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Miskatonic School for Girls» Forums » Reviews

Subject: MSfG - more of a ride than a game rss

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Ryan Frazier
United States
West Sacramento
California
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OK, so MSfG is a deck-building game. Mechanically, it's probably most similar to Ascension or Heroes of Graxia than games like Dominion or Thunderstone.

You start with a deck of 10 students. Each student has 2 stats for purchasing, and other stats and in some cases flavor text. You draw five of these students, then make your purchases.

Your purchase choices are in the center of the board, and you have 3 students to choose from and three "faculty" (monsters) to choose from. These cards are randomly chosen from separate decks.

Every turn, you make your purchases. Your student purchases go into your "purchase" pile (basically this functions as the top of your deck) and your faculty purchases go into your opponent's purchase pile. If you can't buy something, you get a default card. Occasionally events appears here which are grossly overpowered in some cases, and occasionally Locker cards appear in the student area which grant players significant permanent bonuses and don't seem very balanced.

You then put any faculty members you have in front of you, discard any students you have, then draw new cards to fight the faculty. You then compare attack and toughness against the faculty, and any special abilities go off, etc.

With these fundamental mechanics, it's easy to imagine that this is an interesting mid-weight game where you strategically pick students to pursue a certain strategy, and watch the purchases of your opponents so you can pick faculty to pick apart their strategy, and there is a tiny bit of this, but realistically as random as the resource draw is, and as small as your card pool choice is every round, on a practical level most turns you will literally have no choices to make. Either you will only be able to buy two cards (or none, and will have to take the default cards).

Combat also often does not allow you to have any meaningful decisions. The right course of action will nearly always be completely obvious.

Another problem occurs because you draw your cards at the start of the turn. Because this game is very long for a DBG, especially with 4 players, since 3 out of 4 players have to lose for the game to end, there's pressure to rush when it's your turn, but there's no capacity to make your turn quick, since you don't know what cards you're going to draw, thus what resources you will have until the start of your turn. You cannot pre-plan your turn at all, which makes the game seem even more fast and random. The game would be much better if it allowed you to draw four cards on your turn, then simply add any additional monsters (usually one per turn) to that existing hand.

I think that the fundamental mechanics of the game are actually pretty strong. Even the locker cards are somewhat balanced by "hoser" cards - the problem is the tiny number of cards each player has to choose from during his turn. If this game was Dominion or Thunderstone style, and everyone had access to the same strong characters and same strong locker or faculty cards, this game could really work. With the tiny card pool every round, it just doesn't, especially since because the card selection doesn't "clear" every round, it's very common to be seeing the same cards that are out of most or all player's price range every turn.

Some of the events are just unforgivable. Ridiculously OP and makes the game feel random and pointless.

I bought this on Kickstarter and frankly I'm very disappointed in it and plan to sell it as quickly as I can. I feel like some additional playtesting really should have been done, or it should have been made clear to the players that this was an extremely light game on the level of Munchkin or Zombies!. I feel that this was presented more like a DBG with some combo potential and strategy, like Ascension or Thunderstone, which IMO it is not.
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Kyle Bee

Washington
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regarding the statement that the same cards stick around each turn. If someone buys a transfer or sub, you're suppose to trash a card and move the cards down one and refresh the store shelf. Each turn you're seeing at least 2 new cards, regardless of what is purchased.

I agree that events are very swingy, but they aren't over powered unless they chain together into multiple events. Easy solution would be to make a house rule stating after an event is trigger, trash all events that are revealed when you refill the shelf and refill until a non-event is flipped. easy.

its a light game to be sure, but its an interesting take on the DBG genre. Everyone will lose, try not to be the last, etc.. I like the fact that you're interacting so much. All other deck building games can be played solo, really.
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Ryan Frazier
United States
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Just a brief update: I've sold my copy and will be extremely hesitant to buy any other full sized board games through Kickstarter in the future.
 
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