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Interesting review, as always. I got to try a bit of this today and then (even cooler) my wife picked it up for me for my birthday immediately afterwards, which was excellent.

I already like it more than most miniature games I've ever played. The removal of the annoying and unreliable dice provides a very cool element, imho, but at the same time, I can see the perspective that it's kind of sad to see them removed, as it doesn't altogether give that homage to the source material.

That being said, I've been waiting for a LONG time for someone to properly do card-based fantasy miniature gameplay and this seems to be one of the better ones, if not the best one I've tried so far.

But I'll save the rest for my KODT review and possible extra review here, as well.
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Noah's doing great, we're hoping to leave the hospital in the next 2-3 weeks if everything goes well.

Sidenote - I wouldn't say I "bitched" about the unreliable D20 powers for "years", per se, more like I started to realize that they frustrated me and probably could've been handled differently after a year or two of hardcore HeroScape gaming.

But yeah, this seems pretty sweet, to me. I've recently really gotten into M:tG (to some extent) and I think it's a great hybridization of genres, when cards are used.
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As someone who isn't a fan of games that win or lose based on the roll of the dice, sound like I will like it for the reasons you did not. Thanks for the insight and well explained reasons for why you did and didn't like the game though.
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morpheus133 wrote:
As someone who isn't a fan of games that win or lose based on the roll of the dice, sound like I will like it for the reasons you did not.

I'm totally with Pete on this issue. It's not that I want luck to dominate and decide every game, not by any means. But having to live with the possibility? That's what gets the adrenalin pumping. Without fear, there is no courage, and I love a game that makes me sweat.

The lack of any such danger is what lead me to unload Thunderstone after a few plays, and I'm grateful to Pete for making it clear that this game may have the same problem. He even notes that he likes Dungeon Twister, which is key to understanding his criticism because it leaves no doubt that he can enjoy determistic games.
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Dungeon Twister IS awesome. What say you, SuperFly, my man, about Dungeon Twister 2? Any good?
 
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I agree that there are plenty of games out there where the game is determined by a series of die rolls and strategy. On the other hand though, there are plenty of games where one bad die roll, even if you played everything right will lose you the game. Those are the games that people do not like and end up associating die rolling with.
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Well, I will certainly agree that the MSRP seems high. That being said, almost everywhere I've looked is selling them for $25-$35, which is much more reasonable. At that price, I have no qualms picking these up for the miniatures alone, inasmuch as each box does in fact have at least one entirely new sculpt and the Umber Hulk Delver figure will run you close to $30 if you want to buy an original.

That being said, I respectfully disagree with your insistence on a need for dice. In the interest of full disclosure, I've played Heroscape, DDM, and Magic the Gathering, and of those, only MtG has survived the "group fun consensus" among my friends. They hate the dice. Card-drawing in a randomized deck you've built is certainly a luck factor as well, but being able to construct the deck as you choose mitigates that factor.

While you could also certainly argue that effective strategy minimizes the effect of a poorly-rolled die (and as I still quite enjoy DDM itself, I wouldn't say you're wrong), it really comes down to perception.

So as others have said, my group will love this game for the same reason you disliked it, which is all that matters to me.
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superflypete wrote:
Heath: that's the winner. It's that people PERCEIVE a game with dice to be essentially 100% luck rather than 80% strategy, 20% dumb luck.

James: I'm not saying it NEEDED dice, I just said that I don't know what it needs, but it needs something. It doesn't have any tension whatsoever, which is kind of like playing the first round of El Grande repeatedly for an hour. Nothing feels like it really matters, and you might pull off a masterstroke that gives you the Chris Matthews leg tingle, but only in passing. Then it's back to the same old...

OK, I draw an order card...

OK, I activate my Drow Wizard...

OK, I attack with my Drow Wizard. Do you want to play a card?

(NO)

OK, you take 20 damage.

OK, I activate my Drow Mastiff

OK, I attack with my Drow Mastiff.

Do you ..

(NO!)

OK...uh...you take 20 damage.

(WHY ARE WE PLAYING THIS...OR RATHER, WHY ARE WE WATCHING ONE ANOTHER PLAY?)

Uh, do you not like this?

(NO. THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST, MOST BORING GAMES EVER. WHERE'S THE DICE???)

No dice.

(I QUIT. THIS IS LAME)

Uh, OK.

(packing up)

(WANT TO PLAY MISSION COMMAND SEA?)

Fuck Yeah!

...


Why don't you have enough cards to defend yourself? Were you planning ahead? Hand management seems like a major part of the game. You shouldn't rush out just to kill 1 unit only to find out that you can't hold the counter-attack. That's just poor planning.

