Oh what a difference a few weeks make. Last time I was sitting down to write one of these, the Kickstarter, and the awesome support you guys have given us, was just a desire. Now that we are in the middle of what is turning out to be an incredibly awesome campaign, it’s a good time to write more about the game, and how it plays. The last two times, I was plowing through some of the core mechanics in the game.
Now that we have a copy of the rules up on our rules wiki, I actually want to divert from what I said I would discuss last time and talk to you about some of my recent testing. We had POD copies of the game created and shipped to us for testing, and I think it’s time for “Brad’s GAR Story Time.” Hopefully this will give you a sense of how the game feels and plays, and just maybe it will get you excited for your copy.
You Didn’t Even Finish Your Character Background, Did You?
I’ve been doing some pretty vigorous testing this week trying to find any wrinkles in the card balance, but despite having my game designer hat on, I’ve had some incredible moments of gameplay. Some spectacular wins and crushing defeats were experienced, probably best to start with the former.
I Am Giving You A Direct Order
Chief has probably become my favorite character in the game. His quest is pretty straight forward: “Remove a quest token whenever Chief wins a Charm challenge.” This means Chief spends his time lurking around the board and getting into arguments with people. I like to imagine that Chief is arguing with them to do the right thing. If Chief is persuasive enough great things happen, crisis is averted, and Goblinkind can live in harmony.
That’s not the reason I like him though. He has a wonderful ability to talk himself out of otherwise very deadly situations. One of his action cards allows you to change the type of a challenge Chief is participating in. This has resulting in some insane battles for victory…
Chief, Forgath, and Kin were teamed up and roaming about the countryside looking for loot. Minmax, who was with another party, was incredibly unhappy to see his two old friends chumming around with a Goblin, so he (in typical Minmax fashion) rushes into an argument with Forgath. Only this argument involves swords. Before Forgath can talk him down, Minmax has used his Rage ability and is swinging for the fences. His misguided ire has Forgath nearing death when Chief intervenes. Chief is no match for Minmax in one on one combat, but he’s got other tricks up his sleeve (Do goblins have sleeves?)
Chief makes a plea to Maglubiyet to help him, and it allows him to get Minmax to put down his swords and talk things out. Before you know it, Minmax is back home slightly depressed and not feeling up to doing much, and Chief, Kin, and a happy-to-not-be-dead Forgath are back to questing, finding treasure, and generally being super cool adventure buddies.
He’s Going To Try To Kill Me, Isn’t He?
The best stories are sometimes the hardest to tell. Last night we were playing a three person game. I was blessed with my buddy Chief. This time he was paired up with Thaco and Saves-a-Fox. The player on my left had Kin, Klik, and Dies-Horribly, and to my right was Minmax, Fumbles (who spent most of the game as Senor Vorpal), and Big Ears.
There was a lot of shifting around in the early game. I jumped out to an early lead on the back of Saves-a-Fox being completely awesome (and some favorable encounter draws). But before I knew it Minmax was outright humongous and Dies-Horribly was right behind him. Both of my opponents got down to 2 quest tokens left. I was at 4. I knew I had to play smartly to catch up so I was able to remove an encounter my opponent wanted by using Scout Ahead. An action every player has that allows you to discard a currently face up encounter card and replace it with the next in that setting. Usually I use it offensively to look for a quest I want, but this time I had no choice.
After that Minmax did something outright mean. In an effort to stop the player on my left from winning, he combat challenged Kin. I wanted to make sure this went down in my favor, so I sent my characters to help Minmax. The fight was epic, but Kin was no match for Minmax. Minmax was, as I said earlier, absolutely decked out. He had Kore’s Crossbow and Forgath’s Mace. He also had the Armor of Prissan. Earlier in the game he had leveled up and multi-classed Paladin, so it was even more effective. Plus this late in the game he was level 8 and ready to do some serious damage. Suffice to say, Kin didn’t make it, especially when I was teamed up against her.
What?! Seriously?! Why Didn’t Anyone Tell Me?!
That gambit bought me some time and after another two rounds we had all managed to get down to 1 quest token left. We looked at each other and had what felt like an eon long stare down. This was go time. My turn comes around, but there are no encounters on the board that let me solve my quest. I had already used my Scout Ahead from earlier so I couldn’t search for one. I played defensively and selected an easy encounter. Both players, not wanting to waste resources on a player who isn’t going to win, let me beat it and then it was Klik and Dies-Horribly’s turn.
Still mourning the loss of Kin, but undeterred, they set out to complete their last quest token. Knowing Klik is able to complete his quest, Minmax, white with rage, combat challenges again. I can’t let this go by idly so I send Chief in hoping to win a charm duel. This time Die’s steps up to defend it. Unlike last time though, he comes prepared. Klik transforms into a shield boosting Dies’ combat stats and through some amazing card play they actually end up killing Minmax (even with Chief’s assistance).
I was dumbstruck. With my main ally lying dead on the floor, and my hand wasted from trying to help him, I fail the charm challenge. Having successfully avenged the death of their friend, Klik and Dies-Horribly ride off into the sunset, victors of a bloody battle and a close fought game.
I Don’t Want This Moment Taken Away
I’ve had a blast testing this game and diving in deep with our new copy. There is still a lot of work to do to get the game ready, but I want to share are much as possible with you guys about the game. Tonight I’m hosting a Google Hangout to create an open forum for questions, and i’ll demo the game with the camera and cards right there. In the meantime, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to let us know. And please, if you haven’t, consider backing this project. The more you pledge the more cool stuff I get to add to the game, and that means more awesome moments like the ones above!