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Subject: Zombies, and Pirates, and Ninjas! Oh My! - A Review of For The Win rss

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Chris Hansen
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Riverton
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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Game Summary
For The Win is a two player tile laying game in which players are tying to connect one of each of their five pieces in the playing grid. The game is somewhat similar to Hive although it plays faster (most games take 5 to 15 minutes) and has significantly different end game goals. The game capitalizes on the popularity of several internet memes by using them as the playing pieces.If you’re really into ninjas vs pirates or zombies vs monkeys, this may be the game for you.

The game in play

Game Play
The players both have a set of ten pieces, which are comprised of two of each of the following: pirates, ninjas, zombies, aliens, and monkeys. The game is played by laying tiles into a grid formation and a player wins when at least one of each of the distinct pieces is adjacent (diagonally or orthogonally) to each other. Each turn the players can take one or two actions to place a new piece , move pieces, or use a piece’s special action. Once an action is used, the piece is flipped over and can’t be used or moved again until it flipped face up by player action or as the result of another piece’s special action.

Quality of Components
This game hasn’t been published yet so I can’t speak for what the actual components are like. (My Print and Play components are very nice - but that’s another story.) However, I can speak for the images and rulebook (assuming they don’t change once the game goes to development). In a game like this you want pieces that are easily identifiable at a glance and the illustrations in For The Win easily achieve this. The pieces are easily distinguishable even when partially obscured by the X on their reverse side.

Detail of the pieces

The rulebook is clear, tightly written, and filled with examples. The game is very easy to learn and I was able to get playing quickly without having to refer to the rules after only a game or two.

Theme
This is an abstract game, but that doesn’t mean it is devoid of theme. The game actually makes good use of the different characters on the pieces by giving them each a special power. The ninja can disappear and reappear anywhere on the board. The alien can use its powers of teleportation to move other pieces to an adjacent space. The zombie can infect other pieces and turn them into zombies. Only the monkey and the pirate’s powers (respectively, flipping adjacent pieces and cannonballing other units across the board) seem like they are stretching the theme, yet they work well in terms of gameplay so that is a minor quibble.

The white zombie piece using it’s special power to infect the black pirate piece. The black pirate piece will be replaced with the black zombie piece.

Print and Play Information
This isn’t going to be released as a Print and Play game, but I thought I might cover it briefly since people who support the game on kickstarter will get a PDF of the game components so they can try it out before the game is officially released. If you’re not interested in building the game yourself, skip down to my final comments.

This game is very quick and easy build. There are three pages of components and a short rulebook. The tiles are all double sided and must be carefully aligned as there isn’t much wiggle room for error. Thankfully, the PDFs provide a helpful guide to make alignment easy. There are marks on the front and back of the tiles where a push pin can be pushed through to make sure the tiles are correctly assembled.

The game is pretty light on the ink use, although the black tiles will burn through a fair amount of ink since they are solidly colored. However, the tiles barely cover half a page so it isn’t too much of a concern. The rulebook is in color and has several illustrations but the size of each page is about 1/4 of a letter/A4 size sheet so it isn’t going to use too much ink.

I mounted my tiles on thin cardboard and laminated the player aids but you could easily play the game a few times by just printing everything on regular cardstock. I think it took me around 15 minutes to make the game. It’s very simple to do and if you’re new to Print and Play, this would be a great first project.

The complete Print and Play version of the game.

Final Comments and Rating
Despite For The Win’s simple rules and very short playing time, there is a lot of strategy and tough decisions to make in the game. Most actions have some benefit for both players so you must be careful not to inadvertently give your opponent an edge. Even something as simple as moving your piece often gives your opponent several new options. The game even has strategic options in its clever turn sequence mechanic, which can enable a player to get as many as four moves in a row through careful budgeting of actions.

Each turn, the players will face a huge range of available actions and the game can turn in surprising ways as a result. It is difficult to foresee everything that an opponent can do because pieces are not so limited in their movement and ability as they are in other similar games. It is not uncommon to see pieces jumping from the edge of the playing area into the center (or vice versa). Nonetheless, the limited number of pieces keeps the decision making process to a manageable level so analysis paralysis shoudn’t be a big problem with this game.

