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Subject: An abstract for regular gamers? rss

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Christian K
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Introduction
This is a review of Adaptoid, which seems to be the flagship of Nestorgames (it is in their logo
anyway).

The standard set of adaptoid is sold in a pencilcase type holder. It is very light and portable,
the components are nice, but not overwhelming (if you want overwhelming, check out the
super adaptoid set).

The game is about colonies of creatues fighting each other. It is played on a hexhex grid and
the player alternate taking a turns. A turn consists of moving one adaptoid (if you have any legs)
and growing (Adding pinchers or legs to any adaptoid or place a new one next to one of yours.
When your turn ends, if an opponents adaptoid has fewer empty spaces arround it than the number
of legs and pinchers it has, it dies of starvation. The goal is to eleminate the opponent
or kill 5 of his creatures. Oh yeah - if you end your movement on a space that has an enemy
adaptoid, the one with more pinchers win.

The feel
The is not a typical abstract for a couple of reasons. The first one is the theme. The game
has a lot of it. You really feel like your little creatures are growing and out mavouvering your
opponent as well as killing him slowly when you take away his food (empty spaces). Since this game
is action driven (about killing) I have found that I have actually been able to get a lot of
people into it that are not typical abstract gamers. People that refuse playing games about
placing or moving disks on a hex or square grid have found this to be a ton of fun. This is quite
an accomplishment of an abstract. However, there may also be a downside. I imagine some abstract
gamers would not like the fact that this game breaks with some conventions of abstracts. It is
in my oppinion not quite as elegant as some other abstracts. The 5 creatures to win seems like
an arbitrary rule and the rules in general are slightly more complicated than in most abstracts
(they need to be to facilitate both movement, combat and starvation, but this may be a turnoff
for some). That said, I find the drawless mechanism quite elegant (more and more stuff is placed
on the board, so eventually someone will score a point).

The game is really nice in the sense that it allows for different strategies.
My last game was yesterday where my opponent had two
big adaptoids built up (a couple of arms a couple of legs) and I only had one, but I kept
on multiplying (placing more adaptoids without arms and legs to take away the empty spaces). He
could never really kill them because I would have been able to kill one of his in the following
turn. The game really got down to the wire (I ended up blocking my one creature, which turned
the game hard for me). The diversity in tactics is really something I enjoy.

In my games, I feel there has been a somewhat big advantage to going first. I am not sure if
there could be a nicer way to balance out the turn order, but since we don't know if it really
is an advantage going first, I guess this shouldn't be too much of a worry. That said, the second
player may quickly get into a somewhat defensive position.


Conclusion
I really love playing the game, but I find that I bring it out more often, when playing with
people who are not already a fan of an abstract. I strongly recommend it as a gateway into
the abstract genre and I think it fills a niché here, that many other abstracts don't.
Other games simply often find it more fun to have combat than to build a large group of numbered
blocks or something like that. The game can also be a lot of fun with abstract lovers and it
is one of those games where the loser always demand a rematch immediately

edit: I added a video session report to give a feel for the game. Check it out on http://boardgamegeek.com/video/25010/adaptoid/a-full-game-vi...
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Néstor Romeral Andrés
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Thank you for the review, Christian!

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Christian K
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Hey, thanks for reading my blabbering thoughts I always wanted to see the super adaptoid set live some time. Maybe when I get rich
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