Chaoblog (The Blog) for October 19, 2007 [Part B]:
Review of the Chaotic Starter Decks and Booster Packs
Hooray!!!!! I got my set of Chaotic game starter decks and booster packs today from 4Kids for review. One of the benefits of putting in all of the time into creating this site and maintaining the forum, etc. is getting all these cool little perks, like getting to see the cards before the launch. However, I also have to review them (i.e., tell you if I love em' or hate em'), so I cannot just get them and play, but once this is written, I can find someone and have a game. One cool thing about 4Kids is that they want me to tell you guys how I see it, so if I do not like something, I should let you guys know. So, here it goes and I hope my review does this cards justice.
The Deck Box
When I first saw the boxes for the decks I was really excited. I knew that within these boxes rested 48 cards in each -- 48 non-demo, non-downloaded, real cards with actual codes. At first I was expecting more graphics on the box, and was a little dissapointed since I only saw the Chaotic logo on the front of the box. However, when I began moving the box, I noticed that it shimmered a little bit in the light and began to see images appear. When you look closer and move the box around, depending where the light hits, you can see foil-like images, such as a Maxxor in the bottom left side of the front of the OverWorld Box [FYI, the Chaor on the UnderWorld box is a little easier to see (maybe because it is red), and looks a lot cooler. Once I noticed the imaged glittering, I though that it was cool, however, they should have made the images a little easier to see. Another thing that struck me odd was a little sticker on the box that reads "Online Game in Beta." This was obviously placed on the boxes recently, but since I had already seen the press release, I knew why it was there.
The front of the box also includes a logo on the upper right hand corner stating that it is a "First Edition" and also states that it is the UnderWorld or OverWorld deck. Unfortunately, this is very small, so you do not know if it is an OverWorld or UnderWorld deck unless you look at the side panels or the back. It is interesting that it is not in larger letters on the front. However, I guess if you had the box hitting the light at the right angle and knew who the characters are, you would know that the Maxxor image was on the OverWorld and the Chaor was on the UnderWorld box. Under the big Chaotic logo, there are the words "Trading Card Game" and below that is info printed about the online portal stating "Includes Online Game Play at: ChaoticGame.com."
The side panels are nothing special with either OverWorld or UnderWorld tribe names in big letters (maybe to make up for the small letters on the front cover), and although easy to see, also has that foil/metalic glimmer to it. Ther is also a Chaotic logo on the top, some kind of symbol on the bottom and "ChaoticGame.com" written on the bottom.
The back of the box is pretty cool and includes a number of graphics and text. Of course, there is still that foil for some of the images, but it does seem more pronounced than the front cover. The images are: Foil Maxxor or Chaor on left, an online battle screen shot in the upper right between Attacat and Takinom, a Chaor/Maxxor card in the middle right, a code bar in the center of the box, symbols showing that it can be played off-line with cards, online with a computer and an unidentified symbol (anyone know what that is?). There is a TCDigital logo on the upper left corner and a Chaotic logo on the upper right corner. As for text, the top of the back cover reads "OverWorld -- Dawn of Perim -- Starter Deck. The text towards the bottom of the back reads:
ENTER THE CODE
2 DECKS TO COLLECT
OverWorld Dawn of Perim and UnderWorld Dawn of Perim
STARTER DECK CONTENTS:
Each one player deck contains a 48 card pre-constucted player deck ready for play and an additional
4 highly collectible random rare foil cards guaranteed per 52 card deck.
1 Tip Card, 1 Master Upload Card, 1 Rule Book 1 Playmat
Just to be thourough I will also add info on the box top and bottom: The top of the box reads "Enter the code." The bottom has logos for Chaotic USA, TC Digital and 4Kids, a UPC bar code, an image with Age: 8+, and in little letters a disclaimer "Set content subject to change. Stated odds reflect an average of the entire production run; no ratio is guaranteed to exist within an individual box or case. ©2007 4Kids Entertainment, Inc. and Chaotic USA Entertaiment Group Inc. Chaotic is a registered trademark of Home Focus Development Ltc. U.S Pat. 5810666 and 5954332. All rights reserved. Manufactured by TC Digital Games LLC. Printed in the USA." It is interesting that this card game (although originally created in the Netherlands), has become an American product in its look, design and developement since all the other games are usually imported into the US. I also find it interesting that they also have the cards printed in the US as well. I wonder if they will have printing presses internationally for the World-Wide release, or export all the cards from the US?
In order to open up the box, you need to open the top which is sealed with a round sticker with the Chaotic logo on it. There is a plastic packaging case that holds all of the contents of the box, which includes an tribe specific Rule Book, a playmat and the cards which are wrapped in plastic. If you ever get a box and the cards are not wrapped in this plastic, the box may have been tampered with. You can unseal the top stickers without messing up the box and then reclosing it without anyone knowing. There is a slight crumpling to the sticker, and that is the only indication that it was previously opened. So, just be careful and take a good look at the stickers before opening the box yourself. Maybe 4Kids needs to make it a rip-away, so that you know if a box has been opened or not.
