This week, there ended up just being four of us and, as I'd set up Freedom: The Underground Railroad in advance, we decided to start with that. This is a co-operative game with a strong theme about helping bring about the abolition of slavery in the U.S. Players are attempting to smuggle enough slaves from the Deep South across the country into Canada while also generating enough fund-raising to sway opinion to the abolitionist cause. However, you only have a limited amount of time to do this and the passage across the country is littered with slave catchers so it is not easy. That's a good thing as it means that players often lose and this should entice them back to try again.
However, although the theme is strong, the game itself boils down to a puzzle about pushing cubes around the available routes while using your character's abilities and the event cards to further your cause. Unfortunately, Nige and Julia are not fans of co-ops to start with and the game took a lot longer than we had expected so it wasn't terribly well received. Even I was disappointed, and I really enjoy co-op games, as it had got some great reviews and I had been hoping for a really rich experience. However, I was left thinking I'd much rather play something like Pandemic or Eldritch Horror.
As it was, we managed to get a decent flow of slaves moving North but got to the stage where we knew we weren't going to be able to raise enough funds so the last couple of turns were just going through the motions and we eventually lost too many slaves and hence the game.