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Subject: How is that game different from other area-control/combat strategy games? rss

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Tomasz Podsiadło
Poland
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I'm asking out of curiosity, I'm a fan of this genre, but I know very little about Inis (except for watching SU&SD review while ago, from which I don't remember much).
I would like to know what makes that game different from Blood Rage, chaos, Cthulhu wars, kemet, Forbidden Stars etc. Except for a theme of course.
 
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Three Headed Monkey
Australia
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A lot of these games utilize very different mechanics for resolving player actions and combat. However, apart from that many have a very different focus on the sort of experience they want to bring.

For instance Forbidden Stars is very combat focused. Enemy units cannot co-exist in the same space and they have to fight. The combat is detailed and involves many decisions, and much of the non-combat gameplay is centered around making your forces better at combat. You must fight to achieve your goal.

Chaos in the Old World has fighting but not to the death. Enemy units can co-exist but they do fight at a specified combat phase. Everyone attacks once and all survivors remain. Combat is luck based and can be very swingy. CitOW is less about directly fighting other players and more manipulating the board to achieve your goals. You are scheming gods each with your own agenda. It's about balancing furthering your agenda and putting a spanner in the works of other players. Very asymmetrical factions.

I haven't played Kemet but from what I've seen it's more combat focused that Inis and a bit more like Risk.

Discworld: Ankh-Morpork is similar to Inis in a few different ways. The figures can co-exist and there is no VP track. Each player is trying to create a specific game-state to win the game. There is bluffing as each player doesn't really know what the other players are trying to do. Combat doesn't really exist, but cards that remove other player's pieces under certain circumstances do. Card based actions with some comboing going on. Much of the game revolves around claiming locations by either having more pieces there, or by placing buildings to claim special abilities.

However action cards are just drawn from a single deck and you get what you get. Inis has a card drafting phase where you develope your strategy for the round. Discworld requires players to gang up on the leader because if you achieve a possible victory condition, you win on the start of your next turn. Everyone has to be aware of the board and what is going on. In Inis the way the pretender tokens work and how victory is checked only at the start of a round makes leader bashing less urgent and frantic. Inis combat is about decisions and not about luck, at all.

The others you mentioned I have't really player. There are many different varieties of area control with a whole bunch of different levels of complexity and gameplay mechanics. Read some reviews and perhaps watch some lets plays to get a feel for things.
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Gabriel Cross
South Africa
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Inis appears to have card drafting and then card playing to perform actions as its central mechanic. Players can also pass to delay spending their (limited) hand of cards but risk the round ending if all other players also pass. As already mentioned, there are no VPs but rather players are trying to achieve one (or more) of three specific board states to win. Combat is quick, relatively simple and doesn't involve any randomness. It also does not appear to be the main focus of the game but will likely occur in most games. There appears to be space for a lot of negotiation both in terms of combat resolution (players can agree not to fight) and game strategy (players will likely attempt to convince each other that another player is winning and should be targeted).

Cthulhu Wars is similar in many respects as it is also an area control game of sorts but there are no cards or drafting, there are VPs (though some VPs are secret) and combat is determined through dice rolls. Actions are selected in CW through spending a limited supply of power each turn and players cannot pass without ending their turn (although there is an exception to this as with many rules in CW). The factions are asymmetrical and so some factions focus on combat while others do not. Combat takes place between only two factions at a time unlike Inis where (as far as I am aware) several players may be involved in a fight though only one is targeted at a time.

Blood Rage appears to me to be the most similar game to Inis from your list. It also involves card drafting and card play and has deterministic rather than random combat but is different to Inis in a few respects. There are VPs in Blood Rage for one thing. You draft more cards that are different than in Inis where you draft basically the same cards every turn (though additional cards that are not drafted do come into the game). The game length is a set number of rounds in BR whereas Inis ends when a player wins and so could be longer or shorter depending on the game. Combat resolution in Blood Rage involves playing cards more often than in Inis where "combat cards" appear to be rare.

Not a game mechanic but the miniatures in BR (and CW) are of course quite different both in size and quality (though I gather the minis in Inis aren't bad).

Cthulhu Wars is one of my all time favourite games (and I think that Blood Rage is a very good game though I don't own it nor plan to buy it). However, I am really looking forward to getting my hands on Inis. I feel that it is sufficiently distinct from Cyclades, Kemet, Blood Rage, CW, etc and delivers a different "feel" from those games that, though it is comparable to those other "dudes on a map" games in certain respects, it is really quite a different game. Inis looks to be far less focused on aggression than most of those games and is more about subtlety, diplomacy and calculated risks. For example, one of the win conditions in Inis is having the majority of your playing pieces ("clans") in territories with at least six opposing clans in them. This means destroying your opponents clans will make it harder to achieve this condition so purposefully not killing them might be a better tactic to fulfill this condition. On the other hand if your opponents have too many clans they might more easily fulfill the other victory condition of having clans in at least six territories.

A final thought on the uniqueness of Inis is that the card art appears to me to be very different from most games generally. Some people don't seem to like it but personally I think it is one of the main factors that draws me to the game.
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Three Headed Monkey
Australia
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Agreed, the card art is amazing. It's very unique and striking.
 
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Matthew Sanchez
United States
chaska
MN
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Three Headed Monkey wrote:
Agreed, the card art is amazing. It's very unique and striking.


Played my first game. There are two major points and 1 minor that differentiate it.


1. As mentioned the card drafting and play works very well and is different from at least the others I've played (I'm a fan of the genre so I've played a bunch)

2. The victory conditions. The fact that there are 3 different ways to win. It's not a total victory points or conquer the world situation. You just need to have 6 of something (one of 3 somethings).


Finally it's a dudes on a map game that plays in 1 hour for 4 new players. I thought kemet and Cyclades were fast. with a couple of plays so that everyone knows the cards this is going to play crazy fast.
 
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Three Headed Monkey
Australia
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sancmat wrote:

Finally it's a dudes on a map game that plays in 1 hour for 4 new players. I thought kemet and Cyclades were fast. with a couple of plays so that everyone knows the cards this is going to play crazy fast.


That's a very good point. It's going to be easy to get people to the table with this one because of its short play time. Also, it is actually hard to find a one hour game with a lot of depth and nuance.
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