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Abraham Quicksilver
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I've just finished my first play through of Warfighter and I'm feeling very grumpy...

Why?

Because DVG have made lots of games before and ought to know better.

1) The rules are quite obscure for what ought to be simple
2) It is lacking a little finesse or elegance in its mechanics.
3) The play mat is actually a hindrance to play

I'm not saying it is a bad game, on my experience so far I'd rate it about 5, if I can get the rules under my belt I would put it around an 8.

So, here's my beef:

OBSCURE RULES


I'm not quite sure I understand the logic of the sequence of the rule book. I think it's done in the order of (a) introduce some components and explain them fully, (b) introduce the turn order and explain it fully and (c) embedded within each bit lots of detail that is out of sequence.

Now DVG have made lots of similar style games and I know there are reported issues with this format in their previous games. They really ought to do better.

The rules could do with:

1) a more "gamer" logical flow, not a "game" logical flow. By which I mean they ought to follow a more traditional format.

2) the components need introducing without detailed explanation, it took me ages to work out which were soldier ID's, hostile attack ID's and wounds.

3) the cards need introducing with proper highlights as to what bit of info is which.

4) a good rules summary - more detailed than the turn summary on the play mat

5) "Dawn of the Zeds" faces a similar problem and dealt with it by having both a quick start guide and rules summary sheets - Warfighter would hugely benefit from these.

6) The sample game needs moving to a separate booklet because the rules book gets used a lot

7) the card keywords summary (+1 for adding this) should be on a separate sheet.

8) the graphic design on the cards does not encourage the correct reading of the tables shown on the cards - some vertical lines or alternate column colouring would go a long way.

If I was enthused enough about the game I would go to the trouble of doing this myself.

I can see that this is a game that if you come back to after a six month break it's going to be like starting over again.

Incidentally, the online video from DVG (find it in the video's section) does a much better job of describing the game rules than the rules book. They could use this as the basis of a better rule book.


LACK OF FINESSE/ELEGANCE IN THE RULES

9) When you equip a soldier you often adjust his attack capabilities. Similarly when you introduce hostile and event cards they often adjust location capabilities.

The use of cards here does not help the player keep track of what is in play. Tokens to go on the cards would help a lot here.

10) The Player turn mechanics and the Hostile turn mechanics are not the same. I sort of understand why this is, but what it leads to is having two sets of rule mechanics depending on whether it is the player or the hostile acting.

For example, the attack process for a player has a lot of differences compared to the hostile attack.

Similarly hostiles move in a different way than players.

11) The use of action points and experience points seem to overlap - I believe you could use only one of the two for the same results. Actually the Wounds/Health could probably be wrapped in there as well.

12) The use of the action deck is good, maybe not used as effectively as in Legendary Encounters which really sets a bar for this mechanic.

13) The tracking of the many different ammo types feels unecessarily cumbersome. Again I understand the reasoning but I don't think it makes enough difference to the game to be worth it.

14) The timer track could be better handled by counters or even a rotary dial

15) The difference between "loadout" and "cost" and "resources" is all a little close, but again with subtle differences - I think one would do. (In fact I still can't work out how the sample load out works despite reading the loadout rules three times now)

16 A "starter" version followed by "advanced" rules would work so much better. For example pre-defined missions, objectives and locations in the starter, then introduce the "advanced" rules of playing locations from the action deck.

17) Sort of related to this: a set of "instant" ready to go squads would be ever so helpful.

18) When one of the key weapons requires four dice to be rolled, it's cheap to only include 3.


Between this lack of finesse and the awkward rule book the game ends up feeling a lot harder and complicated than it really needs to be.

I understand the games roots in the various other Tactical Leader et al games which also follow this path, all the more reason why this stuff should not be happening.

I have a suspicion that too much of the playtesting is by players too familiar with past systems (and this system) and not enough blind testers.



THE PLAYMAT


19) This is just wrong. The layout is actually a hindrance when playing the game since there carefully displayed location cards make it impossible to layout their associated hostile cards.

