Addendum to the Diskwars review

tight little cheats, an imbecile squared, that flipping feeling, straight-jacketed attacks
[Following our Warhammer: Diskwars review, it was pointed out by basically all of you that we’d got one rule massively wrong. Taking this into account, Quinns wrote this quick epilogue.]

Quinns: There was a line I wrote for our Diskwars video that I ended up cutting. I really, really hate the manual. It splits the rules of crucial concepts between the first half of the manual (the beginner game), the second half the manual (the advanced game), a dedicated boxout, and two pages titled “Reference” that are basically the manual’s colostomy bag. Everything it forget to tell you elsewhere collects here.

In the end I decided that there were more important things for me to tell you about than the manual, and left it out. So really, in doing a video where I misunderstood a vital rule of Diskwars, I was wrong twice over. An imbecile squared. Because not only did I misunderstand the rules, but I underestimated how important manuals can be.

ANYWAY, it turns out that you can indeed maneuver your whole army in one turn in Diskwars, doing away with much of my criticism of how restrictive commanding my armies felt, as if I were trying to point the way to my troops while wearing a straight-jacket.

Having spent this morning playing with the correct rules, it’s absolutely a better game than I was playing before. Though actually, I’m still not sure we can recommend it.

I still find Diskwars’ house blend of complete and incomplete information incredibly frustrating. I was still cross-referencing all of my disks attack and defense numbers with my opponent’s attack and defense numbers, my special keywords with their special keywords, to make sure that attacking won’t be giving my opponent free victory points. Then finally deciding to charge in, only to discover that my disk-flipping left my cavalry an inch shy of actually engaging. And I was still losing my mind at the huge swing missile troops were capable of, with the custom dice making them useless as often as they are absurdly effective.

Having spent more time playing Diskwars this morning, I’ve actually become aware of a couple of other criticisms, too. I dislike how the design can encourage really boring plays. For example, if you have high ground and missile troops you should really just stay still. Or if you’ve got the lead on victory points, it can make sense to run away from your opponent to deny them the fight that they need to win, but denying you both of any entertainment.

And in a moment of supreme clarity (imagine a choir, soft lights, my mouth slightly ajar) I realised that flipping your discs when playing on a table is a really horrible feeling. The edge of the disc is always slipping backwards, so despite your working hard to manipulate this fiddly thing, each flip seems inaccurate, almost like a little cheat. Over and over again.

The conclusion of my review is going to have to stay the same. This is a fantastic collection of ideas, and some people are going to have a ton of fun with it. But for me there was something gently irritating about every aspect of actually playing it, from the plotting, to rolling dice, even manipulating your playing pieces.

The updated verdict: Still a floppy disk, for me.