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Bots Up Board Game Review

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Letterpress Board Game Review

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We need to talk about Into the Breach

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03 Mar 2018 10:10 #264426 by Gary Sax
...and not just because I'm playing it, but because I think a lot of people would love it here. It is *very* boardgamey. It's like advance wars in some respects but it's more about combos and creative play.

Also, FUCK this electric smoke shit in Into the Breach. I am just not a very good subtle turn based strategy player! I bought the second bot squad and I am finding it very difficult to clear large numbers of dudes with just the smoke---I think I am really underusing the smoke fired out the butt of the missile launcher with that group, I think the missile launcher is the hammer of the group. I'm only really using its missile to any good effect though. Any tips?

How are the other squads? Favorites? I'm not far, I've beaten the game and the first two islands but that is it. I think I'm going to go back in with the basic squad and try to beat the game after the third island. I love the way they do progression in these games, unlocking the new squads and pilots. Instead of like unlocking more of the same, FTL and this game are like "here, now try the playing the game a *completely* different way!

One thing I love about this game over FTL is that the final boss/map is not complete fucking horseshit. That was my only real complaint about FTL but it's a big one---the final boss is complete bullshit that is not beaten by many of the strategies you developed during the game. I *hated* that. I used to have to play easy on FTL and I still usually wouldn't beat the boss.

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03 Mar 2018 11:15 #264428 by Count Orlok
I'll have more to contribute later, since I'm picking this one up soon. It looks great from what I've watched, and as you said, very board game like.

I was watching this streamer Sleepcycles on Twitch (recommended, by the way) play the Toxic squad and they looked interesting. A strange combination of self-harm and healing.

I totally agree about the boss for FTL. I really loved the game, but felt like the best determiner of success against the boss is whether or not I had managed to find stealth. Not the most fun.
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03 Mar 2018 11:33 #264430 by Matt Thrower
It's a very interesting game, and I like it a lot (although not as much as FTL), but I'm not sure I buy the board game comparison. It's more like a puzzle than a board game: you have almost total information and there's a definite "perfect" solution for any given situation. While that description matches a bunch of classic abstracts, what you don't have is the uncertainty of a human opponent to play against. It's all about you working out the best way to use all that information to get the optimal solution, which is pretty much a puzzle.

I don't much like puzzle games, but I do like this one. The key ingredients are variety and speed. There are many ways to approach that optimal solution, and you can try out a level (i.e. a single puzzle) in five minutes. Great bite-sized play, with that try-learn-try again cycle that makes for an addictive experience.

My biggest worry with it is long-term replay value. The puzzles are fun for a while, but ultimately what motivates you to play it over (you can finish the game in a half hour) is the pleasure of ticking off achievements and trying the puzzle again with a bunch of different tools. That'll keep most players going for a little while, but it won't work for a few, and for a lot of players - me included - I'm not sure it translates into massive value. I played FTL for over 20 hours, and after 4 hours with ITB, I can't see it reaching anything like that before I'm done with it.

Writing a review for strategy gamer, so watch out for that for more detailed thoughts.
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03 Mar 2018 11:54 #264432 by Gary Sax
It's a boardgame more in the chess mould, no doubt about that.

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03 Mar 2018 13:17 #264439 by Disgustipater
I'll definitely be picking it up, but I'm going to wait awhile. I have so much other stuff I need to play that by the time I can get to it, it'll probably be on sale. Looks great though.

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04 Mar 2018 01:51 #264467 by Gary Sax
Played this game way too late tonight, it HAS me. I dabbled in the rust squad and had a hell of a fucking time, but I've been perfecting the 1st squad. All about push and push damage and the main mech which can do hellacious damage if upgraded.

I have a 2 island and 3 island victory. I found the 3 island victory harder, so I'm probably going to go for a 4 island victory with the opening squad before I move on and dabble in more subtle stuff. I'm using the japanese pilot who has armor and I drop him in the mech. Get him up to 4 move ASAP and you can just tank damage, esp emergence damage. The best upgrade that I personally have gotten is the one that ups push damage and emergence damage on enemies to 2 damage. It shreds them if you're careful.

