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Wednesday
Nov302011

Puzzle Strike and Flash Duel News

Puzzle Strike Sale

First up, Puzzle Strike is on sale for $10 off during December only. The combo with base game + upgrade pack is also $10 off in December. There's also some new stuff you can try in Puzzle Strike, but let me tell you about Flash Duel first.

Flash Duel Previews

Here's the first preview I've seen of the game so far. Pretty positive! He mentions that even those who have Flash Duel 1 should "nab" the 2nd Edition. Well yes, because this is an expansion with 10 new characters. It just so happens that this expansion also contains a second expansion with the Raid on Deathstrike Dragon...and a rework of the base game too...all mysteriously the same price. If anything, I might have goofed up on this $35 price point being too low. Maybe I'll have to raise that later. I just really wanted to give everyone a cheap entry point into the Fantasy Strike universe that actually had all 20 characters.

Here's another kind of preview for you. I put up the card images of the base 10 characters plus the enormous Dragon cards here. The other 10 characters will be revealed a bit later. Man, those Dragon cards are sexy.

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Ok back to Puzzle Strike. I'm testing out some stuff out for the full expansion of Puzzle Strike. You can actually try these things out right now though, with the base set. These aren't official features yet, so there might be problems, but these things probably work pretty well. Feel free to try them out and report back how it went!

New Rule: PANIC TIME

This rule increases the size of the ante as the game goes on. It will have a relatively small effect on most games played by experts, but it will have an enormous effect (to prevent overly long games) on games by new players.

In a 2-player game, the first moment there are two empty stacks in the bank, Panic Time is activated and everyone must ante 2-gems from then on. Even if bank stacks get filled back up from trashing, the game does not return to Normal Time. The first moment there are three simultaneously empty bank stacks, Danger Time is activated and everyone antes 3-gems. The first time four stacks are empty, Deadly Time is activated and everyone must ante 4-gems. Note that if you would ever ante a certain kind of gem that the bank is out of, you must ante it anyway with a stand-in gem of some sort.

For games with 3 or 4 players, the same sort of thing happens. The number of empty stacks needed to activate Panic Time is actually X, where X is the number of players left in the game. X+1, and X+2 empty stacks are when Danger Time and Deadly Time activate. This means in a 4p game, 4 empty stacks will activate Panic Time (ante 2-gems), but once one player is eliminated, there will only be 3 players left and only 3 empty stacks are needed to activate Panic Time at that point. This (combined with the standard rule for Overflow) means that once a player is eliminated, the game is likely to end very soon, so the eliminated player won't be waiting long, if at all.

Midori's Dragon Form is revised to say "Ante a (gem) 1 bigger each turn or discard this chip..."

New Mode: 2 vs. 2 Team Battle Mode!

Teammates share a (normal sized) gem pile, but do not share other resources. Each player has his own hand, bag, and discard pile as usual. If you get +arrow or +$1 or whatever, that goes to you only, not shared with your teammate. Anything that says "you" in the game means "you," so having a Hundred-Fist Frenzy on the table doesn't let your teammate activate it, only you.

Teammates share their action phase. You can each play your actions in any order, so maybe you play roundhouse (and draw from it), then your teammate plays something, then you use Roundhouse's +arrow to play something else.

Teammates share their buy phase. You can make your buys in any order.

Your attacks cannot affect your teammate, but effects that say "all opponents" do hurt both opposing players. The only exception is anything of the form "Each opponent does something to his gem pile" only affects the enemy gem pile one time not two times. (Sneak Attack, Mix-Master, Burning Vigor, and Hex of Murkwood are examples.) If a chip says "next opponent" then you can choose which of your two opponents it hits.

Blue shields operate as usual. You can blue shield a fist that affects you and you can't blue shield one that doesn't. So you can't "save" your teammate with a blue shield on an attack that would only hit him, but in practice blue shields still usually work because you'll often be affected as well. If you become immune to one of those things like Sneak Attack in the previous paragraph, your team's gem pile is safe.

When the opposing team sends gems to your gem pile, you and your teammate can each counter-crash. (I think one of you can, not both. Only one reaction per "event.")

