Josh Nelson writes for Bleeding Cool:
Wizards of the Coast, the fabled company responsible for bringing the public Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and Heroscape (wait, what?), has created an all-new board game, using its arguably-most popular intellectual property: Explorers of Ixalan.
Now, I had discussed previously the issues I had with Ixalan as a marketing bid, but suffice it to say, this is a horse of a different color (and we’re not talking “color pie” philosophy).
See, I am one of those players who had started playing Planechase when it came out, started playing Archenemy when it came out (and finally has all their oversized schemes cards from the format!), and got into Vanguard retroactively (no, not CardFight! Vanguard, Magic‘s Vanguard). I’m a completionist of variant formats, and thus when I saw this I was filled with… Oddly enough, it was actually a series of mixed feelings that filled me, and not solely unbridled joy like with the other previous releases, such as the Hero’s Challenge or the aforementioned ones.
This got me to thinking as to just why that could be. Now, surely it couldn’t just be its $64.99 pricetag, as that hasn’t deterred a fan like me before (I’ve admittedly spent more on single cards for variant format completion), nor could it be the fact that there are no new cards in this release (on the contrary – reprints of Time Warp, Aggravated Assault, and Shared Animosity absolutely and completely pique my interest).
No, no… I think what gets me is that the variant pieces aren’t… card-shaped.
Don’t form an angry mob and come for me, though – I think it makes sense because the pieces are hexagonal (not that this in particular is what gets my goat, but doesn’t that seem familiar?) and being that every variant so far has had card-shaped components (all the way to the exact dimensions of the working pieces, as the oversized cards are twice as large but retain the exact shape of their standard counterparts), I feel almost a bit uncomfortable using this shape that, as a card gamer primarily, is alien and unfamiliarto me (just in time for Halloween!).
Anyway, I feel I must be fretting too much as a critic of this lovely game, and I’ll be more than eager to try the format out alongside my other variants, before inexplicably making the purchase and enjoying it for times to come.
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