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Sean Faeth

Massachusetts
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Background:
Let me start by saying I love deck building games, I love "buying" cards to use later to crush my opponents with. I love trying to figure out how to play certain cards off each other and have my hands raised in victory. With that said, there are so many on the market and most play the exact same way I was not looking to purchase, yet another of these games.

Fast forward to PAX East 2016 in the board game area. While trying different games in the tabletop area, I stopped by the table demonstrating Emergents: Genesis. I watched a few people play and thought this was like any other deck builder and continued on. A few hours later I saw that people getting up from their demo and thought let's give it a go. I grabbed a friend of mine and we sat down to play and that is when I became hooked.

I have to say the creators of this game are super friendly and easy going. I have been to PAX East since the 2nd time it was held and have had board game creators stop me in my tracks pushing their games down my throat to play and buy. Not one of these guys were like that. They would talk to anyone coming up about anything as well as their creation. I think one person came up to them and asked where the bathroom was and if you have ever been to PAX East, they are not hard to miss.

I believe I had the pleasure of Matt demonstrating the game for me and it was great. By the time we were ready to play, I had very little questions.

Before I get into the game play I want to say I am not going to go over every aspect of the game. I am not going to get into every detail of the game, but give you the parts I personally think are relevant and cool.

Gameplay:
The story is you are an emerging superhero, yet your powers are untested and starting to manifest themselves self. You are brought to an area to train and practice your skills by fighting other heroes.

The table is setup like a comic book.

You have your book which is the deck of cards that fill the page. The page is the 6 cards (powers) you can choose to add to your hero if you have enough skill. The panel are the cards that are available to anyone to add to their powers.

Skill is what it takes to get new powers. As you play you, build up your skills to get new powers. Just like any hero would. The better skilled you are the better powers you acquire.

Once you have your powers you need to attack your opponents and this game has many ways to attack your foes. While you can outright punch someone, maybe you charge it up and deliver an even more vicious blow.

Before you really begin you need to figure out what hero you will be. Maybe you want to play Moxie a StrongHarm hero who can just charge up her attacks and pummel her opponents into submission. Maybe you will want to play as The Abyss. An Acolyte hero who can copy powers from card still on the page.

Each hero has a special ability which plays off their class which are Acolyte, Non-Stop, Sculptor and StrongHarm. Those classes play off but does not limit you the cards that are on the page. I could play as a Non-Stop class but use cards that generally help Sculptors. It would all depend on the strategy you use.

Let us now go to those powers on the page. Each power grants your hero a way to skill up or attack your opponent. Each card is set for a specific class, but again it is not limited to only those heroes in that class. I could use a card like Terrorize which is in the class of the Acolyte even if I am a hero like Moxie who is a StrongHarm hero. That is one of the cool things about this game. Your skills are not limited to your class.

As you play the cards during your turn, you get to use the "tactic" listed on the card. It might be to draw another card or to charge up for an attack for each other card you played that has the Non-Stop symbol. That is called a flurry attack which can be devastating.

The other cool feature is defending. Let's say Moxie sends a punch my way and I happen to have a card that has the tactic defend on it. I can use that card and "block" that attack. If there is a tactic tied to defending you get to do that as well. Like Defend 1 and then
You may erase a card from The Page. You have card that can also counter the attack and cause damage back at the person attacking you.

Now let me back up a bit and clarify something. This is what sets this game a part from other deck building games. In other deck builders you play all your cards and you say I attack you for 23 then your opponent takes the damage. That is not the case in Emergent: Genesis. You need to step back from those games and play it like your hero is actually in a fight. I have yet to say see a fight go down like "I am going to punch you, then kick you in the shin, then throw you to the wall, stand you up and punch you one more time. Ok, your turn." This game is made to play like your in a fight.
You play one attacking card and your opponent can chose to take the damage, counter it or block it (if they can). If they counter it and the damage comes back to you, you then have the chance to block it as well. Then play another attack and so on until the cards run out. You have to step back and think of a strategy in your attacks. Maybe you hope to have your opponent waste all their blocks on the soft fluffy stuff and then give them the haymaker to end all haymakers which they have nothing left to defend against. I know it sounds a little confusing, but if you play this game as a fight building game instead of a deck building game it gets so much easier.

That is where I was hooked on this game. It was a thinking aspect of the game that now you have to consider how many card do they hold in their hand and do I want to defend this punch but take the next if he attacks again? Do I let this first attack hit me and save my counter for the next one? Do I take the damage so I do not burn this card so I can not use it on my turn?

Your strategies change too if you add the 3rd or 4th person to the mix. Yep, you can have a 4 way free for all or a 2 v 2 game. How ever you want to mix it up.


In Conclusion:
I have to say while I do not get to play it too often as my family is not into this game as much as I am, I am really glad I got this game.
Not only is it fun to try and out think your opponent, it fun to see how you can play the cards off each other.

If you like fighting games and you like deck building games. This is one you should add to your collection.
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Matthew Wang
United States
New York
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designer
Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed review!

Hopefull you will like the upcoming news on the game!
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