Recommend
9 
 Thumb up
 Hide
11 Posts

Maelstrom» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Noncollectable CCG? Playable from the Box? Sign me up! rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Hunter Shelburne
United States
San Marcos
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Check out Weaponsgrade Tabletop on Youtube!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I guess it helps my mood about my games when I listen to "Keep On Smilin" by Wet Willie while doing the reviews, I should do this more often!

I feel remiss not doing a review on this terrific game sooner, considering I've owned it for a year and I have had numerous plays with it. It took a while to get on the table, but once I did, the guys didn't want to stop playing. This is a review strictly for 1 on 1 playing, as I haven't had a multiplayer game yet, though intend to soon.

Anyway, on to the review of the game.

Overview

Maelstrom is a boxed form of the Collectable Tile game Vortex, by Fantasy Flight Games. It is noncollectable and is a fixed Starter, with a few random rares from the set. It is expandable with expansions that are MOSTLY noncollectable, though slightly random, which for me, at least, is an advantage, cause they are also relatively INexpensive randomness, which I enjoy. The starter contains the Starter decks introduced in the Vortex game for the Draconis, Horde, Arcanum, and Brood. It also contains 4 more smaller factions, kind of treating you to a preview of what you add with the Expansions, and giving you enough tiles to add on to the starters, and mix factions.

Components

Instructions

Nothing special here, but not bad for a Silver Line game. No color, but only 2 pages front and back of rules, and its all pretty easy to explain. Some diagrams display the movement, attacking and absorbing of energy tiles in easy to learn fashion. Overall, its not a tough game to learn, and its well organized for gameplay questions while playing.

Tiles

Well thats what the games about, right?

Well, FFG doesn't dissapoint, it had to have a good selling point for it to be a CTG, and they didn't knock the art or component quality down when making it noncollectable. Great artwork, thick cardboard stock, and well organized information on the Tile. The Range (how far a tile can attack) info could have been better than small Lines on the side of the tile, but its a small gripe. There are ALOT of tiles to punch out, but for me it wasn't tedious, and was part of the fun of looking at all the great artwork.

Tokens and Player Aids

Guess there had to be chaff somewhere. Junk components; tokens are hard to store and don't add much to tracking, just use small beads or something. The player aids might be useful for the first game or something, but after one game they are just taking up space in your box, and its just the same plastic-cardboard stock used with the rest of the game, so you're not losing much. Toss it.

Gameplay

This is where I can't sing the praises enough for this game.

Whoa, dramatic song change on the shuffle here, seems we've reached the "Court of the Crimson King". Ominous indeed.

Anyway, comments like "Its a noncollectable Magic with Tiles" is what really got me to play this. And the gameplay does not dissapoint.

The rundown:

The center of the board is the the hexagonal Vortex. You and your opponents goal is to keep as much area around the Vortex as possible by playing fortresses, creatures, spells, attacking fortifications, absorbing slaughtered foes, using the energy to enhance your abilities, fly around the board, lance creatures, and SUMMON DRAGONS TO DO YOUR BIDDING. Sounds cool? It is. You use Energy from the Vortex (acquired through your Fortifications and other means) to summon creatures and fight, and maybe play spells that can enhance your abilities. At the end of the turn, if you control less sides of the Vortex than your opponent, you lose a aura token (I believe thats what they are called, something to that effect). Once you lose 3, you're done. It seemed short to me, but once you start playing, its definitely not, and it prevents games from dragging on, as you have a pretty specific objective in mind.

What might be a big turn on for some people is that your starting hand is not random. You get to pick what tiles you start with in your hand, which will help negate the classic "mana screw" problems with other CCGs and games. If you go first, you have to toss a tile randomly, but thats no big deal if you plan accordingly on how many Energy producing fortifications you want to start with.

Another interesting mechanic found in a lot of more "modern" games is the Action abilities. You have a limited number of actions to use per turn, which can be used to attack, absorb a tile (taking one of your opponents defeated tiles and turning them into energy), drawing more tiles, or playing spells and such. Lots of options, but limited actions to use them, which makes for some interesting decision making and tense games.


In Conclusion

Dammit, music changed to "Blinded By the Light", but I am definitely not feeling that way about this one.

Price per Fun comparison for this game is through the roof. I payed 13 dollars for my starter, and it has gotten more plays than ANY higher priced game in my collection in the past year. Somehow, I now have another starter which I gave my brother as a gift, and 2 expansions, floating around the house. That leads to some great deck making choices. And those expansions, those are like 5 bucks. Talk about value, this isn't some Runebound stuff, you don't get a new expansion to deal with every month. You have these, and you decide where to go. It appeals to my CCG friends, my boardgame friends, and some of my nongame friends. And somehow I only have it as an 8. Guess my standards are set a bit too high, or I just need to update that rating.

