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Subject: Will you fight in the shade? rss

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Andrew Tosch
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This is my second review and would really like constructive criticism (good or bad) on it.

To me board games are all about the fun I have with friends, so that's what I mostly focus on, though I do touch on other things.


Components:

Simply, they are some of the best I've seen in board games. The tiles are rich, tokens numerous, and minis are feisty. The rule book looked great and was a fun read, but once you get into the game, there will be so many holes. I will touch on this later.

On the other hand, you may be left wanting more. You can play with just the base game, but they will be releasing so much more. For example, you get 2 monster types, 1 mini boss, and 1 boss. There are 4 more types, with multiple bosses, mini bosses, and agents (boss-like) that are coming soon. Also it's only for novice heroes. The next 2 tiers will be released later as a major expansion. To get a full set (not including exclusives) you're going to be paying $400 or more. So far I have only base components and I am enjoying, but I'm also excited for the new stuff.

Also all card backs are greyscale (no color). I got free sleeves and that helps SOOOOO much. This game cries out for Myth themed sleeves.


Rules:

I'm not going to explain the rules here (I can't really), so I'll go over the biggest issue with the game. You're going to come across numerous snags regarding the rules, some big, some small.

I can think of 3 general kinds of people when it comes to convoluted rules:

1) You play by all rules, all the time and mistakes make past gaming sessions feel wasted. You paid for someone else's game, not a box of stuff to make your own with. You might play with official variants, but thats it. Rules contradictions and holes are bad and make a game not fun. If there is a way to cheat the system within the rules, it breaks the game for you and never leaves the shelf. This game is definitely not for you (unless they really fix the rules).

2) You also play by the rules, but don't mind making mistakes or working to figure out rules. If there is a way to game the system, you will try to either make a rule or convince other to use an honor system.
For you, this game will be annoying, but worth the trouble (if you actually like the game play of course!).

3) Go with the flow or make stuff up on the fly. If something seems silly, unrealistic, or unthematic, you are often the first to suggest a fix. If you find a rule hole or contradiction, you (or your group) decides and moves. This game is perfect for you. It's rich on theme and full of choices even within the rules.


FUN: There is so much to hit on here, so I'll use sub-categories.

Theme:
As above... so rich and any event is an easy, yet exciting story.

Style:
This is a free-form, co-op, monster bash. It does all those things exceedingly well. Most cards you play raise the darkness (bad guys) meter and at 6 (regardless of player number) they act. You have to work together to optimize your cycles. There are no turns between players, each person can play as many cards as possible/wanted to in any order and that's a cycle. Just make sure one guy doesn't try to take over as dictator.

Bad Guys:
It's all co-op, so there has to be a good system in place to fight back against the heroes. When the enemies activate (as above) they get a card draw that gives a special effect, threat punishment, activation order, and spawning (from lairs). They have a priority list and can quickly swarm heroes if left unchecked. There are also traps that can add to the danger. It often really does feel like the box art.

Heroes:
There are 5 base heroes... and they all are vastly different. They run off a 25 card deck (5 card hand size). There are a few (3ish) cards that are the same deck to deck, but in different quantities. Each hero is so much fun (I have personally played 2) have cool combos and unique mechanics (soldier has rage, archer has arrows, acolyte has faith, ect) that makes the entire deck play out differently. Whatever your play style, you will likely find a solid match in the base game alone.

Quests:
These are your goals! There are broken down into 3 tiers. Chapters are small quests during a game session. Acts are a typical play session and can include 0-infinte chapters... though usually only a couple realistically. Storys make up 3 Acts and give you persistent rewards. Some are a bit confusing, but I just set up the best I can and have fun. In expansion they will have a 4th type called myths that take you through and entire character's progression.

Progression:
After a story you get either a title (bonus, though only 1 active at a time, and get to keep 1 item each) or a manipulation (remove a card from your deck and replace with a better one). Currently you max out upgrades at 10 story quests (30 Acts!). 5 titles and 5 novice (advanced) cards, but that going to at least triple with future expansions.

