Friday, July 21, 2006

World of Warcraft: The Board Game, 21 Jul 2006

Members of the San Antonio Board Gamers finally brought Fantasy Flight Games' World of Warcraft, the Board Game to the table today.

The free peoples of the Alliance (Dennis, Michael, and Ben) took on the evil armies of the Horde (Jeff, Jon, and Rob) in a battle of questing across Azeroth.

The Alliance jumped out to an early lead as the sneaky Troll Rogue Rob met a nasty demise on Turn 2 from a little bunny rabbit or some other horrid level one monster. From then on, the evil Horde seemed to be most comfortable taking on the monsters as a team rather than going solo.

The Alliance marched onward, with pure of heart Michael the Paladin gloriously disemboweling, cleaving, and eviscerating any forest creature that looked like it might be holding a gold piece or two. Hooray for the forces of goodness! Warlock Ben and Priest Dennis too showed no mercy to any unbelievers, smiting and burning down anyone that might even smell like a monster.

The game drew tense in its final turns as the Alliance had to decide whether to immediately go for the win by slaying the evil boss Nefarian or first head back to town to restock, but thereby allow the less powerful Horde first crack at victory. Deciding discretion was in order, the Alliance decided to let the Horde fight the dragon first... The Horde charged forth! The clash of arms and cries of battle rang forth across the land as dragon, orc, troll, and whatever Jon was hacked, slashed, and shot magical energies at each other. Alas, a few minutes later, smoking Horde carcasses were seen to be launched forth from the Dragon's cave after a loud and particularly smelly belch was heard.

The Alliance, after changing their soiled armor, regained their composure, held hands, and with knees shaking walked up to the Dragon's mountain. Again, the dragon roared! But, the dragon's roar was suddenly cut short as the Alliance opened up a serious can of cosmic whoop ass upon him. Angels sang! Princesses wept! Flower petals fell from the sky! ...and three brave heroes came swaggering out of the dragon's cave with victory in hand. Hooray!

What a fun game! I think we only made just a couple minor mistakes, which is not bad considering a 40-page rulebook and six brand new players. The game, though long at over five hours, was well-filled with tension and never seemed, at least to me, to really drag. I think we could have won the game around turn 24 or so, but we wanted to make sure we wouldn't get killed, and this nearly cost us the game. Like Runebound, WoW is a race to the finish game. It's fun leveling up, but you have to take risks to win.

Other thoughts on the day:
  • I was very pleased to briefly meet Carlos! I hope you make it back to play some games.
  • Playing any six player game is tough on the senses after a while, but with our group I had a great time. I definitely do not take for granted the quality of players in our group. You guys rock!
  • Playing games on a Friday rather than working is the best!
  • FFG is going to have a hard time making WoW better without making it longer. Any longer, and I don't think it would be as much fun.
  • Replayability for this game is huge. Our characters seemed to play pretty differently, and the bosses seemed pretty different as well. With the expansion on the way, this game has legs.
  • I was pleased to learn that, I think, this game is more of a board game enthusiast's game than a video game enthusiast's gateway game. I think most people who play WoW: the video game would be overwhelmed by the time requirement and complexity. I hope this doesn't slow down the expansion sets from coming out!
What did everyone else think?


At 10:08 PM, July 21, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Whew, a long post for a long game!

At 10:08 PM, July 21, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Rob: Thank you for bringing Shifting Sands to show off. I want to play!

At 2:13 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Michael said...

It was a nice day, until I left the game store, at which point my engine exploded. I think the lesson I'm supposed to learn is that I shouldn't leave the game store?

At 8:02 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Man, that sucks! If you need an honest mechanic, Car Pro, at 281/Bitters is good. We know the owner, and he does good work.

At 8:57 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Bummer about the engine, Michael.

Boy, that game session sounds like a lot of fun. Great game, great social day, bunch of guys with similar likes. Sort of reminds me of some days at my fraternity house.

At 10:17 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

SHifting Sands:
Yes Ben, looking forward to playing it. Let me know when you want to try it, and I'll iron out the rules in my head.

Wow. I enjoyed the game more than I was expecting. 6 players?? Horrible stories is all you see on BGG...down time, slow game, etc etc. I actually appreciated the down time to plan out my next move, upgrades, etc. I would have liked some PvP action (maybe next time).
Rukles?? I think we followed all the rules well except for the final boss stuff, but by then my brain was fried. The hardest part was keeping track of all the powers and how they interacted by the end of the game.
Replayability? It's immense based not only on the number of different characters, but ALL the powers you could use but don't have the resources or time to use. Just based on this, you could play the SAME character in many different ways by picking different combination of powers. Cool stuff.
Expansion? I would consider it: suposedly you get more incentives to fight the blue guys and even MORE powers/spells are added to the mix.

I've never felt more confused in a game before....but it may be an "ESL" thing. Rules were explained assuming people had played trick-taking-trump-playing games before (and I really haven't). So finally by the third round (after reading the manual on my own to figure out what the hell Jon had just explained in 5 minutes), I was blessed with not only UNDERSTANDING but also a sweet hand on 6 yellows (of course that's the trump I called). That brought me back in the game, and actually helped me finish second right after Jeff. Cool game, but I have to accept...I need more experience in this "genre".

At 10:28 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Brian said...

Yeah, Mue doesn't assume trick-taking games, but I typically explain assuming everyone knows it. If not, you should probably play Spades (or some such) a bit first. Or Oh Hell.

At 10:43 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

Rob: I've been looking for the Shifting Sands rules as PDF, but haven't found them. I may just have to break down and order a copy.... Note the designer is very active on CSW right now, so just let me know if you want me to post any questions using my shiny new CSW membership. He's updating the FAQ and Errata pretty much daily right now.

At 10:54 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

I'd play WoW again in a heartbeat -- the length should come down a ton now that we're comfortable with the rules, and we're confident that level 4's can take the boss.

I think it would definitely benefit from an expansion as well, particularly in the power and talent choices. The priest, for example, has three level 1 powers, but one is so inferior to the others (Power Word: Fortitude -- 2 energy to give everyone in the battle 1 extra health) that I can't imagine ever taking it (how often are you grouped that early?), so your first level is pretty much programmed. And of course, WoW is all about the phat lewtz, so more of that would be fun.

I've got to avoid buying it, though, or I'd be forced to paint all of those figures, and never see the sun again.

At 5:47 PM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Rob said...

Ben: They still haven't posted a pdf version of the rules for some weird reason. I guess you are going to have to get a copy (hehehe sounds like something I would have said). I don't have an account but I visit CSW on a daily basis. I may get one though...

Dennis: Good point about that power. And just in case, I still have one unoppended copy from my "game-store-from-home days" hanging around. Hey, you can't beat 46% off retail. Drop me an email... you know you want it.

At 9:48 PM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

Wait, how much is 46% off of retail on that? Carry the one...grrr, that's *far* too reasonable...

At 10:19 PM, July 24, 2006, Blogger Ben said...

PS: Concensus on the FFG website is that we did the boss kill event card correctly: Only the heroes present at the boss kill divide the experience points for killing it.


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