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Subject: First impressions rss

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Rich Moore
United States
Oxford
Ohio
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I've played 3 games now...just thought I'd post some of my impressions/surprises/disappointments.

First, DG is deck builder in the vein of Ascension. It's got a few variations on this mechanic, but otherwise, I don't think it is going to revolutionize deck builders. That being said, I don't own Ascension, or other deck builders like it, so I think it's a good fit for my collection.

One thing I noticed is that there is a lot of pressure to burn the start cards from your hand than in other deck builders I play (mainly, Thunderstone). The start cards are going to really slow you down in the long run. Thankfully, there are built in mechanics to help you burn cards (the Hungry Dead minion on the board) as well as many of the cards in the deck that have powers that help you burn cards.

Some of the mechanics that fell a little flat in my mind were the Dark secrets and the Shadow deck. The dark secrets are cards that Heroes obtain through various card abilities and are worth -3 points if you have them at the end of the game. Thing is, I haven't really had this happen as you destroy them once you draw them and have to draw one of the Secrets cards. These cards are really not that bad...the worst add an extra resource to the Villain and some actually help you. So, overall, it's not a big deal to get them.

The Shadow deck is a timer that if it gets to 10 cards, the Villains win. Thing is, so few cards trigger this, that it has never gone above 5 cards in my games, and it has never been an issue. So, I feel like it fails in its intent to create a sense of imperativeness to your actions.

As well, the Villains aren't all that strong or scary...some of their in game effects (like raising the cost of location cards) are not game changing and even their fight effects aren't too bad. It is true, though, that it's difficult to win if another person racks up the villains. That being said, in one game, one character got all three villains, but ended up tieing another player who had got a card that gave bonus points for regular minions defeated. Still, if you aren't beating any villains, you probably are not going to win.

Most of the strong decks I've built include cards that allow you to draw more cards to your hand. For example, the Crossroads allows you to draw 3 extra cards (so +2 net). One strategy seems to be to get as many of these types of cards in your deck as possible to allow you to cycle through your deck and get the cards you want. Indeed, hand size and cycling are huge in this game, as what you can do is only limited by the total number of resources you have. There are actually some characters...Cartwright who let's you draw 2 and keep 1 and the smuggler who let's you have a hand of 7 cards that seem a bit more powerful than the other characters because of this.

There are some sweet cards in the deck...those that give you bonus points for every minion, or every gear, location, or ally you bag. These can lend themselves to some tailored decisions in deck building (for example, focusing on scarfing up gear if you get extra pts). You'll also need to pay attention to the colors the Villain has. If the villain has combat and spirit, you'll probably want to start training in those areas if you want to have a chance at the big points.

Anyway, I'm having fun with the game. It's definitely a good game for me because I love the Touch of Evil theme and I don't already own a deck builder with similar mechanics. It's not the most innovative deck builder (it doesn't seem to offer too much "new" to rock the deck builder world), but it is most certainly a fun game.

Oh...another thought on the Coop variant...definitely seems tacked on. Basically, they said that in coop strike effects affect all players, including the player who played the card. Thing is, you can chose not to play the card (avoiding the good effect, but avoiding the bad effects). Eh...
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Scott Everts
United States
Foothill Ranch
California
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Thanks for the impressions Rich, Not surprised it's not very innovative but glad to hear it's still fun. I'm looking forward to trying it and thanks for the pointer on how important it is to burn start cards.

I'm sad to hear the coop variant isn't great. I prefer playing the original game coop so was hoping it would work here. Do you feel it's not worth playing that way?
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Jake Waltier
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I will jump in to say the co-op mode has a rule that can discard minions into the shadow pool which is the only way the shadow pool will ever matter. It's definitely an underutilized mechanism. The whole game feels under-developed in that same way. I feel like it's about 95% of the way there, and with some house rules you could easily make it into the game you want it to be. If you're playing with just the rules as written, it's no more engaging than any other deckbuilder.

I would also like to say it's actually a lot more like the DC deckbuilder than Ascension, but they're already similar anyway.
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Jamie Vantries
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Regarding co-op mode, it specifically says you have to play all the minions in your hand.
 
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Mark Griffiths
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Wrexham
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Had my first (and, so far, only) game this evening, and I have to say I really kinda liked it! I felt it was massively like DC/Street Fighter, which for me made it so much easier to play because of my familiarity with that, but being a huge fan of AToE, it made it a much more enjoyable game than the others.

Whether that diminishes over time, who knows. I don't play DBGs unto death, so I doubt I'll burn out too soon, but still. It seems like a really good game, and I'm very pleased to have it in my collection!
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Fr. Ryan Lozano
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Lockhart
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Has anyone put together or is anyone working on a quick start guide or turn order list for this? I just got it yesterday, pulled it out of the box and got it all set up, tried to play through a turn solo in order to teach it to others, and got frustrated and put it back in the box... It's tough to know (at least for for, at first glance) which icon on the card you're paying versus what that card does for you, a lot of the cards are just multiple copies of the same thing, and the die included doesn't seem to function for anything but player order - am I missing something? I love ToE, and really want to love this one too...
 
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Jason Sly
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The payment cost is indicated in the top left, once in your hand that can be ignored and everything below the illustration is the cards' effects or spending power. The Omen Die isn't used a ton, but it comes up occasionally to randomly create a cost or reward(roll the die and an enemy costs this many more combat to defeat, for example.)
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