Bystrice nad Pernstejnem
He took a deep breath of fresh air. He loved the moment, when his sea creature emerges onto the surface. His lungs stretch after a long of inactivity again and sniffed the air. Fairx was able to breathe under water too, but it did not make him quite the same pleasure as a true oxygen inhalation.
But he belonged to a shark nation and their trips to the surface were very rare. Today, after two long months, he again succeeded in leaving his position guarding the Pyramids of ancestors and started to explore the surroundings. To the south is located deserted island in the shape of the skull, which was inhabited by men with great disservice horns sticking out of their heads. Their screams could be heard even out here, when they went hunting. Today, however, everything was quiet. Maybe too quiet, as he now realized. He did not hear any of hearts pounding in underwater land.
Underwater volcano went quiet as well and that could mean only one thing. Through its neck, a large amount of lava will soon roll out and threaten to flood their entire village. He urged shark with his shoe and threw himself back under water in an effort to warn others. Last time this happened a few years ago, his people had to retreat to land for a while. To Skull Island. He already knew, that they will have to put up a tough fight for the mainland..
3012 game is a bit of a reference to the end of the world, that was supposed to come last December. But the Mayans were wrong or we rather made a mistake in interpretation of their calendar. Nothing happened, world goes on and we can go back to living our ordinary lives.
But what if those prophecies become reality and Earth prepared a huge disaster for us. Most of people will perish and on ruins of an ancient civilization is born a new, better, more refined humanity.
Fortunately, world did not end and we have opportunity to play the 3012 adventure game for ourselves and enjoy deckbuilding. And some of those newly evolved races can be taken under your control. We have already indicated them in the starting story. But back to the beginning, to the year 3012, exactly one millennium after the aforementioned disaster.
The game was created by starting designer Charles Tyson and was published by a company, which recently put one interesting game after another on the market - american Cryptozoic Entertainment, with its abbreviation CZE reminding us of our homeland CZEch Republic. Graphical side of this game was provided by four authors: Brett Mitchell, Keron Grant, Kevin Kotthaus and Velvet Engine. We already have opportunity to try fun and interesting game Food Fight, but the shops still are filled also with for example DC Comics Deck-Building Game.
3012 game is hidden in a dark box with illustration, like you've probably never seen before. A very special and unique graphic style will guide you through the whole game and starts to attack your eyes on the lid. There you can see all factions, who can participate in the battle for control of the reborn world, a thousand years after its last end.
There are several plastic pockets hidden under the lid of well-prepared box. Each component has its place in here. Its easy to divide a large deck of 233 cards correctly to a sufficient number of piles so you can prepared conveniently and quickly your future games.
In addition to the basic element of deckbuilgind game - card - you'll find also a sheet filled with cardboard tokens. Five of clans colors and other 25 small coins, used as currency in the game for hiring better allies and buy weapons.
But we forgot to mention the biggest one. Like Thunderstone Advance (review), 3012 has a game board, that will help you to organize cards during gameplay. And those are most important thing, you can find in this game. Basic cards are heroes. For each of clans, there's one leader. You'll become him. The card contains name and description of weapon, he prefers. If you equip it to him, you get bonus for attacking.
In another deck, there are twenty scouts. Those are basic fighting units in the game and they are easily split among all five clans according to portrait and name, which puts them directly under heroes command. They get them as their only force in the beginning, but scouts have also other uses during the match.
We can proceed further with twenty cards of equipment (weapons) and twenty allies, who will fight by your side. Even those members of different clans can be hired by others. They are tempted especially with regular salary and do not look too much at appearance and skin color. This makes them good allies, even when things get tough, because at the end of the battle, they usually will be some reward.
You are going to fight against 48 different cards of encounters, which are divided into four difficulty levels - each deck contains twelve of them. Largest portion of the whole available card pool in the box is 120 action cards. You will be able to buy these too, but moreover they will simply provide you benefits in the course of play, without even buying them.
On each card, there is a text describing its special abilities, but there are also some more important information. First is the price indicated in the lower right corner on a symbol of one coin. Above it may be offensive power printed above a arrow's tip. And above it, you will find picture of a pile of five coins and over it a last number printed - money added to your buying pool.
Enemies have another series of numbers in upper right corner. Skull symbol has defense value on its forehead. This number must be overcome with your fighters to beat him. Then there are two smaller numbers - one is experience for defeating creature and other red represents number of victory points, which is monster worth at the end of the game.
