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Subject: First look at DREAMBLADE! rss

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Bernd Scholz
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Hello Geeks,

Now I've played DREAMBLADE, the new game by Wizard of the Coast (WotC),
for several times and I'd like to give a short report on how the game is working and whom this game is made for (in my point of view).

For all those of you who want to test the game without buying a starter WotC offers a virtual starter. We played our games with that virtual starter. Download that file, print out, cut and fold the 'miniatures', read the rules, print the map and have fun with your first DREAMBLADE-game.

The resources for the game you can find on the webpage of WotC:

The virtual starter:
http://www.wizards.com/dreamblade/files/Dreamblade_Virtual_S...

The map:
http://www.wizards.com/dreamblade/files/Dreamblade_Map.zip

The rules:
http://www.wizards.com/dreamblade/files/Dreamblade_Rulebook....

In addition a virtual booster pack:
http://www.wizards.com/dreamblade/files/dreamblade_virtual_b...

An commented game with the starter set:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dbm/bm/20060620a
(Articles/R&D Starter Set showdown)

The game:
You must select 16 miniatures (minis) to form your warband out of 96 available minis (they come in 16-minis Starter and 7-minis booster packs; randomized). The gameboard is a 5x5 squares area where no more than 8 minis (4 friendly, 4 enemy) may stay in one square. Each mini has some stats, where the main stats is the number of dice you'll throw when the mini is attacking and how much damage this mini can suffer before it is 'out of game'. In addition some minis have some special abilities. To get the minis into game (onto the board) you have to spawn them.

The moves:
First both players check for initiative by throwing one die. The higher number goes first (ties are re-rolled). The player with the initative spawns his minis first. The spawn-points available (for each player) are the addition of the two dice rolled for initiative. The player starts spawning in their gameboard corner (portal), later in the game under special circumstances in a square in that players last row.

The minis have different spawning points and the stronger a mini is, the more points it cost.

After spawning the minis, the player with the initative makes his 2 actions. He can either shift (move) each mini one square, or attack with up to all minis. If he attacks, the minis have to be in the same square as the attacked minis. This means, that you can't move 2 squares and then attack. If you end up with a mini in a square with an enemy mini, an attack only happens, when you want to attack. You can't move out of a square with an enemy mini (first you have to 'clear' the square).

After the player with the initative has done his 2 actions, the second player takes his 2 actions (shift/attack).

Who wins the turn?
There are 6 squares for each player, where his minis can get conquest points (1 to 5). If a mini stays on such a square and there is no enemy mini on that same square, the player gets the indicated conquest points. When a player kills an enemy mini within an attack, he gets an additional conquest point for each killed enemy mini (only 1 point, regardless whether the mini is a 12 spawn-point strong monster or a 2 spawn-point 'weak' mini). At the end of the turn count the conquest points of the occupied squares and the conquest points of the killed minis. The higher number of conquest points wins the turn.

How long do you play?
The game ends, when one player has won his 6th turn. That means, the game can last 14 or 15 or 16... turns, when the final result is 6:5 and there has been some ties.


WHAT'S HOT WITH DREAMBLADE?

Sure, DREAMBLADE could be a nice game. It's really hard to decide between a cheap horde of minis or a warband with strong but expensive minis. A large horde may try to conquer the necessary squares to get area control, but they won't stand a lot of attacks. And if you have no mini on the board you can't controll an area. On the other hand, if you have some few strong creatures you may win the attacks, but you don't have enough minis to get the good conquest points for area control. To get the points of the '5'-points-square is better than to get 2 points by killing 2 enemy minis. In that way, DREAMBLADE is something like chess. You are limited in moving and you need area control.

Beside the normal stats (number of dice rolled, life...) some minis have some special abilities and some minis can get very strong when being accompanied by other minis.

DREAMBLADE finds a lot in common with the WotC-game Magic:The gathering. You need resources to get the minis into play. The minis (races) are divided into 4 aspects (like the 5 colors in Magic). Damage that doesn't kill the mini is negated at the end of the turn. You have a graveyard. 'When this mini comes into play ...'; 'When ... sacrifice this creature.'

