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Solid reviews tend to follow a traditional formula.

Oh, you know the drill:

- Some Background, an Introduction, or an Executive Summary
- First Impressions and Component Overview
- Gameplay and Mechanics Overview
- Negative Points or Prospective Caveats
- Commentary on Artistic/Mechanical Design Merits and Overall Fun Factor
- The Final Score


BattleCON: Devastation of Indines has singlehandedly inspired me to EXPECT the following section on ALL boardgame reviews going forward:

Elegance

----
----

Take a look at my boardgame collection: http://boardgamegeek.com/collection/user/Leaf%20Ninja

It's by no means an Alexandria's Library of boardgames, but it respectfully spans BGG's top 100 titles. To overview, and in no particular order:



LCG (Living Card Game) 1v1 asymmetrical goodness.



A seamless mix of tabletop RPG elements with videogame RPG elements presented in boardgame format.



A slick, sci-fi themed, Euro-based 4X experience.



Thematic, fantasy epic 4X glory.



Sports a fizzy survival theme with a depth of flavor provided by its Euro-inspired worker placement mechanics.



Unblinkingly and enthusiastically hands players a spellbook configuration, cleverly belying its open deck and simultaneous reveal mechanic. For the heck of it, throw in sheer depth of gameplay and brilliant thematic execution.

...

And that's barely half my collection! So, look, I like boardgames, and the titles I own aren't slouches in the industry, but the old classics and the veterans and the flourishing talents in the hobby better take notice.



A New Challenger Approaches


([Courtesy of W. Eric Martin])

An Introduction: Long Story Short

BattleCON: Devastation of Indines is a boardgame that accurately and elegantly emulates fighting game classics from arcades and consoles. There is no deck-drawing mechanic, no dice rolling, nothing that compromises the intended theme of arcade fighting game emulation. There is a board simulating a 2D arena a la Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, BlazBlue, Super Smash Bros., and there are fighters and an open card set of unique character styles to be integrated with generic combat bases. And that's it. They beat each other up, they have unique and clever movesets, and the smarter fighter will win. This is a pure and deft fighting game in all its nose-busted, analog glory.

BattleCON has roots in Kickstarter. Devastation, in fact, is a (stand-alone) sequel to BattleCON: War of Indines.

Now, I trust BGG's top 100. That list has never, ever steered me wrong. Once I ventured out from it. I picked up Seasons and, well, I didn't like it. The components were gorgeous, the artwork rife with character and detail, but the gameplay and its thematic execution just didn't click for me. So I crawled back to where it was safe, where I could peruse and research boardgames that had survived the rigorous analyses of thousands and thousands of players worldwide.

But one day I cautiously picked up a retail copy of BattleCON: Devastation of Indines based on word-of-mouth from an online forum that I regularly visit.

Long story short: I learned to (kind of) trust the opinions of strangers over the internet.

And man has that paid off.

In terms of component quality, I didn't quite know what to expect of a game funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

A couple comments to preface:

Hard to find anything to complain about with FFG. Look at Runewars. It's as if the board and its plastic inhabitants are just about ready to jump off the tabletop in a fit of life and magicalness. I mean, just look at this picture- the photographer had to actually use technique:


(Courtesy of sufertashu)

Have you SEEN the board of Robinson Crusoe by Z-Man Games? It's art. Literally art.


(Courtesy of trzewik)



But BattleCON straight blew me away with sheer content. I could drown in the stuff of this game.



No, I didn't have enough room to lay out the box contents neatly. Yes, I know my fold-out coffee table is completely badass. Yes, I regularly drink tea. Yes, that is my apartment, and- WHY AM I JUSTIFYING MYSELF TO YOU?



Zooms of the cards and the pile of character kits (each kit containing 8-20+ cards). So with the cards spread out on the table + the cards stuffed in the 30 character kits, I'd guess about, I dunno, 4018306.371 cards in this game. Just a rough estimate. Whatever.


Several handfuls' worth of meaty cardboard character stands and tokens.


A few of the clever radial sliders included in the box (some assembly required), used to keep track of beats (turns) and life points.

Oh, and the artwork's gorgeous.

The artstyle takes cues primarily from anime (Brad Talton, the game's designer, has stated that BlazBlue is BattleCON's primary artistic and thematic inspiration), but personally I think it also draws elements from modern American comic book styles.


