Monday 27 May 2019

MEEPLE FORCE: The Play Test!

Welcome back to the Vault my fellow gamers! I am very lucky to be part of an active and creative gaming community and Wartorn Games recently hosted a play test session of their forthcoming MEEPLE FORCE game at my local hobby hub, the First Founding Club.

I'm always intrigued to see what the Wartorn Crew are up to and so I jumped right in with a band of fellow heroes to save the Planet!

It's immediately apparent that the basis of the game is a "flick the playing piece" mechanic, much like Subbuteo (football, meh) or Pitch Car (which I love loads).  However, there's a lot more depth to MEEPLE FORCE than simply "push the piece" and there are some very elegant rule mechanics.

Each player either takes on the role of a Hero (a member of MEEPLE FORCE) or the Swarm Lord (a sort of Games Master role who gets to control the various gribblies out to thwart the Heroes).

The players then run through a set of progressively more difficult scenarios; the Heroes can try to acquire Gear and Upgrades which will help in the later missions whilst the Swarm Lord can also receive boosts for his various mobs, traps for the terrain and so on.

Each Hero has a character card which defines his abilities, actions and initial gear.

In the picture above Oni-Kage the Cyber Ninja has received an upgrade and some supplies during the game. The core mechanics are covered by Move and Shoot; Oni-Kage can:
  • Move (be flicked) twice; the White Icon is a "normal" move, whilst the Red Icon is a Combat Move (inflicting 2 points of damage if Oni-Kage's piece is moved into contact with an enemy piece
  • Shoot once; the Ninja's player gets to place a bullet piece within 1" of Oni-Kage's piece and then flick it, dealing 1 point of damage to the first thing it hits (friendly fire is a thing!)
  • Use Throwing Knives; this is a special ability that allows two green shots to be made, at the cost of a supply token.  Supply tokens can potentially be replenished by searching Loot Crates.
The flicking mechanic is very simple but allows for some clever rules. Want to acquire a Loot Crate? Flick your Meeple into it. Easy!

I played Roach, a sort of Space Cowboy Sheriff, whose special trick is a Boomerang! You can flick a bullet piece for a Red Shot, then again for a Green Shot, and finally you make a White Shot. If the White Shot hits Roach then the Boomerang is successfully returned and he doesn't lose his Supply token. Genius mechanic!

There are even mechanics for bombs and missiles! A player using a missile flicks a large bullet piece, then flicks two of the normal bullets from the final location of the larger piece to represent the explosion. Shooting around corners is therefore possible!

The Swarm Lord has some fun stuff as well. In the initial couple of missions he just gets a few rubbish minions, but the numbers, toughness and abilities of the Snakes increase as the scenarios progress. My favourites are the Hydras which spawn two smaller monster pieces when killed.

The Swarm Lord also gets access to "upgrades" when one of the Heroes upgrades. I like the option to booby trap terrain or place mine counters on the board which deal damage if badly flicked pieces contact them.

Snakes. Why did it have to be Snakes!
I really enjoyed playing MEEPLE FORCE, and there are a number of reasons why the game stands out:

  • Really clever uses of a simple rule set to achieve an elegant overall game
  • The progressively difficult scenarios (with varying win conditions) combined with "powering up" the characters is a great take on the classic Computer Game feel I think Wartorn are trying to achieve
  • At the end of the day you still need a level of coordination and skill to flick well! We had some nail biting moments as we (well mainly me) failed key flicks, and there were many cheers, high fives and victory dances as we made the clutch shots!
So, a fantastic evening's fun and I hope to see MEEPLE FORCE in production soon; I can't wait to play the game again. The Wartorn Team have a number of "campaigns" with various baddies planned so there's lots to look forward to.

No comments:

Post a Comment