The mat just makes no sense at all - more than that - it seems to offer no benefit in anyway at all.

The mat is also way oversized, has too much wasted space and because of the chosen material the creases are really strong in it.

Basically, I don't understand why it is in there. You can play without it and play more easily without it.

20) Similarly the box and inserts isn't made to actually hold the components. As soon as you punch out all the counters you can't get everything back in the box. A plastic insert with counter trays would be so much more useful than the playmat.



CONCLUSION

I've seen games with much worse complaints than this, but I feel that DVG has been publishing these types of games for long enough that they should have done a better job.

So, if you like you can think of this as a review of DVG's design/playtest process as of the game itself.

I would like to see the rule book comletely re-written by DVG (or better still, someone not from DVG) and posted online as a new PDF.

I would like to see some improved player aids also available online as PDF.

These wouldn't be overly expensive, maybe they could use some of the money from the Kickstarter Wave 2 for this

I believe there is a good game in here and I'm going to perservere a bit longer


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Moe45673
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A few things

1) READ THE EXAMPLE OF PLAY in the rulebook. A ton of things come together when reading that. You are not the first one to complain about the rulebook and your criticism on this point is valid. Watching the video you mentioned helps as well.

2) I did not enjoy my first playthroug all that much. The game shot up in my personal rankings on subsequent plays. Building your squad pre-mission is indescribably rewarding.

3) the playmat is near useless, as you say. I personally play it so that the location cards stretch out in a vertical line away from me, and the hostiles are horizontally placed by each appropriate one.

Thanks for taking the time to add to the discussion!
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Colby Bimore
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Well, this review is very discouraging.

These comments give a very different impression from other reviews that I read that were more "glowing".

I was all ready to buy but now I think that I should take a closer look first.
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Lawrence Davis
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aqsgames wrote:
I've just finished my first play through of Warfighter and I'm feeling very grumpy...

Why?

Because DVG have made lots of games before and ought to know better.

1) The rules are quite obscure for what ought to be simple
2) It is lacking a little finesse or elegance in its mechanics.
3) The play mat is actually a hindrance to play

I'm not saying it is a bad game, on my experience so far I'd rate it about 5, if I can get the rules under my belt I would put it around an 8.

So, here's my beef:

OBSCURE RULES


I'm not quite sure I understand the logic of the sequence of the rule book. I think it's done in the order of (a) introduce some components and explain them fully, (b) introduce the turn order and explain it fully and (c) embedded within each bit lots of detail that is out of sequence.

Now DVG have made lots of similar style games and I know there are reported issues with this format in their previous games. They really ought to do better.

The rules could do with:

1) a more "gamer" logical flow, not a "game" logical flow. By which I mean they ought to follow a more traditional format.

2) the components need introducing without detailed explanation, it took me ages to work out which were soldier ID's, hostile attack ID's and wounds.

3) the cards need introducing with proper highlights as to what bit of info is which.

4) a good rules summary - more detailed than the turn summary on the play mat

5) "Dawn of the Zeds" faces a similar problem and dealt with it by having both a quick start guide and rules summary sheets - Warfighter would hugely benefit from these.

6) The sample game needs moving to a separate booklet because the rules book gets used a lot

7) the card keywords summary (+1 for adding this) should be on a separate sheet.

8) the graphic design on the cards does not encourage the correct reading of the tables shown on the cards - some vertical lines or alternate column colouring would go a long way.

If I was enthused enough about the game I would go to the trouble of doing this myself.

I can see that this is a game that if you come back to after a six month break it's going to be like starting over again.

Incidentally, the online video from DVG (find it in the video's section) does a much better job of describing the game rules than the rules book. They could use this as the basis of a better rule book.


LACK OF FINESSE/ELEGANCE IN THE RULES

9) When you equip a soldier you often adjust his attack capabilities. Similarly when you introduce hostile and event cards they often adjust location capabilities.

