This past weekend I got together with friends for some board/card gaming, with the specific goal of getting some titles to the table that we haven’t tried yet.
It was an excellent day filled with good times. We had a five-player game of our perennial favorite, High Noon Saloon, and played several titles that were new to me such as Aye, Dark Overlord and We Didn’t Play Test This at All. However there were two games that stood out in particular, for very different reasons.
The first was Galactic Strike Force by Greater Than Games. I’m a sucker for spaceship games and I adore their other masterpiece, Sentinels of the Multiverse, so I was more than eager to give it a try.
Okay, there’s a game in there somewhere. We found it. We put a lot of effort into finding it, but I can’t say if I like it or not. I think it’s fun?
Way back in the day, my friend brought over the original release of Sentinels of the Multiverse and we gave it a try. That first publishing taught us two things; Greater than Games can produce amazing products, but they also write rule books of questionable clarity. It took a little effort, but we figured it out and have been Sentinels fans ever since.
The rules of Galactic Strike Force are more fiddly and it took four of us, all experienced gamers, constantly referencing the manual and the online FAQ before we finally got into the groove and made the game work. After all that, I’m not sure if I like it or not. I want to give it another shot now that we have a handle on it, with different characters and a different opponent, to see how it shakes down.
Right off the bat, the figures are spectacular. There are several detailed armored birds on tilting flight bases. You have rider miniatures you can put on the birds and a number of ground figures. The quality of game pieces has skyrocketed across the board and even given that high bar the figures in Tail Feathers stand out.
This game also nails the theme to an amazing degree. The board, the rules, the pieces, all contribute to feeling like you’re involved in a battle between noble mouse knights and dastardly rat brigands. Even the range finder contributes; it’s designed to look like a stick with a leather wrapped handle. The stick defines the range for missile weapons, while anything within the range of the leather wrapping is at melee range.
The rules are clever, innovative, and laid out in a clear fashion. I read through them twice and was familiar enough to get us going. From there it wasn’t hard to know where to find specifics as needed. We jumped past the basic game and used several of the advanced mechanics right away. I feel confident that in our next game we’ll toss in all the rest.
I can’t say enough good things about Tail Feathers. My only mild criticism is that for the moment it’s a two player game. I believe that a four-way war would be both manageable and epic, if we had the factions to carry it out (two sets of the core game would certainly work). However from all reports there will be expansions to expand the number of factions and how many people can play.
I don’t want to give the wrong idea; often when you talk about a game needing expansions it’s because the core game doesn’t feel done. That’s not the case in Tail Feathers. You get a lot of game in the core box, plenty to keep you entertained. In addition, if you already own Mice and Mystics (which I do not), you can use those characters in Tail Feathers.
Finally, let me tell you a tail of heroes. In our game there were two standout figures, two amazing rodents who rose to become legends. The first was Super-Rat, a no-named minion who could not be stopped. He survived drifting from one tree to another on a leaf and survived after all his companions had fallen. Hero mouse knights on their bird mounts could not stop him. An entire unit of mouse archers could not stop him. Without mercy or hesitation he laid siege to the mouse nest and gave victory to the rat invaders.
His counterpart was Super-Mouse, who was also a no-named woodland warrior. He crept across the meadow to attack the rat’s nest. He faced a rat champion in single combat and bested him. He single-pawedly almost turned the tide of battle and came within a whisker of saving the game, rolling maximum damage with his bow several times in a row. In the end it was not enough and the mice still faced defeat, but the legend of these two valiant vermin will forever resound in our gaming halls.