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Subject: I can't feel my face, but I LOVE it! rss

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By love it, I mean I love it a lot. I think this game is incredibly well thought out and balanced. I can't even imagine the play-testing work to make it happen.

The components are top notch. I love the defender dudes, I love the tokens, I love the cards. I love the cube system. I love the board, I love the lumber. Ignacy always has great components in his games.

I love the time system. The give and take is awesome. You have to have your resources as the invader, but you want to deny time to the defender. Like I said, the give and take is awesome. To build or not to build??? I love the time but it hurts like a Hootie and the Blowfish song.

I love the economy of the invader. Every turn you are stressed for lumber and units. The random draw of soldiers can also limit which unit types you have available each turn, which in turn, can affect your action cards. For the invader, the action cards are all great, meaning you are forced into hard choices over and over and over. What to build this turn? A ballista? A catapult? You can only build one! Need a bit more lumber? Sacrifice a soldier, but did you need that soldier??? Or, did you want a a mantintlet (I am not spelling that right) to defend a rampart from the Marksman's lethal arrows??? Good luck choosing!

Troop Movement is great fun. The paths and ramparts are all laid out in a way where it is really difficult to decide where to move. There are enough paths where you have several options to get to the various ramparts, but there are few enough that the defender can almost bottleneck and force you to stream to specific paths. The defenders traps can have a massive influence on troop movement. Traps are awesome. But, like I said, there are enough paths, that with time, you can somewhat mitigate them.

Combat is stressful and intense. They regularly come down to a matter of 1 strength. The cauldrons make a huge difference. Again, they will also influence troop movement. The bays are great upgrades, the poles are great upgrades, and the cannons are also solid, so which to build? There are only so many towers upon which you can place these! The number of spaces on the wall is also a critical question. Did the defender build a ladder there for an extra space for his men? Does the defender have a hero there that can influence the battle? Can you move a siege engine there to negate some of the defender advantage? Can you even BUILD a siege engine? Will you have enough lumber left to build a ladder for your extra unit??? GAHHHHHHH!!!!!

Here is an example of a wall under attack:

You can see the defending wall components, the defending Marksman (White), and the defending Soldier (Green). The Green circle is also defending, he is the 2 strength warrior that can come to the aid of the wall. The defender has a total strength of 7. 2 for each green, 1 for the 1 white marksman, and 1 for each wall component (the grey walls).

The invader has 5 cubes, each representing attacking units: The one red cube is a troll, adding 3 strength. The 2 green cubes are orcs for 2 more strength each. The 2 white cubes are goblins, adding 1 strength each. That is a total of 9 strength.

Also, the invader has an order up, which will kill the goblins after the battle, but rage them for 2 additional strength each during the battle.

SO, the total will be 7 for the defender and 13 for the invader. That is going to deal 6 damage! The defender only has 3 strength of units there (the walls and hero cannot be used to take casualties) so unless Mr. Defender has a trick up his sleeve, he is about to lose the game, as the wall will be breached! (Don't worry, there are a shit-ton of tricks that can be played!)


Here is another attack, see if you can add the strengths up! Also, notice the little circles? Those are cauldrons, and those little biznatches cause unwanted destruction for Mr. Invader!



And last image, notice the large ladder for extra attackers, the little circular ladder for defenders, the cannon token in the background with the marksman on it. These are all more factors in both the economy and battles.


Finally, the invader only gets to use about 60% of the action cards each game. So, your available actions will change from game to game, meaning that each game will be very, very different. Different choices mean different strategies, so redo all of the above in the next game!

Obviously, replay is a massively important thing and those action cards are huge in creating great replayability.

This game is awesome. Ignacy is the man.

But why can't I feel my face?

Well, primarily because the choices will lead to big AP. As the game builds, the AP will get worse. There is no way this game plays in 90 minutes. No freaking way. The last 3 turns will take 90 minutes. There is THAT much going on. SO MANY CHOICES! Super speedy players may get this to 2 or 2.5 hours. We will see. I look forward to hearing those reports and getting the advice to speed up the game.

Check out the full map and think of all the CHOICES!


The defender will need to math out the right set of permutations to defend those walls where 1 strength is so vital. That will take time. Like Hootie said: Time, why do you keep on punishing me? Time is wasting, Don't waste any more time!

The invader will need to math out the right set of permutations to attack those walls perfectly as well. And before that, Mr. Invader needs to manage his economy perfectly to ensure a perfect attack! That will also take time! More Hootie, because, for the invader, Time, you ain't no friend of mine!

Our game last night took three and half hours. MAYBE we could get that to three. I just don't think so. We had almost no rules consulting. There is just SO much going on. The invader economy, the defender reactive actions, the assault phase with all of its math on the walls.... So much Time.

Eventually, we used dice to chart the strength on the walls that helped a lot. That will speed things up a bit.

That said, does the game length matter? I don't think so. After playing for 3.5 hours, cleaning up and then talking out the game in our standard post game debriefing, I was immediately ready to play again: and I am almost always anti-long game. That speaks volumes.

Ignacy is the man, this game rocks. I want to play it again right now!




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Barry Kendall
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Ooh, nice! Can hardly wait to obtain the Update Kit for 1st Edition.
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Greg
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Great review George. I agree for sure with your sentiments. Keith said you were raring to go again after your partial game. Glad you guys got to give it a go again after mine and Keith's game.

