Shatterpoint Gameplay - First Thoughts
Over the last two weeks, we have gotten two articles from AMG going a bit more in-depth about the gameplay of Star Wars Shatterpoint! I'm sure they will have at least two more articles before Adepticon where the game will have its first demos! Once that happens there will probably be less information to cover, but hopefully, it's not a full news drought until June.
The first thing I will talk about is the struggle tracker! A player wins a game of Shatterpoint by winning two struggles, you win struggles by gaining momentum over your opponent. Momentum tokens are placed on the struggle tracker from high to low and when you reach zero you win the struggle! Momentum is gained by a few different methods.
- By playing the missions and objectives.
- By wounding opponents
- Other various unspecified actions and keywords.
I am a fan of this scoring system. It seems like struggle and momentum are just different words for what most games call victory points. The game itself will either last 2 or 3 struggles. Whoever loses the first struggle gets to have the say in how you play the second struggle and so on. Whoever gets to two struggles first wins, so it's essentially a game of 2 out of 3. I think I like this, but it will feel weird when a player just wins two in a row. It seems like a game that could be 1-1.5 hours will end up being 45 minutes. I am okay with this but it could cause a lot of unwanted variation in tournament times.
I am very curious to see more of the missions and objectives and how they play. We have seen a few, but to be completely honest it is all still a bit confusing to me. I will try my best to cover what they said and give an opinion on it.
These are some examples of Mission Cards. It is still unclear how missions are picked, but it seems like it is fully random for the first phase. After the first phase, the person who lost the previous struggle gets to pick between a few options like the image directly above. Something important to note is that the board state does not reset in between struggles. All wounds and units stay in the same spot, so it will be important to try and position your pieces with the next struggle in mind.
Okay, so from what I've gathered, and I could be wrong, it seems like this mission will always have 9 Objective tokens on the board. These tokens will be placed in line with the map on the mission cards. Then for each struggle, a few tokens are chosen at random to be Active tokens and Priority tokens. Active tokens are the ones that you can score off of and priority tokens seem to be something that would allow you to gain extra points or momentum.
That's about all we have on the struggle information. I like it. I am a fan of how this seems to be playing out. I really enjoy games and lists in games that promote dynamic gameplay. I want to be running all over the board trying to score the objectives and it seems to me that Shatterpoint is just that. I am really looking forward to the seemingly fast-paced back-and-forth "tug-o-war" that this game will be. I want to look over and see my opponent in the lead and start playing the objective extra hard to make a comeback. I cannot wait to see some more gameplay for this game, I am really excited to hear what people have to say about it after Adepticon.
Okay, so I've covered the missions and struggles. There are, of course, other key concepts to how the game is played and we've gotten a few more of them revealed. Here's what we've seen:
Movement tools! These seem very similar to Legion and MCP. I'm just going to copy what they said in the article here:
"The game uses 5 range tools for measuring things like abilities and attacks: 4 range tools numbered 2-5 and a shove tool. Range 1 abilities can be measured using the short end of any of the Range tools or either end of the shove tool. Movement in Shatterpoint uses just two movement tools. The long movement tool is used when a character makes an advance, while the short movement tool is used for a number of different movements like dashing, jumping, and climbing. The use of these tools means that measuring anything in the game is fast and easy."
I like this system. I like the system of separated movement and range tools and I think it is really cool that the shortest range, range one, is measurable on the short edge of every tool.
Here is where things get interesting. Shatterpoint, unlike many other tabletop games, does not have traditional "rounds." Instead of course, as we talked about before, the game is split up between 2-3 phases of gameplay. It seems like there is no specific limit to how long a phase lasts except for the struggle tracker. This means, I think, games will have extremely variable lengths. Some phases could last 5 minutes and some could probably last 30 or 40.
So, how does the game break it up? Well, like the other AMG games, each player has turns. Players alternate taking turns and during a turn may activate one unit. The way you activate a unit is by drawing an order card from a random stack. At the beginning of the game, you shuffle all of your unit's cards into a pile and draw from it as you play. When you draw a card you may either play activate that unit or put that card to the side in "reserve" (for a cost). The cost has not been specified yet, but I think it'll probably have to do with the Force Tokens.
These are what the order cards look like, I hope they're tarot sized because that artwork deserves to be shown off. In addition to the unit card, there is one "Shatterpoint Card" in each stack which serves as a wild card that allows you to activate any unit, including units that have already been activated. Once you are out of cards to pull you just reshuffle and restack and keep on playing.
I love it. I love random order pools in games like this. I like having to be flexible and adapt to the situation around me and I like not knowing what I am going with next. Most of the time. I think the Shatterpoint card is a really cool concept and I am excited to see someone like Anakin or Dooku go twice in rapid succession and just murder things. I think it will really add to the overall "TV Show" effect they are aiming for.
The last thing we will cover for now is the Force Tokens. At the start of the game, you determine "The Will of the Force" for your strike team. This is done by adding up the total amount of Force Value on your units.
It seems that most of the time only Primary units. It has also been confirmed that it is not only Force users that contribute to the force pool, but rather all Primary units have some force value.
This is a really neat concept to me. I think the fact that they have included that the force moves through all things is cool. I am glad that you won't be at an immediate disadvantage for not bringing a lightsaber.
It seems like Force tokens are limited and do not refresh during the game. That means you really only have, in the core set example, 4 from Anakin and 3 from Ahsoka. That's only 7 tokens which feel like not a ton for a full game so I am tempted to say they need to be used sparingly. Force tokens can be spent on abilities and to put cards in reserve.
I believe this is an example of an ability that required the expenditure of a force token.
I like this. I really like this a lot. I think the limited number and the thought that needs to go into spending them is excellent. I really like the possibilities of spending them all early to get a nice lead or saving them for when you really need them. It's one of those things that I think will require a lot of practice to get right. I am inclined to say that if you end the game with unspent force tokens you are doing something wrong. There is definitely a timing that will take practice and prediction to get right, but don't save them all until the game ends and you didn't spend any.
Overall, these two articles have really got me excited about the possibilities. I can't wait to see what next week's article talks about and what we get to see from Adepticon. I wish I could go and demo the game.
It is March and June is right around the corner! The anticipation grows!
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed it! As always if you have any notes for me or agree/disagree with anything I said please let me know!