Ragna - a BlazBlue Character
(Courtesy of dustloop.com)




Deadpool - an example of Marvel's artstyle.


An example of an actual physical card in BattleCON - quite the marriage, wouldn't you say?

And as an unapologetic fan of anime, BlazBlue, Marvel/DC comics, and hardcore geek media in general, I'm basically enamored with the art in this game; it's also consistent and synergistic with the theme, background story, and character design. For anyone familiar with anime and Marvel comics, ONE look at the artwork will tell you exactly what to expect thematically and mechanically, and BattleCON delivers.



Get Ready. Fight!

Before the gameplay and mechanics overview, I'd like to go into a side-essay overviewing the fighting game and boardgame meta.


Really awkward or REALLY AWESOME?
(Courtesy of capsulecomputers.com.au - a screenshot from BlazBlue)


There are certain characteristics that fighting game players share at high levels of skill:

Keen Positional Awareness NESW

This may sound obvious but is quite crucial in real-time fighting game developments. Player positioning is constantly shifting, so effective setup and allowing yourself elbow room to react requires awareness of three positional states at any point during a match:

1) Where the fighters were.
2) Where the fighters are.
3) Where the fighters will be.

Again, it sounds obvious, but players at the tip-top levels of skill are masters of remembering the 1st state and using it in tandem with the 2nd state to predict the 3rd state. This leads to the next point-

Effective Spacing SSEES

Spacing in fighting games refers to leveraging movesets and timing to maintain positional advantage during a match. Think spamming Ryu's Hadoken to maintain range, or using a kick whilst landing from the air to force an opponent to block high so you can hit low immediately after landing. This also relates to the concepts of pressure and setup.

Knowledgeable of their chosen fighter aristocrat

This sounds like a given, but character familiarity becomes more and more nuanced at higher and higher levels of play. What are X's best combos? How can X's Special Attack be interrupted? How many frames is X vulnerable after executing a 'quick' punch, and can this information be used to feint the opponent into blocking so I can rush in and grab?

Knowledgeable of their opponent's fighter building

Apply everything from the point above to the opponent character, Y (uh, Y = X in mirror matchups).

Adaptable - both in strategy and tactics CSTX

Spam projectiles and kite? Get up close and personal? Focus on countering a heavy, reckless offense? These strategies may shift over the course of a match based on character abilities and opponent interaction. Swiftly adapting to maintain control over the match's pace is key to kicking the other guy's ass.

Lightning Reflexes cool

This is where fighting games start to polarize its players between the "casuals" and the "hardcore." At the base of it all lies "physical reflexes," an athletic skill that sharpens only with focused training. This transitions into...

"Tech" proficiency robot

Combining reflexes with manual dexterity, "tech skill" in fighting games describes a cohesive unity between physical quickness and fighter familiarity. Successful players can leverage victory simply by inputting more commands and reacting faster than the other player, taking into account fighter abilities.

Clever mindgaming devil

This especially comes into play at the tip-top levels of skill in fighting games, where opponents are masters in all of the above characteristics. Against opponents equally dextrous and familiar with the game mechanics and character abilities, the most meaningfully differentiable factor between such players lies in "mindgames." You reach a point where the player who performs more cleverly in a match wins. Brains will always eventually have to trump brawn.

Then there are certain characteristics that boardgamers share at high levels of skill:

Keen Positional Awareness
Knowledgeable of their chosen side's/faction's/character's/deck's abilities
Aware of their opponents' side's/faction's/character's/deck's possible abilities
Adaptable - both in strategy and tactics
Can react elegantly to unexpected developments.
Mental Proficiency
Clever mindgaming

Unsurprisingly, the two sets overlap.

BattleCON has elegantly captured the tension, competitive spirit, and compulsively replayable fun of digital fighting games and, well, now boardgamers can get in on the action too. But, hey, don't take my word for it just yet.



BattleCON 101

The main game - 1v1 matches between fighters - takes place on a board simulating a 2D arena:



Note that the cards aren't really facedown.

Actually, wait- they are (I mean, in terms of what's literally shown in the picture above; during actual gameplay, players are secretly selecting style-base pairs to reveal for the given beat, or turn).

