Come by, away….WAIT…..WAIT…
…oh it’s no good trying to train a dog to heard sheep on a 2m*3m plank of wood…and the mess these sheep are making is ridiculous. I should never have entered myself in for ‘One Man And His Dog… on a Raft!’ Bloody stupid reality TV!
21 Days sunning it up with my old pooch on a raft, adrift in the middle of the Octagonal Ocean. Scruffs! Bad breath, flatulence and an unhealthy habit of gnawing at the edges of the raft. 2 weeks ago this was a 6 birth, executive yacht…now just a plank of tooth-marked driftwood.
watch for stubborn undercurrents as the raft will be veering away from the normal layout from here on in…
Scruffs is, well not a Bot as such, as the only opponent in this game is the weather…oh, and the sharks…and the octopus…oh, and starvation, but you get the general idea- no physical opponent. Scruffs is not really a Wotnot either, as this solo variant does not make a quick fix for a head to head style of game, or meld multi-player games into something generically suitable for the soloist. So what is it?…he…she?
As expected during the solitaire handling of a usual co-operative game, we, the only real human, are usually forced to embellish our split personalities by taking on the role of ALL the characters. Now this is also the case for 21 Days but with a subtle difference. We substitute one character for Scruffs the dog. Our furry friend Scruffs has all the requirements of the other characters…feeding, toiletries, satellite TV etc but this is the nice twist for this solo variant. Scruffs does not take actions as the other characters would be expected to help the party. No! Not at all. A lack of opposable thumbs for one reason. Almost contrary to that. We, the multiple personality, have to take care of Scruffs making sure he is fed, watered and well ecercised (as the waters are shark infested I don’t recommend playing ‘fetch’ with only 2-3 meters of deck to run on). As a reward for keeping man’s best friend happy and content, the generous, faithful dog helps us out by means of a dedicated paw-shaped Scruffs action deck. He has his own health die and a personal action die which is rolled against stats on his action card…now he’s not the brightest dog so doesn’t always succeed in his tasks (bad boy, in your basket) but when he is successful, the rewards to the party are pretty useful.
It is a pleasant additional layer to the game. The soloist doesn’t need to worry about controlling more than 3 players as Scruffs comes with his own lead (leash). Certainly for me, it adds a certain extra realism/tension to the game. Yeah, people can usually look after themselves, contribute or get thrown to the sharks but our four legged friend (or in my case with one of my dogs, Megglington, a 3 legged+prosthetic legged friend) relies on us for its day to day needs.
So! There is no ground breaking AI player to compete against, no re-write of the rules making a completely different game, no beat your own score solo affair. It is a simple additional immersion into the perilous existence of life onboard a raft in the middle of the ocean.
This really is an immersive, enjoyable, simple play but difficult decision making survival game. Scruffs solitaire variant adds an extra layer of texture to the game making it a different experience to the standard co-op but not so different that we loose sight of the original…which is more than can be said for the horizon.
What was that a splash?
Link to the main 21Days article #1s …of Paws and Feet and Jaws and Teeth