So here’s some more Hecatombage for ya, including lots of card art and a number of actual cards, some of which are stacked in such a way as to give one vague ideas about the rules. The art’s well done, and now that it’s been explained to me that the idea is to “take black from M:tG and make it the whole game,” I am less bothered by the theming. The “ooh, scary” stuff is not to my taste, but then, I’m not 15. I’m a little let down that the transparency of the cards isn’t being used in a very wide-ranging way, but I guess there’s no other way to do a tournament-ready game. The kids, they like their nice consistent card backs.
In case you can’t tell, I’m warming up to Hecatomb pretty quickly. I hope they explore some of the possibilities of the other Magic colors, and what would happen to them if they were exploded out into games of their own. I’d be interested to see a hardcore strategic battle of arcane knowledge and control based on blue, or a slam-bang flamefest based on red. Good old red. Nothing beats red.
I’m not sure being 15 is a prerequisite to enjoying this art, though maybe being 15 would help make it look “scary.” Although I like the art, as a whole, I am getting tired of the stylistic “cartoonishly deformed” technique that seems to pervade the medium of gaming art these days. I don’t care how pretty it is anymore; when did realism in artistic depiction for games die? I’d almost prefer the older days of “amateur but trying” b&w art that was the norm of the hobby two decades ago to the “Warhammer 40K inspired” of today. Oh well.
Wheras the art neither thrilled nor dismayed me, I am unimpressed with the general character of the game overall. Mechanically, it seems clever, but I could do without the, “I will reap souls and offer them up to my dark Lord and Master,” schtick. Understand that I’m not offended by it. I just feel that it reflects poorly on our oft-maligned hobby.
Was it silly when Wizards got rid of the Demonic Hordes and Demonic Tutor from the first M:tG set? Yah, I’d say it was and I was glad when they started putting some evil back in M:tG Black. Hecatomb is just a little too over the top. If I still owned a game store, I’d be reluctant to cary it just because I’d hate to have to explain it to a parent – not the parent of a kid who plays it, but a parent who happens to see kids playing it in my store. Can you imagine that conversation? “Well, you see… They’re summoning minions and twisting them into preverse, monstrous forms with dark occult powers to reap enough souls to bring about Armageddon and remake the world in their own sinister visage.”
Doesn’t go over so well to a Poke-mom, does it? Let’s face it, that’s the kind of person who’s not so good at separating one CCG from another. The actions of one part of the industry reflect on the other parts of the industry, whether we like it or not.
Okay, time to turn the rant machine off. To summarize: Hasbro does a lot of good things. I don’t think the Hecatomb theme choice was one of them.
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