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Subject: Impression After One Play rss

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Jay Bartelt
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I was just reading some posts from folks who can't quite figure out what this game is trying to accomplish, complaining it's too expensive, etc. I thought I'd give you a quick overview of what I thought of the game after playing the prototype with mostly finished artwork and rules. The game looked like it was done, though Queen assured me it was not. I played this on the first day of BGG.con 2012 in Dallas. So, this is not a comprehensive overview and I may not get every detail correct, but hopefully this will help give you a feel for the game and whether or not you want to jump in on the rapidly approaching end of the Kickstarter campaign.

This game is played in 3 Levels (basically stacks of monster cards) and each Level is played in two parts. Part one is using the exact pick a card and pass the hand mechanic of 7 Wonders to pay for weapons, armor, spells and magical items to equip your character. Part two is beating down the monsters and getting victory points and other goodies for it. For the most part, you fight the monster in front of your character, you do not pick one from a group or fight cooperatively.

Part 1: The draft

Your player board allows you to attach equipment cards to every side to aid in your monster stomping. This could include weapons of various types, armor, potions / spells, and magical items. Each one of these types of items has a symbol for its type. For example, weapons might be magic, ranged, melee, etc and each of them has its own type of symbol. Each player board has a unique character and, much like the 7 wonders board that starts you with a couple free resources in the upper left, you start with a couple of appropriate symbols. You pay for these cards with coins. In many cases, you will receive a discount on that amount by having one or more of the appropriate symbols (discounts are indicated on the card you want to buy). If there isn't a card you want to buy or cannot afford a card, you can stick the card in the upper left of your board without paying the cost and, in fact, you will recieve coins because you didn't make a purchase. That card will add a symbol to your board that will aid in reducing costs for future drafting and put some much needed coin in your possession. This never felt like a punt to me. It was sometimes a better decision than buying a card, in fact.

There are a number of rules I won't go into about what you can and cannot draft and why, but they made sense very quickly and we were off to the races.

One other thing to note: You start each drafting round by placing the first monster you are supposed to fight in front of you. That allows you to make some decisions around what you might want to buy to help defeat the first monster you face (doesn't help much for the rest of the level, but at least you are set for your first encounter). In my case, I was in trouble for Level 1 because my monster was one that required a bunch of armor defense and melee weapons, and I was a mage. I drafted and bought a necklace that allowed me once per level to bury a monster card. It's that kind of stuff that made the game so fun and interesting.

Levels 2 and 3, by the way, you often buy cards that upgrade your weapons / armor / etc rather than buying new as you cannot have more than one of any symbol equipped (for the exception of armor, and with that you need to look at the type of armor - can't wear 2 chest armors for example).

Part 2: Monster Beatdown

Once your character is place, you go around the table fighting your monsters. Three things could happen: 1) You defeat the monster, collecting the victory points / coins / rewards and then get the next monster on the deck placed in front of you 2) You don't kill the monster and it kills you, so you're out for the rest of the level or 3) Neither kills each other, so you wait until your next turn and try again.

The monster cards have certain weapon types that are more effective, and some less effective. You can have equipped all the different types of weapons, but you can only fight each round with one of them. Each of these weapon cards allow you additional damage depending on the combination of symbols you have displayed on your board, or by spending mana (each person gets some for each level depending on their character), or other types of special things. Again, all of this is printed on the cards and is very straightforward. If you cannot generate enough damage to kill it, you put the number of damage markers as appropriate on the monster card.

After an attack by you, you look at the lower right of the card and see what the monster does to you. Again, depending on the symbols, you can deflect off some / all of the attack. The rest you reduce your health points on your player board (same deal as mana).

A couple of things about the rewards I found interesting. One is that you receive experience for killing the monster. When you earn enough experience point, you "level up" - meaning you can choose to increase your max in mana or health points, or take coins for future drafting. The experience point track will also be giving you victory points along the way as well. This worked very well. Another interesting thing is that each monster has a type as well. As you collect your monster symbols for defeating them, you will receive tiles with end game scoring - so if you are the first to collect three "dragon" monster types you get a tile with 6 VPs. The next person who does it gets a tile worth 4 VPs, and so on with diminishing returns. There are also tiles for killing a variety of monsters as well. There's more to it than I'm describing but you get the idea I hope. Finally, the coins you win for defeating a monster is distributed amongst the players. Thematically this is a little shaky, but it works because it gives the player that won rewards but the coins could allow a runaway situation where the player able to defeat monsters with a good coin count has a huge advantage drafting in the later levels. Rich get richer. Make no mistake, this didn't feel like a crippler to me - the experience points and bonus tiles is where the victory points are earned, not the coins.

Quick jump on the soap box- right now these coins are called Hero Points, but hopefully they will change this. Are you reading this Mike Elliot and Queen? You don't buy equipment from the store with Hero Points, you buy them with coins. There's no reason to call them anything else. Why didn't you call Mana "Magicalistca ZippityDooDah"? Because people know what Mana is. And people know what coins are. And now people need to figure out the difference between hero points and legend points (which are victory points). There's plenty in this game to make it different, terminology doesn't have to be one of them.

