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Long time lurker here (first chanced on the site years ago through Barnes's There Will Be Games series, or whatever it was called). So sorry if my first post seems like it's plugging a game, but I've not seen any discussion on Codex.
It's David Sirlin's big project that's meant to play sort of like a CCG and sort of like an RTS. I know Sirlin isn't everyone's favourite board game personality - the two main beefs seem to be 1) he's kind of a dick, and 2) he keeps releasing 2nd editions of his games - but I wondered if anyone had looked at Codex and what their thoughts were, as I know a fair number of fatties enjoyed Puzzle Strike and Yomi.
For a very brief overview, Codex is essentially a deckbuilder where each player has their own deckbuilding pool (with a small amount of preconstruction). Gameplay is a familiar "send guys to kill their base" with a bunch of twists that are meant to increase interaction and counterplay.
McBeak wrote: Hi all,
Long time lurker here (first chanced on the site years ago through Barnes's There Will Be Games series, or whatever it was called). So sorry if my first post seems like it's plugging a game, but I've not seen any discussion on Codex..
You haven't lurked well enough to realize the total shitstorm first-posting a Sirlin game here is going to unleash...
That said, no one's talking about it because it's vaporware, and given that it's Sirlin, it'll be release seven times in two years anyway and interested folks will just get it when the hype is over.
I'm even one of the unabashed Sirlin lovers here! PUZZLE STRIKE, FLASH DUEL, and YOMI all see play in my house, and god help me, I have played PANDANTE. But this constant cycle of The Next Big Thing has to stop.
I can't say I've ever been too troubled by the multiple edition thing, but I know what you're saying about the hype - Sirlin definitely talks a good game.
(I take it you weren't a fan of Pandante? I've not played it - it always struck me as an overengineered solution to a non-existent problem.)
McBeak wrote: ( it always struck me as an overengineered solution to a non-existent problem.)
This is the best description of some of Sirlin's designs that I've ever seen.
I love Puzzle Strike and his passion for asymmetrical games, but come on man.
Sirlin: It needs to be chips to avoid upsetting people who can't or don't shuffle well.
Random Guy: But, it seems to work fine for M:tG and just about every other game that uses cards.
Sirlin: Games should not have dexterity elements as a barrier to entry.
RG: Okay, so chips and bags then. How much is that gonna cost?
Sirlin: It doesn't matter. This game is a better value than all of the other games, because it has been extensively tested at a competitive level.
RG: Okay, but what happens when you draw those chips into your hand and you might have some facing the wrong way?
Sirlin, a year later: Okay, so we're giving people player shields to hide their chips behind so they can set them down. Also, we've updated the game to be even more balanced. If you'd like your new expansion to be truly compatible with your old characters, you're going to have to buy that old set again.
My main Yomi opponent was my oldest nephew who I don't see as often anymore. I'm getting some people into Puzzle Strike lately, but I don't think I'll ever dig deeply enough to be playing the "real" game. I like the changes made in Shadows/3rd edition. Has it changed since then?
The problem (and strength) of Sirlin is that he comes from the competitive fighting (video) game community.
Cares deeply about competition and balance
Is used to games being re-issued and patched (Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix anyone?)
Can be combative
Cares deeply about competition and balance
The average board gamer is less focused on competition and playing the same game a million times. For a game to have a large competitive community, it first has to have a large community. He has a habit of alienating some of his player base before it even gets started. For example, the people I've come across that were most excited about the Puzzle Strike box were eight-year-old girls. They were not his target audience. When pressed on the price of his games or re-issuing rebalanced content, he compares it to Magic. Okay. If people are playing Magic or some other LCG like Netrunner, they are not your target audience because they're playing Magic. If they are not playing one of these games, it could be because they don't want to buy stuff to keep up, or they aren't that competitive.
Codex might be the best card game to come out in the next year. I just don't know if anyone will play it with me. It's hard to make a game popular simply by telling people that it's the best.
