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Subject: Mini-Review: What does 3012 Do Different? rss

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Dev Null
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Just picked this up used for a steal, and I'm trying to codify how I feel about it after our first play. Not going to delve into what makes a deckbuilder, but I want to try to tease out what this does that's different from other deckbuilders we have played.

Setting: The Aztec/Maya theme is relatively refreshing, though the game isn't what I would call heavily-themed. It's a pleasant and unusual setting, but it isn't trying to tell a story or anything.

Asymmetric characters: You play as a specific character, which will give you bonuses with certain allies and weapons. The bonuses aren't too huge, but large enough to shape your decisions in play, so the different sides do play differently.

Random Factor: Every turn you play a hand of cards from your deck, but you essentially add to that two random cards from the deck of upgraded cards. This adds a random factor to each of your hands that I've not really seen in a deckbuilder before. Personally, I kind of like it.

Limited Purchases: The cards you purchase to upgrade your deck are limited to 3 Allies, 3 Weapons, and 2 random "action" cards. The Weapons and the Allies only change when one is purchased, so they're pretty constant from turn to turn. So most turns you basically have 2 new cards to consider; the decision-making is fairly streamlined and easy.

Gold: I liked the way gold works in this game. Any turn you end where you didn't use all of your hand's purchasing power, you get 1 gold (regardless of how many you didn't use.) These gold can be added to your purchasing power on a subsequent turn. So if you don't have enough money in your hand to get what you want, you can always pass, and make it more likely that you'll have enough to buy what you want next turn.

Player Interaction: Beating monsters is how you get points and win this game. Any time an opponent is trying to beat a monster, you have the option to help (sharing in a bit of the spoils,) or hinder (preventing them from getting the points.) The ways that you can do this are limited, but it's an interesting interaction.

Deck size / composition: Your starting deck in this game is 4 cards, which is a hand for a single turn. Most deckbuilders seem to start you out with 2 or 3 hands worth in your starting deck. That may not seem like much of a difference, but it has quite a few interesting effects on the game: 1) cards you buy turn up sooner, and more often. 2) Defeating monsters (which gets you points, but also puts a "dead" card in your deck) dilutes your early deck quite a bit, so it can be much more of a choice when to start doing this. 3) Cards that let you draw extra cards are even more powerful than before, because your deck is smaller. 4) Your starting deck is a _bit_ crappy, but only a bit. They are worth 1 money, and the number of cards worth more than that were actually fairly limited. And at the same time they are - for the most part - the only cards that will let you help/hinder an opponent's battle, which is a key game mechanic. So while the strategy in many deckbuilders can be to get rid of crappy starter cards as soon as possible, here they don't dilute your deck as much, and they are legitimately and uniquely useful, so it's much harder to decide to be rid of them.

Summary: This is not my favourite deckbuilder of all time, but it does have some nice little innovations that make it unique. Overall I quite enjoyed it, and will play it again. Less themed than the Legendary games, but only about half of those were actually fun to play. Less complicated than Ascension. Less deep than Thunderstone, but also a lot less effort to setup and play.
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Denis Maddalena
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Funny enough, this is actually one of Cryptozoic's better games, but it always felt like it was only about halfway through the door of something great. Instead of tuning it with expansions, CZE just pounds out more mindless Cerberus system.

If you want to try some stuff off the beaten path, Empires of Zidal and Zeppelin Attack were both fantastic. Automobiles, too.
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BC Wendel
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I just got this game myself, for fairly cheap. It has some interesting mechanics, and the player interaction is a step up from most deckbuilders, which have none.

I thought overall it was okay, but personally I still prefer the "mindless" Cerberus system.

I am getting tired of deck-builders after loving them, because a lot of times picking the most expensive card is the best strategy and any moron can do that. More choices or options or strategy or something is what they need.

I think Legendary Encounters is way better than vanilla Legendary.

And Automobiles is an awesome bag-building game.
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Dave Roy
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I am also in the "it's a good game, but not great" camp.

We house-ruled that you can spend 2 gold to flush the weapons or the heroes, making it more likely to get one of your own faction.

But I do like the interactivity, and how you can use the two action cards that are available to you to buy on your turn as well as buying them.

I think it's a neat concept.

Would not have paid $50 for it, but for $10 I'm greatly enjoying it.
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Dev Null
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I guess I'm not super clear on what's "Legendary" and what's "Legendary Encounters". We've played the superheroes one a half-dozen times and I was... nonplussed. We own the Aliens one and have played it half a dozen times and I liked it much better because it had a better sense of story to it. Then recently, we bought Firefly, and a friend bought Big Trouble in Little China. Theme-wise, that would probably be a coin-flip showdown for my favorite settings ever, but (with only a play or two each) I found the Firefly one fun and the BTiLC one lacking. I honestly don't know what that says, at this point.

We gave 3012 another run the other night with 4 players and I liked it better with more players, but it still feels like a good-ish game that isn't going to end up with a lot of replay value. I figure I've already got my money's worth, so we'll see if we end up dragging it out again. We noticed particularly the strong effect of "draw cards" cards in the smaller deck of this game, so I added it back to my original post.
 
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BC Wendel
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Aliens, Predator, and Firefly are all Legendary Encounters. They rules are more engaging and enjoyable, to me at least.

The Marvel game and Big Trouble are just plain Legendary. The rules are not as thematic with the game play, and not as cool.

So it sounds like you and I are on the same page, you just didn't realize it.
 
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