Replayability:
A) I want to play again right now to progress my apprentice (mage). As said above, base game alone is about 30 sessions to max out... nuff said.
B) What about after? All the characters are so unique, I wouldn't mind playing the others form the beginning. I can't see my self playing 150 sessions to max them all out, but you can and before then there will be more heroes, choices, loot, "levels", ect. This factor I can't see ever hampering replayability.
C) Variety. Base game there is only 2 monster types. I can see that getting old, but they are already have 4 type coming as add-on packs before the next expansion. There is quite a few quests and, again, more coming. Plus user made quests will probably soon be plentiful. There is even a supplement pack for an alternate play mode (slaughterfield, though I know too little about it to comment).

Let's see what else:
The mass tokens are confusing at first and hard to sort (I filled a 7x4 "pill box" with them).

The game seems easy to "cheat" so you need to wait for better rules, house rule, or honor system it. (Or just do it, if that's fun )

My friends all have their favorite games they want to play and they are different types all together. This is the first that they ALL are eager to play again ASAP.

This is the first game that now threatens Mageknight as my #1.


Summary: AKA TLDR
Me and my friends all had a blast with this game so far and I foresee a lot of replay. We are fine with filling rule holes in as we go and checking on them later.

Base game score:

8.5

(-.5 for rules, I don't mind them too much, but wish they used less short hand, especially on the cards)
(-1 for lack of variety)

Both of these I can see being fixed and I can't find a single thing I dislike about the actual play.

Edit: Grammer
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Mike McDonald
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I really like your breakdown of the three different types of gamer and their reaction to the rules issues - I really think you hit it on the head there.
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Shakka
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Nice review, TY for sharing it

Shakka
 
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Jason Farris
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I guess I need to be added as the 4th type of gamer. If I am paying over 100 bucks for a game and expansions, I expect to receive one with the rules at least being worked out.

The whole make up your own stuff because the rules as sent really suck argument holds no water for me for such an expensive game. I might be in the first camp. I also enjoy games where you can cheat and make up rules when it is intended as part of the game. which would be the third camp.

It's like you are saying the numerous bugs are a "feature" when really they are just terrible bugs.

so I call cognitive dissonance on all these reviews about how great the game is when you just make up the rules.

Show me a review from someone who did not purchase the game and was not incentivized by the company in any way (i.e. no freebies or being taught by a company rep). Then we'll see if it is that wonderful to play. Because most people buying it a retail will be those people.

I'm sorry but having to look at game play videos, and read huge FAQs to play the game is an indication of bad rules, bad editing, or both.

and this more a general comment to all the reviews that talk about how great the game is but there are some rules issues...
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Andrew Tosch
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Smilinbrax wrote:
I guess I need to be added as the 4th type of gamer. If I am paying over 100 bucks for a game and expansions, I expect to receive one with the rules at least being worked out.

The whole make up your own stuff because the rules as sent really suck argument holds no water for me for such an expensive game. I might be in the first camp. I also enjoy games where you can cheat and make up rules when it is intended as part of the game. which would be the third camp.

It's like you are saying the numerous bugs are a "feature" when really they are just terrible bugs.

so I call cognitive dissonance on all these reviews about how great the game is when you just make up the rules.

Show me a review from someone who did not purchase the game and was not incentivized by the company in any way (i.e. no freebies or being taught by a company rep). Then we'll see if it is that wonderful to play. Because most people buying it a retail will be those people.

I'm sorry but having to look at game play videos, and read huge FAQs to play the game is an indication of bad rules, bad editing, or both.

and this more a general comment to all the reviews that talk about how great the game is but there are some rules issues...


Well first of all, your mainly in the first camp because, obviously, the rule issues makes this game not great for you. I can respect that, but just see why I think it's a great game despite the issues.

Second, I agree the rules are awful. I have never deducted points from a game because of the rules before. That said, to me a game is all about the fun. My friends and I had an amazing time playing and can't wait to paly tonight DESPITE the rule mess. I like how you so have much choice within the rules AND being free-form and co-op, house rules are easy (which makes the messed up rules playable, but still not right nor a feature).

Third, I make up my own games and variants all the time. They have their own degree of fun, but are not as good as this. Just because they give 90% of the rules (which does suck) doesn't mean I'm running around the back yard with them in my hand yelling "slash, stab, ooph!" and saying its a great game. What is there IS great.