The use of cards here does not help the player keep track of what is in play. Tokens to go on the cards would help a lot here.

10) The Player turn mechanics and the Hostile turn mechanics are not the same. I sort of understand why this is, but what it leads to is having two sets of rule mechanics depending on whether it is the player or the hostile acting.

For example, the attack process for a player has a lot of differences compared to the hostile attack.

Similarly hostiles move in a different way than players.

11) The use of action points and experience points seem to overlap - I believe you could use only one of the two for the same results. Actually the Wounds/Health could probably be wrapped in there as well.

12) The use of the action deck is good, maybe not used as effectively as in Legendary Encounters which really sets a bar for this mechanic.

13) The tracking of the many different ammo types feels unecessarily cumbersome. Again I understand the reasoning but I don't think it makes enough difference to the game to be worth it.

14) The timer track could be better handled by counters or even a rotary dial

15) The difference between "loadout" and "cost" and "resources" is all a little close, but again with subtle differences - I think one would do. (In fact I still can't work out how the sample load out works despite reading the loadout rules three times now)

16 A "starter" version followed by "advanced" rules would work so much better. For example pre-defined missions, objectives and locations in the starter, then introduce the "advanced" rules of playing locations from the action deck.

17) Sort of related to this: a set of "instant" ready to go squads would be ever so helpful.

18) When one of the key weapons requires four dice to be rolled, it's cheap to only include 3.


Between this lack of finesse and the awkward rule book the game ends up feeling a lot harder and complicated than it really needs to be.

I understand the games roots in the various other Tactical Leader et al games which also follow this path, all the more reason why this stuff should not be happening.

I have a suspicion that too much of the playtesting is by players too familiar with past systems (and this system) and not enough blind testers.



THE PLAYMAT


19) This is just wrong. The layout is actually a hindrance when playing the game since there carefully displayed location cards make it impossible to layout their associated hostile cards.

The mat just makes no sense at all - more than that - it seems to offer no benefit in anyway at all.

The mat is also way oversized, has too much wasted space and because of the chosen material the creases are really strong in it.

Basically, I don't understand why it is in there. You can play without it and play more easily without it.

20) Similarly the box and inserts isn't made to actually hold the components. As soon as you punch out all the counters you can't get everything back in the box. A plastic insert with counter trays would be so much more useful than the playmat.



CONCLUSION

I've seen games with much worse complaints than this, but I feel that DVG has been publishing these types of games for long enough that they should have done a better job.

So, if you like you can think of this as a review of DVG's design/playtest process as of the game itself.

I would like to see the rule book comletely re-written by DVG (or better still, someone not from DVG) and posted online as a new PDF.

I would like to see some improved player aids also available online as PDF.

These wouldn't be overly expensive, maybe they could use some of the money from the Kickstarter Wave 2 for this

I believe there is a good game in here and I'm going to perservere a bit longer


I'm almost done with my first play through and everything you just said is 100% accurate. I don't understand how the designers and/or playtesters let that player's mat get through to final production. After placing just three location cards I realized that the way the mat has you placing cards horizontally makes no sense. You can't read the cards very well that way and there isn't enough room to place hostile cards nearby in any good order.

This is my third DVG game, having already purchased, played, and fallen in love with the Hornet and Phantom Leader games. I thought for sure Warfighter would be very similar and just as enjoyable. Right now that's definitely not the case I'm experiencing, but you are right Abraham,....there is a decent game here....just got to dig to find it.
But definitely disappointed knowing that DVG has previously done some awesome games.
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Moe45673
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Again, keep playing! The thing i've personally found to be easy to forget is the stealth rules, otherwise everything is smooth as butter. The game is excellent
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Lutz Pietschker
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Moe45673 wrote:
Again, keep playing!

While this certainly is good advice, it does not address many of the problems mentioned. "A good game hidden" sums it up pretty well. The glowing reviews are mostly about gameplay, and I am with them in thinking that the gameplay is excellent and a huge step forward from the older DV games. However, I am with the OP in my disappointment about some design decisions, and "keep playing" does not address those.

