Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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I've been given the opportunity to playtest waves 2 and 3 for AE:tNA, for which I want to first thank Kevin Riley and Indie Boards & Cards.
Below is a breakdown of the wave and my thoughts, followed by a little "will I like it if..." section, and a final thoughts section.
Everything that is written below, or almost everything, I have already told Kevin Riley so nothing should surprise him.
At the time of this (p)review I have played 225 games of Aeon's End total, and 19 games of tNA.

Below are some slight spoilers for Legacy in the form of Nemesis names and archetype, and one thematic focus. There are also spoilers for the New Age as I'm going in depth into what mages and Nemesis do that you may prefer to discover by yourself, in-game. Unfortunately, Wordpress doesn't have a spoiler tag feature, so read at your own risk.
Please note that some things are still subject to change. For instance, the campaign can now be made to be played over 8 different games instead of 4.



The Expedition System
I have declined playtesting the Expedition system because I'm overall not a campaign player. From what I have read, it is similar on several levels to what Legacy had to offer, with a "win the game and move to the next one, or lose the game and replay it, then if you lose again, move to the next one" general idea.
It is a simple campaign system that takes place over 4 different games (so up to 8 games total if you lose all games), in which the Nemesis basic cards will become increasingly harder by being swapped with advanced versions, and the players will get treasure cards to help them. The treasures are, for many of them, nice nods to previous Aeon's End characters.
It is mostly a way to tie games in together while still upping the challenge and stakes.
I personally don't see the appeal of a campaign in the Aeon's End IP and haven't played the Legacy one beyond playtesting, as I mostly am looking for games that can be played stand-alone with no scenario or tie-in, and just want to challenge myself in an easily repeatable environment.
There are two different sets of rules: one which applies if you follow the narrative, and one which applies if you don't. At the time of this writing, you can replay a game you've lost as many times as you want until you win in the non-narrative mode.
The main appeal to me would be to try and defeat a set of Nemeses without changing the market set-up, which I can already do without the expedition system. The system, though, provides you with rules and cards for modifying the difficulty during the campaign, and swapping cards you have access to.
Like in Legacy, the story is not told through a booklet, but through double-faced cards.

Be aware that the written narrative heavily spoils the ending for Legacy.

New mechanisms
There are two new keywords that appear on player cards. The Nemeses and mages also come with new twists that will be adressed in their respective sections.

- Echo
Spells with Echo are spells that are cast not once, but twice, thus creating two instances of damage and giving their benefits, if any, twice. That means of course that all additional damage apply to both castings. I'll let you do the math on how crazy this can become with Dezmodia, some Fulminates and a Blasting Staff.

- Attach
Many a relic come with the attach keyword, meaning you put the card on a breach and it stays there until the conditions of the attach clause are resolved. This plays in the theme of this expansion's focus on breaches. Overall these relics play along with the "two steps" theme of spells, with one step being to prep the relic and the second step the triggering of its condition, but to relics. There are, however, attach cards that don't follow this pattern, and stay either until the end or until discarded for another reason.

None of the new mechanisms implemented in Legacy make a return in this wave. The focus on breach III, however, is carried on and extended to breach IV also. The focus on the discard pile from Buried Secrets is lessened, leaving more room for "this or that card matters if in a discard pile" instead. If Gex's regular whiffing bothers you you may or may not enjoy this focus on the discard pile. There is also a "an ally can discard a copy of this card and draw a card" sub-theme.
The overall theme for this expansion is special breaches, unique to a character. Either through Focus effects, attach effects or echo effects. The new cards try and make the most of the new breaches by creating more instances of damage, making it easier to focus the breaches, or making prepping and casting out of turn easier.
A secondary theme seems to be power at a cost, with the opportunity to cast spells multiple times at the cost of their destruction.

