Shadowfist has had a long, venerable run over the last few decades and it’s time looks like it’s pretty much come, or has it? That said, there are a few brave souls trying to keep it going and turn it into an LCG (Living Card Game) which could be solid IF DONE CORRECTLY (i.e.: getting it into stores for starters).
Last night I got to play with the new starter decks from Combat in Kowloon (that was originally going to come out in 1996!!!!) and Back for Seconds (adding the Jammers and Monarchs). I played as the Ascended, then Hand, then Monarchs. Ascended deck was great and fun albeit ALL Transformed animals (where are the pledged?). The others, tough to judge after one play but I will anyway, were boring. I’ve heard from people two things that I can confirm– the Feng Shui sites and foundation characters are pretty awesome and the set should be picked up for those alone.
That said, there were a lot of reprints, most of which are very good choices throughout the set for most factions. Word of warning though: the Dragon deck is fucking awful crap that no one will want except for a few cards. No Ting Ting, Steven Wu, Golden Gunman NOR the new Red Wedding Big Bruiser? I thought they were joking when someone said it was a vehicle state deck–but it’s true. There are a few good cards in there but for new players only getting these cards, the dragon reprints are pure shit. it’s really a massive failure there that some of the penultimate chase cards in the faction were not included, especially since for new players the Dragons are the most forgiving and easiest to play. Oh and there are no Architects of the Flesh. They chose one of the original JOKE factions (Jammers) instead to include rather than one of the most fearsome evil factions in the game–the faction that was always coming up with the devious plans to fuck everyone up. Now who is left as the big bad? The Eaters of the Lotus sure but the rest of the factions could be perfectly happy SKATEBOARDING OFF EACH-OTHER’S DICKS rather than trying to eliminate each other from the time stream.
Typos. One type in particular is inexcusable. Reprinting an ancient card like Violet Meditation and having a typo that isn’t a spelling mistake, but something that drastically changes the cards effect? You start to think if there was a failure at something so simple as that, where else are there failures? And for new players– HOW THE FUCK ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO KNOW? Terrible.
Last point of contention–the pay for my face on a card cards. The ones before this were mostly tasteful and OK because the artists were good and took a lot of license with the way the person looked. The only one that was spot on was Zev’s card and it was cute because he was hiding behind a wall getting shot at (an not so subtle allusion to us and the playtesters complaining all the time). I can accept that one. There were apparently 6 cards in the set with nerd faces on them and they stick out like tits in a bra at Woodstock. Two of them are OK– the rest are ridiculous and just absolutely SHATTER the suspension of disbelief while playing the game. While this isn’t the worst of the lot, there is a Hand card with a skinny wiener nerd on it who is an EIGHT fighting. Not 3, not 5 as a ramp up or utility, but an EIGHT. Oh but he payed $500? Fuck all. At least back in the day you had to earn it by winning the big tournament at Gencon. The other thing is, once you have your picture on a card, you should never be able to have it on another one. We now have two cards with Jade Willow as different characters for fucksake.
Anyway, despite some failures in the set, the cardstock was far better than the cheapest-possible-to-be-still-considered-a-card cardstock used for the Seven Masters reprint (which to me, signaled the downfall of the game– even when shit was going south with Jose and Shadowfist Games, they never skimped on the quality of the product that badly) and there are some great cards in here that will change the game up a bit when playing with all the cards in the game, I will buy some and probably regret not buying more as it goes out of print. Is this the rebirth or the death-knell (which we’ve heard many times before) for Shadowfist? Do we really need any more expansions or should they just all be set up as Print on Demand? We played for 4-5 years with only Standard, Limited, Netherworld and Flashpoint and it was GREAT.