Sensor Ghosts Review | Board Games | Zatu Games UK

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    Awards

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You Might Like

    • Small, indie vibe
    • Inclusive design
    • Solo and co-op modes both work
    • Deeply challenging puzzle

    Might Not Like

    • High difficulty (adjustable)
    • Communication rule (can play without)

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    Sensor Ghosts Review

    Sensor Ghosts Feature

    Sensor Ghosts from Wren Games is the sequel to 2016’s cult, sci-fi sleeper hit, Assembly. You don’t need to have played or know anything about Assembly to play and enjoy Sensor Ghosts but do check it out as it is a great game. So how does this sequel, taking place immediately after the events of Assembly stack up?

    Lost in Space

    You begin the game on the voyage home with Earth tantalisingly in reach. All that stands between you and safety is a treacherous, shifting asteroid field that threatens to destroy your ship. Oh, and your sensors are on the blink... And you only have a limited amount of fuel. Oh, and there’s a deadly space virus threatening Earth and unless you collect a sample for analysis, they’ll blast you out of the sky on re-entry... And your ship computer is evil and holds a grudge against you from the previous game, Assembly. Crumbs.

    Setup is simple and variable, meaning each game can provide a different maze to navigate. You lay out double-sided ‘sector’ cards in a 5x7 grid. Sectors are either safe (green), warp fields (purple), asteroids (yellow) or certain doom (red). You also lay out five hidden tokens that, when revealed, will be viable virus samples or useless rock. Finally, you will set up a draw deck of action cards specific to the player count and difficulty setting of your game. You’re ready.

    Turns follow a simple structure. Play action cards to bolster your shields, scan your environment or move your ship. Sometimes you will need to seek the assistance of your fellow pilots – to change direction for instance. However, there are strict communication rules in place regarding revealing what is in your hand, lest the murderous computer overhear and thwart your plans. Also, requesting assistance uses more cards per action and cards are fuel. Burn through the small deck twice and you will be stranded in the cold dark of space forever. These rules add a fiendish complexity to a game that requires efficiency, forethought and coordination.

    Peek Before You Leap

    By far my favourite element of Sensor Ghosts is the two-sided sector tiles which create uncertainty and excitement. Due to your glitching scanners, when you move into a sector you encounter the flip side and not the visible side. What looks safe might be a death-storm of hurtling meteors. To help, you can use your scanners to flip or peek at sectors before you make the jump. But this burns cards/fuel and you will only have your memory to guide you. To make things worse, the asteroid field moves after each person takes their turn. So you aren’t just trying to remember where everything is, you are planning where it will be in a few turns time.

    At heart Sensor Ghosts is a puzzling maze. One that you must manipulate and traverse carefully for victory. You can’t play this game as a push-your-luck. I tried it that way and failed. Throwing yourself into unknown territory ends in fatal catastrophe. You have to beat the game on its own terms. there are no shortcuts. The design is tight. You will probably lose more than you win, and some won’t like that. I feel it makes the victories sweeter and the game immensely replayable.

    Final thoughts on Sensor Ghosts

    Wren Games have done it again and done it even better. Packed into a small box is an accessible but deep and challenging game experience. I was surprised and enamoured by Assembly and I adore this even more. It builds on the sleek, unique design and adds a fluidity and dynamism that ramps up the excitement.

    There is something about Wren Games being a small, independent, husband and wife publisher that adds to the experience. Janice and Stu are clear in their promotional materials that they play and enjoy their own games. The sci-fi theme is because they are sci-fi fans. Sensor Ghosts seems born from a place of affection and fun and the consequence is the game feels affectionate and fun. 

    There is also a great deal of care gone into making the game accessible. The communication rules aid rather than hinder involvement by preventing the alpha-gaming issue that can taint the co-op genre. The design is inclusive, offering writing or symbology to suit your processing style. The character cards have names representing different genders and cultures. The rules have options for people who might struggle with memory, who might be different ages, who might need open communication. If you are colourblind you can use the pictures and symbols on the cards to be able to play. Different difficulty levels to match your ability. I could go on. Little details that show you Janice and Stu genuinely care about who might be buying their game. 

    Many bigger publishers could learn a lesson here. Sensor Ghosts might be difficult, but it goes out of its way to welcome you in. And what a game to be welcomed in to. I haven’t owned it a week and have played the hell out of it solo and co-op. There is something addictive about it. It might not be as flashy as many other games, but it has rocketed itself into contention for my game of the year.

    Zatu Score

    Rating

    • Artwork
    • Complexity
    • Replayability
    • Player Interaction
    • Component Quality

    You might like

    • Small, indie vibe
    • Inclusive design
    • Solo and co-op modes both work
    • Deeply challenging puzzle

    Might not like

    • High difficulty (adjustable)
    • Communication rule (can play without)

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    The games arrived within specified time and were as described. Have used Zatu before and we've always had a positive experience.

    The games arrived within specified time and were as described. Have used Zatu before and we've always had a positive experience.

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    One of the top 3 go to places for all my Boardgaming needs. Great prices, discounts, deals, fast deliveries, stock availability, etc. Occasionally some items may be listed at an unusually high price ie- higher than RRP = these are generally rare and obvious mistakes given the clear and overall discounted prices of games listed by Zatu, but these are also typically corrected in time by Zatu themselves or if you send them a quick email highlighting the item and it's attributed high price.

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    A great puzzle and, consisting of 2000 pieces, it has taken a while for my wife and I to complete. We're nearly there, here's hoping there isn't one piece missing.

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    I'd had my eye on Scythe for a couple of weeks and decided to buy it as birthday present to myself. Zatu was the preferred option for price and speed of delivery (compared to another online delivery service) and it duly arrived intact and perfect within the timeframe advertised. I would recommend Zatu to anyone for hobby games.

    Had my eye on Scythe for a couple of weeks and finally decided to buy it as a birthday present to myself. Zatu was the best option on price (compared to another online delivery service) and duly arrived intact and in perfect condition within the time frame advertised. I would highly recommend Zatu to anyone.

    Had my eye on Scythe for a couple of weeks and finally decided to buy it as a birthday present to myself. Zatu was the best option on price (compared to another online delivery service) and duly arrived intact and in perfect condition within the time frame advertised. I would highly recommend Zatu to anyone.

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    Fast, good prices, accurate and very safely packaged, 10/10

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