I found Echo to be an interesting way to abuse the additional bonuses to cast spells and a nice way to exploit the heavier focus on special breaches. The drawback is that  few of the spells with Echo really feel new, most having effects that have already been seen in the past, but with Echo slapped above it. There is one spell in particular, Bouncing Boom, which feels like a total filler, since it does 2 damage for 6, has Echo, and that's it. The non-Echo spells are more inspired. They don't really have new effects, but they have new way to give bonuses (breaches III and IV for instance).
Attach was interesting. Like spells, relics with Attach can be removed from your deck by hanging out in a breach until you need them and trigger them, which will help those that like preparing to unleash hell on minions by not casting spells on a regular basis. It's rather difficult to evaluate these cards for the most part as their tempo is so different from the usual relic. There is one in particular that stays in play until the breach is attached to, which it focuses on your turn, is fully open, and I like it quite a lot.
Gems do their usual gemlike stuff, generating aether and/or providing little boosts. There are a couple that help deal damage in interesting ways, which is a welcome addition and will help against Shields and Magus of Cloaks.

There are no new keyword on the basic Nemesis cards.

Breach mages
This is where the real meat of this expansion is. The new mages are very inspired, and explore a design space that was only slightly seen before, and is now in full swing.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
This ranges from having their own personal deck to upgrade into, to having no crystal and all sparks in their initial deck. Of course a lot of them also have their own personal breach.
I particularly appreciated the new take on Indira's unique lack of breaches in the person of Nook, who's a much more dynamic character than Indira, and not an easy one, I suspect, to master, though not the hardest one either. Nook will make good use of a good market and his deck will be constantly changing, since he returns the spells he casts with his starter relic (relic? Yes, relic!) and turns them into lower-costed cards. Nook really works similar to Indira and could easily have been Indira: the New Age with an older look, but I did find him even more fun to play as, than her.
I am more dubious about Talix and his deck made full of sparks. In essence, it plays like any regular deck would, and you do not feel any real difference for it. To me this was more of a gimmick than anything. It's worth noting that the deck is designed in such a way that you should not be able to be stuck with nothing but sparks and no way to play them as gems (which Talix's unique lets you do). He also looks a good deal like Xerxes in the movie 300.
For solo players, Taqren is a nice addition as he can heal both himself and Gravehold once he gets going. He also has good starting economy with 8 crystals total. He was not my mage of choice when trying solo 1-handed, though.
Two mages explore designs that weren't really used before, with Rhia having a relic theme that lets her upgrade small relics into bigger ones, which will encourage players to toy around with different market setups, with more than 2 relic cards - luckily she also works with non-relic cards, though she's slightly less efficient - while Claudia has more of an economy theme, better done than with Mazahaedron, whose theme was disrupted by a large amount of sparks. I particularly like her unique that lets another player sacrifice a charge so she gains two. Which is similar to something I submitted way back then, although I didn't cap the effect.
The real innovation, though, comes in the form of Lost, a very unique mage that has his own personal deck he can upgrade his sparks and crystals into. This encourages the player to focus less on gaining cards and more on cycling through their deck and upgrading it to reach high damage and aether levels. This is very reminiscent of Enlightened decks in Ascension, and a nice change of pace. Repeated plays will tell us if playing with Lost feels different from game to game or if he creates his own vacuum that feels samey each time. At any rate, Lost was a very pleasant surprise. Also, squirrel (almost). Who doesn't love squirrels?
Other mages play around the concept of having a unique breach, and making the most of it, with Gygar for instance having a unique breach I that you can load with +1 damage tokens, Sahala having a breach IV that deals +2 damage, while Soskel attaches tokens to breaches, that grant 1 charge upon casting a spell.
These mages now have plenty of tools at their disposal to really shine, and a combination of Gygar, Soskel, Jian, and Echo - or Drowning Flame - is sure to be utterly deadly. We will have to recalculate the highest possible 1 turn-damage I posted a while back.


Disclaimer: my breach module mini-expansion was designed after tNA's designs, and authorized for publication by Kevin Riley. His designs are not inspired by mine from my mini-expansion, but mine are inspired from his.