 

This cooperative, no-elimination way of playing 4-player Puzzle Strike hopefully opens up new doors for those interested in 4p. Maybe especially fun for a girlfriend and boyfriend to team up. ;)

Reader Comments (8)

I'm worried that Deadly Time will make comebacks near-impossible vs. Master Puzzler.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBucky

But it's not especially fun for same-sex couples to team up? :(

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPersonman

Will these be incorporated into the rules for easy reference?

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Personman: It's just as fun for same-sex couples, smarty pants.

Anon: As said in the original post, these are experimental things that aren't official. If they work out then they'd be in the rules someday.

November 30, 2011 | Registered CommenterSirlin

Just looking at the Danger Time rules and even with our group, who are in no way Expert Level players (we play Puzzle Strike maybe once every other month, with so many games between us all of the games we play 'regularly' see that kind of table time) - and I'm easily the most advanced player in the group (and mostly because I only play one character - Setsuki - and so I've gotten very good at using her). That said, given how our Moderate Strength 3/4 player games go, we rarely - if ever - empty a pile of puzzle chips (yup, even with a Sets and a good selection of browns, I might *might* empty Roundhouse but usually if piles are emptying then its going to be one of those long games because we all mucked up our purple densities).

My point is, I don't know if that rule will ever kick in. I am trying to think of a better timer and I can't.

The other thing is, for players who are struggling to keep their pile down, it puts a disincentive on buying out that last X-chip - even if that chip would really benefit them.

Interesting rules, worthy of honing, but some food for thought.

December 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessey

Your first sentence, though incredibly long, is missing some words. It boils down to "Just looking at the Danger Time rules and even with our group."

Anyway, the panic time rules definitely do what they are supposed to do. They end games that are going super long from people who don't know what they are doing. And they don't have a big effect on good players most of the time. (Though is does kick in sometimes, and also sometimes good players are able to activate it on purpose to their advantage.) Anyway, it's not even theoretical anymore. Panic Time has been live and in effect on www.fantasystrike.com for a while now, and it does pretty much what we thought it would. So seems like a big improvement.

There's also a completely different 3p / 4p ruleset in the works, fyi. Unlike the panic time rule, it's intended to be way different than the current experience. And way more awesome. Stay tuned.

December 5, 2011 | Registered CommenterSirlin

Regarding the 2 vs 2 team battle mode:
Just thought I'd chime in on this since I posted the original version over on BGG. :)

We play it as described here, except that attacks only hurt the opponent directly opposite you, and crashes can only be countered by the opponent opposite you.
This in many ways simulates a 2 player game; an attack hurts one opponent, and there's only one opponent who can counter a crash.

We found that when both opponents could potentially counter a crash, countercrashing occurred a bit too reliably and slowed down the game too much.

Having attack chips hurt both opponents caused a few problems. One of the worst was with Stolen Purples; hitting both opponents with this is absolutely devastating as it leaves them completely defenseless.
Playing that attacks hurt both opponents except attacks that affect the gem pile effectively doubles the power of some attack chips relative to others, and creates a little confusion with Hex of Mirkwood about which opponent's discard the new gems are added based on. Playing the "only affects the opposite player" keeps everything very simple and consistent.

Just my 2 cents.

January 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStormKnight

The 2v2 mode has evolved a bit since I posted this, in that all chips have been rewritten to support it without any outside notes saying what they really do in 2v2.

Stolen purples does not hit opponents twice. For the next version, the wording has been changed so that it always targets just one person. It originally couldn't work that way because then it leads to pre-game alliances dominating in the free-for-all mode, but the free-for-all mode works totally differently now and a targeted Stolen Purples works just fine there, so that happens to help 2v2 as well.

It's actually not true that making gem pile affecting moves hit the gem pile once but other attacks hit-all makes some attacks twice as strong relative to others. It makes attacks the same relative strength actually, and doing otherwise is what would double it. In the official 2v2 mode the opposing team has ONE gem pile that only holds the usual total of 10. If you were allowed to sneak attack and add two gems to it, it would basically be twice as powerful as in other modes. (You'd be adding 2 gems to a pile that holds 10 instead of 2 gems to, say, two different piles that hold a total of 20 between them.) Sneak attack will say exactly what it does in the next version.

Counter-crashing actually shouldn't slow the game down either. There's the new Panic Time rule if it does, but each team only has a ONE normal sized gem pile, so it's not that hard to kill.

Anyway, I'll let you find the latest rules on the forum now. I would post them here but they keep changing because they aren't done.

January 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterSirlin
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