Ever since I was a little girl, it was very common to see the National Enquirer running stories about spotting the Loch Ness monster, a giant sea creature living in a loch in the Scottish Highlands. It’s a popular myth, much like Big Foot, and there are hundreds of blurry images of what are supposedly the beast released every year. This game, monopolizes on this popular myth to create a great game of luck and deduction that has you chasing the beast around the lake in an effort to get the beast picture of it when it emerges.
Each round of the game is comprised of three phases. The first phase players choose how far they will personally make Nessie move. The second phase players choose what special ability they would like that turn. And the final phase players move their cameras to different locations on the island and find out who took pictures that round.
Choosing how far Nessie moves is a task that is split among three players. This way, no one player knows how far Nessie will move, but can make some educated guesses based upon how far they have made the creature move. Each player has a hand of cards number 1 through 5 . These numbers dictate the number of spaces Nessie will rotate. Each player secretly chooses one of these cards on their turn and places it face down in front of themselves, thus locking in their movement.
Once all the cards are placed face down, the players take turns deciding what special ability they would like. Each player can take one ability, but no ability may be shared by two players. The abilities range from getting to peak at one persons card, to being able to move Nessie one spot further on the track, and even using photoshop to doctor up your photos that turn. We seemed to favor certain abilities over others in each of our’s unique play style, but each seemed to have it’s purpose.
Next, players move their cameras. Each player is given three cameras, and must move at least one of them each round. We often found ourselves moving two, or even all three if our abilities allowed us, in order to get the best placement for where we thought the creature would pop up. Moving cameras are done in order, and spaces are limited. So you might be bumped slightly to the left or right of the position you want, if you are slow to pick that spot.
Lastly, players turn over their cards and move Nessie. All those who are on the same small island around the lake, receives points. Everyone directly in front of where Nessie emerged gets an even niftier prize: Points, and a picture of Nessie. This picture might include his head, tail, or torso. By making sets of complete pictures you rack up big bonus points at the end of the game.
We played this game a few times, the traditional way, as well as with variants that changed the game a little bit and made deciding where Nessie might be a whole lot tricker. Each time we found ourselves pleasantly surprised by the games complexities and the ability to be rather tricky and deceitful. We were also impressed with the relatively short play time which allowed us to have multiple games back to back without it requiring a weekend commitment.
Overall we had a really good time with this game, and if you like games with luck, deductive reasoning, and bluffing, I think you will too. This game has a whimsical theme, interesting mechanics, a reasonable playtime, and an attractive looking board and pieces. Overall this game gets a nice big thumbs up.