at least you know what you are going to get next round. Finally, you get the opportunity to pay two resources to use one of your direct neighbours’ action tiles.
Phase 3: Rest
This phase is easy. Simply discard your cards and draw another four ready to begin again.
The end game for After Us will be triggered as soon as any player hits eight points on the track. You will then finish the round and the player with the most points wins. One for the apes, zero for humanity!