Review All The Things! Micro Play Break: Protector

In this newest game by MSP Games, Micro Play-Break: Protector, players play as one of two roles – a Villain trying to take over the world, and a Protector trying to save it.

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There are 12 location cards, that all have differing point values for the Protector (all cities are equally useful to the villain:

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Worth 4, 20, and 40 points, respectively.

In each turn, two of the location cards are played face up on the board. The Villain and Protector will each play their card face down pointing towards one of the two locations, like so:

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After both players have played their cards, the cards are revealed, and the locations resolve as follows:

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If the two players are pointing at different Locations, then the Villain successfully attacked the location, claiming it.

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If both players are pointing at the same location, then the Protector has successfully defended the location, and claims the Location card.

After all of the cards have been played, two stacks of two cards are taken out as well and played similarly. The game is then scored at that point, and whomever has the most points wins!

Looking at this game, it feels in the same vein as Duel or Castles, in that you are playing the player more than the game itself. By giving differing Protector Values to the Locations, it forces both players to think about whether the higher/lower value of a location for the Protector can justify a decision one way or the other. I’m not too sold on the final play of the game (two locations up for grabs instead of one), because it seems out of theme for the game, plus doesn’t feel to contribute too much on its own merit.

One big plus that this game has going for it is the artwork – there are several excellent representations of the different Locations on offer in the game, and the artwork for the Protector/Villain look pretty swank as well. One awkward point in the artwork is in the numbering for the location values. For the Protector in particular, the coloring is hard to read, and the text feels small. Instead of the bars and small numbers, a larger number might be easier to read and pop a bit more on the card itself.

The Kickstarter for this will be launching soon, so check in on MSP Games’ Facebook page and website for more!!

 

 

 

Review all the Things: Micro Play-Break – Duel

((Note – pictures are from an early version of the game, and may not be indicative of the final product, especially since my printer was not cooperative and didn’t like the colors too much…))

 

Red Attacks Blue  with a direct physical attack to the upper body. Blue does a special block on the upper body. Since the blocking types do not match, Blue takes one damage to the upper body.

Red attacks with a direct physical attack to the upper body. Blue blocks special on the upper body. Since the blocking types do not match, Blue takes one upper body damage

The fist connected with Franz’s face. He staggered back for a second, the opposing TechnoLectric warrior bearing down on him. All TechnoLectric warriors had the same rigorous training, so Franz and his opponent were evenly matched in terms of techniques. However, one thing that wasn’t taught in combat school was deceit and intuition. How one could both mislead and read their opposing mark. Those that had a talent for it, wound up working for the most notorious Warlords, while those who didn’t…well, their fate was obvious.

Red keeps the momentum, and attacks again towards the upper body. Blue must decide whether the attack is physical or special, and whether the attack is to the upper body or lower body.

Red keeps the momentum, and attacks again towards the upper body. Blue must decide whether the attack is physical or special, and whether the attack is to the upper body or lower body.

The other TechnoLectric warrior wound up for another punch. Was she going for another punch? The motion was too blatant, she was trying to mislead him into blocking the punch, distracting him from a leg blow. Or was that part of the deceit? Franz had to think fast.

Blue successfully predicts that the attack is a Misleading physical attack, and blocks low. Since the attack was blocked, momentum is now shifted to Blue.

Blue successfully predicts that the attack is a Misleading physical attack, and blocks low. Since the attack was blocked, momentum is now shifted to Blue.

At the last second, he stepped back, and a foot grazed the air where his knee had just been. The opposing warrior, not expecting the dodge, staggered forward. She was off balance! Franz stepped towards her, electricity starting to crackle from his powered gauntlet. The Duel had only just begun…

Micro Play-Break: Duel, is the third Kickstarter game by MSP Games. (For information on the other games, take a look at my reviews on MPB: Castles, as well as MPB: Kingdoms). As was hinted at above, Duel is a 2-player game where each player controls a TechnoLectric warrior in combat. The objective is to reduce the health of either the upper or lower body of your opponent to zero. Unlike other games, where the two fighters would just trade blows until one was defeated, Duel uses a momentum style of play. The attacker is allowed to continue attacking until the defender successfully blocks. Continue reading

Review all the Things: Micro Play-Break: Kingdoms

Note: All pictures are from a prototype version of the game, and is not indicative of the final quality of the product. Also, I am terrible at cutting things, to explain the extra paper around, well, all of my pieces…

Fresh from their successful Kickstarter of Micro Play-Break: Castles, the folks at MSP Games have designed another game, Micro Play-Break: Kingdoms! I had the fortune of receiving a prototype version of the game this week to go along with my review of Castles, and I wanted to share my thoughts with all of you. You can find the Kickstarter here – after reading, learn more about the game directly from the source!

