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Derek McNamara
Ireland
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My first impression was how ascetically pleasing the game is. The Box, the Manual, The Board, and the Cards are all beautiful. The only average part was the dragons, and while they suffice, in comparison to the Cards they are rather plain.

I really appreciated the manual, one of the better ones I have come across. The game is explained in simple logical steps. The quality and art are great, and having two sample games, with full color illustrations, was a big plus. There is also a short Q&A at the end.

The game is based loosely on the Magic system. (In fact I believe I read that the designer wanted to create a non-collectable card combat system that would rival Magic, without the ‘collectability.’)

The game is simple enough to get into. The first time my wife and I played it we only had to consult the rule book on a few occasions. Later playing sessions had an ‘intuitive’ aspect or feel to the game-play (always a good sign).

The base game contains two sets of character decks, the VULCA and the HOAX. Each character deck has a ‘theme’ (many of the themes are elemental) the VULCA are fire based while the HOAX are magic/studious/devious. This theme sets the flavor of the graphics on the cards.

The core of the game is a series of independent ‘battles.’ A battle consists of a series of turns. The winner of a battle is rewarded with one of the three dragons; the first person to take possession of all three dragons wins. If you have a dragon and you lose a battle, the dragon is placed back in the center of the board.

At the beginning of the game each played takes six cards from his/her deck and uses the rest of the deck as their draw pile. At the end of each turn the player replenishes his hand back to six cards.

There are four types of cards:
Leadership Cards
Character Cards
Support Cards
Booster Cards

Leadership cards can only be played at the beginning of a turn, and typically have the best bonuses. (One HOAX Leader Card allowed me to draw five cards, thus allowing me to have 10 cards to begin my turn.)

Character Cards are the core of the battle troops. One Character Card is played at the beginning of the turn, and this can be supplemented with a Support or a Booster Card. The combined fire or earth value of these cards is the attack strength (the player who begins the turn chooses if the battle is earth or fire). The second player has to match or beat his opponent with this Character and Support/Booster Cards. If he cannot, then he will retreat thus allowing his opponent to gain possession of a dragon.

The turn may be composed of a series of rounds in which each player attempts to overpower his opponent. The players play additional cards and add their Fire/Earth value to their existing Cards.

The basic game mechanics are simple, but with the addition of shields and icons (twin, stop, retrieve, etc.) on various cards as well as the unique Mutant Cards (which can change the battle from Fire to Earth and vice versa) and special optional rules, the game holds many strategic variations and possibilities. Yet, as cards are drawn unseen from the player’s deck there is more than a touch of randomness.

If you have played any of the CCG then this would be quite easy to get into. The game is expandable with seven additional character decks, and two ‘decks’ (Blessings & Allies) which can ‘augment’ the character decks.

However, a big plus for me is that the game is ‘expandable’ without being random. When you purchase one of the additional decks you know you are getting a complete character deck.

Overall I would rate the game at 7.5 - 8.

 
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Christopher Dearlove
United Kingdom
Chelmsford
Essex
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SoRCon 11 23-25 Feb 2018 Basildon UK http://www.sorcon.co.uk
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mcnamarad wrote:
The game is based loosely on the Magic system.


OK, what has Blue Moon got in common with Magic?

- The game is fantasy themed.
- Each player has his own deck. This may be designed by the player.
- Each player takes turns playing cards in a form of combat between players.
- The main card types include characters/creatures, cards that modify these, other cards which remain in play, and cards which have an instant effect.

But what's different? Actually, almost everything, in particular (apart from the collectability aspect that's already been covered)

- Playing with preconstructed decks is a major part of the game - for many people all they do.
- Deck construction is a controlled mechanism with card costs, not the free for all in Magic. (Also the single copy of each card.)
- There's no land/mana mechanism or equivalent, the central mechanism in Magic after deck construction.
- The "climbing" mechanism is completely different to the life loss mechanism in Magic in resolving combat.
- The mutiple fights and (often optional) retreats provide a reset mechanism Magic lacks (except by a few cards), and means turns don't actually simply alternate.
- Drawing as many cards as needed, rather than one per turn, greatly reduces the relevance of the key Magic aspect of card advantage. Also there's no "decking" in Blue Moon.
- While supports are like permanents in Magic, characters/boosters aren't permananents, unlike creatures and their enchantments.

That's not to downplay that the second point on my first list isn't critical - it's the foundation of the whole CCG phenomenon, and Blue Moon is clearly a spinoff from that (part of it if we redefine the first C as customisable rather than collectable, but that's confusing). But after that the resemblances are more superficial than structural.
 
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Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
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Well, he did say "based loosely."

I'm not sure what this means, though:

mcnamarad wrote:
Some of the areas of debate were not explained in the rule book, such as ‘you’ and ‘I’ in the card instructions.


At least in my rulebook (p. 6), it says that "I" refers to the player of the card, "you" to the opponent.

I'd echo your general point about the rulebook, though. It's very clear and easy to use. I didn't mention this in my review, but I do like how the text indicates what the typical situation is (e.g., "Very often, playing a character card is your first activity during your turn.").
 
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Chris
United States
Altoona
Wisconsin
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mcnamarad wrote:
Some of the areas of debate were not explained in the rule book, such as ‘you’ and ‘I’ in the card instructions.

Further, I thought the rule book states to read special instructions aloud. This helped me clear up "you" and "I" questions.

Chris H
 
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Kane Klenko
United States
Ridgeway
Wisconsin
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Nice review. I just want to make sure you're playing the endgame correctly. You state that the first person to win all 3 dragons wins the game. That's not really true. A person would have to have all 3 dragons and then win again (an imaginary 4th dragon) in order to win. The more common way to win is to have someone run out of cards and then the player with dragons on their side wins.

Again, nice review...I just wanted to make sure you were playing correctly.
 
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