First off all let me tell you a fact: you won’t find this game in any store, probably ever.
Based on the last message I got from KS the game designer (Artipia Games) and the publisher (Drawlab Entertainment ) had so many problems during the game production and Kickstarter fulfillment, to a point that Artipia decided to not support Project Elite anymore; and this is terrible news because Project Elite is FANTASTIC; let me tell you why:
The KS pledge for Project Elite with all the stretch goals including delivery was $80, and for the amount of miniatures, tokens, cards, board, dice etc it was a steal. After Gloomhaven this was easily the best $ per pound that I ever invested in a game board.
The best components of Project Elite are the game board, token and the action dice; they all have very good quality and durability. The cards have good thickness but their finish is not good for shuffling, they certainly require sleeve to be able to shuffle properly, however I haven’t sleeved mine and they haven’t showed any sign of damage so far.
Now to the miniatures, YES they:
- don’t look good
- don’t have details
- are hard to distinguish in between
- are not worth painting
- are suited for purpose
- you can play with your children
- you can tell your dog to fetch
- you can drop on the ground from the balcony of third floor (not a scratch)
I love miniature painting and when I got my copy of the game I was disappointed. However, after the very first game play, not only I didn’t care about it anymore, but the opposite, I was happy they were that sturdy (and ugly); the last thing I wanted was to see a beautifully sculpted / casted / painted miniature being dropped on the floor during the turmoil of a gameplay that Project Elite entitles.
The timer is OK but has not turn-off button and I have to remove the battery every time I put the game a side, this is a minor detail but should have been identified during production. The rulebook is fine, it is well written and explains the game properly and in a proper sequence, nothing exceptional neither disappointing.
Art and graphic design
I love the art of Project Elite, it is colourful without being childish, it has a very good futuristic style without but not over the top, the weapons are very different from each other, the items all look very cool, all the aliens are different (not the minis) and they all have that menace outlook… however I don’t know how those savage creatures with small brains could have developed spaceships with time/space teleportation system.
The heroes also look very cool, charming and heroic (not the minis). The colour palette used is beautiful and consistent. The graphic design does its job of identifying different icons, the map board was carefully crafted with a lot of easy to spot information. It is worth mentioning that there are a lot of red and green icons which colour blind players will struggle to distinguish, at this time and age not thinking about this kind of detail shows Drawlab lack of experience.
This is where all the wrongs-doings that happened during game production and fulfilment are left behind, actually after the very first game session, you are so thankful you got this game in your collection (for such a bargain), that nothing else matters and you want to play it again, and again and again. The gameplay is absolutely amazing and addictive; no one from my play group had ever experienced such a dynamic, fun and exciting gameplay.
There are 4 different types of missions, each mission has 4 difficulties and each difficulty scales depending on the number of players (1 to 4), although every mission is very similar to each other. Every hero has their own unique abilities, some more useful than other depending on which side of the map you are playing and how many player.
During the possible 8 rounds, you will go through a rollercoaster of emotions. It starts with a calm period where you draft cards, aliens etc and discuss the strategy, then you start rolling dice frenetically for 2 minutes, then you stop and the same process repeats, but further you go in the rounds more intense the game becomes, more aliens are on the board, less dice you have available, and closer you are to complete your mission, more changes to your strategy are necessary.
During each match not only you are rolling dice as fast as possible but you are also screaming and being screamed at to move an alien on the other side of the board, or to put a dmg token on a boss, or how many seconds are left, or if you should keep rolling die and risk getting aliens moving closer to the base or stop rolling and breath. It is insanely fun.
The replay value of Project Elite is massive. Although all missions are more or less the same, the number of aliens, bosses and special aliens, their unique abilities, variety of weapons, events, double sided map, difficulty range, solo play, group play, randomness of aliens spawns etc, no game fells the same… EVER… and let me tell you that I’m a very pick player in terms of replay value.
I’ve played scenarios that we won, and lost, the game by the 2nd or 3rd round, and other scenarios that we won on the last 10 seconds of the last round, it is so much fun, memorable and unpredictable.
Project Elite is the kind of game that has to be re-printed by a better and more competent publisher. I have no doubt this is THE BEST real time strategy game that I ever played. The tension, adrenaline, strategy, frenetic gameplay has exactly the same intensity playing solo or with 4 players.
How many games have you played that literally increased your heart beat, that made your hands sweat, and shortly after one game finishes everyone is mutually setting up for another game without asking each other if they want to play again… because it is obvious that everyone is having a lot of fun. It is possible to play 4-5 matches in less about 3 hours (and loose all), and you will have one of the best times you could have with a board game, the only caveat is that you can’t leave any glass or bottle over the table, so no drinking while playing Project Elite.