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Subject: Impressions after two plays with my ten-year-old. rss

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Mark Crane
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It reminds me a little of Dreamblade and Heroscape. I bought a lot of Dreamblade on clearance, but had to put it away as my son (eight or nine at the time) started drawing pictures of the minis at school, some of which were disturbing enough to potentially cause problems with the administration or psychologist!

We also have a lot of Heroscape, but lugging out those plastic bins, setting up and then keeping everyone out of the tiles and trying to summon the will to put away all that plastic has dampened our enthusiasm a little.

So now the same son keeps begging to play this with me. There is a lot more depth than would appear at first. During our first game I was reading the rules while we played. He correctly intuited that killing my summoner would win him the game and to my surprise he was right!

During our second game I cleverly thought, "Oh, this game appears to be broken! All I have to do is discard cards into my magic pile, unleash the dragon and sit back and watch the feeding frenzy." Then Joey played [character who rolls five dice] and started carving through my units like a chainsaw at a butter festival. He was so excited, it was great. Then he played Krug, er, I mean Krung and started doing additional damage and I ran out of my draw deck. So with not that many units on the board my archers blasted through an ice wall and tried to sneak around the side to attack Joey's summoner, while surrounded by a protective buffer of archers.

This did not work. So I've lost twice and want to play again. I'm getting a little ticked off at this point because I know I'm going to buy the other starter and am thinking about that article encouraging us to buy multiple starters. However, at $20 a pop (the going price at my FLGS) I am not going to be able to afford that sort of expansion, even though I am nowhere near exhausting the possibilities of the base Elves/Orcs deck.

So for me, this is a non-creepy, portable hybrid of Dreamblade/Heroscape/MtG. It is simpler than those three games, but the rules allow for some depth of play. Colby Dauch has created a game that I didn't know I needed and I'm glad he did. I look forward to some cheaper boosters. I'm also looking forward to playing the four-player game with my kids and adult brothers.

Also, it's only a matter of time before someone whips up some Star Wars fan decks, creating a fun alternative to Star Wars: Epic Duels.

The game is also ripe for enhancing with glass wound markers, custom playing mats, etc. Because of its size, this will be the game that comes with me on family road trips.
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Casey Rogers
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Nice mini review/session report! I was actually at BGR today and checking it out. I resisted the temptation to buy, but I'm not sure I'll be able to resist come tomorrow.
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Gabriel Manasan
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craniac wrote:
So for me, this is a non-creepy, portable hybrid of Dreamblade/Heroscape/MtG. It is simpler than those three games, but the rules allow for some depth of play.


Thanks for the quick review! I do have a question about the complexity of the game though. I've played all three games you mentioned and it seems to me that Heroscape is pretty simple compared to the other two. Would you really say that Summoner Wars is even simpler than HS?
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Chris Schenck
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Stormcow wrote:
Would you really say that Summoner Wars is even simpler than HS?

I would say that the base rules are simpler than HeroScape, because it's two-dimensional -- so elevation and line of sight rules are not needed. However, that does not mean the game is trivial. The complexity arises from the interplay of hand management, magic pile management, and unit tactics ... all of which are more sophisticated than HeroScape.

So the base rules are simpler, but the play is deeper.
Win / Win.
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James Sitz
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Stormcow wrote:
Would you really say that Summoner Wars is even simpler than HS?


It's simpler in the way that Chess is simpler than HeroScape. You can teach someone pretty much all of the rules and what to do in 5-10 minutes, but if an experienced player goes all out against a newbie, he'll probably win in 15 minutes. Every decision, from wall placement to Unit placement (especially your Summoner!), to which cards you build for magic can have an effect on the outcome.

And it's simpler to set up and put away than Dominion and Race. (I hate digging out the starting worlds afterwards).

[What makes Heroscape an interesting game to me is the lack of faction restrictions and the wide open choices for army/deck building, and the modularity of the board. Playing to your map and matchup is the cool part. Even though "get height" is a simple way to break down the strategy, I've seen huge discrepancies in player skill levels in tournaments and game days].
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Colby Dauch
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the game. Glad you enjoyed it.
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Mark Crane
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cbs42 wrote:
Stormcow wrote:
Would you really say that Summoner Wars is even simpler than HS?

I would say that the base rules are simpler than HeroScape, because it's two-dimensional -- so elevation and line of sight rules are not needed. However, that does not mean the game is trivial. The complexity arises from the interplay of hand management, magic pile management, and unit tactics ... all of which are more sophisticated than HeroScape.

So the base rules are simpler, but the play is deeper.
Win / Win.


This is a good analysis, and I agree. Although it is a gross perversion of the original game, I'm tempted to play it with Heroscape minis and three-dimensional wall pieces. Yes, I know that is ridiculous.
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Eric Ruhland
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craniac wrote:
I'm getting a little ticked off at this point because I know I'm going to buy the other starter and am thinking about that article encouraging us to buy multiple starters. However, at $20 a pop (the going price at my FLGS) I am not going to be able to afford that sort of expansion, even though I am nowhere near exhausting the possibilities of the base Elves/Orcs deck.
Great little review/session report. I think you have found yourself a winner in this little game. Let me just say that while I find it unlikely that you won't want/need to go out and get the other starter deck I really don't see the need to get multiples of them. I too read that article and while I am looking forward to having deck building options with the (hopefully soon) upcoming reinforcement decks I see no reason to want more of the same to add to my decks. I guess if you were to start playing in a more competitive arena I could see it but I don't think this is a game that I will be looking to go that route with in any serious way.
Bring on the reinforcement decks! But buy multiples so I can have 10 of something I already have plenty of in my deck. I don't feel the need.
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fightcitymayor
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"This is a really weird game, and you’ll find that most people will not want to play this."
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craniac wrote:
It reminds me a little of Dreamblade and Heroscape. I bought a lot of Dreamblade on clearance, but had to put it away as my son (eight or nine at the time) started drawing pictures of the minis at school, some of which were disturbing enough to potentially cause problems with the administration or psychologist!

Dude, don't laugh, i know a guy whose kid did exactly that... and was expelled. To the point where law enforcement was involved and his poor kid was blackballed out of the entire district because school administrators painted him as a "threat to safety."

true story.
this is the environment we've cultivated for our kids: "don't worry about not being able to do basic math, but for GOD'S SAKE don't draw any wacky pictures!"
(sorry about hijacking the post)
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Mark Crane
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fightcitymayor wrote:
craniac wrote:
It reminds me a little of Dreamblade and Heroscape. I bought a lot of Dreamblade on clearance, but had to put it away as my son (eight or nine at the time) started drawing pictures of the minis at school, some of which were disturbing enough to potentially cause problems with the administration or psychologist!

Dude, don't laugh, i know a guy whose kid did exactly that... and was expelled. To the point where law enforcement was involved and his poor kid was blackballed out of the entire district because school administrators painted him as a "threat to safety."

true story.
this is the environment we've cultivated for our kids: "don't worry about not being able to do basic math, but for GOD'S SAKE don't draw any wacky pictures!"
(sorry about hijacking the post)


My son has Asperger's, and he was upset with a classmate and wrote a note with some violent language. He was kicked out of school for a week and they tried to block him from the gifted program the following year until we had a short discussion about the ADA.

In other news, we played our fourth game, and I was on the verge of finally winning as the elves when I broke down an ice wall protecting his lone summoner. I had my fire drake on the board too but his summoner popped out of his ice prison and nuked Princess Eileen and I lost again. Joey did the victory dance and started singing, "Uh huh, Uh huh."




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