Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Miscellany: Risk: Godstorm


"Risk: Godstorm" is a mythologically themed version of "Risk," the classic entry-level war game. Similar to "Risk: 2210," there are lots of new wrinkles here - most importantly, players can buy and play powerful Miracle cards that can change the course of the game in a single turn. Various god figures (analogous to commanders in "2210") and temples can be purchased, as well. The underlying territorial control and combat system is exactly the same as standard "Risk," but the learning curve is still pretty steep.

The game looks great, with a nice board and decent plastic pieces. The colors picked for the armies are atrocious - the Egyptians' and Vikings' pieces (tan and light orange, respectively) are difficult to tell apart, which definitely makes me wonder, since any amount of playtesting could have revealed that flaw. Unique in this game are "Atlantis" and "Underworld" maps, as well as a 5-turn limit (games still take 4-5 hours to complete).

Gameplay is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the game is much more fluid and tactical than normal "Risk," with the various Miracle cards and special abilities making attacks easier than ever. You rarely know who is going to win until the very end, though it tends to be the person who didn't bloody themselves in battle with his or her opponents. The element of the luck of the die, which pervades "Risk," is here, but it doesn't annoy as much because of all the other, controllable factors involved.

However, the chance element introduced with Miracle cards can easily make someone either a winner or a loser (some cards are ridiculously powerful, others not so much), which is not funin my book. The temples are usually too expensive to waste your precious Faith tokens on. Games still take an atrocious amount of time, and players can and do get eliminated, making for a frustrating experience for casual gamers. All in all, I'd recommend trying "2210" before entering "Godstorm."

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