Tash-Kalar Evaluation – with Tom Vasel

Tom Vasel normally takes a search at Tash-Kalar – Arena of Legends from CGE and Z-man Online games

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24 thoughts on “Tash-Kalar Evaluation – with Tom Vasel

  1. Never have I disagreed with Tom more on a review than with this game. When playing with three or four people, this game has the feeling of Unreal Tournament or Quake 3 Arena Deathmatch!! It's nonstop slaughter, with huge summons being slammed down by all players. So fun! When tom said he wanted to punch a wall at the thought of playing with 4 people, I shuddered. That's a lot of hate being thrown at a game that feels like just nonstop action and slaughter! Deathmatch indeed.

  2. Tom is a strange one. I do not mean that nastily, but just the way that he sees games and their methods.
    Is IS an abstract……..It has randomness…….Once placed, yes, the pieces do become virtual statues. It is therefore different to Chess, or Checkers (draughts), in that the pieces are always there to form various shapes, or there for you to lose them. To feel so negative about this form of gameplay is like saying……."well lets start a game of Chess…….Hmmmmm e4…e5….nf3 etc……..the same boring start. Try telling that to a Chess Grandmaster. You can plan, and like Chess, you respond to the opponent.
    For the many millions who love Chess…….equally, many hate and do not understand it. I feel this is the same about Tash.
    Its one persons opinion, like mine is.
    Because people do not like it, does not mean it's a bad game. Just doesn't scratch their particular itch!

  3. Played one 3 player game and Tom is right. When you end your turn you can be sure that the board will be completely different when your next turn comes around. Hard to plan ahead. Pretty frustrating. 2 player might not be so bad…..

  4. I wouldn't say it's random. There's definitely some chance involved but when you get a good chain of events going it's really rewarding! It's quite fun after playing it once through. I'm excited to play it again.

  5. Great game!! I started playing it now since it has appeared on boardgamearena.com. I like everything about this game, but play High Form, the objectives are a lot more important then the patterns so takes away some of the negative thoughts Tom have.

  6. Just picked up my copy today, and sort of played a game against myself and read the rule book a couple times to prepare for playing it over the next week in my gaming group. Can't wait. I have to disagree with Tom after reading the manual and reading the Tash-Kalar site, where Vlaada has started explaining the reasons for the games mechanica and different cards, i think this games theme is spot on. The rule book immersed me in to this world of people battling in this arena like they were Pokemon trainers sending their creatures to fight. (I think watching Gladiator and Spartacus tv show lately, also got me more excited to buy the game.) The objective cards are spot on, with you trying to please the royalty who are presiding over these arena games, and getting rewarded for doing so. Also the rule book made it out to be this big event with 100s of years of history, which makes me want to see a tv show or movie based on this world.

  7. I feel like Tom is reviewing the deathmatch game mode here, not the High Form. You completely can tell what your opponent is going for in High Form and never have to memorize any patterns. This feels like half of a review based on one or two playthroughs. 

  8. I feel like Tom is reviewing the deathmatch game mode here, not the High Form. You completely can tell what your opponent is going for in High Form and never have to memorize any patterns. This feels like half of a review based on one or two playthroughs. 

  9. Been a while form last time Tom gave a opinion so far from my own. This game is awesome on all levels. Yes it is a abstract game, that is what it is.. but abstract games are great, and this is a great one. It makes no sense to say somthing like Tom dose "Lets call this an abstract game"… it IS a abstract game and makes no claim to be anything else.

    As far as the randomness goes, I feel this is just from not understanding how to play. This game is about patterns, not about memorizing the cards. You may not know exactly what card you are foiling but you are forcing your pattern and destroying his. There is plenty of tactical choices that make meaningful decisions.

    The art is great, the game is great and the component are Z-Man quality. Just a fantastic game, that has seen more play in my group than many larger release titles and is fast heading to most popular duel game.

    If you like Hive or YINSH or light wargames like Mythic Battles.. then this will find a comfy home in your collection.

  10. I played this game at BGG.con and while I had a slightly higher opinion of it than Tom I completely agree with all his criticisms in this case.  The game I played was a 4 player 2 team death match with the simple rules… which it recommends for a first game… and it was pretty frustrating for all parties involved.  Definitely only play this game with 4 people who have played it several times 2-player first!  It's sorta neat figuring out the puzzle of what to do on your turn, but it's extremely random with little room for strategy.  Great review!

  11. I am a big fan of abstract games, and I love board games that put pieces to form patterns and block enemy moves. This is exactly the type of game that I would love playing. I understand that it takes many plays to "remember" your enemies moves, in order to block them, but it is feasible. In fact, you can create a print-out of all the MOVES/PATTERNS in a sheet of paper, so all players can SEE, while playing the game. However, I agree that the summoned creatures stayed as STATIC pieces is a BAD IDEA, so I WILL MODIFY the rules so these creatures will CONTINUE to be ACTIVE (move-able in the SAME manner) until the end of game. With this CHANGE in rules, this game will be AMAZING!!! any yes, perhaps the catch-up mechanism will be remove too….

  12. Yeah, having your "resource pool" in the middle of the board for everyone to mess with is not an attractive idea 🙂 Looks like a mesh of two very different styles, abstract tile laying and thematic fantasy combat, but looks more like a mess. And in the end you are collecting points for making patterns.. meh. This should be an euro with some city building theme..

  13. Total respect for the review!  I haven't played it, of course, but from what I've read, I believe that a) the players are expected after a period of time to have a good understanding of what patterns are in the game and what the opponent could be making and b) that the flares aren't really as much of a catch-up mechanic, but more of a disincentive to slaughter all of your opponent's pieces.  I've been really looking forward to this game… and I'm hoping I see it differently than Tom did.

  14. I´ve played it this year at Essen and I completely agree with you Tom. I was very dissapointed becouse of the randomness and the lack of point. I felt like I couldn´t really plan in this game. Sorry, It was boring…

  15. Four player games are unfortunate. The randomness, though, I feel is mitigated by learning the cards faster than Tom thinks. I've not gotten 20-30 games under my belt, but by that point I assume the players will know the cards so well that they'll be bluffing by presenting shapes they have no intention of completing. 

    I think it is a very strong abstract strategy game and that that opinion will stick as I play more.

  16. I don't agree about it not being playable with more than two players…. I've played a good game (scratch – my ONLY game) of this with 2 v 2 co-op, which worked well, trying to work together to build patterns etc etc.

    However, yes, it is quite plain and I don't think I'd ever buy it. And we won the game to nil, so the other team just got destroyed and, to be honest, couldn't do much about it once we'd got a card out that destroyed 75% of its pieces in the middle of the board in one go.

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