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Subject: Get Off My Lawn: a bitter old man reflects on change rss

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This review is intended primarily for people who are wondering how the new Fantasy Flight version compares to their old Chessex or fan-made set, and for people who want to laugh at an old & angry man's unwillingness inability to recognize & appreciate improvements. (Apparently this is part of a series of reviews complaining that new editions are not unqualified improvements over old ones.)

As the gold standard for comparison, I will use my 5th edition base set. Below, some of the things I complain about may in fact have been introduced in later Chessex editions or expansions. If I don't like something in this edition, and you point out that it's not FFG's fault, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Component quality & cosmetic stuff

There are quite a few cosmetic changes which stand out: the miniatures, the bigger boards, the card art. Let's take a closer look in that order.

Miniatures. Bah! (You can quote me on that.) To quote myself, cruddy components are part of the charm; they let you know the gameplay's what matters.

Board Game: Wiz-War (eighth edition)

The sculpts themselves are actually pretty nice. And... all right... I guess they are easier to pick up & move around than flat cardboard counters, so in that respect, they're an improvement. Fine. And the bases have tabs on them for holding treasures, so that's neat too. (Although, after a single play, some treasure markers were visibly torn up from getting inserted into the bases.) Also, when a wizard transforms into a werewolf or whatever, the miniature pops off the base and a new one drops in, so that's pretty neat.

(It looks like the squares are large enough, and the bases on the miniatures small enough, that you can fit all four wizards in one square on those occasions when a gang-stomping is required. Whether they still fit when you add a couple Create Wall markers & four crack markers & two dropped treasures & a Tacks marker, I'm not sure.)

So, although I was prepared to dislike them, the miniatures may actually be an improvement.

The larger boards. As the above picture shows, the new boards are almost twice as large as the old ones. That's pretty nice. (If you made your own set, the effect is probably less significant; the new boards are 9 1/2" wide.) One interesting thing is that, rather than being blank for shuffling, the back side of each sector is a second sector with a new, more open layout. (I believe the issue being addressed was that some initial board configurations are not "fair," so the intent was to give shorter runs to enemy treasures.)

(On that point--yes, you can often look at a starting layout and say, "he can reach a treasure on his first turn; it's going to take me three or four turns to reach one; therefore, I'm hosed," but things change so quickly & easily in this game that it never seemed like a real problem to me. But, the new maps do add some variety, so that's good.)

Some fan versions have used colored markers to indicate each wizard's home base, so that you know which base is yours even after sectors are relocated, or home bases are swapped, etc. The thousand-or-so tokens included in the FFG version are all for other things, though; instead, they color-coded the boards themselves. This means that the green wizard always uses the sector in the image above as his or her base... and at the start of the game, your color is what gets randomly determined.

From gallery of kuhrusty
There are enough people who are "weird" about their player color--including, say, individuals who may have been the sinister orange wizard in every game for the last 20 years--that the new approach is clearly an abomination, a perversion, a violation of the laws of nature so shocking & egregious that nothing more needs to be said about it.

The card art & graphic design. Here are a couple examples of the changes:

Board Game: Wiz-War (eighth edition)

Yeah, they have pictures now. Let's talk about that first.

The card art is bad. That is, the illustrations may be fine on their own, but they add nothing to the game, and they take up space on the cards, which causes the part that matters, the text, to get cranked down to an even smaller font size. And there are cards with even more densely-packed text than that Lightning Bolt card! I'm not getting goddamn bifocals so that I can play Wiz-War, you understand?

(For a second opinion, I turned to a select panel of art historian/Wiz-War fanatic 11-year-olds, and the unanimous verdict was, "That's not what Powerthrust should look like!")

Part of the reason for the pictures on the cards seems to be so that corresponding tokens (thorn bushes, created walls, etc.) wouldn't need text; they just have similar pictures. That's not an improvement. A drawing of a brown rosebud (or maybe it's a wasp nest?) is no more representative of a dust cloud than a token with some dots and the words "DUST CLOUD"; it's just slower.