Players know which cards are in each others' hands and discard piles (there's so few of them anyway, plus there are reference cards for each fighter; also, players may ASK to see the other's hand at any point before the secret pair selection). It's basically an open-information game with an instance of secret selection and then another instance of simultaneous reveal. That's it. That's literally the game repeated over however-many beats (turns) until one fighter's life point total reaches zero.

Still here? Good. Cause while simply stated, I haven't yet commented on the elegance of this design.

The core element in BattleCON lies in the combat bases, common to all (or most) characters:


(Courtesy of MyParadox)

So every character can STRIKE or DASH or BURST.

- The blue number denotes base range.
- The red number denotes base power.
- The yellow number denotes base priority.

The bottom half of each base denotes passive/triggered effects and mandatory (if legal) mechanics instructions. For example, successfully grasping an opponent necessitates moving them one space.



Forgot to mention - in addition to the six generic combat bases, each character comes with their own Unique Base (two of which are shown above).

And, yes, it's simple. Very simple. But BattleCON's brilliance lies in its character design. Each fighter in the box modifies each of these combat bases and their Unique Base in one of five ways - each of which are unique to that character only - known as styles.


A character's set of styles.

Any character's style can be paired with any base (generic or their unique) to constitute an attack.


Switch around the styles for maximum and varied effect! (Notice how the blue, red, and yellow bars line up.)
(Courtesy of Game)


Range, Power, Priority, passive/triggered effects, and mechanics instructions see various modifications as different styles are paired different with bases.

Hm. Where to go from here...

Have a gander at two (out of four) of my "mains" in the game.



Both fighters are classified as brawlers (yeah, it's awesome: the rulebook kind of orients new players to the cast by categorizing the 30 fighters into different classes - Brawlers, Disruptors, Specialists, Tacticians, Counterattackers, and Heavyweights - and flights, which is shorthand for mechanical intricacy).



Every fighter comes with their sleeve kit, a portrait (Unique Ability on the back of that), a reference card (to hand to other players), and two Finishers (it's a double sided card - only one can be used during a match).

Gerard is a wily insidious type, possessing slightly below-average range, average power, slightly-below-average priority, and excellent mobility. Along with his mobility, he further makes up for his range and priority via his UA (Unique Ability - usually a set of mechanics that synergizes with their fighting style), which allows him to gain "gold" as the match wears on. He may use this gold to purchase Mercenaries that grant him situational passive bonuses.

Here are his styles:


Quite the villainous type, eh? Oh ho, but I don't mean to sound so gilded. Yet why is your eyebrow so hooked?- okay, okay, fine, I'll stop.


A preview of the mercenaries available for Gerard to hire.
For the detail-oriented readers out there, Soak means damage reduction.
Ha.


I've personally found that an effective way to use him is to kite around opponents in the early game while you build up your back-up crew of rough, clever, and magical mercenaries. THEN you can start spacing aggressively and laying on the pressure.

Here's my other main, Runika:



She comes with a badass equipment system, starting off with five artifacts (head, each hand, torso, feet) that grant her passive boosts in offense, defense, and speed. While she starts matches off as a rather powerful fighter, her styles themselves (pictured somewhere above) are below-average in power and priority. As she takes 'hits' (not necessarily damage), opponents may deactivate her artifacts one by one, severely dampening her passive boosts. This means that she kind of depends on these artifacts... or not. Actually, I hold that this is only true if you're a beginner Runika player. Smart Runika users can easily outmaneuver opponents entirely to keep all artifacts active, OR even smarter users can use deactivated artifacts (via style effects) to their consistent advantage. Mindgames, people. Mindgames).

And these are just 2 fighters of the 30 available.

I attempt a math breakdown since I do a lot of science/math in my line of work except I kind of explode, mostly because it's past midnight. Click at your own risk.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
30 characters with 7 bases and 5 styles (at the very least - some characters have more).

- Each character has at least 35 unique attacks.
- That's 1255 unique attack combinations between any two fighters
- 15 of these attacks are available to most characters at any point during a game (bases and styles "recycle" as players use them).
- So in an actual game, that's 15 attacks available to each fighter in any beat.
- That's 225 attack combinations possible between any two fighters in a single beat.
- Oh GOD there are multiple beats.
- Okay, er, there are 15 beats available in a standard match. I'd say that average games to the KO take 7-11 beats on average.
- Taking a conservative beat count, this means each of the 7 beats have 225 possible attack combinations.
- Between any two characters, this means there are, at the low end of average, assuming order matters... and making the CONSERVATIVE assumption that attacks cannot be repeated...

