Mars Attack Review- By Drew Wood

I now have my shiny copy of “Mars Attacks – The Miniatures Game”- here are my initial Thoughts – the Plastic Material – not a fan, it holds the detail ‘OK’ – but not as good as Restic – I know some people have said its fine or it looks great etc – without being arrogant I have handled hundreds (perhaps thousands) of miniatures over the last four decades, and quality-wise these (though above “average” for the material they are made of) are not the best I’ve seen. Either that or perhaps my own personal standards are a lot higher than other reviewers – or maybe I can “quell” the geek in me long enough to look at things realistically LoL!

Colouring the Plastic the way they have kinda obscured the Detail to the naked eye – especially with the Red Miniatures, I know they are aiming to snag boardgamers as well with the product – but that particular shade of Red does the sculpts no favours at all.

The Martian Soldiers, however, Look Good in the Green Plastic – the detail is clearly present. But out of all the models, the Human Military look the best in the raw plastic – perhaps because of the beige colour? (Although it would have been hysterically funny for me to see them produced in the same colour plastic as the Green Army Men he, he, he . . . ).

The detail (and the VERY fine Mold Lines LoL) becomes clear when the models are Undercoated – but because the detail is very fine/shallow (especially on the Hero miniatures) I recommend a good quality Undercoat, and several fine coats when spraying.

The Card Components are nice, and I got the clear plastic stands with my set – other reviewers observations about the card standees not working with the card inserts (the bit you use to make them stand up) is correct, the die cutting of the components left the slots way too wide. The Tokens are nice and sturdy and should stand up to a good deal of use. The Card “Trackers” are clear and bright, and again quite sturdy.

People have complained the Cards themselves are thinner than Deadzone – I found them to be roughly the same thickness – plus the quality of Card used, and the quality of the printing itself is towards the high end of the Market – any concerns about wear through use are easily avoided by the use of Card Sleeves.

The play mats situation is a little “odd” – several reviewers have complained the Paper used on the play mat is flimsy – and I would agree about the one that came in the Box. The extra Loose Ones I got were much better quality, thicker paper – but (as is usual with these things) the folds are so precise and strong – even the thicker play mats are going to break apart with continued use. If I were a customer purchasing this game in a store – I would (personally) prefer to spend a little more for Card Sections that I could use for longer.

The Rulebooks are sumptuous, like reading a graphic novel – really REALLY high quality. But over three books for the Core Game and Two Expansions – not an indication of Points Costs – are we going to get them at some point? If we don’t they are severely limiting the long-term play life of the game – I know I get bored of playing set scenarios with set models quite quickly, as I generally write my own Campaigns etc – and I am sure I am not alone in that way of thinking – FORTUNATELY I have since found out that the Points system etc will be in the final Rules Booklet “The Battle Continues” which is not back from the Printers yet.

Lastly, the Terrain – what more can I say than WOW – awesome, builds like a dream etc, etc – only ONE Criticism (and it was the same with DeadZone) not enough Connectors LoL! You need way more corner connectors than they provide LoL (thankfully, I had plenty spare).

Final Thoughts – a Good Solid Set of Rules, Usable Components – what I would like to see in the future are “deluxe” versions of the Plastic Miniatures (like they did for Dungeon Saga – with the Resin editions of the Miniatures) for OCD Collectors and Hobbyists like me.

Game Play – 9/10 (No Points System in Place as of Yet)

Product Quality – 8/10 (The Material used on the Miniatures and the Paper Play Mat factored here)

Product Life – 7/10 (I can’t see casual players taking to this in a big way, future products might change this though)

Overall – 8/10

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Ninja or Samurai? Find out in Daimyo’s Fall

Ninja or Samurai? Find out in Daimyo’s Fall

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Daimyo’s Fall is a deck-crafting game where players take on the roles of heroes in a land of a fallen Daimyo, or ruler. 2 to 5 players, ages 14 and up, can play a game in 60 minutes. Of course, familiarity with the game will make the game play faster.  Daimyo’s Fall comes to Kickstarter on May 9th, 2017.

