Players: 2 – 4
Time: ~100 minutes
Times Played: .5
Attending UnPub 8 was a blast as I got to interact with so many different people and their games. Some games I was able to play the entire way through and others were capped after a few rounds. You knew ahead of time what you were getting into and the developers typically knew when to call their games and then you would provide feedback.
A game that I wish I could have played more of was Faza, I want to apologize for the lack of photos. I was having too much fun playing to document more thoroughly. And obviously, everything you’ll see in these photos are prototypes and are subject to change.
Faza jumped out to me immediately due to the artwork. The game is based with a light orange hue that compliments the Sci-Fi theme wonderfully. For the theme, the artwork isn’t too serious to scare off younger players and not too cartoonish to be a parody that would dismay more serious gamers. The artwork really gave the game a breath of life and had me interested before I even knew what Faza was about. It grabbed my attention and interest and made me want to learn more.
And learn more I did. Faza is a cooperative, modular tile-laying, variable action power, non-sequential turn order adventure where you are trying to save the final city on Earth from annihilation from the alien threat.
Players are given an option of which class they would like to be and each class has two options (Scout and Marine, Senator and Alien Turncoat). Of the two options, you pick one to play the game with. I was a Scout, which allowed me to utilize some extra movement that could help my teammates.
Every game features a set of tiles that make up the map of the world you are trying to save and they match the color and symbol of one of the classes. The symbols are clear and easy to see which is great for our color-blind friends. These are randomly distributed and players being on the tile that their color/symbol match grants them a combat benefit.
The tiles also contain Outposts, which are designated areas for reinforcements (rebels) to appear and they also serve the purpose of signaling an end game condition if they are destroyed by the motherships.
Each player is given several cards that are your actions for the game ahead. Many have a top half that are similar to other players cards (Run: move to an adjacent tile; Airplane: move up to two tiles away; Teleport: move to any tile of your color) but the bottom half has something unique to the players. In the Scouts case, it was a Bazooka that could shoot at an adjacent tile. My teammate had a Tesla Coil which would obliterate drones when Teleporting.
The game is scaleable for two- to four-players (with a solo option being looked at) and has players fighting drones and motherships together. It’s a mixture of Pandemic and Forbidden Island and Fallout all rolled into one. I was able to give this a test run at two-players.
What was unique about this game was that you play your turn until you’re done. You could play all your cards or only one. Granted, I only was able to play through half of the game but it seemed like this would help combat the problem of Quarterbacking that is prevalent in cooperative games. I also felt like I was a part of a team as we were making decisions together. This wasn’t a case where I player used all their action points and then we hoped for the best. The round didn’t end until everyone had gone.
The overall goal of the game is to eliminate the motherships that patrol the map. Each mothership has a different ability and moves dependent on a set of conditions listed on their card. You can scale the difficulty of the game easily here by adding or removing a mothership and changing the amount of wounds they start the game with.
As the motherships move after all players have exhausted their actions in a given round, they are fairly powerful when they get to make contact and depending on the number of players, the number of times they are activated will change.
There are also drones, which are the ground troops of the alien overlords that keep players from going wherever they wish on the board. Destroying them acts as the main currency for recruiting new rebels (which help with battling the motherships and act as meat shields for your characters).
The combat is dice-based, where a roll of 1-3 typically injures you and a 4-6 injures them. There are many modifiers that boost this 50% chance of damaging the opponent so don’t get too dismayed by the initial odds.
After playing through two rounds, I had come to a couple of conclusions; namely, this game is hard (which I loved). We lost and it wasn’t even close. We had some poor dice results on the first round and I definitely made some tactical blunders as it was my first time setting foot into the world of Faza.
The difficulty and my blunders made me immediately want to play Faza again. My mind was already racing with ideas and strategies.
I really enjoyed the modular nature of the board and the randomized (but not random) movement of the motherships. You are given enough information to prepare your strikes but it’s never too much information to overburden yourself.
I mentioned earlier that the turn order (well, lack thereof) was helpful in combating Quarterbacking and I think the tiles matching players does that as well. Players are given more incentive to attack from areas that match what they are and venturing out might mean death to a team member (which would result in a loss) so abiding by one players wishes could ultimately backfire.
I do believe this game will be a longer affair (maybe not as long as my estimate) with some tense moments. Nothing the game is asking you to do is overly hard or complicated, but there is a constant wave that you have to fight back against. The constant shifting of the board will keep the turns (and repeated plays) fresh.
I have nothing but good things to say about Faza. I cannot wait to see where this game is headed and was very impressed by first time designer Benjamin Farahmand.