Before I begin. I have not played this game, this is solely based on assets provided by the publisher, and the Kickstarter page. I will be receiving a pledge in exchange for an honest review during fulfillment. This is not a paid review. If you are interested in checking it out yourself click here.
One of the genres of games that I really enjoy are deckbuilders. The more they are able to tell a story the more I enjoy them, and I am really engaged if they are able to do something that is different than the classic Dominion style game. One of the things that will always get me to check out a deck builder is ALWAYS the artwork, and in recent years I have found myself more attracted to slightly cartoonish artwork.
So when the publisher of Gears reached out, looking for anyone interested in writing about the campaign, I was immediately intrigued. In fact the artwork is in the same world as another one of their games that they had been funding, though it did not succeed. At that time I was following that campaign, solely based on the artwork. This game in particular is a simplification and re-theme of their game Sins, which I also had seen, but was a bit to sinful for my tastes.
This version of the game takes place in the world of Rockyclouds, a steampunk universe. The core of the game is these various tinkerers, trying to out tinker each other and become the best. To do so you take on the faceless leader of a faction, and you will do your best to recruit, or steal the best crew possible. Launch raids on your enemies and plunge their lab into despair. Which ever player manages to make the other player despair twice will win the game and be crowned the better of the two tinkerers. Sounds pretty sick to me!
The game play itself will look familiar to any one familiar with classic deckbuilers. You will start with a weak hand and you will use those cards purchase more advanced cards, which you will use to attack your opponent and strengthen your own deck. To me where this game separates itself from other deckbuilders that I have played seems to be in the way you earn points.
You have to play cards that will attack your opponent, then they will have a chance to play crew members, or other cards that can defend against your attack. If they manage to neutralize ALL of your cards, bully for them. However, any of yours that get through you lose, and they go into the despair pile face down, and I hope you remember what symbols were on the face of that card. You see, to get those points I keep talking about you have to have enough symbols in that face down stack. Flip it when you want, but flip it too early and you lose what you have placed in there. Its got a bit of memory and push your luck that is certainly interesting.
So all in all, I am looking forward to trying this one out. I really like the art, and the gameplay seems streamlined, though the various cards types seem to offer a lot of options. I am curious to see how the despair mechanic plays out. It is billed as a push your luck mechanic, I see it as a bit of memory, since the game is a two player game, and you should be able to remember what you hit them with. I am also curious at how the promised story of the game plays out. Will I feel like I am a master tinkerer trying to outdo my opponent, or will I just feel like I am trying to break their morale before they can break mine?
If you like deckbuilders, and like steampunk worlds with fun art, then check out the campaign and see if this is your cup of tea. I am looking forward to checking out an actual copy this fall or winter. The campaign is already funded and you can check it out yourself here.