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Outchasers Card Game
In Outchasers, you are piloting a giant mech in space collecting valuable rare crystals called cores. Problem is, you are not the only pilot out there. Looks like you have two options to succeed on your mission, you can simply steal all the cores and leave before the other pilots try to destroy you or, you can just destroy the inconveniences (pilots) that stand in your way. This is an original concept by Cooper Heinrichs that offers a great value of card-based battling for two players. While the rules are decorated in cute chibi styled-mechs and seem to do a good job elaborating the setup, gameplay, and card explanations, you could always follow a link to a video tutorial for those who do not enjoy reading rules(like me!). The cards will be printed on high-quality card stock and will come with crisp artwork. In simpler terms: the game is functional, the artwork is crisp, and it’s a fun little two-player battling card game.
The rules state the first player chooses his pilot and then chooses his mech after allowing player two to choose their mech then their pilot. Both players will draw eight cards and distribute four of them face down surrounding the mech–these are slots for equipment. On your turn, you will play a card, attack with a card or equipment, and spend charges to give yourself more turn options, to buy cores, or to use pilot/mech abilities. Few things to note, attacks toward mechs need to be free of equipment armor in order to damage them and cards can be played as equipment or strikes. Keep in mind, each mech and pilot have variable actions, so the pair you choose will always expect a new strategy.
(anytime I mention an equipment or strike card, I’ll follow it with numbers which correlate to their attack and armor value) I played as pilot Kayhu, the dual wielder who lets me strike with the top card of my discard pile, with his mech DM25- Raystrider, who grants me a charge every time I attack with an equipment made of quantum. My opponent was Vaie, who grants him an attack with an armor value of a slot and her mech Vanguard Class C, who gains a charge when it has stacked equipment slots. I passed my first turn in order to collect a charge, my strategy was to have an abundant supply of charges. My opponent began his turn playing down an equipment card (4, 5) which had an ability text of drawing a card after the equipment’s reveal. On my turn, I drew a quantum equipment card, I played onto my slot the quantum equipment (4, 4) that I drew and attacked with it. While it didn’t destroy the armor of the card played by my opponent, I was able to gain a charge from my mechs ability. My opponent drew a card and played another equipment inside of the slot he had an equipment already stationed at (3, 4). This card would attack my mech with 3 damage even if he has not destroyed my armor. I needed to get rid of that card fast. That is when I drew Fusillade Revolver (4, 3) which grants me an additional strike if I destroy an armor with it. I chain that to my already played equipment for a higher attack damage.
Let’s fast-forward toward the end of the game. At this point, we have both received a core card from saving our charges. I was low on life from the opponent’s mech chains being so prominent. I felt that a focus on chaining equipment cards can be a great way to have the late game advantage. I was destroyed by his pilot’s ability being activated and him activating a chain which allowed him to have an additional strike following right after. Yeah, it was devastating.
I found Outchasers to be a great example of a solid two-player battling card game. I felt the mechs were a nice flavor of a theme which tied into the story of the cores and how we get them. I enjoy the direct interaction between characters, however, I feel it’ll consume a majority of the experience almost rendering the all-core victory unimaginable. This is a card game that will be easy to pick up and quick enough to want to play again. With the card design, I think a backstory or lore would be fun to see in development one day. I think my only concern has to be that some pilots and mechs seem a bit unbalanced, while others seem to dominate the direction of strategy. While each character has a different ability, I fear some are just not worth having while others will always be chosen. Keep in mind, with six pilots, six mechs and ten core cards, you will definitely not be playing the same game twice. Sure, some victories will seem quicker than others, however, the course of the experience will never be the same.
You will like this game if you want a battling mech card game with freedom of weapon customization and choice of pilot and mech.
You will not like this game if you more than often have group sizes bigger than two. If you don’t want to battle an opponent, or if you just want something a bit more light-hearted.