Recommend
13 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

Gears of War: The Board Game» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Just Broke the Shrink: Two Attempts at Emergence rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
oldschoolgamr
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Are you standin' yet?
badge
Artwork: My Daughter
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So, I really dig the work of FFG designer Corey Konieczka, especially Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game as well as Android: Infiltration. There are a ton others that I don't get to play due to lack of a regular gaming group (or rather any group): Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, Eldritch Horror, and Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game.

His talent for balancing variable player powers and giving powerful, tense, and thematic sandboxes to players is amazing. I also dig solo games as I began to realize that what I really wanted from video games - a repeatable, varied, strategic, cheering moment filled romp - was what board games do so well.

So, I game across this play through video series: http://youtu.be/ZopG2f_SG64?list=PLowwLcGcq9WCyw8Wa578qnvM-O..., realized Corey designed this as well, and instantly ordered it. I got it last week and finally managed to play two games of the first mission, Emergence. This is a brief recount of those two games, highlighting the moments that make me smile as a boardgamer and that make me want to shake Mr. Konieczka's hand someday. Spoiler: The game delivers - and then some.

FIRST ATTEMPT [Damon and Agustus]
My first impression during the initial turns was that Corey did a superb job pulling video game tropes into the board game: ammo drops, order cards, etc. are set up to mimic the emerging story of video game levels with pinpoint accuracy.

I was using cards and abilities well (having been trained well for that via Death Angel) and relying on ammo tokens when needed. The first and second wave of Locusts kept my advancement to a minimum for most of the first half of the game.

I managed to use Damon to load up on grenades as I had read that sealing emergence holes was difficult (Need an Omen on one of four dice). After failing to take out the only two figures on the board (now two wounded Drones), I decided to hightail it to the second to the last tile, where Damon could get three BADLY needed ammo tokens.

Unfortunately, this was just after taking out a Boomer with Damons Hammerburst, which wounded Agustus for two cards. When we made it to the ammo spot, a second Boomer attacked and since Damon had four cards, more than Augustus' two (who had followed to keep up and get away from the Drones), Damon was the best target.

The lucky Boomer was able to get FOUR hits and nearly drop Damon. Thinking I could take out the Boomer and seal the hole, Augustus lobbed a grenade into the final area... Unfortunately it hit - sealing the hole, but releasing the final Stage Two Locust wave! ANY chance at survival (all that was needed was to clear the existing Locusts) was completely dashed when the next AI card was "Firefight" - all models attacked or moved and attacked!

Damon was quickly dropped by the old wounded Drones, and the new Boomers made quick work of the two health Agustus... That will teach me to rush to end of the stage, grenade in mid-air! If it had just been a single model activation after the spawn, the boys may have survived.

Still, the game play was amazing and after four hours of play ending in a loss, I couldn't wait for another go at the scenario... Good, good times.

SECOND ATTEMPT [Marcus and Dominic]
This was an amazing game! Not only were my play decisions better informed and executed, but the tense combat outcomes were very memorable.

Once again the initial Locust run was handled well, although Marcus NEVER hit a single thing with his chainsaw - the whole game - even with the extra die. However, at the end of the long 16A tile we got rushed by a Spawn and Firefight combo - just like the last game - same place, same AI combo.

This time however, after Marcus was bleeding out, Dom was able to retreat five areas with Roadie Run (and an extra with his ability). But since that long tile had no walls, the Locusts still had line of sight!

Dom was at two health and a Drone had a shot: three attack dice got him two wounds! With no Dodge card, Dom rolled a single defense die and got TWO SHIELDS!

The victory was short lived as the next Locust activation (on poor Marcus' turn as he crawled back toward Dom) was a Boomer move and attack - his move put him in-line for a long range shot at Dom and he throws four attack dice! So, Dom had no choice but to use one of his two health to throw a Guard: Using the Hammerburst he snagged earlier, he rolled four dice and scored seven hits, the Boomer rolled zero shields and he was dropped before he could even get the shot off - AWESOME!

Dom was then able to revive Marcus and they regrouped in the second to the last tile - just before the emergence hole. A lucky draw for each allowed them to play back-to-back Sit Tight cards and things were looking up (Sit Tight allows you to draw more Order cards - i.e. Health).

Remembering the massive spawn and activation that happened after I sealed the hole on my first attempt, I used a follow card with Dom to get him into position (two areas from last tile) so that he could use his extra move to get two areas away from the emergence hole, throw a grenade at it (and the three models just spawned there from the last AI card) AND THEN move three spaces away.

But - the grenade HAD TO HIT with an Omen to seal the hole for this to work - it worked! (FIST PUMP). And delivered FOUR wounds to the Locusts in that area... nice.

The newly spawned Locusts then attacked in waves - first Wraiths Wretches (taken out eventually), then three Boomers who gathered in a single area two range away from our retreat position... Time for more grenades! Dom played a Pummel order and used his final two grenades to take out the four remaning Locusts for the win. EPIC!

That experience is EXACTLY what I want from a board game. Thank you Mr. Konieczka for the amazing game, and thank you Ricky Royal for the great video play through.

I am looking forward to trying the other missions, the expansion missions, and the user created missions here on BGG. If playing the introductory mission twice has given me this much enjoyment I can only imagine what's in store.

Thanks for reading,

OSG

EDITS: Changed Wraiths to Wretches - Was doing background reading on the Gears of War IP at http://gearsofwar.wikia.com/wiki/Locust_Horde. Did you know that the Beserker is the only female Locust? And that the Hammer of Dawn heats up Beserker skin allowing other weapons to then damage her? Cool, huh?
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jonathan Meltzer
United States
Dover
New Hampshire
flag msg tools
badge
Eight ball, corner pocket
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Fun read! I keep going back and forth on this one.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Erik Syvertsen
United States
Albuquerque
New Mexico
flag msg tools
badge
General Sherman says have a great day!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good session report!

