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One of Raine's biggest hobbies has always been gaming. It all started with an Atari and spread out to Yu-Gi-Oh!, Magic: the Gathering, and Dungeons & Dragons. As an artist, Raine takes pride in painting models for games as well as making his own terrain. He's also been a writer for many years, working both in the journalism industry and writing pieces of fiction. He decided to create Initiative : Tabletop as a platform to talk about all things gaming that he simply thought were cool, and reviewing games became a part of it!

Guest Post: The Plan – Part 16: Concept Flaws

For some reason, I own a lot of co-operative games. I bring this up since I have talked about a bunch of co-op games in the past and two of the three games this week are co-operative games. I even brought this up to a couple of friends – Is it me that likes the co-operative game or do I buy them since I think the gaming group will like them. I couldn’t tell you since I like competitive games as well. Perhaps I should do a little research on the ‘favorite’ mechanics based on my current collection. That will have to be a job at a later date (and maybe it would be too difficult to pull off). Still it would be an interesting tidbit of information.

Three games off the list this week.

Well the first one was just to get the last of the three Dungeon & Dragons games complete. To that end, I played Dungeon & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt. I was teased about how the game was going to be short and that we can move the next game in ten minutes or so (I have been apart and witness games that could between 10 and 20 minutes so this isn’t as farfetched as it sounds). The group won pretty easily honestly – didn’t even need to use a healing surge. I have heard that the characters from the Drizzt board game are a bit more powerful from the other two and I can see that, but I also think that everything went completely the best it could have. My parting remark (since I’ve talk about these games in detail) is that I wish that they would make a Dragonlance version of the game – I’d pick that one up in a heartbeat!

Brendan Legend of Drizzt

The second game was Asteroyds – this is a programmed movement racing game not unlike RoboRally. Each player has seven segments to program how their ship will move in a given turn (the seventh can be used as a shield to protect from some of the damage you might take). Now the tricky part – before you decide how you want your ship to move, the first player rolls three dice (a red, a white and a blue) and the numbers rolled on the different colors dictate how the many asteroids that litter the area will move. First any ‘red’ ones move two spaces and then the ‘white’ ones move a space. These movements cannot push anything on the board. Finally the ‘blue’ one are moved a space and these asteroids can push a single asteroid. Some asteroids are multiple colors (red/white, white/blue and red/blue). Add a timer (50 seconds for beginners and 20 seconds for experts) and you got a frantic racing game. My only complaint and maybe this would get better with a couple more plays is that since the asteroids move before any ship does, you are at the mercy of the dice if there are any asteroids in your area. Three of the four players (me included) were destroyed when an asteroid just happened to move into our hex. Since the game is suppose to be fast and light hearted –I don’t have an issue with it, now looking back at it, but I was near the end of the race when I was taken out with an unlucky die roll. Some of the players felt that the asteroids should have moved follow normal physics (it was truly possible for an asteroid to magical turn completely around from turn to turn), but that didn’t bother me.

Brendan Asteroyds

Lastly we played Sentinels of the Multiverse – Vengeance. This is going to be hard without bringing up Sentinels of the Multiverse. I guess I should not play any stand alone expansions before the actual original game. Otherwise when I play the original, I won’t have much to write about. Whelp – it is what it is. Sentinels of the Multiverse is a co-operative card game where each player takes the role of a member of a superhero team trying to thwart the villain. Game play is pretty straight forward – first the villain takes a turn by flipping the top card in their deck. If it is an “one shot”, it is discarded after reading and following the text; otherwise it is place in the villain’s area (it might be an effect, a device, equipment or a minion). Play then continues to each player. On your turn, you can play a card, perform a power (each hero’s card has a printed power that they start with, but you can get additional ones throughout the game) and finally draw a card. Once all the players have gone, the environment/location takes a turn by turning the top card over and doing what it says. Play continues until the heroes or villain has been defeated Okay, that’s the basis on how you play the Vengeance expansion, but instead of a single villain there is a team of villains to defeat the heroes. Before each hero, one of the villains takes a turn.   After the last hero, the environment goes and the turn order repeats. In the end, we won the game, but it was taxing to remember a half of dozen villain cards and their effects that were in play at any moment. It didn’t help matters that one of the players had to leave making me double up playing two heroes. The other players didn’t really like the game so it wasn’t all that great of an experience. It’s sad since I really like the base game.

Brendan Sentinels of the Multiverse

Two of the games this week had great concepts, but for whatever reason, they weren’t up to par. Both of these games (Asteroyds and Sentinels of the Multiverse – Vengeance) were played for the first time by any of us this week so take my comments with a grain of salt. I came in enjoying other games like them or their base game so I was pretty excited to get them off the list. I can’t tell you if my enjoyment was lowered since the other players were pretty vocal about not liking these games or if something was really wrong with them. The idea that you can take damage in Asteroyds by the location of your ship and a random die roll is pretty rough. Of course, one could state that you should plan better, but I digress. In the end, I would like to play this one a couple more times before I completely write it off.

In Sentinels, the idea of fighting a full villain team instead of a single villain has its place in pretty much every comic that deal with heroic teams. The only problem is that since it is cooperative, the players are forced to remember between 2 to 4 cards per villain as well as 2 to 4 cards per hero for bonuses and penalties that can affect any and all cards/villains and heroes out there. Add into this effect that a lot of the cards deal with a Nemesis mechanic (keyed to any and all heroes in all expansions) and there is just a lot of process. Again if everyone playing was working together to remember everything it might not be bad, but if one person is trying to process it, it can be mind boggling. I’d like another go with this with experienced players who like the game to see if it is any better.

In the end, sometimes a cool concept just doesn’t make a cool game.

Until next time – Play a game!

Brendan Mayhugh


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