Tuesday, January 08, 2008

"Righteous" and "Warriors of the Promised Land"

As I’ve posted before, I’m very much interested in the world of LDS games. Today, I’m going to review two of them. One is “Righteous” a DVD trivia game, and another is “Warriors of the Promised Land”, a card game.

We got to play the “Righteous” game at a family gathering over Christmas. It’s a pretty fun game, especially for family or casual group play. You roll some dice, selecting the category of play. On the DVD, there are certain types of activities, like “find the difference between two pictures” or “ unscrambling phrases”, or answering a Book of Mormon related question.

It’s a fun game, and the activities are simple enough for kids as well. As trivia games go, I enjoyed it. There’s not a lot of strategy involved, here, but then, there never really are in trivia games.

A funny note: In between the activities, the DVD shows a random sequence of scenes of an animated Nephi character doing various things while a jazzy instrumental version of “Book of Mormon Stories” plays. One of the sequences has Nephi grooving while playing the bass line on his bow string. When I saw that, my first reaction was, “Oh! So THAT’s how he broke his bow! No WONDER his brothers were so mad at him!”

James Fullmer, who has helped me immensely in the testing of “Chapter & Verse”, sent me a copy of his latest game, “Warriors of the Promised Land”. This one is very different.

Even though the idea and the design of the game arose out of “Book of Mormon Battles”, Warriors is a completely different game, and the two card sets are incompatible. Warriors is a much better game. By sevenfold! It’s simple to learn, and has some deeper strategies that Battles.

One of the biggest strengths of Warriors is that this is one of the few LDS games that is truly original. This is NOT another popular game that someone layered an LDS face on top of. It is a new game. It is also very fun to play, and has killer graphics. Not surprising, considering it’s designer is primarily an artist.

One of the big challenges Warriors faces, is that it flirts with concepts that are the core of collectible card games (CCG), but it also tries very hard not to be one. It tries to set up card combinations and multi-card strategies like Magic: The Gathering or Yu-Gi-Oh, but the way the rules spell out the dealing of the decks, these combos rarely come into play. In one of our games at home, for instance, we played the entire game and only one of the warrior card combos actually engaged. In CCG’s, players can choose combos and pre-create their decks, so those strategies are more likely to become a part of the game.

It also tries to avoid the complexity in the written rules that the CCG’s have. I guess the idea is that if the rules are too complex, people won’t want to play the game. However, that left a lot of ambiguity and several situations arose in each of our games where we simply couldn’t find answers in the rules. In those cases, we simply had to make up our own rules. The website has an FAQ which answers some of those rules, but not all. I recommend a second edition of the rules.

My point here is that I think it should either be a CCG, or not a CCG. It’s kinda tough to use CCG concepts and game mechanics within the structure of a non-collectible game.

But Warriors is a great game and I’d like to see it succeed. I’d love for James to be able to create expansion packs and even some rules for more CCG-style play. It is a breakthrough in LDS games, since it’s not a derivative of another game.

Check them both out!

Mark Hansen

1 comment:

  1. I suspect I would suck at both of them.

    Pardon my ignorance, but are these kinds of game common in all Christian sects, or are they more limited to LDS? I'm sure I have seen Bible trivia games somewhere, but I have no frame of reference for this. I don't recall games of this sort when I was a Christian.



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