Author Topic: Non-Wargames on your table right now  (Read 545 times)

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Offline bayonetbrant

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Re: Non-Wargames on your table right now
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2017, 10:08:52 AM »
that's cool when they can just change a map and no other mechanics and get such a different play experience
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Offline Silent Disapproval Robot

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Re: Non-Wargames on your table right now
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2017, 06:15:35 PM »
One of the guys at my FLGS got his copy of the new game based on The Expanse TV series so we gave that a whirl last night.  I'm not sure why he decided to buy it as, of those of us who played, I'm the only one who's seen any of the show or read any of the books it's based on.  At any rate, it was a pretty interesting game. 

It's put out by WizKids and their reputation for churning out poor quality materials was reinforced further with this game.  The cards and counters are tiny and the cardstock is very thin.  A few of the cards and sheets weren't cut properly so some of the text was trimmed on one edge and a few cards had some warping.  Several of the wooden cubes were misshapen and we had more than a few rhombuses and trapezoids out on the map.

Speaking of the map, it's very minimalist and kind of bland yet it still manages to be a little confusing.  You see, the map is divided into 3 main zones (for some reason the outer planet zone is divided into 2 sub-zones but it's not clear on the map) but the background art has planetary orbital tracks that make it look as though there are more zones than their are.  You quickly get used to it but it's still poor design.

Poor component quality and ugly aesthetics not withstanding, the actual gameplay was quite engaging.  It's a 2-4 player game.  Each player chooses a faction (The United Nations, Mars Republic, Outer Planets Alliance, or Protogen) and places their starting fleets and influence markers on the map.  Each faction starts with a unique tech as well.

Game play is card driven and borrows a lot from Twilight struggle.  5 cards are turned over and the first player chooses one (and possibly pays to take it depending on how far down the track it is.  Oldest cards cost nothing to take, newest cost two VP to take).  The cards each have an Action Point value of 2 - 4 as well as an event.  The player can either use the card for the action points and conduct actions such as building or moving fleets or placing influence markers on the map in sectors where they have a fleet or they can use the card for the associated event provided that their faction symbol is displayed on the card. 

If they use the action points and not the event, other factions can then choose to play the event listed on the card provided their symbol is shown.  (Who gets to choose first is based on an ever shifting initiative track) or they can spend one VP to buy the event and hold it in reserve to be played at a later time.

Cards are slid up the track and a new one is turned over and the next player goes.  Interspersed through the deck are 6 scoring cards.  Players can draft one of these cards and then scoring occurs.  The player who elected to draft the scoring card gets to secretly choose one of the map sectors to be worth bonus scoring but each sector can only be selected twice and the bonuses get bigger as the game progresses.  The players who didn't play the scoring card get a chance to react by playing one of their saved events (if they have any) so it's possible to deny points to the one who elected to score.

 After each of the first three scoring cards is played, each faction gets one additional new technology which gives them more options during play.

O.P.A. faction card

O.P.A. tech advances

Once the 6th scoring card is flipped, the game ends so it's possible that the game could end with only a small fraction of the deck revealed.

There's also a balancing mechanic represented by a ship called the Rocinante.  Whoever has the lowest VP total after a score card is played gets control of this ship.  The ship counts as a fleet and it also has 4 crew members with special abilities that the player can use during the scoring phase and it proved to be quite the spoiler in our game.

I was pleasantly surprised by this one.  There was a decent amount of depth and some tense decision-making.  The other players enjoyed it as well despite knowing nothing of the show or the setting.  To be honest, there wasn't a lot of theme present.  Nothing about the gameplay really reminded me of the show, the characters, or the setting. 

If you like Twilight Struggle or the COIN games, you might want to have a look at this one. 

Offline BanzaiCat

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Re: Non-Wargames on your table right now
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2017, 07:43:56 PM »
Wow, that's cool, SDR. I do like COIN and I enjoy this show, too...I had no idea there was a board game for it.

Offline Arctic Blast

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Re: Non-Wargames on your table right now
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2017, 01:51:50 AM »
Played a bunch of Mechs vs. Minions on Saturday. Holy Hell is that game's production through the roof good. It's also a blast to play. I'll try to grab a few screenshots the next time I get it on the table.

Basically, it's something like Robo Rally, only it's total co-op. Each player has their own little mech, and you're drafting cards in a timed draft and adding them to your command line. You can stack up to 3 cards of a like type in order to create more powerful abilities. Then, each player goes through their line from left to right and executes. Each mission has different parameters, but you're primarily focused on killing minions. Then they get a turn. Every time one of them ends their movement adjacent to you, you draw a damage card. Some will force you to re-arrange your command line, others will cause a one off effect to your mech, but most cover up one of the 6 slots on your line. You can use cards you draft to reorganize and repair, but then you aren't stacking up abilities.

Really well done game. You can only buy it from Riot (the League of Legends guys. It's based on that property), but it's just absurdly well made. Shows what a company can do when they have billions to throw around.