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Subject: Session Report rss

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Joshua Rodman
United States
Oakland
California
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I was over at the haight to play some silly videogames, then we decided to try out Jesse's new copy of Scarab Lords.

The components are typical Fantasy Flight, not bad but not great. It would have been nice if the curse tokens had a significantly different color scheme from the cards, as they're easy to lose track of. The cards are mostly easy to spot with symbols. The exceptions are the leader/minion/god/building dichotomy. It's preatty easy to mistake a leader for a minion, and some cards work on only one or the other. There is a word on the card, but it's not easily viewable on the table, and the symbols are not distinct enough for my liking.

Pol and Kevin played each other twice while I finished up some other stuff, and I was only paying enough attention to pick up the rules. Both games went very quickly, with at most 10 turns or so until victory. Kevin noted that all the good moves seemed very obvious, and both noted that the games were decided from the outset.

Then I played Pol for three rounds. First we played with the base set of blue and red cards, and I got lucky and won quickly.

Then we did two rounds with the 5-cards into the main deck, then 5 cards out. It was interesting that the by looking at the deck you could get a clear idea of the strategy of the other player ahead of time and choose appropriately. It also seemed a bit unfair to the second chooser/player. Our first game went rapidly against me, with large amounts of cursing. The second game I focused on cursing and secondarily drawing cards, which was working grandly, until Pol got the god that let him knock off curse tokens during phase 2 for free, which turned a losing position for him into a resounding victory. This last match was the only time in which the 'card burn' power seemed to become relevant at all, and while I'm glad that strategy element came into play, decision by cardburn seemed unsatisfying somehow.

Overall, I felt that it has the things I don't like about Collectable Card Games -- very significant results from card draw order, turns with nothing useful to do, possibility of the game being completely imbalanced -- but lacked some of the things I enjoy about them -- freewheeling surprise of card/game elements you aren't familiar with, the feeling that the game will differently every time you play, a relative freedom from microstrategy. Others may love it for the same dichotomy.

Pol enjoyed it more, but agreed that it seemed problematic that some of the games ended so rapdily. I'd place the others around a 6 on the enjoyment scale with me as a 4.5 or so.

We may have had some rule miscues -- I didn't read them -- but I wasn't impressed and have moved this from the "maybe purchase" to the "wont purchase" category.
 
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