A completed game with a black victory.

For The Win is a perfect lunchtime office game. It takes up very little table space and plays very quickly. Even my longer games have tended to end in less than 15 minutes. Although I find For The Win to be a little less deep than Hive, it is a little easier to play at work just based on the coolness factor of a game about ninjas and zombies compared to a game about bugs. It would also be great to play in between sessions of larger games or anytime that you have 10 minutes to kill. For The Win is fun, fast, easy to learn, and has a surprising amount of strategy. I rate it an 8.

Edit: I've also written a short review of the multiplayer game.
Mini-Review of the Multiplayer Version of the Game
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Chris Hansen
United States
Riverton
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If given the option, I would prefer to play with the green pieces, please.
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I have two new 9 Card Games: 300 Spartans and Franky's 1st Christmas
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As a quick note, I think this game might be a little more interesting as a four player game. There is an option for that on Kickstarter now. I got in at a very early stage and got a killer price on the game. I'm debating upping my pledge amount to get the expanded game.
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Michael Mindes
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First, awesome review and thank you for posting it! Greatly appreciated.

chansen2794 wrote:
Quality of Components
This game hasn’t been published yet so I can’t speak for what the actual components are like. (My Print and Play components are very nice - but that’s another story.) However, I can speak for the images and rulebook (assuming they don’t change once the game goes to development). In a game like this you want pieces that are easily identifiable at a glance and the illustrations in For The Win easily achieve this. The pieces are easily distinguishable even when partially obscured by the X on their reverse side.


I can speak for the components. The tiles will be 1.25 in squares that have a depth of 5mm. They will be compressed urea plastic in ivory and black.

If the funding on Kickstarter hits $25,000 then Kickstarter supporters that pledge at least $15 will be receiving tiles for 3-4 players which will be colored in blue and green.

The artwork for the game is final. That is what it will be like. The mould for the tiles is already in the process of being made. If you pledge, then you are looking at about 3 months for delivery of the final product.

Cheers,

Michael
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SQ
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Thanks for the review, Chris!

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eryn roston
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Quote:
This is an abstract game, but that doesn’t mean it is devoid of theme.


Funny...I thought that's pretty much what 'abstract' meant

thanks for the great review!
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Moisés Solé
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DrMayhem wrote:
The artwork for the game is final. That is what it will be like. The mould for the tiles is already in the process of being made.


Final nail, not buying sorry.
I know this is a matter of preferences, and I still wish you best of luck with this and other projects. But I disagree with the reviewer in one thing. In all the images I've seen, the ones with these graphics are the ones that are giving me the hardest job of seeing what's going on, specially in the inactive side.

I'd like to know how it was decided this way, but the ones with a neat cross over the icon looked clearer to me, especially given than the icons all tended to be quite rounded.
 
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Travis O'Connor
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That's what the material will be for the pieces, based off of what they are saying. Looks good to me.
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Dave VanderArk
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DrMayhem wrote:
First, awesome review and thank you for posting it! Greatly appreciated.

chansen2794 wrote:
Quality of Components
This game hasn’t been published yet so I can’t speak for what the actual components are like. (My Print and Play components are very nice - but that’s another story.) However, I can speak for the images and rulebook (assuming they don’t change once the game goes to development). In a game like this you want pieces that are easily identifiable at a glance and the illustrations in For The Win easily achieve this. The pieces are easily distinguishable even when partially obscured by the X on their reverse side.


I can speak for the components. The tiles will be 1.25 in squares that have a depth of 5mm. They will be compressed urea plastic in ivory and black.

If the funding on Kickstarter hits $25,000 then Kickstarter supporters that pledge at least $15 will be receiving tiles for 3-4 players which will be colored in blue and green.

The artwork for the game is final. That is what it will be like. The mould for the tiles is already in the process of being made. If you pledge, then you are looking at about 3 months for delivery of the final product.

Cheers,

Michael

I received my copy today (July 2). 3 months ended up being 6, but I always double the estimates from any Kickstarter project I back. I'm not at all disappointed, the quality of the pieces is really good and I'm looking forward to playing the game with my zombie-crazed daughter. The extra pieces for the stretch goals are nice.

Thanks!
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