- Jayson MyersUnited States
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Melee is a game I backed on Kickstarter. It seemed interesting and there was a lot of buzz about it. The designer had previously designed a game named Coup that I really like (but not love). I really didn't read up on the game too much but I was hoping for a little light filler with some bite. I think this is what I got.
This is an area control game. It includes a small and tight economic system though. It has bidding for resources (special action cards) and all of the combat is done through a guessing mechanism. I will tell you what works for me and what doesn't.
I'm not a huge fan of direct combat games. Area control is a genre I want to like more than I do. This might be where this game lost me initially. Yet, what lost me completely was the combat system.
The combat system is intertwined with the economic system. You will take some of your money after announcing how much you have and place it in your hand. Your opponent will literally try to guess how much money you have in your hand. To be very frank, everything in this game comes down to this. If you win a few of these, then you are doing well. But if you lose a few of these, you will get smashed. This mechanism is a little better in practice than it sounds on paper and many people are raving about it, but it is easy to guess wrong every time and for someone to guess right every time. I get that you have ways to figure out what they are likely to bid, but you never really know. I felt like I was just guessing and playing a game so much. Some people are really going to like this. It feel flat for us.
The game is really short. While this is normally a good thing, I felt like this should be a bigger game. If you are getting crushed, there isn't a lot of time to make a stunning combat. You only play one action a turn. So to get money (tax), recruit more people, and then fight is literally three rounds of the game. In this example, if you got beat up the first round you are facing down the last turn of the game. That's it.
The special action cards are fun and nice, but they are only available at the start of the game. So if you miss out, then you are toast when it comes to these. Some are more powerful than others and some are more helpful. What ever cards you get, you should adjust your strategy to incorporate your new found power. This is how you get any advantage at all.
Overall, Melee is a fun little game. If bluffing and bidding is your thing, then I would highly recommend this game. It isn't for me. Likely due to the area control mixed with direct conflict. I get the guessing part of the game, but I'm not sure I like it in a "battle system". I would say try this game or if the price is right buy it and try it out. Solid game. Solid design. Yet, not for me. It happens.
The components are good. I found the board to be a tad small, but this is a small game so I was willing to over look it. I like how there is one board for 2,3,4 players. You just flip it over. Nice design. The little tokens are fine and durable. The art is pixels so you will either like that or hate it. I'm not a huge fan, but it doesn't detract to me. The money is cardboard coins which work great. The action cards are fine but without pictures. They only get shuffled at start of game, so they won't likely wear out.
The rules are presented in full color. There are plenty of pictures included. I wish there had been a few examples of combat. I was a little fuzzy on whether Catapults attacked once even if there were three units in the area. Other than a couple of questions, the rules were pretty clear. The reference sheet on the back of the rule book was helpful. The front page has pictures of the components which is always a plus.
Flow of the Game:
Goal of the game: To either capture a castle or at the end of the game hold the most areas and if that is tied then have the most gold.
Flow: Players will bid on first player and then play 1 of 3 actions to either recruit more people, tax to get more money, or move and attack with his people. The idea is area control here but money is so important. Everything is about bidding and spending money.
Player turn: Before the game starts, players will recruit and bid on special power cards that will help them throughout the game.
1. Players bid on first player. This is a closed bid.
2. Each player chooses one of their three action cards to perform and action and place the card face down.
3. In player order, each player reveals 1 of the 3 actions they chose:
A. Tax - take 3 coins from the bank
B. Recruit - cost 2 coins for a solider, camp, catapult, and 6 coins for a knight
4. Then, everyone gets coins. 1 coin for each camp and 1 coin if you are on an area with a +1 coin printed on it.
5. Change Seasons (you play through 4 seasons/rounds)
a. Solider - may attack an adjacent province
b. Knight - if wins an attack, may keep moving and attacking
c. Camp - cannot move; may defend
d. Catapult - may not defend, only attack; destroys all enemy units and itself after attacking
Combat is simple. You announce how much money you have. Then, you bid what you are spending to attack. The defender than attempts to guess how much you are bidding. If they are wrong, the attacker wins. If they are right, the defender wins. Combat is that simple.
Money is very, very important in this game.
Should I buy this game?:
Maybe. This is for people who like a small combat game with area control. It is a mix between Small World and Coup to me. Everyone is raving about this game so I feel that maybe I'm missing something. I would recommend this as a light filler for people who like direct conflict games. This is something you play before something bigger or to theme a night.
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- Robert Stewart(rmsgrey)United Kingdom
Re: The Purge: # 869 Melee: Short combat game with a lot of bluffing and biddingFor me, Melee has something of the same feel as Tiny Epic Kingdoms - both are fairly quick and light, but with a surprising amount of depth to them.
- [+] Dice rolls
- Jayson MyersUnited States
Re: The Purge: # 869 Melee: Short combat game with a lot of bluffing and biddingrmsgrey wrote:For me, Melee has something of the same feel as Tiny Epic Kingdoms - both are fairly quick and light, but with a surprising amount of depth to them.I can see that. Area control isn't my favorite genre. Add in the huge swings this game can have and not something I want to spend a lot of time with.
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