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Game Updates

Round 8 – Onsen vs Jail

The Onsen provides the same ability as is already available once you reach step 5 of the Loyalty track, so it might not seem that impressive at first glance. Given that the Shinchoku buildings drive towards a shorter game, you might not reach that high by the time the game is over, and turning those Favour into points early could close out the game. If you pickup the Onsen early then all of those Loyalty spaces can become Favour tokens for you, and if the double Loyalty space is available in the game then this single building can get you a point every couple of turns.

If you thought the Guard House was expensive to use, the Jail is even more so. But the Jail actually has two effects. Firstly, it makes a space available, and having access to almost any space when you need it can be key. Secondly, by replacing the meeple anywhere on the board, you also have some level of control over your opponents next move. Like the Guard House, the Jail is not one you will use often, and at 3 Gold you probably won’t be winning the Banker objective on the turn you use it. However, at the right moment, a single use of the Jail could be a game winning move.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

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Game Updates

Round 7 – Barracks vs Market

The Barracks is a direct upgrade of a ‘basic’ available Action, namely Donate which normally allows you to trade in 5 Gold for a point. The first usage of the Barracks isn’t great – you’ve spent 1 turn to buy it, 1 turn to activate it, and 6 Gold for that first point. However each time you can use it after the first represents a marked upgrade on the Donate action. Naturally it combines nicely with the Broker or the Gold Mine, allowing you to funnel that extra Gold into points, and again the earlier you can get it the more use you will get from it. A common strategy is to use the Barracks in combination to grind out 2-3 points over the game, hitting 7 points before the opponent can score a final objective.

The Market is another building that upgrades one of the ‘basic’ available Actions. It doesn’t have a direct impact on resource generation, or scoring, and so its advantage seems somewhat situational. That advantage comes when you consider that it allows you to (almost) treat all of the 6 spaces that grants resources as being any of your choice. It requires a bit of planning to use if you want to rearrange your resources for that building that you want, but for objective scoring it can be crucial. Imagine holding 7 Gold and scoring the Banker objective, only to switch it up to 7 Food and score the Hoarder objective later.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

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Game Updates

Round 6 – Brewery vs Gunsmith

This next pairing pits two Tsuyo buildings against each other.

The Brewery is part of the Tsuyo sub-theme of points manipulation by using points as a spendable resource, sacrificing progress for a short-term gain. If the Brewery lets you win an otherwise losing resource objective, then that point sacrifice more than pays for itself (whilst also denying your opponent the points). The Brewery can also let you cement your control over later objectives. It won’t be useful until you’ve scored at least 1 point, and you might not want to give up a lead later in the game, but the window of opportunity to use it in the early and mid-game can be enough to exert a lot of control and lock up a win.

The Gunsmith started life as the inverse of the Gardens, but evolved to be an inverse of the Shrine. War and Peace. Whilst functionally equivalent, the Gunsmith has a couple of variations. It is more conditional than the Shrine – your opponent must have at least 1 point to be able to use the Gunsmith. However, keeping your opponents point total down makes it much harder for the game to end at 7 points, instead ending on the final objective. As with other Tsuyo buildings, maintaining control and grinding out a victory through a powerful late game shines through with the Gunsmith design.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

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Company Announcements

New Signing: 99 Ninja

It’s been a busy few months, and I’m excited to announce the next, next game from Prometheus Game Labs will be 99 Ninja designed by Matt Ding and Ivan Alexiev, aiming to launch in mid-late 2023.

99 Ninja is a two player competitive tile laying game, where players use transparent cards depicting ninja from 3 different clans to surround (and assassinate) daimyo. Like other games from Prometheus Game Labs there is a lot of tactical play – you will have to time your placement and outmaneuver, but also out think, your opponent! And yes, there are 99 ninja on the cards. We counted.

Matt and Ivan started work on 99 Ninja as a pilot project, to see if they could co-design a game. Ivan first introduced me to 99 Ninja not long after Micro Dojo had launched in 2021, and suggested it would be a great spinoff game (and I could immediately see where we could use some of the cool existing artwork). I loved the clan switching element of the game where, as Ivan put it, both players felt like they were playing 2 against 1. However, at that time I wasn’t ready to take on the responsibility of publishing another designers game.

Later in the year Ivan and I met at Essen Spiel, and in between lots of other games we had a playtest session of 99 Ninja to brainstorm some new ideas for it. It was still on my mind, but the next step to take it forward was a meeting with Matt at UK Games Expo. It was great to meet in person and chat about where we wanted to take the game, as well as see if it would be a good fit for us all.

After that, we spent just over a month having weekly playtest sessions on Tabletop Simulator to see how well we could all work together (and whether my vision of 99 Ninja aligned with theirs). Each time we got together we had a positive development for the game, and I felt really confident that as we continue working on and shaping the game it’s going to be a really great fit for Prometheus Game Labs.

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Game Updates

Round 5 – Castle vs Yatai

Here we have an interesting matchup of power vs efficiency.

The Castle is a big one. 10 resources all at once for 2 points can take a long time to collect, and if it’s your sole game plan you might find your opponent has grabbed a couple of buildings or taken a few points from objectives by the time you get it. Because it’s a building though it offers a lot more than points. The huge cost can lead to an unbreakable hold on any of the objectives that look at building costs. Speaking of objectives, if the late game objectives are resource based then the Castle becomes even more valuable, letting you sacrifice it for a 3rd point. That’s almost halfway to 7 in just one building.

