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Subject: Who Doesn't Like Lasers? rss

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Simon W.
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San Antonio
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DEFLEXION REVIEW by Simon T. Willems

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INDEPTH REVIEW
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I love this game just because it is guaranteed to turn heads all set-up anywhere in public. The game has lasers. Let me say that again: the game has frickin’ lasers.

The premise of the game is to bounce your laser around using a variety of mirrored pieces into a particular piece on your opponent’s side (the Pharaoh). The theme is loosely Egyptian but since Deflexion is really just an abstract, it is nothing more than superficial cosmetics. Now each player is given the same pieces and the board comes preset in a certain fashion (which can be customized or chosen between two provided scenarios). The pawns range from a Pyramid with a single 45° mirror and two vulnerable sides, a Djed with two 45° mirrors and no vulnerabilities, an obelisk with no mirrors (one time use blocking piece), and most importantly the Pharaoh which is the single highly vulnerable “King” piece.

Each player will take turns maneuvering his/her pieces by either moving one in any direction orthogonally or diagonally, rotating 90°, or with the special case of the Djed, swapping places with another piece either enemy or friendly. After this the laser is fired and bounces around from mirror to mirror at 90° angles until it comes to rest upon a wall or the un-mirrored surface of another pawn. When pawns are struck they light up in a devious manner to display their destruction; something I find highly entertaining if not flashy.

The game is very gimmicky since it is basically just a little abstract/brain-burner with some added flair. However I think Deflexion was very well made and exhibits a certain level of captivation. Some analysis paralysis can ensue when players try to calculate out the path of all their given moves. On occasion I have also seen a player make one bad move and get stuck on defensive play or counter-attack for the rest of the game. I think this is more a fault of the genre than the particular game itself however.

As for the components, ignoring the painfully obligatory mention of the laser once again, the game is done very extravagantly. The entire thing from pawns to board is hard plastic and is also actually quite large. I was shocked to see how big the game was once it arrived. This causes everything to appear very grand and lavish in play. Did I mention there were lasers?

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BREAKDOWN
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PROS:
- Lasers. Period.
- Fun abstract with deep strategies (very Chess-like)
- You get what you pay for, large game with great components
- Customizable start-up organizations
- Attention-grabber, looks great all set up

CONS:
- Laser isn’t very accurate after a lot of turns

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FINAL VERDICT
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BUY. I know the game is a bit gimmicky, but few pull it off as well as Deflexion. Plus, you know this is going to be a hot item on EBay someday. I rate it an 8 out of 10. Freakin’ lasers, people – come on!
 
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Skip Maloney
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And just for fun, for the smokers in the crowd, when you fire up your laser, blow a stream of smoke into the playing field. The laser path will light up (red) quite nicely. Not practical for continuous visualization unless you enjoy hyperventilation. Luke Hooper (designer) and his associates (Mike Larson and Del Segura) will be at Toy Fair this weekend. Maybe they'll unveil plans for a second generation game with beam splitters. For those interested, the May edition of Knucklebones magazine (which should be out and about in a week or two) has a story on the game, detailing its genesis in a classroom, through its growing pains and on to the creation of a suddenly successful game company.
 
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Richard Reilly
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Bryan
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"Who doesn't like lasers?" I'll tell you who: my wife. She absolutely HATED this game! Never have I seen her react so negatively to any game that I've introduced her to.

Why does she hate it? Seems she doesn't like trying to visualize where the laser will go. Just not her kind of thinking . . .

I had really looked forward to this game, and was probably one of the first to get a copy. Alas, upon realizing that my wife would never play it with me again, and that it was unlikely to be something I could play over the internet, I decided to sell it. cry
 
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Skip Maloney
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I don't suppose you considered trading the wife instead of the game. .
 
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Richard Reilly
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SkipM624 wrote:
I don't suppose you considered trading the wife instead of the game. .


Only momentarily. She's a pretty good wife in other respects, and she does like a lot of other games.
 
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(ron lee)
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baton rouge
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RDReilly wrote:
Why does she hate it? Seems she doesn't like trying to visualize where the laser will go. Just not her kind of thinking . . .


I sympathize. It appears that some portion of the population is unable to do the proper visualization to play the game. Part of me thinks that being able to visualize the laser path is something you can learn fairly easily, as it comes easy for me and most game-type people. But after seeing the frustration on the face of a potential opponent, I may have to accept the fact that the task may not be learnable.
 
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Skip Maloney
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I wouldn't go so far as to term it "unlearnable." It does, however, require a certain type of mental focus that requires a willingness to participate in the exercise. It's not so much any inherent lack of ability as much as it is an unwillingness to concentrate that heavily on something that, as introduced, is supposed to be fun. For that certain segment of the population, that level of focused concentration is more like work.
 
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