Finnaly, yes this is an expensive game and should have everything your looking for. I don't know about you, but I don't buy expensive things without research first. I not going to go out and drop 200-300 on Desecnt and all its expansions without reading reviews and trying out the base game. This was on KS meaning there was no research that could be done. If your unhappy with your purchase, then sell it or you lost out. That is a risk of KS, take it or leave it. Granted a good company will do anything within reason to keep customers, like fixing the rule book, which they are.

So if you don't like the current issuses, don't complain when other don't mind them.
 
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Heath Gray
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Smilinbrax wrote:
I guess I need to be added as the 4th type of gamer. If I am paying over 100 bucks for a game and expansions, I expect to receive one with the rules at least being worked out.

The whole make up your own stuff because the rules as sent really suck argument holds no water for me for such an expensive game. I might be in the first camp. I also enjoy games where you can cheat and make up rules when it is intended as part of the game. which would be the third camp.

It's like you are saying the numerous bugs are a "feature" when really they are just terrible bugs.

so I call cognitive dissonance on all these reviews about how great the game is when you just make up the rules.

Show me a review from someone who did not purchase the game and was not incentivized by the company in any way (i.e. no freebies or being taught by a company rep). Then we'll see if it is that wonderful to play. Because most people buying it a retail will be those people.

I'm sorry but having to look at game play videos, and read huge FAQs to play the game is an indication of bad rules, bad editing, or both.

and this more a general comment to all the reviews that talk about how great the game is but there are some rules issues...


I did not kickstart the game. I bout the game off of someone who kickstarted it and paid $100 for it and I think the game is amazing. I spent a lot of time reading FAQs and watching videos, but once I played the game I thought it was all worth it.
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Jason Farris
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olimar44 wrote:


So if you don't like the current issuses, don't complain when other don't mind them.


We'll have to agree to disagree here. my "complaint" got me what I needed. you gave me a clarified response that explains what I needed to know. As written, without a lot of research and guessing, the game is not likely playable. by the average person.

I have no problem making a rules on the fly when playing as long as you can eventually find it later and have no problem with intentionally vague rules in a game.

But this game is a mess without a ton of research and time investment from what you are saying.

i'll wait to see what the retail rules are like before even considering this game.
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Andrew Tosch
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Smilinbrax wrote:
olimar44 wrote:


So if you don't like the current issuses, don't complain when other don't mind them.


We'll have to agree to disagree here. my "complaint" got me what I needed. you gave me a clarified response that explains what I needed to know. As written, without a lot of research and guessing, the game is not likely playable. by the average person.

I have no problem making a rules on the fly when playing as long as you can eventually find it later and have no problem with intentionally vague rules in a game.

But this game is a mess without a ton of research and time investment from what you are saying.

i'll wait to see what the retail rules are like before even considering this game.


Thats fair. I hope they fix the rules too. As is will lead to alot of disapointed purchases with is bad for the game and the company.
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Andy Dunks
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Quote:
I have no problem making a rules on the fly when playing as long as you can eventually find it later and have no problem with intentionally vague rules in a game.

But this game is a mess without a ton of research and time investment from what you are saying.



It took me about four hours over two evenings of walking through the game with the rulebook, and the condensed rules and FAQs at BGG and a trial solo game with two heroes to get the system down. I now feel confident enough to introduce it to my group tomorrow. Is that a ton of research and investment? Didn't feel like it, and even the trial game had many epic moments. And now that I am over the hump of the learning curve, it was worth it.

Could or should MegaCon have done better? Sure. But they still made a hell of a game, and with a bit of help from the BGG community it has already been made accessible.

My two cents - don't let concerns of unplayability dissuade you.
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Andrew Tosch
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Atvar wrote:
Quote:
I have no problem making a rules on the fly when playing as long as you can eventually find it later and have no problem with intentionally vague rules in a game.

But this game is a mess without a ton of research and time investment from what you are saying.



It took me about four hours over two evenings of walking through the game with the rulebook, and the condensed rules and FAQs at BGG and a trial solo game with two heroes to get the system down. I now feel confident enough to introduce it to my group tomorrow. Is that a ton of research and investment? Didn't feel like it, and even the trial game had many epic moments. And now that I am over the hump of the learning curve, it was worth it.

Could or should MegaCon have done better? Sure. But they still made a hell of a game, and with a bit of help from the BGG community it has already been made accessible.

My two cents - don't let concerns of unplayability dissuade you.


And here we have a 2. Party assembled!
 
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