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Reviews and Strategy Articles

Pixel Tactics: PIXEL Strategies

Introduction

My good friend, Louis Zabala, wrote his review of Pixel Tactics last week, which was awesome! Tomorrow will be the Pixel Pro: National PIxel Tactics Tournament and we wanted to equip each and everyone of you with some tips and strategies on how to play this awesome game.

As a gamer who started his life in Japanese RPGs, this was a game that got me nostalgic to the days that storyline and gameplay mattered more than graphics. As a diehard Suikoden fan, having 75 characters to choose from (if you have Pixel Tactics 1, 2, and 3) with everyone having different abilities and styles are nothing compared to the sets of 108 characters (or more) most of us had to collect throughout the Suikoden series.

First of all, I would like to clarify that this is not a review but a guide to better your chances on winning Pixel Tactics on the tournament. If you want to check out how it is played and the review, please go to Louis Zabala's review: Pixel Nation. Second, these are my opinions on how to optimize your play, choose leaders, importance of placement of heroes, and the combos your head will piece together while playing. I am here to tell you what I do but it is ultimately your choice if you want to follow it. Lastly, I will try to make it as comprehensive as possible but concise as well. Reading about it will never be the same as playing the game anyway.

 

Entering PIxel Pro

You can enter Pixel Pro as long as you have a deck containing 25 or 50 unique characters. Any one copy of Pixel Tactics 1, 2, or 3 comes with 2 identical decks of 25 unique characters each so you can even tag a friend along to join the tournament if you wanted to. You can also get a copy of Pixel Tactics on the tournament day itself so don't worry if you decided to just drop in that day to try it out.

If you got at least two out of the three games of Pixel Tactics, you can combine them to create a deck of 50 unique characters. For each match, you will only be using a 25-card deck randomly drawn from the 50 unique characters.

But if you have all three games of Pixel Tactics, you can choose your top 50 unique characters. Again for each match, you will only be using a 25-card deck randomly drawn from the 50 unique characters.

Just to be clear. You can either have a 25-card deck that comes from one game of Pixel Tactics (no mixing from 1, 2, or 3), or you can have a mixed deck of 50 characters and randomly draw 25 cards from it. You also cannot have more than one copy of a character in your deck.

I prefer mixing all three games of PIxel Tactics and looking for your top 50 unique characters. It challenges you to know the characters more and fit it to your play style.

 

Building Your Dream Team

Note: Read this part only if you have all three games of Pixel Tactics.

So you decided to build your dream team of 50 unique characters? One big tip, do not forget your heroes that have an Intercept ability. The game pretty much hangs on keeping your leader alive so make sure that he/she is well protected. Read your cards well and know their best abilities so you know where you will place them.

Pick first the characters that you want to use as heroes. I have an inclination to characters that have high life or have abilities or attack powers that prevent damage to my main heroes in front. If you started out with Pixel Tactics 1, I beleive that you should never have a deck without the Knight, the Fighter, the Witch, and the Priestess for heroes. The Knight is an essential defender and probably one of the best characters in Vanguard to protect your leader with. The Fighter is an awesome defender card in Vanguard but an amazing attacker in Rear if you know how to take advantage of his bonus attack strength at the back. The Witch and Priestess are essential Order cards that are needed to bring back corpses to the hand or to life.

Then, pick the characters that you really like as leaders. Essential leaders for me in Pixel Tactics 1 will be Luc Von Gott and Lesandra Machan. Luc gives you three actions per wave instead of two. Lesandra makes recruiting a free action for you.

Pick characters that fit your play balancing out attack strength to life and attack powers to passive abilities.

 

Tips and Strategies

Most important thing to remember while playing is that the game ends after the wave that the opponent's leader is defeated. I admit it can be fun to defeat the opponent's heroes first but, most of the time, if the opponent's leader is open to your attack, seize that opportunity.