The cards in Daimyo’s Fall are full of colorful and beautiful illustrations. There are hero cards, reinforcement cards, treasure cards (and a special type of treasure card, called Regalia), and lastly, Mon cards, which represent currency in the game

Hero Cards

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Hero cards have nine different pieces of information that is clearly identified. Although it may seem like a lot of information, you’ll learn them just after a few rounds of play. Heroes don’t cycle through your deck like a normal deck building game, another reason you will learn their abilities and rules quickly. In addition to the nice layout of information, you’ll notice that heroes have different frames. Ninja have purple frames and samurai have a red frame. Identifying the class enables players to see which treasure cards each hero may pick up and determines the reinforcement or treasure cards that a player can use.

Reinforcement Cards

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There are 18 different reinforcement cards, with all but two having six copies. Reinforcements allow players to get bonuses, gain skills or get victory points. There are eight different points of information on a reinforcement card.

Reinforcements are purchased to add to your deck. One unique feature of Daimyo’s Fall is the resell action. Each reinforcement card has a purchase cost as well as a value when sold. Mitsuki Sanada, above, is purchased for 10 Mon, but can be sold back for 5 Mon.

Treasure Cards

Treasure cards have two copies each and fall into two decks based on the samurai or ninja. To draw a treasure card, you must fulfill the loot condition of the active hero. Treasure cards work like reinforcements, but typically have a more powerful skill or bonus that heroes can use. Treasure is important because they give players victory points, which in turn, allow players to win the game. As mentioned above, there are some special treasure cards called Regalia and are difficult to acquire. The cost to draw one is high. However, players can also trade in treasures to draw a Regalia card.

Mon Cards

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Mon cards allow players to purchase reinforcements or heroes. They generate 1 Mon when discarded to the discard pile. An interesting limit in the game is that you can’t have more Mon cards than what you start with.  As the game progresses, they aren’t as useful, so find a way to remove them if possible.

Setup

In Daimyo’s Fall, each player starts the game with the identical decks of cards. All the heroes are shuffled into a deck and one is randomly disbursed to each player.  You can purchase more heroes, but you cannot have more than three heroes.  As in normal deckbuilders, you shuffle your starting deck and place your hero card in front of you. It is never shuffled into your deck.

The Domain

The Domain is the play area of Daimyo’s Fall and represents the palace of the missing Daimyo, the treasure, and the lotus tree at the top of the castle. Remember, once all petals fall from the lotus tree, the power of the daimyo is lost. Essentially, the loss of petals in Daimyo’s Fall represents a limit to the length of the game. Treasure cards, when played, release petals from the tree, so pay attention to the loss of petals throughout the game. There can be 40 or 50 petal tokens depending on the number of players.

There will be six face-down decks in the domain. You have a shuffled ninja reinforcement deck with 4 face-up cards available for purchase as well as a shuffled samurai reinforcements deck with four face-up cards available to purchase.  In addition, you’ll have a face-down hero deck, a ninja treasure deck, a samurai treasure deck, and a regalia deck. Besides the four ninja and samurai cards available for purchase, one hero card is drawn and placed face-up. This hero card forces a loss of petals based on the petal loss number displayed.  The domain is now set-up ready for play.

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Game Play

The game is played in rounds and a round is considered complete once every player has taken a turn. The oldest player gets to go first. Players, on their turns, play their Mon, reinforcement or hero cards to gain abilities and effects, to buy cards, or loot treasures. A turn has four phases. The Starting Phase has six actions that must be taken in order.

  1. Put non-exhausted cards into the discard pile. Change active heroes
  2. Move cards from your hand to the discard pile.
  3. Draw until five cards are in hand.
  4. Choose one non-exhausted hero to the active hero for this round. Active heroes can do 3 things:
  • Use loot conditions
  • Determine the skills that reinforcements and treasures can be used.
  • Duel
  1. Recovery all exhausted reinforcement, treasure, or hero cards by turning them vertically.

