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Zach Hartman

Atlanta
Georgia
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It's been a long 9 months waiting for this game, with all the ups and downs of my first Kickstarter backing! I've digested the initial box openings and reviews (loved the Charlie Theel review!). Now that I've received my copy, I thought I'd put down my initial impressions, including some stuff I haven't seen others mention.

Components

Components struck me first and foremost. The Works box is BIG, but also not as big as I thought it was going to be. It's very tall, but a smaller square than you'd expect. There's a definite vacuum when you go to open it, and you could get around this by punching holes in the box. However, I found an even simpler solution. To avoid caving in the sides of your box, as you open, gently pull the edges outward. This allows air to get into the box as you open up, and everything works out just fine. Do the same when you're closing. A lot of people have been commenting on damage to the box after playing the game, and if you follow that simple trick, you'll be just fine (assuming yours wasn't damaged in transit)

The dice are a little bigger than I expected! To my hands, they're larger than Imperial Assault dice or other similar games. This gives them a nice, chunky quality. If you're color blind, I assume you'll have an issue, but I fing the turtle action dice to be beautiful.

I don't know about anyone else, but my biggest fear from IDW was the cardstock quality, having played games like Machi Koro and The Game, with their flimsy cards that can be hard to shuffle. Happy to report that these cards are nice, better than my past experience with IDW. They're not Fantasy Flight quality, but they do well. I'd say they're on par with Magic: The Gathering, in my opinion. They'd be just fine to sleeve up, but I don't see the need at this time.

The miniatures are extremely serviceable for my needs. They're attractive and clear, way better than the retail Ghostbusters I purchased and now regret. They're not the best miniatures ever, but I like them a lot and look forward to giving them some paint. This has received the most complaints from backers, and it's unwarranted, in my opinion. Yes, Casey Jones and April have weird scaling, and some people have gotten weird defects. But overall I am pleased with the quality here!

Instructions

I barely watched the playthroughs, just enough to get a bit psyched. I saved all my learning for my first read of the instruction manual, which I found to be pretty painless. I generally got a feel for the flow of the game, though there are points I needed to refer back to for clarification, such as all the different times you may (and may not) use focus to reroll dice. A player aid may be helpful in the future for teaching and reference, but I don't think it's a complicated game by any stretch.

First Play-Through Impressions

I decided to sit down and solo the Mouser mission that came with The Works, which is a cooperative scenario facing wave after wave of mousers. These buggers can hit hard! Michaelangelo spent most of the fight KO'd because he was totally surrounded.

After having played it, I was underwhelmed with that scenario specifically. However, it showed me the principal player mechanic of the game, namely dice sharing and use of skills. Actual playing of the game is a BLAST, and it's hard to really distill the fun of sitting there, hashing out how the turtles should arrange their dice. Then, taking turns and allocating actions, chucking damage, rolling defense, choosing when to use focus. There's a LOT of game there, and that's with facing an AI. The skill cards in particular really gave me a great sense of customization, and every turtle felt different. That part of the system (skill cards) feels like building out your kit in Level 7: Omega Protocol, which is one of my favorite parts of that game.

I ended up with a score of something like 24 mousers defeated. There's no other objective but destroying mousers for 6 rounds. So it's a bit samey. However, it was an excellent introduction for whoever will run and teach the game. I'd highly recommended it for the new owner of the game, as it introduces you fully to the basic mechanics you'll need to teach. This should smooth out the initial learning curve when you go to take on the nuances of playing as the villain.

Overall, initial impression

With so many board games, I've spent a ton of time hyping myself up, looking for every reason to like it. I did that with Ghostbusters, only to come away underwhelmed. Some other games I've had to grow to love, like Mysterium or Lord of the Rings LCG. Still other games I went into with few expectations and came away loving, like Castles of Burgundy.

TMNT is one of the first experiences that I personally have gotten SUPER HYPED for but then did not have to struggle to identify what I liked about it. I'm enjoying it right out of the gate, and I'm seriously looking forward to teaching and playing with a group. It was not onerous to solo all 4 turtles by myself, though I could see all player counts working ok. I agree with Charlie Theel that this could make downtime pretty serious, but all players are invested in the combat. Similar to Imperial Assault, I only have one character and have to wait 6-8 turns before I get to go again. But it's the watching that works for me, and it gives me time to really try and figure out what the best use of my skills will be.

So overall, I am extremely pleased with my first impressions of this game, from component quality to gameplay itself. I'm very much looking forward to playing some scenarios, painting my minis, and tracking the new content that IDW will be releasing. I'll forego giving a BGG rating to TMNT for now so I can solidify my impression, but this is easily above a 6 for me, at least, and if I can make it hit the table often enough (it is a really big box, after all...), I can see it becoming a favorite of mine.

I'm a TMNT kid from the early 90s, so I'm definitely biased. But I feel like I'm going to enjoy this more than Imperial Assault, which I have a lot of fun with and would definitely recommend buying.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
United States
Elk Ridge
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GrayCatGames wrote:
Actual playing of the game is a BLAST, and it's hard to really distill the fun of sitting there, hashing out how the turtles should arrange their dice.