Rules: Did nobody ever blind-test them? They are an undecided mixture of explanation, tutorial, reference, and as a result fall short in all categories. To distribute connected rules throughout the rulebook is bad. To mention or clarify important rules only in an example is really bad.

Dice: Neat idea, unfortunately completely non-functional (at least the d10 bullets). On top of that and most annoying, DVG keeps including them in the expansions. With wave #1 I already have a huge surplus, and it looks like wave #2 would add to that (maybe I should make a bandolier for them). I would add that the minis also just serve to make gameplay more fiddly than it needs to be. The flavour comes from the cards, the minis even detract from it, IMHO.

Game mat: Again, non-functional. Players needed just days to come up with better solutions, develop them and put them on BGG. I will never understand why a company with the experience of DVG cannot do better.

Packaging: This is a very, very expensive game. To play everything mentioned in the rulebook you need all 3 wave #1 expansions, which brought the effective price up to something like EUR 125. This is a lot of money, and some of it spent on things the designer should have recognized as useless, while some essentials are missing (rules short reference, status markers).
Wave #2 will come at a similar price, and again with a lot of useless stuff: more dice, and a "footlocker" box in a format that is similar to no game box I own. I have been in the hobby for many years, and if I have a surplus of anything it is empty game boxes, thank you very much. On top of that, the wave #1 upgrade kit is (at least in the KS campaign) only available with the useless footlocker, not separately. This I consider a kick in the shins for wave #1 buyers.

To quote the OP again: "I've seen games with much worse complaints than this, but I feel that DVG has been publishing these types of games for long enough that they should have done a better job." Right on target. Half of my disappointment comes from the fact they have proven that they can do better, and fell very much short of their own standards.

That said, I will continue playing and having fun, now that I have sorted out what works and what does not. But I have refrained from backing wave #2 for the reasons mentioned.
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Curtis Sutherland
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The play mat works well enough. It gets crowded, but at least I did not have to stretch to reach later locations. I place enemies in between locations so that they are blocking my path to the next card. Yes there is some overlap, but I have destroyed the enemy HQ playing this way and works well enough.

I also place locations upside right, just because the box is long ways does not mean you have to play it that way. This also gives me more room for the enemies.



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Michael Andersch
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The OP is one of the best posts up to now regarding Warfighter!!

There are one or two points where I do not agree (e.g. I do not like rules split up in beginners and advanced rules), but it sums up pretty good, where the problems are (crapy rules, obviously not enough playtesting, missing tokens for this and that,...).

I really, really hope that DVG hears those who call for better rules of their games (in general, not only for warfighter) and that they completely rearrange their structure in future games.
And I really hope, that they do not only finish things "quickly, quickly" and all on their own, but let "external" people playtest sufficiently and incorporate their Input, instead of neglecting it.

That would turn good games into brilliant games.

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Yoki Erdtman
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I feel like the odd one out, but I thought the rules were well written and very easy to understand. I've read some other DVG rules as well, and find them equally easy to read. I don't think they are very good as references during play, apart from the keywords and weapon listings, but I find that DVG rules do a great job at teaching you the game.
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Abraham Quicksilver
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Forgot to mention the dice. Neat idea but really irritating in practice, they seem to roll all over the table.

Starting to notice some typo's, errors or missing stuff. I.e.

1) keyword "nature", not explained anywhere
2) use of "1" instead of "+1"



Keep playing...

Well, yes I suppose, just ticks me off when everything about the game gets in the way of actually playing. I realise it's different strokes for different folks, but i want to play not faff around with the rule book and setup when I first start.

As a newbie you don't know enough (anything) to make informed decisions about the setup. That's something that comes later when you know more.