Last night, I played the starter decks for Codex, and to summarize, I don't think I'll be getting this game. Granted, I only played one game, but I think the issues I had with it won't really go away with more plays.
First of all, it seemed like there were a lot of things to keep track of and think about almost immediately which just made the game feel a bit clunky. It didn't quite have that feeling of just building up gradually that you get from other CCGs. That kind of natural flow to a game does help. Maybe over time, this might get easier once you become familiar with what to do, but the question is how long would that take especially if you see yourself playing maybe once a week for about 3-4 hours? What if you play even less often and you tend to switch up opponents and decks often? It seems like playing casually isn't going to help this game out in the short term. Also, since your normal games will have 3 heroes, a lot more cards in your "deck", and some additional things to think about such as more Tech Buildings and things called Specs, it'll just add to the amount of things you have to think about in game and outside of the game when you're trying to build decks. I always thought that the "open deck" mechanic in Mage Wars caused the learning curve to be way too steep in the beginning, and I think the same for Codex using the same mechanic.
Second, it seemed like things bogged down for both of us pretty quickly with both of us putting beefy guys in the squad leader (I think that was the name of it) position. So, after getting a couple of quick small hits on your opponent's base, you were spending most of your turns dealing with their patrollers until one of you basically won the tug of war and started whittling away at the base. We actually called it at that point because we couldn't see how the other player was going to make a comeback without a major effort involving stabilizing somehow and then breaking through again and then coming back. I'm sure there are ways this can happen in the game, but the questions are how often does that happen, what amount of skill and luck would that involve, and most importantly, how much longer would the game go on if that were to happen? It felt like there needed to be some kind of decking mechanic or fatigue mechanic where you can't just go back and forth forever.
Third, I think there are some quality of life type of things that might help with the game. For example, too many cards had to move back and forth on the table while having tokens and/or dice on them. Just that physical awkwardness of trying to pick up and move cards without dropping the tokens on them was a bit off putting. There's something satisfying with just picking up a card to tap or untap it which is lost if there are a bunch of things sitting on the card which you have to try and balance all of a sudden. Maybe if there weren't designated spots to put the patrollers, that might help things? Also, the generating money and moving money back and forth seemed a little busy. I'd prefer a counter type of things similar to Mage Wars.
There are some other things too, but I'm not going to go into them too much. Mainly, it summarizes to us thinking the game tried to maybe fix certain aspects of other games, but it just ended up feeling like the game was trying to do too much all at once. Also, $200 for everything seems a bit too high to me especially considering that it seems like a fairly difficult game to balance, and I wouldn't want to drop 200 bucks only to have a new "fixed" edition come out like 2 years later...not that Sirlin has ever done anything like that
However I'll be the first to say that he is targeting a very odd niche: gamers who are dilettantes enough to want to play a bunch of different games, but fanatic enough to want to play a single game hundreds of times in order to wring every last bit of skill and depth out of it. Most of the former will never play any game more than 15 times or so, and so they are happy enough playing games much cheaper, less fiddly, and more accessible than Sirlin's. Most of the latter already have their lifestyle game of choice, whether it's MTG, ASL, etc.
(I had a snarkier response comparing Sirlin to a guy who designs a minivan that goes 200mph, but yknow, high road.)
And for board gamers who don't want to muck around with customization stuff but kind of like the concept anyway, this is the easiest game to customize I've ever played in my life (only 3 decisions to make at start of game, to create wildly different "decks")
Buildings mean instead of just pounding away at each other's base, you can choose to hamper them by killing their tech buildings. But you usually don't have enough combat power to take out all of them and their hero etc, so you have to choose based on what buildings/hero you think your opponent wants to use most. That makes the game feel more interactive than it would be otherwise, since you have to predict the opponent's intentions
They also make rush strategies work. A lot of games where I've fallen behind on tech because I've been putting all my gold into hero stuff and units, I've been able to win by constnatly destroying his tech buildings so he can't actually use his big guys.