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AEGIS: Combining Robot Strategy Game Review


Quick Look: AEGIS Combining Robot Strategy Game


Designer: Jesse Clark, Sarah Como, Breeze Grigas, Ryan "The Boulder" Richford, Tom Wozencraft
Artist: Breeze Grigas
Publisher: Zephyr Workshop
Year Published: 2018
No. of Players: 2/4/ 6
Ages: 10+
Playing Time: ~30 mins.

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com



Review:

tl;dr: Squad combat of robots that can combine into bigger robots, which can then combine into even bigger robots. Is there anything else in life?

Getting to the Game: By far, the hardest part of AEGIS is choosing your five robot 'toon. Technically, you get to choose 7 base robots (defined by a single letter, rather than combined 'bots that have two or more letters), and then when you sit down you choose the five you want to field. Fortunately, the game comes replete with STACKS of cards, most of which are organized into squads for you. Each player gets an energy tracker (my copy came with a bunch of these, themed to each commander), and then slots their five robots into colored stands. The board is two-sided, both warm and winter themes, with varying spots for adding terrain. Each player adds up the energy contributed by each bot, and sets that sum as their max energy. C:/> ROBOT BATTLE COMMENCE

While there are technically three win conditions, they more or less all mean the same thing: reduce your opponent's squad to ineffectivity. You can completely eliminate them, but reducing their total energy contribution to 4 or less will also do the trick. You do this through the very simple method of move-action. The system here is brilliantly boiled down to the bare necessities needed for the action desired, so there's no fiddly bits. It's all sweet, sweet explosions.


Playing the Game: There are standard rules that feel familiar to most wargamers, but for those of you who are new to this style of game, let me run them down. You have to activate each robot completely before you can move on to another one. Activating a robot allows you to move it some number of hexes up to its movement maximum, and then you can take an action (usually attacking). If you don't move, some robots let you take two actions, but you can't ever action first, and then move. This forces you away from stick-and-moving, causing some pretty serious decision making when it comes to putting your precious robot in harm's way. 



What works so well about AEGIS, is, frankly, the time it takes to play it. We've all seen the minis of gamers playing huge armies with tons of tiny dice over the course of hours. This game plays in just about 30 minutes, and it does this by reducing your overhead to the bare minimum. There is terrain here, but all it does is block movement and line of sight. You can't jump on top of it to gain a height advantage. Attacking is a simple matter of looking at your robot's specific actions, choosing one, and then rolling the number of dice specified. The base robots don't mess with this formula at all, allowing you to really dive deep into the action right away.

Artwork and Components: The robots are all varied colors and delightful shapes. There's very little dark or brooding about this game. We're in the world of huge anime-inspired machines with reference-laden names. (Thanks, ENDER-100.) The standees are clear and contain just enough information to be useful without being cluttered. The cards are bright and fun, without sacrificing clarity. Overall, Breeze has done a phenomenal job setting the overall tone of the game. It's brutal without being mean.

  

Components are similarly fantastic. I can't get over how amazing these dice look and feel. They're standard-sized, but the custom symbols and translucent candy colors really adds something to the table presence. I love how well the standees fit into the bases, there's no chance of bending or squishing them, and they'll stay put without falling all over the place. My one caveat to this is: be very careful when punching these out of the boards. My copy had a couple bots who were still pretty well attached, and I bent a couple of them badly trying to free them from their cardboard prisons. They're thin, so they're going to be prone to this. Go easy.

The Good: Great fun bashing robots both against enemy robots and into each other to make bigger robots. Robots. Dice look and feel wonderful. Quick gameplay.

The Bad: Might be too light for some players looking for a more Robotech/Mechwarrior experience. One positioning mistake could cost you the match.

Score: I loved my games of AEGIS so much that it's become a rare game that I try to get people to play with me for non-review purposes. The art style, pop culture references, dice, and overall feel hits a sweet spot for me that's perfect for casual gamers as well as their more tactical/strategic friends. Overall, there's plenty here to sink your teeth into, so replayability and freshness aren't going to be even remotely an issue. I'm giving AEGIS: Combining Robot Strategy a score of Big Hit.

                 




Nicholas Leeman - Reviewer

Nicholas has been a board game evangelist for over 10 years now, converting friends and family alike to the hobby. He's also a trained actor and works summers as one of the PA announcers for the St. Paul Saints. He lives in Minneapolis, MN with his board gaming wife and son.

See Nicholas's reviews HERE.
AEGIS: Combining Robot Strategy Game Review AEGIS: Combining Robot Strategy Game Review Reviewed by The Madjai on March 01, 2019 Rating: 5

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