With this rubric we intend to share our opinion about the game LOOP: Life of Ordinary People, which is going to Kickstarter soon. We were directly contacted by the publisher Blackbody Lab, who sent us a review copy so we could try it out and give our opinion.
LOOP: Life of Ordinary People
Official Image - LOOP box cover
Designers: Cyril Lee, Kenneth YWN
Artist: Cyril Lee
Publisher: Blackbody Lab
Time: 15-90 m
Language dependency: Yes
Official page: https://www.theloop.page/
The story behind the scenes
In LOOP: Life of Ordinary People, each player is trying to achieve some life goals while performing activities that bring them out happiness. But to buy resources, the players need to gain money by working. You can be sure that this game touches some real life aspects of our daily life.
Official Image - LOOP on the table
Talking about the components
We received a review copy, being about that version that we will make an evaluation. We do not know yet which levels and specific contents that are going to be available during the Kickstarter campaign, but we all will find out very soon.
There are two types of boards on this game: the main board and the individual player boards. Regarding the main board, it is thick and stronger when compared to all the remaining components. It has a smooth surface, being perfect for managing around the components on top of it as well.
As for the individual player boards, they also have a smooth surface but we think they could be a little bit thicker in order to be more durable. The individual player boards are double sided: one side with all the necessary information for beginners and another with a clean design without no text.
Individual player boards
The tokens are probably the components that surprised us the most. They have a good thickness and also some kind of coating that allows them to be smooth to the touch. In addition, the reputation tokens are made by cutting the center of the happiness tokens, being a perfect reutilization of materials. Both the reputation and happiness tokens are double sided, having a different meaning depending on the side they are showing.
Coins | Happiness + Reputation tokens
Inside the box there can be found two shapes of cards, both produced with the same quality. The cards are thinner than the other components and could be a little bit touch friendly if it were applied some coating like on the board or the tokens. Nevertheless, they can be shuffled well together. A curious fact about the illustrations on the cards is that the drawings are made with just a single line, matching perfectly the loop theme.
Activity + Material | Occupation + Favor + Goal
For us the board game box is an element that deserves so much attention as the other components. We consider it to be strong and with the perfect size for the components it holds. Inside there is also a cardboard insert that allows organizing the components for a quicker setup. The box illustrations match the remaining artwork of the game, with the single lined drawings representing some of the careers available to play with.
Front cover | Insert and components | Back cover
Breaking the rules
The review copy did not contain a rule book of its own, so our feedback will be provided based on the digital rule book, which can be different than the physical book. Overall, we think the rule book has a good structure, flowing smoothly while reading it and without any problem understanding the contents.
The only aspect we may note, is the setup being presented before listing the game components with a visual image of what each one of them looks like.
On the picture below we have the setup already prepared on the table for two players, with all ready to start our pursuit of happiness. This game has many different playing modes: Basic, Competitive, Cooperative and Solo. We are going to guide you through the Basic Mode.
Setup on the table for two players
Throughout the game, each player will be represented by a character with a specific job position and with different life goals to achieve. On each turn, the players have to decide whether they are going to Work, Buy or Consume, based on their immediate needs.
When you go to Work, you are going to receive the salary indicated on your character information and decrease your current status of happiness. You should note that on the Basic Mode all players are Interns, as opposing to the other modes where each player has a different career, salary and passion.
Occupations | Working and receiving salary
In case you choose to Buy, you are going to spend money from your savings in order to acquire the desired materials. The materials you own are as good as higher is the cost paid from them when buying. The quality of the materials is indicated by the number of dots on the top side of the material.
Materials | Buying and acquiring a material
If you decide to Consume instead, you are going to use your materials to perform the activities you wish. For each completed activity you increase your level of happiness. To complete an activity you reduce the quality of the necessary materials and take that activity into your personal area.
Activities | Consuming and performing an activity
After performing one of the three available actions, you can choose to achieve some of your life goals, increasing even more your happiness. The goals are achieved when the necessary properties on the activities can be visible on your player area. The properties can be either symbols representing life choices or colors representing materials.
Goals | Achieving a life goal with activities performed
There are only two more aspects to consider during your turn: favors and reputation. At any moment of your turn, you can choose to ask for some favors to the other players. By accepting the favors, the opponents can earn reputation and some trade back favors. By rejecting, the players are on the line to loose reputation instead.
Favor | Asking a favor and performing it
Reputation can be useful to get better rewards during gameplay. It can stand for gaining a better salary, getting better materials, feeling more happiness or the ability to turn down some favors from the opponents.
Reputation tokens| Reputation level and possible uses
The game ends as soon as a player reaches out the desired status of happiness or when the materials are depleted.
LOOP on the table with a finished game
In general, we can state that this game has a promising theme, being different that any other game we have ever played before. It is a serious game designed with educational purposes and represents the daily loop we are in real life: Work, Buy and Consume.
LOOP: Life of Ordinary People really caught our attention, being a great abstraction of real life where we can reflect about our constant pursuit of happiness and how we can be tricked to some sort of materialism and consumerism.
The publisher aims for a reduced footprint and it is certified on many different aspects regarding the production process and the materials used. That is something that we personally appreciate and congratulate for doing.
Thank you Blackbody Lab for sending this copy our way so we could review it before the Kickstarter campaign, we are very grateful and appreciate your trust.
We don't know if there are any projects on the horizon for Blackbody Lab but we are going to keep an eye out to know more about this topic.