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Lone Wolf and Cub Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Not as bad as advertised rss

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Jim Paprocki
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I recently acquired the Lone Wolf and Cub Game in a math trade. I listed it as a "want" despite the overwhelming bad publicity it receives on this site, and because of my appreciation for the comic books and an overall geek-interest in things Samurai. I finally played the game last night and will share my not-so-negative views.

Overview
I had a good time playing Lone Wolf and Cub as a solo adventure game. Despite the poor rules, the choose-your-own-adventure format is engaging and the random encounters provide lots of surprises. Replayability is an issue, but you can get 3-4 hours of fun and fresh play out of this game.

Rulebook
The editing of the rules is bad. As many have said, there is a major editing error that leaves out important rules about character generation. The fix is that you start with 4 attributes at "4" each and have 16 more points to allocate to them. From the example that is in the text, you should be able to figure this out. There are a couple of other rules that could be clearer, but nothing that a creative gamer couldn't fix with a little bit of thought.

Mechanics
Movement is done on a mapboard with movement points and varying terrain. My wife thought the map looked cool; the artwork is nice but all of the little letters on the board that indicate terrain types are unappealing.

Each turn, or day, ends with a die roll on an encounter chart. If an encounter occurs you either get directed to a paragraph in the adventure book, or you draw from the encounter deck. The encounter deck is fun and ensures that no two games will ever play alike. The paragraph booklet is where the main plot of the game occurs and is where people will complain about replayability. There are some scripting disconnects in the story depending upon which order you visit locations. For instance I was able to slay a priest and garner rewards, and then several days later encounter the same priest in a temple. That's dumb, but it is not difficult to ignore and just continue to play the game.

For some reason, the game contains two combat systems. Sometimes you roll dice and add the combatants' skill levels. Other times you use combat cards and add the values on the cards to the die rolls. The card combat system is not very engaging, and is not as clever as it was probbaly intended. Really it is just additional work to get to the same result: roll die, add modifiers, high roll wins. The highly random nature of combat makes this a difficult game to win. Those dice just don't realize how much of a badass Lone Wolf is supposed to be.

The victory conditions are neat and integrate well with the storyline. Lone Wold seeks enlightenment and to do so must gain Honor points and Vengeance points, and must lose Self points. These points are won and lost in the encounters in the paragraph book, usually after winning battles but sometimes by just making "enlightenment-friendly" choices when they are presented.

Summary
I've rated Lone Wolf and Cub a "5", an average game. If you enjoy adventure games or enjoy the feudal Japan genre, then consider giving this a closer look. Out of the box, this game provides at least a few solid hours of fun. For that 1st short burst I'd rate the game a "7" but the lack of replayability is what brings it down. This game is worth at least the cost of a movie ticket, and is perfect for a rainy day when nobody else is around to game.

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Ken B.
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I agree that this game simply lacks polish. Lone Wolf is FAR too mortal...in fact, I'm not sure how you were able to trapse through the game as it sounds like you did (and yes, I played with the "proper" rules).


Our thoughts were to allow Lone Wolf to roll a larger die to indicate his improved combat prowress, but honestly there were better things to do and so we never revisited the game to try and balance it. Some good ideas but lacks polish and I suspect lacks a great deal of actual playtesting...but this did come from a different era of game design, so I suppose that's to be expected.


Seriously, the third time Lone Wolf died at the hands of random.Ronin, I'd had enough.
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James Forsythe
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Hmmm, someone just bought this for me for Christmas since I am a big Lone Wolf and Cub fan. Based on the previous bad reviews, I was considering leaving it in the shrink wrap, but maybe I'll crack it open and spend a little time with it. Good thing my expectations are low.
 
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Robert Washington
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I have to admit, I found the challenge level very random and as you say, neither combat system is very engaging.
 
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Jim Paprocki
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No doubt the combat is very random. Bad luck will end your game within 10 minutes, as happened to me on the 1st try. A bit of good luck can keep it going. There are opportunities to heal wounds, find allies, and increase your combat prowess by hiding the baby and travelling without him for a few days (bad parent!) And when these good things happen, you get to explore the board and immerse yourself in the storyline. There were are a couple of enjoyable hours of gaming here for me.
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Scott A. Reed
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jpact wrote:
There are some scripting disconnects in the story depending upon which order you visit locations. For instance I was able to slay a priest and garner rewards, and then several days later encounter the same priest in a temple.


Perhaps he wasn't as dead as you thought he was.
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