Learn how to pace yourself when putting down your heroes. You never know when you need the space for a better hero to come in. Planning your unit ahead of time will help you maximize the actions that you use in any given wave.

Learn to value where your heroes are supposed to be placed. Some characters may have good skills at any given row but most of them have just one or two abilities that are useful.

Your unit is co-dependent so learn to use their abilities to help each other. Put your heroes that have an Intercept ability in your Vanguard to protect the ones behind from damage but also have some of your heroes in your Flank and Rear to strengthen and protect them through healing, attack bonuses, life bonuses, and other abilities.

Create and learn the different combinations that can be created with your deck may it be constructed or not. Due to the number of characters and their different abilities, there will always be a card that can replace the "best" hero when you cannot find them.

 

Favorite Combinations

The Knight is my favorite defender. Put it in front of your leader and you're almost set for the whole game. But, learn how to protect him with a healer or a character that prevents opponent's to use defeat abilities. The Priestess or the Relic Hunter comes to mind. But as my last tip on the previous part, the Knight can be replaced with the Golem, the Fighter, and many more.

The Overlord is one of my favorite characters because of its Rear Wave ability that it can make any of your characters in front to perform a melee attack. This is really awesome when you have a character that has a devastating attack strength in the frontline because it will be able to deal that damage during your rear wave. The Fighter at the back with no one in front comes to mind or a The Dragon Mage. You can replace the Overlord with other heroes like the Mascot or the Dispatcher.

Supporters getting Ranged Attack is powerful as well to make sure that strong characters at the back like the Fighter get to attack with no problems. You can use heroes like the Drone, Planestalker, Gunner or Trapper.

 

Overall

Pixel Tactics takes a lot of reading to learn characters and combinations but, beyond that, there is this appeal, or at least to me, to the classic videogame world that we miss so much. It has to take you back to the classic turn-based Japanese RPGs that we all fell in love with as a kid. In the tournament, it will be all about having fun and learning new things as well.

Pixel Nation


 

“Therefore the clever combatant imposes his will on the enemy, but does not allow the enemy's will to be imposed on him.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Introduction

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been an avid fan of TCGs; collecting cards, constructing decks, tournaments and leagues, I’ve done all those things. But one aspect that other TCG players can agree with me is that, there comes a point in time where it just gets freakily expensive. In order to build a tournament worthy deck, a player must be willing to spend.

Anyhow, I’m the type of guy who’s always in a budget. I could never compete in major tournaments because my deck was often built with measly cards that wouldn’t hold up against the powerful ones. And we all know, the more powerful a card is, the more expensive it gets. Can you feel a hole burning through your pocket? This was what piqued my interest with Pixel Tactics.

 

Overview

Pixel Tactics is a tactical, head-to-head combat game. Each set comes with two identical decks for each player. So, what makes this game exciting you ask? The decks are identical, but the draws are still random. Since both players have the same content, each player has a fair chance of winning as both sides can practically read each other plays. That’s the part of the game that I’ve grown to love; one side cannot take advantage of the other (unless of course we’re playing under a constructed format, but I’ll go through that later).

Aside from being inexpensive, Pixel Tactics’ retro art is pretty neat. It gives an old-school feel to the game whilst still maintaining an innovative and new concept. Just check out some of the art below.


Pretty neat huh?

The art itself revolves around the characters from most of the games of Level 99 because it takes place in the same world but is in no way interrelated with each other.

 

Gameplay

                Before I get too excited and get ahead of myself, let me discuss the mechanics of the game. A good card game must have a balanced mechanic. This is just what Pixel Tactics provides.

                Just to reiterate, Pixel Tactics is a head-to-head game of tactical combat for two players. Each player has an identical deck of 25 cards, from which they draft a leader. The leader's abilities alter vastly the strategy and playability of every other card in the deck, making the game playable in 25 different ways. Each card can become a leader card simply by turning it over.