225^7 = 29192926000000000 unique games that may be played within that specific matchup..... assuming they were ..... standing still......

(yes, that is the actual number of possible unique 7-beat games between two average BattleCON characters standing still)

- (And unless you AND your opponent turn out horrid at this game, do NOT expect repeated matches between two skilled players to "play out the same" every time. Trust me. Matchups can't be solved. Not yet, anyway. There are mindgames and abilities and unique mechanics occurrences that depend on the order of combinations played...

...

CRAP.

SOME EFFECTS AND TRIGGERS DEPEND ON COMBINATION ORDER.

THEN THERE'S POSITIONING ON A 7-9 SPACE 2D BOARD.

IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO MATHEMATICALLY LAY THIS ALL OUT IN A SINGLE REVIEW WHILE THE CLOCK TICKS PAST MIDNIGHT. I GIVE UP. I GIVE UP I TELL YOU.

)


I would like to comment on elegance, an element in boardgame design that BattleCON has absolutely nailed and has single-handedly made me aware of through its mere existence.

Did you read my math... breakdown? (I know, I know. The puns must stop.)

ALL those possibilities are deftly contained within character design, where each fighter uses style-base attack pairing in an open-information environment to culminate in a simultaneous suprise-reveal. With only eight cards available to each player at any given beat (excluding the additional mechanical fighter elements through tokens and additional cards inherent to their kits), BattleCON successfully emulates a fighting game within a boardgame environment. Gone are button-mashers and matches being dominated by raw finger speed. Dexterity now yields to brains, while brawn and mobility are built into character design. Using your brains to manage your fighter's unique combination of brawn, mobility, and special skills to outmaneuver, outwit, and/or outpower opponents is key to achieving that KO (or you could kite around until Beat 15, where the match winner is then decided by the fighter with more health remaining- if you're a complete ninny).

Compare this elegance to my collection, particularly to the games I listed above spanning the top 100 on BGG. I SINCERELY believe BattleCON is more elegantly designed than any of those games. They have randomly drawn cards from randomized decks, and wooden cubes placed in various spots, and sometimes you have to roll to attack, and then you roll dice to defend, and -

BattleCON doesn't have any of that.

DESPITE this. Despite this lack of ... EVERYTHING, BattleCON is one of the deepest and most strategic and well-balanced boardgames I've ever played. My brothers and I poured more hours into this game in a single weekend than we did for over half the other games in our library throughout that game's entire shelf-life.

If that's not elegance, I don't know what is.

Reasons to avoid this game:

(Eh, I have to at least feign objectivity.)

Don't buy this game if you hate the absence of luck in skill-based competition.

(Ha ha, yeah, sure.)

Don't get this game if you despise the idea of fighting games.

(HOWEVER, If you DISLIKE fighting games because you can't win at them - not all people have quick fingers - but you enjoy the spirit of the competition and you like skill-based boardgaming, try this game out. Really.

Don't get this game if you don't like cool artwork.

(Okay, to state more fairly, the artwork - inspired by a blend of Japanese animation and American comic styles - may be polarizing for some people. No biggie. There are plenty of other games with cubes and neutral depictions of farmers and trains, where players won't have to put up with style and flair.)

Okay, this is actually kind of legitimate- as an indie production, some rules regarding specific character match-ups and specific instances of mechanical interaction require more clarification.

The rules, by the way, are very well written. But the game has so much depth in its mechanics that it's understandeable that nuanced combinations of rules and fighter interactions fell through the cracks. Luckily, Brad (the creator of BattleCON) and the game's playtesters are constantly involved on BGG, engaging forum visitors, responding to questions quickly and fairly, and sharing their enthusiasm for the game with other players.

(So really, this is a hidden full-star.)

Don't get this game if you're expecting an epic thematic wargame, a hyper-customizable and hyper-tinkery deck construction game, or an afternoon-spanning 4X game.

This seriously just isn't the game to cover it, and that's why my library spans multiple genres over multiple titles. BattleCON isn't the BEST game "ever" nor is it "the boardgame to end all boardgames"; it fulfills a niche that no other game has come close to filling - a boardgame that emulates arcade fighting games. That's it. And it fills that niche superbly.


Content, content, content.

