Sunday, November 13, 2011
Board Game Travesty Review - Terrax Warriors
I hate having to give bad reviews to guys who are trying really hard. It's hilarious fun to slam the piss out of a Reiner game - after all, he can have a bowel movement and wind up with a new game. But when a guy is really putting out the effort to create something, and just doesn't have the sense to make it an actual interesting game, it's a little sad.
On the other hand, I did warn him. I showed him some of the reviews I've written that were downright uncomplimentary. I told him, 'there's a real good chance this happens to you.' I told him not to send me a game if it wasn't a good game. But they never listen.
The game we're discussing is called Terrax Warriors. And it's really not very good at all. It lacks all the basic components that would make a game popular, fun or interesting. The art is hideous, and at points, makes the game hard to play. The premise is derivative and uninspired. The mechanics are total retreads. Basically, Terrax Warriors is a blatant crime against gaming. The best thing the creator can claim is ignorance, because he certainly cannot claim to have made a good game.
Terrax Warriors is a skirmish battle in an absurdly generic fantasy world. While it is not impossible to create a decent fantasy skirmish, this one is an abysmal failure. I can name several fantasy battle games without even thinking about it, and every single one makes Terrax Warriors look as fascinating as an empty toilet paper tube.
If nothing else, he could have put a little thought into the factions. If your factions were giant wolf things, mutant zombies and musketeers, at least your setting would be interesting. But Terrax Warriors gives us elves and dwarves, men and orcs. There was absolutely no attempt to be the least bit imaginative. At least put your goblins on dinosaurs.
And the rules are about as exciting as the races selected to participate. You move, you attack, you roll a few dice, and that's it. Sure, there's more stuff, but there's nothing you haven't seen dozens of times before. Spells for the wizards, bows for the elves, boredom for the poor bastard who says, 'yes, you can send me your game, and yes, I will write about it.' No consideration at all for the sad sacks who had to play it with me, either.
I take it back - there is one thing that's new. It's the end conditions. When your army drops below a certain point value, you're out of the game, even if you have a bunch of people left on the field. And since that number is actually higher than the army you start with, it's not very difficult to knock someone out of the game. To be honest, we were actually relieved by these end-game conditions, because it meant we got to stop playing before the game should have ended. Drop a couple berserkers and steal a couple gold mines, and the orcs disappear. We could have called that an arbitrary rule that ruined the game, but instead, we just called it mercy.
Even if you could get past the thoroughly bland races or the completely uninteresting rules, Terrax Warriors is still hard to play just because of how tremendously bad the art is. The game is played with cardboard tokens, but the art on many of these tokens looks like horribly miniaturized clip art. And then the art is reduced down so far as to make it all look like colored blobs of spilled paint, and you can't tell which guy is which. I can see a scenario in which you defend one position for ten minutes before someone realizes that the Amazon warrior was actually behind the forest, and you've been rolling dice for a mustard splatter.
If the designer of Terrax Warriors considers what he's got, completely retools it, adds some interesting elements, and hires an actual artist, he might have something he could sell. But as it stands, this is one of the worst games I've played in 2011. I cannot imagine any reason I would play it again. If I were stranded on a deserted island with my friends and this game, we would invent an abstract played with coconuts and use the cardboard from this game to create a ham radio. I would also be responsible for bedding Ginger in my hammock while the skipper smacked people with his hat.
Come to think of it, now that I'm at the end of this review, I don't feel that bad any more. Terrax Warriors is an exercise in laziness. The races were stolen from every generic fantasy setting ever created. The mechanics are cribbed from every half-popular war game published since 1960. The rules need an editor like I need a shave (and by Sunday, I start to look like a cross between a homeless bum and a German Shepherd). The game shows virtually no effort to be interesting, original or inspired, and I can only hope that nobody ever buys a copy of this derivative, tasteless pile of ugly.
2-4 idiots who can't find anything better to do
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Poorly written rules
No reason whatsoever to play
Under no circumstances should any sane human being buy a copy of Terrax Warriors.
Posted by Matt Drake at 9:13 AM