In the game, players take turns placing cards and attacking. Each card can activate in various ways, taking on offensive capabilities in the front rows of the unit, or support powers in the back rows. Cards can also be played as orders – powerful single-time effects that can turn the tide of battle.

Play continues until either player's leader is defeated. A typical game is best of three or five rounds and usually lasts for about 10 minutes per round.

 

Components

                A box of Pixel Tactics contains the following:

  • 2 25-Card Identical Decks
  • 1 Play Mat
  • Several Damage Counters

One set contains all the necessary things that two players need to play. While it’s not flashy and it does not have a lot of elements, it makes up for it through being basic and simplistic.

I highly suggest that as soon as you buy the cards though, you should opt to at least buy several deck protectors. These should cover the cards so that the damage from constant use could be avoided (because believe me, these will be played constantly. Lol).

 

Rules

The rules of the game are very simple and straightforward. While the rulebook will not offer you any strategy on how to play the game, it should at least give you a thorough idea on how each turn and each round works. It’s very direct on the steps in playing the game although the format is a little bit confusing since it’s just printed at the back of the play mat to save space. I guess the publishers combined it so that any player can take the rules with them wherever they go since it’s attached to the play mat. This is a good idea for newer players as they would need something to provide them constant reference.

You can find the complete rules here as well as a video tutorial from the creator of Pixel Tactics: http://www.lvl99games.com/games/pixeltactics/

 

Overall

                To sum everything up, Pixel Tactics can be a change of pace for card gamers out there. It’s fairly easy to understand and it still has most of the concepts of CCGs and LCGs; but it is in no way a substitute of these. It still maintained its uniqueness by creating its own unique mechanic whilst incorporating the standard system of card games. Plus, and I can’t stress this enough, it’s definitely more affordable.

Now that we’ve covered the basics of the game, I can’t wait for Francis’ review of PT2 and PT3 next week! He’ll be discussing what else we can do with the introduction of new cards to the set as well as new mechanics. On top of that, our resident pro will be sharing his strategies on deck building and on how to manage the cards that you’ve been dealt on a random draft. With the Pixel Pro tournament coming up and the Pixel Nation League Organized Play at its heels, the article will definitely be a good read. Next week can’t get here soon enough! Argh!

 

SCORE

CRITERIA

PERCENTAGE BASE

RAW SCORE

(OUT OF 10)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Replayability

30%

10.0

 

Gameplay

25%

10.0

Unique mechanics

Theme

20%

8.0

Classic graphics

Components

15%

8.0

Few components; easy setup and cleanup

Rules

10%

9.0

Simple and portable

Overall

 

9.6

 

 

 

Planning to Win

 

 

Game Overview

 

In Seasons, you play as sorcerers competing with each other in a three yearlong tournament. Each year has 4 seasons and each season 3 months. Each season provides you with a different set of resources you can use bring out magical items or familiars to aid you in your quest.

 

You start out the game with nine cards; you then separate these cards into three piles, one for each year.  It’s up to you how you plan to win, on how to boost your victory points (crystals) and how to undermine your opponents from getting away with points.

 

Theme

 

Let’s get this over with first: Theme isn’t one of Seasons’ strong points.

 

“Crystals” for victory points? Familiars who make opponents give you crystals? Magic items you pay with crystals to gain more crystals? There really isn’t much sense theme-wise to this game. The artwork is trying to peddle you a nice fantasy theme, however the gameplay and mechanics is unable to tell the same story.

 

You don’t play this game for its theme.

 

Rules

 

There really isn’t much in the way of rules for this game. The manual has more pages dedicated to card FAQs than gameplay rules, to aid players in understanding what certain cards do (which isn’t all that complicated, majority of the cards are pretty straightforward).

 

The first player for the round rolls dice depending on what’s allotted for the current season, then gets first pick among the dice. Dice may give points, energy (used for summoning or card effects), additional summoning (allows you to play more cards), additional cards or allow you to transmute (sell back energy for points) during your turn. As for the last player to pick a dice, they get to dictate how fast or slow the game progresses. Once all players have selected their dice, each player takes turns performing their individual actions for the round.