In the game, there are really two currencies. While experience will power up the hero and raise his strength, it also determines end of the whole game. But only sum of victory points determines final winner. That is very first trick, 3012 will use to get you. You must find the right precise moment to end the game and you may not be only swayed with leveling and improving your character.
At the beginning of the game, players choose their clan and take four explorers with the right race. They are your sole property at the beginning, together with one gold coin usable as a substitute for money pool. Coin can also be used for reservation of cards, you cannot afford at that particular moment.
All other decks have their fixed place on the game board. Mixed action cards are divided by the value into two similar piles. Friends and weapons have their firm positions on the sides. From each of these decks, you should also reveal four cards, which make up an offer for purchasing in future rounds.
Another four piles would be put on top. They all contain all enemies and are divided by difficulty level. For example, in the first pile, there are only a creatures with power ranging from four to six. This way, you have a rough idea, what you're getting into. But you still could not be exactly sure of capabilities and power of the encounter.
Then you have to prepare a pile of coins and rest of scouts, which can be bought with special effects. Players can pick up the all four scouts into their hands, puts hero token corresponding to the first spot of experience line (you start with strength of one) and game can begin with its first round.
At the beginning, nothing much happens. Everyone is trying to buy as much as he can from available cards and few dare to try some battle. But then it finally gets going at full speed. Players are in the beginning of each round holding four cards and are rotating them each turn as is accustomed in a deckbuilding game - they use them, draw more and once drawing deck runs out, they shuffle all played cards to form a new one.
Cards bought go, of course, right into discard pile and therefore you can look forward to playing with them in future turns, after you can shuffle it back. You must equip weapons to a character to take advantage of its attack power, because they can not be used alone - one hero and every other ally in your hand can wield one during battle. And luckily, many action cards allow you to draw more cards, increasing your chance to draw some more allies or weapons before committing to a fight.
If you are left with some virtual unspent cash after your turn finished, you can take one gold coin as a reward. It will make you richer in future moves, when you can spend it on any purchase and will therefore increase your available cash. You get a real coin every time you have some unspent cash from cards and all this money can be saved for larger later purchases.
Interesting principle governs decks of action cards. There is each turn one upper card exposed on both decks - its turned face up on top. And you can buy in during your turn, but you also have an option to use its skills for free just for the fact, that its currently revealed on the board! Yes, without spending any gold or anything. You simply use its ability and are not obliged to buy it later, if you do not want to.
Additionally, you can use one of your coins and reserve this action card for future shopping. This means, that you take it from the deck, put in somewhere on the board and place one of your coins on top of it. In any of future moves, you can buy this card and no one other can. You do it usually in a situation, that you do not have enough money or you want to buy something else instead in current turn. This pre-emptive right of reservation has always an active player for both action cards. If you do not buy it, these cards are discarded and new ones are revealed for upcoming player.
But the heart of 3012 game is battle. On its start, you report which of four enemy decks are you attacking. You take top card from that deck, but still do not look at it! Instead, you put it face down on the board. Now all the other players have an opportunity to directly intervene with your fight. They can to this with their scouts (only and only with them!). These scouts can be added either to your side or the opponent's. Once each player decide to participate or not, you continue with revelation.
For some monsters you have to roll a dice before a battle commences. With this roll, you determine, if it monster changed its mind, when looking at you and fled. In this situation, battle ends immediately and you get nothing.
More often, however, it really comes to battle. Your task is to play sufficient army cards, so you have more power, than defending monsters. Basic strength of your hero (according to experience scale) is raised by strength of your allies, bonuses for action cards (yours and those revealed on top of decks), weapons, but also scouts from other players, who have joined your side. They raise monsters defense in case they added scout to creature side.
If you lose, then you do not get anything. And what you lose for taking risk and coming after monster, you are not powerful enough to beat? Coins. If you have any unspend from previous rounds, you lose them. Otherwise, if your bank is empty, you do not risk anything and you can simply try it. But beware! In case other player has added his scout on monster's side, they get experience for it (possibly divided among other players) and move his race token forward. This will also increase strength of his hero in the upcoming battles.
Victory will bring same experience to your side. Moreover you take defeated monster card and add it to your deck (discard pile). Although such a card is worthless for your playing efforts, it has a value of victory points at the end. And it is these victory points, which are the most important thing in 3012.