The Nemeses
I have started to break previous Nemeses down into several categories (slight spoilers for Legacy) :

Spoiler (click to reveal)
- Market matters with Prince of Gluttons, Maiden of Thorns and Deathmind.
- Summoners with Carapace Queen, Horde-Crone, Spawning Horror, Maelstrom: Risen.
- Big damage with Rageborne, Umbra Titan.
- Deck pollution with Crooked Mask and Blight Lord.
- Economy with Blight Lord and Knight of Shackles.
- The remainder being so far categorized as Others.

In tNA, we have two new Summoners, Maggoth and Fenrix. Maggoth is very reminiscent of Carapace Queen. The main difference is that you cannot spread damage, do not Swarm, and instead suffer consequences when minions reach a threshold, meaning the more you kill them, the more they'll re-cross the threshold and trigger nasty effects. But if you don't kill them, you'll trigger an insta-loss.
I'm always extremely weary of Unleash effects that directly lead to an insta-loss, because of the chaotic nature of the turn order deck and the increasingly high number of Unleash effects triggered by the basic cards. It was extremely easy to suffer from it in early playtesting waves. It has been made harder now but I'm still weary. Rated 3, this Nemesis, up until the change, felt more like a 6 or 7, closer to Wraithmonger which is the posterboy of why these insta-losses are a perilous. While it plays similar to Carapace Queen, it cannot be tricked in the same manner, and killing minions is actually more harmful than helpful sometimes. Monstrous Inferno is still going to be a favorite against this Nemesis.
Fenrix, rated a 7, forces you to prioritize the targets it spawns, since you cannot damage them if your position token is not on them. This is reminiscent of Wayward One and, to some extent, the Wayward Queen challenge I have posted some years ago. It will of course play differently in that the players will lose time moving their position token around and cannot rid themselves of the whole pack in a single, big casting phase à la Blaze overload, since the position token can only be moved when a claw is spawned or during the player's main phase, leading to an important change of pace from other summoner Nemeses. Always by two claws come, and you'll have to divvy up your efforts to keep them in check.

There is a deck pollution Nemesis called Ageless Walker, with a rating of 5. This Nemesis is unique in that it is the only one that makes you start with an additional card in your deck, during set-up. And you're gonna hate that card, as all it does is make you take 1 damage and then replaces itself. The card can never leave the player's deck. If you think you can drown it into a thick deck, think again, because the Nemesis will also exile cards from your deck on a regular basis. You can purchase them again from the exile pile, but it will cost you : the cost of the card +1. That's pretty huge for cards with a printed cost of 7 to 9, especially since, because the exile pile isn't part of the market, you can't get freebies for the exiled cards anymore. Although I think you can still get reductions from cards like Nova Forge.
I did not play this Nemesis much because I heavily disliked the feeling of  losing much of my progress on a regular basis, while taking damage as punishment for having an efficient deck. Which somehow makes this Nemesis completely different from any released beforehand. I suppose it can be played around by purchasing only low-level cards but I preferred to focus on other Nemeses for playtesting. For reference, I have never been a forced discard afficionado and have stopped playing Hero Realms in part because of it.
The second deck pollution Nemesis is called The Wailing, and is rated a 6. This Nemesis will send a lot of what amounts to self-destructing Crystals in the deck of the unfortunate player who has the target token. The Wailing also comes with Deathmind's idea of an ever-present countdown power card that does a ton of damage when it reaches zero, and then starts ticking down again. This time though, the players can spend aether to force the Nemesis to lose power tokens, minimizing the damage they'll receive since it scales on the tokens The Wailing has when the card triggers (which in turn is similar to the bridge tokens of the aforementioned Deathmind).