 

You do several game rounds until the turn track goes past the end of the third year. Whoever has the most points wins.

 

Gameplay

 

This is where Seasons really shines.

 

The main objective in winning the game is to have the most victory points. There are a lot of ways you can go about it: scoring points during the three year period of the game by cards or selling back energy for points, leeching/taxing/deducting points from your opponents using familiars, aiming for a certain end game condition to gain additional points as the game ends, or any combination thereof. Figuring out which is the best plan and managing to execute it is key. Pick the wrong strategy and you may end up with an uphill battle for the rest of the game.

 

Card drafting avoids having a player deal with a bad hand. The dice drafting was a nice touch, the first player has dibs on resources but the last player gets to dictate the game pace. The rarity of resources changes per season which also affects the selling value. The minimal amount of cards that you work with per season provides a steadier pace in decision making.

 

Components

 

This is also an area the game excels.

 

The dice used in the game are big and hefty, and feels good to hold. The box insert has good compartments to contain all the dice, cards, tokens and boards. The slots for the cards are wide enough to accommodate sleeved cards. The cards used can also be trimmed down to a “basic” set, for people who want to start off with a simpler experience.

 

The only complaints about the components are that the slots for the cards are a bit shallow and cards may pop out of place if using premium thick sleeves. Also, the score track used by the game can be a bit fiddly and you are more liable to knock cubes off and lose track of scores. Using a generic scoring app on a smartphone is a better option, considering the amount of score adjustments you may make during the game.

 

Replayability

 

With 100 cards (60 with basic) available in the base game, each game you play is going to be different. The strategy you use will have to adjust depending on which cards are available during the initial draft, and which cards your opponents are taking. There is no one way to play this game.

 

Overall

 

Seasons is a good strategic game. There isn’t much theme going on but the mechanics more than makes up for a great experience. The game presents you with a bunch of decision points and options. Strategies and tactics will vary from game to game.

 

At the end of a game, A-Team said it best: “I love it when a plan comes together.”

 

Score

Gameplay       09/10   30%

Replayability  08/10   25%

Rules               10/10   20%

Components  08/10   15%

Theme             05/10   10%

 

            Total               8.4

 

The new Age of D&D: A Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition review

                It’s been a few months since the new 5E starter set has been released and I’ve just recently got a hold of my own copy and finally had the chance to run a game for a few of my buddies and I’ve got to say that the new edition is quite a refreshing new take of Dungeons and Dragons, but to do a proper review for the 5E starter, we’ll need to compare it to its predecessors and some of its competitors.

                Just a quick back-story, I’ve been playing; rather Dungeon Mastering, D&D games since 2009 starting with fourth edition’s “A Keep on the Shadow Fell” starter adventure. Compared to other GM’s and players I’ve only got about 5 years under my RPG belt but having run at the most 3 different groups and systems; sometimes simultaneously, which is probably the equivalent of grinding for XP so take this review with a grain of salt.

                Starting with the content’s 5E’s starter set only has five pre-generated characters and a blank sheet for reproduction, a complete set of dice, a mini rulebook and the adventure “The Lost Mine of Phandelver”. If you’ve seen older edition’s starter boxes like 4E essentials Red Box and Pathfinder’s Beginner Box, the 5E box set has the least amount of content; mainly lacking the poster map and tokens and 3.5E’s starter set even had fully painted miniatures, but don’t let that deter you. The previous editions’ became dependent on these tokens, poster maps and tiles to run the game; it’s still possible to run them completely narrative but somehow; especially with 4E, something would feel missing. 5E however goes back to its 1E and AD&D roots where a hand drawn map and a good DM would be the only things players require to visualize a setting and situation, maps and tokens are just icing on the cake. If you look at the boxes’ prices for content you’re definitely getting what you pay for since 5E’s starter set only costs 20USD while the previously mentioned starter sets lie somewhere between 30-50 USD.

