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Saturday, May 28, 2022

BACK TO THE LOOP : FAUXZILLA STYLE!

by | published Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Christmas 2021. Mrs Thumbs had teased that there would be a board game or two under the tree on Christmas morning, but I didn’t know what to expect. When the wrapping paper was delicately removed from the package (a well-managed unwrapping job means that paper can be reused, you know!), I found a colourful package with a quirky face on the box. It was The LOOP, published by Pandasaurus Games!

In this game, the evil Dr. Faux has constructed a time travelling machine, with a plot to become overlord of the universe – in the present, but also the past and future as well! However, our team of Agents are hot on the Demented Doc’s trail, and if we work together we just might be able to stop him. (If you want the full scoop on The LOOP, check out David’s review from last August.)

Since the game arrived in our home, I’ve logged about a dozen plays of the game, and it’s quickly grown to become one of my all-time favourite cooperative games. The combination of the crunchy, chaotic gameplay, playful artwork, and the absolute littering of pop culture references throughout the rulebook and game components, has made every experience a small slice of gaming joy!

So when Pandasaurus asked if Little Big Thumbs would like to cover the upcoming expansion, The Revenge of Fauxzilla, we jumped at the opportunity.

The expansion brings two new Agents to the game, as well as two new game scenarios to provide some play variety. In this article, we are going to break down each of the four additions to the game, along with some final thoughts on the total package at the end.

NEW AGENT: THE PEAK TWINS

In the base game, each Agent had a way to bend the rules of the game in a unique way, but none of them could ever be in two Eras at the same time. All that changes with the addition of The Peak Twins!

The player controlling them has the choice of which twin to activate, making them a very appealing option for both new players to The LOOP, as well as grizzled TimeSpace veterans.

As flexible as this dynamic duo might be when separated, their starting cards offer them plenty of motivation to stick together. My favourite so far is their Hell’s Peak Catapult card, which allows them to pass around one of Dr. Faux’s clones like a hot potato!

Playing as The Peak Twins is also going to be especially useful during solo play, and now that I’ve experienced their versatile value, I can’t imagine playing without them.

NEW AGENT: FAUX KLEIN SCHLAG

In addition to a name that carries with it a tremendous grid of power, you may have noticed that this new Agent shares a syllable with the Evil Doc himself! In fact, our new hero is a legit Mini Faux with a conscience, who has joined us with a determination to undo the damage done by the demented doctor!

As a Tiny Time Travelling twin of our villain, Faux Klein Schlag has a uniquely powerful ability that only a true Faux could possess: To rotate Dr. Faux’s Machine of Mischief once per turn, pointing it to a different Era than Big Faux intended to attack! For our team of Agents, that means new opportunities to complete the Missions needed to defeat the Doctor of Destruction before it’s too late!

Faux Klein Schlag’s starting deck of cards brings a unique bag of tools to the game, including literal Blueprints to the Universe and the ever-important Stick of Truth! As an 80s kid, my favourite Mini Faux card is most definitely the Retro-Futuristic Power Glove, which sends one clone from Faux Klein Schlag’s Era to Dr. Faux’s Era, setting the stage for a big bonk from our beacons of hope.

NEW GAME MODE : FAUXZILLAPOCALYPSE!

Game mode? I think I prefer the term episode, because each scenario really does feel like a unique entry in an amazing 90s cartoon!

What’s the story of the Fauxzillapocalypse episode? Dr. Faux has unleashed a time-travelling beastie, which is busy punching a hole in every Era she encounters, and it’s up to us to stop her before it stomps all of space and time to smithereens!

In this scenario, the game’s trademark Mission Tiles are replaced with Traps, or as Dr. Faux likes to think of them, Control Chambers! These can be used to zap the fearsome and ferocious Fauxzilla … or encourage her to lay waste to her current Era, and send the game speeding toward a disastrous conclusion for our heroes.

Win the game by zapping Fauxzilla a set number of times (three difficulty levels are included, tracked on the aptly-named Heart of Kaiju-ness card). Defeat comes if an Era is overwhelmed twice by Rift Cubes, or Dr. Faux exhausts his deck three times.

Fauxzillapocalypse brings a whole new way to play The LOOP with minimal changes to the core mechanics. It shines a bright light on the flexibility of the system, and adds new lore to the game’s playful narrative. If you own The LOOP and have enjoyed the amazing variety of base game episodes, Fauxzillapocalypse alone is a reason to pre-order this expansion. It’s positively delightful!

NEW GAME MODE: THE 7 KAIJU BALLS

Victory in The LOOP is generally achieved by completing missions, such as destroying clones in Dr. Faux’s current Era of the board, or perhaps adding green Energy cubes to an Era six times. In the 7 Kaiju Balls, Agents will also need to seal 5 (or more, depending on the difficulty level chosen) Kaiju Balls by transporting them to their matching Era of the board.

In addition to that added challenge, Fauxzilla is stomping around Spacetime, and she’s convinced that the balls are actually her precious eggs! 🥚 So while players are attempting to seal these crystal balls, Fauxzilla is scooping them up and carrying them back to her Zilla-Nest!

Fortunately, each sealed egg … err, Kaiju Ball, allows an Era to hold one additional Rift cube, making it a touch harder for Dr. Faux to form a Vortex there. And remember, two Vortexes in one Era, or four total Vortexes will immediately mean defeat for our heroes, and of course victory for our villain!

The 7 Kaiju Balls is another in a string of truly unique game modes, and manages to show a very different side of Fauxzilla’s character to contrast the smashy-smash attitude seen in Fauxzillapocalypse. The way in which Kaiju Balls can be passed between players requires another layer of teamwork and communication, which is fun and just a little bit stressful!

Confession time: I have yet to win a game of The LOOP playing with the 7 Kaiju Balls scenario. It’s really tough to get everything done while also managing all the chaos being sown by Dr. Faux!

THE REVENGE OF FAUXZILLA: FINAL THOUGHTS

As mentioned at the top of the article, I am absolutely loving The LOOP, and The Revenge of Fauxzilla successfully leans further into all the fantastic aspects that I already enjoy. It brings to the game two distinct and unique game modes, as well as two new Agents for players to experience. It’s a textbook case of more variety without adding bloat to the core experience. All this new content makes for a substantial expansion, which provides both fresh experiences, and opportunities to refresh the base game.

So who is this expansion for?

Obviously, anyone who owns and enjoys The LOOP will absolutely appreciate the expansion content. If you’re thinking about leaping into this game for the first time, it’s my opinion that the Peak Twins are an easier Agent to navigate than any included in the base game, and might make picking up with expansion with the base game worthwhile.

On the other hand, the randomness of Dr. Faux’s rift cube delivery service can bring any game to the brink of disaster in the blink of an eye. While I enjoy that chaos element, it might not be for everyone.

The Revenge of Fauxzilla has been an absolute gem of an expansion to explore, and we highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys challenging cooperative games. The LOOP itself has become my new favourite co-op game, and will be a permanent part of our game night rotation!

And as we say at Little Big Thumbs … whether you’ve got little players, or big players, make sure that you keep playing games that make your thumbs go way up!


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