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Martin Gallo
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Yokiboy wrote:
I feel like the odd one out, but I thought the rules were well written and very easy to understand. I've read some other DVG rules as well, and find them equally easy to read. I don't think they are very good as references during play, apart from the keywords and weapon listings, but I find that DVG rules do a great job at teaching you the game.
Not alone. While I did not find the rules to be "perfect" I was certainly able to play with them as written and have a good time. I have only sought a couple of clarifications here on BGG.
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Moe45673
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My "keep playing" comment was intended as a parallel to games like Race for the Galaxy, that need at least a dozen plays to grok. This game is considerably easier to wrap one's head around in less time and whether the issues with appreciating a great game are rule confusion or just not knowing the cards yet and how they interact (but there is a good game "hidden", like RftG), this is hardly the first game to suffer from it. Like the others, especially after reading the Sample Play, I found the game's flow pretty simple by my second or third play.
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As someone who got interested in this game based on all the positive reviews, I definitely appreciate reviews like this one. I'm still interested in the game but I now have a better feeling of what it really is and where to prioritize it on my want list. So thank you!
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Vladimir Lehotai
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martimer wrote:
Yokiboy wrote:
I feel like the odd one out, but I thought the rules were well written and very easy to understand. I've read some other DVG rules as well, and find them equally easy to read. I don't think they are very good as references during play, apart from the keywords and weapon listings, but I find that DVG rules do a great job at teaching you the game.
Not alone. While I did not find the rules to be "perfect" I was certainly able to play with them as written and have a good time. I have only sought a couple of clarifications here on BGG.


Same here. Sure, the rules could have been written better (as I have mentioned in my review), but my problems were only minor and easily solved.
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Lawrence Davis
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Logus Vile wrote:
As someone who got interested in this game based on all the positive reviews, I definitely appreciate reviews like this one. I'm still interested in the game but I now have a better feeling of what it really is and where to prioritize it on my want list. So thank you!
This is why reviews like this is so important on this site in my opinion. Too many times gamers get caught up into how fun a game is for them and their group and they tend to want to eviscerate anyone who comes along with a hint of negativity.
Fact is this game was unacceptably rushed through to completion when it certainly seems it didn't have to be.

And while my research of W:TSFCG was brief, I didn't come across any of the major flaws that are so apparent to me now and what the OP points out.
I'm certain that I still would have purchased this game if I had read Abraham's review first, but my expectation level would not have been shocked down like it is now that's for sure.

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Moe45673
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Not trying to insult Abraham (seriously), but he's posted about 4 rule questions on this game in quick succession. I think most of them are simply an inexperience with general wargame tropes and anyone who has experience with this, or at least DVG games, shouldn't run into such issues. It's simply a new genre to wrap one's head around; I certainly had to do so when I first played TAL and FC:Nappy
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Abraham Quicksilver
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Moe45673 wrote:
Not trying to insult Abraham (seriously), but he's posted about 4 rule questions on this game in quick succession. I think most of them are simply an inexperience with general wargame tropes and anyone who has experience with this, or at least DVG games, shouldn't run into such issues. It's simply a new genre to wrap one's head around; I certainly had to do so when I first played TAL and FC:Nappy


Hee hee

I can safely say I've been playing war games longer than most on BBG. I'm old . I think my first game would have been 1970, PanzerBlitz

Yes, I have posted four rules questions because of the stupid rule book and its lack of clarity.

Of the four, one was me getting confused about use of action cards and I believe the other three are questions not specifically answered in the rules (or if they are it's not where you'd expect it).

Surely the publishers job is to make a game and write rules so that anyone can play? I accept that those familiar with previous DVG games seem to be complaining less. But, that's hardly an endorsement.





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Fair enough! I was going by your collection and the questions you posted. Honestly, none of the ones you posted raised a doubt in my mind when I encountered them!

Hope that repeated plays prove more rewarding and you do find the good game that seems to elude you
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Jerry Tresman
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martimer wrote:
Yokiboy wrote:
I feel like the odd one out, but I thought the rules were well written and very easy to understand. I've read some other DVG rules as well, and find them equally easy to read. I don't think they are very good as references during play, apart from the keywords and weapon listings, but I find that DVG rules do a great job at teaching you the game.
Not alone. While I did not find the rules to be "perfect" I was certainly able to play with them as written and have a good time. I have only sought a couple of clarifications here on BGG.