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superflypete wrote:
What game is it that you can roll once and lose?


Heroclix comes to mind. Generally any game with a small number of pieces (and standard Heroclix is about 2-3 per side) has much less tolerance for something going wrong - and the game doesn't actually have *that* many rolls in it.
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Thanks for the review. As a D&D roleplayer, I'm finding it annoying that WotC has *finally* released miniatures that are PREPAINTED and NON-RANDOM -- and are dumping the 4th edition D&D ruleset which uses them. 5th edition is less tactical but doesn't use mini's.

I think the only good news is that HeroScapers.com is open to making custom army cards for miniatures, and these DC sets will inject some D&D-scape goodness into the game. Plus there're the DDM rules which are still available. And, of course, both of these games use DICE!

Amazon's currently selling the sets at $27 each. That's a good price per miniature, but DC may be "middle tail" between lifestyle game and casual game.
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Thanks for the review, and I think I understand the criticism, but I am too fond of Chess, Diplomacy, and Game of Thrones to feel your pain. I submit that asking your opponent to block you is part of the problem, and would go away with experience - you play your turn smoothly, and it's on him to yell Dodge! at you.

Clearly, this is Yoda's version of combat - Do or do not. There is no try.
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superflypete wrote:
This was the second round. I drew well, he didn't. I rushed him with my wizard and bulldoggy thing, and fucked him up. He had drawn some shitty characters, some shitty cards, and just didn't dig the game.

Hand management is crucial in this game, but there's times when you simply have no useful cards (at the time).


Isn't this just like a round where 1 player gets a series of extremely unlucky dice rolls?

What if I replaced a few words here and there?

superflypete wrote:
This was the second round. I rolled well, he didn't. I rushed him with my wizard and bulldoggy thing, and fucked him up. He had drawn some shitty characters, made some shitty rolls, and just didn't dig the game.

Odds management is crucial in this game, but there's times when you simply have no useful rolls (at the time).

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superflypete wrote:
This was the second round. I drew well, he didn't. I rushed him with my wizard and bulldoggy thing, and fucked him up. He had drawn some shitty characters, some shitty cards, and just didn't dig the game.

Hand management is crucial in this game, but there's times when you simply have no useful cards (at the time).

I want to go back to something:

Heath, what is this game:
Quote:
On the other hand though, there are plenty of games where one bad die roll, even if you played everything right will lose you the game.


What game is it that you can roll once and lose?


For me one of the big ones is the world of Warcraft miniature game. Your character usually got only one or two rolls before it died. Other games that come to mind are Settlers,heroclix,Last night on earth(the movement part),Monopoly and dungeon run(I hate this game) to name a few.

Now I say I hate dice, but that is not completely true. If there is a way to maniplate the die roll or you can use them for more than just a roll like Kingsburg I can handle it. I just do not find excitement in games where you make every right move. Set it up so your opponent can only win by rolling three sixes. He picks up the dice and rolls three sixes and wins. Know I just lost a hour and a half game because he got lucky. That is that 20% of dumb luck that kills a game for me.
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There are dice based games that our group enjoys, but for the most part I dislike the "hallelujah" miracle rolls that can swing a game one way or the other that SuperflyCircus Pete seems to feel is missing from this game. I might not like this game or even agree with his general assessment that turn to turn there isn't interesting enough choices to keep my interest after trying it out. But the mechanic of automatically hitting and doing damage doesn't bother me as much as it seems to bother him, and other reviews have given a postive impression. Based on other reviews it seems the positioning is a big deal, and perhaps you could nullify some of the luck of a bad draw by positioning your pieces so only the strongest or most trivial can be hit? Or add a mulligan rule for bad starting draws?

I'm also interested to see how things change with customized decks and warbands, which would nullify the "all my cards suck and all my creatures suck" draw if you hand picked all your cards and creatures. Of course that would bump up the price, but it would still be cheaper than most miniature games if you are buying at online dealer prices of ~$26 per box.
 
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superflypete wrote:
Heath: that's the winner. It's that people PERCEIVE a game with dice to be essentially 100% luck rather than 80% strategy, 20% dumb luck.

James: I'm not saying it NEEDED dice, I just said that I don't know what it needs, but it needs something. It doesn't have any tension whatsoever, which is kind of like playing the first round of El Grande repeatedly for an hour. Nothing feels like it really matters, and you might pull off a masterstroke that gives you the Chris Matthews leg tingle, but only in passing. Then it's back to the same old...

OK, I draw an order card...

OK, I activate my Drow Wizard...

OK, I attack with my Drow Wizard. Do you want to play a card?