The other truly unique Nemesis is Arachnos, which doesn't fit in any of my previously established categories, and is a Nemesis rated 4 that plays in two steps, the first step being you trying to minimize the impact of the unavoidable second phase, by preventing the Nemesis from piling on Nemesis tokens, and lowering its health as much as possible, while you try to delay the ritual. By doing so, you'll make the second phase easier, as the lower the health and tokens, the lower the health and damage the Nemesis will have and deal in the second phase.
The thing with this fight is quite simple, in that the more you win, the more trivial the second phase will be, as it can be over in a single casting phase, but the more you lose in the first phase, the more impossible the second phase will be, as it can be over sometimes before you even take a turn, making this unique Nemesis, a miss in my opinion.
I think it would have been interesting to have a dozen of different effects triggered as the second phase, depending on the number of tokens the Nemesis had when it entered it, meaning you would have prepared for, say, heavy forced discard, and due to the Nemesis gaining one too many tokens, have to deal with heavy Gravehold damage instead. Here, you'll just have to pack a ton of healing and damage, and be fast, and this will be true regardless of the number of tokens Arachnos has when he completes the ritual.


The basic cards
This time around, there are 25 cards out of 34 that have Unleash written on them, while 29 do damage to either the player or Gravehold. The non-damage effects range from forced discard to prepped spell discard to card destruction, including the loss of charges. Several cards from previous games make a return, like Topple, Sunder, Monstrosity of Omens or Needlemaw, and one comes back and changes names, which is quite an enigma.
The To Discard effects are also the usual effects of spending money or discarding cards. But there is one that is pretty wild and that, in my opinion, will not be triggered often. I'll keep it a secret and I want you to record your reaction first time you see it
In my opinion, the basic cards have been the low point of each release after the first wave, being less and less inspired, and this new edition is unfortunately not going to change that.

The graphic design
With a few exceptions, the artwork for this expansion is, in my opinion, the best so far. The art depicted on the spell cards is great and features the new mages doing far more than just casting big fire spells, with  a big focus here again, on breaches. The illustrations also look much more cohesive than they did in Legacy, as the characters seemed way out of place in the IP back then. The new Nemeses also have a great, dynamic look, different from the somewhat static poses of the first two waves. Fenrix is watching you while his pack assembles, The Wailing is pictured attacking you with a sonic blast, it all looks more alive. The mood, set for the first time in the open and not underground, is very much changed. It's a pleasure to look at, more colourful and giving glimpses of The World That Was and of what it has become. The gems keep on getting better-looking each expansion, with weird shapes and colours.
In terms of frames, the upgraded Nemeses cards for the campaign are beautiful, and I like the treasures that are new versions of the older mage's unique starters. They look very nice with the new color palette, sort of sepia with a colour highlight.
From the prototype, the Nemesis mats reverted back to the War Eternal style, so nothing new there. This may be changed though.
The cover art is super awkward, with a low level of details on characters and a discutable pose for some of the mages, following the "the battle happens in the background but I'm gonna cast a spell against the person looking at me, because that would look cool" cliché. It doesn't do much to me, I liked the previous covers better.

Special, easily forgotten effects, like While Prepped effects, still haven't been highlighted, which is a shame and a miss, and something I have requested for a while. The same goes for effects that trigger upon purchasing the card from the market. I guess I'm gonna keep on missing Oblivion Swell's While Prepped for a while still. For reference, Ascension highlights special rules text pretty well by using different backgrounds in the textbox, and I think it looks pretty cool.

Of course everything is still fully compatible with everything released earlier, as the same card backs are kept.

One notable exception to this is if you own the French version of the game, as the cards do not have the Aeon's End text written on their back but the aether symbol in the AE font. If you intend to back this expansion and own a French version, you will need to sleeve your games with opaque sleeves.

