Leaders of Euphoria Review

LEADERS OF EUPHORIA (Overworld Games)

In the bleak and all-too-quickly approaching Black Mirror reality that awaits us, choosing a better oppressor is not only our right, but our responsibility. As the microchips in our brains short out, we’re left to politic and point our ray guns back to a new world order. Should the Euphorians be allowed to reassert their questionable utopia? Is the Subterran manifesto actually any better? Would risking it out in the Wastelands be the only way to truly live and be free? What you think might not even matter as the struggle for power plays out in Leaders of Euphoria.

At the start of each game, a deck of Recruit Cards is built out of the two Leader cards and Follower cards, together totaling the number of players. After dealing from that deck (ensuring no player starts the game with both Leader cards) the remaining Follower cards are dealt out, giving each player a total of three Recruit Cards. Alignment is determined by a majority of Recruit Cards with the exception of having a Leader card always determining your alignment. Players are then dealt two Artifact Cards, perfect for disrupting the best made plans with all sorts of rule-bending, card-trading, Ray Gun shot dodging, and mayhem causing actions and reactions.

After setup, the rules for the game are fairly minimal. Turns start with an Artifact Phase, allowing players to discard all Artifact Cards and draw a new one or to give one of their Artifact Card to another player. Second players take a single action, by choosing to secretly view another player’s Recruit Card, exposing one of their Recruit Cards to use an Artifact Card or arm a Ray Gun, hiding one of their exposed Recruit Cards, or shooting a Ray Gun. Lastly, turns end by players with Ray Guns menacingly aiming at a new player.

Being shot by a Ray Gun is really what breaks the game open by exposing all of a player’s Recruit Cards. If the shot player didn’t have a Leader card, they then become a Wastelander, a new faction struggling for power with their own objectives. If they had a hidden Leader card, it is now revealed while re-hiding their other two exposed Recruit Cards. Finally, if the player had an already revealed Leader card when shot, the game is over with or the opposing faction winning, unless a Wastelander was the assassin which wins the game for their faction. The other possible game ending scenarios are for single player victory if a Wastelander is able to take either Leader cards or if a Euphorian or Subterran player is able to take both the Leader cards.

As with most hidden identity, multiplayer party games, the real gameplay for Leaders of Euphoria is in how players interact with each other. The game itself serves mainly as a framework for promises, threats, double-crosses, bribes, and Mexican Standoffs with a table full of friends pointing Ray Guns at each other (and who doesn’t love pointing a Ray Gun at friends?). The box says a game plays at 15-30 minutes and while a four-player game hit close to that mark, our 8-player game, complete with secret meetings and hand signals, stretched to over an hour. Easy to explain and exciting to play, the fun is what you make of it.  (Overworld Games) by David C. Obenour