I agree , I am not sure where the OP is coming from with his review. I only agreed with his views on the map. Dan has lits of gamers to call on but I feel he is using a small circle of family and gaming groups to play test.

Rules can always be improved on and the volume of fan made play aid cards attest to this.

The play through and using the rules as a reference tend to work best for this game.

I do feel that many of Dan's other games have better rules organisation but they owe their roots to the GMT days. So maybe the OP is trying to say as compared with other DVG games and it has come over as a negative rather than just a the rulebook is OK but could be better.

Dan always goes his own way but does respond , eventually, to feedback.

The world has changed and we live in a very interactive and critical society, it is a double edged sword. Companies foster the positive word and seek feedback forgetting that they need to react quickly to keep it positive.

I do recall slight frustration at the terms and organisation and my first game needed more effort than it should have to get the system mechanics sorted. However I did KS this and recall Dan asking for feedback, the problem is with just the rules and no play test kit all we could feedback on were gramatical errors. Maybe Dan over relied on this type of feedback.

IMO there is no substitute for play testing outside of the core developers.



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Kevin
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Nice, honest review. I too like the game concept but agree the first hurdle are the poorly laid out rules, lack of card explanations diagrams, and the odd play mat. Hopefully DVG will take all this a positive criticisms to improve what most are agreeing on as a good game, and respond in kind.
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What strikes me is they have a game with cards, these cards carry lots if information , like resource costs, defensive cover values, movement modifiers, load point limits, reinforcement values, fire charts for various ranges, etc etc and NO ONE thinks a card explanation diagram is needed? Even with various card types, some with the same attributes for some values on the card, but many that are different? Groups, individuals, weapons, skills, locations, objectives, missions, accessories...all different card types. No clear diagrammatic explanation for any of them.

Then to not number your rules and index them...this is a known issues with so many games you would think DVG would never allowed the rules to get printed without these types of organizational tools.

Then to not provide turn rules in order, and then details for each step of the turn. It seems like rules 101 to me.

What's also odd about WF is there is not one player aid. No separate heavy stock card outlining turn phases, die roll mods, attack sequence summary, nothing. I would like to know why they decided not to include anything like that.

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Abraham Quicksilver
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I've just posed a one page turn summary in the files section

I thought about doing some card diagrams, but can't be a@@@d
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Mike Dudek
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It is something the industry is suffering from in general, and not isolated to just DVG - while it is easier than ever to get something published, developers cry poverty as an excuse for not adequately playtesting their designs. Board gaming now is very similar to the software industry - sell it now, and maybe we'll fix it down the road some day.

Playtesting with the small circle of people you have been for years is not adequate. Group think set in long ago, and those people are too familiar with the developer, and don't ask the questions an average gamer in the wild would. So things come out with rough rules, because no one in the 'playtest' group had a problem with it. They've been with the developer so long, they already 'know' what he thinks and means, and the questions just don't come up.

So you have a double edged sword - crowd funding and cheap publishing means many more things see the light of day that never would have otherwise. But many are lacking polish and professionalism. It does not seem likely to change, so one either needs to accept it, or just decide not to be part of that first rush to buy the shiny new game on the shelf, and wait for more opinions and questions to surface.




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Moe45673
Canada
Toronto
Ontario
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The gameplay is solid and very few things are being retweaked for Wave 2. As far as I've seen, nothing in the game is broken, the gameplay is fantastic. Yeah the rules can be better and that can cause frustration and DVG should take more responsibility for it. However, I learned the game through the rules (as well as DVG's video tutorial). Playtesting, inadequate or otherwise, is not the issue with this game.
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Abraham Quicksilver
United Kingdom
Cheltenham
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I'd agree with. Play testing of the GAME is not the issue, play testing of everything else, especially the rules is an issue
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