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The UNDO series is a superbly crafted range of stories where the players (2-6 aged 10+) are known as 'Weavers of Fate', a specialist group of non-super-heroes who have the opportunity to time travel in order to elucidate on a puzzle that may otherwise go incorrectly solved.

Every game follows the same mechanisms, 13 large Story cards, numbered 1-13 are placed in either a single row (if you have a large enough table) or in two rows of 6 and 7 one under the other, leaving enough space between them, above and below, for the Fate (33) and Clue (13) cards.

Of the large Story cards number #12 is always the Starting place for the adventure. You get to read the text and then flip over the associated Clue card; there are no Fate cards for #12 or #13 Story cards. For every Story card you visit after #12 you must spend a Time card - you have nine of these and although that seems a good percentage for successfully visiting the best Story cards, nine out of twelve (there are 13 Story cards and #12 is given), unless the best scoring A  B or C cards are chosen, selecting the most useful Story cards isn't enough.

The three Fate cards for each Story card are marked A B & C preceded by the Story card's number; eg. 1A 1B 1C. The ABCs reflect to the possible actions on the Story card that the player's can take. For my example I have made up a story for this review. It has not been taken from this game in any way.

"You enter a room where three of the four the walls are painted yellow. On the floor is an empty can labelled Canary Yellow emulsion paint, a paintbrush, its bristles contain dried yellow paint, lays across the open paint can. A closed door is opposite your entry point and a large watercolour painting of a country cottage adorns the non yellow wall"
A - Examine the Painting   B - Go through the opposite door  C - Does the paintbrush need further scrutiny?  

The players have to decide which action is likely to offer the best clue/s to furthering their cause. After reading the first Story card (#12) the Clue card is flipped and read, but from then on the players have only four more Clues they can examine, and they have to be either the one at the Story card where they are currently investigating or one from a Story card they have already investigated - never one from an unexplored Story card.

The selected A B or C gives a brief amount of useful/obvious text and a score of some order. This score can be Negative, Zero or Positive depending on the importance of the Clue chosen.

I have, with my family group, investigated several UNDO mysteries and to date 600 SECONDS has been significantly different from the others, even though every mystery has been distinctive, 600 SECONDS stands out to us as the most noteworthy. This is because there isn't an actual crime to solve, murderer to find, ancient curse to prove/disprove. Instead the players are trying to gain time so that the Bomb technician can disarm/defuse an explosive device that has been set to destroy a Las Vegas Casino.

 

Each A  B or C either adds or removes seconds from the engineer's chance of success. When you have visited your 10 Story cards (#12 + 9) you add up the seconds you have collected and then check on the score card whether you have given the Bomb techie enough time. UNDO games are really one-offs, there is little satisfaction in doing the same story again after failing because you will have knowledge of all the best choices. They are great games to pass on to friends, or perhaps hang onto for a couple of years and then, when the story isn't fresh in your mind, play them again.

Although I will obviously not be giving any clues as to how many seconds are required for the bomb to be defused, I can say openly that when we played we failed by 10 seconds thanks to a 3-1 vote against doing what I suggested - I am not going to let the others forget that they went against me and blew that poor technician and the Casino to a zillion pieces.

I generally look online to get a range of prices but in this case Zatu Games runs the complete scale with prices that astound at either end of the chart. 

Blood in the Gutter £5.89
Curse from the Past £7.99
600 Seconds £7.19
Cherry Blossom Festival £26.60

Cherry Blossom Festival is a very interesting and highly enjoyable case, but costing three-four times more than the others is really not warranted. Average price in the UK is £7.00 and in Europe €9.00. Other than that disparity for CBF, £7.00 is a good price to pay for around 2 hours entertainment for 4 people. The box text suggests 45mins-90mins playing time, but with the craic, the discussions and the controlled 'arguing' it stretches easily to 120 minutes without it going slowly or losing momentum.

Published by:   Pegasus Spiele

Designed by:   Michael Palm   Lukas Zach

Artwork by:    Lea Fröhlich      Lisa Lenz

 

Michael Palm
Lukas Zach
© Chris Baylis 2011-2021