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Subject: I didn't think I would like P.O.W.E.R. rss

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Adam Perry
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I was going to pass up P.O.W.E.R. The modern military theme didn't do anything for me, it didn't look like my kind of game, and I was even less sure my wife would like it.

That would have been a mistake.

P.O.W.E.R. has some really cool mechanics. At a glance, it looks a lot like the Nintendo series Advance Wars (reprised shamelessly in board game form in Skirmish Wars: Advance Tactics -- I haven't played the board game, but I've played the games that inspired it). You have slow-moving but versatile infantry, indirect fire artillery that can't move and attack in the same turn, air and anti-air units, and so forth. Each unit has a movement range, an attack range, and attack and defense values. If this sounds very much like Advance Wars so far, it's because both were inspired by actual military; the designer had never heard of Advance Wars.

But P.O.W.E.R. really comes into its own where it diverges from Advance Wars: with the Build Queue. At the start of a game, you shuffle your cards and distribute them face down into four slots. Each turn, you can flip as many of those cards face-up as you like, as long as the card isn't covered by another card. Once flipped, the card assumes its position in the build queue, as indicated by the card itself. The game's strongest units are marked "BQ4," indicating they go into the fourth and highest slot. Other units are predictably marked BQ3, BQ2, and BQ1; additionally, a few units are marked as "BQ HQ" -- these ones go straight into play when flipped. At the end of each turn, the top face-up card in each slot is shifted down, and cards that were in BQ1 enter play at your HQ.

That game mechanic is easy enough to explain, but it's somewhat harder to convey how clever it really is. You want to get as many units into play as soon as possible -- but do you risk flipping a card that will cover a slot you really need? If your huge tank is in BQ1, you could flip an infantry unit into that slot that results in your tank getting delayed. Meanwhile, you can see what's in your opponent's queue, and the action on the board has to take all this into account.

And the action is really nice. In my first game of P.O.W.E.R., I got too aggressive, getting most of my troops wiped out in a single turn. With some deft maneuvering (and, let's be honest, some mistakes on my opponent's part), I managed to squeeze out a win. Every game feels like a tense clash between powerful forces, and yet while it always feels like you're getting into a deadlock, that situation never materializes. Each game wraps up in 20-30 minutes, but the experience doesn't feel lacking.

P.O.W.E.R. is billed as a deckbuilding game, and while the game does offer deckbuilding options, it also gives you a variety of preconstructed eight-card decks. These decks are loosely themed: one of them is mostly artillery, one is mostly close air support, and so on, although there's a bit of crossover between the decks. The nice thing about these decks is that they're all balanced against each other, so while play is asymmetric, it never feels lopsided. For those looking to vary their play experience, the game offers various rules with scaling complexity. Veteran players will draft cards from the preconstructed decks to form their own customized fighting force.

I'm really glad I managed to get my hands on this game. The price point is really good, too, and if you want to get fancy, you can get a playmat to make the game look a little nicer. With the promise of an expansion coming soon and a great core game, P.O.W.E.R. is hard not to recommend even to gamers who, like me, have no pre-existing interest in the theme.

I'm still working up to getting my wife to play it, though!
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Dundy O
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"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
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Like you, I initially wasn't interested in the game. It's because the modern military genre doesn't juice me, game-wise.

What brought my attention to it though, was Tom Vasel's slightly negative review. If you haven't seen it, you must. It's amazing. He gives the game an implied thumbs down, but can't come up with one legitimate reason why.

Not one.

He stated that the game was well designed. Loved the clear, understandable instruction set. Thought the Build Queue was unique. I think he also mentioned that the length of a game was good.

He panned it, though. Said it was too abstract. That's not a negative on the game--it's revealing Mr. Vasel's bias.

I fell in love with the game from my first play. Immediately I bought the cool battle mats and began teaching people. Every person I taught the game to also fell in love with it.

I can not wait for the Air/Sea Kickstarter expansion.

As that goes, the Kickstarter starts Saturday, December 1st. Yeah!

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PK Torretto
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It's hard to put into text how it feels as a designer (and publisher) when I read posts like this and feel reassured that someone "gets" it.

I finalized the Air|Sea Expansion TODAY.... and man oh man... so excited to see what you guys do with it....

see this thread... http://boardgamegeek.com/article/10652897 to see how a designer responds (or doesn't) to others...
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Nicholas Vitek
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I got a chance to chat with you great gentleman at BGG Con. Fabulous game, great execution, good chap.

It isn't a Deckbuilder in the standard way the terminology is being used today. It isn't like Dominion, Thunderstone, Ascension, Trains, etc. It falls more in line with Deck Construction, where you can set your deck up ahead of time (MTG, VS., V:TM and Netrunner).

My buddy who plays mainly with casual gamers loved the game but didn't buy it mainly because of the war theme which is frowned upon by his group. Otherwise, he was very gushy about it.

It'll have at least one pledge when it goes live.

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