For all I know, Allan’s still stuck in Oakland Airport, cell phone dead and out of quarters, reduced to trying to sneak some stale breakfast bacon out of the dumpsters. Or he’s at Gen Con, either unable to get online or too busy with his special top secret work to actually post. So here’s what I have to tell you:
I played a partial game – this baby’s even slower than the original, although it does now have a hard limit of five rounds of play – with a couple of friends on Wednesday. There is not as much special, complicated crap going on as I once thought, with the moon and the underwater cities and all that. Basically, you get energy points as well as armies at the beginning of your turn, and you spend the energy points on Commanders, Space Stations, or Command cards. There are five different Commanders, and which ones you currently have in play governs which types of territories you can invade, as well as which kinds of Command cards you can play. Some of the cards are wicked cool. Space Stations get you to the moon, as well as conferring a defense bonus on your armies that share a territory with it. That bonus, as well as others, means rolling a d8 instead of a d6 for those armies. (That’s what the rules say, anyway: the box comes with no d8s, just d10s. Oops.) This seems both too weak and too strong – I would have made the bonuses a straight +1 or +2. Basically, there’s a lot of extra stuff going on in this game, but most of it is mitigated by the fact that the combat resolution is still totally damned random, and the d6 owns your soul. However, our game didn’t see a lot of early investment in Command cards, and I think that could change everything. We definitely had fun, and we’ll be playing again.
Frag Ships, Munchkin Tags Along
Our review of the beta of Frag seems still to apply – I don’t see any major changes to the game fundamentals or cards, although I haven’t read the rule sheet yet. The new cardboard figures are larger and more theme-appropriate, but I would rather bust out the Doom leads than cut these guys up. I dunno, that’s just me. A double-sided color map, one of its sides similar to the beta map but the other much more open, is also included. Compared to the Frag hype threshold, Munchkin is practically stealth, but it makes perfect sense after the success of the Origins Award-winning Munchkin’s Guide to Power Gaming. It’s an actual Steve Jackson design, with Kovalic art (of course), and while I haven’t checked it out overmuch, early reports say it plays kinda silly and random like Chez Geek – which means long games if you have lots of players. It also comes in a big box, so SJG won’t get so many complaints about having to pay $20 for something so tiny like they did with Chez. So anyway.