In summary: Inexpensive, fun game. Bang for the buck is through the roof, with room for some inexpensive expanding, and even more fun. Buy.

Hopefully this review helps some people.
 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Keyes
United States
Richardson
Texas
flag msg tools
mb
Questions from someone who hasn't played:

1. i realize this is no longer collectible - does one box cover 2-4 players, or does each player need a box?
2. Same as #1 but in terms of expansions... does everyone have to buy the expansion?
3. Are there more than one expansion?
4. In line with #3 - where do i buy this game? i can't seem to find it anywhere.

Thanks!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Brannan
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
1. One Box includes all of the common tiles from the original collectible game, which should be enough for 4 players. Of course, more copies = more tiles = more options.

2. The expansion includes a random 15 "flats" of tiles from the rares in the original game, so the same rules apply. One is good, but from what I hear 6 will pretty much get you a full set (and at $6 per online, that's cheaper than most new games).

3. No, there's only one expansion, but it is random, unlike the "base" set.

4. Most online retailers should have it.



It's really a great distribution method. I wish more companies would do this with "defunct" collectible games. This and INWO are the only two I know of to release full or near-full sets after the demise of the collectible version.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Keyes
United States
Richardson
Texas
flag msg tools
mb
Thanks for the reply...

Quote:
Most online retailers should have it.


i'm still trying to find one

Two more questions:

1. What is INWO?
2. How does one build a "deck"?

Thanks!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jay Little
United States
Eden Prairie
Minnesota
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Karate Chop!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
INWO = Illuminati - New World Order
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/1552
by Steve Jackson Games

Quasi-CCG based on the quasi-popular Illuminati setting of cults, conspiracies and craziness...



 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hunter Shelburne
United States
San Marcos
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Check out Weaponsgrade Tabletop on Youtube!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
the_grip wrote:
Questions from someone who hasn't played:

1. i realize this is no longer collectible - does one box cover 2-4 players, or does each player need a box?
2. Same as #1 but in terms of expansions... does everyone have to buy the expansion?
3. Are there more than one expansion?
4. In line with #3 - where do i buy this game? i can't seem to find it anywhere.

Thanks!


1. One box has 4 complete starter decks, enough for 4 players.

2. One expansion just adds tiles to enhance decks already made. Its not a standalone thing. You can buy as many or few as you want.

3. THere is just one expansion, but they are pseudo random. I got 2, and they were each unique, but useful.

4. I found my copy on Thoughthammer I believe, but it seems to be out of print now. It is usually readily available on Ebay, you may just have to do some searches.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Hunter Shelburne
United States
San Marcos
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Check out Weaponsgrade Tabletop on Youtube!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
the_grip wrote:
Thanks for the reply...

Quote:
Most online retailers should have it.


i'm still trying to find one

Two more questions:

1. What is INWO?
2. How does one build a "deck"?

Thanks!


Wow, I'm dumb. You make a deck or "stack" of tiles in this game, by collecting about 3 tiles, of Creatures, Fortifications, spells, and you have a deck. It can be of one faction, or more than one, but 1 faction is a bit better (at least to me) because of consistancy. You then choose the starting hand of 4 and shuffle the rest, and its your "stack" (deck). The decklists for the 4 Starter decks are also included in the rules.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Blake Crawford
United States
Richardson
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I did a search and here are the only 2 stores I found them at.


You can try here for the Basic Game:


http://www.silcom.com/~tomjolly/order.htm



ANd here for the expansions.


http://www.fairplaygames.com/games.asp
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Blake Crawford
United States
Richardson
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
For Clarification the original release of Vortex was collectable. There were 92 Flats (each flat contains 3 tiles) flats #01 thru #16 were fixed flats found in the starter decks. Flats #17 thru #54 were common flats and flats #55 thru #92 were rare.

With the new packaging for Maelstrom (a Vortex game) the basic set come with 1 copy of each flat #01 thru #54 giving you 162 tiles.

The expansion pack contains 15 of the rare flats, in the packs I opened there was never a duplicate within the expansion pack, it seems you always get 15 different rare flats.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Panagiotis Zinoviadis
Greece
Thessaloniki
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Among the Stars:The Ambassadors
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Welcome abroad.

Nice review

 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrea Jørgensen
Denmark
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You can by the game + expansions at: http://www.playme.de/

I bought it a couple a weeks ago
 
 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.