We played this version of the game using Tabletop Simulator on Steam, so the art, rules and mechanics may possibly be subject to change. Therefore please treat this as a first thoughts piece, based on version of the game that we played with. We played the session with a representative from Braincrack Games. We have not been paid for the preview. We also do not provide a full play by play explanation of the game, so not all mechanics may be mentioned in the Preview.
I played with virtual pieces,
The Games' called Last Resort,
A Vacation, No screaming
Don't really care if I'm winning or losing, how about we just forget about trying to make up a board game preview based on a very angry song which kind of had a rather cool video and instead think about going into space, and not only going into space, but maybe getting involved in vacations. So I give you Last Resort from Braincrack Games, and because we're so super switched and modern and into space age tech, it means that Lewis from Braincrack was able to give us a spin on the old Tabletop Simulator to show us how the game works.
So treat this as a kind of holiday timeshare pitching deal, where I'm going to let you sit back and imagine all those things you would want to see if you were looking at the deep cold dark haunting depths of space and think, yeah, I could run some bad ass space place here. The National Office of Space Exploration Yields is selling off some promising stations for vacations and by golly you've decided to grab the yoke in both hands and see what you can do. I didn't make up the NOSEY thing. Honestly, you can ask Lewis at Braincrack, but only if I'm there when you ask them.
First impressions as you float over the board like a disembodied spirit is there's two main places of interaction, a board where a circular track of concentric circles gives a race track vibe, including a year tracker and round tracker and a central reserve, and then a separate station board for each player, which already has a couple of units constructed on it. To be honest, it was a little bit intimidating at first when you don't know what you're meant to be doing, because normally by this point you've at least read through the rulebook and have an idea. So it was kind of nice[?] to know that while it all seemed like a lot, I wasn't the one under pressure to make sure that everyone understood how to play. I was still desperately trying to remember how to move up and down in TTS and not look like a muppet.
As an overview, you're looking to declare your advert for your vacation station for that round, and that will help you decide what some of your main actions are going to be, including what you'll potentially build and which one of your guests is going to check out that round as well. There's only a choice of four adverts, so that means there's always the chance you might chose the same one as another player, and that causes a malfunction in the space station, which literally prevents you from placing guests and therefore gaining money. You'll then be buying new attractions and checking out the guests in order to gain additional income.
The checking out mechanic is interesting because each of the modules you build comes in four different flavours, Thrill, Entertain, Relax and Inspire, and if you decide to check out for that particular tile, then you'll be checking out everyone on all of the tiles in your entire station. So sometimes it means that you might just remove guests a bit to early before you can maximise you score, which is just the gamble you have to take and it general balances up over several rounds. Buying additional units increases your ranking in the different attraction themes and that in turn will help decide the order of who picks the new selection of guests that have arrived. So look on Last Resort as a kind of expanding worker placement type set up, where as the game grows, the number of guests grow as well, the station grows and so does the potential income. Luckily, the order of guest grabbing also changes every round, and that means that there isn't one thing to concentrate on at the detriment of others. Once the season is fully over, the player with most income wins, naturally.
What's clear after playing a couple of rounds is that this becomes a hybrid of a racing game and worker placement, where you want to maximise your income by purchasing the themed units that will allow you to house more guests and increase your standing up the various tracks, which in turn will give you better choices and first picks when it comes to the guests. Sometimes you'll need to purchase a unit just to make sure you are falling behind everyone else but even in that situation, the order card changing has the potential to flip the order on its head. Last Resort was also fairly easy to understand after a few rounds and you could move on to concentrating on the actual strategy pretty quickly. I can see the potential in what it is currently offering, and I'm interested to know what changes they will make over the next couple of months to keep things competitive between the players.
The artwork is already looking fun with a wonderful isometric design and chocka with references and easter eggs to popular space sci-fi. The space meeples are a nice touch, and I hope they aren't toned down too much as I like how chunky they appeared on the virtual version. I think a clear plastic type would look amazing on the board.
Braincrack have immersed themselves quite recently in the heavier type games of late, with Ragusa and Florence both itching my middle back Euro itch with much delight. Last Resort aims to be a little lighter than that but still have the need to plan and strategise. I'm very much interested in seeing what the physical version will look like on the table, and I like the thought of playing with little space meeple people. I can't think of a clever pun to finish this off. But potentially, something wonderful is about to happen.
Game Design Oliver Brooks
Lead Artist Andrew Forster
Graphics Lewis Shaw
Game Development Lewis Shaw & Dann May
Art Direction Lewis Shaw & Dann May