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OK, to start off, this is a M"O"BA (Multiplayer "Online" Battle Arena) Type game so your protecting your "bases" with your heroes and you generate little autonomous soldiers to assist.
While never really liking the video game version of this type of game, I actually quite enjoyed the table top version.
Wanting to test the waters before diving too deep, my fiancee and I sat down, watched the 5 minute tutorial video followed by her sleeveing the cards while I read the rules out-loud.
The 5 minute video does an excellent job showing you a super quick over view of parts, areas and heroes but it does miss out on important facts (especially for first game players) for:
1. How to build a deck (Yes, an example is provided in the tutorial in the rules but a quick flash on screen of the deck would have been nice)
2. How to use the outsider (the wording on the card is a little strange and the fact that, if you don't know there will be other outsiders, and you read the provided outsider card "set up, they can't move" followed by his possible actions: MOVE, Skirmish (a action that you can move up to two times), etc you can get very confused.
3. Missing this as an opportunity to display the game as shown in the tutorial to help the two parts flow together
That being said, we followed beginners draft, I was elected first play (which is only a bonus because you get a card that...lives on the table...or in your hand (unclear) and you never switch roles (maybe this is to allow 2nd player to always have the final hero activation?
I chose....red, she chose yellow and blue and I got the remaining green (Everything here has a specific name for the faction, their god and etc but they are complicated and super hard to remember), we build our decks as was exampled in the book, set up the board, got the objective cards and ....started
Truth be told, the game actually is super simple to play on the basic rules, without a worship action you do lose depth but you greatly gain quick action. We were killing either others minions and heroes right away and enjoying the strategy of hero placement and the like.
The outsider (while being complicated to use the first time around) wasn't as powerful as the lore led us to expect (which is actually a great thing as to not allow a huge power shift) and the mechanics and everything flowed very well.
We played a very forgiving game of take back actions, draw cards we forgot to grab etc, and it was actuality enjoyable. The tower attack never happened as we always managed to just be close enough in "mana" strength to avoid tower damage but we understood the concept relatively easily.
I ended up winning by completing the secondary objective of double kill on turn 5 and we both had an enjoyable time through the whole process. I wish we weren't as intimidated by the worship action and the the more advanced character sides but we were actually both very glad to have played the basic game first to understand the core concepts.
+ Cost: for $99 you get a FANTASTIC supply of unique and well detailed miniatures, quality tokens, GAME TRAY and board. Honestly, this is a steal of a price and probably the most cost effective game on the market today (I would know, I own hundreds of them). The content here is close to a CMON KS level of product.
+ Community: I was able to find answers to all my questions within seconds of googling the answer, on top of that their are tons of support vidoes online and a very active discord and facebook community.
+ Insert: This cannot be stressed enough, super well done, the plastic isn't the best, nor is it always easy to remember where very hero fits, but this is just a fantastic bonus, plus it fits sleeved cards (sort of).
+ Miniatures: you get so many cool unique sculpts (YAMI oh my), and the detail and quality is excellent
+ Future support: not only has it been said from day 1 that leagues and new releases will occur ASAP and frequently, they have lived up to it. Today we received an email with a new campaign that has started that allowed us to input our game scores to see which faction has more control over the continent.
+ Variety: Different secondary objectives, card drafts, many hero choices, many outsider choices, etc, etc. The game gives you so much flexibility be it tactical, objective, etc that it makes every game unique and exciting.
- Rulebook Flow: I have to put this first as I think that the rule book is the most important thing in a game, and this one just doesn't have all the information I need. While i know its impossible to list every possible question and situation, I think some major examples (such as setting up the outsider on the game board) are missing and that really hurts. (Yes, there is a FAQ and errata page set up, but it kinda sucks that those things couldn't have been in the rule book that's only a few months old). I also feel that many more example situation explications and diagrams should have been included for game play. The card drafting is a tiny 1 paragraph at the end of the book yet its ...1/3 of the game play? Shouldn't it be front and center? Do I always play with all 4 factions or was that just my tutorial game, can I just play 1 faction...These are my current questions. Again, yes, I know that their are probably answers online and a giant FAQ etc, but this is not a board AND ONLINE game, I should have these answers out of the box.
- Skirmish action: I strongly dislike that I cannot hit minions with this action, while I'm sure its fundamental to some game play mechanic, it's such a bad feeling that my damage 4 +2 card character has to use that attack to blow up a 1 wound 0 Armour nobody dealing 7 damage but then draws a 0 when attacking the hero 1 second later.
- Main Game objectives: So the main, always on objective is break the enemy nexus and you win, woo, but in a 5 turn game, as far as I can tell, unless your opponent leaves one flank completely unprotected and ignores you bulldozing in on that side, it's not going to happen. I guess it's not a huge deal when you have the 3 other mission objectives, I just think that Nexus only win is not possible in a 5 turn game. (Obviously the game designers have play tested this WAY more then my 1 attempt and it must be possible, it just think it's an un-achievable goal, and its the main win condition).
If you enjoy board games with minis and don't hate the MOBA style of game play, you'd be foolish not to pick this up. The game has a small footprint, tons of content, infinity replay-ability, awesome miniatures, asymmetrical factions, uniqueness, community, etc, etc, it really is a great game. While my cons list has more quantity in it than the pros, that's only my first thoughts and changeable aspect. This game has a LOT of potential and I recommend you pick it up and suggest your FLGS start supporting it. Plus I think they offer world wide free shipping on orders of $99 and up (aka the base game) and if that's not customer service, I don't know what is. Very excited to watch this community grow.