Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Puppet Wars!

Better late than never! My Puppet Wars review. I won't be going into the rules in depth (may edit in the future) but for now will be discussing the game contents and current offerings.

I first heard of Puppet Wars back in January 2011 when I discovered Malifaux and brought the Puppet Deck but there was little information about the game. That February I was lucky enough to be involved in the Playtesting. To make my position clear from the start I love the final ruleset! I think it is an adventurous game – kind of between a board game and a minis game. I thought it might work better if it didn’t come with the minis in the core set. I feel the minis could put some people off and this would dramatically keep the cost down to boost interest. They could have made been made accessible afterwards through boosters, although I stress that the minis are fantastic and, as a mini gamer, they are a big part of it for me. The artwork around the game and through the rulebook is fantastic and the minis themselves are superb representations of that.

All components from core and boosters

Core Set
So the first thing you’re going to buy is the main box set which is a little pricey at about £60. Inside is the board, 2 Puppet Decks, some card counters, the stat cards for the models in the box, some plastic counters and 18 metal miniatures with bases. There is a very nice colourful rulebook and a Pattern book that has a guide to help introduce the rules over a few games as well as maps for gameboard layouts. The minis are going to require a little assembly. Most are one piece but a little super glue will be required on some. There was minimal flash so cleanup time for the models was kept down.

I was blown away by the minis and while I haven’t started painting yet they are all ready for it and I am looking forward to finishing my current models and getting stuck in. The board is surprisingly small, but makes it handy for carrying around and popping out when needed. The puppet decks are the standard ones available for a year or so now, but at £6 each to buy there is £12 of value with them. The counters are my main gripe though. In the gameplay you have workbenches  which are important. You also have impassable terrain and both of these are represented by small plastic discs. It’s not a huge problem but I think some kind of card marker would be a lot better.

Plastic tokens for Workbenches and Impassable Markers

Kudos to Ratty on the Wyrd forums who made a PDF with alternative tokens that could be used. Find them here:

As of now there are four additional boxes you can buy. These are not needed to play the game and have fun but introduce a large number of new models into the game. The first is a Multi-player expansion. With the core game you get two “Masters” and each player has a master and a number of other puppets. With this booster you get two more Master puppets so you can start having 3 – 4 player games and you get a few more of those plastic discs to support this. With the Master puppets you get another five puppets to add variety and choice to your games when selecting puppets for your army.

There are then another three booster boxes. Each of these brings eight more puppets to your game. If you buy all boosters and the boxset then you will have multiples, but this is allowed in game when choosing your army so there is no wastage.

It is a little pricey when you buy all boxes – around £160, but you don’t need more than the core box to play the game. You get fantastic models and board for that and the game Is very fun with a lot of diversity through the number of models and map layouts . The core box has a map booklet in it, but making up your own ones is definitely easy to do – you can even try it on the puppet wars website! Speaking of the website all the rules are on there along with puppet stat cards so you can plan your army and see ahead of time if it is something you will enjoy.

Thats a lot of painting waiting to happen!

In summary I very much recommend this game. It is quick and fun to play with lots of re-playability. I think there is plenty  of opportunity for it to grow in the future and there are lots of discussions on the Wyrd forums around this so check them out!

Lastly a note on the models. If you brought the core box during Gencon 2011 you received a “Pokey Viktoria” puppet who is an additional master. If you brought three boosters at that time you received a “Hooded rider” who is a sidekick (this means you can only have one of them in  your army). These will be available at a later date. There is also rumoured to be a Lucius puppet allegedly with the Battlefoam Toybox if you buy it but this is not confirmed. In random boosters (approx 1 in 10) there is also a Teddy puppet and there are five types of Teddy. Gencon 2011 attendees had opportunities to get a “5-pack” with all Teddies and in the Wyrd Black Friday sale of 2011 you could buy the 5-pack of Teddies for $40. Random inserts are the only way to get him at the moment.

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