Check out my final thoughts

My d4 DICE reviews are a quick and easy to digest review of a board or card game. Along with a brief introduction to the game I use DICE as an acronym for Duration, Interaction, Complexity and Engagement to quickly explore a game. Enjoy!

Player count: 1 – 4 players
Play time: 60 – 75 minutes
Designers: Maxime Rambourg & Théo Rivière
Publisher:

Dr. Faux is on the loose. He has built a crazy and terrible time machine and with the help of his clones is causing chaos across time and space. Through the ages clones of Dr. Faux are pushing his agenda to execute project Omniscience 2000 and aims to become the master of the universe. You, as a member of the Agency, are a legendary agent and must work together with your fellow agents to stop the fiendish schemes of Dr. Faux. Utilise powerful yet “quirky” artefacts to repair the rifts in time, complete missions and destroy Dr. Faux’s clones.

The Loop is a cooperative deck building game in which you play as a temporal agent travelling through time and space to stop Dr. Faux. Each round is made up of a number of phases. At the start of the round Dr. Faux drops off new clones, drawn from a bag, into specific eras of time. New artefact cards are revealed and Dr. Faux activates in a specific era. Rift cubes are added to a tower and are spewed out in three possible eras. If a particular era ever has a fourth rift cube added a vortex is created – these are bad. Two vortex in the same era is an instant defeat, addition of a fourth total total vortex is an instant defeat.

After Dr. Faux has activated it is the player’s turn. They can move to an adjacent era, activate their three cards in their hand by exhausting it or perform a Loop. All cards are assigned to a particular elementary dimension (or a suit). By spending an energy cube players can ready exhausted cards and use them again on the same turn. Players can perform any number of actions any number of times in any order they wish. After the players have had their turn they can add an artefact card to the top of their deck if there is one available in their era. Next they can complete a mission if all of the relevant stages have been achieved and gain the rewards. Finally they discard their hand and all players draw up to three cards.

The players lose the game if a second vortex is added to an era already containing a vortex, a fourth vortex has to be placed or Dr. Faux reaches the end of his third cycle (effectively goes through his deck three times). The players win if they complete four missions.

There are a number of different missions to complete in the game and only two are visible at any one time, there are four different scenarios to play and five different agents all with a different starting deck of cards and special abilities.

d4 D.I.C.E. Review

Duration

The game is spot on with length. 60 minutes give or take depending on how much discussion is perfect for this game. It doesn’t outstay its welcome. Of course, you may take longer depending on the mission and scenario but you may complete it quicker if you get lucky and are very good.

Interaction

The interaction is all positive. It is a cooperative game so the interaction is all about discussion your options, second guessing where Dr. Faux might go next, what artefact cards to collect or leave for someone else. Some cards even let you use other player’s cards on your turn (with their permission of course). It is all positive, it is all good discussion and the game really needs it. You can’t go off and be a long gunman, you will fail. You have to work together.

Complexity

The game as a whole is not overly complex. The main rule set is fairly easy to get to grips with. The complexity comes with knowing how to be most efficient and optimise your cards, movement and actions in the best possible way. The order in which you activate cards and perform actions can get tricky to do well.

Engagement

I found The Loop very engaging. It offers a framework to make memorable gaming moments about how you narrowly avoid defeat or just managed a victory on the last round. It is often tense and you are always invested in everyone’s turn.

Please note: The Loop was provided as a review copy from Pandasaurus Games/Asmodee