I got this recently and just last night my wife and I were slaughtered by Boomers after some badly-timed Locust AI cards in our first play. We loved it!

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Jonathan, go forth on this one. I am not a fan of the license and didn't like the videogame (meh). The gameplay is excellent and the cardplay is captivating, the game is brilliant in almost all aspects.

Oldschool, great report! Glad to see someone else that, like me, overcame their hesitance and tried this out with positive results! And yes, the later missions and differen locust types totally switch it up!

Rule check, did you roll defensive dice for each locust when you threw grenades? That's part of it! I recommend Universalhead's rule summary/player aid to assist, although at the end of the day the ruleset is so straightforward it's hardly needed.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
oldschoolgamr
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Are you standin' yet?
badge
Artwork: My Daughter
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Moe45673 wrote:
Jonathan, go forth on this one. I am not a fan of the license and didn't like the videogame (meh). The gameplay is excellent and the cardplay is captivating, the game is brilliant in almost all aspects.

Oldschool, great report! Glad to see someone else that, like me, overcame their hesitance and tried this out with positive results! And yes, the later missions and differen locust types totally switch it up!

Rule check, did you roll defensive dice for each locust when you threw grenades? That's part of it! I recommend Universalhead's rule summary/player aid to assist, although at the end of the day the ruleset is so straightforward it's hardly needed.


Totally buy the game. I never played the video game and actually have never owned a non-Nintedo console, but this board game is stellar. Especially if you like Corey's other designs. The only drawback I have seen is that most of the base rulebook missions sound like they take between 3-4 hours - maybe more with 3+ players. My two games clocked in at four and three hours... The games didn't drag on - time actually flew by - but you need to have the time to enjoy it. I have heard the expansion missions (Gears of War: Mission Pack 1) provide shorter, but just as satisfying experiences.

I did roll the defensive dice for each individual Locust, and of course only about half of them were completely killed - the others were just wounded and added to the horde released when the hole sealed and the nearby door blew open. Gosh I love dice. The action filled dramatic stories those plastic destiny tools deliver is just amazing.

For a lighter version of this experience (more family friendly) I would suggest Mice and Mystics - less violent and not as heavily combat focused, tons of creativity, and slightly more newbie friendly. My wife and I have a campaign play of that going on (as well as Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Rise of the Runelords – Base Set which is much more a card game than the other two, but fun as well). Given the narrow combat focus and much higher level tactics of Gears of War I am predicting this stays my solo gem - which is totally fine by me. That just means more session reports shared on BGG...

OSG

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Awesome!

3 hours for emergence seems like a long time. Further plays should cut that down quite a bit
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
oldschoolgamr
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Are you standin' yet?
badge
Artwork: My Daughter
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Moe45673 wrote:
Awesome!

3 hours for emergence seems like a long time. Further plays should cut that down quite a bit


Yeah, I think some was set-up, some was rule checking, some was analysis, and some was dancing around the table marveling at the dice!

I do sometimes lose track of who's AI turn got interrupted for a Guard action and have started discarding AI cards in different direction depending on who is the active character.

I have to admit, I am more than a bit concerned about stages where the set-up does not include sealing all but the final emergence hole... That should be shear terror and utter chaos - Bring it on!

OSG
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ze Masqued Cucumber
France
flag msg tools
Protze et Chniaque !
badge
C'est le Gomazio à crête mordorée, dont le cri annonce le soir...
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As you noticed, the game is hard, which is good for a coop-game.
There is some luck factor involved, but also some characters are more suited for specific missions than others. For exemple I think that 1st mission is slightly easier with marcus + dom, which might explain why your 2nd attempt was more successful.
Happy gaming!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
oldschoolgamr
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Are you standin' yet?
badge
Artwork: My Daughter
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Roolz wrote:
As you noticed, the game is hard, which is good for a coop-game.
There is some luck factor involved, but also some characters are more suited for specific missions than others. For exemple I think that 1st mission is slightly easier with marcus + dom, which might explain why your 2nd attempt was more successful.
Happy gaming!


Well - I absolutely take that as a challenge. I would say the second attempt was more successful mostly due to knowing what is on the flip side of that Stage One card! I'll have to try again with the other two and see how it goes... Updated pending!

I do love luck in games, especially when there is a good amount of it and it is accurately balanced with abilities, items, cards, etc that can tactically be played to mitigate the averages... Then the outliers are what makes it really fun.

Many of Corey's games do this extremely well - esp. Death Angel, where that merciless die seems impossible to cope with. But once you get a feel for your options and learn the nuances of the game victory is totally doable. And like you said, high difficulty is a requirement for a successful co-op...

OSG
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
John Abrucia
United States
Florida
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review, especially this late in the game as I have actually added this on my CS wishlist. The only thing ever holding me back was the theme. I am a huge Xbox gamer and have played thru every Gears game and I don't know why I do that to myself as I've never really enjoyed any of them. Hoping that FFG would reskin this since they don't seem to be supporting it but it seems that I just need to make the leap...or the grenade toss.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
oldschoolgamr
United States
Michigan
flag msg tools
Are you standin' yet?
badge
Artwork: My Daughter
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
In addition to the wiki for the Gears of War IP I mentioned in the OP EDITS note (http://youtu.be/ZopG2f_SG64?list=PLowwLcGcq9WCyw8Wa578qnvM-O...), there is also the Gears of War "movie" - all the cut scenes and plot from the series of video games: http://youtu.be/ftEKg7kYi0M
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.