Adds nothing, less functional. Hate it.

At first I was enraged that they had replaced the clear "ATTACK," "NEUTRAL," "COUNTERACTION" labels on cards with icons ("so, on your turn, you can play one red flowery thing, and any number of green swirly things, and..."), but that didn't take too long to get used to during play. It does seem a little less easy to explain to new players, though: "Cards that say COUNTERACTION are the only ones you can play out of turn" vs. "Cards that have this purple symbol are... no, that's dark red, not purple."

"L.O.S." on cards has been replaced with some symbol of a spoon or a bare breast (see the upper right corner of the new Create Wall card above). This is OK, but it's also used in the card text, so you'll get to read stuff like this aloud: "The Dust Cloud blocks , and wizards and creatures in the square have no except to themselves and the Dust Cloud itself." (There are four symbols: yourself, adjacent, LOS, and "anywhere.") It's nice that every spell card has one of these in the same place, but they're applied a little strangely: note that the Lightning Bolt above has an "anywhere" symbol, even though it can only be cast in a straight line from your square. (I guess they couldn't put , because that includes diagonal lines.)

All spell cards also have one of three duration symbols: instant, temporary, or permanent (lower right in the cards above), which is nice.

Some spell cards have a number printed in the bottom center; that means they can be played as a number instead of as the spell. (More on this below.) Why the heck that's printed in the bottom center of the card instead of on an edge where you can see it when you fan your cards out, I don't know.

The cards feel really thin, but it turns out they're no thinner than the cards in my Chessex version, so I can't complain about that.

Board Game: Wiz-War (eighth edition)
Other component changes seem to be intended to eliminate paper & pencil from the game. For example, each player now tracks their own hit points with two cardboard disks held together with a plastic grommet. (That's a fistfight waiting to happen...) Another example is the tokens used for marking damage taken by walls & doors. Oh yeah, they changed the rules for damage taken by walls & doors.

Gameplay

There are quite a few changes to the rules. Before looking at what changed, though, let's talk about what didn't change, and why it's what disappoints me most about this edition.

We used to have a lot of arguments about different card interactions. For one example of many, Visionstone lets you see (and cast spells) through a wall; someone uses it to cast a fireball through a wall at someone else, who uses Full Reflection to bounce it back; then the first guy says he shouldn't get hit by the spell because, look, Visionstone says right here that it "only functions when YOU want it to." That would start an argument about basic physics, the designer's intent, the definition of "functions," "when," and "want," and so on, until finally someone would settle it by flipping a coin. This would repeat until I was the losing party in an argument, at which point I would poutily write the obviously correct interpretation on the card so that at least there would be no question the next time. (And, yes, some cards bore multiple clarifications, with earlier clarifications crossed out. Please act surprised about that.)

So, every time you drew a card with a clarification scribbled in, you knew that was the outcome of at least one argument.

Board Game: Wiz-War

But, this was a game with six half-size pages of rules. If you couldn't find a rule quickly, it wasn't in there.

The FFG edition ballooned up to 18 full-size pages of rules--about 6 times the surface for your eyeballs to scan when you're looking for something. In exchange for that, I expect the game to be solid.

However, it doesn't appear that they improved the game at all in that respect. In our first play, we had to stop the game at least twice to argue over the intent of cards or rules. (One was Backlash on a Fireball: Backlash says "the caster of the canceled attack spell then suffers magical damage equal to the canceled spell's energy"; Fireball does 5 points of magical fire damage, but it doesn't say it has 5 "energy"; is the intent that the Fireball caster takes one point of damage, or five? We didn't find a clarification in the rulebook. Another argument was whether Pass Through Wall lets you pass through doors. That's not a new card or concept; people had this same argument 20+ years ago, and yet neither the card nor the rulebook clearly & obviously say what the intent was.)

Dammit, you guys had twenty years to straighten out ambiguities & questions; how could you leave old ones & add new ones!?

