In which Yie Ar Kung Fu is referenced.
Yashima: Legend of the Kami Masters might be a really good fighting game. There's some really cool concepts going on, and it comes across like a very neat and very focused martial arts-style battle with magic. The magic is a really neat (but somewhat narratively dissonant) system where you have a deck of Tome cards, and you flip through them as you would if they were a book. You can only cast spells from the pages you can see. The miniatures look great, the cardplay is multilayered and nuanced, and it's quick and easy to play.
But it may be too focused. All there is in terms of objectives is "beat up the other guys". No scenarios, no varying game modes. There are elements such as terrain effects and facing, but they seem almost negligible. I'm left thinking that Yashima's rules- which are really just about two pages- would almost serve better in a game with a larger scope than ass-kicking.
Regardless, it's a good game and I'd like to see where the designers take it. Review is at No High Scores this week.
I've been playing a lot of Mistfall. Man, is this game under my skin. I think there is definitely a good game here, pitched somewhere between Pathfinder and LOTR LCG, but it has one of the most useless rulebooks in recent memory. And then there are numerous errata, including card text. The FAQ seems to grow daily. And it has a TON of indecipherable Euroglyphics.
But the gameplay is quite compelling, and quite challenging. Like Pathfinder, it kind of has that thing going on where you manage a fairly small deck and you use abilities and advantages to manipulate your available cards and cards in deck so that you are usually/always equipped with gear and combat/defense cards. It has a very smart system where you earn "Focus" for taking certain actions or making attacks, and it sort of indicates how much enemy attention you are drawing. At certain break points, your focus winds up causing the enemies to call for reinforcements or become enraged. So you kind of have to pace yourself or you'll get in trouble during battle.
It's definitely a "wait for second edition" kind of thing, I'm afraid, but what is here is already very good. I haven't played it with anyone yet, strictly solo, but I'm scared. I think teaching this game is going to be a disaster.
Played Xia again with a couple of friends Sunday night...had a really funny turn of events. I wound up out of energy and stranded after desparately blind-jumping in hopes of finding a planet and winding up in void space (a tile with NOTHING on it). So my friend Jamie says "I'll come help you out" because you get Fame Points for rescuing stranded players. So I think "OK, cool". So he sidles up beside me, gives me the energy and gets his point, and then reveals that he has a Thief mission targeting me. So he rolls on the table and gets the maximum haul- and a bounty, which makes him an outlaw. So he tools off and the next planet explored is the one that puts the Enforcer NPC ship in play. The cops. So the next several turns, he's on the run from the Enforcer while frantically searching for the system tile where he needs to drop off his stolen goods. Finally, THE LAST TILE turns out to be his destination. But during all of this time, I was moving back toward him, using a gate, and I got into position to blast him with missiles that I bought. He had some damage already on his ship, I rolled, and destroyed him before he could pull into station and before the cops caught up with him. Fun stuff.
It's an odd game because despite appearances, it is really kind of frivolous in a very family game in a way...yet it has more detail and more wonky detail. Like, you can upgrade ships and put on all of these components...but there's really not that many options. And it's very roll-and-move...and press-your-luck- mechanics not favored by "hardcore" gamers. But I think this is why I like it, it's almost kind of "dumb fun" in a way, it's not heavy at all.