Main Event Games · Reviews

Review of Glyph

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Game: Glyph
Designer: Justin Potter

Published: Kazoodoo Games
Players: 2-6
Playtime: 90-120 Minutes
Play Type: Dice Combat

Synopsis:

Tribes of champions are gearing up for battle. Your three champions will meet the other tribe’s champions in battle. May the best warrior win.

Game Play:

During a two player game’s set up, players will each take three champions, filling in the solid colored boxes with their corresponding color. Then they will each take two white, one gold and one blue dice for their tribal pool. Once the tribal pool is created, players will check their player board to see if they receive any dice for each individual champion. After all players have their champion board filled out and their tribal pool of dice the remainder of materials form a communal pool for all players. Then set out three cards from the items deck.

Play alternates between each player, fully completing the steps of one champions before moving onto the next player. Each champion’s round is played in a series of the following steps:

  1. Replenish: Players are able to decide which dice the champion will use. Dice can be pulled from the character’s supply made up of starting dice and item dice or the tribal pool. Players may use a maximum of 4 dice for free. After that players may add two dice per one energy spent for a maximum of 10 dice.
  2. Roll Dice
  3. Reroll Dice: Players can choose to reroll any number of dice once
  4. Perform a Main Action:
    1. Champion Action: If players have the correct glpyhs matching their player board they may do a champion action. Follow the text for the individual champion.
    2. Item Ability: If player has glyphs that match an item card, and that player has the correct amount of energy they may do the specified item action. Read the rulebook to see what the item action does.
    3. Basic Attack- Players may spend War glyphs to complete a basic attack. For each war glyph spent, the player does one damage to another champion’s armor. Once the other champion’s armor is depleted, the attacker may spent one additional War glyph to do one damage to the champion’s health. No matter the number of glyphs spent after armor is depleted, the champion may only do one damage.
  5. Perform any eligible Secondary Actions:
    1. Buy or Draft Item Cards: Players use wealth glyphs and any associated costs to purchase item cards. Players may stash items face down if they cannot afford the cost of items yet.
    2. Convert Power Glyphs: Players may convert power to be stored on the power tracker of the champion. That dice is not available for use of other champions.
    3. Convert Defense Glyphs: Players may store any remaining defense dice on the armor tracker. These dice are not able to be used by other champions that turn.
  6. Send dice back to original placement: non-stored dice will return to tribal pool. Champion’s dice will return to champion pool.
  7. Forfeit any stored dice to return them to dice pool. This is optional.
  8. Place an activated token on that champion to mark their turn as completed.

At the end of a round:

  1. Remove activated tokens
  2. Give each champion one energy cube to use on their energy slot
  3. Pass the initiative token

Game play continues like this until the one team defeats the other team’s champions.

Components:

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The components in Glyph are visually stunning. The artist Sergey Vasnev did a phenomenal job illustrating each the the character boards to give them a unique feel. The champions are each distinct and easy to decipher. The player boards  are very easy to follow. I also like the custom dice, which include a variety of symbols. Most the symbols are easy to decipher, though sometimes the single and double war glyph can be difficult to tell apart.

Overview:

Positives:

  • Beautiful Artwork
  • Themeatic
  • Asymetric Gameplay
  • Player Aids

Negatives:

  • Fiddly Dice Rules
  • Must Look Up Item Abilities
  • Rulebook Vague in Areas
  • Gameplay Seems Long for it’s Mechanics
  • Very Little Dice Manipulation

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I will admit off the bat that Glyph was not a game for me. That being said, I don’t believe it was a bad game, but rather there were certain mechanics that did not appeal to me personally. I loved the aesthetic of the game, and feel that it brings a strong feeling of theme to the game. I wish there was more backstory into the theme about why the champions were fighting. However because this does not effect game play, I gladly overlooked it. The game feels thematic with the champions all posed dynamically and the glyphs making sense as a fashion of defeating opponents.

I loved that the game was asymmetric, which would bring aspects of replay-ability in as players experimented with different combinations of champions. It was very helpful to have the player abilities printed on the play mat, and I also liked that there was a player aid included for each player that gave the dice faces and the turn order. I wish a second player aid was included that listed all item abilities. Each time a person wanted to purchase an item they had to go through the rule book to learn what the ability did, and because there were no hints on any cards this quickly became time consuming and tedious.

The rule book in some places was somewhat vague including only the bare-bones information in the front of the rule book and more details further in the back. I can see that the intent was to speed up the process of learning the rules, but it ended up meaning that rather than being able to learn all the necessary information on one page, I was instead forced to flip through the book to find details. Mixing that with some fiddliness about when dice are kept, who has what dice and when dice are returned, the game can be confusing the first few times played.

My biggest concern though personally was with the luck aspect of the game. Players are counting on dice to be able to complete actions each turn. There were many turns where I did not have enough of certain types of glyphs or dice to do Champion Actions, Basic Attacks, or purchase items. There were very limited ways to manipulate dice without being able to purchase items, meaning that many turns felt pointless. When the game takes 1-2 hours, having pointless turns can be very frustrating. It is because of this that I say it seems too long for the game play. Most similar dice and skirmish games are played in half the time.

Overall, I do think Glyph would be enjoyable to people who enjoy games that are heavily influenced by luck or dice combat games. For instance I would suggest this to someone who enjoys Zombicide but is looking for a competitive angle that is quicker to set up. While it wasn’t quite the right fit for my group, many tables would find the replay-ability and the various abilities to be very interesting. It provides a lot of different styles of play.

One thought on “Review of Glyph

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