Thursday, October 27, 2011

Puppet Mayhem! - Part Deux!

For a quick game replicate this board
Who can't stop playing this damn game? Me that's who! Anyway having had a few more weeks and games behind me I thought this game deserved another word or two. It seems this game is one that really deserves a few weeks of game play. Usually with games like this one can play 2-4 games and get a sense of what is going on, strategy and basic game management. While you might be able to grasp some basic strategy and rules there are quite a few more levels to this game that only extra game play and experience can expose.

So first of all let's talk about the board make up. The pattern book the game comes with is a good one, but something I failed to talk about in my previous post was the rules for making up your own board on the fly. This is an element that really lends re playability and fun to the game. Creating the boards can be a lot of fun and doing it on the fly makes the eventual game to be played very interesting. It also adds an extra level of strategy to things. In fact this feature very much mimics the beginnings set up phases of many table top skirmish games.

 Don't taze me bro!

Another wonderful little gem to be discovered in the pattern book are the alternate scenarios. While I have not tried them yet I have read through them and they seem great fun. The versatility of the scenarios in combination with random board construction will really give this game a long run with regards to gaming groups.

This game can haz it! Wow. When I played my first few games I really coudn't even see the level of stratagy involved behind this game. Now having constructed a few shoeboxes and played more games it unfolded before me like an oragami sculpture designed by the MIT club.

First off all, unlike Malifaux you do not reshuffle your cards after a full turn. This means you really have to decide how you use your cards in every phase. Proper management of cards and utilization of turn options will yield a much more successful player. However, seeing the proper management and options is the real difficulty. This lends a giant learning curve to the game that makes this very enjoyable.

This is my new toybox I built. Free hand painted the suits in the corners. Its got magnets to hold the top on.
List building is another twisty turny road this game has. Sure you can design the list with your master's suit as the majority of your peices, but if you have good resource managment skills and keep track of a few things you can design a real nasty box of toys with a good variety of animation requirements. The ability to utilize a list like this can really catch an opponent off guard.

Finally play option strategy. This is another great big bag of cats. There is so much you can do here. Looking at the big picture is the only options here. If you start to micromanage one or two pieces you end up losing because your puppets will eventually die. It is vitally important to a players success that they are aware of all their options during an animation round.

All in all my opinion of this game has drastically improved the more I play it. This is not a quality that is easily seen in a game. So kudos to Wyrd for making a game that can stick around for a long haul.

A word about my balance issues with the game
I have had a lot of questions about this from people so let me get into a few specifics. I only really have problems with 3 peices in this game. Thankfully, only one is available for general release currently so lets start with her.

Pandora. I have played her more than any other master so far and I can honestly say this: she is not as potent as other masters and does not function as well with out of suit pieces in relation to other masters. Get her woes and masks and she is significantly better. Unfortunately without them she is basically a tempest in a teacup, that is to say her powers are generally neutered. I still love playing her though even without her preferred stuff. Good management of your primary toybox will make up for her shortcomings if your a good player. I also love her BYOB ability.

The hooded rider and Pokey Viktoria are the other too. Thankfully, while they are legal pieces, they are not officially released. Each one has one power that makes them far too powerful for general game play.

The Hooded Rider is the worst. He gains powerful +1 for each move he makes durring an animation. This means he can one hit a 4 stiched puppet since he has sprint. Not cool. He is basically shelved until fixed as far as I am concerned. A better route would be too allow the controlling player to add whatever suit they want to his defense when he is attacked and give him powerful +1 if he moves during an animation.

VIki is an easy fix I think. He teleport power is powerful but I think it's one of her free actions that really gets her in the broken bin. Basically you give her a free action and she can make an attack. This means that you can discard an animation card and let her attack without animating her. Very no. A possible fix may be that there is a clause in the ability that states it may only be used when she is being animated or if she is not exauseted. Either option might bring Viki down to a human (puppet) level.

Thankfully these two aren't released yet and Wyrd still has some time to fix these two before generally release so I am not too upset. Those guys are always very receptive to players and are already listening.

So people have been coming to my blog lately. That is really cool. Thank you. So if any of you readers out there in internet land want me to review something let me know. I am always open to suggestions, especially if any of you readers happen to be creators and want to send me your game or product. I am always happy to try new games and I seem to have a regular time to play and review new games lately. I also seem to be able to get my grubby little paws on new games as well.

Anyway until next time, drop a train on em Edgar!
Steve (this episode brought to you by the letter Strongbad)

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