DiskWars: Broken Shadows: The Return of One (Acolytes of Timorran expansion set)
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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.
DiskWars is a gem of a game.
How you play resembles desktop miniatures game but with artistically excellent, round cardboard counters which move by--literally--flipping across the table. Yes, the table. There is no game board and few auxiliary pieces. As well, the rulebook is well done. Fantasy Flight Games has also done a remarkable job of supporting the product via their website.
This is a fantasy game of armies and magic with a refreshing take on the genre. It plays quite quickly and the missile system is a laugh to play. There doesn't appear to to be the typical stuffiness of a traditional wargame, with more emphasis on quick play and a multitude of choices in designing one's army and playing it with a number of different strategies.
There are some problems with the game. First, there are too many typos and poor editing choices on the disks and in the rules. First and even second edition printings both suffer from this. Second, there is a need (like CCG's) for rulings, errata, and, perhaps, restrictions. Finally, FFG chose to rewrite part of the game storyline after the first printing, editing out two key characters in the Dragonkin family, meaning their disks are no longer available anymore, handicapping play for some and raising the spectre of a system similar to Magic the Gathering of the company opting for a system of rare items used to boost prices.
Nonetheless, for a group of players this game is a blast.
Well we've just finished up our first game of Disk Wars (by Fantasy Flight Inc.) and I myself must say that it is well worth whatever cash you may spend on it... you need so little :)
It is a fastpaced, simple Stratagey/Pseudo-CCG, filled with lots of variations maneuvering. Its game mechanics are simple enough to appeal to younger players and well thought-out, as to appeal to those who enjoy tactical maneuvers. You can make your own scenarios and victory conditions, as well as customize your own armies. The sheer variety of 'standard' armies is large enough to fit almost anyone's personal taste and playing style. In fact the only down point that I can see is that you might get some playing pieces that you cannot use in your set. However this is easily counteracted by the fact that you can trade with friends (or just buy more which the company I'm sure would not mind). However Fantasy Flight Inc. doesn't do the tired old marketing scheme of 'YOU MUST BUY MORE TO WIN'. The point system the game uses makes for balanced play no matter what you play, or how much you own (unless the scenario you create says otherwise). The 'disks' are clear and easy to read, if they do have small print The artwork is acceptable to Outstanding, which for us is always a high point.
Anyone who has played Warhammer Fantasy Battles (Games Workshop) or Warhammer 40k (also GW) will recognize and already be familiar with army construction. If you have played Magic: the Gathering, or any other Customizable Card game will also pick up on it fairly quickly. All in all you just can't go wrong with this game. Enjoy.
Note for the Curious (as we were before trying it):
THIS IS NOT POGS RESURRECTED!!!
This is yet another game in the long run of 'collectible' games which try to force the consumer into buying endless amounts of a product with diminishing value.
It's a real shame companies think that by inducing artificial shortages into the playing pieces they actually enhance the play and customer appreciation. There seems to be an attitude, sparked by WotC and mistakenly assumed by FFG, that scarcity leads to a better game and greater sales; that control over the consumer is a good thing. FFG has not made an enduring product--although the Tom Jolly design principle is certainly there. Instead we get a clever design wrapped in a classic fantasy milieu, but burdened by a gouging marketing and production scheme.
Why can't good games just make it possible, at a reasonable price, for the consumer and fan to own the whole product in its thematic entirety? I can handle add-on and expansions. Bring them on! It's this senseles rarity scheme which deflates my valuation of this interesting product.
It is also obvious that this attempt to 'hook' the market has led to a rush product, full of inconsistent rules and major gaps in play. If you buy into this system, be prepared to live with house rules. FFG has terrible quality control and it shows in this product.
I cannot reccomend this game save for the dihard Magic fan who is so addicted to the fantasy genre that they will spend untold dollars achieving... what? A lot of useless disks for the sake of a few good ones? Only in the game world can such arrogance succeed.
Pity. Excellent concept. Corrupt implementation.
Diskwars is a great idea with the wrong company.
Hearing it was an original Tom Jolly design I decided to overcome my hestitation and take the plunge.
I'd tried with an open mind to enjoy previous FFG games from their Hexplay brand. To a one these games were bland and poorly executed. It was clear that they were rushed into production with incomplete rule sets and awful publishing guidelines. It seemed no one sat down and actually play tested them, and that the designer could not put into words what the intent of each game mechanic.
Unfortunately, the same holds true for Diskwars.
The Tom Jolly design really makes you wonder why no one thought of it before. It is simple but plays with a strategic complexity one should find compelling.
When Tom Jolly handed it off to Fantasy Flight Games something went horribly wrong. After only our second attempt at it we felt like tearing up the rules and writing in pen all over the cardboard Disks themselves, trying to right (write?) what are so obvious oversights.
Not only are there spelling errors and brazen misprints all over the place, there is hardly any consistent use of terminology. One Disk says killed, another uses the word destroyed, while the rules uses the term remove from game. Yet other rules change disk abilities severely but with no description to indicate how exactly the process is supposed to work.
Time and time again we had to stop and muddle our way through rules, rules which possess gaps in play description so big you could fly a very large dragon through them.
I like to play games with clear, concise rules. Diskwars is a complex game, and the publisher has really no idea how to edit or play test. The art is very good, as is the packaging.
After spending almost fifty dollars on a mere basic introduction to the game I found I had to put it back on my shelf and leave it there.
With luck some other company will pick up on this disk flipping concept and bring a game to market which is properly designed to today's standards.
Perhaps if they fix the wrongs and reprinted the game after a complete going over it might be worth a second look some time. Right now I'd only recommend this product to anyone who has a mind to spend hours writing their own rules.