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Mists of Zanaga- first play


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#1 Tony P.

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 04:49 AM

Just got Mists of Zanaga and played a four player game of it. I LOVE this big box expansion!

I won't go into too much depth here because I don't remember most of the specific names.

We pulled Mists of Zanaga out of the box and quickly read the rules. We had a few problems with rules specifics but had most of it cleared up by the end. I managed to steal the win and defeat the Alligator Guy whose name I don't remember.

Pros:

Rituals created more character interaction as we discussed which rituals and rites to complete. Some of them completely changed the game when they were in effect. This kept the game very dynamic. You could end up taking damage or fighting monsters or doing a number of things during other players turns. Once the primal god was chosen rituals could have two effects. Lots of them BAD! No dull moments in this one!

Roaming monsters rock! It was pretty easy to fight a monster every turn and you could often choose which one by going to the right terrain. It was rare that someone didn't face a monster during a turn. Also the monsters were pretty tough once we hit blue and red. We had a few knockouts.

Villages/Trading posts replace the cities and add new market options. Its now possible to do a market step and fight a monster in one turn. Also the standardized survival gear makes game play easier. I could see adding some sort of healing potion to the available gear.

I think this expansion has lots of replay value. The goal of the game is to defeat the awakened Primal God. There are at least 8 I think. Maybe more? Either way each one seemed to require a different approach and had different effects during game play. LOTS of variations possible. I don't see this one getting boring for a while. Except...

CONS:

This game uses its own adventure decks. They are nice sized decks but the backs are different than standard runebound AND the monsters all have terrain symbols on them for determining their location for roaming monster checks. If you want to port over other monsters you would have to find a way to give them a terrain type.

 

That's the only con I have! I can't recommend this big box enough!

 



#2 The_Warlock

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 09:31 PM

Hi, nice to read some feedback about MoZ. This expansion has been released one year ago and it received few comments. Surely less comments than it deserved as a rich and well designed Runebound expansion.

Tony P. said:

Rituals created more character interaction as we discussed which rituals and rites to complete. Some of them completely changed the game when they were in effect. This kept the game very dynamic. You could end up taking damage or fighting monsters or doing a number of things during other players turns. Once the primal god was chosen rituals could have two effects. Lots of them BAD! No dull moments in this one!

 

Rituals bring  new interactions into Runebound and force players to think strategically how to place Ritual tokens, in order to avoid some bad effects for them but also to prevent other players from getting control over the rituals. If you put tokens carelessly, you'll end up letting others complete Rituals in the worst moment (for you). It is very important to delay the ritual completion according to your future plans. Otherwise Rituals will bring down your Hero sooner or later.

Tony P. said:

Roaming monsters rock! It was pretty easy to fight a monster every turn and you could often choose which one by going to the right terrain. It was rare that someone didn't face a monster during a turn. Also the monsters were pretty tough once we hit blue and red. We had a few knockouts.

 

Roaming monsters are very welcome (or dangerous) in an expansion where movement can be tricky in some areas. The interesting thing is that the Roaming monsters are drawn from the deck which corresponds to the ritual deck. In my last Zanaga game I was able to tackle Red Challenges early on, while opponents were still doing Yellow! They had to check for Red roaming monsters because of me.

Tony P. said:

Villages/Trading posts replace the cities and add new market options. Its now possible to do a market step and fight a monster in one turn. Also the standardized survival gear makes game play easier. I could see adding some sort of healing potion to the available gear.

 

Market in this expansion is well balanced with the Native village/Trading outpost combination. Healing potions as survival gear will be too readily available and one important element in Runebound is that Heroes must travel back to Towns on a regular basis. Healing outside Towns shouldn't be very common, otherwise you make a big chance in standard gameplay.

Tony P. said:

I think this expansion has lots of replay value. The goal of the game is to defeat the awakened Primal God. There are at least 8 I think. Maybe more? Either way each one seemed to require a different approach and had different effects during game play. LOTS of variations possible. I don't see this one getting boring for a while. Except...

 

An odd thing are the chances to awaken the Primal Gods, which are not equal. It is very rare that the first three completed rituals share the same symbol (Sun, Moon or Skull), therefore 3 of the Primal Gods (including the infamous Tarakhe) will be almost impossible to awake. In 3 games I noticed that the most common is the god with 3 different symbols (Harridan the Stalker, a nasty one BTW), while the remaining stay middle-of-the-road. The Heroes must place ritual tokes carefully in the early game, but this doesn't always work. Green Rituals are often completed with one or two ritual tokens and players don't have that much control because they randomly draw tokens and must draw/place them for each challenge.

Some Primal Gods will seldomly awake, while others will be much more common and always require that the players agree and try to complete rituals in order to awake a certain god instead of another. I thinks it's a sort of (minor) bug.

Tony P. said:

This game uses its own adventure decks. They are nice sized decks but the backs are different than standard runebound AND the monsters all have terrain symbols on them for determining their location for roaming monster checks. If you want to port over other monsters you would have to find a way to give them a terrain type.

 

This is true for all big box expansions (card backs) and since Sands of Al-Kalim each card has unique features that make original game cards not suitable for mixing together. So, basically, you don't have any real con to report, and that's good.

I like this expansion more than other big boxes (I will put it second in place after Sands of Al Kalim) but some of my friends find that Rituals add too much interaction and the necessity to manage events outside their play area. This is very different from basic Runebound feel and some may not like this increased complexity.



#3 Tony P.

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Posted 01 June 2011 - 06:17 AM

The different backs aren't really a big problem either if having them in one deck doesn't bother you. Creating a mechanic for assigning a random terrain type would be easy to do. So you are right! I guess I don't really have any cons.

My idea for the healing potion as equipment is meant to be expensive so as not to change the game too much. I was thinking of it only healing one heart and keeping the number available down. Towards the end of the one game I was able to play of MoZ so far there was some abuse of the Dead Man's Compass, so I could see a Healing Potion being a problem. I'll have to give it more thought before trying it out.






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