                Next thing I’d like to compare the 5E starter set with is user friendliness. Upon opening the box you’ll only see the 2 booklets, dice and 5 character sheets, some veteran players and DM’s might find these underwhelming while new players picking up the set might find the contents just right. The rules streamlined and easy to understand; even older players like myself keep on saying, “Wow this speeds everything up so much!” and newbies don’t have to deal with information overload. The starter adventure is also written in a way that gives players planning to DM for the first time a clear picture of what they have to do as a DM; and this adventure takes the players up till 5th level which by far is the longest of any starter adventure. The character sheets only have one page to read and understand so players can just pick one of the five and dive right in when they’re ready. To put things into perspective ill use Red Box as a comparison. Red Box contained a 64 Page DM booklet, a 32 page Players guide, a complete set of dice, a poster map and 6 player and monster token sheets. The two booklets did well to explain the rules and teach new players on how to play the game but if we were to compare the contents of the adventure, Red Box was a linear one where players were kind of forced to take on the adventure in a specific path and only takes players up till 2nd level and only get to explore a single dungeon. 5E’s starter adventure while still limited gives more freedom to the players and as mentioned above takes them up to 5th level and lets them explore at least three locations.

                My opinion on 5E’s starter box is its one of the most user-friendly RPG’s however this doesn’t completely eliminate room for confusion. As an older player who’s had experience with both narrative and map based combat I instinctively understand how to run 5E without the need for a map or miniatures; however newer players might think along these lines: “Ok so I’ve read the adventure where’s the map of the dungeon? How do I see where the monsters are?”  It might take a while for newer players to understand how to play a narrative game compared to Red Box’s clear map and tokens.

                Finally I’d like to discuss replayability and compatibility with the full range of D&D 5E products. While players might like to move on from the pre-generated characters by getting their own copies of the Players Handbook, the adventure might see a lot of mileage; its sandbox nature ensures limitless variations and possibly an extension from what’s given in the booklet. DM’s might also want to carry the adventure and characters for quick tutorials for newer or flash sessions. The adventure book itself is compatible with the full line of 5E products like the Players Handbook and if a player is fortunate enough to have his own set of miniatures or map tiles then it does nothing but enhance the gaming experience.

                In conclusion I’d say the new D&D 5th Edition Starter set as one of the best introduction to D&D sets ever released.

 

 

Review by – Gino Cobarrubias

Start Your Engines

-Start Your Engines-

A Formula D Review

Back when I was young, I dreamt of myself driving down a speedway in one of the fastest machines on the planet. Now, I can get the chance to relive that dream with this awesome game by Asmodee.

How I Review

These are my points for rating the games that I have played:

  • Game play Mechanics are my first concern as it is what drives most games to be either a hit or a miss.
  • Theme is my second priority. Coming from a generation of RPG players, I would want a game where I can immerse myself in not only the game play, but also the lore involved with the game.
  • Next in line are the components of the game. I’m the kind of guy that likes to showcase a game with several unique and quality components.
  • Rules, important but not too particular about it.
  • I put replay value last because I prefer games that people tend not to play repeatedly.

Theme

In this game you play as a race car driver speeding down the circuit to win your prestigious cup. You can drive either an F1 or a rally car depending on your taste, and you can race for the Monaco circuit or Drag in an actual street race at night.

Components

The components of the game are pretty basic; the game board can be flipped over to show the racetrack of your preference. Included are micro plastic vehicles which represent your cars and character cards. But what's really unique with the components are the gear box and the stick shift. There are also six polyhedral dice that comes with the game. These dice represents the speed of your car on how fast you are going down the lane.

