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Mechs vs. Minions» Forums » Sessions

Subject: [Session Report] Mission 2: Corki does it again rss

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Dr Gosburo Coffin
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[NOTE: This report obviously contains spoilers for everyone who hasn't played Mission 2 so far. I'll assume that everyone who keeps on reading after this warning is familiar with the setup of this mission, because I won't explain much.]

Today, my wife and I tackled Mission 2. The session took us about 3.5 hours, and I'm beginning to think that we're exceptionally slow in comparison to other groups. But we enjoyed every single minute of the game, so there's nothing wrong with the length in our point of view. It certainly felt like 2 hours maximum! And the increased length was also partially due to the following circumstances ...

My wife wanted to check out how the game dynamics change with four mechs on the board, so we decided to control two mechs each, with her handling Corki and Tristana, while I played Heimerdinger and Ziggs. In general, it went really well and we didn't have any problems with programming and executing two command lines instead of one. Sometimes early on, the timed drafts got a bit messy ("No, you have to take one for Ziggs first, then I pick cards for Corki and Tristana, and then you go again for Heimerdinger!"). In a few instances, we actually forgot to use the timer at all, but we were always done so quickly with the draft that I'm very certain we never exceeded the time limit.

The game
Our plan was to start out slowly and build up our command lines before picking up the first crystal shard, since we had the vague feeling that the escalations would make the game much more difficult. This worked out pretty well for us, even though Tristana (who covered the 'blue' flank of the board) got into a few awkward situations when she started sliding around on the oil slick for a couple of rounds. We also had one rather memorable draft early on, in which we had to choose between four Fuel Tanks and a Chain Lightning. Well, at least it wasn't five Fuel Tanks ...

At some point (I think the Team Gear counter was at 4 at that time), Ziggs on the 'green' flank had gotten rid of all minions on his board tile and was in a good position to pick up the nearby crystal shard, so we decided to use this opportunity. We then read about the first escalation with its increased minion spawn rate and started to worry slightly, but at first things didn't get that much worse on the board. Ziggs was able to carry his crystal shard home unhindered, as no spawns happened in his area, and the other mechs were able to keep their own zones more or less under control.

Nevertheless, the 'yellow' flank got a bit crowded now, since Corki was forced to run in circles for a few rounds due to some damage his mech had taken, so Ziggs also went there for support. When things had calmed down a bit, Heimerdinger grabbed the second crystal shard, and that's when the situation all of a sudden got a bit more ... interesting. While Heimerdinger was on his slow way back to the school (he didn't have a lot of powerful movement cards at that time), we had two spawns in a row in the undefended green area. One minion ended up directly adjacent to the school in basically no time at all, and no mech was in immediate striking distance to keep the worst from happening, even tough Heimerdinger had already pushed Corki three spaces towards the school.

Tristana definitely couldn't reach that side of the board in time, and Ziggs killed a few opponents in the vicinity but couldn't get close enough to the one minion with the "You're doomed!" patch on his robe, so everything depended on Corki again (he had already saved us in Mission 1 with his amazing mobility). Unfortunately, we couldn't make his programming work - no matter which route we considered, he (or his attacks) always ended up one step short of the minion that was about to enter the school building. We slowly started to accept the thought that we would lose this mission. But then my wife finally remembered that Corki's new Schematic card allowed her to add another command card of her choice to the command line. We quickly figured out that adding another Omnistomp card to her Level 2 stack would do the trick, so the school was saved just in time!

From then on, it was fairly smooth sailing: The rune dice spread out the spawn locations in a manageable way. Heimerdinger delivered his crystal shard and, having upgraded is movement capabilities in the meantime, went straight for the last one on the blue flank. We had deliberately kept this one for last, as it had the shortest way back home. The minions didn't have much of a chance to benefit from the final escalation, as we managed to finish the mission successfully within two or three more rounds.

Observations and Final Thoughts
In Mission 1, Skewer was my favourite Command card, and it contributed a lot to our success. This time though, we hardly used it beyond its basic movement capability - Tristana had a Skewer loaded with a minion since mid-game but forgot to use it when she actually got damaged. whistle Instead of Skewer, Omnistomp turned out to be the Most Valuable Move of the game. Its directional flexibility helped us quite a few times, not only in the critical situation I described above. Let's see which Command card will reveal its real power to us next time ...

We really enjoyed controlling two mechs each and didn't find it overly stressful, but we haven't decided yet whether we're going to do that for every future mission. Being able to cover more board space certainly helped a lot in this mission, but at the same time, the game also covered more table space, and we nearly reached the limit of what our furniture is able to handle. I guess we'll decide on a day-to-day basis whether we're in the mood for a 2-mech game or rather a 4-mech session.

The Radio Play again deserves much praise. It's fun to listen to and always feels like a nice little reward for having completed another step towards fulfilling the overall goal. A truly entertaining way to advance the story!

Many have described this already, but I think it cannot be stated often enough: One of the greatest aspects of the mission design is how it quickly manages to shift the players' mood from "Nice, we got this covered" to "Uh-oh, looks like the game's over now" and back to "I think we might be able to make it after all". The Schematic cards and Overdrive abilities allow for unexpected 'miracle recoveries' without feeling like cheap, undeserved deus ex machina effects. Instead, the game lets players feel smart for having figured out the solution to a puzzle that just a few moments ago looked like it meant certain doom. And speaking of those abilities, the individuality of the four mechs starts to become more and more obvious which each mission.

Any negatives so far? Well, the worst thing right now is that I'll have to wait for another week before I'm allowed to look into that big and menacing box ...
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Garry Rice
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My son and I are working our way thru the missions although we haven't tried controlling two mechs apiece so far...we've feally enjoyed it, but I think my son's favorite part is opening the next envelope at the end of the previous mission to see what is coming up next...no waiting here!
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Dr Gosburo Coffin
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garry_rice wrote:
...no waiting here!

I admit that I was tempted to open up the envelope for mission 3 (and peek into that box, of course) immediately, but finally my willpower won over my curiosity. My wife and me found that the immersion into the game is even stronger if we don't look at the new stuff before bringing it to the table again. But to each his own, of course.

As I said, we didn't have too many problems with controlling multiple mechs. In games with two mechs, you probably noticed that drafting two cards each per round allows you to easily repair damage and expand your Command Line at the same time. With four mechs, the decision whether to repair/reprogram or to use the card to upgrade your Command Line is a bit more tricky. If you think your son is ready for something like that (don't know how old he is) and the two of you feel like you'd like to change the game dynamics a bit, I'd say give it a try!
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Garry Rice
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I'd be particularly tempted to try it on the bomb towing/pushing missions...we've really struggled with these with just the two of us.
 
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