Or, take a third example. You see the text of that new Lightning Bolt card above? (Go ahead, get your bifocals; I'll wait.) Reading that, I can guarantee one argument we'll have about it, and I bet either there is, or will be soon, a rules thread where someone asks the same question one of my friends will ask. Why isn't that question answered on the card?

Another one which came up in our second game was Lightning Bolt vs. Full Shield. Lightning Bolt vs. Full Shield, how could there be any question there!? Well, Lightning Bolt no longer targets a wizard; you fire it down the hall, and it damages everyone in its path. Full Shield says "Cancel 1 target spell targeting you as it is cast." That's two new rules arguments right there: first, the rules are pretty specific about declaring a target when you attack, and you're definitely not doing that with Lightning Bolt, but it seems crazy that you can't use a Full Shield on a Lightning Bolt.

Then, once everyone agrees that you can use a Full Shield on a Lightning Bolt despite it not being a "spell targeting you," you're going to get in an argument over the meaning of "as it is cast." If Red fires the lightning bolt, and Green is between Red and Blue, and Blue casts Full Shield, does that mean Green--who's between the caster and the shield--doesn't take damage either? That's what a literal reading of the card says, but that's bogo-thematic. (And if you decide that Green is affected, then you're going to have a third argument over whether Yellow, who's behind Blue, is affected too.)

I don't mind when rules don't cover every contingency; what I do mind is when you can't even tell what the designer intended. With all the history behind this game, how did this stuff never come up?

Now I'm mad! Let's talk about something else. Like what they did change. (I intended to put these in roughly increasing order of significance, but that didn't work out.)

You can't have more than 20 life. This doesn't come up that often, but it's a limitation introduced by using those cardboard dials for tracking hit points. Whatever.

You can punch someone from one square away. Whatever. I didn't really see this as a problem needing to be fixed.

You start with 5 cards instead of 7. I actually like this, as it slightly reduces the "hold on, let me read my cards" delay at the start of the game. But, this wasn't really a problem; we just played that whoever finished reading his cards first just started playing first.

The victory conditions: instead of playing to 2 treasures on your base or last-wizard-standing, you play to 2 VP, and you get VPs for... having treasures on your base and killing wizards. The effect is to loosen the victory conditions once wizards start dying, which seems OK to me.

Changes to some cards. I can't comment much on this because I'm not very familiar with cards outside of the edition I have, but there are some changes of varying significance: the Lightning Bolt thing above, Fill Square With Stone being destroyable, Destroy Wall only doing 2 damage to adjacent wizards (lame!), Master Key no longer displayed immediately. Oh, and no Buddy!? I guess it doesn't matter that Destroy Wall only does 2 damage, then! (We have two goddamn kinds of shrubbery in this edition, but no Buddy?) It looks like some of the more brutal cards like Amplify, Medusa, Lock in Place, and Sudden Death are gone, too. So are Speed, Ugly, Reverse , Power Run...

Schools of magic. There are quite a few more cards, and one way runs of all attacks or all counteractions are reduced is by organizing the cards into schools of magic, and picking three of those sets (plus one small base set) which are shuffled together to form the deck for that game. (Although there are a lot of cards I haven't seen before, I don't know how many of them may have been in fan versions. There are also expansion & fan cards which aren't in this edition: no pit traps, portcullis, traps, wands, monsters, swap home bases, permawarp, etc. I can't say whether that's good or bad--I've seen a bloated deck with a bad distribution of number cards be not so much fun--but you can be sure those missing cards will be in one of the first three expansions, ha ha.) Anyway, although it adds some down time between plays, I think FFG's smaller deck of rotating subsets is a good way to handle the larger stack of cards, and to tune the game for the style of play your friends prefer.

You can pass through doors in your own sector. I'm dubious about this one. For one thing, it seems to decrease the usefulness of Pick Lock and the Master Key, because they're applicable in fewer cases. (Actually, related to doors--I can't tell whether or not doors are supposed to block LOS in this version! I assume they do, but I can't find anything in the rules saying they do, and they're painted translucently on the boards... The closest I see is Visionstone, which says you can cast spells through walls and doors.)

