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Dirge: Carnage in Crimson» Forums » General

Subject: Initial thoughts rss

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Stephen Cope
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I'm of the belief that one should not write a review until she has 10-15 games under her belt. Since I only have one, I merely gathered all my thoughts after my first play into the following unorganized mess.

Keep in mind: I've only played ONE game!

Components

Overall the production is simple but very well done. I only have a few minor quibbles:

1) It's tough to get everything back into the box!
2) When the carnage gets heated, it's rather difficult to see at a glance which figures belong to you and which belong to your opponent. This will get easier as we become more familiar with the models.
3) For new players, it's a little hard to tell which monster is which. There is a little icon in the lower left corner of a monster's stat card which shows the silhouette of its corresponding model. While these work well, they are covered by the wound marker at the start of the game.
4) The battle mat didn't lay perfectly flat, but this didn't interfere with play at all.

None of these points should detract from your enjoyment of the game. I chalk them up to being n00bs and believe I won't even remember them after 2-4 more games.

Length

The game took significantly longer than I anticipated after reading the rules. Of course this could be due to inexperience with the tactics, special abilities, and rules. I think our game clocked in at a little over an hour. I am 100% certain playing time will be shorter over the next few games, maybe even getting down to the 30 minute mark.

Brain Overflow

After the board was set up and we were ready to rock, analysis paralysis set in. Because we weren't familiar with the synergy of the special abilities, or what positioning decisions made sense, the first few turns took a long time.

However, once the game gets underway, the decision tree gets smaller. As the game progresses, monsters will die and monsters will not be able to do anything on a turn due to having too many action counters. This really limits what you can and can't do and makes turns easier to manage for new players.

Turns and Actions

Turns and actions are very precious. This game takes the gaming maxim "you want to do many things but can only do a few things" to an entirely new level. At its core, I can see a turn boiling down to the following three concepts:

1) Make ONE attack. Most of the times when one figure attacked another, it had to move to do so. This means 3 of the four action counters were spent for this attack. So you get another Move or Special Ability action to spend on another figure. Or if you're lucky enough to make an attack without moving, you get two!

2) Make TWO attacks. If two of your monsters are in position to make tactically sound attacks without having to move, consider yourself lucky! =D I tried to set this up a few times but it ended up burning me in one way or another. I don't foresee this happening very often at all.

3) Reorg. Take a bunch of Movement/Special Ability actions to set your self up for future attacks. A benefit of a "reorg" turn is that you (usually) only spend one counter per monster, meaning they can all do something next turn.

There are more "concepts" than these probably, but in our inaugural game, these were most prevalent.

Protect your Resurrectors!

Once your resurrectors (there are 3 in the game) are dead, death is permanent. I had the War Priest and Phoenix on my side and I didn't realize until too late the power of bringing back the dead. My opponent did an excellent job of protecting his Mummy and I believe that's what ultimately gave him the game.

The Killing Blow

Do not land the killing blow on a monster unless you're sure it can't be resurrected on the next turn. If two or more action counters are sitting on your opponent's resurrector(s), or if both skull squares are currently occupied, or if you're pretty sure your opponent is going to spend his four precious action points elsewhere -- those are good times to land the final hit! I learned the hard way.

Healing Word

I'm not sure how useful this ability is yet, for it didn't get much use in our game. Since combat is almost fully deterministic (except for the evasion roll), you know the exact probability of scoring a hit, and exactly how much damage will be inflicted. Generally speaking, with a couple exceptions, it took two hits to score a kill. Healing one point of damage wouldn't have made that much of a difference. Again, I have very little experience with the game at this point.

Paralysis

It sucks to get stung with paralysis.

Overall

It's tough to tell after only one play but my initial thoughts are very positive. Once I got over being overwhelmed with choices, the game ran very smoothly and I enjoyed the tactical problems the game presented. I'm looking forward to more plays and eventually settling on a rating.

Take care.

Edits: spelling
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Mr. Bistro
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Your thoughts mirror my own after my first game, however I disagree with your comment on delivering a killing blow. The only time that strategy is useful is if you want to take out an opponent's second resurrector, and you want to make sure it can't come back anytime soon. Otherwise it almost always pays to kill a monster. Each time a resurrector brings something back they are weighed down with action counters, making it easier to target them and try to remove them from the game. At least that is how it seems so far...
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Stephen Cope
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mrbistro wrote:
Your thoughts mirror my own after my first game, however I disagree with your comment on delivering a killing blow. The only time that strategy is useful is if you want to take out an opponent's second resurrector, and you want to make sure it can't come back anytime soon. Otherwise it almost always pays to kill a monster. Each time a resurrector brings something back they are weighed down with action counters, making it easier to target them and try to remove them from the game. At least that is how it seems so far...


Your logic makes sense, but if a creature has 1 or 2 hit points left, why kill it if it can be brought back next turn? Sure it's guaranteed to be inactive for two turns and the resurrector for three, but it comes back at full health. Since actions are so precious in this game, it doesn't seem efficient to "waste" more of them killing the monster a second time. Of course each game situation is different, but as a general rule, why create more work for yourself?
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Mr. Bistro
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I guess my thinking is I want the other player to have to dump all those action counters on the resurrector, so I have a better chance at getting at him. It seems from my first play-through, that the beginning of the game is best spent trying to eliminate your opponent's ability to resurrect. Also, dead monsters can seriously cramp a player's ability to spend action points. 2-3 dead monsters can lead to players only being able to use 1 or 2 actions a turn, or in some glorious cases, take no actions at all.

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Scott Everts
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I was also worried about having trouble telling the figures apart. I'm thinking of making little labels with each creature name to stick on the top.

Great review, I haven't played it yet but hope to this weekend. But many of your comments mirror my own thoughts.
 
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