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wolfkin
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I have a lot of opinions about this game which considering I've only played once should probably be impressive. Ordinarily I know myself and games well enough that I can be comfortable in my conclusions off one or two plays. But there's a lot of things in this game that I think might change for better upon repeat plays and getting into the meat of the real game. So with that in mind I give my thoughts on the game overall.

I had the opportunity to join a release event



Bloc by Bloc is a game I remembered by it's logo but I didn't back it and honestly I'm not sure I even checked out the page. Call it an exercise in self control. I'm working on being more frugal. Heck I still haven't played my official copy of Chaosmos (pure PnP baby).

Thematically there's lot to enjoy about the game. The theme is compelling and unique. The art direction really helps that. It simplifies the reality of the movements without taking away from them. That said I had the name "Bloc by Bloc" I hate the word "Bloc" in every incarnation of the game. Now this is a minor nit-pick and honestly to the game's credit they manage to make it very consistent in their usage and that helps A LOT in making it easier to understand.

The components are pretty bare bones: Plain cubes, sticks, regular D6s, and a police van that is sans sticky or paint or engravings. The theme and art direction make it easier to swallow but it would be so much nice with meeples and custom dice (would make it easier to do a lot of calculations).

Live by the gameplay, die by the gameplay


The meat and potatoes of the game however is the gameplay. First off I left the game satisfied. It was over two hours later (which is fair for a first game) but I was happy with the experience. There are however a number of things that fight against the entertainment value of the game. First and foremost is the rulebook. I swear I didn't see any mention of the Reaction Die in the rule book and if it's there it is not where it should be (which is next to the attack section which is where it takes place). It IS however in the player aid which was actually quite nice. It's a lovely player aid that I would rate maybe 8/10 because it could be fixed with a few touches that would highlight which side notes are linked to which main actions. Some colors or symbols could do wonders for this game. Heck in the rulebook more symbols for the various actions would be awesome.

There are a lot of bloody ambiguities in the card text. I was able to make sense of a lot of them but the other players would often be lost in the gaps that the cards weren't 100% clear on. I've read the five previous reviews. I've dug though the forums. I think it's more than just first game jitters. Fist game jitters are why we kept forgetting the reaction die or movement rules. Those were all there but we'd have to look them up to remember them. There are cards with text so simple it's not clear whether they're super awesome and near game breaking or just ok.

Last and not least I don't like the movement. There are so many movement options, that movement is rarely an issue. Thus negating the idea of needing to do anything about movement. We just always went were we wanted. It's just too free to be fun. It feels pointless. You find yourself asking "Wait why did I memorize all these movement rules if they never come up or are an issue. For most of the game we forgot about the subways because it never came up. We were never street blocked. There was never a benefit or value to going on subway vs street.

How I would be different

In a perfect world I'd like to fix a bunch of aspects of the game. It's for the most part unfair of me to suggest that because I haven't played any of the scenarios all of which have great descriptions. I'd defriendly the game a little bit to make them people (but I concede it's more marketable with cubes). I'd patch up the rulebook. I'd tighten up the card text. I'd remove the mechanic of having cards under tiles that get revealed. Like Secret Hitler's Passport package it's too much



This is too much to give a single person. Just do it like The Resistance and have a community "Good/Bad" card set. You don't need more than one. All you need to give someone in Secret Hitler are their vote cards and a secret role that's it. It's my biggest pet peeve for that game. Actually second. Biggest is the designer suggesting he designed it (in part) to fix issues with The Resistance that a) weren't issues and b) weren't fixed


There's literally no reason it can't just be a deck of cards you draw from. It's mildly thematic but it doesn't add in my opinion enough to be worth the hassle of getting the cards from under the district tiles. I'd work with the movement mechanic to make it interesting. Maybe limited movement spaces and subways give you shortcuts. Maybe a way to move through cops if you have a large enough mob thus giving an incentive to move a mob vs a single bloc. This could introduce new obstacles that are not just cops. I'd work with the enemy movements because they were very much concentrating around the police stations to the point where moving anywhere else was zero risk because every other card moves them back to their precious stations. The vans were almost never an issue. I'm willing to concede that as the game's goal is to occupy the cop's "home base" it's not a horrible choice but it needs to be more.

As I started this review I did enjoy the game. I had a good time. I left not dissatisfied. There are a lot of issues with the game but there's a great game with a compelling them and once again great art direction. It just needs to go further. Or needs to cook a little longer. I look forward to playing it again and even more I'd like to see what they could do with an expansion or a sequel. There's a lot of room to grow with this game and while this game can feed me it's not something I would feast upon. Give me that game.



If I had to drop a number I'd give it a 6/10, just above average. I'd like to highlight once again that I've only played the game one time. I would gladly play it again there is a club on campus who has a copy of the game and if someone brings it to my club. I have no problem trying it out again. I look forward to it.
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Phil
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I'll agree with you on the Manifestation cards under the tiles in that they could have just been a pile off to the side.

I also had some issues with the card text, but that has since been cleared up via the forums.

Overall, though, I found the rule book to be pretty good, especially when it would cross-reference itself.

With regards to movement, my first play I did a custom setup per the rules rather than the basic setup. I ended up with a board that was cut in half due to highways and on one side of those highways there were State zones with riot vans. Subways played a key part since we couldn't make it to the other side of the board freely without using them, and we were hampered when we had the Metro shut down for 2 nights in a row.

The riot vans also played a big part for us as the card draw had them move once which wiped out a whole slew of our blocs that were going to liberate a district, and other times they kept spitting out additional police cubes that hampered us getting State zones cleared.
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wolfkin
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Quote:
The riot vans also played a big part for us as the card draw had them move once which wiped out a whole slew of our blocs that were going to liberate a district, and other times they kept spitting out additional police cubes that hampered us getting State zones cleared.


The riot vans did spit out more police and that was frustrating but I never felt threatened by the vans. They so rarely moved from home based i almost felt like they were wasted. They felt like lightning, yeah they could come out at any moment and wipe out our preparations but they weren't likely to.

That said I will concede that with a different map setup it's possible that movement might feel better. and more restricted. I don't know if I used a "Basic" setup but I presume so and if the random setup really changes movement then the basic setup is a great way to learn the game without having to rely on movement heavily. If I ever play it again I'll definitely update the review with the further nuances that show up.
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