DiskWars: Broken Shadows: The Return of One (Acolytes of Timorran expansion set)
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Average Rating: 3.4 in 7 reviews
I just got back from playing this game at a convention, and needless to say it stole the show and we had a blast playing it!
To learn the basics, it will take about an hour. Of course there are spells to get used to, advanced abilities, and other combo-effects that you will learn by experience.
Essentially, instead of buying expensive lead figures, some art skill to paint with, and tons of free time to paint; you can just buy a few packs of this game and you're all said and done.
I won't go into details on how the game is played, but I will relate on how much fun it was. This is definitely a beer-and-pretzels kind of a game.
Firing missles or casting a deathball spell are a blast to play, which you do by dropping small disks from a foot in the air and hope it hits the enemy! Even funnier when you hit your own men and take them out (ouch!) Chaos Orb masters, freshen up your skills!
We immediately found some easily-added house rules--like using a Pog Slammer for an Earthquake spell.
It was seriously fun to bring out giagantuan monsters (About 2-3 inches in diameter) and push them into battle. The opposing player just stares in awe that something wicked (and huge!) is coming his way!
The game is good for any number of players above two. You need a large table, and preferably circular at that. 3-player games do not go well on rectangular tables, for example.
Whats great is that every creature has a point-cost associated with it, so it isn't just who has the most creatures wins. An inexperienced player who bought only 1 starter pack can beat another inexperienced player who bought 10 starter packs.
There is some collectibility and rarity a la Magic. There are x number of 'flats' in each pack. (8 in a starter for example). While the publishers say that each flat is produced in equal amounts (thereby no flat is more rare than another), some creatures reappear on some flats. A giant creature will usually take up one whole flat.
Anyhow, we had a blast. I bought about $60 worth of product and it is enough for 3 people to build decent armies and have a bit of fun trading too.
Diskwars, albeit with one major wrinkle, could be the freshest new game idea to come out in the past year.
From the genius mind of Tom Jolly (Wiz War, Programmer's Nightmare, and others), and implemented by Fantasy Flight Games (more on them later), this game manages to skirt some of the drawbacks of traditional miniature games (huge money investment, long time, and complex rules) wonderfully.
There are 8 basic armies to choose from, from the archer-heavy elves to the grunt-swarm of the orcs. Each army comes with 8 flats with disks to punch out, ranging from creatures, to terrain, to spells. Each army is playable out of the box, making it possible to enjoy the game for a small price.
Once you and a friend have assembled an army, you place your disks down and begin a war in one of the numerous scenarios (everything from simple King-of-the-Hill to treasure runs to slaughtering peasants). Disks have all their stats written on them, and move by flipping, an ingenious mechanic. Archers fire by dropping tokens from a foot above the table, which leads to hilarious results.
Overall, the game is fast, lets one be extremely creative in army design, and doesn't give a big tug on the wallet (Even buying all 8 armies and all 8 expansions is not a huge investment). It appeals to nongamers through my experience, and hooks people in.
That said, there is a downside, that there are many typos, and rules ambiguities. Although the art is wonderful on the disks, having typos in the third printing of the game is miffing. To counter this, at the official site, the designers of the game do respond personally to questions about the rules, and a lively message board has also arbitrated out many of the rules, ranging from clarifications to complete revampings (a very interesting set being created by none other than Juvenal below). Although hopefully FFG will resolve this problem with an extra printing, as long as one avoids ultra-competitive play and is willing to resolve disputes amicably (or by the flip of the coin), most problems are avoidable. Before entering league play though, familiarity with all the vagaries of the rules is recommended.
Since the release of Moon over Thelgrim, Diskwars has been reinvented. A few new rules expand on the already excellent system, and a couple of clarifications streamlined earlier rules (not that they needed much). With Fantasy Flight Games announcing storyline tournaments it gives the players a chance to participate in a new and growing phenomenon.
Terains enhance what a land can do allowing for impassable regions and regions that spells can not be cast from. What were once idle victory conditions are now an active part of the battle enhancing the strategic play.
A litny of new spells give those who can wield them a new lease on the outcome of battle and with a number of new spellcasters on all sides more who can use them.
Only one new disk type was added (to good, neutral, and evil) in the form of Champions. These impressive units can only join a single faction team making the use of only one group more appealing. With powerful abilities and lower point cost the only complaint I've heard is that there aren't enough of them.
Only two new rules were introduced and a couple of clarifications have been made to earlier rules.
Overall the play value has increased without a host of difficult or cumbersome rules present in so many other games of its kind.
Lastly, the announcement of Garrisons and Storyline tournaments make the future of the game and any new units influenced by the people who play it.
Our play group has but one question for Fantasy Flight: When is the next expansion? We can hardly wait.
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