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Subject: A (very impressed) PNP review rss

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David Kartzinel
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Right - so out of the gate, so I'm a sucker for board/card games that simulate fighting video games - especially the non-CCGs. This is mainly because I love the idea of fighting video games, but suck at them.

I think I've played all the board game versions there are (Yomi, BattleCon, and Yashima). Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses, and honestly, I own and like all 3, for varying reasons. Now BattleCon and Yomi are both (in very different ways) simulations of 2d fighters like Street Fighter. But for me, the fighter I always loved most was Soul Calibur. Yashima was the first game (that I know of) that tried to simulate a 3d fighter. And it's pretty successful. The problem is that it's really meaty (multiple moderately complex decisions with different mechanics) and difficult to teach to a new player (even though it really is a great game).

Enter Trigger Discipline. Like Yashima, you pick a character and a weapon (okay, fine, Yashima you pick a kami, same difference) - each with a stack of cards and stat modifications that makes up your deck. Now instead of a hex based movement, Trigger Discipline opts for the square based movement system and uses chess terminology for both attacks and maneuvers.

This makes the game super easy to pick up - if you know how the various chess pieces move, you're all set. But don't worry, it's not simple, because you're managing a really interesting resource to do your actions - momentum. Your cards cost momentum, and when your momentum drops below your opponent's, it's their turn.

You end up having lots of interesting decisions to make - and wanting to try to plot out multiple turns and various plays to try to set up future attacks. There is constant motion, as most attacks involve your piece moving through the other person's to hit.

The PNP has two characters and two weapons - a clockwork samurai and his pistol katana and an awesome duelist teacher and her flintlock sabers. Both characters feel completely different - the duelist steals attacks and uses them or her own to lay the smack down on her opponent, while the clockwork samurai gets free counters and can unleash some wicked combos.

I love the steampunk background, and this game may actually beat out Yashima for my favorite 3d fighter. There's a lot of depth, but at the same time, the mechanics are elegant and make for an easy prospect to teach.

Really, the only criticism I could possibly come up with for this game is I'd love to have more distinctive art pieces for the different moves of the cards - but I have a feeling that would be REALLY cost prohibitive, since out of the 30 cards that are in your deck, 22 would require unique art.

But here's the thing, while you're playing the game, the (really awesome) illustration on the character is plenty good enough - because you're in the process of trying to survive a really tense duel. The game moves at a breakneck pace and really captures the feeling of a steampunk duel. I would highly recommend this game to anyone who loves the fighting style board games, pretty sure you can't go wrong.
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