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Subject: First Impressions (illustrated) rss

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Steve Carey
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Space Infantry (LnLP)



This is a solitaire game which first started out as a free print-and-play download, and now has evolved to a professionaly produced boxed version from LNL Publishing.

To begin a chosen scenario, the player outfits a Squad (Leader, Assault Team, Demolitionist, etc.) with Resources (grenades, intel, medikit, etc.) and conducts various Missions on pre-plotted maps or via a random Hive generator (that uses randomly placed tiles to create the map).

Here are 3 sample cards:



Here's a sample Hive tile:



I initially was put-off by the high complexity rating of 7/10, but actually found the Basic Game very easy to get into (layered complexity comes in via the Hive, Advanced, and Campaign rules). There are plenty of examples in the rules to help you along.

Each map box is called a Node, and the player will spend variable amounts of time traversing the locale and using Skills to defeat various challenges (e.g., "Repair") while also encountering varied levels of enemy activity ('A' being low, 'C' being high, plus Specials per scenario). In some scenarios, Nodes are random tiles so you don't know what you're going up against.

Here's the Intro Scenario map ("investigate scientific labs on Xargon IV"):



I've only started to explore the game, but there appears to be a ton of variability and replayability here. For example, you can play a scenario with any of six different enemies, and with 8 Basic scenarios, that's 48 different possible Basic Missions alone.

Here's a sample Enemy card:



There is also an ATV (All-Terrain Vehicle) called a Pilum - that's armed with a machine-gun that fires armor piercing rounds - for your Squad to use in some scenarios that have outdoor Nodes... pretty cool.

The game doesn't use dice (though there is an option to do so) - instead, it uses Random Number (RN) chit draws. There's a lot of RN's, but being new to the game, I didn't find it tedious.

Overall there's lots of flavor and fun here - the game reminds me of a labyrinth bug hunt mixed in with some computer game staples (you can possibly "find" Resources at certain marked locations, e.g., intel at a Computer Node). Being modular in design, expandability appears almost limitless.

This game went straight from the mailing package and onto my gaming table today - it looks great, the rules are well-done, the narrative is strong, I like the strategy in setting up your Squads & Resources, and it's just plain fun.

I'm rather impressed with what I've seen so far, and the game has generated a large excitement factor for me.

Well-worth checking out, and I'm very pleased (so far) with this purchase...

[Edit: more play is revealing too many rules questions; I would have liked to have seen some better development here]
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John "Omega" Williams
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Nice overview. What were your thoughts on the components though? The boards, counters, etc?
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Eric Lai
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Interesting... My pre-order copies to Hong Kong is always LATE! Darn it.

Since there seems to be good narration during play, what can you tell us about the game-world's background story?
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Jason Walsh
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What's the difficulty? I mean the difficulty factor in the game...is it easy, hard? Satisfyingly difficult?
 
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Steve Carey
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Omega2064 wrote:
Nice overview. What were your thoughts on the components though? The boards, counters, etc?
Thnx John. IIRC, LnLP said the boards were going to be mounted, but they are not. However, the thick paper maps are fine since I play under plexiglass anyway, I like the less bulk.

For those without plexi, I'd recommend protecting the maps (I have comic book mylars that the 8.5 x 11 sheets can fit into).

The counters and Hive tiles are thin cardboard; again, just fine.

The cards are glossy and thin; I'd recommend putting them in sleeves.

If this game is going to get as much repeated play as I think it will, some minor care should give it a long life.
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Steve Carey
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Garfink wrote:
Since there seems to be good narration during play, what can you tell us about the game-world's background story?
It's generic space opera, Eric. There's no background story provided per se, but I thought a bit of Aliens and Starship Troopers upon first play.
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Steve Carey
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jwalsh1 wrote:
What's the difficulty?
Jason, Basic Game only so far for me (hence "first impressions") so the complexity was nowhere near 7/10 - I'd say 4/10 to get started (figuring out the Basic Game plus the special Mission rules), and then the Hive, Advanced, and Campaigns layer on to that complexity.

Satisyfing so far, yes!
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John "Omega" Williams
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Think Galaxy Rangers, Star Command or Bismarck, with power armour.
Group of experts and soldiers policing space of troublemakers.

Garfink wrote:
Interesting... My pre-order copies to Hong Kong is always LATE! Darn it.

Since there seems to be good narration during play, what can you tell us about the game-world's background story?
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Steve Carey wrote:
Thnx John. IIRC, LnLP said the boards were going to be mounted, but they are not. However, the thick paper maps are fine since I play under plexiglass anyway, I like the less bulk.
While I can probably live with paper maps, I don't like being lead to believe they will be mounted when I order and then discover they are not.

With this incident plus the warped boards I received with Nations at War: White Star Rising, I am going to cancel my other pre-order with LnL. Going forward I'll wait until new LnL games hit retailers and get reviewed. Then I can get an accurate description of what is really in the box, and it's quality before I decide to buy.
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John "Omega" Williams
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40$ is a bit steep for a game with non-mounted boards. But from the looks of it the boards are printed on thick cardstock rather than standard printing paper. (Least one would hope so at that cost!) Aside from that seems fine.

