Matt sent me an email earlier this week asking if I'd played the game Quadradius which came recommended by one Richard Garfield. The website opened up with a tutorial video and then some training missions against the AI so I figured I'd give it a shot. I roped Robb into signing up and playing a few games with me and off we went.
The game is essentially a turn based abstract game where you get to move one of your balls each turn. Balls move one space orthogonally on the board and if you jump on your opponent's ball they die. This sounds pretty boring to start so the game is set up so periodically spaces get lit up on the board. Move a ball onto one of these spaces and you get a power you can use on a future turn. You don't know what the power will be before you move onto the space and your opponent doesn't get told what power you gained until you use it.
This sounds interesting enough but in practice the power levels of the different abilities seemed really swingy. Some of the abilities changed the height of the terrain which made movement trickier. You know it's coming and your opponent doesn't so presumably you can set up favourable situations. Other abilities allowed you to kill all of your opponent's units in your current column, or row, or in the 8 spaces around your ball! Then there was the worse version of that ability which would kill off all units in that row/column/around you including yourself. So if you happen to get all acid powerups and your opponent got all kamikaze powerups you would just dominate them. Then there was the powerup which made your ball immune to getting jumped on, permanently. If your opponent doesn't have acid or kamikaze you just get to ravage his line.
One of the abilities would teleport you randomly to any space on the board. In the last game I played with Robb his random teleport put him in one of two spaces on the board that let him kill two of my guys. My random teleport put my invincible unit into one of two spaces on the board that prevented him from moving again.
I could see how there could be a good tactical game with the outline of the game but as it actually played out it just seemed really random. The website talks about how good bluffing can feel but if your opponent called your bluff and you had +1 terrain level as your ability instead of acid row you'd just lose. So maybe if you had a pool of abilities and got to assign them when you hit the dots instead of just getting dealt one at random? My first game against the AI had the computer get jump immune as his first powerup and I didn't get a way to deal with it until I was down to 3 guys. Good game.
The game can go up to 6 people which could be really crazy and chaotic. But would it be good? I feel like probably not. Maybe there are people out there who would enjoy this game but I don't think I'm one of them. I don't regret trying it out, though!