If you ask me, the main mode alone - 1v1 "standard" matches - justifies the $75 MSRP (though I obtained a street copy from my LGS for closer to $60). Here's the kicker: the entire review thus far has only focused on a SLICE of what's offered in the box.

These are the other "modes" of play that I've tried:

- 1v1 "Ex" match variants (a different set of more powerful bases)
- 1v1 "Almighty" match variants (a different set of even more powerful bases as well as upgrades to each character's Unique Ability)
- Multiplayer battles (2v1, 2v2, 3v1, 4v1)
- Boss battles
- Special Arenas


(Courtesy of brunogaia)

- Solo dungeon questing mode (well, not me technically, but my brother tried his hand at a solo dungeon and got his butt handed to him numerous times before.... he finally made it to the third or maybe just the second room. Then flying flying fire imps or whatever came out of nowhere and incinerated him and he gave up.)
- Co-op dungeon question mode (well, not me personally, but my brothers have tackled a dungeon or two and... yeah, they gave up. We haven't tried enough times yet, but we have a feeling the solo/co-op modes in BattleCON are comparable in difficulty to Robinson Crusoe. It's shaping up to be the Dark Souls of boardgames.)

Basically, my brothers and I have played the crap out of this game for the past two weeks with zero sign of slowing down.

To summarize.

Meticulously balanced.

Contains a real, living metagame, similar to arcade and console fighting games (this refers to how there are layers of skill and mindgames beyond the raw mechanics of the game itself).


After probably 30+ hours of gameplay between the 4 of us brothers (and friends we've introduced the game to) spanning at least half the available characters, we've never run into a matchup that has been seemingly one-sided. If one character dominates the first match, it's entirely possible for the other fighter to close the gap or bounce back entirely the second match.

Do you REALIZE how hard this is to achieve in an open-information game with what is essentially a hand of 8 cards at any given turn? Let me refer to the other games in my collection once again, where random draws, dice, etc, clearly dilute the possibility of a skill-based metagame in exchange for theme and narrative.

(This isn't a bad thing with regards to the other games in my collection, by the way. I'm just saying - BattleCON, an independently developed game intitially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, nails in one shot what I have never seen another game do... ever. Except maybe chess and tic-tac-toe and checkers and whatever, but without, uh, the dry abstractness of it all.)

Matches take less than 20 minutes.

The 15 beat limit helps, but - honestly - we always forget to keep track of beats and play to KO anyway. Matches consistently clock in at 15 minutes or less for us, especially as we get more experienced with our characters.

Components are high in both quality and volume, rife with gorgeous artwork and detail.

Compulsively replayable.


We've played matches back-to-back for four hours straight. Then we ate and walked around and maybe went on a hike then we came back and went at it for another four hours.

BattleCON is remarkable in that despite the strategy and mental dexterity/stability you need to consistently win and/or take repeated losses to later make comeback victories, and despite that numerous matches can be played in under 1.5 hours, the game doesn't brain-burn nearly as hard as other games in our library (Mage Wars, Runewars, Eclipse - I'm looking at you).

going by the BGG ratings guidelines: http://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/ratings

BattleCON is the first 10 I've ever assigned to a boardgame in my collection without hesitating.

This is INCREDIBLE for a game funded by a Kickstarter campaign, and it has convinced me to keep an eye on the indie boardgame development scene. While Z-Man, FFG, and all the other industry giants continue to have a solid grip on the hobby (I realize this is over-dramatic), BattleCON is a humbling reminder that boardgames have yet more untapped potential lying in creative minds basically anywhere.

Back down at earth, though, I gotta get back to my kung-fu meditations. In the distant future, Runika will have grown a long, sexy, pointed white beard. Her old age will belie her artifact mastery. Gracefully striking down brash, overconfident challengers, effortlessly flicking projectiles right out of the air, and catching flies with her chopsticks while welding together upgrades for her gigantic floating golemn fist are only the surface projections of her inner journey toward fighting mastery. In BattleCON's universe - where the raw grit of stylized grapples and punches and kicks and hadokens lie in elegant boardgame mechanics - it is not mastery over brawn or dexterity but mastery of the mind that will separate the combat legends from the desperate bar brawlers. Put up your fists and your cards and analyze the arena carefully. Tell the Lackey to shut up and stop sniffling in his pathetic fear. Keep your wormholes, floating blades, and ferocious pink penguin familiar ready to unleash at an instant's notice.

