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Subject: The expanded review after multiple game plays rss

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Patrick Burkett
United States
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A great game with a lot of heart, it just falls short on a few things.

I have played both Anima: Shadow of Omega and Beyond Good and Evil each several times and with a couple mixed variants. Its a great game that is a lot of fun if you're looking for something role play that doesn't require a lot of thinking or any planning to accomplish. With its very detailed fantasy art style it's very easy to get cozy in this world, especially if you're a fan of manga/anime style art. The game, in brief, pits 2 to 5 players against each other as rival adventure parties on their own secret missions, competing to complete one of them and be the first to complete the final mission for all the glory. That being said you have more than just the game world itself to be wary of, your fellow players are also waiting for opportunities to bring you down so they can get ahead.

The main mechanic of this game are six sets of cards. Mission cards which describe the instructions for a quest you must complete and upon doing so will give you bonus stats to your party. Advantage cards which represent feats of strength, magic or even major events. Character cards which are based on two stats, strength and speed. Special abilities, and three icons that, if available on the character, allow the player to use different kinds of advantage cards. Land cards which represent the game world and its many landmarks and are labelled with a difficulty level from one to three and also have varying rewards and special events that can be good or bad. Encounter cards which represent either mythical creatures and monsters that must be defeated or events that can be either positive or negative to your group that have level ranging from one to three to correspond to the land cards. Last, the Final Mission cards which represent a very high difficulty quest that must be completed to win the game and cannot be revealed until one player completes a quest. This quest is also has a turn time limit and if it is not completed every group is given one opportunity to complete the final quest on even harder setting or everyone loses the game.

Beyond good and Evil, introduces a new card set called the Arcane Character which is a character with extremely potent stats and special abilities and only one can be in a party at any given time once a party has three normal characters in it.

Now for the good and the bad.

The good:
-Very amazing quality fantasy art
-Abundance of character cards makes each party different each time you play
-Combat system is fast paced and quickly resolved so no one gets bored at the table
-Great feeling of progression with party building and mission completion
-Player vs. Player system seems to be mostly fair and gives the game a certain amount of intrigue
-Mixing the two sets increases variety dramatically
-Crisis time limit system gives the final quests a greater feeling of urgency which adds to the excitement
-Though it is possible to lose your entire party of characters in this game, it is not that hard to rebuild fairly quickly

The bad: (As they always say quiet when good, loud when bad)
-Instruction manual is not very well structured so rules are often hard to find when needed and the first few game plays will probably be very long as you try to read through it. In many cases the answer to your question may not be there leading you to have to rely on online forums for interpretation.
-If played separately both sets become redundant quickly after a few games because there are not enough encounter cards. Even a smaller game of 2-3 players will go through the whole stack and a large group 4-5 can easily go through every encounter twice or through both sets combined. Highly suggested that the two games should be combined to increase variety no matter the amount of players
-When land cards are combined from both sets, though the BGaE missions have two lands printed on them to complete them, it is very easy for a player to never see a land they need to complete a mission before the final mission is completed by another player.
-Some cards require research into interpretation because the flavor text is not specific enough in its English adaptation. The French version tends to be more specific and is the rule of thumb for seeking interpretation on some forums.
-4 to 5 player games can often go to crisis since its easy to gang up on the top player
-Few Final missions and not enough regular missions will make the climax of the game redundant over time and leave the player base to most likely create their own to keep the game fresher.

Though the bad comments are lengthy please believe me when I say that they are not as bad as their length suggests. That being said, these are merely my own opinions in this review. Other things to be wary of are the fact that this game, much like any other card game, is highly 'luck' based, so anyone looking for deeper strategy and less luck should look elsewhere. The sweet spot for player size in this game is three players though two can be just as fun and four to five is manageable. Also, their are many ways to lose party members so don't get to cozy with characters you get early on in a game.

A suggested variant for this game is mixing the encounter, character, and advantage cards, but only using the lands and missions from one set either SoO or BGaE. When playing BGaE lands and missions throw in the Arcane characters since the missions and final missions tend to be more difficult than SoO's.

Final Score for this game is a 8 out of 10. Could be a 10 if encounter, mission and final mission cards were more abundant, the instruction manual was better structured and more informative, and the language on certain cards was more specific. Hopefully in the future the game designers will put out a mini expansion with more missions, final missions, and encounters to increase variety.

EDIT: some grammatical errors








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Stefano Aires
Brazil
Brasília
Brazil
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Once the game is over the king and the pawn go back in the same box.
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Nice review. I got a copy yesterdey and I'm anxious to play it. Hope I like.
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Pell Bort
Canada
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Technically correct is the BEST kind of correct.
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A recent game of 5 players (with both expansions) took FAR too long to complete. Partially due to the tiny text and dark features on the cards, which required people to repeatedly pick up the cards to see what they said, but also because we couldn't find the area required for the final mission. This meant that we ran down the Chaos timer, and the entire game (well over an hour) came down to a speed check (which was a single die roll). By that point, nobody even cared who won. They were just glad it was over.

I won't be rushing back to Anima anytime soon.
 
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Marcus Lau
Malaysia
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Pellbort wrote:
A recent game of 5 players (with both expansions) took FAR too long to complete. Partially due to the tiny text and dark features on the cards, which required people to repeatedly pick up the cards to see what they said, but also because we couldn't find the area required for the final mission. This meant that we ran down the Chaos timer, and the entire game (well over an hour) came down to a speed check (which was a single die roll). By that point, nobody even cared who won. They were just glad it was over.

I won't be rushing back to Anima anytime soon.


Play it with the official rulebook variant where the locations are arranged into a tree structure where the level 1's are at the bottom with the level 3's at the top. And the level 2's in the middle. It makes the game much, much better with that variant.

It was in there for a reason!

Kudos to FFG for two fantastic variants that made the game more strategic and less luck based.
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Thomas
United States
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So is the expansion a must have for this game? We will mainly play with two.
 
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Charles
United States
Gig Harbor
Washington
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The expansions are not a must have, but do add variety.

For the price, this is a great little adventure game that gives you the feeling of exploring a world.
 
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