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Subject: First game rss

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Claus Jensen
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Backstory:
I purchased 137 commons / uncommons off ebay two months ago ($40 in case you're interested), hoping the game would play well with that amount of figures.
I had a friend over yesterday and we decided to try the game, knowing only what I knew from reading the manual a few times.
Both players have a background playing loads of Magic the Gathering, so the mechanics of a collectable game, where the rules are implemented on the cards / figures is not new to either of us.

Setup:
Since we had absolutely NO idea how the game played, beyond what was in the rulebook, we basically decided that one player grab 8 "green" and 8 "blue" figures, while the other grabbed 8 "purple" and 8 "gray" figures. We didn't look at the models, their abilities or anything, we just grabbed and sorted until both players had 16 models. I don't even know which where common or uncommon
We then dove straight into the first round.

The game:
We started off slowly, spawning a few models, getting to grips with the "shift or strike, but not both" timing of the game. I got an easy point early on for dividing my forces and holding free cells.
In the center cell we had an odd thing going on, since my model simply did not want to die, no matter what my opponent did to it. (bad die rolls)

It turned out quickly that we had randomly selected some models that had rather high (or so it seemed to our untrained eyes) defense/health but lowish power. So it took quite a few turns before we had enough models on the board to actually start destroying things.
We pretty much took turns taking points from each other, with a bit of disruption, and as the game moved along, more destruction.
At one point the score was 3-2 and we started to realize that we had missed reading up on the models' abilities, which prompted a laugh since we both realized we had some rather interesting abilities which we had neglected to take advantage of.
Also, once we started actually destroying models, it became apparent that we both had a real hard time remembering to do deathstrikes.

As the game moved on, we both agreed that the game had a surprising elegance to it, since there seemed to be quite a bit of strategy to it which did not involve combat. Initially we both drove straight for the throat of the models, but after a bit, we realized that there were quite often points to be found through movement and avoiding combat. Just as using models as cannon fodder, forcing a player to use up an action for combat, rather than movement was a powerful move.

The very last game round saw both players with 5 points each. Since my opponent had a model with "unstoppable" (may move while engaged), he was able to spend his turn moving and attacking, his movement placed his unstoppable model (Raging vanguard I think it was called) in a 5 point scoring position, while also destroying one of my models in a 1 point cell.
So with two actions to go, I had no choice but to spend one round moving a model into the 5 point cell, contesting it. At this point I was 3 points down with only a single action, since he destroyed one of my models and cleared a 1 point cell.
Using my last action to strike I scored enough hits to either destroy 1 model, or disrupt 2 models in a 1 point contested cell, meaning I could either score 1 or 2 points, not the 3 needed.
I lost the game by what I can only assume is a very small margin.

Overall a highly enjoyable game, and I look forward to playing again with a more strategic selection of models.
We've already discussed how to do limited scenarios, using just that one box of models I have. I was surprised how even the game was with our totally random selection of models. Maybe because neither of us knew what we were doing

Random comments:
Why call it "shift" and "strike" instead of "move" and "attack"? seems to add confusion more than flavor (minor nit)
Theme, while fun, strange and surreal, could probably capture a lot more players if it had been more "normal"
As with all dice games, luck can play a serious role. Not enough to feel unbalancing in our case though.
Even when you're on the receiving end of the damage, rolling 17 dice at the same time is just a fun thing to do

Questions from the session:
can you "attack" if there is no opponent in the same cell as your figure? Sorry, I don't remember the names, but I had one model which had "Warpstrike 2" and another that had "Fortunate 5". So I'd like to know if I could roll all the dice for models in that cell, and reroll, and just allocate warpstrikes as I saw fit? Seems a bit powerful if so....

Last Gasp (I think): "this model may make a deathblow during any action phase" What exactly does this mean? That I can just make a deathblow, dealing damage as often as I like (ignoring blades)? Or does the model die as part of the "make a deathblow" part? Or can it actually make a deathblow even though it has already had initiative in combat? Could someone explain how this works?

Limited format: If anyone has suggestions on how to select models randomly from the box (I'm guessing that since you might recognize a model by feel, just grabbing them won't be enough, I'd love to hear suggestions. Also, how many models should we draw, etc. etc.
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Pei Kwong Han
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can you "attack" if there is no opponent in the same cell as your figure? Sorry, I don't remember the names, but I had one model which had "Warpstrike 2" and another that had "Fortunate 5". So I'd like to know if I could roll all the dice for models in that cell, and reroll, and just allocate warpstrikes as I saw fit? Seems a bit powerful if so....

No, you can't attack empty cells.

Last Gasp (I think): "this model may make a deathblow during any action phase" What exactly does this mean? That I can just make a deathblow, dealing damage as often as I like (ignoring blades)? Or does the model die as part of the "make a deathblow" part? Or can it actually make a deathblow even though it has already had initiative in combat? Could someone explain how this works?

This model will perform deathblow regardless of phases, which means it can perform deathblow even when attacked by the 2nd player. Of course, deathblow can only be performed when this model got destroyed.


Limited format: If anyone has suggestions on how to select models randomly from the box (I'm guessing that since you might recognize a model by feel, just grabbing them won't be enough, I'd love to hear suggestions. Also, how many models should we draw, etc. etc.

There are a lot of online generator around, one of them:

http://games.newmyths.org/dbgen.html

But that's assuming you have all the models. My suggestion would be to download the list of miniatures from WotC website and cut out the pieces you have, divide them into common/uncommon/rare and draw accordingly.

Simpler way is just do highlander swimming pool variant. That is placing 40 miniatures (i suggest 10 from each faction) into a common pool. Both players will spawn from the common pool but have seperate graveyard.

Check out: http://dreamblade.tcgplayer.com/
 
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