Tuesday, May 17, 2016

My review and playtest of Watchmen of Destiny

I was chosen to perform a playtest and review of Watchmen of Destiny, and recruited these fine chaps to help:

Robert Dunn


Kyle Wright

So our play session stared at 6pm and ended at 7:30 pm. So it was 90 minutes. It was also our first session.

You want to have the highest amount of points at the end to win. To do this you use cards (Watchmen) that have coin values on them, you discard them as money to spend on building tents, and when you have a tent built you can hire a Watchmen (up to 6 races of animals depending on the number of players) to take that tent position. The races are Rabbit, Otter, Owl, Dog, Mouse, and Cat.

The animal has a class that goes with it (which consist of Warriors that gives a +1 point for each one you have at the end of the game, an Assassin that allows you to go through 5 cards from the Watchmen Deck, choose one for yourself, and place the other 4 back on the deck in the order that you want, Mage which allows you to take 2 cards from the Discard deck, and return one either from the two or from your hand to the Discard deck, Hunter which adds 2 gold to any purchase of tents or Watchmen, Ninja which allows you to call out NINJA! and take the top card from the discard pile when another player is using cards to pay for a purchase). You will also have items that are played each turn, and in addition to the items abilities, the card will also dictate how many cards you draw for that turn, and how many total actions you can use that turn (as long as you have Watchmen out on tents that have actions that they can take, and that will be denoted by circles above the card on the tent). 

Each card has a point value which you add up at the end, then adding what it call Majority Bonuses, so say I have 3 Cats in play, Kyle has 2 Cats in play, and Rob has 1 Cat in play at the end, then I have majority, and I add up all the cats in play 3+2+1 and receive 6 points to my score as a Animal majority bonus. You conduct this bonus for every race that is in play for your game, and ties mean all those involved in the tie receive zero points. You can then suffer negative points for duplicating a card that has the same race and class (ignore the number on this card for the negative penalty). For each duplication, you suffer -1 point to your final tally.

So you start with prepping the Watchmen Deck with a number of races of animals that is one more than the number of players in the game (2 players have 3, 3 players have 4 races). Then shuffling the Watchmen Deck, deal out the appropriate number of cards according to the number of players (3 cards to 2 or 3 player game, or 2 cards to 4 or 5 player game)to each player. The player who last pet an animal in real life will be the starting playing and will have the Necklace item in addition to having one other item out when they play their turn. When a Watchmen goes out, you will see a number on the bottom-middle of the card, and that will signify the number of maximum actions that Watchmen will be allowed to take during the game.

So you will basically have some cards Watchmen Cards to start with, and some Item cards to start with, you will choose an item, play it and follow its special ability, draw Watchmen Cards dictated by the item card played (number on the bottom left), purchase tents at a cost of 1 gold each, 7 tents is the maximum, and then hire Watchmen to be stationed at those tents. Perform actions if you can, the number of actions you can take during a turn comes from the item card you played (the bottom right number) and when you can't or choose not to do anything else you pass your turn. When you use the cards for money you will see on the card money icons running along the lower left side border of the card. The cards will either have one, two, or three money icons, and that is how much money it is worth. If I turn in one card with 3 icons, then I have three money. I can spend that 3 on 3 tents (a tent is 1 each) or that 3 can be spent on hiring a watchmen (their hiring cost is the same number in the top left that also denotes how many victory points they are worth at the end. I cannot split the amount as 1 on tents, and 2 on hiring, as the purchase can only be one or the other. 

END GAME CONDITION: When someone has hired their seventh Watchmen, they make the current round the final round of the game. Any players that have not played during that round get to finish their turns and then the game is over and points are counted in the way previously mentioned.

People who like card games, who like fantasy themed games, who like light deckbuilding, action point allowance systems, variable player powers, and the big one Hand Management. If any of these interest you, then there is a decent chance this is a game you would like to play. We think ages 10 and up would be appropriate for this game based on the point counting, set matching, and ability factors of the game.

Tents should have incremental gain, the first one you buy is one, the second is two, and the third is three. Do you choose the necklace and another item from other players before a new round starts? The Mage ability could be made more clear by saying "from the top of the deck" on the abilities card. Maybe there could be more item cards introduced to increase the replayability factor? I would score this an 8 on BGG. The mechanics are sound. I had 28 points at the end which was last place out of 3 players (I have 4 Cats and 1 Owl, had Cat Majority for 6 pts + 23 straight points -1 for one duplicate). There could be room for more strategy, but it was nice to have options to mitigate the luck. Clarifications and better wording for the cheat cards would help all players. There is a need to clarify "from the discard pile" on cards such as Dartboard, or the cheat card for Mage. The group assumed it was from the top. Rob had 35 points for the win, 30 from the straight points and +5 point for the Bunny Majority. Rob rates it a 6 on BGG. For Rob it is very light and his decisions felt very obvious. Kyle had similar comments such as Assassin needs to be reworded to state that you are pulling from the Main Watchmen Deck. He goes on saying that the Letter Card needs to state where the card is being stolen from, is it from a player's hand or from the board? Kyle was wondering if you can call "Ninja!" on any of the cards used in a purchase? He was second place with 33 points which came from 28 straight points and +5 for Owl Majority. We did have one animal tie, and no one had majority for it. Kyle felt for him it lost points for being only light in strategy, He scored it a 7 from the BGG scale, with the stipulation that the score is based off of those who would be into this type of game.

It was a fun experience, with a nice fantasy theme, and we joked it could be called WATCHMEN OF DESTINY: A LIGHT AND FLUFFY GAME due to not only being a light game in tactics and strategy, but also a fluff game that can easily go in between heavier games being played (along with the Watchmen being all fluffy little wuvable creatures!). It is fun for what it is. A cute card game.


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