Hey Guys, I'm creating this thread because I know the board game has been launched but I found not much info about how the game works. Please psot wheter you liked the game or not, if you played, or any information on rules/game mechanics.
I'm hijacking this post to send you down to here where I discuss the game
The game's release sort of just snuck up on me and my LGS alike. I just called them and they didn't even know it was out yet :/ Are any big box stores going to be carrying this game or just hobby stores and online retailers?
Hey, guys! Okay, so the short explanation is that this is a hex-based war game. What that means is that all your figures move on the hex grid created by the terrain.
So I just got this game. For those of you who used to play Heroscape, this will look very familiar. The good news is for Heroscape fans is that this product can be used as a new expansion for Heroscape (so yes, you can have Captain America fight it out with Gideon). The cards, while not in the same 'gear' shape as the old Heroscape stuff, roughly match up in point costs and power to older expansions. The bad news is you can't go the other way. This game has a small spell system that uses miniature decks (12 cards). The spells break down to Enchantments and Sorceries (also, 'Hidden Enchantments', which is as awful as it sounds). You can cast these spells (which seems to be just playing them, no mana base required) before you move your units and after you attack (basically, during your two 'main phases').
Before the game, you choose your army. This is the introductory product, so all the armies are essentially pre-made, you grab the planeswalker you want to play and all cards associated with that walker. The game leaves room for custom army building in future expansions with max points of 500. After all players choose, you start with your planeswalkers on the board in the different starting areas (basically just the edge of the board). The game SAYS it's for 2-5 players, but the actual rules support for it is minimal. You can play on teams or in a free-for-all, but the rulebook neglects to mention how turn order is decided after the first player. Once you've picked your armies, you pick a battlefield, which are shown in the back of the book. There are currently only two victory conditions: either be the last planeswalker standing or occupy all the glyph spaces (which are objective markers on the battlefield)
Once you've started, if it's a two player game you've got 30 turns, if it's 3 or more you have 60. The turns are tracked per person, so in a two-player game you've got 15 turns each. This is not a vital mechanic, and can be disregarded pretty easily. The reasoning for this rule is probably because the old Heroscape games could go for hours. The turns break down like this:
Action 1: Draw a spell card
Action 2: Play Spells and Choose an army card
Action 3: Move the figure(s) on the card you chose. If you chose a planeswalker, you can summon up to two squads within 5 spaces of you.
Action 4: Attack
Action 5: Play Spells and End the Turn
Action 1: is simple, so I won't go into depth explaining it. You do not lose the game if your library runs out of spell cards like in real magic.
Action 2: You pick the card belong to a unit in your army. This is the unit you move and attack with. Some units are single heroes (like the planeswalkers) and some are squads of multiple figures. You can also cast spells before Action 3. The basics of units break down like this: Life: The amount of damage a figure from the unit can take (for a squad, it's for each creature in that squad individually - a life total of 3 for a squad means each figure can take 3 damage) Move: This is the number of spaces a unit can move. Some things, like vertical distance or rougher terrain (like water) can impede your movement or require you to use more of your 'move' that flat terrain. Range: This is the distance from which your unit can attack. Power: This is the number of attack dice each figure can roll in an attack. Toughness: This is the number of defense dice each figure can roll in an attack.
Action 3: You can move each figure from the army card you chose up to its move distance. A planeswalker can also summon up to two units within 5 spaces of itself.
Action 4: Attack! This is fairly simple. You declare the attackers and the 'blockers'. If your unit has an ability, you can use it instead of a regular attack. The rules for each ability are laid out on the unit's card. A basic attack consists of the attacking unit rolling it's attack dice versus the 'blocking' unit rolling it's defense dice, plus any relevant modifiers (for instance, being 'above' the other unit allows you to roll an extra dice). The same dice are used for both, each dice has 3 attack symbols, 2 block symbols and a blank side. You then determine damage based on the number of unopposed attack symbols (for instance, if the attacker rolled 3 attacks, and the blocker rolled two blocks, the blocker takes one damage. Unlike in paper magic, damage stays on a unit for the rest of the game unless removed by an ability.
When attacking, there are line of sight rules, and each figure has 'hit zones' (for instance, being able to see a sword doesn't mean you can hit a unit). So you count the number of spaces to your opponent, but you also have to be able to see part of the hit zone of that unit. This allows you to use line of sight to your advantage for smaller units. There isn't very much terrain included in this set, so you won't use it particularly regularly. If you're interested in this, I highly recommend grabbing some old Heroscape terrain off ebay if you can to make the battlefields more dynamic.
If your planeswalker dies, you can keep playing as long as you have units, but you can't cast or draw any more spells.
Action 5: You have your last chance to play spells before you end the turn, move the turn counter up, and pass to the next player.
There is a bit more nuance than I go into here, but these are the basics of the game for anyone who is interested. The game ends when all opposing armies are defeated
REVIEW TIME Rulebook: This rulebook gets a solid 'meh'. The cover is good, but the rest looks like something put together by an intern with access to inDesign instead of the kind of packaging materials we expect from WoTC. It's very plain. The rule book isn't laid out particularly well, either. Sometimes you have to go hunting for the rule you want, and it sometimes forgets to establish a rule for something (like which direction the turn passes in 3 or more player free-for-all. Terrain: The terrain available in this product is rather pathetically limited. Marvel Heroscape, the smallest of the old Heroscape base sets still had dozens of plastic terrain pieces included. This product has 2 1-hex tiles and 2 3-hex tiles. Both of which are 'sand' tiles, which means they're a uniform beige. However, I'm pleased to say that the cardboard terrain base are actually pretty good quality. The game includes a number of 6x8 hex boards that interlock nicely with the other cardboard. The material is rather firm, not flimsy, so I can see it lasting a while. The only other terrain included are two 'ruins' that are basically just vertical, freestanding Xs to break up the game board a little. Overall the terrian is serviceable, but again I recommend you pick up some old Heroscape terrain to help make the battlefield a little less plain. Figures (Planeswalkers): The planeswalkers figures are for the most part quite nice. The paint job on them is poor, but the sculpts are nice and as long as you don't look too closely at the horror that is Liliana's face, you should be okay. This was largely the same with heroscape, and for inexpensive miniatures they'll do. You're always free to repaint if you're into that. Figures (Army): The army sculpts are nice, but their unpainted nature makes the opaque units look rather dull in comparison. Chandra and Jace's armies look cool with their clear plastic, but everyone else's units look drab. You could argue that this is so you never lose your planeswalker.
Packaging: This is nicely packaged for the price, with plastic trays holding the minis, and you can pull up to reveal the cardboard terrain and anything that doesn't fit on the top. Cards: The cards have some weird chocies on them. It would have been nice if they mirrored the real game more.
Gameplay: The general gameplay is fun, but you're not going to quit paper magic for this. This would be fun to interject as a wargame-lite in a game night, and maybe to drab your magic playing friends into the board game realm, but as it stands it's not going to be making any top 10 lists. Overall: This looks and feels like the beta version of a final project. The cardboard terrain is good looking on close inspection, but overall the product just has a lack of polish that is disappointing. I do hope they continue the line. Have miniatures of our favorite planeswalkers is fun, and it's a reasonable price for what it contains - even if the game it's based on provided a LOT more for the same price. Future expansions could really bring this game to life.