Will I like the game if
- I am new to Aeon's End? Well yeah probably. I would still suggest beginning with Legacy, but tNA would be a good follow-up for you, keeping in mind that the characters are a little more complex than in previous iterations. Since you don't own anything previously released you won't see similarities with previous designs and won't get the potential fatigue. All you'll get is the best deckbuilder out there and its super slick gameplay.
- I didn't enjoy Aeon's End? Probably not. It's still the same game.
- I think I have enough content with Aeon's End and War Eternal (and Legacy potentially)? I don't think you need this new expansion, then, the game is very much more of the same. It explores design space further, but it doesn't bring anything truly groundbreaking that would have me say "yeah, yeah this will shake things up for you", because I don't think it will.
- I want the Legacy experience, but infinitely replayable and compatible with all the expansions? Sorta. The campaign looks similar, yet different. You won't get the same build-up sensations and you won't be able to play around the Nemesis cards's growth, but it felt like a lot of what was designed in Legacy, campaign-wise, was used for the Expedition system.
I want a deep, innovative storytelling experience? No, it's not the point or the main appeal of the game. There is a narrative, and it's written alright, but it's not a very strong one either, and rather serviceable. It also isn't reusable in that there are no branching paths. The writing is on par with Legacy's. I would direct you more towards Arkham Horror: the card game if you wanted that.
- I want Nemeses that don't feel like re-hashes of previous archetypes? To some extent. The new Nemeses still follow the economy, summoner, damage dealer... archetypes but the designs are pushed further than before. I found them also to be a bit hit or miss. They will of course be paced differently than previous iterations and tend to blend my aforedefined archetypes a bit. It's really a tough question to answer because it will greatly depend on how much you deem is new with a Nemesis like Maggoth.
- I want innovative basic Nemesis cards? No. Same cards than previously with little to no innovation there. Some cards are even making a return from base Aeon's End.
- I thought War Eternal was too difficult? Well I found this one easy at first, then quite hard.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The Wailing and Ageless Walker are not easy Nemeses, Maggoth and Fenrix's difficulty was off when I tried them. They have been fixed yet but I cannot say how difficult they are today. Arachnos is a downward spiral when you're losing.
I'd rate the basic Nemesis card's level of difficulty as on the same level as WE. I believe the game is harder than AE, easier than Legacy as an expansion, and maybe slightly easier than WE, but not too much.

Final thoughts
Overall, this expansion feels like what War Eternal could have been, had it been under development for 1 or 2 additional years.
As such, I would recommend it over WE to a new player, yet I still think Legacy, being subpar as an expansion, remains a better entry point because of how the first scenarios ease you into the game by being lighter, rules-wise. tNA is the heaviest entry point so far in terms of complexity, while WE is the hardest, difficulty-wise.
In theory that would make it a great expansion. But the thing is, it's coming as the fourth iteration in the series, and as such, WE and Legacy already exist. That makes this new expansion kind of redundant. Redundant in that it doesn't exactly bring enough newness to warrant being a great expansion and a must-have on its own, if you already have the previous iterations. It probably would have been more relevant as a mage-only small expansion.
As a big expansion it still has the slick Aeon's End core gameplay, although the attention to detail is maybe not as good as it has been before (case in point: Arachnos is a miss in my opinion when it could have been so much more).
The campaign feels underdevelopped and bolted on. It is a timid approach to what could have been made greater with more design time and a separate release, again, as a mini-expansion. If you thought Legacy's campaign and narrative were serviceable, you'll probably have the same opinion for the Expedition system. So this time again, to me it feels like the design was hastened to meet the "One major expansion per year" demand, rather than being ready to hit the market as a fully-fledged product. This, in the wave 3 prototype, showed in the lack of consequence for failing to win a game after two attempts, and the lack of associated narrative, for instance. There are a number of campaign games that do this better, such as the aforementioned Arkham Horror: the card gameDawn of Peacemakers, or Kingdom Death: Monster, none of which asks you to replay a game you've lost, but force you to carry on with the consequences, dire as they are. And this, I enjoy much more than tiring the player by artificially forcing them to replay a game they've lost with no real incentive to do so. Now I know that this feedback about the lack of narrative for failing two games in a row has been given by at least another playtester so hopefully, it will have been changed by the time the game is released. My final note on the campaign, is that I wish that for practical reasons, the narrative would have been released as a campaign booklet or leaflet, like in Arkham Horror, rather than the cumbersome and impractical cards. While they made sense in Legacy, here they take too much room in the box and also require sleeves, and will only be used once. It seems counter-intuitive and wasteful to me.
Some of the player cards are straight filler (Bouncing Boom) and some of the Nemeses are very similar to previous ones and could have been variants, using the same name with a sub-name, like Mad Bomber Baron Blade or Skinwalker Gloomweaver were for Sentinels of the Multiverse. And that would have been great, even. I would probably have enjoyed them more had they been a nod to Aeon's End, with
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Maggoth being a Carapace Queen variant and the Wailing being a Blight Lord variant. To some extent, Ageless Walker also plays on Crooked Mask's themes.
Of course, all these Nemeses do not play exactly the same as the ones I mention, and you'll have to adapt to them, but they do remind me of them and play on the same grounds. That is but personal appreciation, though, as I always like to see returning characters and have variants available.

