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Marcel Bollmann
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So I played my first game of Arena of the Planeswalkers yesterday with a friend, and we were pretty disappointed.

First, none of us had any experience with Heroscape or any other game involving moving units over a battlefield. We read the rules, tried to start playing, and quickly noticed that there were many questions and uncertainties (like, which abilities are active at what times?). After researching some rules questions, we noticed that we apparently had played the summoning of creatures completely wrong (understanding it as up to two creatures instead of squads), and since we were only a few turns in, decided to start over.

The game was over really quickly, and it went like this:

So I am playing Nissa, my friend is playing Chandra and going first. She summons the phoenixes and moves Chandra behind a ruin. On my turn, I summon the archer squad, spreading them out pretty evenly within my 5-square summoning radius, and move a little bit forward. Her turn again, she activates her phoenixes, and moves one of them to attack one of my archers, because I didn't consider they could fly over ruins. D'oh! The attack is blocked successfully though and nothing happens.

On my second turn, turn 4 of the game, I activate the archers. I use the sorcery that deals 1 damage to neighboring flying creatures to get rid of the phoenix that tried to attack, drawing Overrun, and casting it as well. I then move one of the archers on the +1 strength glyph, and another one on elevated terrain. The former can target a phoenix that's standing right next to Chandra, the latter can already target Chandra directly due to its range. So I attack the phoenix with six dice (3 strength + 1 from the glyph + 2 from Overrun), rolling 4 attack symbols, while the phoenix rolls 1 shield. I kill it, and 3 trample damage carry over to the neighboring Chandra (we weren't sure if she was allowed to roll defense for it as well, but it seemed to us like she wasn't). The other archer, standing on elevated terrain, can attack Chandra with 7 dice, killing her easily. (I rolled 5 attack, she rolled 2 shields.)

The game was over after turn 4, and we wondered what the hell we were doing reading rules for an hour and then playing for 10 minutes.

We tried watching some "Let's Play" videos on YouTube to find out if we were playing anything terribly wrong, but couldn't find anything. We realize that we might not have made the best moves since we were totally new at the game, but still, even inexperienced players shouldn't have such an irritating playing experience on a first time play. I still can't wrap my head around how this game is supposed to work, and why you can't just always go for a quick attack rush of some sort and have the game be over in a few turns.

Judging from my short description above:
Did we make any gross and obvious mistakes playing the game? Is this a typical playing experience? I would really like to understand what is going on here and why we had this terribly disappointing first-time experience, and appreciate any input.
 
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Thomas with Subtrendy
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Why 7 dice for the second archer? Wouldn't it be base 3+ 2 (Overrun) + 1 (elevation)?
 
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The Friendly Meeple
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Overrun doesn't work on ranged attacks.
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Trueflight Silverwing
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
Why 7 dice for the second archer? Wouldn't it be base 3+ 2 (Overrun) + 1 (elevation)?

You forgot the +1 for the Strength Glyph.

Sound like the only things that you guys did wrong was poor placement/movement of your figures.
Not summoning 2 whole units during the summoning action (not that you have to, but most of the time, why would you not?)
And that Trample only works on melee attacks. I would have to look it up as it has been a bit since I played last, but I'm pretty sure that you still get to roll defense against trample damage too, it just basically bypasses the rolling to attack step as it is whatever rolls over from the previous target.
 
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Andy Dunks
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Quote:
Judging from my short description above:
Did we make any gross and obvious mistakes playing the game? Is this a typical playing experience? I would really like to understand what is going on here and why we had this terribly disappointing first-time experience, and appreciate any input.


The main thing to realize is that you must play conservatively, with your first priority being to not leave your Planeswalker open to a quick kill with a lucky die roll. The game basically is a Heroscape derivative with a few added elements, so its going to all about risk management. You can set up a brilliant move and be betrayed by the dice, or can be toasted by an enemy attack you could reasonably expect to survive. So play conservatively with your Planeswalker and chip away slowly at the opposition so that you won't lose due to luck. On the other hand, take big risks with your units if you see an opportunity for a quick lucky kill arise, as your opponent did.

It's a light game but still tactically challenging. The better player should win most of an evening's games, but may indeed not win all of them. And some will be quick. It's a feature, not a bug. This is a game that you should provide a satisfying match in around 30 minutes.



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Jimmie Hayes
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you know who wrote:
Overrun doesn't work on ranged attacks.


Actually it does but you still have to be adjacent to the figure that you are attacking which I think is what you are getting at. Normally, you wouldn't want to be adjacent if you're a ranged fighter unless you're sending them on a Kamikaze suicide mission.

Also, in the example, if the attacker rolled four hits and the defender rolled one shield, the Phoenix would take one point of damage and two would be passed to Chandra, not three.
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James P. E. Reynolds
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Atvar wrote:
Quote:
Judging from my short description above:
Did we make any gross and obvious mistakes playing the game? Is this a typical playing experience? I would really like to understand what is going on here and why we had this terribly disappointing first-time experience, and appreciate any input.


The main thing to realize is that you must play conservatively, with your first priority being to not leave your Planeswalker open to a quick kill with a lucky die roll. The game basically is a Heroscape derivative with a few added elements, so its going to all about risk management. You can set up a brilliant move and be betrayed by the dice, or can be toasted by an enemy attack you could reasonably expect to survive. So play conservatively with your Planeswalker and chip away slowly at the opposition so that you won't lose due to luck. On the other hand, take big risks with your units if you see an opportunity for a quick lucky kill arise, as your opponent did.