Here is a quick component breakdown:
1 - 2 Sided Game Board (Round Circuit of Monaco and Road Race)
6 - Dice Symbolizing the 6 Car Gears
1 - Black Dice to Determine Car Damage or Other Unpredictable Events
2 - Instruction Books (Basic and Advanced Rules)
10 - Formula 1 Cars in 5 Colours Symbolizing 5 Different Racing Teams
10 - GT Cars
10 - Dashboards
10 - Dashboard Trays
10 - "Gear Stick" Pieces
10 - 2 Sided Scorecards (Formula 1 and GT)
60 - Markers for Car Wear Points (WP)
20 - Damage Markers

Rulebook

The rules are split into two parts - one for a basic game and the other is for an advanced version of the game. Both are quite easy to understand although a bit of a mouthful at first. I would suggest that you start playing the basic game before moving on to the advanced level.

Game Play

Playing the game is an intense, excitement-ridden experience as you are always on your toes thinking if you will be increasing your speed or slowing down to make certain turns.

The game gives you settings for your car that acts like hit points or damage points that your car can take before exploding or crashing off the course.

You also need to consider the track that you are running on as it will also incorporate hazards like sharp turns, slick oil spilt, debris from other crashed cars and the weather condition.

In order for you to win, it's not just speed that you feed, but also that split-second decision in making those hazards and turns.

Replay Value

The replay value is very high especially if you have a constant weekend play group. Either you play the game in a one lap race or you can do a high heat rally. It’s all up to you. The game is best played with a crowd of 3-7 (although the minimum required number of players is 2 and the max is 10).

Overall

The game is very good and very intense, easy for the newbies to learn and can be kicked up a notch for the seasoned gamers.

 

09.0 / 10.0 - 030% - Gameplay

09.0   / 10.0 - 025% - Theme

08.0 / 10.0 - 020% - Components 

008.0 / 10.0 - 015% - Rules Explanation

10.0 / 10.0 - 010% - Replayability

 

Overall score: 9/10

 

 

Noir: Life Is Like A Box Of Boardgames. You Already Know What You're Gonna Get.

Introduction

If you feel like you've heard the title somewhere, you are correct. It is a play on and a contradiction to the famous line from Forrest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." The concept of boardgaming is pretty new for most people and they always ask what is best to buy as a first game. Well, to answer that question and help you start off your collection, I present you a great solution.

Minigame Library is a collection of 6 games in 1 box and each game has a different theme, number of players needed, mechanic, and a lot more. It is such a good bargain to start off your collection and even a great gift idea. Why you ask? Well, I won't go into detail in all of the games inside but, besides Level 99 Games awesome PIxel Tactics being inside the Minigame Library already, the other favorite game inside is Noir.

Noir is a game of memory and deduction. Have you ever played memory games? This one just beats them all and is fun because you can play it with your friends. There are four different ways to play it but, for me, the best one is the third game, Noir: Spy Tag, because it is the one that three or four people can play (all other play modes are only for two). Noir's Game #3: Spy Tag is all about capturing your friends' who are spies moving across the board.

 

Reviewer Context

I am a Euro and Economic boardgamer so I love playing games with heavy strategy and great replayability. Owning a burger and boardgame restaurant, I take care of my games well. That is why games that have good components get bonus points from me, although it is not a requirement. I also love cards that are the standard USA Game size so I can easily double sleeve them. I hardly care for the theme of a game as long as it has great gameplay but, if I can find good games that are based on Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Trains and Locomotives, or Video Games, I am pretty much in. I don't care much for rules explanation as long as it does its job explaining the basics. Most of the time anyway, I will go online and watch a tutorial video on YouTube or go to Board Game Geek to ask or check for any clarifications needed.

Gameplay (30%) - Replayability (25%) - Components (20%) - Theme (15%) - Rules Explanation (10%)

 

Theme

Again like my other review, the theme of the game, Noir, is based on the noir genre. The noir genre is filled with cynicism and moral ambiguity and usually used alongside crime. The game has mystery, crime, and investigation by using your logic and deduction skills. It also has subtle dark and cynic undertones. I love this theme because I am addicted to movies, graphic novels, and games that have a strong noir influence. Although quite frankly, this game only has a light noir influence. But, this makes the game a better option for people, even children, just starting out to play. Since it is simple enough to understand and you can play it without delving too much into any backstory, you can get anyone to play it, young or old, newbies or veterans, etc.

