The Loop, we made an appointment… for you… with Dr Foo!
Doctor Foo has gotten totally out of hand! His goal is to become, no more and no less, the Master of the universe. Thanks to its revolutionary discovery: the time machine! Sending clones in different eras, he plans to take power and gain enough influence that in the present time he becomes the undisputed king. His project is called Omniscience 2000! Fortunately, a famous agency of time agents is determined to put an end to Dr. Foo’s Machiavellian plan! And you know what? You are one of them! Congratulations!
Thus, you will be equipped with overpowered artifacts to fight the clones of Dr. Foo. At your time capsules, we have no more time to waste! Your IDO (Designated Office Instructor), Mario Von Time, gives you the final instructions before taking off and it concerns the Agency’s secret boot: The LOOP! Which allows you to perform a mini time loop and reuse your powerful artifacts against Dr. Foo. This time you are ready, but before leaving, Mario Von Time lets you understand that you are the only hope we have left to save our universe! Well, good luck !
The Loop is a cooperative game by Catch Up Games for 1 to 4 time travelers aged 12 and over and for a mission duration of 1 to 2 hours. Straight out of the minds of 2 scientists, Foo themselves, Maxime Rambourg and Théo Rivière. The opus was illustrated by cyborg artist Simon Caruso. But what is it exactly? To put it simply, you form a team to face the game itself, aka Dr. Foo, which sows discord by sending his minions through the ages, creating time rifts.
The game is based on a deckbuilding mechanic mixing strategy, cooperation and a little luck. Yes, you will need it! You will have to complete a certain number of objectives / missions depending on the chosen game mode and above all, avoid the various defeat conditions. You will be able to engage in four different game modes that add difficulty and each of them offers a slightly renewed experience for your gaming pleasure.
For a comprehensive and simplified understanding of The Loop, we will introduce you to the basic game mode which is called: SABOTAGE! We will explain straight away how a game turn unfolds …
Show determination without a temporal flaw!
Before starting a game of The Loop (with SABOTAGE mode), each player must have a character tile and their starting card deck. Each character in the agency has its own power and so does their initial, fully personalized card game. Prepare the game board with the cube tower (like a dice tower in the end) of Dr. Foo in the center and the small HQ (Headquarters) board where the chosen game mode tile will be placed (with the description victory conditions and other mini rules). But also the artifact cards (which we can recover to improve our deck) and the Foo cards (which will act as a turn counter and trigger events). Lastly, you will place the sabotage tiles around the main board which will be the missions to be completed to thwart Dr. Foo’s plans. The victory condition in this game mode is simple (that’s you who believe it), complete the mission with 4 sabotage tiles!
A player’s turn is made up of 5 phases:
– Dr Foo phase: during this phase you go through the Foo cards, generate clones on the board, reveal an artifact card that will be available (therefore recoverable for you) and throw in the cube tower, fault cubes which will dispatcher randomly among different epochs represented on the board and which can potentially destroy the epoch concerned.
– Action phase: during this phase you will have the possibility to play one or more cards from your hand, to move through an era, to use your character’s power and to do a LOOP! A Loop means to straighten an “exhausted” card in order to replay it!
– Add card phase to our deck : if an artifact card is available at the time our character is, we can collect it and add it on top of our draw pile.
– Archive 1 sabotage tile phase: during this phase if a sabotage tile mission is fully completed, we can archive it! One small step for man, but it takes 4 to save mankind, so hurry up!
– End of turn phase: during this phase we must reset our hand (discard the cards in hand) and draw until we have 3 new cards, reactivate our character’s tile (the character tile has an exhausted side if we have called to his power) and we see if on the HQ board we have not reached one of the conditions of defeat with the cards of Dr. Foo. If so, the game immediately ends with a victory for Dr. Foo.
The victory condition will be done during phase 4, if we have (in the game mode we presented) archived the 4th sabotage tile. However, the mission will be very difficult, as the conditions for defeat can arise at any time. For example, the Time Rift cubes that we throw into Dr. Foo’s Cube Tower will be spread over the Eras and when an Era accumulates the 4th Rift Cube, that Era’s Sabotage Tile explodes and turns into a Vortex! The consequences will be disastrous if an era that already has a Vortex explodes again, due to Time Rift cubes, or a 4th Vortex has to be generated, it will simply be… the end of the world! Game Over! Goodbye, thank you and welcome back home! And yes, life is unfair …
A game not to Looper, under any circumstances!
The first thing we can highlight concerns the quality of the material provided in The Loop. A solid board, large colored wooden meeples, good quality cards, a just “superb” cube tower; even the game box is gorgeous with artwork in every nook and cranny of the box. A cloth bag is also provided to be able to generate the Dr. Foo clones. In short, the whole is splendid. Once again, the know-how of the publisher speaks for itself. They are good at Catch Up!
