We love our pups!! Misu, RIP 28 Nov 2010. Tikka, RIP 11 Aug 2011.
Well, my wife and I just got a box full-o-games, including the new Blue Moon. So here's my first session report, of our first game.
My old English teacher in middle school always made us say what we were going to say, then actually say it. So, in summary: bleh! But likely better with full rule set. Now for the details...
Blue Moon is Dr. K's non-collectible CCG-like game. 8 races, each with it's own set of cards, that fight each other in 2-player games. The basic set pairs the Hoax (is that hoax sounds like "pokes", or is there some German way of saying it?) against the Vulca. The rules are divided into 2 parts: the basic game, which is very very simplified, and the advanced game which includes all the elements (there are a bunch of icons on each card that do a variety of things) and also the potential for custom deck creation. Since this was our first playing of this game, and it was late and we were tired, we played the basic game.
The play: start with hand of 6 cards. Play some cards, draw back up to 6, and pass play to the opponent. Basically, you're initiating a fight and going back and forth till it's resolved. If it's your turn to start, you can either discard cards and replenish, or initiate a fight by playing a character. Characters have some strength in fire or earth. You play a card, possibly play some supporting card(s), total the strength in your choice of fire or earth, then pass play. If your opponent has started a fight and it's your turn, you either retreat, or stay in the fight by playing character+support cards whose strength in earth or fire (whichever the person initiating the fight chose) is at least equal to the opponents character strength. They you replenish hand, and pass play. Keep going back and forth until someone retreats. One odd thing - character cards played _replace_ previous characters rather than adding to them. When someone finally retreats, the other player (winner) moves one of three dragons either from other player to center, or from center to himself (must do former if possible). Then, clear (discard) all cards that were in this fight. The retreating player initiates the next fight (or discards/replenishes).
leadership - has some effect (special text), e.g. opponent can't play support cards, ignore special text, you can play multiple support cards (can normally only play 1 character and 1 booster or support card)
character - the bulk of cards. Have varying strengths in earth or fire. Some have special text, too.
booster - sort of like Magic's enchant creature; play onto your character, usually improving strenth in earth/fire
support - like Magic's enchantment; play in the support area, does something special. Unlike character and booster cards, when your turn comes around again in a fight the support cards remain active while character/booster cards previously played are covered by the new character you play.
1. the dragons are sort of cool looking, but really don't add anything to the game - a simple chit or 3 would work just fine
2. the cards are oversized, like Lost Cities. I'd prefer regular playing-card sized cards instead: easier to shuffle, and you could put those in sleeves if you're really into that. The illustrations are OK, but really I prefer those in Magic.
3. game play was pretty boring - draw, play, with limited choices for what to play. Either stay in the fight if you happen to have enough strength to do so, or retreat. There was a lot of back and forth - I'd win, she'd win, etc. right up until the end when I happend to have some characters left and she didn't. So I won. But it didn't feel much like a strategic victory, more like luck. However, it is important to note that we did play the basic ruleset. I'd imagine that adding the rest of the rules will add some depth to the game - we will try it again, although not necessarily any time soon!
8/8 FREE, PROTECTED
As has been noted in other threads, when you play until you are forced to retreat then the game will feel very much luck based. One of the important skills of playing Blue Moon, similar to Knizia's 'Ivanhoe', is knowing when to retreat, even if you can fight on.
For example, I would seriously consider retreating if my opponent has played 5 cards thusfar and I am not absolutely certain I can win the fight. Extending the fight gives my opponent the chance of attracting two dragons. Retreating gives him only one but gives me a card advantage to make that up with.