If I had to sum up What Next from Big Potato Games in a phrase, it would be that it’s a co-op pick-your-path adventure board game. But I promise it’s a lot more exciting than that makes it sounds.
What’s In The Box
The box is beautifully presented. In the front there is an arch that gives players a glimpse of the wonderful artwork and when the first flap is opened it is displayed in all its splendour. Inside the box there is:
- 12 Peril Pieces
- 16 Item Pieces
- 12 Shape Pieces
- 3 Sundials
- 1 triangle slider
- 1 puck
- 1 drawstring bag
Along with these items there are three sets of cards, each with its own unique story driven by the Location Cards contained in the set. There are also Event Cards and Item Cards that I’ll get to a bit later.
Setting Up What Next
Setting up is easy, although I will admit to getting a little lost because of how simple it was. There’s a fair bit of information in the game’s manual and on the box itself but for my group it was slightly confusing. Following the instructions on how to set up and just starting to play is the best way to get into What Next.
Once you’ve picked the adventure you want to play, separate out the different types of cards. Players will need to find specifically numbered cards so leave them in numerical order and not shuffle them. Put the Item Pieces in the drawstring bag and set them aside along with the Shape Pieces, puck, and triangle slider. These are needed for Event Cards.
Each set of cards has its own story. Players can read the introduction themselves or watch one of the YouTube videos Big Potato Games have put together instead.
Begin A Game
The game starts by picking up Location Card 1. There will be an explanation of where the players are and what’s happening. After that players will either be given a choice of directions to go, along with the number of the next location card, or the number of an Event Card.
Event Cards direct players to complete a task to determine the path. These range from trying to find the right sized Shape Piece from the bag without looking, using the Item Pieces to make a shape or sliding the puck along the triangle slider to the correct target zone. These are basic games and the addition of a timer for the Shape and Item Piece events certainly make it suspenseful. Depending on how well a player does in an event they might gain Item Cards or escape danger.
Occasionally players find themselves in so much danger that they’ll need to place a Peril Piece. Peril Pieces are the only thing that can cause the game to end prematurely. Cards will tell players when they need to place a Peril Piece, usually after some unfortunate mishap. Subsequent Peril Pieces must be stacked on top of the others and if any of them fall, the game is over. With different shapes and sizes, this can be a tricky prospect.
While this is a co-op game, with players working together to finish the story, there are still turns. Each new Location Card signals the start of the next player’s turn. It also means the progression of the sundial. Every so often the sundial will rotate to night-time. That means that any Location Cards played that turn are flipped over and the night side is read out. This is a very cool mechanic that alters the story and makes each play through unique.
What Next Is Fun For 1 To 4 Players
For me where What Else shines is in its story. The cards are well written and humorous. The set that we played even had a call back to an earlier action. We took an Item Card early in the session and that action affected something later in the session.
I’m glad What Next comes with three sets of cards. It wouldn’t take many plays to learn what to do for a set, taking the suspense out of game. It also opens the door for expansions. The instructions state that it’s for one to four players, but I think playing this on your own wouldn’t be anywhere near as fun as it is with friends. Conversely, I don’t think there would be an issue increasing games to six players if you’ve got a few more people around.
Overall, What Next is a fun experience. The way Location Cards work lets players have some agency over their sessions while pushing the story along. Events are fun and frantic with the timers and sense of urgency as the Peril Pieces stack higher.