So these were my negative thoughts. All in all, though, would I recommend this new expansion?
Well, it depends. If I were to rate it in a vacuum, I'd probably rate it a 7 out of 10, so lower than the base game, but higher than WE and Legacy. I think, taken independantly, it is the second best wave so far, with the best still remaining wave 1 for sentimental reasons : no other wave can impact me the way it did and come at the exact time it needed to for me.
If you haven't played all the previous waves, you're probably going to love that one: it's well designed, it's got adventurous ideas for the breach mages, and you might not set the bar as high as I do. I mean, you cannot expect someone who writes 11k words reviews about an expansion to a game he's played 200+ times to not set the bar extremely high. You might have loved Legacy when I rate it rather low. While I do not care in the least about the Expedition system because of personal preferences, I reckon that it's a first step toward the "modules expansion" I wish was created for the game.
I did not find Nemeses I like as much as Blight Lord, Carapace Queen, Thrice-Dead Prophet or Hollow Crown in this wave, but there are a couple of them that are gonna be either fun to play, or very challenging still. Or both at the same time. Arachnos had potential, but didn't grab me.
But more than anything, I believe the new breach mages are what warrants hopping in for most returning players. Not because of said mages personal breaches themselves, but because of the change of pace they induce and how different it will feel to play them, from playing previous ones. That they have a unique breach means that you are more likely to want to open the breach early on to maximize its use, rather than building your economy to purchase big spells. In this, your early choices will be harder and your paths will be more diverse. It also makes Sparrow a total killer if you have War Eternal and good economy.

So should you back? Well it's up to you and to what you're expecting from a new Aeon's End standalone product. I do hope this (p)review will have helped you to make your mind.

This review, and many other ones written in French, can be found on my website: Le Comboteur Fou.
If you enjoy my work you also Visit the Comboteur Fou's guild!
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Kevin Lund
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Wow, great write up. Thank you for taking your time. Both your positive and negative points confirm for me that I am happy to be backing this game. I love informative reviews!
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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The Orzhov welcome you. Please leave your belongings with the Obzedat. They are not yours anymore.
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klund wrote:
Wow, great write up. Thank you for taking your time. Both your positive and negative points confirm for me that I am happy to be backing this game. I love informative reviews!

Thanks for the feedback I've put a lot of work into it Glad it was of help!
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Spoiler (click to reveal)
Have you read the lore for the nemeses? Maggoth and the Wailing are explicit callbacks to Carapace Queen and Blight Lord.


Good review. We differ in some thoughts, but you've done a good job of capturing what is new and what is old in New Age.
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Kevin John
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Quote:
This, in the wave 3 prototype, showed in the lack of consequence for failing to win a game after two attempts, and the lack of associated narrative, for instance.

That was my only real complaint as well, which I mentioned in the feedback to them. It just felt so weird after coming from Legacy's story. Maybe it will be changed in the future but honestly it's just a minor thing so I doubt it.

Also, holy cow, you must have a lot of free time. I wish I could get enough free evenings to play 225 of any of my games
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
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kevinjohn3d wrote:
Quote:
This, in the wave 3 prototype, showed in the lack of consequence for failing to win a game after two attempts, and the lack of associated narrative, for instance.

