Sunday, October 19, 2014

Crisis: Cooperative Play For The DC Comics Deck Building Game

I have a confession to make. I have never been much of a fan of deck building games. I like Marvel Legendary, but it is not something I play often because of the hastle of putting it all back in the box divided in its own separate factions. As far as the DC Deck Building Game is concerned, while very popular among our clients, I never liked it. Found it boring and too dependent on chance and someone not buying the cards you need from the line-up.

When the Crisis expansion arrived in the store, I dreaded having to give a demo of it. However, I knew many players would be interested in it so I had no option other than to hold my breath, learn the new rules and roll with the punches. After playing a few three and four player games, I must admit that I am hooked on this game. I still dislike the basic DC Deck Building Game, but if you are playing with the Crisis expansion, I'll travel to the opposite end of the island for a chance to play.

There are several changes that make Crisis so much fun. First, is the cooperative aspect. Victory points no longer have any meaning. Everyone wins or loses together. Unlike Marvel Legendary, there is no winner/better superhero. Everyone wins when all the impossible super villains are defeated. Everyone loses when the main deck is depleted.

Second, the addition of crisis cards, impossible super villains and the related mechanics. Both the crisis cards and the impossible super villains can have ongoing effects that last until the crisis is resolved or the villain is defeated. For example, we had a crisis card (Rise of the Rot) that required players to take a Weakness card at the beginning of every turn unless they could disclose a Weakness card in their hand. To resolve this crisis, players had to simultaneously discard a Weakness card from their hand or wait until the Weakness stack ran out. In our three player game, we could never coordinate it so that everyone had a Weakness card in their hand at the same time. Thus, we resolved that crisis when the Weakness deck ran out. This made for very porous decks for all of us.

The order for resolving things is not entirely new but is quite challenging. You cannot attack an impossible super villain unless the crisis is already resolved, but you cannot resolve a crisis unless there are no villains in the line-up. Also, when you kill a villain, it does not go to your discard pile anymore. The villain is destroyed. You will need some type of card effect that allows you to access the destroyed pile if you want to incorporate a villain into your deck. Defeated impossible super villains leave the game. They'll never form part of anyone's deck.

There are a few more differences but I will mention one more before I go scrounge a group to play Crisis. It is the timer mechanic created by changes in how you refill the line-up. In the regular game, if you bought three cards, at the end of your turn you would replace the three empty spots in the line-up with three new cards from the top of the main deck. In Crisis, it no longer works like that.

Now, at the end of each player's turn, you add the top card of the main deck to the line-up regardless of whether the player bought any cards or how many cards he bought. A player didn't buy any cards during his turn? You add the top card of the main deck to the line-up. A player bought three cards from the line-up? You still only add the top card of the main deck to the line-up.

The result of the above can be daunting. At one point in the beginning of the game when we didn't have much power to buy cards, the line-up grew to something like 12 cards. Imagine trying to resolve your first crisis with a 12-card line up filled with villains! However, once we all acquired substantial power, the line-up consisted of anywhere between one to three cards as players could usually buy most of the cards in the line-up and the line-up got replenished only one card at a time.

We still have not won a single game of Crisis. In fact, we have not even come close to winning. The best we have done is killed a little less than half the impossible super villains. After our last game, we had a round table discussion of strategies to attempt in our next games. I'll let you know if any of them worked.

Until then, if you are in the Guaynabo area and would like to try or buy the Crisis expansion, visit us at The Gaming Pit.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Magic: The Gathering Boardgame

Wizards of the Coast announced at the Spiel game fair its plan to release a tactical miniatures game based on Magic: The Gathering. Currently known by its unofficial name Magic: The Gathering Strategy Board Game, its development is a joint effort led by the "team responsible for Risk Legacy and Heroscape."

The game takes place in the Magic universe - Shandalar, to be more exact - and is aimed at both strategy and M:TG players. However, the game does not incorporate the card game itself even thought several mechanics from the card game will be included in the boardgame (deathtouch, first strike, flying, etc.)

Players take the role of one of five Planeswalkers. The current choices are Chandra Nalaar, Jace Beleren, Nissa Revane, and Liliana Vess. The fifth Planeswalker is yet to be named. Players then customize the field of battle by designing the map by placing terrain and power glyphs to aid their battles.

As in all miniature games, players move their units throughout the field of battle attempting to outmaneuver their opponents, while casting spells, summoning creature squads and using their specific Planeswalker's special abilities. The game is for 2-5 players and should play in less than an hour. No MSRP was announced.

If you are in Puerto Rico, contact The Gaming Pit and place your preorder now.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

'Five Ghosts' Mini Series Coming To SyFy

Five Ghosts was kickstarted in 2012 as a five-issue miniseries following the adventures of a 1930's-era treasure hunter who is possessed by five ghosts from literature: Robin Hood, Merlin, Sherlock Holmes, Musashi and Dracula. It was later picked up by Image Comics and became a regular ongoing comic series after the first Five Ghosts collection was released on September 2013.

Cable network SyFy has acquired the rights to Five Ghosts and announced plans to create a TV series based on this new acquisition. The new series will be produced by Universal Cable Productions and Black Mask Studios.