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Ebon Meerkat

My observations after running the demo three times this weekend.

7 posts in this topic

 The very first thing that came to mind when I was setting up the play area for my eager....ummm...reluctant nieces and nephews is that I am going to lose pieces -- action cards, dice, career cards, talent cards, bases, stance indicators, progress bar pieces, stress tokens....

I am organizationally challenged. I am the guy who, at the next gaming session, people say, "Dude, is this one of your dice?" And it always is. "Hey, is this your mini?" Again, it always is.

Or I make a sheepish phone call, "Did I leave my laptop charger at the store?"

"Yes, and your player's handbook. Oh, and your character sheet was under the pizza box."

Keeping up with the pieces is going to be a nightmare for me. That was my very first major observation. I ziplocked all the different decks and pieces, but God, my family, and my friends know that one day I'm going to be searching, in vain, for the Roadwarden talent card. I'm sure it's wherever my missing Scrabble tiles are.

Second impression. Once you get the dice mechanic to the point where you can figure it out pretty quickly, we had a lot of fun with it. One player even began to do some probability analysis on conservative vs. reckless dice. We cheered for the comet and booed for the Chaos star. The dice are cool. Until I lose them.

Third. The stance track is cool. Experienced, and I mean us old guys by that, really were impressed with that when they realized that NPC's could manipulate it against your will.

Fourth. The "party decides when they go" initiative system caused awkward silences and slowed down game  play. I would house rule this to a more traditional system where you go on the initiative you generated. One (experienced) player made the comment that it was an attempted reinvention of the wheel.

Fifth. The pieces and parts (that I'm going to lose) are gorgeous. Everyone commented on the artwork.

Sixth. Whew. It took a LONG time for me to set up. I felt like I was setting up Arkham Horror. Clean up was a little quicker because the players helped.

Seventh. Price point. Everybody flinched. Nobody signed the preorder sheet.

 

Eighth. The abstract range increments and lack of battle mat got appreciation in the form of head nods and short comments like, "nice."

 

Ninth. The hard core WFRP 2e players said. "That was fun. But I wish they had called it. Warhammer Fantasy Adventures, because it doesn't seem like a successor/upgrade to 2e. They have effectively started their own edition wars by calling it 3e."

Summary: Would the even participants play it? Yes, if they didn't have to pay for it.

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Regarding the price point:  Amazon has the basic set for around $65.  Compared to the D&D 4e PHB/DMG/MM + buying dice+ buying power cards for 3 players, you're looking at ($60+$10+$30)...$100 for something equivalent.  And thats not even including the price for other people to buy the PHB.  I flinched at $100 as well, but when I saw what the game had I flinched less.  When I saw the retail price, I jumped on it.

As far as tokens, you could skip most of the tokens and just track with pencil/paper/tick marks.  FFG sells plastic tokens that seem ideal as a replacement for the cardboard ones in case losing them is an issue.

Each player having their own dice would be nice, but the price of that I would balk at.  $12, but it's not a complete dice set (i think 2 blues, 1 red, 1 green, etc..).  To replicate what came in the box you would need 4 sets of dice for a total of $48.  At that point, might as well just buy the $65 box and get a spare set of cards to handle 3 additional people.

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On your number four:

Personally I kind of liked that.  Gives an opportunity to force the 'tank' to the fore even if his roll was low and instead of the awkward silences I think it will be filled with more strategizing (once everyone becomes aware of what they bring to the table)

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I had an opposite experience with initiative too; players were shouting and debating strategies - even moreso after the learned that I would give tension and tinker with the initiative pass if they debated too long. 

For my groups, it was a brilliant mechanic. 

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Everybody at my table loved the tactical implications of the Initiative system, and how you could effectively control the battle very subtly with it.
Thumbs up from our group.

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