Similarly to Castles, Kingdoms is an ultra-portable game that can easily fit in your purse or wallet. Although I didn’t directly test it like I did for Castles, the dimensions of the game are similar enough that I can say with certainty that it’ll work. The first thing about Kingdoms that caught my eye was the board. Unlike with Castles, the board for Kingdoms is necessary to play, due to its less-abstract nature. The board is divided into three concentric sections – forested regions on the outskirts of the board that are limited to one of the two players, plains on the inside where the game starts, and swampland in the center of the map (more on the swamps later). The artwork on the map itself is nicely drawn – if it weren’t needed for play, it could possibly make for a nice piece to put on the wall. It definitely attracted the attention of people while I was preparing the prototype for play! Continue reading

Review All the Things: Micro Play-Break: Castles

Review all the things: Micro Play-Break: Castles!

Premise: A game of equal parts luck and reading your opponent. Capture the princess with your knight, while protecting your own princess from harm!

Appearance: The first thing that I noticed about MPB: Castles is that it is a very compact game. Very compact. It fits into your wallet, with the cloth playing board! This makes it quite easy to bring it just about anywhere – lab, work, the bar, game night, et cetera. The pieces are of good quality – the cloth playing board feels light yet strong, and the card pieces are cut from fairly thick stock and given a good laminate.

 

No. really.

It’s super-portable!

Now, there are two versions of the game – the standard version (pictures not available yet, because I keep forgetting to bring it) as well as a Kickstarter exclusive version. Each has their pluses – while the Kickstarter exclusive has fantastic artwork, I find the brighter coloration of everything in the standard version more pleasing than the black and tan of the exclusive. Your milage may vary, however.

Mid-game picture

Mid-game picture

Playing the game: The gameplay is quite simple. There are three lanes set up, with barricades between your pieces and the other player’s pieces. To start, you will play your three cards (Wizard/Catapault, King, Princess) in each lane, with up to two cards per lane. As long as the cards are behind a barricade, they are played face down. Each one of these three cards has a specific purpose – Wizards/Catapaults can destroy barricades, Kings can remove Knights from the game temporarily, and Princesses are the object of desire/objective to win. Continue reading

Review all the Things: Virus the Card Game

For this week’s Review all the Things, we’ll be taking a look at another Kickstarted card game called Virus, made by Around the Clock Games.

 

Premise: Be the first player to develop a virus strain that’s 100% lethal, by playing modes of Transmission for the virus, Vectors in which the virus can be transmitted, and Mutations to make the virus more lethal.

Visuals: The cards were printed on fairly sturdy stock with a nice laminate on them. Overall, the cards have a fairly subdued color palate, using mainly white, black and grey to color the cards. Overall, it’s a good fit for the game itself, given its theme and end goal.  The three different types of cards (Transmission, Vector, and Mutation) are easily distinguished by a simple colored box and symbol (blue, yellow, and red respectively) on the corner of the card. This single splash of color makes it easy to quickly identify which cards can be played at a glance, which is a nice touch.

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The biggest touch, though, is the flavor text. Oh, the flavor text…Just like in CCGs like Magic or Yu-Gi-Oh, each card had it’s own flavor text, which just made that game a bit more grotesque. During some of the early rounds, one of the players started reading off the flavor text in her hand. Some of them were tame, others were less so. When combined with the fact that Around the Clock had no duplicate cards in the deck besides the Transmission cards (well, similar cards, but unique names), there was a large amount of exposition to go with the cards themselves. Overall, the game is very aesthetically pleasing.

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((Bonus Points if you can guess what the mutations are!)

Gameplay: Playing Virus is quite simple. Each player draws six cards at the start. Transmissions are the base cards that are initially played, with each strain supporting up to three modes of transmission. From there, the different Transmissions can be modified by playing either Vector or Mutation cards. These cards can only be played on certain types of Transmissions. Any number of compatible Vectors may be played on a single Transmission card. Mutations, on the other hand, are more limited in how they can be played. Each mutation has a ranking from Levels 1-4, with the higher level cards possessing higher Lethality values. A single Mutation of each level may be played on a Transmission, and they must be played in ascending order (Level 1>2>3>4). As with Vectors, the Mutations may only be played on certain Transmission cards. Continue reading