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Vast: The Crystal Caverns» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Vast: The Crystal Caverns - Overview and Initial Impressions rss

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Greg Syferd
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Hilliard
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Vast was a tiny blip on my radar for Gen Con 2016, mostly because I had a number of items of higher on my list. On Thursday I decided to swing by Leder Games to see what the hype was about. I was greeted by the artist who was extremely helpful and enthusiastic to tell me about the game, so we decided to give it a shot.


Game Overview
In Vast, each player takes on a role as a Knight, Dragon, a clan of Goblins, a Thief, or the Cave. Each role is very different from the others and has a unique set of victory conditions. For example, the Knight can win by killing the dragon. The Dragon can win by waking up from a deep sleep and exiting the dungeon. The Cave can win by completely collapsing in on itself and killing everyone.

Each player will take the components for their role which includes a player board, some cards, and various bits. Again, these are all very different. The Dragon has a player board used to track how close it is to waking up, health, and how many Goblins it has eaten. The Knight's board is used to track it's skills, experience, and special items in his inventory. Each player board provides a full rundown of all their characters special abilities and victory conditions.

The dungeon is built from a deck of tiles, which have that old school blueish purple color from classic D&D modules. Tiles come onto the board face down, but can be flipped by any number of different character actions. Tiles may contain spots for treasure, events (another deck of cards), or crystals. Each item in the dungeon can be used by characters in a variety of different ways.

On a turn, each character will perform actions based on their unique abilities. Sticking with the Dragon as an example, the player uses cards drawn from a deck to form sets of symbols that allow it to take actions. A set of symbols may allow it to move, another set to make a wall of fire, or yet another set to reveal hidden cave tiles.

Players will take their turns navigating around the map in an effort to move closer to their victory conditions. The Dragon, who starts off 'underground' must take actions such as picking up treasure, or dropping off one of its precious gems, or eating goblins to move cubes from several tracks to its wake-up track. Once enough cubes have been moved, the dragon wakes up and can attempt to exit the dungeon to win. On the other hand, the cave player will be building the dungeon further and further out until the tiles have all been used up. He will then start collapsing the dungeon in on itself trying to kill everyone inside.

The first player to meet their victory condition wins the game.

Initial Impressions
I'm hard pressed to find anything in recent memory that I can compare Vast against. As I've hopefully illustrated, the game is extremely asymmetric in nature. You are not playing against the game, you are truly playing against the other players. I'm even stumped on how to classify it. It's kind of an action driveny - resource managementy - dungeon crawly - tile placement thingy. With all this in mind, they've built a great ruleset that scales perfectly with the amount of players you have.

Component wise, there is a ton of game in the box. Five different characters, lots of cards, tiles, and bits. While personally, I like the illustrations, I get that it may not be for everyone. To me it feels like pre-FFG Wiz-war, a plus in my mind.

While Vast is a highly unique experience, it is not without some flaws. Vast is not easy to teach. You have to know the capabilities of each character because they are so different from your own. I would not try to learn each one for your first play. Just know that you will probably have to play each character once so you know what you're up against. I also think that experience will play a big factor...people who have played several times will have a big advantage.

This said, I grabbed a copy of the game. The theme is great, learning how each character interacts with the others provides a mellow, yet satisfying brain burn, and there is a ton of re-playability in the box. Furthermore, it plays fast and scales well with any player count.

8/10
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Brad

Indiana
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Loved the review. Very well written and informative.

I'm not looking forward to teaching this to my friends, but I am looking forward to playing the game with them. So far, I've played Knight and Dragon. It's amazing how different the game plays when you switch to a different character.
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Patrick Leder
United States
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If you need help you can use these videos.

https://youtu.be/NSPyyCs3tbI
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aaron belmer
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Webster Groves
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Played three times at gen con, by far the best game of the con for me.

The last time I remember being impressed with a unique bold dungeon crawl design was catacombs, in a different class of course, but I'll never get rid of either.

Fantastic game highly recommended
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Mitch Zuleger
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gregor1863 wrote:
I also think that experience will play a big factor...people who have played several times will have a big advantage.


There are difficulty cards available for each role, making it easier or difficult...er. This means a newb should be able to play alongside an experienced gamer. Not all games account for this problem. But this one does, which I think is pretty cool.
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Patrick Leder
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mczulu72 wrote:
gregor1863 wrote:
I also think that experience will play a big factor...people who have played several times will have a big advantage.


There are difficulty cards available for each role, making it easier or difficult...er. This means a newb should be able to play alongside an experienced gamer. Not all games account for this problem. But this one does, which I think is pretty cool.


Yeah if I sit down with you at a convention and don't at least offer to play on Hard, you can call me out. I haven't dabbled much in Expert just enough to know it was difficult.
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Davide Banchini c/o SELED
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Quote:
I'm even stumped on how to classify it. It's kind of an action driveny - resource managementy - dungeon crawly - tile placement thingy


Good shot, It made me laugh

And the review put the game on my wishlist, thanks.
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Luke Jacobs
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gregor1863 wrote:
To me it feels like pre-FFG Wiz-war


I read this and thought, "Well that dates him a bit."

Then realized, that knowing it dates someone, dates me as well.

Well played.

Great review, makes me look forward to my game arriving safely back from Gencon this week.
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Ray Smith
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The mechanics and gameplay of Vast have me very intrigued!

BTW, how is the component quality? Are there differences between the Kickstarter version and the retail version?

I'm not a fan of the art and style of the graphics, and the price of the game is up there. Opinions?
 
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Moose Detective
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rdsmith wrote:
Are there differences between the Kickstarter version and the retail version?


Only difference is a KS box sleeve. 2nd printing might have some tweaks/upgrades like edited rules or upgraded paper stock for player rules sheets or the cards.

rdsmith wrote:

I'm not a fan of the art.. Opinions?


You are very very wrong but opinions means that's allowed? The art is amazing and the main selling point of the game.
 
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Nobody Special
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stevelabny wrote:

You are very very wrong but opinions means that's allowed? The art is amazing and the main selling point of the game.


I'm actually quite surprised that the dislike for the art appears to be a minority opinion!
My girlfriend and I were quite interested and excited about this game when we read about it but after seeing pictures, reading reviews and watching videos we both came to the conclusion that the Art style and graphic design were awful.

Far from being a selling point, for us it was so bad that the art is the sole reason we won't be purchasing.
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Neilan Naicker
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I freaking love the art.
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Peter Rabinowitz
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Yep, everyone I've shown the game to loves the art. But, hey, that's why it's art - people will have different opinions. laugh
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Luke Jacobs
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bobadubub wrote:
[q="stevelabny"]
Far from being a selling point, for us it was so bad that the art is the sole reason we won't be purchasing.


I like the art style and also understand how art can turn something into a non-starter.

Friend lent me a stack of Green Arrow trades.
One book in and they changed the artist. I thought it was a pretty crappy artist.

I gave him the entire stack back. Plenty of media to be consumed, no reason to stick with something you don't want to look at.
 
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