 

Rules Explanation

The rules are fairly simple to follow but it could have been more concise. Another thing that I did not like is that the rulebook holds all rules for all six games so, unless you remember the rules and all the clarifications, you have to bring around the whole rulebook with you even if you're only playing one of its games. And since this is the third game mode, the rulebook will advise you to go back to the first game mode for some of the rules for setup and actions, which is unfortunate.  It has a cheat sheet that explains movement which is quite helpful for new players but there is only one copy of that cheat sheet.

 

Components

The game components are just the cards. The cards could have been better because the lamination is too thin. As a remedy, the size of the cards are the same as regular-sized cards so that makes it easy to sleeve or double sleeve them.

Inside the Box:

  • 25-card Suspect Deck, each card with one ‘live’ and one ‘deceased’ side.
  • 25-card Innocent Deck, each card with one ‘innocent side’ and a similar back.
  • 4 reference cards explaining the powers of the different roles.

The card art is simple and nice. I like how they made sure that every character looked different and their names used a different type of font. The "noir feel" is there and it brings a bit of character to the game.

 

Mechanics

Noir is a deduction game so you have to keep your focus on the board as they move trying to find out where your opponents are on the board.

Arrange the 25-card Suspect Deck into a 5 by 5 grid on the table placing them with the 'live' side up. Shuffle the Innocent Deck.

All of you are spies. Each one will be handed a card from the Innocent Deck face-down as your secret identity.

In a turn you can do three of the following actions:

  • SHIFT. Select any row or column on the board (you do not have to be in it or near it) and move all cards in the column vertically up or down, or move all cards in the row left or right. Place the card at the end on the empty space on the other side. But, you cannot reverse the previous player’s shift.
  • CANVAS. Point to your secret identity or anyone adjacent to you. All other players who are that selected spy or anyone adjacent to that selected target must raise their hands.
  • CAPTURE. Point to a target who is beside your secret identity. If any other player is that suspect, then turn that suspect over to the 'deceased' side and you get to claim their innocent Card as a trophy. If a player has now claimed enough trophies to win the game, he wins! Otherwise, the player who was captured immediately draws a new identity card, and play continues.
In a three player game, the game ends when a player gets four trophies. In a four player game, the game ends when a player gets to three.

The best strategy is to remember as much as you can but try to focus on getting to uncover the identity of one player first. This game needs a lot of attention to make sure that you find out where the other players are on the board and how to get near them without them noticing and finding out who you are as well.

 

Replay Value

The game has a great replay value because players tend to get really competitive. Every time I play this game with others, we will play it for three times before changing the game or calling it a night. The most reason is because they want to win the game or get to capture at least once.

 

Overall

Noir is one of the best deduction games there is because it has an easy setup, has a simple set of rules, and can be played with three or four people. You can play it again and again as it sharpens your logic and memory skills. The noir theme is a bonus if you like the genre. And best of all, you get to have five other cool games with Noir inside the Minigame Library!

 

Score

09.5 / 10.0 - 030% - Gameplay

10.0 / 10.0 - 025% - Replayability

07.5 / 10.0 - 020% - Components

09.0 / 10.0 - 015% - Theme

08.0 / 10.0 - 010% - Rules Explanation

 

Overall: 09.0 / 10.0

 

MUNCHKIN DELUXE: A Comedic Twist to Role Playing


GAME OVERVIEW

                There are times in every role player’s gaming life that we lose our patience; Setting up your character, the distribution of skill points, the computation, even creating a very luscious back story for your Dwarven Warrior, Eleven Wizard, or Human Assassin. The time will always come that we would just want to step inside the dungeon, kill everything inside, screw with the other characters, and loot everything that’s left. Munchkin Deluxe is the perfect alternative.

