Reviews written by Colorcrayons
This was riding the coat tails of the Co-Op revolution.
There are a lot of great components in this game, yet it is merely a gaunlet to run through, lacking any sense of exploration, adventure, excitement.
This is a game for masochists. This is NOT a dungeon crawl.
The obvious bit about Space Hulk, is that it is the 30year old Aliens movie condensed into a 30 year old board game.
But, this is largely a puzzle where you figure out the best routes using the best pieces in as little moves as possible, while the randomness of dice frustrates your trajectory.
Good, classic game. Yet it is much more of an enjoyable experience as a video game nowadays.
See: Space Hulk Tactics.
It serves it's purpose to keep you warm enough to avoid freezing to death, but the entire experience stinks and barely does the job it's supposed to do. Not fun. Not mentally engaging. Passive aggressive tripe.
The one game that seems to never fail with new gamers. Truly evergreen.
I could go on for ages extolling its virtues, but suffice to say that this offers mutually assured schadenfreude. If that phrase sounds fun, then you will adore this game.
I don't think this is its own, unique game design.
Much like Agricola All Creatures Great and Small is a bit of quick streamlining of Agricola, I think this is just a distillation/new edition of Merchants & Marauders.
Perhaps Black Fleet would have been more aptly named: "Merchants & Marauders: Asshole Pirates".
Overall, it plays so similarly. Yet the art direction and the 'take that' element of the fortune cards demands more jovial participation than what its much more serious sibling asks of players.
I even played a game of Merchants & Marauders immediately afterwards so that I could see if memory was serving me well in how close they compared.
Asshole Pirates is a lot faster to play than its big brother as well.
Your fleet gets upgraded quicker, your fleet also jumps right back into the game faster, and resolution of actions happens in less than a minute per turn per player, usually.
Both games even suffer the same drawbacks, namely catch up for the guy in last place. Each game solves it with either house rules, or just putting on daddy pants and sucking it up.
However, the butthurt in Asshole Pirates is significantly less, since if say, your cap dies late game in Merchants & Marauders, then that's a much bigger downer than a pirate ransacking your merchant. You just can't take Asshole Pirates as seriously in order to muster that brand of aching butthurt.
I like how Merchants & Marauders plays, but considering all of the above, I'll take Asshole Pirates over it most days. It meets and satisfies my personal tastes so much more than Merchants & Marauders in nearly every way.
I wouldn't play this as often or rate this as highly as many of the mainstays in my carefully cultivated collection, yet it's a keeper that I think the community at large has criminally underrated. It's a compulsory bit of Nu-trash.
When I first heard about this, I thought this game would be just another cash grab with minimal figs by a company known for subpar contemporary boardgame attempts. Cynical would have been an understatement.
But it turned out to be good. Shockingly good.
So good in fact, that I believe only Space Hulk rivals it as GW's best in-house design.
The card activation is a stroke of genius in how it is implemented, as is how the initiative it meshes so well in this game. It is am easy game to grasp and play, and the whole package could be described as a distillation of fun. A succinct design without a ton of superfluous crap clogging its arteries.
GW should be quite proud of being a patron of this design, as I believe it to be the best thematic game produced in 2016.
The only criticism I can level at it is that I wish there were more variety in obstacles and their effects given in the arena. Instant death pit is functional, but I think a variable effect would add some uncertainty and suspense.
This is my absolute favorite game. The rulebook really lays out how the game plays so much better than the classic versions did, so Kevin Wilson should be lauded for that effort.
Although the caveat to its greatness is that you have to play the game fairly consistently to get the most out of it, ideally with a regular group of players that meet up at least once a month, for example. This could be said of most games, of course. Though this applies to Wiz-War more than most.
I have to admit that there is a bit of a wall that new players have to climb before they can truly appreciate the brilliance of Wiz-War.
That barrier includes:
* Internalizing the cards enough so that a player can quickly formulate a tactic and play it.
* Understanding the general foundation of interactions laid out by the design, and the terminology used to describe them. The rulebook does a fine job of this, but a player needs a couple games alongside the rules to get the most out of them. The player aides made by Universal Head go a long way to help jump in as quickly as possible.
* Being creative enough to tweak your tactics on the fly and react to the constantly changing board state.
These caveats are similar to what you would find in Magic the Gathering, and is the main reason why M:tG players are usually the best options to recruit from, to play and enjoy Wiz-War.
Wiz-War isn't the 'lifestyle' game that M:tG is, but it does demand much more from its players than the 'light beer and pretzels experience' it is often portrayed to be. That description is misleading and ultimately incorrect. This is a solid mid weight (leaning towards light) experience.