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Subject: Review of Base Game + Beyond Good and Evil rss

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David Whitehouse
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Hi all. This is my first official review here but I thought I'd jump in.

This game seems to have generated some interest, especially with the revised edition coming out plus the first expansion: Beyond Good and Evil.

A little background on me. I've been gaming for 20 odd years now. I have a local group, but I've been playing alot with my 11 year old son this summer, and thus been doing more 2 player variety.

I tend to do alot of research before I purchase a game, reading tons of reviews and session reports before I plunk down the cash.

Not so with this game.

Why? Well every once in awhile I like to pick something up on a hunch, and this month it was Anima.

I had read a couple reviews, one saying they wanted to like it, but that the base game was split up so much between areas, characters, and advantage cards, that he felt there wasn't as much replayability.

So when I saw the expansion come out, I thought, "hey, problem solved!" and decided to go for broke and get both.


Caveat Emptor.

I know alot of folks want to know about the expansion. It's nice in that it's a complete game by itself. However, I *really* did not want to play the base a few times, then the expansion a few, then compare/contrast the two and eventually combine them. That would be great for you, the reader, but screw that! I immediately threw them both together like a tossed salad and made 1 big deck. And I sleep like a baby. The bad part is, I don't know which cards are base and which are new. And I couldn't find any markings on the cards to help out (edit: see them now). So this review is of both games mashed together.

Some better folks have detailed the mechanics already, so I'm going to pretty much just stick to my feelings on the game.

cool First, what's to like?

Build a Party!

Well, quite a few things. To my knowledge, there aren't too many games that let you build a party of characters on your way to defeating the game, and Anima lets you do exactly that. Some chars you just get some nice raw numbers (combat/speed), others have a nice ability.

Arcane Characters

The expansion is almost identical in rules and types of cards to the original. However, it does add one thing, the arcane character. If you have 3 chars, you can recruit an arcane char if you sacrifice an advantage card. I like them, they're a bit more powerful and look sweet.

Missions and Areas

With both decks combined, there felt like alot of places to go and things to do. We tended to play the "tree" variant in the rules and that worked well. You were always wondering what area was next and examining the ones you'd already explored to see if it affected your mission cards.

Orcs Orgs and Factions

A nice touch was Organizations and Factions. These were groups you could join along the way which gave you bonuses. Each had a rival, and if you meet a party belonging to a rival, you must immediately go to battle! Nice side narrative.


"Ok, sounds like you loved it. Anything that rubbed you the wrong way?"

Unfortunately, yes. Having played it 3 times, some pet peeves stood out.

shake Pet Peeves

Luck

I don't mind luck, but there may be a bit too much in this game. I might get 2 tough creatures to start, and you might breeze through your first 2 areas with nothing to fight, or even get bonus items. I don't expect perfect parity, but a few times this gave 1 player a huge headstart. This leads me too..

Runaway leader problem.

One game in 3 turns I had a full party of 4 chars, while my son was still working on getting his 2nd. This meant I could romp around the Level 3 areas while he was stuck on Level 1. Once a guy gets ahead like that, he's hard to catch.

Unbalanced items?

I'm not 100% on this. But one item I got in our first game allowed me to kill any creature, no matter what level. That's literally what it said. My son and I looked at each other and we took it out of the game, thinking it a bit too powerful.

Mismatched challenges.

The game does a pretty good job of not giving you too much to tackle. But sometimes there felt like too many times a battle didn't hit the sweetspot. You know, tough, but not impossible or a breeze? Maybe I need to play it more.

*Really* good artwork.

Say what? "How can that be bad," you say? Well, a few pictures are a bit risque, and combine that with the afore-mentioned talented artist..

Up for Grabs.

Your mileage may vary, but for me there was a bit too many "take that" cards to hurt another party. It seemed we were rarely in the same area to attack each other anyway, so we hardly ever held on to those cards.

Summary:

I feel like this game has a few scars on it and can sometimes be a bumpy ride. That said, my son and I had quite a bit of fun in our 3 plays, and I bet he'd play it again if I asked. I'm glad I made the purchase. I doubt I'll want to play it much after 10 or 15 plays, but for now it's a fine adventure.

Likes:

Build adventure party (up to 4)
Great artwork
Quite a few different missions

Peeves:

Bit too much luck.
Runaway Leader
Some balancing issues
Expansion has no markings to distinguish it (love someone to prove me wrong here). (edit: there are markings: see below)

Cheers,

Cygnusx1
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Ed Browne
United States
Terre Haute
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Thanks for the review. I think this game is good for what it promises to do: A random world of fighting evil with anime characters. I think it's better than some people give it credit for.

If you haven't tried it, your tastes sound like you and your son might like Talisman. Pretty simple so your son can learn it and he'd probably love being the Troll and clubbing your minstrel upside the head (in the game, not for real)... arrrh
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Sally Karkula

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Cygnusx1 wrote:


Peeves:

Expansion has no markings to distinguish it (love someone to prove me wrong here).

Cygnusx1


Done. :)

Beyond Good and Evil has this marking on every card:


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David Whitehouse
United States
Highlands Ranch
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Thanks Sally, you got me.

To Ed: My son and I already have and play Talisman, but thanks for the recommendation.
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Freelance Police
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Palo Alto
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I'm pretty sure most of the "take that" cards can be played on a player, without needing to be at the same location.

How did you resolve the area tree if there wasn't a Level 1 area on the board?

Thanks!
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Dennis Ng
Australia
Camberwell
Victoria
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Runaway Leader - Sounds like this was because you played a 2 player game. I found the same in my gaming group (with anima no expansion). You need at least 3 players for a game in order for it to be 'fair' in our experience. 4 players seeming to be the ideal.
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