Conclusion

So, basically, it's a mash-up of 7 Wonders and Thunderstone. It's more closely aligned with 7 Wonders. For the record, I like but do not love 7 wonders. I like but do not love Thunderstone. I loved my first play of Lost Legends. I felt there were many interesting decisions to make. I loved outfitting my character instead of building arbitrary buildings and doing science discoveries or whatever those green cards do in 7 Wonders. Lost Legends is much more thematic and the choices you make in drafting equipment for your character are fun and crucial to success. The game plays fast (an hour for the three player game including rules) but not too fast. You feel like you had the time to outfit and upgrade your character and bash monster skulls. It is not anymore interactive than the 7 Wonders / Thunderstone base games, but I found myself more interested in what the others did on their turn. That may diminish over time but everything goes quick enough that you're not getting bored waiting on someone.

From my hotel room at BGG I Kickstarted the game. I was hoping it would hit some stretch goals but it doesn't look like it will. Even so, I don't regret getting this one anymore than I did with Escape. Queen is definitely starting to push this new line with a distinctly more themeatic and less Eurogame feel, and I fully support it. The artwork in the game is fantastic. I wasn't working with final components as it was a prototype but I liked everything about what I saw. There's plenty of 60 dollar SRP Euros with the same amount of cardboard and cards out there. I don't feel like I'm getting ripped off, but I also support my FLGS as much / more than paying online discounts, so maybe I'm more used to paying these prices. This isn't a knock on others that need / choose to order online only - buying local is my personal decision. So even if you don't want to Kickstart this, I recommend keeping it on the radar and give it a play when released. I think you fans of 7 Wonders and fantasy themed games are in for a treat.

Hope this helps clear some things up. I can answer questions if you have any.

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Matt Riddle
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thanks for the data Jay, just backed but was wondering what I got into
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David desJardins
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Sounds like it's not for me, but a great overview!
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Dan Massek
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Thanks for the nice writeup. It is definitely on my radar. Though the kickstarter doesn't have enough incentive for me to back it.
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Brent Lloyd
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Thanks for the write up!

I played this twice. The first game was the full one and we managed to go back a couple days later and get in a partial game of the first two rounds before the hall was closed.

The rich definitely get richer; coins, experience points, victory points. If you get knocked out early in any of the rounds (it happened in the first round of our second game to two of the players) the other two players will bolt out into a huge lead. Getting the right kinds of weapons and/or armour is CRUCIAL to being able to survive. In our second game two players were unable to aquire weapons or armour to defeat the monster they were dealt. The players in the draft ahead of them took the weapons they needed because they had the same (or similar) monsters in front of them.

I also agree some of the terms used and iconography need alignment. The health points on the player track ought to be hearts, and the arrowhead symbol for the experience points on the player track ought to arrowheads. Once again though, these were prototypes we were playing and not the final components/graphics.

The weakness of the game is in the matchup of the monsters. It is almost random what monsters you get after you slay the initial one dealt to you. The choice is between one showing, or a random one off the top of the deck. If I set up my hero to do a bunch of ranged and magic damage, then get dealt a pure melee monster, I am done for the round and there is nothing I can do but sit and watch the other players finish off the round and get richer.

Overall the game was fun and interesting if you survived the rounds. You get the feeling of equiping your hero to go out and slay monsters, oh what fun!

Peace
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Jay Bartelt
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Hey Brent,

Interesting how different our games played. Didn't think about the monster match-ups being so crucial, but even in my own write-up I used a necklace to dodge a bullet your group couldn't dodge during your game. We only had one person go down completely in a level (me) and it was pretty late so it didn't hurt me too much. I can definitely see how an early death could be frustrating - you basically have to sit as people rack up points and could do so for multiple monsters.

Makes me wonder if Mike Elliot can write something into the rules to help you when you face a monster you don't match-up with, like destroying your highest price equipment to escape the monster. In other words, drop your awesome shield that ways a zillion pounds and fleeeee!

Appreciate you throwing your opinions into the mix. I think they're a few tweaks away from an awesome game here, but even as it stands I think it's really fun.
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Brent Lloyd
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GamerChef wrote:
I think they're a few tweaks away from an awesome game here, but even as it stands I think it's really fun.


I completely agree.

Peace
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Sky Zero
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Great session report boss. Looking forward to playing your copy!

And great variant.....may have to rob that one laugh
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Brent Lloyd
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I would also like to point out;

This is the ONLY game at BGG.Con I really wanted to play a second time.

Peace
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Niels Weber
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Thanks for the first-hand impressions, sounds like it really is different enough from 7 Wonders to be worth having.
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Ross Makarak
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Thanks for the review. I wasn't going to back this, but after reading your impressions, sounds like a Euro-ish game that I could stand playing with my friends who love games like this.
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Ray Smith
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Hey Jay and/or Brent,

Is there much player interaction? It appears to be another "multiplayer solitaire" type game. Beyond defeating a monster before another player can nab it, can a player do anything to hinder or help another player?

Thanks for all your insights!
 
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Jay Bartelt
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I would definitely put this into the Multiplayer Solitaire category if choosing between it and Interactive. You can dump a monster on someone but yes, really you are mostly playing your own game. My guess is that should the game be successful it will add more elements for player interaction just like 7 Wonders has in the Cities expansion.
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Lee Fisher
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That would, of course, be besides the interaction of drafting itself.
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Vincent Bouatou
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Uhhh there's a rule which I think you did not apply correctly, albeit a very important one. When you defeat your monster, you do not draw one or get the face-up one immediately. The monster slot in front of you stays vacant until your next turn OR until someone passes his own monster to you. Yes, they can do that. And it kinda changes the game

TSR
 
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