Opening the box up, it was immediately obvious how the expanded staff at >G made their mark, through the graphic design and packaging improvements. (Such as the built-in instructions on how to construct the villain HP spinner.)
I am surprised the box shipped without foam fillers. If you, like me, don’t sleeve, there is extra room in the box for the cards to rattle around. Seems a weird oversight given that C&A both said they don’t sleeve.
The cards are pretty. Really pretty. For those who were worried about the art style, I have to say that I did not notice the variation in style between cards at all, because everything else is so consistent. Actually, this might be a minor drawback, but the combination of a smaller window for the art (I think?) and Adam’s ability to cram in so much more detail to a single image than he used to actually de-emphasize the art a little bit on the table. Which is too bad, because it’s all so good.
Having “START PHASE” and “END PHASE” in bright differentiated colors is like having those “start action” and “end action” tokens built right into the cards, which was brilliant.
I am still not a fan of the move from text to jargon (summon, discover, etc.), especially given that some of the actions cause shuffles or other cascading actions, and some don’t. We had to keep the rulebook handy as a reference. Which made me almost wish that they’d just come up with a symbol language for more lower-level actions, and given us a card with a key. Something like “(reveal cards symbol) 1 Minion, (shuffle symbol).” I’m sure I’ll get the new jargon down eventually, but at first it feels a little clunky.
We played the classic intro (Baron in Insula Primalis – I forgot about peril!) with random heroes (Tachyon, Captain Cosmic, Tempest, Wraith). We used the premade deck, which was funny because we instantly screwed with deck controlling cards. Take that, Baron! It was immediately clear that things that look like minor tweaks could have major cascading effects. For example, Tachyon is largely the same, in that I knew what each card would do just from the name, but one of the little tweaks sprinkled in is that HUD Goggles make her damage irreducible. Hey, that Hypersonic Dash penetrates all the -1s on the table!!! She in general felt just a little more powered-up. I was able to crack off two Lightspeed Barrages in that Baron Blade game, even with that card now shuffling her trash into her deck, without really stretching for it.
I’m sorry to say that, even with all the excellent effort to make the rulebook really explicitly clear, we had a rule debate at the table: Do Reactions on Captain Cosmic’s Constructs trigger when they would be damaged, or when the target they are next to would be damaged? We eventually settled on the latter, given the wording of the definition of Reaction – a change from the way the Constructs previously worked.
We’ll be playing lots more over the weekend, I’m sure!