At a guess they may have gone with non-mounted due to some problem with the boards in previous games?

LnL really needs to update the page to follow suit of the changes.
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Steve Carey
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Omega2064 wrote:
40$ is a bit steep for a game with non-mounted boards. But from the looks of it the boards are printed on thick cardstock rather than standard printing paper. (Least one would hope so at that cost!) Aside from that seems fine.
The mounted board issue stems from a post on CSW last year, so in the meantime LnLP may have changed their plans (for whatever reason).

I actually have no complaints at all, and truly feel that I have gotten my money's worth with this product.

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John "Omega" Williams
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I've got quite a collection of micro games and magazine games from the 70s and 80s so posterboard printed boards is not an issue to me. And more importantly the boards and counters all look very good no matter.

From personal experience, the only problem I'd foresee is if the Hive tiles are on thinner posterboard rather than thicker cardstock. It can pose minor issues to placement.
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I could just be remembering wrong, but I don't really remember them actually saying that the boards were going to be mounted. But maybe it was in an email somewhere and I just overlooked it by mistake. (Or maybe they said it somewhere other than their email).

In any case, sure, the game is a bit pricey, but from the little I know, most small-run games tend to be that way. And based on how much fun I think I'll be getting out of it, I suspect it will be well worth the price.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Verily!
There is alot to play through if you try to take on every mission - and try out all the enemy factions - and experiment with squad selection - and explore the hive.

Then add in the eventual option to make custom squads and opponents and the replayability expands even more.
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Eric Lai
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Omega2064 wrote:
Think Galaxy Rangers, Star Command or Bismarck, with power armour.
Group of experts and soldiers policing space of troublemakers.
Steve Carey wrote:

It's generic space opera, Eric. There's no background story provided per se, but I thought a bit of Aliens and Starship Troopers upon first play.
I see, couldn't afford the Warhammer Universe syndrome, or even Earth Reborn. I will just let my imagination run Sci-Fi Wild then.
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sigmazero13 wrote:
I could just be remembering wrong, but I don't really remember them actually saying that the boards were going to be mounted.
See here:

http://talk.consimworld.com/WebX?14@257.doD5cwm6mdE.20@.1dd4...


Quote:
We plan to give it the royal treatment with mounted mission maps, die-cut counters (of course), boxed, the whole works.
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Scott Lewis
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Ah, gotcha; so it was from a different site That may be why I didn't see it.

To be fair, it does say the "planned" on doing it, and that's from over a year ago. It could simply be that the costs would be too much, I don't know.

Mounted maps would have been nice, but I think the quality of what we got was still great, and they are plenty thick enough to stand up to the use of a "map"
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I'm glad you are happy with it, and I appreciate your feedback. Nonetheless, I am still going to cease pre-ordering from LnL so I can be sure what will end up in the final package.
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Marco Arnaudo
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Steve Carey wrote:
For example, you can play a scenario with any of six different enemies, and with 8 Basic scenarios, that's 48 different possible Basic Missions alone.
nice review, thank you for writing it. thumbsup

however, one little detail: the basic missions are 'only' 43, because scenario 004 does not use any of the standard 6 enemies, it has its own big bad stinker and uses that one only. So it's (6 X 7) + 1 = 43. Btw I am getting my frostbitten butt handed to me in scenario 004 RIGHT NOW. The same has happened more often than not in the earlier scenarios, where using different enemies DID enhance replayability a lot. So 43 IS 43... sometimes, you know, the interchangeability of certain elements does not really equal to great variety in gameplay... but here it does! thumbsup

p.s. Hate the cultists... grrr...
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Good catch, thnx. Yes, the replayability is terrific.

Personally, I hate the Dark Roots... grrrrrr...
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Steve Carey wrote:
Personally, I hate the Dark Roots... grrrrrr...
they're the only ones I ever won against!! They kept firing at me while they are much better in melee, but they ARE plants after all, so you can't exactly expect them to be Stonewall Jackson...

Restarting S004 now...
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marnaudo wrote:


Restarting S004 now...
AAR:
turn 28, second box. The Leviathan shows up, attacks in melee, misses; we give him 4 wounds with fire, then throw a grenade, and draw +, 3, 6. He gets 13 wounds. He can absorb one. He is dead. I win.
Man, this scenario can be quite random. And winning like this, bah, just disappointing...
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marnaudo wrote:
marnaudo wrote:


Restarting S004 now...
AAR:
turn 28, second box. The Leviathan shows up, attacks in melee, misses; we give him 4 wounds with fire, then throw a grenade, and draw +, 3, 6. He gets 13 wounds. He can absorb one. He is dead. I win.
Man, this scenario can be quite random. And winning like this, bah, just disappointing...
I'd think of it more as scoring a Critical Hit - imagine that grenade going down the beast's throat or something.

I recall once drawing the + chit, followed by a 0 and a 1 chit, so one never knows.
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