Stunned instead of losing turns. Thornbush and Lighningblast Bolt now stun you for a turn, during which you can move or attack. I don't think I like that; many a game has been won or lost by that one-turn delay, and when it comes down to the end, usually you only need to move or attack anyway.

You can't destroy walls on "outer edges." Lame! You can't pass through them, either; you can only "auto-warp" at the doorways printed on the boards. (Kids today can't visualize the dungeon as the 3-dimensional surface of a 4-dimensional hyperdungeon!? Bah!)

Created/destroyed walls on sector edges disappear when one of the two sectors moves or rotates. Lame!

Picking up objects other than treasures doesn't end your turn. Instead, it costs one movement point. Whatever.

Some spells can be played as number cards. Before the game was released, I thought I read something saying all the number cards were going away, and all spells were going to be playable as numbers as well. (That's actually what interested me most about this edition.) That's not quite what happened: some spell cards (about 2 in 7) have a "2" or "3" printed at the bottom, and can be played as those numbers instead of as spells; numbers 4-6 are still on separate cards. I like this change--it neatly reduces the odds of both "dammit, I have no numbers" and "dammit, all I have are numbers," and adds some interesting choices (Drop Object is a game-saver, but you may really need to play it as a 2 instead). I wish they had gone farther with this (maybe they did during development, and it didn't work?), but even in its limited form, I'm calling this an improvement.

Changes to how walls & doors take damage. Instead of tracking walls' & doors' hit points on a piece of paper, you place "crack" tokens on the board. Each crack represents 3 points of damage... and if you do less than 3 points of damage at once, you don't place a crack marker. (Doors take 3 cracks to destroy, and walls take 5.) If you do 5 points of damage in one attack, that's still only one crack. But, the main thing here is, you can no longer punch your way out of a closet! (Not that you ever want to do that, but I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said, "there's only one thing worse than punching your way out of a closet, and that's not punching your way out of a closet.") If the point of this change was to keep people from having to use pencil & paper instead of a handful of "crack" tokens, I don't think it's a win for players.

Spells must be maintained. This is probably the biggest change. Now, when you cast Create Wall (for example), the Create Wall card stays in front of you, and continues to count against your hand limit. And, you can cancel those maintained spells any time during your turn! My first thought is, I hate this, and it strikes me as just a change-for-the-sake-of-change. Yes, it makes the game different, but better? It was sweet, sweet justice when someone created a wall or a solid block of stone early in the game and they later regretted it, and that's no longer possible. Heck, now there's no risk in running into a dead end, creating a wall behind yourself, and casting Swap on another player. I don't think I would ever use this rule.

"Uphill... both ways... in the snow."

Here's what's bad about the various changes which make the game different without making it clearly better.

Before, if I sat down to play with someone who already knew how to play, all we had to do was mention any house rules. (I use one.) And, when running through the rules with new players, I just had to mention that one thing: "Also, if you play with other people, they will be using this rule, but we don't use that."

Now, if I want to play with someone who plays the FFG version, either I have to use the FFG version too, and negotiate their menu of optional rules--"I like Uncluttered Minds, Heavy Items, and Permanent Creations... no, Heavy Items is the one where you have to end your turn after picking up anything"--or use my Chessex version and explain (and remember) a whole pile of differences: "instead of cracks, walls and doors have hit points..." And for new players, it's even worse, no matter what edition we're using: "What I'm going to explain is how we play Wiz-War; if you play it with anyone else, it may be completely different." That's messy & complicated, and it didn't have to be that way.

(For a simple example of this, just a couple days ago someone asked in a session report whether we were playing correctly, because they didn't realize FFG had changed the rules.)

(I never played Cosmic Encounter before FFG's version; can anyone comment on whether they introduced a similar degree of seemingly arbitrary changes, and if so, whether it made things as ugly for long-time players as I think their Wiz-War will? It seems like Cosmic Encounter is so modular that agreeing on the game is the first step in playing anyway: "OK, yes rewards & hazards, no tech, yes freewheeling flares...")