I'll admit, when I first read this in the rules, I was quite taken aback ("Dice to determine my actions? Not just a preset list of actions I can do stuff with?") and wasn't sure how well we were going to like it. But due to the dice sharing mechanic, it plays exceptionally well, and is probably one of the best cooperative mechanics I've ever seen in this type of boardgame. The Turtle players all discuss and plan their moves before the first turn, figuring out what actions they need, asking their neighbors to put X die on the left, etc. It is such a great dynamic for cooperation that my friends love it. And, it's a freshing new mechanic for us (we've never seen anything like it in other games).

-shnar
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Anthony Ferrise
Canada
Calgary
Alberta
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Great review. Thanks for your feedback.

It's great to hear that the game is so approachable. This is a big deal for my gaming tastes - I like to be able to get a game to the table and start enjoying it with almost anyone without too much real effort.

Looking forward to getting my first play with my Works edition tonight!
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BorderCon
Australia
Lavington
New South Wales
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Dang - most often we smile when we realise we dodged a bullet by not backing something on KS.

Sounds like I missed out on this one though.
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Mir
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Is the whole game playable solo?
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Scott Miller
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mace92 wrote:
Is the whole game playable solo?

The base game is not playable solo, though a backward-compatible AI mechanism is purported to be in the works for a future expansion. Currently the mousers are the only AI enemy, and I believe they will be made available at retail through Splinter's expansion (whenever that comes out).
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John Troutman
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Phoenix
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Agreed. I played through all of Book 1 with my group (five people, including myself) and we had a blast. I could tell they were liking it more than Imperial Assault, which we've done a few times in the past. TMNT just hits the table so much easier because of the fast setup.

And you're right about downtime. I was worried, but it became a non-factor, because every hero is invested in and discussing the current hero's turn. It never felt like someone was getting bored.
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Zach Hartman

Atlanta
Georgia
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Yesterday my main group got in its first session. The beginning scenario is incredibly basic, but we could not move on after that because too many people started showing up, so off to Cosmic Encounter we went!

However, my personal feelings were confirmed as I played the overlord against 4 turtles (which a buddy and I spent 8 hours this past Saturday painting, along with Casey, April, and Splinter). I was able to explain the game to 4 guys who have never heard of this game, though they are all pretty experienced.

We did run into a little bit of information overload with all the terrain, and we hit one snag on the rules. Namely, Raphael was standing on the roof, in the square adjacent to an enemy. He wanted to make a ranged attack on that enemy. The terrain card says that going from "low" to "high" altitude for ranged costs an extra space, but nothing from high to low. So it seemed that a strictly by-the-book interpretation would mean that Raphael could not attack, as he was "adjacent."

Though it was simple, that mission was dang close, with the turtles knocking my last thug out just before he got off the map. My defensive bonuses did not carry me through!


So I can give some second-phase impression. Four reasonably experienced players did not have any particular problems with downtime, at least not out of the ordinary (one guy on his phone a lot). There was a fellow who tends more toward alpha gaming, but that did not become egregious in this scenario.

Setup time was a breeze once I had the figure box unpacked and everything. We played Level 7 later in the day, and I was definitely wishing I could go back to the easier setup (though Level 7 is also worth playing and owning). And everybody seemed to latch on easily to the rules. I definitely recommend having players take a look at the terrain cards, or become very familiar with them yourself. Otherwise, the way the game conveys terrain information can be a little unusual, and the players miss cool stuff like avoiding fall damage by dropping into garbage.

So that helps to solidify things a bit more for me! I'm very much looking forward to being able to get in some more sessions.
 
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Joe Prozinski
United States
O'Fallon
Illinois
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mace92 wrote:
Is the whole game playable solo?


While there technically aren't any solo rules other than in the Mouser scenario, you can play play it solo. You play both as the Heroes and the Villains. All you have to do is put yourself in the mind set of the villain player every time you take an action for them and make sure you take the most tactically sound actions. Then do the same for the Turtles. The only small problem you'll have is you'll have knowledge of what's in the villain's hand.

One thing I do, to reduce the knowledge I have about the villain's hand on the Turtles turns, is that after the villain player takes his turn, I don't draw the two new cards immediately. This way I only know about 3 cards. I draw the new cards at the start of the villain's turn. To be honest you have to do the same thing for the villain as well.

It is hard to play as the turtles without remembering what the villain has in hand so I ask myself, "What would the turtles do without that knowledge of the villains hand?" and it helps.

I do it this way and have had the villains and the turtles both win various scenarios. If you can compartmentalize enough and try not give bias to one side, you'll do well and have an enjoyable game. The turtles lost the first scenario three times in a row playing this way before I figured out just how to play it so that they won the 4th time. Most games have been very close games.
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trevor chadwick
United States
Vermont
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Where is there info on an expansion? I'm tempted to buy the Works for too much money on Ebay - because I REALLY want mousers and Splinter.
 
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Scott Miller
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grizlok wrote:
Where is there info on an expansion? I'm tempted to buy the Works for too much money on Ebay - because I REALLY want mousers and Splinter.

There's little info on expansions yet. It has been mentioned that at some point a Splinter expansion will be released, likely containing the same as what The Works got except with tokens for the mousers rather than minis. It's also possible (likely?) that whatever expansion contains Baxter Stockman may also contain some form of mousers.

But there's really no official word right now, as everything is subject to change until things actually get released.
 
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