I have this... sneaking suspicion that at least on normal the AI is very careful to always put itself in positions where if you think long and hard enough you can put together a clever combo to prevent city damage. Or maybe it just seems that way since the game is *so* tightly designed puzzle-wise.
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04 Mar 2018 19:38 #264499 by Gary Sax
Taking a liking to the flame squad. I beat the game with two islands with them on normal.

A significant critique I have of the game is that rules can be a little opaque on the field of battle. A game that requires this level of precision requires a reference for the ruleset because one mistake means failure. Things like how fire interacts with other elements or how sand clouds work are a bit tricky and it isn't documented well. I get you can do a try and see but one try and see can end your whole run.

Basically, this game needs downloadable rules like a boardgame.
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05 Mar 2018 15:25 - 05 Mar 2018 15:27 #264585 by Jexik

MattDP wrote: I played FTL for over 20 hours, and after 4 hours with ITB, I can't see it reaching anything like that before I'm done with it.


Those are rookie numbers.

ITB has me too. It's great. As I mentioned elsewhere, I love the Rust squad. I got the pilot who herself is immune to smoke and webs, and played the first couple islands with her in the jet, and just used it up close and personal, but once she maxed out in levels, I pushed her into the repulsor, with self-shielding and let her just get up front and personal and tanking, keeping the others back. Extra move on the jet is SUPER helpful for just giving it those lanes of attack to find a good spot to jump and land. Getting it a second ability is nice too for when the jump won't work. I won after 4 islands with them. Getting an alternate ability on the repulsor is very handy too. She had this missile salvo that is a once per mission, but hits EVERYTHING. If you upgrade it to 2 damage and use it in the first round to deal with Psions and everything, and the rest of the mission is cake.

Before I had a means to play it, I watched some streams (yeah, I know... but I was doing chores while I did it... so it's okay, right?) And that helped me learn some of the nuances of the rules and quirks. For example, killing stuff that is spawned BY enemies, like spider eggs and bombs, DOES NOT trigger the special ability that heals you for killing stuff.
Last edit: 05 Mar 2018 15:27 by Jexik.
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05 Mar 2018 16:01 #264588 by Count Orlok
A rulebook would be helpful, as there are definitely a few cases where I haven't been sure of the exact rules. For instance, does an upgraded teleporter just ignore everything between the launcher and the target? Don't know for sure.

That said, this is my kind of game. I've gotten to the point where I have no patience for game writing or dialogue, world building, or any of that nonsense, and just laser focus in on the gameplay. So far the squads are providing a nice variety, but I'm not sure how much replayability there will be in the end. However, it's an inexpensive indy game, so I've already gotten my money's worth.
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05 Mar 2018 16:13 #264591 by CranBerries
I want something like this for my Android phone.

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05 Mar 2018 17:48 #264599 by Jexik

cranberries wrote: I want something like this for my Android phone.


Neuroshima Hex.

Or XCOM Enemy Within I think is on there.
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06 Mar 2018 00:33 - 06 Mar 2018 00:41 #264624 by Gary Sax
Just beat it with 4 islands, the original 3 mechs. We were UNSTOPPABLE. No real threat in the final island, didn't lose a pylon.

I love Archimedes, one of the named pilots. He gets to move an entire move after he fires, it's amazing.

Protip: the setup is actually kind of important. Specifically, you need to check to see how far the webbing units can move (e.g. Scorpions, Leapers) and set up outside their range.
Last edit: 06 Mar 2018 00:41 by Gary Sax.

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06 Mar 2018 02:53 #264625 by Matt Thrower
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06 Mar 2018 08:27 #264630 by Black Barney
Great review Matt. I don’t know why but I expected the graphics to be better
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06 Mar 2018 10:14 #264656 by LazarusTNT
Buy Fallout Tactics instead.
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