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Subject: Burn Baby Burn: A Beginning, Middle, End Review rss

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Shane Is Board
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If you'd rather watch a video instead of reading, you can check out my video here:



If you’d rather read, well, then keep on reading.

OVERVIEW

Sylvion is a solo tower defense card game where you’re trying to protect the dreamy forest from the Ravager and his minions, the fire elementals. There’s a very cool drafting mechanic to build your deck and just enough challenge to make sure this isn’t a cake walk.

We’re going to skip past the rules and setup; you can find that information easily enough. We’re going to jump right into how it feels to play the game from beginning, middle to end.

BEGINNING

Your most important decision in the beginning is whether to play the Advanced Game or the Advanced Game with expansions. Unless you’re still learning, if you chose anything besides with expansions, you chose poorly; this game really shines when you’re playing with everything the box has to offer.

Since we know you’re playing the Advanced Game, you’re going to be drafting your deck. This is probably the single coolest thing in the game and really elevates it into something way more interesting; you gain more of an attachment to the cards you choose and you will kick yourself later for choices you make now. There’s not really a wrong way to do it, it’s just weighing risk vs. gain; do you NEED a certain card for your deck/playstyle and how bad do you need it. You’re going to cobble something workable together regardless but sometimes it’s just going to be rough (oh fickle fate).

Now that your deck is drafted and you’re feeling a little confident in your abilities, it’s time to feel woefully inadequate. You set up the board, shuffle the Ravager’s cards together, flip them over and see what awful garbage comes your way. The beginning is a bit of a struggle; thankfully there’s not a whole lot coming at you initially, but you’re also not prepared to deal with any nasty combinations of cards that may come up. Generally you’re throwing down defenses when and where you can with little thought for long term strategy; you’re just trying to plug the hole in the dam. With your finger. Or maybe a paper clip.

MIDDLE

By now you’ve probably got some sturdier defenses up and you’re figuring out how to really work your deck/system. Unfortunately, a few of your awesome cards have probably disappeared due to demobilization (you lose a card or cards every reshuffle; a clever twist on making deck efficiency a liability). You either choose two cards to remove, or remove a random one, and this is probably the hardest choice to make in the game; can you live without something? Or would you rather roll the dice (er, cards?) and hope the one card removed isn’t going to seriously hurt you. You’ve also probably gotten rid of some trees (which heal your forest but are otherwise almost worthless) by now because, well, you don’t need too many.

Occasionally, a really nasty combination of Ravager cards comes up and puts you in a real bind and now you really start to feel the consequences of how you built your deck and how you’ve been laying out your defense grid. On the plus side, you’re falling into a good rhythm of when and where to use your cards (or whether to play any cards at all and wait for more reinforcements).

Maybe you’ve managed to remain unharmed but most likely you’ve taken some damage, and now your mind is turning to how the hell you’re going to heal yourself before the end of the game. Regretting tossing some of those trees?

END

Although I rarely lose this game, this is the where you feel like each and every choice has a huge impact on the outcome. It’s also where you bust out your trickiest moves to manipulate the minions on the playing field as well as the Ravager decks themselves (assuming you have/still have any cards that can do so). A few turns will grind to a halt while you try to figure out your optimal move; there’s rarely a clear answer. Which is a great feeling, not knowing whether or not you’re making the right choice. Considering your deck is seriously thin at this point your options become more and more limited, but also streamlined; cool trade off.

It always feels down to the wire, a close shave with defeat, especially considering the enemy has a final assault that you damn well better prevent (or at least mitigate with some trees to heal you after they smack you around). Despite some bad beats early on (or even now), you never quite feel like things are out of your control, and when you win it really feels like you earned that victory.

CONCLUSION

Sylvion starts tense and remains that way throughout, with meaningful decisions to make right up to the end. Rarely do you ever feel like you steamrolled the game or had a cakewalk, especially playing with everything in the box. Better yet, if you feel the game is too easy, you can adjust the difficulty by giving yourself damage at the start or drawing less cards every turn (recommended in the rulebook; they know what’s up). Definitely recommended for us solo gamers; can’t recommend it for two only because I’ve never played it that way.
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Re: Rustling Through the Trees: A Beginning, Middle, End Review
I really enjoyed your review, thanks for that! BTW the 2 player version is not for everybody but it is interesting, it is much harder than single player and requires better forward planning.
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Shane Is Board
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Re: Rustling Through the Trees: A Beginning, Middle, End Review
Two-player seems interesting, especially since it's more challenging, but ultimately I've played this solo so much it's hard to even think of it as a two-player game.

Plus there are other two player only games I'd probably rather play lol.
 
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