Round one.

Fight.

- - - -
- - - -

Edits:

- fixed a... random happy face
- I actually have FOUR mains. Joal added to that list. Brawlers, yo.
- Formatting and spelling.
- WOW did I get my math wrong. DON'T DO MATH AFTER MIDNIGHT, PEOPLE.
- thanks Bahimiron for pointing out that this technically counts as an asymmetric card game without the hyper-tinkeryness!
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Marco Santos
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
Awesome review. Love it.

Also note that we'll be putting out a compiled list of rulings in the future!

We're still collating data and stuff but it's in the works.

Phyr has more on it (honestly, I might have played the game longer but that guy is killer at rulings).

Also, your win-rates are largely due to the mindgames. One key example would be every PBF match I've played recently. Even if I've played over 400 games of BattleCON (I played almost everyday for a year and a half), I still lose HARD against some people on the forum who MIGHT not have reached half the number of games I've played.

It's because I don't know my opponents well enough to play the correct plays. That's the "pit-fall" of my BattleCON play-style. By trying to optimize sub-optimally, I end up losing hard most of the time because my opponent wasn't even THINKING of the scenario that I was working with in my head. Of course, that's simply because I keep trying to play people the way I play my friends at this game. Admittedly, it's the wrong idea. XD

Also note that BattleQUEST is meant to be piss hard. You really need to know the ins and outs of your characters, as well as specific interactions between multiple characters, to win the game! If you're having a hard time, I suggest looking for someone with a LOT of Soak (Runika would fit). Given the rules, you effectively share Soak with allies if you share the same space. Use that to your advantage.
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Atnier Rodriguez
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
Holy crap!

This is a Deluxe review!

Kudos!
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Aaron Phillips
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
Leaf Ninja wrote:
[size=18]

Matches take less than 25 minutes.

The 15 beat limit helps, but - honestly - we always forget to keep track of beats and play to KO anyway.

I would highly suggest that you try counting beats for a while. I have found that many characters (cough marmelee cough) can have a hard time with KOs. However, with beat-counting and sticking to the 15 beat limit, these characters can play an attrition style waiting game - they don't have to get a KO, they just need to have 1 more health than the opponent when the timer runs out.

This is something that shows up in many arcade-style fighting games as well, with delay being a useful tactic in certain matchups.

Vs Adjenna - poke her a couple times and then run like heck!
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Chad Ackerman
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The War Against Giygas!
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You cannot grasp the true form of Giygas' attack!
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
I couldn't find the words to express how much love I have for the game. Thankfully, you just did it for me Kudos!

I agree with everything you've said. Love your subtle little jabs at some of the boring themes that tend to dominate this hobby. This game proves that you can be flashy AND elegant
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Marco Santos
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
cgrater wrote:
Leaf Ninja wrote:
[size=18]

Matches take less than 25 minutes.

The 15 beat limit helps, but - honestly - we always forget to keep track of beats and play to KO anyway.

I would highly suggest that you try counting beats for a while. I have found that many characters (cough marmelee cough) can have a hard time with KOs. However, with beat-counting and sticking to the 15 beat limit, these characters can play an attrition style waiting game - they don't have to get a KO, they just need to have 1 more health than the opponent when the timer runs out.

This is something that shows up in many arcade-style fighting games as well, with delay being a useful tactic in certain matchups.

Vs Adjenna - poke her a couple times and then run like heck!

It's true.

Marmalee and Voco actually prove to capitalize on Burning through turns while preserving their life totals.

On the flip side, some characters actually get STRONGER the longer the match lasts (such as Robert and Megdelina). So, they'd seem stronger than they actually are if you play without the 15 Beat Limit.
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Tyler Nolto
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
I also continually forget to keep track of the beats. I always play until the opponent is eliminated. However, I have not found it to be a problem.
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Atnier Rodriguez
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
I place the beats right on top of the fighting track, smack-dab in the middle of it all, as a reminder. Every once in a while, I still forget to account for a beat or two. It's the tension of the fight I tell ya!
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Sergio Macias
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
One of the best reviews I've ever read
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Matthew Vines
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
okami31 wrote:
I place the beats right on top of the fighting track, smack-dab in the middle of it all, as a reminder. Every once in a while, I still forget to account for a beat or two. It's the tension of the fight I tell ya!