Now get off my lawn.

As I said, I do like some of the changes. I also like the idea of Wiz-War being back on store shelves. However, I'm really disappointed by the poor playtesting/quality of the rules & card text, and by the rules changes which don't actually improve the game.

So, if you already have a Chessex or fan-made copy, should you get the FFG version? I'm leaning toward no. The three reasons the answer might be yes for you are:
- larger boards & miniatures for use with your classic set.
- to indirectly thank Tom Jolly for the years of fun you've gotten out of his game, especially if you made your own copy. (I hope he benefits from the sale of each FFG copy...)
- because you're going to be swamped by a wave of people who only know how to play the FFG version anyway. (The paranoid--certainly not me--might wonder whether they made some of those changes for this reason, like Microsoft adding proprietary extensions to open APIs.)

If you don't have any copy of Wiz-War... well, it sucks to be you. Not owning Wiz-War isn't a serious option, so you're pretty much stuck buying the FFG edition, and then listening to a bunch of pointless complaining every time you get stuck playing with someone like me.
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Evan Stegman
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It seems partly the rule problems were your own fault. You didn't like the way it worked so house ruled it from the way the cards/rules are written then complain the rules don't cover your house rule.


Backlash clearly says the caster suffers damage equal to the energy. For some reason, you decided to ignore that and decide the amount of damage should be related to the damage not the energy even though Backlash doesn't say any such thing. If you just follow the card, it is very clear. Having the Backlash damage based on the damage it would inflict instead of the energy cost of the card is a house rule since that's not what the card says.


Same goes for Lightning Bolt vs. Full Shield. The Full Shield card is clear that it only applies to spells the holder is a target of. Lightning Bolt clearly does not target the player so clearly does not apply. Saying you are going to ignore the actual text of the card and make it apply to spells the holder is not a target of is a house rule since that is not what the card says. All the rest of your problems about other wizards in the way stem from implementing this house rule.


Does Pass Through Walls work through doors? The rules describe walls and doors as separate things so as written, the answer is no. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if this one is errated but the rules are not ambiguous it's just you decided it should work through doors even though that is not what it says. Maybe it should but until an official errata, that is not the way it is written.


All of your questions seem to arise because you started with the assumption that what the cards say might not be right. That is you want the card to work differently than it does, it is the card's fault. If you do what the cards actually say instead of introducing ambiguity that is not there, things will go more smoothly (although there are issues with the rules, I don't see a problem with the ones you cite).
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Matt Shinners
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kuhrusty wrote:
"L.O.S." on cards has been replaced with some symbol of a spoon or a bare breast (see the upper right corner of the new Create Wall card above).
That's also quite obviously an eye.

While I disagree with a lot of the arguments in the review (to me, it seems like you went in wanting to not like the changes, and some were so good that you begrudgingly had to; but others weren't so obvious that you had to change your mind), I think this is a fantastic review. I have a complete idea of all the components, rules, and gameplay, because you went into so much depth to compare it to the old version.
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Frank Eisenhauer
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EvanMinn wrote:
Same goes for Lightning Bolt vs. Full Shield. The Full Shield card is clear that it only applies to spells the holder is a target of. Lightning Bolt clearly does not target the player so clearly does not apply. Saying you are going to ignore the actual text of the card and make it apply to spells the holder is not a target of is a house rule since that is not what the card says. All the rest of your problems about other wizards in the way stem from implementing this house rule.


Does Pass Through Walls work through doors? The rules describe walls and doors as separate things so as written, the answer is no. Having said that, I wouldn't be surprised if this one is errated but the rules are not ambiguous it's just you decided it should work through doors even though that is not what it says. Maybe it should but until an official errata, that is not the way it is written.


All of your questions seem to arise because you started with the assumption that what the cards say might not be right. That is you want the card to work differently than it does, it is the card's fault. If you do what the cards actually say instead of introducing ambiguity that is not there, things will go more smoothly (although there are issues with the rules, I don't see a problem with the ones you cite).
The problems might not arise If one sticks to the card-text like you suggest, but the gameplay becomes less logical ( I dare say "realistic").

