Alex Martinez
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I'm a huge fan of Level 99's Battlecon system. It is among my top games ever, and I still love the game to this day. So when I heard that Level 99 was branching out into a new style of Fightin' card game, I was intrigued but skeptical. Could the company improve upon what I consider already one of the greatest games ever?

The short answer is no.

The longer answer is that they weren't really trying to, and that, despite some initial doubts, I found Exceed to be different enough from Battlecon to be worth having but still rewarding enough to be worth playing.

If you've played Battlecon, then you know that it is basically a perfect information game. You know all the cards your opponent has, and vice versa. The entire game is a series of exchanges as you seek to outwit your opponent by playing to the strengths of your character and predicting your opponent's choices. While Battlecon can indeed be a tough experience to crack, it makes up for it by being an incredibly complex game in a deceptively simple package.

Exceed is not that type of game. I'm not going to say Exceed is simple. It's not. But it's easier to drop into, and it's less about prediction and outwitting your opponent than it is about managing risk. This makes Exceed a more traditional card game.

If Battlecon is chess, than Exceed is poker.

In Exceed, it's all about risk versus gain and managing your resources. You have Force, which is spent by discarding cards, and Gauge, which is earned through striking your opponent and spent like Force or for powerful attacks and bonuses. Cards can be used for Force, for Boost effects, and to Strike.

It's tempting to call Exceed a lighter game than Battlecon, and it is. But it's also simpler, more traditional, and probably more accessible. Luck helps a lot, as the less luck a game has in it, the more difficult it can be for a new player to compete with experiences players. A game of Battlecon can be overwhelming if you're unwilling to make mistakes, and if you should happen to play an experiences player who doesn't cut you a break, it can be a very frustrating experience.

Exceed has skill, but it also has an element of luck. In the end, it's all about what you're willing to risk. Do you strike when you have a great card, but with a small hand, knowing that will leave you vulnerable next turn? Do you prepare by drawing extra cards to give you more options as your opponent moves into position? Do you spend Gauge for movement, cards, or do you wait to build it to pay for powerful ultra attacks? Do you play a continuous boost to increase your damage or hold onto a card?

The game is constantly about risk assessment, and this makes it different fundamentally than Battlecon.

This is a good thing.

Exceed won't replace Battlecon for me, but it's not intended to. It's different enough that I actually liking having it as an option, and I think it's a great version of a "Fightin' Game" card game. Sometimes, a little luck is a good thing, and while Exceed is more casual than Battlecon, that's its strength.

That said, if you love Battlecon for its pure strategy, you'll probably be disappointed with Exceed. Just a warning.

But I'm happy to have it and found it rewarding enough to keep around.
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Petteri Heino
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I am keeping both games in my collection, BattleCon and Exceed, but it's hard for me to see BattleCon getting playing time after I got Exceed from Kickstarter.

Exceed rules are more simple to teach and it is more enjoyable for casual gamers. I don't play BattleCon with a gamers who are playing BattleCon regularly. I also don't play BattleCon regularly.

I have some bad experiences with BattleCon when I have played the game with a person who have never played the game before. There are too many phases of time to follow in a beat. Choosing the cards for the beat takes quite often too long time.

With Exceed I have had only a good times with my gamer friends. Everybody have liked it.

Only thing i miss from BattleCon are the tokens. With tokens the fighters were able to do a lot of fun moves.
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Alex Martinez
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El_Mutanto wrote:
I am keeping both games in my collection, BattleCon and Exceed, but it's hard for me to see BattleCon getting playing time after I got Exceed from Kickstarter.


I think it comes down to luck. Luck is a huge factor in determining the skill level required for a game. The more luck, the less skill required to keep the game interesting.

Pure luck games require no skill, and anybody can play those with a shot at winning. Think of the lottery, where skill is irrelevant. Everyone has a chance to win, and there is no real advantage to anyone who plays. This is by design as if lotteries were games of skill, most people wouldn't play them.

Pure skill games like chess make it very hard to find an equal opponent. If you face an opponent of greater skill, you are likely to lose. If you face one of lesser skill, you are likely to lose. The greater the difference in skill, the more reliable the outcome.

Battlecon is a nearly pure skill game. This means that players who are afraid of making mistakes will quickly be paralyzed. Once they realize this, they'll be even more paralyzed. The game itself isn't actually very complicated (but neither are the basics of chess), but the fact that every move makes a difference can lead to slow turns.

When I teach Battlecon, I literally tell my opponent to relax and make mistakes. Those that can do so, have a much better time of it, and can learn the game fairly quickly.

Exceed is not a pure skill game. It is more of a traditional card game. As such, a lot of players will find it more accessible and not be intimidated by its play. That's okay. That's good even.

I still prefer Battlecon. Or, if I'm looking for a simpler game with skill in the same genre, Flash Duel. But Exceed is still fun and I'm glad I bought it.
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I can get on board with this line of reasoning. I love BattleCON because I have to think and do a lot of it. Playing online versus all sorts of opponents has been an absolute boon and when you find that one person who's exactly at your skill level man it's the best game I own.

