Star Wars: Shatterpoint released with just the faintest scent of ozone... and we've been able to spend some quality time with the game. Check out our gameplay impressions! We also have a slew of board game videos to show you from friends of the store - Bored Online? Board Offline! Plus, we breakdown other new releases, show you our freshly restocked items and highlight some upcoming preorders too. Check us out!
Welcome to our weekly newsletter! For our new readers I'm Eric, and Wendy and I run Stone Valley Games. This newsletter is our way to share both local and world-wide gaming news of interest that popped up last week. It also provides our subscribers, both local and remote, some information on the going's on around here so everyone feels like part of the action. At the bottom of this newsletter we show you the restocks, new items, and preorders added to the store last week. It's not too difficult to navigate, so let's get to it!
STAR WARS: SHATTERPOINT GAMEPLAY & IMPRESSIONS
We’ve had a chance to play Star Wars: Shatterpoint, and I wanted to give you some of my initial impressions. First off…yes, I’m showing you grey models…please don’t kill me!
Both setup and deployment are quick and easy. There are specific layouts for the Struggles, and then setting terrain on is a snap. For the characters, there are two Squads per side. Each Squad always consists of three ‘types’ (Primary Unit, Secondary Unit, Supporting Unit). Once the primary is set on the table, the others only take a few seconds more. Set up both Squads and it’s gametime. I’d also like to point out here that the smaller squad size and larger models does make assembly, and ultimately painting that much easier.
The synergy and flexibility between elements of the squad becomes readily apparent. Some groups just work together so much better than others. With upcoming releases there will be even more capabilities to use key words (like Galactic Republic) making the squad leadership cards that much more impactful.
The tactical abilities and capabilities stack quickly. Setting up the squad to use as many dice as possible, set themselves up for success and have the ‘right’ portions of the squad do the ‘right’ things. The Primary Units have two different Stances that also modify ‘how’ they play and interact with other squad members too. The combat tree options to use (based on specific situations) and the triggers from expertise (based on die roll results) are specific nuances I still need some time to absorb completely.
Wounding is an interesting mechanic. It helps with Momentum for the side causing the Wound. However, the Wounded character is not out of the game. They still can interact with the game, but they are not as amazing as before and it ‘costs’ more in Force Tokens to get them going. The best part though is that they are still in the game. So, if the dice are against you and the worst happens, you are still going to be able to play with that / those characters. No worries of ‘one and done’ here. After all, it’s not all about destroying the enemy in this game. It’s about achieving objectives. Obviously, the struggle over objectives often equates to fighting, but ‘how’ to approach all of that adds so much tasty tactical variety.
Then, the turns continue to happen. There are three major turns per game and things kind of reset from turn to turn which again adds to the chaotic fun. The game picks up steam starting with the second Struggle card and the inclusion of Principal Objectives, and the ‘losing’ player can quickly turn it around at this point. The Momentum Tracker is smart design too. There are things both players can do to add to their Momentum, and that continual back and forth is quite enjoyable in keeping things tense. A player might be on their back foot but can turn things around quickly. I foresee lots of close games here.
Using the Shatterpoint cards for initiative (from a deck of squad characters, the drawn card is who the player can ‘activate’) is clean, but often less than ideal. There is built in mitigation, but it’s pretty limited out of the core box. After all, drawing the main character first seems disadvantageous as there’s just ‘less’ to do for such an important character early in the round. While there are ways to mitigate such top-deck shenanigans, it can feel awful when these kinds of draws just keep happening. There is also a ‘Shatterpoint’ card – which is a wild card allowing activation of any unit, even units already activated. Based on my gameplays, unless a player has a direct connection with the actual Force and can influence the draw, it can have a huge influence how you’re going to approach the round – again adding to the levels of strategy involved in play.
I can say that this game will be much smoother after a few more plays – like any game. I had to reference the character cards and rulebook quite a bit for the first few Struggles. However, I know that once I have these better memorized it’ll be purer gameplay and less checking. The rulebook is good BTW, it answered any questions I had during play. It’s not that thick either, so while I might have had to hunt around for a minute to find something…there wasn’t that much to hunt through.
