Paper Pilots: Tech o Survivors Preview



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Paper Pilots: Tech 0—Chapter 1: Survivors
Designer: Shane Ivy
Publisher: Earth Links Collection
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 2
Ages: 13+ (not listed)
Playing Time: Not Listed (15–30 minutes)
Review
Paper
Pilots is a story based tactical combat of two spaceships in a dog fight. The
story is basically that humanity is surviving in the outer reaches of the
galaxy and they are pretty much in a constant state of war, thus chapter 1:
Survivors.
This
is a hand management, card-playing game with a number of levels of intricacy
that come out in the multiple steps of the phases. Though there wasn’t an age
listed on the prototype we played I would recommend this for older players who
have experience with more complex game rules. 
Once you get to understand the rules the game moves along. However, even
with that, there are several reference pages that need to be kept handy during
gameplay, and the developer recommends to have the rules available as well
while learning. I agree with that assessment.
We
had two sets of Paper Pilots: Tech 0—Chapter 1, Survivors. There is the option
that a deck can be split in half (they are duplicates) for 2 players, or each
player can play an entire deck. We had 4 people sit down with split decks and
face off against each other.
The
learning curve led to a slower start. After going through the rules we did a
setup of the game and played with the rules for reference. This worked well.
The three reference charts needed could be placed between the two combats.
After
the initial playthrough players were more comfortable with the game. The
strategy is straight forward. It was determining facing rules, situational
bonuses and what to do when you ended up at a tie that required the charts. We
enjoyed the one-on-one aspect of the dogfight strategy.
The
story on the cards doesn’t affect the mechanics of the game but can be read
for a fuller background of the setting of the game.

Ship Statistics



Your Ship figures











Setup
Each
player starts with a figure to represent their ship and the position it is in
as the two are advancing towards each other. Along with the figure, you have a card that gives the statistics of the ship you are piloting.
Each
player also has Maneuvering Cards, which can be used during play, which are
face-up behind the ship, recommended to be to the right side. You then have the
rest of your deck which consists of Pilot Actions and Luck Events. These cards
are used to alter gameplay as I will explain in the next section.
Players
then draw the top nine cards and you are ready to go for it.
Maneuver Cards
Gameplay
Paper
pilots consist of turns which are called cycles. The cycles are broken into 2
phases: Attack and Engage. The game starts in the Attack phase.
Attack
Phase
This
phase consists of 12 steps that include determining attack, defense, hitting,
and damage.
This
sounds more complex than it really is. Each part can be easy identified as a
1d6 die roll by each player to determine who is higher. This roll can be
adjusted by the charts due to the positioning of the fighters, and cards played.
Once you make it through that basic action you move onto the next step of the
phase.
Engage
Phase
This
phase consists of 9 steps, which determine how the ships move to determine
facing to each other. There is no large play area required to move ships
around, it is done in a simplified 2-dimension setting in a small space between
the two players.
Again,
these are started by comparing the result of each player rolling 1d6 and making
adjustments.
Additional
Actions
Some
cards allow players to cancel actions and change the phase you are playing. I
recommend until you are really familiar with the rules you keep them handy for
these changes in play because they can alter how the steps in the phase,
advantage/disadvantage, and other aspects of the phase change.
When
there is a tie between the players, there is another chart with rules that
affect play that are dependent upon where the ships are currently sitting.
Pilot Action Cards
Theme
and Mechanics
Tying
the game into a developing story provides a lot of backstory as the game moves
further on. I have seen where they are already working on Chapters 2 through 4
as expansions to Survivors. Some the rules we were reading are applicable to
the expansion chapters and not to the Survivor pack of cards.
The
use of cards to alter your action provides a quick response mechanism to how
you as the pilot respond to situation at hand. Our sets were duplicate sets,
which meant each player also had a good understanding of what the other player
could do, and track what cards had already been played. With the split deck,
each player only has about 2 dozen cards. With a single deck for each player and the introduction of expansion chapters, the tracking of your opponent would
become more difficult.
Artwork
and Components
The
cards we played with are sturdy and could easily last through multiple games.
The
Good
  • The
    size allows for easy carry (the rules and charts are currently available on
    line)
  • Quick
    set up

Lucky Event Cards
Final
Thoughts
With
the size of the deck, the gameplay was quick. Once you run through your deck there
is no reshuffle. From then on it is your basic maneuvers and how well you roll.
The ships in the starter pack have 12 points of armor, which also adds to quick
play.
Being
observant of positioning and how that affects your combat adjustments is
important. Several times in our game the missing of that simple point led to
dire outcomes.
Players
Who Like
  • One-on-one
    combat
  • Fast
    response and fast-paced gaming

The start of the story

Check out Paper Pilots on

   

Daniel Yocom – Reviewer

Daniel Yocom does geeky things by night because his day job won’t let him. This dates back to the 1960s through games, books, movies, and stranger things better shared in small groups. He’s written hundreds of articles about these topics for his own blog, other websites, and magazines along with stories, after extensive research. His research includes attending conventions, sharing on panels and presentations, and road-tripping with his wife. Join in the geeky fun at guildmastergaming@blogspot.com.


See Daniel’s reviews HERE.

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