If I can get past owning three dueling systems I might give it a shot, but as is I don't play a lot of "physical" BattleCON except with one friend who is also serious about it. I never have less than 4 people on a "gaming" night.

No bearing on the system, but the Jasco IP they are going with at the moment is just not good. Given how niche BattleCON is, I don't see anybody clamoring for another niche fighting game from the same publisher. Maybe they'll prove me wrong, but I'm sticking to my cynical loser shtick.
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Aaron White
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DifferentPerson wrote:
No bearing on the system, but the Jasco IP they are going with at the moment is just not good. Given how niche BattleCON is, I don't see anybody clamoring for another niche fighting game from the same publisher. Maybe they'll prove me wrong, but I'm sticking to my cynical loser shtick.

I was happy but not super excited for Red Horizon. However once I played Exceed I am more interested in these characters. Please do not let the IP stop you, the characters feel good and it is really fun.

I might be obsessed, but I have a lot of fighting games in my collection.

* BattleCON (Devastation, War and Fate).
* Yomi (all 20 characters plus EX box).
* Flash Duel (2nd edition, need to get revised 2nd).
* Brawl (Original decks plus new Kickstarter edition).
* Dragon Punch.
* Exceed all characters plus mat.

I have room for all of them.
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Thiago Colas
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Rook96 wrote:
DifferentPerson wrote:
No bearing on the system, but the Jasco IP they are going with at the moment is just not good. Given how niche BattleCON is, I don't see anybody clamoring for another niche fighting game from the same publisher. Maybe they'll prove me wrong, but I'm sticking to my cynical loser shtick.

I was happy but not super excited for Red Horizon. However once I played Exceed I am more interested in these characters. Please do not let the IP stop you, the characters feel good and it is really fun.

I might be obsessed, but I have a lot of fighting games in my collection.

* BattleCON (Devastation, War and Fate).
* Yomi (all 20 characters plus EX box).
* Flash Duel (2nd edition, need to get revised 2nd).
* Brawl (Original decks plus new Kickstarter edition).
* Dragon Punch.
* Exceed all characters plus mat.

I have room for all of them.


Thats a collection i can envy.
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I haven't dismissed the game, it's on my wishlist on Cool Stuff because Level 99 puts out solid releases. I'll sit on it for a week or so and see how I feel. I was probably a bit harsh on the IP, but getting the girlfriend to play the naked, white-haired ship chick would be a hilarious train-wreck. We're by no means those exaggerated tumblrinas, but it might a little too out there for some of my friends.

No doubt you're just a little into the fighting genre so I'll imagine you kinda know what you're talking about.
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Alex Martinez
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DifferentPerson wrote:
I haven't dismissed the game, it's on my wishlist on Cool Stuff because Level 99 puts out solid releases. I'll sit on it for a week or so and see how I feel. I was probably a bit harsh on the IP, but getting the girlfriend to play the naked, white-haired ship chick would be a hilarious train-wreck. We're by no means those exaggerated tumblrinas, but it might a little too out there for some of my friends.

No doubt you're just a little into the fighting genre so I'll imagine you kinda know what you're talking about.


I think there's something legitimate here. Level 99 mostly avoids the default "sexy lady" archetype, and when they do fall into it, it's with very obvious intent toward the character. Jasco clearly has a different mindset, which shows in their demon temptress character being nearly nude. While I'm all for looking past the superficial aspects of a game to find the core gameplay underneath, I do find myself less and less interested in certain aesthetic choices.

I highly enjoy Rum & Bones, for example, but the fact that all the guys are decked out in elaborate costumes (and the ones that aren't, aren't generally "sexy") while all the women have their boobs and butts hanging out is a strike against the game for me.

Perhaps it's a question of fair play or intent. From what I've seen, Jasco's other female characters play the archetype less, and so it just might be an impression from the seductress demon in this first set. If so, I think it's fine and even fits with the idea of a temptress demon. I'll wait until the other sets come along before making up my mind.

But I don't think it's out of line to reject a game for any reason. There are so many out there, you can always find one more to your liking.
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Adam Harvey
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This game has received more plays from me, coworkers and friends over the past two weeks than BattleCON and Yomi have in 2 years of ownership. As much as I love the idea of BC and Yomi, and have enjoyed my plays of it, there is a certain JNSQ to the unknown be it the wild swing top card, or your opponent holding onto a key dive/block when you're feeling like you're ready to ship them home.

Indeed, it feels more like a dynamic fighting game to me than any have. Not discounting others in the genre, just admitting my enjoyment to this wonderful fighting system.
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Aaron White
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I agree. It feels like when I watch fighting game tournament streams for Mortal Kombat X or Street Fighter. When someone pulls off something crazy and unexpected you get excited. In Exceed you can do crazy and unexpected and it feels awesome. I have also got in heaps more play time with Exceed than BattleCON or Yomi. I have also received excellent feedback on Exceed, everyone has fun with it. So far Brawl and Exceed are the two most popular games I own.
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