I have found the best way to remember to update the beat dial is to place some sort of token on top of my discard 2 pile, I have used a quarter, or a beat overview card from War for this purpose, and the act of picking up that token, triggers to me that I have to increment the beat dial. I do still miss beats sometimes, but I am much better at keeping track of it than I was.
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Sean DeHarde
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
I remember to update the beat counter every 2-4 turns. So, I probably play to about 15 beats every game... probably...whistle
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Dylan Thurston
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
I added "update beat counter" to the turn order summary on the game board.
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Chris Hinkes
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
I own and love this game. Highly recommended.

One (possibly negative) comment I have is that, for me, it is exhausting to play. It is a brain burner for me and after a few matches I have to take a break. Trying to focus on what my options are, what my opponents options are, and what will happen based on each combination takes a lot of brain energy.
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Christy
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
I've had the same exact experience. People say it gets better with time, and with increased familiarity with the characters (assuming you aren't a grizzled Battlecon veteran).
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Francis Bergeron
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
Victor Mancha wrote:
One of the best reviews I've ever read

Really!!!

What a good read.

With this write up we'll get our friends at the table to fight!
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T Scott
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
dthurston wrote:
I added "update beat counter" to the turn order summary on the game board.

I did the same thing. I also underlined all the "Before Activating", "On Hit", etc. text so they were easier to see at a glance. I'm sure this will be second nature at some point, but I'm still going through the turn order list one-by-one right now.
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The Pillow Demon
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
mnmkami wrote:
Also note that BattleQUEST is meant to be piss hard. You really need to know the ins and outs of your characters, as well as specific interactions between multiple characters, to win the game! If you're having a hard time, I suggest looking for someone with a LOT of Soak (Runika would fit). Given the rules, you effectively share Soak with allies if you share the same space. Use that to your advantage.

This is GREAT advice (we totally forgot that players sharing spaces could combine passive effects). We will conquer the solo/co-op dungeons.

And thanks for clarifying that the dungeons were designed to murder us. We were ready to throw out our gaming heritage, like we almost did when we started playing Dark Souls.

Zeromus wrote:
I own and love this game. Highly recommended.

One (possibly negative) comment I have is that, for me, it is exhausting to play. It is a brain burner for me and after a few matches I have to take a break. Trying to focus on what my options are, what my opponents options are, and what will happen based on each combination takes a lot of brain energy.

I can only speak for my own experience as a fighting game veteran (Evil Zone on the PSX, all the Street Fighters, Guilty Gear, two BlazBlue titles, MvC 2+3, all the Smash Bros. titles + droooool Project M), but I think approaching BattleCON with the attitude of a fighting gamer rather than as a "boardgamer" might help with the brain-burn situation.

Yep, I do realize this seemingly contradicts some points I make in the review and sounds counter-intuitive since this IS a boardgame, but try playing a match or two based on "impulse." Instead of starting off the match thinking "should I burst to retreat the 2-3 spots in case he tries to get in my face the first beat with a high-priority dash/drive? Should we just trade Shots?", try "screw it, I feel like rushing in and throwing him against the invisible wall." Try playing the game with a somewhat "instinctive" and impulsive attitude - rather than a purely analytical one - and you might find that it opens up a lot of options for setup, pressure, and mindgames. Once you have the mechanics down and develop a "feel" for pacing and rhythm between various matchups, THEN rigorous analysis might prove energizing more than a stressful mental exercise.
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Marco Santos
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
Leaf Ninja wrote:
mnmkami wrote:
Also note that BattleQUEST is meant to be piss hard. You really need to know the ins and outs of your characters, as well as specific interactions between multiple characters, to win the game! If you're having a hard time, I suggest looking for someone with a LOT of Soak (Runika would fit). Given the rules, you effectively share Soak with allies if you share the same space. Use that to your advantage.

This is GREAT advice (we totally forgot that players sharing spaces could combine passive effects). We will conquer the solo/co-op dungeons.

And thanks for clarifying that the dungeons were designed to murder us. We were ready to throw out our gaming heritage, like we almost did when we started playing Dark Souls.

Remember: BattleQUEST is akin to a Puzzle Game. It's less about "regular BattleCON" mindgames and more about figuring a proper configuration of characters/equipment/attacks in order to beat the room.
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David Gearhart
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
This entire review was outstanding.

