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GOSU 2: Tactics» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Lipman's Gosu Tactics Review rss

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Brody Lipperman
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My objective here is to give a quick, concise review and touch a little on the feel of the game vs the original GOSU

First Impressions:
I have never played Magic or any other CCG, so I wasn't familiar with foil cards. Given that, I was very impressed by the cards when I first opened the box. I was a little surprised to see that the box contained nothing but cards (no cardboard at all), but that was quickly swept aside when I saw the beautiful cards. Even the backs have haunting art that foreshadows what is to come. The actual artwork is very similar to the original Gosu, and that is a big plus in my book.

Gameplay:
I won't delve into all of the rules, but just give a brief overview. You start the game with 7 cards of goblins. These goblins come from one of 5 different clans, and are either level 1, 2, or 3. You play these goblins into your army, which can hold 15 golins: 5 level 1, 5 level 2, and 5 level 3. Each card has 3 potential ways to activate each with its own set of actions that happens. These actions are represented by iconography on the cards, but with only 14 symbols total (7 regular and 7 max version), you can quickly learn what all the symbols mean. The first and most basic is "when put into play." These actions trigger once when the card is first played into your army. The second method is through linking. If you place a goblin of the same clan orthogonal to one already in your army, you trigger the link actions for the goblin already in play. And the final method is to mutate a goblin. To mutate a goblin, you pay the stated mutate cost (in cards from your hand), to remove that goblin from your army and replace him with another goblin.
After each player passes, the two armies fight and the player with the highest army value wins 1 victory point. Players then draw up to 7 cards (minus 1 for each VP they have) and a new round begin (the armies remain throughout the game).

The gameplay is driven around trying to find combos and efficient ways of getting the most goblins into your army, while hampering your opponent. The clans each have an overarching theme, so one clan kills goblins in your opponents army, another gives you card draws, etc.

The game continues until 1 player has reached 3 Victory Points, or somebody meets one of the instant victory conditions (9 goblins from the same clan in your army, or a full army of 15 goblins).

My Thoughts:
The GOOD - I really enjoyed the first Gosu, but eventually gave it up because of what I considered to be a game breaking mechanic. Gosu Tactics does not share that same mechanic, so I am pretty happy with the changes they made to the rules. The artwork is fantastic, and the goblin names add some fun and humor to the game. The game has a good amount of player interaction and there are a lot of strategic and tactical decisions that players have to make along the way. The iconography takes away most all of the vagueness that these types of games suffer from (where you are trying to interpret a card that isn't quite clear).

The BAD - Let me caveat this by saying that I had very high hopes for the game, given how much I enjoyed the original Gosu. There isn't a lot of variety between the cards. And there aren't a lot of cards period. In the games that I have played, we have had to reshuffle the discard pile multiple times. In addition, one of the clans has an ability that allows you to take an additional turn. In one of the games that I played, my opponent, who normally plays at a decent pace, chained 2 or 3 of these cards together which resulted in turns of 10+ minutes (it was his first play, so he was having to refamiliarize himself with the icons each time). When it would come to my turn, I would immediately play (since I had 10 minutes to think about my move), and the same thing would repeat. I think there are too many cards with that ability, and it tends to bog down the game.

Compared to the original Gosu - I love that they fixed the overpowered catch up mechanic. I understand the idea behind going to icons, but I don't like that they have so few, and that they no longer can have the nuances that individual card text allows you to do. To me, that is a hallmark of these types of games. This game needs about twice as many abilities, and twice as many cards. I will still play and enjoy it, but it fell short of my expectation. Maybe after an expansion or two...
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Jonathan Harrison
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lipman wrote:
I really enjoyed the first Gosu, but eventually gave it up because of what I considered to be a game breaking mechanic.

(+1) ?
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The Yeti
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Thanks for the review. I am a huge fan of the original Gosu and the expansion and also really enjoy Tactics.

Kim Sato who designed the game is coming out with a new game next year called Ryu set in the Gosu Universe, in which 5 of the cards will be compatible with Tactics (Three level 2 and 2 level 3 cards) I'm really interested in seeing what it brings to the game and where they are going to go in the way of expansions, etc.
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Mark Johnson
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While I like Gosu 2, I would rather play the original game with some of the concepts from Gosu 2. Here are the changes to the Rules for the original Gosu:

-Activation tokens can't be cashed in for cards with the exception of when Higuma is in play. Higuma states that the player with the Advantage token can spend 2 Activation tokens for 5 cards and we still allow that option.

-Instead of drafting, we draw 10 and simultaneously choose 7, discarding the other 3.

-After a player passes they only get 3 turns until the Great Battle happens. Any extra turns they get through card effects do not go against the 3 turn limit.

-After a Great Battle, each player draws up to 7 cards minus the number of VP they have.

-When playing cards/activating a goblin, abilities are never modified by what's in the parenthesis.

---

Why do I prefer Gosu 1 over Gosu 2? There is more variety of goblin abilities in Gosu 1. There is more of the awesome artwork in Gosu 1. I like having to manage activation tokens in Gosu 1. I'm not fussy on the shininess of cards, especially the game play icons of Gosu 2. There are more types of 'instant win' conditions in Gosu 1. There are some other theories but would actually have to play to play Gosu 2 more. Gosu 2 is still a good game.
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Adam Kazimierczak
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I traded away Gosu and Kamakor with mixed feelings and researched Gosu Tactics. I feel it actually stripped some of what I liked about the original game: the powers are streamlined and the craziest stuff has been removed, making this game feel anemic in comparison.

On a side note, I too think the catch up mechanism was unbalanced in the original: if it is a viable strategy to throw the first battle to steamroll your opponent that's not good. At least they fixed that.

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Matt Green
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I felt that Kamakor fixed the catch up mechanism issue, I've played it quite a bit and know the cards well though. I agree that the base game was skewed towards throwing the first round once you knew what was going on.

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tom moughan
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Had you ever tried to play gosu 1 just without the (+1)'s, etc?
 
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Jonathan Harrison
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lengthtoavoid wrote:
Had you ever tried to play gosu 1 just without the (+1)'s, etc?

Or allow only (say) 2 (or 1, or 3, or whatever works) uses of the +1 advantage per round?
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