Hey Mr.Kuhrusty, can I mow your lawn?
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Jeff Wiles
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Darn it, Rusty, I had decided I didn't need this.
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Evan Stegman
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eisenphx wrote:


The problems might not arise If one sticks to the card-text like you suggest, but the gameplay becomes less logical ( I dare say "realistic").

Hey Mr.Kuhrusty, can I mow your lawn?
I would say the backlash one is logical. It is that the spell gets aborted before it leaves the wizard so the energy does damage to him. That's why it could damage even if you use it on a spell that wouldn't normally cause damage. It wouldn't be logical for it to damage for some spells based on energy and on others based on the damage the spell would normally produce.

Same goes for Lightning bolt vs. Full Shield. The way the magic of the shield works is that it messes with the targeting of the spell - spells that target can't find you. Lightning bolt has no target so the shield hiding you as a target is ineffective. Imagine there is an earthquake spell that target no one. I wouldn't expect a spell that affects targeting of myself to help me in that case either.

Walls are made of stone. Doors are made of wood. The spells only work on certain materials.

All pretty logical.
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Brad Miller
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As someone who was on my "first hiatus from gaming", (sophomore year in college), when WW first came out, let me just say...

cry cry cry

I am firmly camped out in, what you appear to feel is, your "lawn".

laugh laugh laugh
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Paul Imboden
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kuhrusty wrote:
(I never played Cosmic Encounter before FFG's version; can anyone comment on whether they introduced a similar degree of seemingly arbitrary changes, and if so, whether it made things as ugly for long-time players as I think their Wiz-War will? It seems like Cosmic Encounter is so modular that agreeing on the game is the first step in playing anyway: "OK, yes rewards & hazards, no tech, yes freewheeling flares...")
FFG did a damn good job updating Cosmic without breaking things along the way. The few powers whose flares they DID change came with "Classic" flares to be used if you preferred.

If anything, the cards and races now list exactly when they can be used, which makes things easier for new players to understand (in my experience).
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David Dawson
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This review was awesome. After seeing comparisons of both versions, though, I don't think the changes will bother me that much. Especially since so many of the rules are included as optional variants in the new version regardless.

I read somewhere, for what it's worth, that Kevin Wilson actually didn't want to have any art on the cards (like Cosmic Encounter, actually). It would have been nice to have clearer cards and bigger text, but I also quite like the art on them, so it's a bit of a wash to me.

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Ken B.
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I own a Chessex version as well as the new FFG version, which I ponied up the cash for.

I am grateful to own both, if for no other reason than despite the fact I loved Wiz-War, I was tired of its ass-tacular production values. No more cheap, easily bent business cards, no more flat cardboard wizards (though I had replaced mine with appropriately-colored Mage Knight figures awhile back), and no more small, slightly curved boards.

Also, no more box that was @!#$@$# useless for storing the game, if you wanted to include, oh, I don't know, dice for tracking HP and damage to objects, that sort of thing.

I'll keep my Chessex set as it's a part of history, but I sincerely doubt I'll be going back to it, probably ever.

Same deal with Cosmic, except there is no reason to own an older version of Cosmic considering all the awesome things FFG has done with it and continues to do with it.

Great review though, Kuhrusty.
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Rob Rob
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Great tongue in cheek review. And further proof that (at least two) people just don't get humor on the internet.
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EvanMinn wrote:
All of your questions seem to arise because you started with the assumption that what the cards say might not be right. That is you want the card to work differently than it does, it is the card's fault. If you do what the cards actually say instead of introducing ambiguity that is not there
If there's a card named "Full Shield," but it's not applicable when an enemy wizard shoots a lightning bolt at you, then yeah, what the cards say is not right!

EvanMinn wrote:
Walls are made of stone. Doors are made of wood. The spells only work on certain materials.

All pretty logical.
Great--except, going by your approach of only doing exactly what the rules actually say, doors aren't made of wood, and they don't block LOS.