My favorite part was the part about Gaspar.
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Tracy Baker
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
Epic review for an epic game. Nice work!
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Mike Stevens
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
gertbert wrote:
Epic review for an epic game. Nice work!

DITTO......Great review. 2 of my gaming buddies own this game and I can't wait to play it again.
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The Pillow Demon
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
So I actually got my math very, very wrong when I attempted that first shot.

Review's been updated accordingly.

...

wow

(Click below for a formal breakdown without me going crazy or anything.)

Spoiler (click to reveal)


3 styles * 5 bases = 15 unique attacks possible

The other player also has 15 unique attacks possible out of his/her hand.

This one's simple. How many different unique attack pairings are possible between these two characters?

A simple example:

x1 y1
x2 y2
x3 y3

Order doesn't matter (so x1y1 = y1x1, since we're talking about a simultaneous reveal within a single beat)

x1y1, x1y2, x1y3
x2y1, x2y2, x2y3
x3y1, x3y2, x3y3

9 possible unique attack combinations between two fighters IF they only had three unique attacks each during a single beat.

But 15 unique attacks each, assuming order doesn't matter:

15^2 = 225 unique attack pairings between two fighters in a single beat.

Now we have 7 beats (conservative match estimate, lower end of 7 to 11 beats in an average match)

The math question essentially becomes:

You have 225 unique attack pairings. How many different ways are there to arrange these attack pairings over 7 beats?

- We have to make ANOTHER assumption: since attacks "recycle," we should assume that there is an "unlimited supply" of each unique object. It's an approximation (technically not true since "recycled" styles/bases may or may not be individually re-used), but we've already made NUMEROUS conservative approximations since we're not even factoring in the styles/bases in the initial discard piles - we're ONLY saying that within a single beat, 15 possible unique attacks are possible for EACH fighter, and therefore there are 225 possible unique attack pairings in one beat. Now over 7 beats...

- Another assumption we have to make is that order DOES matter. So pairing order (x1y1 into x2y3) is a unique 2-beat sequence compared to (x2y3 into x1y1).

Thus, it boils down to a permutation formula.

Given all of the above, the answer is: 225^7

So between two fighters where one gets KO'd in 7 beats, there are 29192926000000000 games possible.

(And again, this assumes that the characters don't even move.)

(While SOME pairings may not seem to make "sense", it's really not our place to assume. First of all, the math only takes into account "possible" pairings, and second, I HAVE seen two players "dash" and "burst" simultaneously. It's straight up NOT correct to say "well THIS attack pairing would simply never happen." There are times when certain pairings are more LIKELY than others, but the beauty behind that perception is that the PLAYERS know that also, and WILL adjust their attacks accordingly. Literally anything's possible.)

(BattleCON is SUCH a complex game hidden behind all these simple player mechanics.)

(Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.)
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Marco Santos
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
Leaf Ninja wrote:
(While SOME pairings may not seem to make "sense", it's really not our place to assume. First of all, the math only takes into account "possible" pairings, and second, I HAVE seen two players "dash" and "burst" simultaneously. It's straight up NOT correct to say "well THIS attack pairing would simply never happen." There are times when certain pairings are more LIKELY than others, but the beauty behind that perception is that the PLAYERS know that also, and WILL adjust their attacks accordingly. Literally anything's possible.)

Don't worry about it. A lot would disagree with me but sometimes, I personally play some of the most counter-intuitive attacks possible (Grapnel Bursts, anyone?).

The reasoning being that you wish to save your better options for the following beat. As such, there is simply no attack that would have a 100% never use. . .in theory.

Of course there are exceptions, but accounting for ALL of them would be a logistical NIGHTMARE.
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Alvin
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
This is the first game I've been itching to keep playing over and over in a really long time! I think my last love affair that was this intense was Cosmic Encounter, Battlestar Galactica, and the first few weeks of Dominion.

I haven't had this for more than 10 plays or 1 month, but it's already among classics for me!
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Troy Spencer
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Re: The Old Masters, Stable Veterans, and Spunky Fresh Talents of Boardgames better take notice: A New Challenger Approaches
Fantastic post:
Looking at your game library and mine I see a few commonalities.
I just bought Battlecon, Devastation of Indines yesterday and it should arrive mid week. I'm truly looking forward to it.
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