Not sure where they came up with the game length, but I agree with you in that there's no way I see that the time could be cut down very much, unless the defender totally misplays and it's over after 3 or 4 rounds. I'm sure time can be cut down a bit after many plays, but even then, I don't see a full 7 round game lasting only 90 minutes.

Definitely tense move and counter move thing going on. It's neat how the attacker's actions determine the resources/time the defender gets to use. Timing seems to be important for the attacker in building up and attacking heavily on several fronts to spread the defenses thin.
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Brad Keusch
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Nice review! I am giving away a copy of the second edition ahead of release in December's G4GG lottery, check it out if interested!

https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/199782/item/4292401#item4...
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Thanks Greg. I had a plan going in, and then, of course, my invader action cards were not even close to what I had in mind. So, I played to deny time last night. It worked to a certain degree as I was able to win on the 7th/final round.

I held back and didn't launch an assault until round three, and by round five, I was on 4 walls per turn. I blew it on a troll cauldron, what I mean is that I kept running at it. Dumb. I should have moved on from that spot. Keith did a real nice job of defending.

That radiant glare power was the superstar for him, that or sharpshooter.

I did a double move in round 5, my only double of the game. I did that to set up my objective, which netted me 9 extra troops. That said, in hindsight, I may not have done that as he gets SO much extra time.

I am ready to play this game again right now.
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UA Darth
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How does the game compare to the 1st edition?
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I never played first edition. That said, I hear this version accelerates the start by putting soldiers on the board. I hear it also shortens the game from 10 turns down to 7.

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Brad Keusch
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I actually hadn't played 1e either, but after discussion with ignacy and some others at bgg.con, what I can surmise is the defender has actual wooden meeples for his units (except the heroes which are wooden discs), the invader still has cubes. The board has changed slightly (looks incredible imo). It's 7 turns instead of 10. The invader now wins immediately if he breaches part of the wall, in the first edition, both sides got points for various things and the game just ended and points were counted when the wall was breached (or at the end of the game), so the defender could win if the walls went down still. I also think the substitution of action cards has changed some but I can't remember the details of 1e.
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K AM
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Hello,

Having played 3 games of this in 4 days, I can attest to the fact that I feel drained. This is a pretty heavy game. Nothing particular DIFFICULT about it, but just a lot going on.

I'm fine with that--and enjoy that, but whew...like I said, draining.

I think with enough plays we could get it to 3 hours.

KAM
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Yes. The dice for the walls helped a lot, to limit the counting and recounting.

Having a completely new set of action cards in this game altered the time as well I would think, as our decisions to build and react had to be modified.

I agree that 3 hours is about right, and that 2 hours is VERY optimistic.
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Stephen Buonocore
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ghbell wrote:
Ignacy is the man, this game rocks. I want to play it again right now!


yes, he is... but so are YOU! Thanks for the nice review.

Thanks,
Stephen M. Buonocore
Stronghold Games LLC
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Ege Tunca
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any news on when it will be hitting us stores?
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Stephen Buonocore
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Street Date for Stronghold Games is FEBRUARY 2.
[Portal may be releasing in EU earlier. I don't know.]

Also, for North American customers, if you PREORDER direct from Stronghold Games, the games will be shipped before Christmas! You can get a 2016 release this year!

Thanks,
Stephen M. Buonocore
Stronghold Games LLC'
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UA Darth
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Will there be expansions or are the old expansions compatible(or going to be reprinted?)?
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Eric Matthews
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Great review, a few relevant pictures would make it awesome.

E
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Ganybyte wrote:
Great review, a few relevant pictures would make it awesome.

E


Ok, Ok, I added a couple with a bit of a dialogue. I pulled those pics from the gallery for Stronghold, here on BGG.
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Igor Bilanovic
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There will be Undead exp 2nd editon in 2016., if I'm not mistaken
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Dude. I will need a towel...
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Jesper Hansen
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ghbell wrote:
I never played first edition. That said, I hear this version accelerates the start by putting soldiers on the board. I hear it also shortens the game from 10 turns down to 7.



1st edition games never really went to the 10th round anyways. For the invader to win by invading the castle in 10th turn the board would have to set itself on fire.

If the invader hadnt won by round 6 or 7 it was virtually impossible to win because the defender gets more VP each turn.

What im more interested in with the 2nd edition is the win/loss ratio for invaders because in the 1st edition we never had the invader win.
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I don't have much data, but from what I have seen in my games, and from what I have read, Invader is winning way more than losing.
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The action cards that the invader uses will be different each game.

You have 6 stacks of cards for actions. 1 and 6 are fixed, but2, 3, 4, and 5 are variable.

So, for each game, you separately shuffle the 5 cards in stacks 2-5.

Then you draw 3 cards from each pile for you action deck.

That leaves 2 out of game for each piles. So, the permutations of actions are pretty variable.

I think that for the invader, the game will be quite different each time.

The defender has no variation like that, so his "action" variety lies in the reactions to the variable defender actions.

There are also objective cards (2 Per game) that come from a deck of 8 for each player. Those will be variable each game, adding a new wrinkle each time as well.

So, yes, there is variety. Add to that that there is word of an expansion, and BOOM, we have the spice of life.
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I agree, but to be clear, the objectives give rewards to help facilitate victory in the game. The winning condition is not changed at all. That said, my objective was huge when I pulled it off.
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dawnmage
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i dont minde a long game, as long as it does not feel long.
this game does not feel long becaus you are involved the intire game.
even if its not your turn you watch what the other does and your planing your next move, and turns alternate verry quick.

ill have to read trough this page one time. if i do i will coment on the game or ask a question.
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