The Yatai, like the Broker, is a fantastic early game pickup. Cheap, efficient, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Its value goes up greatly if there are objectives based on Food, or if the Shrine is available, but it still has value just in providing flexibility in usage of the Action space. In a slower game, a resource advantage can be the game decider, and the longer the game goes the more use you can get from your Yatai.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

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Game Updates

Round 4 – Bakuto Den vs Komainu

These two are a couple of my favourite buildings, so I admit to being sad that one of them will get eliminated this round. Still as a (totally) impartial judge, I’ll give you my breakdown of each of the buildings.

The Bakuto Den represents the exploitation of your opponents success, granting Favour based on the number of points your opponent has. The Bakuto Den gets stronger the better your opponent is doing, so of course it’s better in the late game, however it is costed to be an easy early game pickup. Whilst its potential is high, it represents a long term plan to manage the pace of the game and your own score relative to your opponents. Keep a controlled game with a close score, and use the Bakuto Den to edge ahead at the end. The Bakuto Den gets bonus points for being the absolute coolest building in the whole game thanks to its easter egg in the artwork (I’ll leave that one for you to find out if you don’t know it already).

If you thought gaining 3 resources in a turn was big, then gaining 4 is MASSIVE. Komainu is a great early pickup as it can accelerate your early game immensely, but be warned as it also helps your opponent. You’re still 2 resources ahead whenever you use it, and it will let you grab those more expensive buildings very quickly, but it could also lead to your opponent being able to buy early buildings they wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Using it when your opponent is already at maximum resources is mean, but no one said the Shinchoku had to be nice all of the time.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

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Game Updates

Round 3 – Guard House vs Rice Paddy

The Guard House is one of the few ‘utility’ buildings in the original game (along with the Stables) that can be used to manipulate movement on the board. You can use it offensively, to force an opponent into a bad move (or break a stalemate), or defensively to buy some time or keep a space available for your next move. It’s not cheap, and using it will cost you 2 Gold which is about a whole turn’s worth of resources. The Guard House therefore isn’t a building that you use very often, but when you do use it it will likely be in a points (or even game) winning situation. 

The Rice Paddy is another building that isn’t cheap, but the earlier you pick it up the quicker it will pay off, and providing its ability passively can make it more efficient than other resource generating buildings if you account for it being usable on 44% of the board. In terms of raw power, gaining 3 resources in a single turn is huge. On a good turn you might gain 2 resources, and on others just 1, but this is one of the very few ways you can break that ceiling of 2. This has a big impact when resource objectives are hotly contested.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

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Game Updates

Round 2 – Orchard vs Toll Gate

Now for the first of the new clan buildings from Loyalty and Deceit! These two buildings look wildly different on the surface but perform remarkably similar roles, albeit with a twist 

The Orchard is a simple upgrade type of building, turning 1 Favour (that is normally worth 1 resource) into 2. In some ways it can be viewed like a mirror to the Broker or Yatai, which upgrade the Action space to give 2 resources, by upgrading the Loyalty space to also give 2 resources. Its extra power comes in the form of the ability to effectively delay its use, spending the Favour later when needed, leading to some big swing turns. If you can combine it with a building that grants Favour (like the Tea House) then you have a real resource engine on your hands.

The Toll Gate is also a mirror of the Broker or the Yatai, in that it results in a net gain of 2 resources, but in a typically Tsuyo fashion. By stealing one from the opponent, you have much more scope to deny them the resources for that building, or even break a ‘lock’ where an opponent is hoarding 7 of a resource for an objective. It is slower than either the Broker or the Yatai, and you won’t be able to use it at all if your opponent has nothing, but those small conditions are made up for by its flexibility.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

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Game Updates

Round 1 – Broker vs School

Onto our first round of voting, with two of the original game buildings.

The Broker is a nice early game pickup. It’s cheap (so can be bought early), can be used often, and gives you extra flexibility to use Action spaces. That last part can be key, as sometimes you end up blocking an Action space but not having anything to do with it. It’ll take a couple of uses before the Broker starts to pay off, but it’s rare that a game goes by without it being picked up by at least one player.

Don’t sleep on the School though. At first glance it might seem unexciting, costing 1 more resource to gain a point than either the Shrine or the Barracks, however its flexibility of allowing any 4 resources to be spent really shines in the late game. In a situation where you just need those few extra points to cross the line, dumping your final resources to gain the 1 or 2 points needed can be, literally, game changing.

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.

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Game Updates

The Great Micro Dojo Building Playoff

I’m sure you’re all waiting anxiously for your copies of Micro Dojo to arrive, and whilst we wait I have a fun event for you to get involved in.

Each week on the Micro Dojo Facebook Group I’ll post up a poll for you to vote on, with the winner of each pairing moving to the next round. Eventually, we will end with a final showdown of the top 3 buildings, with only one being crowned champion! Keep your eyes peeled for tomorrow’s post, with the first of the brackets!

To get involved in the voting, click on the link here for the Micro Dojo Facebook Group.