Hey, gang! This week’s Kickstarter Game of the Week is Human Era by Lay Waste Games!
Human Era struck an immediate chord with me – not only because it’s a large group social deduction game, but also because it’s funny as heck. The premise of the game is that humanity has discovered time travel and–of course–mucked up history in the process… along with all of civilization. Oh, humanity. Anyway, mankind has finally wised up (a little bit) and destroyed all but one of the time machines so that that last time machine can go on a mission to repair all the damage that’s been done to the timeline. You and all the players of Human Era are travelers aboard that time machine.
The twist is (because there’s got to be a twist!) that not everyone on board the time machine is a human… Some of the players are sinister machines and cyborgs from the future, bent on preventing the timeline from being restored.
Gameplay in Human Era is somewhat similar to other voting-based social deduction games like Secret Hitler and The Resistance in that there’s a number of rounds (10 in this case) and players have to vote cards from their hand, based on their objective. Human Era makes great use of some random chance with the addition of a die that’s rolled each round to determine which era the time machine is traveling to. Players then have to try to play the cards that will help them win that round – without of course, giving away their identity. Aside from this element of random fun, there’s a couple other really innovative things about Human Era that really drew me to it.
1) It’s not just two teams pitted against each other. There’s also a third cyborg identity that adds an element of wackiness to the game. He’s essentially playing both sides and can win along with either team if he fails to achieve his solo objective in time. The addition of this neutral third secret identity makes guessing who’s who a bit trickier, and I can see it leading to some really fun scenarios.
2) In addition to the wrench thrown in with the third identity, I absolutely love the tone and cheekiness of the game. It’s a bit less serious and competitive than a game like Werewolf or Osprey Adrift, which heavily feature player eliminations and can be a bit more of a time commitment. Human Era plays quickly and never takes itself seriously. There’s far less “take that,” and far more jokes and general wackiness than in other similar games. Not that a social game needs to be inherently jokey to be fun or funny, but it definitely helps. Human Era knows what kind of game it is, and there’s a clear focus throughout. Even the overwhelmingly pink visual design knows what it’s doing. (I actually love pink, but it’s not exactly known for being the most serious of colors.) Human Era seems like a complete riot, and while I do enjoy a super duper thought-provoking, deep, and heavy game from time to time, sometimes games should just be… fun. Know what I mean?
If you’re interested in more of the deets on Human Era’s gameplay, Unfiltered Gamer did a great review that you can check out. As of writing this, there’s just 11 days left to go on the Kickstarter campaign, so take a gander at the campaign page as well.
Until next time, gang! Keep it plucky,