It's the discrepancy between what the rules & cards say, and what they actually mean--and the resulting in-game confusion & disagreements--that makes me say the game was poorly written and/or playtested. "Think of the physics, man" is a recurring joke around here because of how lame it is to have to appeal to science to figure out how a description of a magical spell should be interpreted. FFG had a chance to do better.
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Dan Conley
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Love the review! I'm quite happy with my 5th ed. set for now. I may cave and buy the FFG at some point in the future, but I'm not sure why I would...
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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When are you going to move to Corvallis, Rusty? I'm getting damned tired of waiting.
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kuhrusty wrote:
Great--except, going by your approach of only doing exactly what the rules actually say, doors aren't made of wood, and they don't block LOS.
Not quite correct, Doors do block LoS. This is clarified in the errata. The rulebook incorrectly on Page 9 shows an LoS arrow going through a door, the errata clarifies that it should stop before the door.

If you want to nit-pick you could argue they still haven't explicitly stated doors block LoS. However, third paragraph under 'Line of Sight and adjacency' states:
Rulebook wrote:
Line of sight may be traced through objects, treasures,
wizards, and creatures as long as their Magic card does not
say that they “fll the entire square.”
This goes through the list of things that LoS can be traced through, and Doors are explicitly mentioned in the previous section as a distinct category from 'objects, treasures, wizards, and creatures' and also never 'fill the entire square'. Thus Doors block LoS, and this is made fairly clear in the errata.

This wouldn't be an FFG game without some errata clarifying some crucial aspect to the rules
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Kurt
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"Dungeon Quest" is the game you're looking for to compare.

They did many of the same things: Extended a simple ruleset into a book that's as long as Arkham Horror's, added rules that made didn't help (and made it worse, like the card combat), etc. Drakon fared a bit better, but is missing some of the tiles form the original.

Dungeon Quest isn't bad with a bunch of house rules, but it could have learned from 20 years of people playing it to fix a number of things.

That being said, I too am glad this is back on the shelf and bought a copy despite having made one last year before the announcement. Supporting Tom Jolly is a great thing to do. He actually e-mailed me back 7 years ago when I had some questions about finding Drakon (before I knew it was going to be reprinted by FFG). He's a very friendly guy. I hope he gets his share for this game.

I may just shuffle up my home made decks and use them with the FFG bits.
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Oh, and great review. This is a highlight for me:

Quote:
But, this was a game with six half-size pages of rules. If you couldn't find a rule quickly, it wasn't in there.

The FFG edition ballooned up to 18 full-size pages of rules--about 6 times the surface for your eyeballs to scan when you're looking for something. In exchange for that, I expect the game to be solid.
It took me literally half an hour of skimming and rereading the rules (after reading the "Uncluttered Minds variant and realizing that some things remained in your hand after casting...) to find where they hid the "Items count against hand size" rule. I'll give you a hint, it wasn't with the rules on objects or permanent spells which is odd, because they had no problem with being verbose throughout.
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TheJayTee wrote:
This goes through the list of things that LoS can be traced through, and Doors are explicitly mentioned in the previous section as a distinct category from 'objects, treasures, wizards, and creatures' and also never 'fill the entire square'. Thus Doors block LoS
Oh, no way, not being in the list of things which don't block LOS doesn't mean they do; the rules say what things do block LOS, and doors aren't in that list either. (But, yes, I agree that they do block LOS, despite what the rules said.)

TheJayTee wrote:
This wouldn't be an FFG game without some errata clarifying some crucial aspect to the rules
You know, elsewhere, when I see people say FFG sucks for being unable to ship a game without a pile of errata, I think to myself, "well, they're being awfully harsh, these things are complicated" ...but this is Wiz-War. They had time to get it right. FFG, you suck for being unable to ship a game without a pile of errata!
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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kuhrusty wrote:
You know, elsewhere, when I see people say FFG sucks for being unable to ship a game without a pile of errata, I think to myself, "well, they're being awfully harsh, these things are complicated" ...but this is Wiz-War. They had time to get it right. FFG, you suck for being unable to ship a game without a pile of errata!
It makes Señor Mysterioso wonder whether they are muy bueno:

From gallery of Sphere
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kuhrusty wrote:
TheJayTee wrote:
This goes through the list of things that LoS can be traced through, and Doors are explicitly mentioned in the previous section as a distinct category from 'objects, treasures, wizards, and creatures' and also never 'fill the entire square'. Thus Doors block LoS
Oh, no way, not being in the list of things which don't block LOS doesn't mean they do; the rules say what things do block LOS, and doors aren't in that list either. (But, yes, I agree that they do block LOS, despite what the rules said.)
It does seem that they kept one element to the original game.

You can't consider yourself a full fledged rules lawyer unless you've honestly defended a batshit crazy idea in Wiz War like doors don't block LOS because of not being on the list of things that do block LOS. Consider it part of 'passing the bar'. You were likely top of your class if you argued it one way for your benefit, and the opposite way the next game when it was used against you.

Actually, Wiz War should probably be used in classes on debate, logic and even with law students.

I'm not sure, but I actually think that it's good that they didn't lose this. The sanitized, modern world of gaming needs this kind of argument inducing game still.

Now if we could only cut off people's access to the Wiz War rules forum so they could really know what it was like. It's no fun if someone does the arguing for you...
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Chris Tannhauser
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Well, the real question is does "Full Shield" pinch you off from the rest of the universe? I mean, how else could it protect you from a "Lightning Bolt" that is clearly not a bolt at all, but rather an electrification of the hallway entire, coruscating between the stones until it finds a likely short-circuit, say, between your tear-filled eyes and sweaty ball-sack. It is then that the massive burst of energy leaps from ceiling and floor to meet halfway inside your heart, which gets cooked.

I'm imagining "Full Shield" is actually a wimpy disk of distortion right in front of you, and does nothing to protect eyes and balls simultaneously.

If all of that is too much to scrawl on the "Full Shield" card (giving rise to multiple cross-out edits as the proper spelling of "ball-sack" is debated (Hypen or no? One word or two?)) perhaps the words "Not Quite" will suffice.
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So the questions remains...

Does Full Shield block Lightening Bolt?
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skyzero wrote:
So the questions remains...

Does Full Shield block Lightening Bolt?
In Classic Wiz-War, for twenty-something (thirtyish?) years, the answer is "yes".

In FFG Wiz-War, the answer is "who the hell knows?" That's the gist of Rusty's problem with the new set. Things that are patently obvious to anyone who's played the game are now inverted, and not for any observable reason. They're not even solving problems, they're just rearranging them.

I basically agree with his points. I think it's a good set, but the editing on it is crap. It's not significantly better than the Chessex versions, even with twenty years to get it right. That shouldn't be.

Look at the endless rules lawyering threads this thing has spawned in the last month, mostly by people who haven't even played the game yet. Totally insane.

Wiz-War has a very simple, easy to understand logic to it. The FFG set ignores that in a lot of places, and this is the result. "Wall of Earth" is now being touted as the spell that ends all other spells, I expect to see some defense of it being able to counter "Absorb Spell" any day now.

Who would have thought the term "Energy" is somehow harder to understand and properly deal with than "NUMBER"? I bought the new edition, and I don't think the changes are all bad, but the slack editing is starting to make me froth and call the nurse for my medication. Lawn, get off, I agree.

"Let me tell you how we play Wiz-War here...
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Oh, and to Rusty's point about being attached to your crappy wizard token, I don't spend enough time playing the BGG gold game to have an avatar here, but this is me on Fortress:Ameritrash.

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(edit: wow, some generous folks in this thread mean my ugly green mug will be seen a lot faster around here. Public thanks are due.)
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Rusty, you're not a bitter old man. You've just been in the hobby long enough to compare the relative value of the old and new editions. I strongly agree with what you say here (so much so, that I blogged about your review), since FFG chose to invest its time and resources this way. Yes, I'd like better components, but a solid rulebook is much higher on my list of priorities.
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