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Subject: Yugblad's Quick-Fire Review of 300: The Board Game. rss

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Mark Chaplin
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A FAST-PACED AND EFFICIENT HACK-FEST.

Very few people will have come knocking on the spiked gate of 300: The Board Game for an accurate game depiction of the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC. If they do, they will inevitably be disappointed; they'll have to spy elsewhere for a more faithful recreation of one of history's most famous last stands against overwhelming hordes - because this game is dripping with atmosphere dragged from the much hated/loved Hollywood movie.

BTW, I fall solidly on the side of those in love with the film's aesthetic. In fact, I defy anyone not to be mesmerised by the painting-like look to some of the scenes; the galleys gripped by a storm-tossed sea, and the virgin seer writhing amidst ghostly smoke, spring to mind. Obviously the Matrix-styled melee scenes, and the videogame boss structure to the encounters, draw in a certain rapturous crowd, but that shouldn't repel the masses from seeing the artistry of the film...
I digress. I love the film.
So what do I think of this board and counters rendition of a digital masterpiece?
Awesome!



For your gold, you get a huge board, depicting the Hot Gates and the seafront, that is as utilitarian as El Grande or Carcassone the Castle, with a score track about the board's perimeter. There are no plastic Spartans. Or Persians. This is not a bad thing as I think it would cheapen the effort here. The forces are all depicted on circular card counters - with movie stills illustrating the magnicent, masked Persian warriors, Spartans, etc. Double sided, the counters must be flipped to indicate wounding or blood-splattered death; this is why including models would have been a tragedy - unless they featured Heroclix-type bases, I suppose.

The rules are clear and simple: a strength. The hunchback making his miserable way along a 6-space goatpath is the game's countdown timer. Cardplay - inspired by filmic events and bearing laconic quotes - also interupts the game's simple phases in powerful outcome-altering ways.
Like most combat heavy games, 300 features huge amounts of dice rolling, but, with card use, and effective force management, you can limit poor results; this is what raises the game above the level of Risk. Huge swathes of Persians must be dismembered for the Spartans to advance, so you really do have to hack and slash your way through piles of enemy counters.



Personally, I would have loved to have seen an uber-Persian counter for the sword-armed monster, that was administering punishment about mid-way through the movie (expansion material?). I would also have liked an identical set of black dice included for the Persians to toss across the battlefield (I remedied this with spare dice of my own anyhow). But these are barely flesh wounds on the Spartan King.

My distilled thoughts:

KING LEONIDAS:

1. Quick gameplay.
2. Brilliant theme.
3. Simple setup.
4. Plenty of carnage.
5. Closely-matched gameplay
6. Fast gameplay.
7. Accomodates 3 players.

GOD-KING XERXES:

1. Functional board.
2. Dicefest.
3. Not enough dice for fest.
4. Slightly tricky card rulings (well, for my Dad).

300 is deceptive. It appears low brow gaming, a quick tie-in. But do not let the Persian wizards misdirect you, 300: The Board Game is a quick-fire experience that plays well, is a huge amount of fun, and features strategic layers not immediately apparent on your first play or two.
This is the best film-to-boardgame I've played. 7/10.

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Joseph
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Thanks for reviewing this one Mark. Sounds like a great filler war game to use between longer games.

Cheers!

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Andrew Parks
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Thanks for taking the time to write this pithy review, Mark. Your review really captures the heart and soul of the game. We had a lot of fun working on 300, and I'm glad to see that people are still having fun discovering the strategic surprises we buried inside.

Thanks again, and may your Leonidas never die without taking 6 Persian tokens down with him!

Andrew
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Jonan Jello
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♫ As the masters rot on walls ♫ And the angels eat their grapes ♫ I watched Picasso Visit The Planet Of The Apes ♫
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Nice quick take on 300: the Board Game.

This game is a solid fun, dice-tosser. I consider myself fortunate to have found the game while on sale at Borders. I wouldn't pay full price for the game. Not only is it fun, but yes, it captures the essence of the movie's depiction of the subject matter. The game plays fast, if you're the Spartans you've gotta move fast and get out of the Hot Gates. And boy how those bodies start to rise!

Tonight I'm bringing it to visit my buddy in the hospital. Though I am bringing a slab of plywood with me, I hope the large board doesn't hinder us. I think he'll really enjoy the game experience.


Quote:
Personally, I would have loved to have seen an uber-Persian counter for the sword-armed monster, that was administering punishment about mid-way through the movie (expansion material?).

That would be cool.
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Jonan Jello
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Last week, my buddy returned home from a long stay in the hospital. So Saturday night, I brought over a carton full of board games and 300: The Board Game was our first choice.

He'd never played before and was anxious to give it a try. He had an absolute blast playing both armies, more so as the Spartans.

I went first as the Persian army had a chance to use the turn shortcut card, Ephialtes. Wow, that's a great card to play!
The Spartans still managed to get 104 Glory points.

My turn as the Spartans was rough in the beginning. Taking heavy casualties in the beginning. The Immortals even secured one space in Row A of the Hot Gates. But in Row B, Captain, Astinos, Dilios, Leonidas, and 2 Spartans managed to wipe out the last coastal space to score an additional 12 Glory Points! This was due largely in part to my buddy shifting over both War Beasts to Row A to protect Xerxes who was one space behind them.
My Spartans scored 115 Glory points! I repositioned them all in Row B and waited inside the Hot Gates for the next Persian onslaught. It indeed came, and I lost all my heroes, Leonidas included (he was previously wounded). But by that point the hunchback had reached the end of the goat path.
One other shining moment of that game was my buddy playing the Ephialtes card on me, but I responded with the card-canceling STELIOS card. That was just too cool.


My buddy and I were having a grand time, drinking beer, rolling fistfuls of dice and watching the bodycount rise. All the while, we quoted the movie when playing a card or whenever the opportunity arose - which was quite often!

Highly entertaining game.
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Mark Chaplin
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I think people forget, or don't realise, how much fun this game can be.



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Jonan Jello
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Yugblad wrote:
I think people forget, or don't realise, how much fun this game can be.

Indeed.
As well, the quality of the components is quite adequate. The cards are bit on the thin side, but the tokens are fat-thick and like you stated in your review, the two-piece board is huge.



Strategy-wise, at what point do you bring in the Uber Immortal, 2 Generals and possibly Xerxes? Right after the Immortals in some War Beast Combination?

We realized sending these Persian boosts increase the defense of the Persians. And if a general or Xeres is boosting a space and the Spartans wipe out all but them, it quite effectively denies conquering a space. That can be a decisive point if that final Coastal space can't be reached for 12 Victory Points!
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Andrew Parks
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Hex_Enduction_Hour wrote:
Strategy-wise, at what point do you bring in the Uber Immortal, 2 Generals and possibly Xerxes? Right after the Immortals in some War Beast Combination?

We realized sending these Persian boosts increase the defense of the Persians. And if a general or Xeres is boosting a space and the Spartans wipe out all but them, it quite effectively denies conquering a space. That can be a decisive point if that final Coastal space can't be reached for 12 Victory Points!


Often the deciding factor, especially with Xerxes, is if you have a card that rewards you for having them on the field. Other times, it's situational based on which row the Spartans are having the most luck on. Sometimes you will want to challenge the tougher Spartan line in order to halt their advance. Alternatively, you may want to avoid the stronger Spartan row and bring out the big guns to beat down on the Spartans' weaker line.

Thanks for the stories, and I hope your friend recovers soon!

Andrew

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