I was struggling for couple of weeks about this post. I knew that I need to tell you about Theseus. I knew that you wait for information about this brand new game designed by Michal Oracz. But I also knew that I love this game…
I can’t talk about it without passion and love. I can’t talk about it other way than just praise. I can’t pretend that I am not amazed with Theseus. I can’t convince you that my description of the game is in the slightest way neutral. I can’t state that anything I say about this game is objective truth.
Because it’s not.
These all words below are words coming from the mouth of a fan.
Everything I say today, you need to divide into half, because I am fan of Theseus.
Everything I show you today, you need to treat with reserve, because I am fan of Theseus.
Everything I point as a great in this game, you need to consider carefully having in mind… that I am fan of Theseus.
I am honest. I don’t want to give you some marketing bullshit that big companies would give you. I just want to tell you truth – why I am in love with Theseus.
We have Marines, Scientists, Aliens and Greys. Each faction has 3 action pawns and 25 cards.
They all look quite the same… till the moment you start playing Marines…
…till the moment your Marines put Battle position on one of the Sectors and make hell to every single opponent’s pawn that will be so stupid to stop there.
…till the moment your Marines put Barricades card on one of the Sectors and become immune to opponent’s attacks there.
…till the moment your Marines put Mine card in one Sector, and second Mine card in other Sector and another one in yet another Sector… You’ll hear sounds of explosions every time your opponent moves his pawn. ‘I love smell of napalm’ you’ll say. You play Marines. No f… doubt about this, right?
These cards look quite the same… till the moment you start playing Aliens…
…till the moment your Aliens use Vent shortcut cards and simply ignore rules of movement in the game. Shsh, shshs… you sneak in shadows and move among the sectors the way you want to move – ignoring every rules that would stay on your way…
…till the moment your Aliens put Tentacles in one of the Sectors making it damn hard to move through, making it trap for enemy, making it place where they will die… …till the moment your Aliens put Incubator card and start growing new small aliens that will infect enemy…
These cards look quite the same… till the moment you start playing Scientists…
…till the moment your Scientists use Camera cards and begin gather Victory Points in spite of the fact that enemy tries to kill them. Enemy shoots but you don’t give a shit, you’re dying, but you’re gathering data and enemy can’t do anything about this.
…till the moment you use Med labs to keep you alive, till the moment you use Remote control cards to make space station work for you every round! You use technology to outsmart enemy. Yes, he shoots but you are the smart one, you are not afraid of stupid marine, are you?
These cards look quite the same… till the moment you start playing Greys…
…till the moment your begin take Control over other player’s pawns and start messing with them. Telepathy is a strong weapon, trust me mate.
…till the moment you use Transfer card to steal life points from enemy and use them to heal your units…
…till the moment you simply use Teleport and do whatever you need… Yeah, Greys can do nasty things…
Just like with Neuroshima Hex, Michal took few cards (tokens in Neuroshima Hex) and make the impossible – unique factions that differ in a way that seems unachievable! They let you play different strategies and let you feel their unique theme even though there is only few cards in the game.
This is Michal’s strength. This is his footprint. This is his mark. Factions.
Two levels of decision
When you activate one of your pawns, you move it number of spaces equal to the number of pawns that are in this very sector.
Let’s say there is 1 your pawn and 2 enemy’s pawns in the sector. If you move your pawn, you will move exactly 3 spaces and later on your enemy will move exactly 2 spaces. That’s the rule.
This is clear, right? How this influence game play? When you move, you change movement of the enemy. You move out from the Sector and his movement changes. This let you do amazing stuff.
Each round you decide:
– which Sector you want to reach with one of your pawns,
– which Sector you don’t want enemy to reach in his round with one of his pawns.
Every single round is important choice to be made. Every single round you have decision – if you mess with enemy and make his movement sucks or you focus on your goals and move your pawns to get maximum benefit possible.
This allows you to test different strategies – you can play more nasty and try to think about enemy future movement, you can play more focused on your goals and try to earn as much as possible with each of your moves.
And always, after each game it leaves you with this amazing feeling: ‘I should play it differently at this particular moment…’
With nearly every move you make, you can put into a game one of your cards and install it on any Sector or you can discard one card from opponent’s reserve. Once again, you play nasty and discard enemy cards or you focus on your faction and install as many your cards as possible.
Board is changing, constantly changing into unique blend of new features and abilities. One of the Sectors is in Fire, other has Trap detector installed, in one sector Aliens installed Nest, in the other Roots, one sector is dominated by Scientists with Recorders, Med lab and Secret passage, other is in control of Greys…
Each time you play, board has different features and combos. Each time you play you try to make Sectors work for you. Each time you play you create some kind of deadly mechanism, you put cards into play, you put them in different Sectors so they begin to work together and give you deadly tools…
This game is about creating deadly tool. This is about reshaping board into your home, it is about making it safe place for you and deadly place for enemy. This is about slowing him in this sector and putting Mine there and then starting Fire in the next Sector. You make him cry each time he steps into this region of the board…
At some point the board is full. At some point board is working in it’s unique own way. At some point it will be clear – you did your job better or the opponent. Each time you move you cry or you smile? Moving among the Sectors makes his Faction die or your…?
During tests we were noting down some of the most amazing combinations we managed to create. We knew that they are unique, that replaybility from these 100 cards and 7 sectors is huge and we need to save this spectacular combos. We will make a small video about them. We want to show you how incredible things can be created with this game.
Theseus is amazing tactical game. It is unforgiving game. You need to be focused. You need to make important choices. It is a deadly challenge, with low luck factor. Challenge that may leave you after play with this sad feeling: ‘He smashed me down, because he played better.’
Depending on your character you will say: ‘Revenge!’
Or you pass and look for less confrontational game.
I say ‘Revenge.’