The Beasts are loose-and it’s up to you to save the world of muggles. In the world of Fantastic Beasts there are only a few men and women we can trust to take care of the beasts that have escaped from the suitcase of Newt Scamander. Newt along with Tina, Jacob and Queenie have to save New York from the beasts and get them back into Newt’s suitcase before all of the regular people catch wind of the chaos.
USAopoly has introduced this very concept in their new release Fantastic Beasts: Perilous Pursuit. The game plays 2-4 players with an average play of 45 minutes ages 8 and above. The object of the game is to recapture and return 5 of Newt’s beasts to his suitcase before they escape!
-4 player boards
-15 matching player pieces
-4 sliders for the individual player boards
-1 Beast movement token
-12 Beast cards
-30 Insight cards
Gameplay: Setup for the game consists of each player picking one Player Board with the matching Tokens, Shields and Health Slider. Sort the pieces and place the Health Slider on your 10 life spot. Each player is given one Insight card and the deck is set to the side of Beasts cards.
The Beast cards have a difficulty level lists on the back from Level 1-3. To create the first Beast deck, randomly choose:
One Level 1
One Level 2
Three Level 3
These Beast cards are placed face-down with the Level 1 on the top stacked to ascending difficulty. Each Beast card has a unique capture track and the players must work together to move the Beast Marker from its starting space to the suitcase. The Beasts will try their best to retreat and escape while you are trying to trap them.
Each player board has 5 abilities that you are going to use throughout the game to capture the beasts. Each ability action has a corresponding dice side that you will need to roll and match it to. Insight cards are used to substitute dice sides during the assign dice phase or to perform a certain action.
Each player takes a turn that will consist of 4 phases: Roll Dice, Assign Dice, Activate Dice and Beast Reaction.
In this phase the active player will roll all 6 dice up to 3 times, setting aside and number to chose not to re-roll. You may chose to re-roll dice or hold them after each roll but after the third time you must attempt to use them as they are.
Once the Roll Dice phase is over the active player will decide how to assign out their dice. Each action has three components to be able to use it. First you must READY it. Each player board has a different count to ready each special action. So for example Tina needs 4 Insight dice faces to READY that column all at the same time. You place the matching READY token into the bottom part of the space to show that action is Ready to be used.
To SET an action a player assigns one dice with the matching symbol to the top space and places the SET token frame in place as a reminder it has been set.
Finally to ACTIVATE an action you assign one die with the matched symbol on top of the SET token. This step can be done for either the active player or any other players SET space. This can allow you to add shields on an off turn for another character who may need them, or perhaps add extra capture during your turn from both yourself and another player.
All the dice are assigned and then the active player will Activate those dice. Actions can only be taken once per turn, which is why it is beneficial to use the other players boards also. Actions can be done in all at once or in any order. Once an action is taken, return the dice to the main dice pool to show that they have been used. The actions you can take are:
Protect: Adds 1 Shield Token to our player board which can prevent a single point of Health damage to the player.
Capture 1/3: This move the Beast Token Marker one space closer to the suitcase or in the case of the die side with three symbols you may move the Marker three steps closer.
Distract: Remove one die from the beast’s dice pool for that turn. The removed die is the one that was used to ACTIVATE that action
Insight: Draw a card from the Insight cards. Each player may hold up to three cards and must discard down to three if at any point they are holding more.
Wild: The wild can be used for any of the above actions.
Beast Reaction: Beasts each have a different reaction and when this face is rolled (which is only on the teal die) you look at the corresponding die to see what the beast does. The symbol is resolved immediately when it comes up.
At the end of the active player’s turn that player will roll for the beast. The beast will say which dice are rolled and they are rolled one time. Each beast has different effects based on the side of the die that is rolled. It will either Escape, Attack or React.
Attacks will cause a player to take one damage, but a shield may be used in place of losing one health. Health is the most viable resource of the game-you want to keep your shields as high as you can in this game to keep your health up.
Turns continue until a beast escapes or is captured. Escaped beasts are replaced with another random beast card into the stack. You remove all of your SET tokens and roll the teal die to remove your READY token that matches. If you capture a beast you will also remove your SET tokens and roll a black die to remove the READY token that matches.
The game ends with a victory when all of the beasts have been captured and returned to Newt’s suitcase. All the players lose however if any one player has their health reduced to zero or any two of Newt’s beasts escape.
What could be better:
Game Guide: The directions in the game guide are clear, but what happens to the tokens during gameplay can be hard to discern from the written guide. It took a few times of trying it different ways to realize that you kept the Ready column unless you lost it from a beast to see how it was meant to work.
Game length: We have played it with two players primarily and I feel like it could have went a little longer on gameplay length.
Strict Co-op play: I think adding in a small change to make this a co-op game where someone could still be the ultimate winner could strengthen it. Games like Legendary add that aspect to the game helping it to be a co-op that has just that extra amount of competitive edge in the game
What I liked:
Dice: These dice are awesome. They look good and are very well made-the symbols are very clear and catch your eye quickly when you pick them up to chuck. They are chunky dice which are always my favorite type of dice to play any game with.
Dice Chucking mechanic: Like the Thanos Rising game from USAopoly, this game relies on how well you roll dice and assign them out. If you enjoyed that game odds are you will like how this one lays out as well. I personally love a good dice game and this one delivers on that mechanic.
Theme: Harry Potter Hogwarts Battle, thegame from the same company USAopoly is a fun little deckbuilder that shines based on the IP. This game does the same-showcasing the Fantastic Beasts IP in the Harry Potter world.
Style/Components: The design and layout of this game is top notch. The stills of the characters on the player boards are solid, and I love the over-sized beast cards featuring the great digital creations of these various and assorted beasts.
Fantastic Beasts: Perilous Pursuit meets the catch line on the box-it is a game of chase and chance that lets a team of players move around this world created in the Harry Potter universe working together. I liken it to the Thanos Rising game giving you some varied player powers while trying to match up dice collection. If you love the Wizarding World of JK Rowling, this is a no-brainer of a game to add to your collection. Perilous Pursuit is a great family game that really hit in the world of Fantastic Beasts for our family and gave us that right amount of thematic gameplay. It is a light dice chucking game that is high on fun and cooperative play. Make sure to check this one out when it hits your local store!