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The Second Coming of Summoner Wars - Review

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12 May 2022 00:00 #332995 by Michael Barnes
Matt Drake's review of Summoner Wars at F:AT has piqued...

The return of the dueling classic.

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12 May 2022 09:13 #332996 by blarknob
I have all of summoner wars 1st ed. My wife and I really enjoy it.

Second editions hasn't really convinced me to buy in again. My old stuff still works great and I like the old art style better.

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12 May 2022 09:35 - 12 May 2022 14:43 #332997 by Jexik
Matt Drake- there’s a name I haven’t heard in awhile. Hope he’s doing as well as this reboot, even if he’s out of the game reviewing game.

There’s a lot of little changes, but it’s good that you hit the big ones.

One of the new additions that I like is the boosts and all the uses for them, as well as reusing abilities in different ways. Something like Imbued Strength (+1 attack die per boost) plays out differently on all the different units depending on how they get boosts.
Last edit: 12 May 2022 14:43 by Jexik.
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13 May 2022 07:55 #333007 by fightcitymayor
I've read the rules adjustments have increased play time, is this true? I know SW always had a potential for analysis paralysis (people see a chess type board and suddenly think they need to be Garry Kasparov) but I always enjoyed the fairly straightforward rules with few exceptions that needed earmarked. If there is additional rules overhead now, that would be sad, as I always preferred SW as a sub-one-hour game.

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13 May 2022 15:40 #333025 by Sagrilarus
My son used to turn this into a two-hour game by walling his leader into a corner. If anything the new rules sound like they might make the play a little faster.

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13 May 2022 15:53 #333028 by Michael Barnes
Well they have reduced the Walls (now gates) so they have less HP so that whole strategy isn’t as valid, and there is more synergy with the summoner so you don’t want to do that anyway.

I haven’t noticed a time increase…if anything, I feel like the late game is more compelling than it used to be. Games could kind of peter out.

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17 May 2022 13:10 #333096 by Jexik
I feel like game length is more variable than in first edition. A lot of summoners have shorter “leashes” on their events and special abilities (typically 2-3 spaces), so you’re encouraged to get them into the fray. So it’s much more common to die before your deck runs out than it was before. That said, there are some factions that I’ve seen people get a little AP on when it comes to all of their options. This is still a game of tough decisions where players will often disagree on the best course of action in the early and middle stages of the game.

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20 May 2022 08:56 #333158 by drewcula
I'm jumping in to repeat my old SW criticism:
The artwork.

SW was one of two games* I specifically sold off because the artwork was amateur hour.

1st SW was a fine game to play and I enjoyed the history/development of Colby's first title. Coming from his Heroscape background, SW's DNA is strong.

This 2nd edition is a vast improvement on visuals. I would have supported it from jump, but I just don't have dedicated partners in crime for this to see table time. And I'm not playing it online, that's a nonstarter.

Long live Summoner Wars. Long live Heroscape.

* Tiny Epic Kingdoms
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20 May 2022 09:36 #333162 by fightcitymayor

drewcula wrote: I'm jumping in to repeat my old SW criticism:
The artwork.

SW was one of two games* I specifically sold off because the artwork was amateur hour.

See, that's interesting, because I've read a lot of folks who go the other way & say the original artwork (while admittedly amateurish in spots) was at least slightly gritty and lived-in, where this new art style, while technically "better" is that annoying 99-cent app-game style that has polluted hundreds of random fantasy games in recent years. It also seems like a neat age divide, with the new style catering to younger fans raised on sterile app-game fantasy, and older fans used to a more earthy. low-budget style befitting a grassroots gaming production.

It's like how a lot of the original D&D Monster Manual art would have never even been submitted as a first-draft today (same with early Magic the Gathering art) but it's still ultra-beloved by a lot of people.
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20 May 2022 10:06 - 20 May 2022 10:06 #333164 by drewcula
Fair point.

I'm 47 years old and a studio arts professor. That means jack shit, but its context.

SW's 2nd edition illustrations are admittedly not my aesthetic cuppa, but they are better composed and more refined. They complement the graphic design of the game.

The 1st edition might be given a nod to treatment and artistic license, except there's a disconnect between the illustration and the graphics.

The graphics and design layout for both 1st and 2nd are ace. Clean, polished, and easy-to-read. Text book example of visual literacy done well.

Those 1st edition illustrations are undeveloped. They look like first drafts. And because they're digital, there's little-to-no mark-making 'charm.' When set inside refined graphic borders, they look like an accident.

1st (and some 2nd) edition D&D illustrations work in their own twisted nostalgic setting. For lack of a better phrase, they're consistently inconsistent.

Cave Evil, and especially Escape from the Dark Tower are contemporary titles that are both rooted in hand-drawn crudeness but remain creatively appropriate.
Last edit: 20 May 2022 10:06 by drewcula.
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20 May 2022 11:44 #333169 by fightcitymayor
"Hand drawn crudeness" is the bee's knees!

Magic the Gathering went from Stasis:



to Baneslayer Angel:



**********
FUN FACT: Stasis was painted by Richard Garfield's great-aunt as a favor, as she was a semi-big-deal regional artist at the time.
**********
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20 May 2022 11:55 #333170 by drewcula
Those two M:TG illustrations are infinitely better than anything on a SW 1st edition card.
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