Don’t get me wrong though, this is far less complex than a ton of similar skirmish games out there. Limiting the squad size and number of impactful skills really allows for more time playing the game than looking things up. Which works well with the changing Struggles as well. Players must be more flexible in their approach, and the same tactic may not work every time. This more simplified tactical layering allows the game to flow better. It moves along at a nice pace, like the game takes your precious time into account. There’s no static defense or anything like that to bog it down. Players will stay engaged throughout. I also like the fact the characters’ Stances and capabilities are very much like what we’ve come to expect from the movies and literature. They feel very much like Star Wars characters interacting with each other. Someone doesn’t have to ‘love’ Star Wars to enjoy this game, but if they do it’ll really sing.
I can say after a play or two it stands as its own game in the world of Star Wars miniatures games. With its streamlined squads, clean rules and relatively little fat on the bone, it makes a good showing with skirmish miniatures games in general. Shatterpoint is fun out of the core box but has so much more room it can grow in the use of Squads, terrain, objectives, and more. We never know how any game will do in the future, but this one is looking good – and I’m looking forward to the journey!
BORED ONLINE? BOARD OFFLINE MAY BOARD GAME VIDEOS
As the start of a new month begins, that means it's time to show you the videos that the gang over at Bored Online? Board Offline! dropped in the month of May. There are eleven entries in this iteration, and include:
- Most Played April 2023
- 1815 vs 1565 Gameplay Pt1 and Pt 2
- How to Play Aeon Trespass: Odyssey Pt 2
- Hermesian Pursuer Solo Gameplay for Aeon Trespass: Odyssey
- It's a Wonderful World Unboxing
- Leisure & Decadence (It's a Wonderful World expansion) Unboxing
- Top 60 Best Games of All Time (2023 Edition) #50-41
- Top 60 Best Games of All Time (2023 Edition) #40-31
- Top 60 Best Games of All Time (2023 Edition) #30-21
- Top 60 Best Games of All Time (2023 Edition) #20-11
You can check them all out right here in the newsletter. We've gone thru several of these videos ourselves already, and the solo gameplay for Aeon Trespass is very interesting. If something tickles your fancy, please go check it out!
Star Wars: Shatterpoint releases this week. As those who've been following our newsletter know, it's been a focus of ours for several weeks now. I won't talk about it anymore (this week) as I've proably already said enough. If you want other impressions, you can go back a few newsletters and check out our progression with the game.
Dogfight! takes to the skies! This is the third installment in these quick-playing titles from PSC Games. They started with Blitzkrieg! and then switched it up with Caesar! next. This time we're in oposing World War I biplanes maneuvering around the skies to defeat each other. There's a lot of fun in this small box, including a solo mode. This looks to be another wonderful title in the series!
Camel Up 2.0 rumbled through the desert to hit our shelves in a cloud of dust. This fan-favorite party / family game (ranked 8th in Party and 45 in Family on BGG) is a hit with a ton of gamers, and for good reason. It's not too heavy, not too luck-based, and not too long - kind of that sweet spot. And... watching the die pop out of the pyramid is always a blast. Kind of reminds you there's a race happening amidst all the betting!
After what seemed like a million years, the retail version of Coraquest finally arrived. You may remember that it took the industry by storm back when it was Kickstarted. This is a wonderful title that's accessible for children and adults. It's like a more streamlined and child-friendly version of Dungeons and Dragons... or, as I like to call it, a 'My First Dungeon' kind of game. If that kind of game interests you, you should really check this one out.
Rounding out the week are a few thematic offerings. The Enmity Cycle is a one-shot adventure for Pathfinder 2E where a party of 4th level characters attempt to solve a missing persons mystery in the Thuvian city of Lamasara. The other is the Hero Expansion for The Lord of the Rings Living Card Game - Dream-Chaser. This includes the 8 playable heroes and all of the cards originally featured in The Gray Havens and Dream-chaser cycle of content back when the card packs were sold separately. The neat thing about this card game is that new playable characters and cards in general can really help gameplay in other campaigns. There really is a lot of flexibility in this LCG, and like most of these...more cards are always better!
THE WRAP UP
Okay, enough news for this week! Below are the Restocks, New Items, and Preorders added to the shop last week. You can click on the item to learn more, and many of the products have review and gameplay videos so you can see the game in action. If you're visiting our page and you'd like to keep up with our giveaways, sales, new products, and articles like this one just create an account here. Once created you will be subscribed to our newsletter and become enrolled in our loyalty system, instantly earning 50 Stones that you can use on your very first order. A Stone? One Stone is equivalent to One Cent. That doesn't sound like much, but you earn 2 Stones for every dollar spent and 5 for each product review, so though it may seem small, those savings add up fast! Redeem your Stones upon checkout, and they can save you up to 10% off your cart total. Loyalty Matters!