The last day of Essen 2018 has been dedicated for a long time to shopping, concluding excellent deals thanks to the usual offers at the end of the fair, but also regretting not having immediately taken some titles that we had spotted and which in the meantime have sold out (the biggest regret: not having bought Wangdo on the first day, because that, by now, who knows when we will be able to find it). However, there was no lack of games at the tables.
If you missed our previous articles on Essen 2018, you can retrieve them on Resources4Gaming with various reports of day 1, day 2 and day 3.
Vault of Dragons
This title of the Gale Force 9 with setting Dungeon & Dragons it was a final prototype, but with non-definitive components. The demonstrator explains that the sculpt of the miniatures (beautiful) are definitive but not the material, the coins (beautiful), while the boards and cards will be made of different cardboard. The game will be out in a couple of months.
The setting inspired us, the title as well: the "Vault of Dragons”Is the dungeon we must enter to defeat a dragon to win the game. Too bad, however, that in 99% of the game we will find ourselves loitering around the city, hiring people, looking for equipment and so on. Entering the dungeon only means discovering the dragon tile, seeing what number it has printed on it and trying to pass it with a roll of the dice (always using the modifiers of our equipment).
In short, not that it's a bad game, but we expected something different.
Rating: 5,5 / 10
A kind of tower defense, with the castle in the center of the board (our realm) to be defended from the hordes of monsters that will come from all directions, as well as from various natural disasters (which have no other effect than to prevent us from gathering resources in a region, and make us lose the game when they arrive at a certain number). Already in circulation for some time, we had not tried it yet and we decide to fix it Essen 2018.
The strong point of the game are the miniatures, which are very reminiscent of those of Super Dungeon Explore, but the rest of the components are also great. Dwar7s Winter it is a semi-cooperative, in which everyone loses or only one wins. Among the mechanics, we find barely mentioned elements of deckbuilding, resource management and action-point management.
We liked two things a lot: first, that the high level of challenge is already there from the first rounds, with numerous threats that risk making us lose when the game has just started. Second, the mechanics of the "music" with which the cards are played: as a possible action, a player can in his turn "play an instrument" and play all the cards that can be activated with that instrument. The other players can “follow the music”, playing cards of that color in turn: if they don't, they won't be able to play them until the next turn, since each instrument is usable once per turn.
The cost, quite high, this time is justified by the quantity and quality of the miniatures present.
Rating: 7,5 / 10
Heroes of Dominaria
We decided to try this title WizKids after reading the regulation, which had convinced and intrigued us (it is unusual to find light management mechanics in a game with a setting Magic: the Gathering). The aim of the game is to get more points than the opponents after a certain number of turns: we will earn points by recruiting new characters, building obelisks and leylines, discovering artifacts or killing kabbalists.
The mechanics are confirmed as solid and elegant, above all we liked the implementation of the leylines: they are connections between territories that allow you to collect mana not only from the region we are in, but also from the territories that connect.
The materials are of good quality, to our concerns about the plastic miniatures combined with meeples and other wooden components, the demonstrator replies that the title will be produced in two different versions (so it will be possible to buy the totally wooden version, if we prefer) .
The problem with the game is the interaction, not completely absent but very limited. We also have some doubts regarding the longevity of the game.
Rating: 5 / 10
You don't have to judge a book by its cover, and the same goes for boardgames. Sometimes, however, we forget it: that's what happened with this Scorpius Freighter, at whose table, here at Essen 2018, we stopped attracted by the box and the beautiful materials.
Scorpius Freighter it's a sort of sci-fi pick-up and delivery: we will take care of transporting resources, improving our tools, expanding and improving the ship, fulfilling contracts and managing crew members. The crew management represents the innovative mechanics of Scorpius Freighter: at each turn we will be able to decide how many members to assign to the ship (which can move an equal number of spaces) while the unassigned crew will enhance (depending on the number of members) the effect of the action linked to the point in which the ship stops. The rules are elegant and flawless, after the initial explanation we no longer needed clarification.
The opinions at the table, however, were mixed: the two Dutch guys we played with appreciated this Scorpius Freighter, while we didn't like it. Meanwhile, the space setting is not perceived: instead of ships orbiting the planets, it could have been a game of boats that go around a lake, or of a postman who makes delivery rounds, without the need to change anything mechanically. The title also turned out to be very boring, with actions that have too little effect on the ship, crew or goods we carry. The crew assignment mechanics (where employed workers determine the action and unemployed workers determine the strength of the action) could also be implemented more deeply (but still a good idea).
Rating: 4 / 10
Last title tested, Keyforge di Richard Garfield. From the inventor of Magic: the Gathering, Netrunner e King of Tokyo, we were expecting a great game, and we weren't disappointed. The peculiarity of the title is the uniqueness of the game decks, which contain a combination only e random of cards, and cannot be modified: each deck includes a list of the cards contained and which must be used to play it.
If you think that this represents the solution to the costs of collectible card games, you are probably wrong: a future lies ahead in which, instead of cards worth hundreds of euros, equally expensive decks will be sold (thanks to the particularly advantageous combinations they contain), rather than unbust Whole boxes of booster packs, vendors and pro players will bust whole boxes of decks.
To play "homemade" games, or for organized competitions (but only if the costs do not scare you), the game is very good.
Rating: 8 / 10
Da Essen 2018 that's all, but our reviews of games purchased at the fair and not yet tested will obviously follow.