When choosing reinforcement or treasure cards, remember, only samurai can use samurai based cards and the same is true for ninja based reinforcements and treasures. If you have an active samurai hero, be sure to build a deck with a lot of samurai reinforcement cards.

The second phase of a player’s turn is the Main Phase. Players can take as many of the following actions as they wish, in any order. In this phase, a player can:

  • Deploy reinforcements or treasure. Deploying means to play a card and gain the bonuses immediately.
  • Purchase reinforcements or heroes. To purchase, discard Mon cards and buy the cards that you wish to put into your deck discard pile to be shuffled and drawn later.
  • Sell one or more reinforcement cards from your hand to gain Mon. Money gained this way must be spent this turn and can’t be saved or banked. An important note for gameplay is that heroes can be sold, but you must always have one hero. Also, a player’s deck can’t have less than six cards, so you can’t sell cards if your deck will go below six cards.
  • Use a Heroes’ skill. Skills are usually activated by paying a cost. Inactive heroes can use skills, but exhausted heroes cannot.
  • Return or Discard a reinforcement card from your hand. Some cards have rules that give you bonuses when you discard or when you return a card to its specific deck in the domain similar to selling a card.
  • Spend trade points. Trade points are gained through reinforcements and are special currency. You can spend trade points gained from deploying cards at any time during the turn.
  • Loot- When the actions match the active hero’s loot condition, you may draw an appropriate treasure card. Remember, this is how you score victory points and acquire better skills.

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The third phase is the End Phase of the player’s turn. Not much happens at this point, but there are some effects that may activate at this point.

The last phase is the End of the Round phase. This is sort of a clean-up phase and the top card of the hero deck is revealed and is now able to be purchased. Don’t forget to remove petal tokens when you do so!  Also, the first player must choose two reinforcement cards and discard them and reveal two new reinforcement cards.  The first player token passes to the player on the left.

The end of the game occurs when the last petal token is removed. At this point, players count their victory points from reinforcements, treasure and hero cards. Ties are broken by the person who has the most treasure cards.

Although the game follows the traditional deck building rules, there are some fun interactions. There are times you can trade out treasures by using loot points. By spending up to 3 loot points, you can have three different “trade’ effects, depending what you want to do. You can trade the same class of treasure for another, trade a class of treasure for a different class of treasure, or trade out treasure for a single Regalia card. Remember, Regalia are powerful treasures and it might be beneficial to trade those cards out.

The second interesting interaction is dueling. Active heroes can duel other heroes. The attack and defense value of the heroes are based on their purchase and sell costs, respectively. Simply compare the attack value (purchase) value against the defender’s sell value, and the higher number wins. However, you can boost your value by discarding cards in your hand. So, you may discard cards and use the purchase cost as a boost to your attack or defense. Doing so means you may not have many cards in hand, but it may guarantee a win. Heroes will have a duel condition if they win or they may gain other bonuses. A hero that loses a duel must be turned inactive.

At first, there may seem to be large amounts of information on some of the cards. However, you don’t need all the information at once and you’ll learn what the icons mean rather quickly.  The text on the cards are also color coded- for example, we mentioned the colors associated with the samurai and ninja earlier. Text that matches a specific class is also color-coded for easy identification. In addition, words in bold print call out loot conditions so you always have a clear understanding of what must be done to gain those treasure cards.

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The rulebook identifies some confusing interactions with cards and clarifies weird or strange situations. The examples are well thought out and identified in the rules. In addition, there is a summary of the gameplay, index of terms, a list of symbols and their meanings, and some clarifications.

If you like anime inspired games as well as deck building games, Daimyo’s Fall gives enough unique qualities that it’s a no brainer to back and support. Kickstarter is to help creators with new projects, and this is exactly that. A new project from Axis Mundo and their design team.