That was my only real complaint as well, which I mentioned in the feedback to them. It just felt so weird after coming from Legacy's story. Maybe it will be changed in the future but honestly it's just a minor thing so I doubt it.

Also, holy cow, you must have a lot of free time. I wish I could get enough free evenings to play 225 of any of my games

Well I got to play 192 games of Arkham Horror since

wpflug13 wrote:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Have you read the lore for the nemeses? Maggoth and the Wailing are explicit callbacks to Carapace Queen and Blight Lord.

Mh no I haven't. I think I didn't have the flavor text in my files. Not for the Nemeses at least.
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Justin Rizzo
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It's probably not as good as everyone says it is....
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Interesting, this was an autoback for me, as I own everything except Legacy at the moment. However, the idea that there is more overlap than innovation is giving me pause. I did want to acquire those promos, though. Hrmm...

I wonder if the two expansion packs they are building within this KS are going to add new concepts.
 
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JustinRRizzo wrote:
However, the idea that there is more overlap than innovation is giving me pause.

I don't think this is the case. Sure it is still Aeon's End, but a refined game consequently and logically taken one step further. The New Age is my favourite version of Aeon's End I playtested so far. Mainly because of the diverse selection of interesting mages and the new treasure cards, that allow me to customize my characters in addition to the supply cards. Even outside of a campaign they are a great additional tool to experiment around and create unique games.
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Will
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JustinRRizzo wrote:
Interesting, this was an autoback for me, as I own everything except Legacy at the moment. However, the idea that there is more overlap than innovation is giving me pause. I did want to acquire those promos, though. Hrmm...

I wonder if the two expansion packs they are building within this KS are going to add new concepts.

The Expedition system is the main new draw for New Age. For the rest of it, if you want more content to expand your Aeon's End experience that explores some areas of the design envelope that haven't been seen much if at all, then it's a good choice to back. If you don't feel like you need more Aeon's End content to keep the game fresh (i.e. mages, nemeses, market cards) and you don't have any interest in the Expedition system, then it might not be the right game for you.
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Justin Rizzo
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It's probably not as good as everyone says it is....
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wpflug13 wrote:
JustinRRizzo wrote:
Interesting, this was an autoback for me, as I own everything except Legacy at the moment. However, the idea that there is more overlap than innovation is giving me pause. I did want to acquire those promos, though. Hrmm...

I wonder if the two expansion packs they are building within this KS are going to add new concepts.

The Expedition system is the main new draw for New Age. For the rest of it, if you want more content to expand your Aeon's End experience that explores some areas of the design envelope that haven't been seen much if at all, then it's a good choice to back. If you don't feel like you need more Aeon's End content to keep the game fresh (i.e. mages, nemeses, market cards) and you don't have any interest in the Expedition system, then it might not be the right game for you.

Yeah I just watched Rhado's runthrough. I think there is enough freshness for me. Some repeats, with tweaks, and new mages. That's probably enough for me. I think I'm going to pick it up. It would surely help to see a full card listing

I'm not really into the expedition system. I think AE is a great single session game, I got RPG's for story But hey, I'll give anything a shot.

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Thanks for the review; I love the alternate perspectives, balanced by what you think is good/bad, and, why.

As you've noted in your review, they may not have pushed the designs of Fenrix/Arachnos far enough - which is a small concern of mine; but, they do seem like they'll be interesting/entertaining fights as is.

Personally, I love that Maggoth is a throwback to Carpace Queen/Broodwomb/Maggot Engine; and I love how Ageless Walker punishes you more, the more you optimize your deck - it's great, since many times people love to shrink their deck as small as possible, and provides a mechanically different fight (Crooked Mask can be more punishing the larger your deck becomes).

If nothing else, all of these bosses (in particular, Fenrix/Arachnos) provide excellent jumping off points for homebrews/variants. I've already got a few ideas in mind for additions/alternations for both Arachnos/Fenrix, based on the few snippets of information I've seen... and slight tweaks to the Treasure1 cards (mostly throwing in all the unique cards for mages that aren't currently present).