WHAT SUCKS WITH DREAMBLADE?

It's a collectible game. That's the main reason not to start with that game. Do you want to spend tons of dollars for getting your needed miniatures? Either you have to buy a lot of booster to get the warband you wanna have or you have to pay your hard earned money on the secondary market (ebay?) to find your needed 'Black Lotus'.

If you like miniatures and you don't want to spend a lot of time on painting them...choose HEROSCAPE instead of DREAMBLADE. With HEROSCAPE you get a game with a variable hex-gameboard, pre-painted minis, a nice gameplay and you can buy whatever minis you want. No need to buy a booster where you don't know WHAT you are buying (welcome at the gambling zone).

And WotC offers no pre-constructed Starter, where you can buy a balanced warband. WotC... are you only interested in making money?

CONCLUSION:
As I wrote: 'Sure, DREAMBLADE could be a nice game'. COULD!!! If there would be the chance to buy pre-constructed starters. If there would be the chance to buy pre-selected boosters (like HEROSCAPE). If there would be the chance to buy WHAT YOU WANT! The game has nice moments ... but I'm not willing to spend my money on collecting the game bits to get a satisfying gameplay.
If you are interested in well organized tournaments, if you have enough money to 'collect all the minis' and if you need a new addiction, DREAMBLADE is YOUR game.
If you have limited resources (money), if miniature games are only one part of your gaming collection and if you like to buy only completed games, then you won't miss anything when not choosing DREAMBLADE.

Now it's up to you.
Have some nice games.

Bernie

PS: HEROSCAPE is the better game!




 
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Paul DeStefano
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Now, totally ignore money and presentation and collect factors.

How good is the game, assuming you had an unlimited amount of money, or the patience to wait for Ebay?
 
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Tim McCormley
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Well there is one aspect of the game that *could* mitigate the collectibility aspect. And that is how spawn points are allocated. Since they are variable (each person rolls a six sided die and the sum of both dice equals the "spawn points" each player receives that turn), I think it should cut down on the ability of the rare minis to dominate the game. i.e. The only other way to generate more spawn points is to lose creatures, (you get 2 extra spawn points for each creature killed in combat from the previous turn), so there is no mechanism for ensuring that your really cool minis actually make it into the game. Also, there is some chance (I think one player has to roll a natural "1" or something) that no spawning will ocurr that turn.

Of course, minis that are from different factions cost more to spawn, so there is some "built in" advantage to having more minis of one type, but at least there are no rare cards or minis (yet) that generate massive amounts of spawn points.

If the minis are well balanced (three 4pt minis equal one 12pt mini) the investment requirements might not be so nasty.

Tim
 
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Paul DeStefano
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armor_11 wrote:
If the minis are well balanced (three 4pt minis equal one 12pt mini) the investment requirements might not be so nasty.


Well, the problem with many CxGs is that Rare#152 is a 17 point monster, but if he was common, he would be 25 points, essentially unbalanceing the game in that way. While they may require more spawn points, it may not be enough more.
 
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Robert Choi
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I think Dreamblade is a fine game.

The collectability doesn't detract from the game at all...instead, it takes a solid tactical system and adds a lot of neat diversity.

If you are an obsessive completist, this game will cost you a lot of money. We played with a single starter and had a good, balanced game.

As Bernie-Paul said try the pdf version. There's a lot of interesting things going on in this game.

If you like abstract strategy like chess or shogi...or liked the combos of Magic, I think you'll like Dreamblade.

My only complaint is the theme...i just don't find it as interesting as standard fantasy or sci fi.
 
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Read the rulebook, plan for all contingencies, and…read the rulebook again.
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I guess this would be another topic, but how does Dreamblade hold up to Navia Drapt?
 
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Jeremy Carlson
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Oh boy. Someone said it. If you are looking for a game that is comparible to Navia Dratp...this is NOT it.

