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Review based on my demo game at Gencon


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#1 Kryyst

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 09:13 AM

It's a good looking game on the table. You have a randomly generated map, a scenario with random monsters and it scales the number of monsters according to the number of players.

The flow of the game alternates between player and AI. So Player moves, AI event, Player moves AI event.... It's similar in that respect to the recent Dungeon and Dragons board games. The AI also works in a similar way. You have a set of conditions or triggers and the AI acts accordingly. In terms of just the AI the biggest difference between this and the D&D games is that the AI understands ranged combat much better. The other significant difference is that players and AI can seek cover and use terrain to their advantage.

One thing that took a little bit to get used to is that the maps are a little abstract. They are broken up into zones, so as long as you can target the zone, even if it's just the edge of the doorway you can fire at enemies in it. It felt odd at first, given my mini-game heritage and other games like Tannehouser or Mutant Chronicles. But there is some logic to it.

Speed being the biggest advantage and it also makes the AI a little more impartial. Secondly it does make sense narratively. Logically the theory goes if you can shoot them, they can shoot you. So either you are in cover or you aren't. This gives you the feeling of a more dynamic game, you may be moving turn by turn but it's behaving like you can shoot/be shot mid move.

The weapon variety is nice and while I only had a chance to play 1 COG I used him differently then the other players used theirs based on the weapon load outs and action cards. The game also moved rather quickly and it had a good amount of tension. When you see the locusts coming it's a very tense feeling as they get closer and closer, you're watching your ammo, you're coordinating attacks, covering angles and using cover.

Overall this board game does an excellent job of mimicking the video game experience.

Play time ranges from 60-120 minutes depending on the scenario and number of players. Replay should be good because while you have a limited number of scenarios the maps change, the enemies can change and the action card combinations means it won't just play by number. Also they can easily expand the scenarios, map tiles and other components in the future.

Though I didn't play it solo, I believe it will play solo just fine. Mechanics don't change it just scales appropriately. I spoke with the demo guy and the difficulty he said is pretty high. They played 6+ games to learn the game and they only won once. I'm not sure if that makes a balanced game or not. I definitely wouldn't want an easy game. But I don't like an impossible game either.

Overall it was a fun game that I would love to play again. I wish I had this over D&D Ravenloft. It is a stronger game mechanically and thematically (Almost like the 2.0 AI version of Ravenloft). However I don't know if it's different enough to justify the purchase for me. Anyone wanna buy Ravenloft?

A few niggles. I would have liked to see more variety in the sculps for the COGS. While they are different it's sometimes hard to tell who is who. You could easily correct this, on your own. But just from a design point I think they could have done more themselves.

The price point $69. It's probably fair for the number of figs, cards and stock. But it's definitely not an impulse buy and compared to say the D&D games it felt over priced. I'm hoping that the $69 tag will lower once it hits retail.
 



#2 muk

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 07:02 PM

My main concern after reading the manual is that it's possible for a several locust just stand in the area of a cog soldier and do nothing for several turns, just beacuse you didn't pull out their AI card. Is this correct?



#3 Kryyst

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 08:34 AM

I think it's possible for that to happen but I doubt it would happen, after playing the demo I'd have loved for that to happen.

But keep in mind that while the game is turn based, the action is really continuous so even if a given locust group didn't attack after your guy went we are talking about actions that are happening over the course of seconds in real time.  If you liken it to an action seen the locust in your room that didn't fire after your turn could just be lining up his shot or just hiding behind cover.

Mechanically if every creature fired on ever turn then you'd be in a situation where 1 COG moves 12 enemies move and shoot, then 1 COG moves and those same 12 enemies moved and shot again.  So after 4 cogs moved then all the enemies could have moved 4 times and shot 48 times.  It just wouldn't work.



#4 bootlegbaker

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Posted 10 August 2011 - 11:11 AM

Great review, I really appreciate the time you took in writing this and it sounds great. I especially love the comparison to Ravenloft, biasely because I have played it.



#5 muk

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 02:40 AM

Kryyst said:

Mechanically if every creature fired on ever turn then you'd be in a situation where 1 COG moves 12 enemies move and shoot, then 1 COG moves and those same 12 enemies moved and shot again.  So after 4 cogs moved then all the enemies could have moved 4 times and shot 48 times.  It just wouldn't work.

 

That isn't what I want. I'm afraid of situations like:

F. E. AI deck consist of 6 general , A, B, C carda, for a total of 24 cards

If they aren't shuffled well, you could draw 6 B cards in you first 10 draws, than end up with a bunch of locust that won't act till cog's next 14 actions (and then you still have to draw them, after the deck is reshuffled).



#6 Kryyst

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Posted 11 August 2011 - 07:02 AM

muk said:

Kryyst said:

 

Mechanically if every creature fired on ever turn then you'd be in a situation where 1 COG moves 12 enemies move and shoot, then 1 COG moves and those same 12 enemies moved and shot again.  So after 4 cogs moved then all the enemies could have moved 4 times and shot 48 times.  It just wouldn't work.

 

 

 

That isn't what I want. I'm afraid of situations like:

F. E. AI deck consist of 6 general , A, B, C carda, for a total of 24 cards

If they aren't shuffled well, you could draw 6 B cards in you first 10 draws, than end up with a bunch of locust that won't act till cog's next 14 actions (and then you still have to draw them, after the deck is reshuffled).

I suppose it's possible but pretty unlikely and if this becomes a big hangup then just house rule it that if you draw the same Locust card 2 or 3 in a row keep drawing until you get something different.  But to be honest sounds like you are worrying about a pretty minor issue.



#7 ThomO

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Posted 18 August 2011 - 03:45 AM

Thanks for the review!  I can't wait to get my hnads on this game.



#8 Lord of Winterfell

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Posted 27 August 2011 - 10:31 AM

Nice review, cannot wait until this becomes available.






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