The expedition system looks like a lot of fun, I love the idea of upgrading both the player decks, and the nemesis decks. Additionally, the new mages and mechanics push the bounds excellently, I'm excited to try out the new mechanics (the new mages seem a bit strong though); and see where they can be developed more in the future (by both the design group, and each individual players playgroups (custom cards)).

I do hope that they'll push the difficulty and design envelops even further in the future; but I'm not unsatisfied at all with the offerings that are/have currently been tested and produced.
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Vadim Deylgat
Belgium
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Great review. I have been backing/playing AE since the first wave and it's my favorite deckbuilder. So I'm also getting the New Age, but I would also be ok with the designers taking a break from publishing a big box in 2020 and retricting themselves to a small box release at most. Take time to innovate. I understand the business aspect of it, "striking the iron while it's hot", but the new content doesn't have to come this fast.
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Phil Triest
Australia
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Solid review!
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Mihnea Cateanu
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Raz, this review is highly appreciated in this current gaming culture where 'I love this game' and 'I will buy everything they put out for it' are often inseparable to people. You are one of the few board game critics out there imo.

Now about the game, Aeon's End is starting to feel like Assassin's Creed. Innovative and brilliant at first, but there is such a thing as driving innovation into the ground. It feels like their approach is more like it's been an year, let's put something out for the eager fans, rather than we have some crazy cool ideas to shake up the design, it's time for a new product.

As it is, I love the game but I am fine with just owning base+WE for now.
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
France
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The Orzhov welcome you. Please leave your belongings with the Obzedat. They are not yours anymore.
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Hi, I'm a european crested tit, and a very small punk rocker!
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mihnea_1309 wrote:
Raz, this review is highly appreciated in this current gaming culture where 'I love this game'and 'I will buy everything they put out for it' are often inseparable to people. You are one of the few board game critics out there imo.

Aw thank you so much modestmodestmodest
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Preet Tohvi
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Glad to see that someone agrees with me about the art – that is, in general, it seems to be improving, but the cover art is a muddled mess, making it my least favorite Aeon's End cover yet. I'd love if they'd completedly redesign the cover before release, but I'm guessing the odds of that happening are low.
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Heath Washburn
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Thanks for an articulate and well-organized review!

Razoupaf wrote:

I think I have enough content with Aeon's End and War Eternal (and Legacy potentially)? I don't think you need this new expansion, then, the game is very much more of the same. It explores design space further, but it doesn't bring anything truly groundbreaking that would have me say "yeah, yeah this will shake things up for you", because I don't think it will.
Well said. I love Aeon's End, but I'm in the vicinity of 20 plays (not 200), and "more" with a few wrinkles isn't enough to draw me in. The "silence" and "pulse" mechanics were more interesting IMO. Now, if the Gravehold design contest turns into an expansion module (small box please) that would "shake things up," as you said, and would be an insta-buy for me.
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Patrick Herlihy
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Thanks for the awesome review. Super respect on honest feedback. It's sad to say it's refreshing, but it is.

I really hope the publisher appreciates it as well. I'd hope they'd comment and have you continue to do their reviews.

I am purchasing the product knowing exactly what I'm getting.

Thanks again thumbsup
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Comboteur "Crazed 'Beastface' Survivor" Fou
France
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KortGestour wrote:
Thanks for the awesome review. Super respect on honest feedback. It's sad to say it's refreshing, but it is.

I really hope the publisher appreciates it as well. I'd hope they'd comment and have you continue to do their reviews.

I am purchasing the product knowing exactly what I'm getting.

Thanks again thumbsup

Thanks a bunch

Neither Kevin nor Indie Board & Cards asked me to do a review, it just so happens that on top of being a playtester, translator, and avid gamer, I'm also a reviewer

But super props to IB&C for linking to my review in their latest update
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