(NO)

OK, you take 20 damage.

OK, I activate my Drow Mastiff

OK, I attack with my Drow Mastiff.

Do you ..

(NO!)

OK...uh...you take 20 damage.

(WHY ARE WE PLAYING THIS...OR RATHER, WHY ARE WE WATCHING ONE ANOTHER PLAY?)

Uh, do you not like this?

(NO. THIS IS ONE OF THE WORST, MOST BORING GAMES EVER. WHERE'S THE DICE???)

No dice.

(I QUIT. THIS IS LAME)

Uh, OK.

(packing up)

(WANT TO PLAY MISSION COMMAND SEA?)

Fuck Yeah!

...



I really don't get your argument here. You say you love Epic Duels, but dislike this due to no dice and random card draws?

Let's replay your scenerio.

Ok, I draw a Darth Vader card

Ok, I activate Darth Vader and move him next to Yoda

I attack with Darth Vader. Do you have a card to defend Yoda with?

No

Ok, well I played "All Too Easy" and now Yoda is dead

Well, all I have now is Troopers on the battle field and no Trooper cards in my hand!

(I quit this is lame)

Uh-ok

(Packing up)

Want to play Yahtzee instead?

Heck yeah, cause that's got dice!




No matter if it only uses dice or if it's random card draw, luck is involved. This game is very similar to Epic Duels/Summoner Wars in a lot of ways. The balance in this game comes from not only the basic attack each character can alway perform, but also from the command cards that boost them.

This game is going to be hot for some time.
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superflypete wrote:
TC, I don't know which review you skimmed, but it wasn't mine. I love the phenomenon of people skimming a couple of paragraphs, reading some comments, and then making wild misstatements based upon .

I never said there weren't "interesting choices". The game is full of choices and decision points. What I said is that the game doesn't capture players. It's not immersive. And the choices don't feel particularly meaningful; there's always something you can do, and the proper choices kind of stand out. Really, the big sin here is that it's just dull, in my opinion.

Tim: Epic Duels has tension. There's limited choices every turn, and that artificial shortage of resources (no cards/no movement points) makes the game really tense, and forces you to make decisions that you might not otherwise want to.

This game doesn't really do that. It gives you, essentially, a great deal of choices, but few of them are particularly meaningful because you ALWAYS have something to do.


Maybe not ENOUGH movement points, but there's always movement given each turn, never zero.

You really are not getting the point.
Here are all your basic options in both games.

Epic Duels - Roll dice to determine movement of character/s. Draw cards that give you attack/defense/special abilities. Make sure the cards match the character you wish to activate. Move character around board to attack opponent. Keep track of cards played so you know what he might or might not have in possession to increase your chances of successfully hitting with a heavy attack. Expend cards during attack, opponent expends cards defending. Rinse/Repeat.

Dungeon Command - No need to roll dice, movement is listed seperatly for each character. Draw Command Cards that give you attack/defense/special abilities. Make sure the CC's match the level and attributes of character you wish to activate. Move character around board and attack opponent with either a CC, or a basic attack. Either way your opponent would have to use a card to defend. Keep track of how many defensive cards opponent used to maximize your attack CC's to maximize your chances of hitting with a heavy attack. Expend cards during attack, opponent has option if any to defend if he has defensive cards. Let's not forget he can Cower instead of taking damage. Rinse/Repeat.



Am I missing something? If this was Star Wars Command with all new sculpted figures would it be different?


Edit - let's also not forget that both games have limited resources. In ED's, if you run out of cards, tough luck! In DC, you run out of Creature/Command Cards, tough luck! Card management is high in both games.

Edit - I'm literally floored you think the box design is good. The box sucks big time right along with the flimsy insert. One of our boxes already has a tear in the top cover flap. The boxes are by far the worse thing this game has going for it. Terrible design!
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Okay - let me take a crack at this... Pete, tell me if I'm off the mark:

(Disclosure: Never played DC. Also never played Epic Duels, but I have played Transformers: Armada which is essentially the same game.)

The difference between DC and ED is to do with what you can and can't do in your turn.

In ED, you roll a dice for movement. There's a bit of tension there - will you get the movement points you need to get into an attack position. In DC, movement points are fixed, so you can "math out" your options in advance - you will always know if you can get into that attack position or not.

But more importantly, in ED if you haven't got the cards, you can't attack, so there is tension in every draw - will you get the cards you need? This is less relevant in DC, because even with no cards in hand, you can still move and attack with EVERY unit you have - you just use their basic move and attack options. This dilutes the excitement of the draw, because you always have a plan B.

