Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sirlin Games Week - Day 5 - Puzzle Strike

Puzzle Strike (Third Edition and Shadows)
Designed by David Sirlin
Published by Sirlin Games
2 to 4 Players
20 - 50 minutes
Deck-building, Character Abilities, Player Interaction
(10/10 Stars)

Wow! Here we are at the end of Sirlin Games Week. Thank you for joining me all this week as I reviewed all of the Sirlin Games currently available. If you missed out on the other blog posts and video reviews, you don't have to look far! Here are links to each of the blog posts from earlier this week for your reading and viewing pleasure! Day 1 - Interview, Day 2 - Yomi, Day 3 - Flash Duel, Day 4 - Pandante, and to close us out - tonight I review my favorite Sirlin Game, Puzzle Strike.

I really enjoy deck-building games (Dominion, Trains, Thunderstone) and Puzzle Strike is one of my favorites! Let's talk about what comes in the box and the quality of the game (lots..and awesome - short version). Both the Third Edition and Shadows are stand-alone games. They both have the base components as well as 24 different puzzle chips and 10 different Fantasy Strike characters (each character is represented by 3 different unique action chips). Each game comes with around 350 chips which includes gem chips, crash gems, combine chips, and wounds. Other than lots of chips, you get 4 player bags, 4 player mats, and 4 player shields. The rule book is really great and includes lots of helpful illustrations. Sirlin Games also provides the rule books online for free HERE.

The quality of all these components are fantastic! The chips really are the star of the game and they are thick and smooth and it seems like they will hold up well over time. The player mats are very useful for game play. The player shields are nice as well and make it easier to see your chips all laid out and even if your opponent is setting next to you, you can easily make it so that they can't see your plans. Very cool. I do wish that they would have added a reminder to the inside of the player shields about the "panic time" mechanic. Everything is top notch, even including the future facility.

Unlike most deck-building games, players do not start with the exact same deck. I really enjoy this a lot as it provides good variety and strategy for players every game. Each player's character has 3 unique character chips and then each player gets 6 "1" chips and 1 "crash gem." So, not only do you get variety from the many different combinations of choosing 10 puzzle chips out of 24, but you also get to change out starting character chips.

Oh...this game does so many things so well. Players win by having the fewest gems in their gem pile at the end of the game (and the end of the game is triggered when someone ends their turn with a value of 10 or more in their gem pile. As you get more and more gems in your pile, the more chips you get to draw at the end of your turn, which should help you out a little in catching up to your opponent who perhaps only has 4 chips while you have 8. I like this and it seems to provide a good balance. The game also speeds up the game as piles run out.

Puzzle Strike provides a lot of opportunity for strategy, but has lots of fun luck elements as well. Both the Third Edition and Shadows are equally amazing. I think may like Third Edition slightly more because it has more of my favorite characters and the chips are perhaps slightly more basic - the Shadow set seems to have a few more complex characters to play with. Puzzle Strike does such a great job of creating this unique deck-building experience and it really simulates a puzzle battle really well I think. If you like deck-building games (and perhaps even if you don't - don't like shuffling your card deck over and over again? - just place the chips in your bag and shake it up :)), I think you will enjoy Puzzle Strike tremendously and that is How Lou Sees It! (Check out the more detailed video review below!)

I was given a copy of Puzzle Strike (Third Edition and Shadows) by Sirlin Games for the purpose of this review.

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