THEME

                Munchkin is a dedicated deck card game by Steve Jackson Games, written by Steve Jackson and illustrated by John Kovalic, that has a humorous take on role-playing games, based on the concept of munchkins (immature role-players, playing only to "win" by having the most powerful character possible). Munchkin won the 2001 Origins Award for Best Traditional Card Game, and is itself a spin-off from The Munchkin's Guide to Powergaming, a gaming humor book that also won an Origins Award in 2000.

The theme of the game is like any regular RPG; you gain experience, level up, beat monsters, gain treasures. What makes this game different is that it stops at level 10. One player will be declared the winner once he reaches the maximum level.

RULEBOOK

                With regard to reading the rulebook, it’s pretty straightforward like any other game and it’s pretty short too. However, its shortness is also its downfall. It goes through each phase and what you can do during your turn quite clearly and unfortunately, it doesn’t discuss some of the rules thoroughly enough and it’s a little confusing to read. Nonetheless, it’s still quite a read because of the humorous and witty side remarks of the book. If you need a quick rundown of how the game works, watch Will Wheaton on Table Top (Lol!). That’s what I did. 

COMPONENTS

                The regular Munchkin includes two deck of cards and a die. In addition to the 95 Door Cards, 73 Treasure Cards, and the die the Deluxe version of the game includes a game board, 6 colored pawns, and 6 character cards that will represent your gender (because the game lets you change it afterwards).              

                The difference between the regular version and this one, with the additional pieces included, is that it’s meant to make it easier for you to track your character’s progress. Plus, the box is bigger (which is a plus for me since I’m opting to get all the expansions).

MECHANICS

                Let me give you a quick rundown of the game.

  • Each player starts as a level 1 Human with no class (your gender will be based on yourself).
  • You start with 8 cards and during your first turn, you may play any race or class cards as well as any weapons or armors that you have. This will serve as your character creation.
  • At the start of your turn, you may:
    • Play as many cards as you like
    • Trade items with other players
    • Sell items for levels
  • To go up a level, you must defeat a monster by “kicking down a door”. To beat the monster, your combat strength must be one level higher. Your CS is determined by your current level + any modifiers from other cards.
  • If you beat the monster, you get to loot the body and draw extra goodies from the treasure deck.
  • If a player did not draw a monster, he can go “looking for trouble” by playing a monster from his hand and fighting it (but we really don’t want to play anything that we can’t beat do we?).
  • If you did not get to draw a monster from kicking down the door and did not go looking for trouble, you “loot the room” by drawing a second card from the deck and putting it into your hand.

This is a summary of how each turn usually goes. However, the exciting part of game is not the rush to level 10, it’s the part where you get to screw (or cooperate) with each other. Some cards can help either you or the other players. But some can actually reduce a player’s combat strength. Some can even double a monster’s level! This is the part that I love about Munchkin. I can ask for help from the other players; they can either do it out of the goodness of their heart (a guy can dream, yes?) or I can bribe them by giving them some of the loot or some of my other cards. And in return, I’ll also help them with their quest but secretly keeping cards that could steal their level or give negative effects. It makes the game more exciting rather than keeping to the simple method of cooperation don’t you think?

OVERALL

                I can’t stress this enough – Munchkin is a very hilarious game. If you don’t want the tediousness of an RPG, especially setting up all of the characters and reading all of those guides and rulebooks, Munchkin is definitely worth getting.

SCORE

CRITERIA

PERCENTAGE BASE

RAW SCORE

(OUT OF 10)

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Replayability

30%

10

Definitely worth playing again.

Gameplay

25%

10

Straightforward and easy to play.

Theme

20%

10

A refreshing theme from the usual RPG.

Components

15%

8

Added a bonus because of the extra pieces and the board.

Rules

10%

8

A little confusing at times.

Overall

100%

9.5

 

 

 

 

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