I have no idea if that's a bad thing, as I haven't played, but in reading the review, I believe that underpins the difference between the two games and that is why Pete likes ED but not DC. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I'm reading it...

As for saying the order card draw provides the same tension and luck as dice rolling - that isn't quite true either. The difference there is involvement. When people are rolling to attack and defend, both players are involved, and you might have a good idea what the outcome will be, but you don't know for sure. This creates tension. When you draw a card at the start of your turn, you know what that card is, know what it can do, and whether or not you can even use it. You can see the whole turn play out in your head as soon as the card is drawn, rather than having that uncertainty up to the point when the dice is rolled.

Personally, I'm pretty excited about DC and really want to give it a try. I think there is room in the world for both types of game, but I think I can understand why Pete isn't a fan (he still rated it pretty high).

EDIT: Games that are won or lost on the roll of a dice... Both Space Hulk and Dreadfleet have certain scenarios where at the end you roll a dice to see if you have won. The better you do in the game, the more chance you have of winning; but it sucks when you do really well and then roll a "1" on your "did I win?" test.
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kingjames01 wrote:
superflypete wrote:
This was the second round. I drew well, he didn't. I rushed him with my wizard and bulldoggy thing, and fucked him up. He had drawn some shitty characters, some shitty cards, and just didn't dig the game.

Hand management is crucial in this game, but there's times when you simply have no useful cards (at the time).


Isn't this just like a round where 1 player gets a series of extremely unlucky dice rolls?

What if I replaced a few words here and there?

superflypete wrote:
This was the second round. I rolled well, he didn't. I rushed him with my wizard and bulldoggy thing, and fucked him up. He had drawn some shitty characters, made some shitty rolls, and just didn't dig the game.

Odds management is crucial in this game, but there's times when you simply have no useful rolls (at the time).



But with this game you can customize your deck to prevent such bad draws, especially when new sets come out with more cards to pick from. You can switch dice but it's not going to have much effect. :>
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Thanks for this review. This game had piqued my interest, but now I am fairly certain I would not enjoy it. While I don't have a lot of experience with miniatures games, I much prefer rolling some dice as opposed to card-driven games.
 
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superflypete wrote:
Heath, what is this game:
Quote:
On the other hand though, there are plenty of games where one bad die roll, even if you played everything right will lose you the game.


What game is it that you can roll once and lose?
Battlestar Galactica. Surely you've read this. (And roll once and win vs roll once and lose are interchangeable.)
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superflypete wrote:
TC, I don't know which review you skimmed, but it wasn't mine. I love the phenomenon of people skimming a couple of paragraphs, reading some comments, and then making wild misstatements based upon .

I never said there weren't "interesting choices". The game is full of choices and decision points. What I said is that the game doesn't capture players. It's not immersive. And the choices don't feel particularly meaningful; there's always something you can do, and the proper choices kind of stand out. Really, the big sin here is that it's just dull, in my opinion.


To me no (or few)"meaningful choices" is the the same as no (or few) "interesting choices", and a game where most of the proper choices are blatantly obvious is not going to be interesting.

Sorry if you feel misquoted, but that is the impression your review left when you say there is often times when there is no interaction, and seem to place it one step above multiplayer solitaire, and "You can literally play the entire game by doing nothing other than declaring attacks and deploying your figures." And your post here didn't really do anything to change that impression.
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You could always do what CSI is doing... selling the figures individually for a total of $44.50 if you bought all 10.

edit: added link
 
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As a heroscape player who doesn't care about how much luck there is, is this game for me if I'm looking something that feels like heroscape, but is in print?
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I don't really care about simplicity, but thanks for the information. Would summoner wars be something closer to heroscape?
 
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Pete, great review as always. Even though you were not feeling it for DC I think i will still pick these games up. The on-line prices are worth it for the miniatures alone and the ability to expand the D&D adventure games makes this even a greater value.

I even have a feeling that I will enjoy the game as well.

superflypete wrote:
What game is it that you can roll once and lose?


Regarding your comment above, Heroscape springs to mind. Mind-Shackle and Dead Eye Dan can be basic one-roll game deciders. I don't see that as a bad thing though as when it has happened it has produced some epic memories:

- In a 4 person Heroscape game it came down to my brother with TBN (the big stompy marro) against my nephew with NeGokSa - both at full life. The brother moves Stompy next to NGS and stomps for one wound. Then attacks well and cuts NGS down to one life. The nephew has one turn before dying and rolls a 20 for mind-shackle. Game Over - Truely Epic

BTW - that was like 4 years ago (right after Swarm Of The Marro) came out and I can still remember it like it was yesterday.



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