It's a light game but still tactically challenging. The better player should win most of an evening's games, but may indeed not win all of them. And some will be quick. It's a feature, not a bug. This is a game that you should provide a satisfying match in around 30 minutes.





I should have read this post before my son and I played our third game tonight. Red vs Black, I figured I would dominate with Lilana Vess' zombie buff and squad abilities. I rushed out (bad move) and got trounced by my sons double enchanted Fire Cats that cut through my squads and crushed my PW by turn five. The Fire Cats and my sons dice rolls were on fire (intended). My rolls sucked. I didn't even get a third turn. We played aggressively and are new to the game so we are not that familiar with all the powers and combos.

Take away -- I'm not soured on the game. Now I want to play more so I can beat those fricking Fire Cats, or play Red so I can use the cats.
 
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Marcel Bollmann
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Thanks for the comments everyone, I somehow missed them for 6 weeks since I didn't realize I'm not automatically subscribed to my own threads...

Thanks for the hint about trample not working on ranged attacks. It makes sense, but it wasn't obvious to me from the rules. (I haven't looked it up again though, maybe I was just blind.)

It could also be a case of wrong expectations. After working through the rulebook, we surely weren't expecting a very quick game that can be heavily influenced by luck. And playing more defensively might have helped as well.

I also read that the game is better with four players, or with two players commandeering two planeswalkers each. I hope to give it another try sometime.
 
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Ender02 wrote:

Not summoning 2 whole units during the summoning action (not that you have to, but most of the time, why would you not?)


Actually, you do have to summon all squad creatures when you summon a squad. See the last sentence on p. 6 of the Innistrad rulebook. Admittedly, that sentence is missing in the core game rulebook, but as far as I remember, there was already an answer by Hasbro to a question, which was posted somewhere and clarified this.

Ender02 wrote:

And that Trample only works on melee attacks.


Trample has no such restriction, but Overrun only grants Trample when attacking adjacent figures. (And as has already been mentioned, ranged attacks - defined as attacks by a figure with range greater than 1 - can also target adjacent figures.)

Ender02 wrote:
I would have to look it up as it has been a bit since I played last, but I'm pretty sure that you still get to roll defense against trample damage too, it just basically bypasses the rolling to attack step as it is whatever rolls over from the previous target.


No. At least not when interpreting the card literally (which should probably be done). Trample is worded to reassign "damage", not "hits" that could still be defended against. See here for more people confirming this interpretation:
http://www.heroscapers.com/community/showthread.php?t=51979
 
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Amaroid wrote:

Thanks for the hint about trample not working on ranged attacks. It makes sense, but it wasn't obvious to me from the rules. (I haven't looked it up again though, maybe I was just blind.)


Do you use the German version of the game? There is a probable translation mistake in it. With the German wording, you get the +2 Power in any case and the adjacency requirement is only important for whether you also get Trample.
However, in the English wording (*click*) (which is the original), it is different. While unfortunately it isn't totally clear whether the adjacency requirement governs only Trample or also the +2 Power, I'd interpret it as the latter. Firstly, because I think in English there should better be a comma before the "and" in this sentence if the +2 were to be excluded from the condition. Secondly, because I think it makes more sense thematically that the entire ability called Overrun only works against adjacent targets.
 
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Marcel Bollmann
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Ender02 wrote:
Trample is worded to reassign "damage", not "hits" that could still be defended against. See here for more people confirming this interpretation:
http://www.heroscapers.com/community/showthread.php?t=51979


Thanks for the link. Never place your phoenix adjacent to your planeswalker or any other of your creatures, I guess, since Trample can hurt way too much in that scenario.

Darador wrote:
Do you use the German version of the game? There is a probable translation mistake in it. With the German wording, you get the +2 Power in any case and the adjacency requirement is only important for whether you also get Trample.


Yeah, it's the German version. Your interpretation makes sense, I think. Still, I can't help thinking that M:tG might be the game with the most care put into exact wordings and rules, and yet somehow they didn't learn from it when making AotP...
 
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Amaroid wrote:
Never place your phoenix adjacent to your planeswalker or any other of your creatures, I guess, since Trample can hurt way too much in that scenario.


You should indeed be very careful with adjacency - including adjacency to friendly figures in a team game - when an opponent's figure has a Trample ability (possibly due to Overrun). Actually, since there doesn't seem to be a restriction to not be able to attack friendly figures, you might even have to watch out for your opponent attacking his own figures to Trample you. Sorin - a white-black Planeswalker from the Innistrad expansion - might realistically attack his own last Restless Zombie (Toughness 1) with his Rhox Veterans to Trample your Gideon (Toughness 5) adjacent to the Zombie. This not only circumvents Gideon's high Toughness but also gets rid of his last Restless Zombie so that he can roll for its Darkness Arises ability later. In team games many more combinations including attacking one's teammate's squads with Trample look possibly feasible.

On the other hand, only 2 squads (Pummelroot Elementals and Rhox Veterans) and 1 Sorcery (Overrun) currently have or grant Trample. (As far as I recall, nothing in the first two expansions has/grants a Trample ability.) So you are currently completely safe against non-green, non-white Planeswalkers.
Moreover, Trample only particularly hurts against high-toughness figures whose high defense it circumvents. It is much less of a big deal against low-toughness figures who could also be attacked directly with a very good chance of hurting them.
 
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