The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Earth Reborn Initial Thoughts

The TaoLing said “We should play a game” and started to get Air Baron when he noticed the Earth Reborn box. “Woah! We’ll play this.” So, I finally had the impetus to read the rules….one game later, some random thoughts:

  1. If you just skip past the component page or two (at the front) the rules aren’t that daunting. This uses a structured learning system, so even though the character card contains (grabs card, counts) 15+ pieces of information per side  (including some weird chaining iconography on the bottom), you only use roughly 5-6 for the first scenario.
  2. There’s a ton of double-sided cardboard tiles of various sizes (1×1 up to 3×4 and some crosses, Ts, Ls etc). Building the map for scenario one probably took thirty minutes! (And I had another set of eyes helping).  Seriously, one of the most intensive “build a map” games since heroscape.
  3. It probably took 15 minutes to get the rule basics.

Here they are (for scenario one):

  1. You get command points based on the scenario (and bonus characters)
  2. You draw 5 tiles. Tiles have four quadrants with various actions (move, fight, search, shoot, interact) and a max number of CP (1-4). They have colors, which I haven’t gotten to yet.
  3. You activate a unit and give it a tile. Then you may spend CPs on each action to move, fight etc. You are limited to the # on the tile. Typically you must complete an action before switching, but you can split movement.
  4. Each movement action gives you a number of steps based on a card. Characters have facing.
  5. Fighting lets you roll a # of dice (based on the card) +1 for each extra CP spent. The defender gets dice based on facing.  You also do this to break down doors, smash equipment, etc.

In combat, the attacker adds his hits and compares with the defenders hits. If the attacker wins, he also subtracts the defenders armor and each extra hit is a wound. So a big attack from Franck Einstein (who gets four dice) spending a three CP (for two more dice) against the back of a zombie (1 hit, no dice) could easily result in 9 hits. Subtracting the zombies one hit, and armor, leaves six hits. 4 hits wound a zombie (flip the card) then put two more wounds. A wounded zombie has 3 life, so the next wound kills it.

Each die also shows a critical hit. That’s just one automatic wound, but counts even on defense! (Normal hits don’t help a defender, just stop damage).

And that’s it. It will probably only take a few minutes to add LOS and shooting, because I think it uses the same system, just with out of ammo (also on the dice).

The first scenario see Franck and a few mutants and zombies trying to find and rescue/kill another character (Vasquez). She’s fast, but fragile. Because you can only activate each character once before you can start reactivating, Franck can usually maul a single character. But until Vasquez is available, he can only spend 5 CP to the hordes 12, so they’ve got that going for them. But they have to cover the exits. It plays fairly quickly.

So, too early to tell but at least the rules weren’t bad … once I had a motivation to read them.

Now I have to figure how everything fits back in the box.


Written by taogaming

November 13, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Posted in Reviews

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  1. I have mixed feelings about Earth Reborn. About 2/3rds of the way through the rules, i wanted them to be done. Beyond that point, the complexity started burying the game. There is a remarkable game in there, but it needed pruning and, most of all, less setup. The game would not have suffered if all the tiles had been the same size, square and large (each containing multiple rooms).

    There is a curious balance between “base set” and “expansion” in games, and this one teeters too far into “this should have been reserved for an expansion” territory. Although the game is modular to an extent, there is a sense of not playing the full game until you know everything in the base set (unless you feel like absorbing the vehicle rules, you can’t play with the large miniature, unless you learn the torture rules, certain equipment cards are useless, unless you learn SAGS, some of the symbols will forever be meaningless, etc, etc).

    It’s too bad, because it feels strange to complain about getting too much, but there it is.


    November 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm

  2. I played through the first 4 scenarios and was impressed with how easy it was to add the various rules as you go. Trying to absorb all the rules at once would be very daunting but taking it in small doses makes it easier to incorporate. I do agree that setup is very tedious but it gets better with experience. (Start with the big tiles and work down finishing with all the different doors). I particularly liked the rules that allow for interupting actions by bidding so that one character can “spot” another and react by taking some action(s). The scenarios also seemed fairly well balanced and varied. I haven’t tried the SAGS rules where you setup your own scenario so I’m not sure how well they work or not but even without it there is a decent game with the standard scenarios.


    November 16, 2011 at 10:03 pm

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