The board might have some similiarities, and both are/were collectible, but that is about all they have in common.

ND has no luck factor in it. Dreamblade does. I'm a huge fan of ND, and I had heard rumors that Dreamblade was the replacement. So I tried the online demo. That couldn't be further from the truth.

Dreamblade is an ok game, from what I saw in the demo. But it is massively collectible. The best thing it has going for it right now, is the support its getting from WotC.

DB uses dice to determine what you can summon and how the outcome of a battle is determined. This is not a shogi or chess variant.

I'm not sure where I am going with all of this, but here is the important part: DO NOT LOOK AT THIS GAME IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A NEW NAVIA DRATP.

Its fine for what it is...a totally different game.
 
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Martin Sarnecki
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I played Dreamblade the other night -- we each had a 16-figure starter, and the similarities with Magic are obvious, as described by Bernie-Paul.

And the same reasoning as to collectibility looks to apply: it's as collectible as you want it to be. If you're an obsessive collector, then yes, it'll probably turn into a money pit. If you just buy two starters and nothing else, you'll have enough to keep you going forever: just draft your creatures before each game to ensure neither player gets an unfair advantage. Add extra figures, from randomised boosters or by buying singles, as you see fit. The secondary market, including eBay, will probably make this very affordable.

If a competitive scene grows up around Dreamblade, yes, you'll probably need to spend bagfuls to keep up with the strongest constructed decks, but that's your choice. If you can't afford it, don't do it. I haven't played competitive Magic for a couple of years now really, but it's still my only 10-rated game, because I can grab a boxful of commons and have an afternoon of fun with any other player.

So forget the idea that collectible = bad, it only applies to the obsessive or hopelessly competitive. And who wants to play with those guys anyway, right?
 
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Justin
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i have 2 starters and 2 boosters, and i don't think it's nearly enough to build decent/balanced armies.
 
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Martin Sarnecki
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Well, I didn't say you'd have enough to keep you going forever and not want more!

But my point is that the game is as expandable/collectible as you want it to be. The idea that a game is a money sink is no more sound than saying that you have to have the endless Carcassone expansions/versions. If you play any vanilla game enough times, you run the risk of getting bored.

When all's said and done, complaining that a collectible game is collectible is pointless. And that's what Bernie-Paul is saying:

Quote:
It's a collectible game. That's the main reason not to start with that game. Do you want to spend tons of dollars for getting your needed miniatures? Either you have to buy a lot of booster to get the warband you wanna have or you have to pay your hard earned money on the secondary market (ebay?) to find your needed 'Black Lotus'.


He's making the assumption that collectible games are inherently a bad thing, which is only true if you already don't like collectible games -- his assumption is also his conclusion.
 
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Justin
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i'm not even talking about going on forever and ever. my random valor units are simply superior, and i am short on madness units. the only way i can see to balance these out is to make 3-aspect armies, which is very limiting in terms of cost. even if i were to accept those conditions (which would be wonky for both players depending on the spawn rolls), i would get bored with the units pretty fast. this game is definitely collectible in my book. even though i like heroscape less and it is a quite different game, i would steer someone that way if the c-word scares them.
 
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Robert Choi
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A good way around the cost of building a warband is to proxy minis.

You can get a few figs from another game or D&D and print out the spoiler list from the WOTC site. Cut out the label and slap it on to the bottom of the fig.

This is usually totally acceptable with casual players, which most of us are. Magic cards were often proxied for fun decks.

You also get a better idea of which figures work better and which figures you really want to acquire.
 
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David
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Hmm, interesting idea. You can get the stats for all the units online. Print that out 6 times (only 3 of one unit per warband * 2 warbands = 6 of each needed for a "complete" set for 2) and glue it to some bases. Throw together a board with a piece of paper and a pen in ~10 seconds. BAM, no money for collectables.

Wait a minute, that would be horibly illegal. I'd never do that.

........


/sound of printer printing in background
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