Regarding the artistic direction, with a “BD” style, we find a super fun universe, very colorful, very offbeat. Even very very offbeat! But, we suspected a little and that is exactly what is needed for a completely Foo title! The theme being a hairy hair, it is nonetheless very fun and the pressure of Dr. Foo, constantly present during the game, will make us lose the ball before losing the game.
The rules of the game are perfectly written and well illustrated to be able to understand and assimilate rather quickly the ins and outs. The Loop even has a separate booklet that explains the characteristics of the characters as well as the different game modes available in the title! Awesome and damn efficient.
The set-up remains relatively fast depending on the chosen game mode, which leaves us little time for mental preparation before projecting ourselves into a frantic time travel. Accessible at will, in part thanks to the game modes that are increasing in power, The Loop offers a smooth learning. Between us, once you have played the basic game mode, you will be able to play all the modes! The difference will be in the difficulty of carrying out the requested mission because the rules vary only slightly. On the other hand, victory remains a really complex task. Just the “level 2” (the Sayan Supa Clones mode) made us see all the colors and we do not tell you about the illustration of the game box!
Let’s focus a few minutes on the gameplay, which works very well with this really interesting and very tactical deckbuilding side. You should know that the artifact cards have categories called “dimensions” which will have a certain importance during your LOOP action. So the choice of which cards to add to your deck will be very important.
The only slightly lighter side, for a game considered cooperative, concerns the interaction between the players. Indeed, the opus remains interactive but not that much. Of course, we will be very interested in the actions and choices of other players and we will certainly discuss to plan our actions in an optimum way. However, we will be very focused on our game during our turn without being able to “combot” or interact with other players at first. The reason that we think explains this is the asymmetrical aspect between the characters. Indeed, each will learn to play his character with his strengths and weaknesses, while trying to best adapt the cards that we will “deckbuilder” as the game progresses. This will result in having to concentrate more on his game and a little less on that of others. Once you know the game like the back of your hand, it will necessarily be easier to take more interest in other people’s games and thus be able to better plan and predict more optimum laps.
Anyway, a strong point in The Loop remains the level of replayability. Even if you are on your 100th game, your 101st will still be different. Seriously! And we are not exaggerating! You will of course have to rely on your know-how, but also on your luck. The availability of artifact cards remains random, so do the sabotage missions as well as the addition of temporal fault cubes which can be distributed randomly among 3 eras with the cube tower. Add to that the 4 game modes and you have unlimited fun that will liven up your evenings for a very long time! This risky, random, imponderable aspect, etc… which can put off some players (yes, you… yes you! Behind your screen, we all know it, we see you), is in our opinion necessary for The Loop. If the game were too calculating, it would become a monotonous game that quickly took over the game shelf, only to accumulate dust once Dr. Foo was defeated. Fortunately for us, this is not the case.
What more to say about this game, which collects our comments more rave than the others. Well know that The Loop plays very well in Solo version! A game mode that allows the intrepid player to control two characters with a single common card game! At first, it may seem disturbing, but in the end, it’s yet another “madness” that we love and which keeps the game fluid, the challenge and the pleasure of playing it! What is surprising is that the difficulty seemed constant to us whether it was with one, two, three or four players! We are not used to having cooperative games that play better or harder depending on the number of players. This is not the impression we had in The Loop and it is a pleasant surprise.
In conclusion, The Loop is the kind of weirdness and playful madness that we love! We savored without moderation the playful experience it offers as well as the various very “delirious” artistic winks of Simon Caruso. We look forward to resuming our time travel to thwart Dr. Foo’s plans again and again. The strengths that we especially keep in mind remain the replayability, the varying difficulty modes, its quality material, its hyper original theme and its very accessible gameplay. Suffice to say that the game has only big arguments to make a place among the games of the year. What we particularly appreciated was the growing pleasure as the games progressed. With this slight learning aspect, we have a “failed so try again” effect; in other words, defeat is not discouraging. On the contrary, we were even more upset against Dr Foo and we swore that… next time would be good! Anyway and in all cases, The Loop is an opus to try absolutely!
Now it’s up to you to form your own opinion.
The rules of the game in French
The rules of the solo game in French
The Loop on Board Game Geek
Catch Up Games publisher’s website
Information for people with disabilities
In addition to our articles, we send details below for people with a health impairment (visual, hearing or intellectual disability):
– This game requires good thinking skills and seems hardly compatible with an intellectual disability.
– This game seems to have no other particular limitations.