In a situation, when someone adds scout to your party, experience you gain is divided, but only you will the card as battle initiator. Game ends, when a player reaches the end of experience scale. Everybody must run through his deck and add up victory points for defeated monsters. Winner is player, who collected most victory points.
3012 is a nice and elegant deckbuilding game, that comes with several unique and amazing ideas. Most important one, which completely changes game experience compared to other deckbuilding, is the ability to influence outcome of opponent battle's. You can help your opponent and take some of his experience or stand up against him and thwart his plans. Both options are great, usable and valuable for the gameplay.
This conflict between players takes place in virtually every battle, because motivation to join it is very large. But unfortunately, there is very little of battles, especially in the game beginning. It takes a really long time, before players build deck strong enough to be able to regularly go into battle with enemies. And several first round have nothing else to offer. They are not fun and it is only a mechanical cards rotation. But then, when something really starts to happen, it just suddenly end.
It's too bad, because once the game gets going, it has great momentum. Amazing idea of joining fights makes good use even of your starting cards. You do not want to throw them away instantly, as in other deckbuilders. But unfortunately there is almost no way to get rid of some cards, you bought at the beginning of the game and do not want to use anymore. You play the game with all of them usually until the very end. Which makes you really think, if you need it or not.
Its great advantage and novel mechanism of the game, but at the same time it condenses it down a bit, simply because it takes a long time to get all the gears to spin. All this great ideas are supported by allowing players to use action cards, which are revealed on top of deck. This brings card number in your hand basically to six, though you really hold only four. In addition, after you end of your turn (with option to buy or book each of them) and next player gets his turn, he has a completely different and new offer. That makes the game incredibly variable and dynamic! Although the constant shifting and revealing of new cards is sometimes a little tiring.
You must also be careful, in what battles you decide to go and how quickly you collect experience. There are four different difficulties and you might see yourself losing. And there are consequences to your loss, not only gold coins, but also enemy cards effects! And while you gather enemy heads, you can actually inadvertently run towards end of the game sooner, than you would like. All participants must deal with the ambivalence between attacking and approaching final points counting.
3012 has not only unique gaming mechanisms, but also unseen graphical processing. Its a completely non-traditional style. To some it might see to alternative, because images are not really as sharp and appealing at first glance. But it looks really original in the end!
3012 is a board game, that could change deckbuilding. You will experience adventure with a tremendous amount of conflict between players. They can steal each others experience, fighting on monsters side or join your party and take away some experience with an easy fight. Unfortunately, problems with slow first part of the game lowers our overall rating and also experience coming from the game. And it is a real shame. Yet 3012 remains a game, which is, thanks to great ideas, definitely worth a try!
Original review posted on DeskoveHry.com with more pictures:
You can find more our reviews not only on our site, but also on DeskoveHry.com GeekList:
Michael B. Hansen
"duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck duck" Ralph Wiggum .....
This game deserves a lot more attention than it is getting.
So far, i have less than ten games under my belt, but i feel there is quite a lot to discover.
I think the tentative(slow) start might become different when more strategies arise. There will always be some deckbuilding to begin with, but if the right cards come up, i am sure you will see faster more aggressive opening/midgames.
"if the right cards come up" may be the only problem i have seen so far. In this game it is slightly more serious than others, since the whole deckbuilding part is very much dependent on the 2 action cards coming up in the first couple of rounds for each player.
Clumsy Ally and Treasure Hunt is a very different opening from any having Political Agenda in it.
Still, i think it is a brilliant game.
Great review and I agree with the game's major issue with pacing. I've been trying to figure out some house rules that could speed up the first few rounds of play: perhaps every player starts out with some low -value action cards and/or weapons/allies.
One thing I did really like about the game was the amount of player interaction in a deck-builder. Others can affect outcomes of battles as well as reserve unsold action cards without hurting their turn because the 4 cards in their hand are replenished at the beginning and end of their turn.
Ah, I also didn't really like the card quality. The art is awesome, but the text font is a tad bit small and the cards themselves seem to chip very easily (especially near the corners).
All in all, I liked 3012, but it's far from perfect, as pointed out in your review. I hope that the game becomes a bit more popular and expansions will be released to fix/add to the base game. Thank you for your review!