Will you choose samurai or ninja to claim the great daimyo’s treasure before the last petal on the lotus tree falls? Find out on May 9th on Kickstarter, play it on Tabletop Simulator through Steam, or download the print and play from the website.

Daimyo’s Fall- A deck building game

Designed by Enrica Fincati and Francesco Simioni

Published by Axis Mundo

2-5 players

60 minutes

Ages 14+

Find Daimyo’s Fall can be found in the following locations:

On the web: http://www.daimyosfall.com/site/index.php

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/daimyosfall/

Boardgame Geek: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/192891/daimyos-fall

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The Iron Golem from Soda Pop Miniatures

Ninja Division and design studio Soda Pop Miniatures have released a special Super Dungeon Explore model called the Iron Golem which focuses on the new SDE tactics game coming to steam.

I was able to pick up the Iron Golem at Gen Con 2016.  Although he was available for sale at the booth, who knows when he will hit the store.  He is sold with a Steam key which can be used to activate SDE Tactics once it is available.

 

Does the Theme Fit the Mechanics or Do the Mechanics Fit the Theme?

I’ve played all sorts of games over the years, from the early 80s playing Dungeon and Dragons to contemporary times playing social deduction games like Coup, worker placement games like Lords of Waterdeep, miniature games like Malifaux, Freeblades, and more.

I’ve been toying with game design and have a couple of thoughts and ideas on creating games.

I’m curious, though, what are your thoughts on mechanics and theme?  The argument is that some games have themes that are just tacked on to the rules and mechanics. For example, there is an argument that the worker placement game Lords of Waterdeep, although a great game, doesn’t really have much theme. People suggest that you can add any other theme or setting and the game will still be the same.

A great site, the League of Game Makers, discusses this and probably does a better job explaining it.

I’d like to suggest an experiment. Let’s pretend we are working on a miniature game (tabletop war game), with miniatures that you push across the board. Think if Warhammer 40k, Warmachine, Malifaux, Infinity, Flames of War, and others.

Let’s start with the mechanics. In the game, to attack another model, you roll a number of dice equal to an attack stat and try to beat the target model’s defense stat. Simple enough. However, to do multiple wounds, you can decide to split your dice pool, and you hope each “split” equals or exceeds the target’s defense.

To explain further, let’s pretend model A has an attack value of 4 (roll 4d6 during an attack) and model B has a defense of 7.  Model A swings his sword and the player rolls 4d6 and gets a 5, 2, 4, and 3. That combined roll of 14 easily beats a 7 for one wound. However, the rolling player decides to split his dice after the roll, and combining the roll into two groups with the 5 and 2 together, and the second group with the 4 and 3 together. Both groups equal a 7 for two wounds, as both groups equal or exceeded the defense.

If the theme of a game is applied to mechanics, what setting would fit this type of mechanic?  Fantasy? High fantasy with magic, wizards, clerics, sorcerers and more. Or, does this mechanic fit modern day ninjas? Far future space fights?

What are your thoughts? What settings or themes can you think that might fit this mechanic better?  I’ve got my thoughts and it’s a simple mechanic that I’m playing around with to see what happens.

Kickstarter: MidKnight Heroes Miniatures

Hi all.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but this Kickstarter project got me excited.  The guys at MidKnight Heroes are running a funding campaign to get their core group of miniatures off the ground.

The goal is to fund the first three miniatures in their range with rewards adding new miniatures at rising funding goals. Below you have Elvia, Leonide, and Oda, the three heroes of the MidKnight Heroes world.

MidKnight Heroes Core Characters

MidKnight Heroes Core Characters

They have started sculpting their first mini, Leonide, a race of Fai (humanoid monster race) which you can see below.  I think this is a great start to awesome looking miniature.

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Finally, here is a link to the MidKnight Heroe’s Website, and a link to their Kickstarter.