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Subject: Battles: Prince of Persia is a must play for board gamers. rss

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david funch
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Clarkston
Michigan
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mb
Picked this up yesterday on a hunch that I'd like it (I've had some fun with tactics army games in the past) and it turns out to be better than I could've hoped for. Oh yeah, it's for Nintendo's DS. The game's a surprising mix of a wargame and CCG, combined in a well though out maner.

The lead designer must be a board gamer because the rules for engaging the enemy are brilliant. They're simple, yet very efficiant. In other words, the rules accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished in a complex tacticle game while not being complex themselfs.

I'll go into more detail later, after work, when I have the time to write a proper review for it. I just wanted to know if anyone else discovered this game yet and maybe get a discussion going.
 
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david funch
United States
Clarkston
Michigan
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Re: Battles: Prince of Persia is a must play for board gamer
Ok, Here’s the low down on this game. B: PoP is a card driven wargame. You’re dealt a hand of cards and each turn you play one card to either give orders to multiple units or to use the card’s special ability. Then it’s your opponent’s turn to do the same and so on.

Aside from the cards you start with (which are plain and have no special powers) each card is similar to cards found in CCGs. They can help your units or hinder your opponent’s in a variety of ways. In addition to the special ability, each card also has a big number on it (usually 2 through 4). If you choose to use a card to give orders instead of using it’s ability, the number represents how many units you can move and attack with this turn.

Deck construction is pretty simple. Exactly 30 cards. No more than 3 copies of any given card, and no more than 3 “ultra-rares” in a deck.

The battles are broken up into hours. Every time a unit is given orders it becomes “used” and can’t be given orders again this hour. A player can pass instead of playing a card and when both players pass in a row a new hour starts. This means that you draw cards up to your hand size and all your “used” units become “ready” again. Your discard pile is reshuffled into a new draw pile when you run out of cards.

It’s a very simple system that works great in the game. You’re controlling a good-sized army and by only giving orders to a few units at a time it creates a psuedo real-time aspect. This also means downtime is pretty low in between turns and also helps reduce analysis paralysis because you don’t have to worry about your entire army’s position, just parts of it at a time. The “hours” concept works on another level because some cards have abilities that will only affect the game for a certain number of hours.

Moving and attacking is also simple, yet eloquent. Tap a unit to give it orders and it’ll show squares where it’s possible to move to. Every unit has a Zone of Control (ZoC), which are the four squares immediately adjacent to it. You cannot move through an enemy’s ZoC and if you stop in one you have to fight that unit (If more than one enemy threatens that space you only fight one of em and you get to choose which one. If your ready unit is in an enemy’s ZoC you can move out of it but you cannot enter another enemy’s ZoC. This effectively solves a problem that plagues many tactics games; how to stop the enemy from just waltzing through a gap in your defenses to attack your weaker support units.

If an enemy has long-range capabilities, when you tap on it to give it orders, in addition to the squares it can move to, there’ll also be bulls-eyes on units they can fire on. Missile units can’t move and fire on the same turn so simply tap the bulls-eye instead moving.

There are plenty of stats and combat effects to keep wargamers happy. Not going to go into great detail or anything here but I’m still going to try and list most of it. There’s facing to give combat bonuses for attacking from the sides or behind. There are different types of terrain to affect movement and give bonuses to attack or defense. Taking too much damage in one attack can have a smorgasbord of effects (depending on how much is caused) which can include: being pushed back, becoming stunned (unit becomes “used” next hour instead of “ready”, becoming broken (lose control of unit and they flee from battle). Units also become weaker as they take damage (not every time they take damage but every set number of hit points lost) where their moral is lowered in addition to attack and defense. There’s also a rock, paper, scissors aspect found not only among the three types units (sword, pike, missile) but also between sizes (small, medium, large). So a medium pike unit would have twice the advantage over a small sword unit, while a large sword unit would provide an even fight.

It’s a system where a battle that would take all day to play, if it was a board game, can be resolved in around an hour. Even though it’s a complex system it’s governed by simple rules and it’s easy to keep track of everything that’s going on.








 
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