Grade for Packaging: B+ -- I like the high quality design and packaging. It makes it look like a game you would want to play. However, some points are taken away for the sometimes not easy to see images on the cover.
The playmat looks just like the one in the image from the online download, and it is the same one in the demo deck I got, so there was no big surprise here. Each tribe box gets its own playmat (althogh I like calling it a battlemat), so there is an OverWorld playmat and an Underworld playmat. Both mats are very colorful and include a lot of information on where to place things including some reminders of how to play. The big "surprise" to me was that there were no colored gems. What do I mean? I went to a demo at a licensing show in July. During the demo we used these little clear colored stones to help remember the player's statistics as you batte. There are a few things you need to remember for each batter, so they came in handy. However, they are not included in the deck. Was this an oversight? I am not sure. But just keep in mind, you may want to get a few pennies or dimes together and use them to help during your battles -- or try to remember the stats in your head.
Grade for Playmat: B+ -- A really user freindly and easy to use battle mat that looks great and customized for the different tribes. However, although not a fault of the mat itself, the game does not include markers to track the stats, and that is important to this game.
The rule book is really cool. It is definitely not bland it is full of color and imagery - at least once you go beyond the cover. Once again, the company goes with its brand (the Chaotic logo) as the focal point of the cover, as well as having be the most overwhelming image as well. There is a background picture of probably some location which is in less vibrant colors and bleeds onto the back cover. On the top of the cover is printed "OverWorld Dawn of Perim." The logo is in the center/middle and below the loge os imprinted "Trading Card Game -- ChaoticGame.com -- Offical Rule Book." On the back cover is info about entering your codes online and a tip to enter the codes as soon as you open your packs.
As I opend the Rule Book and thumbed through the rule book there were a lot of pictures and imagery from the World of Perim on nice glossy paper, including pictures of the cards and screen shots of the online portal. If you have seen the rules online or the rules on this site, there is nothing new (or at least it does not look that way since I am not going to read through the whole rule book at this time). Everything seems to be included from the Apprentice rules to the Master Rules, including the FAQ and the Glossary. However, there are a few additional items within this Rule Book that are cool additions. The font inside cover includes the Table of Contents, which is no biggi, but the first page (numbered page 3) provides a story about Perim and begins by describing Maxxor in a fight with a Danian. They have also included a brief "About Chaotic" section (on page 5), that introduces people to the game and what it is about. Then you have all of the rule book stuff we know about that fills most of the 44 page booklet (if you count the front and back pages). On page 40 begins a section entitled "Online Experience." This section talks all about the game and some of its cool features (when in full productivity after the Beta launch). It also talks about Monthly Tournaments, which I am not sure will be included in this initial release (note to self: ask 4Kids). So even if you begin playing the Beta version and it is cool, the game is going to get a lot better in a very short period of time (probably before the mass retail launch). There is one last section called "Mobile Experience." It talks about how the game can be played online and will be free. However, there will be something that will be "easy to download" in order to play [yes, I was not mistaken, I knew I heard that something needed to be downloaded - I guess I just got my mediums confused). The mobile experience will include the ability to look at all of the online cards in your deck, upload the cards, look for and chat with "buddies" that are in the portal, make & accept challenges, and even make trades. Two questions about this. First it says that the "Mobile experience will be available in late 2007" -- which means that it will not be available for this Beta release and second, it makes no mention of battling through the mobile application, so battling is probably only going to be online (at least for the near future).
Grade for Rule Book: A+ -- Overall, it is a very cool Rule Book for this type of game, even better than some of the Rule Books I have seen for some of my favorite video games, and blows away the rule books for some of the other TCGs. Most importantly it includes almost everything you need to know to play and it is easy to use.
The Chaotic Trading Cards - Starter Decks for OverWorld and UnderWorld
First off, I am going to review both the OverWorld and UnderWorld decks together, since they are set up almost the same. If there are any differences in the decks I will point them out to you, however, because there are 104 different cards from the two starter decks, plus 36 different cards from the 4 booster packs I got, and since the cards will be availlable in only a few days for you to see yourself, I will be unable to describe each card individually. However, I have listed every card (and their rarity) below, and in addition, I will select my favorite cards from what I got and discuss those few cards in more detail. Now, a few things about the cards
I have seen the promo cards they gave away at the ComicCons, as well as the demo decks, so seeing the cards wasn't a big blast, however, seeing the real thing with the codes, and all of the new art was really great. The art, as we have seen is amazing and continues to get even more amazing as you find new and exciting artwork on these cards. Almost all of the creatues are fantastically drawn and illustrated. Although I like some of the art on the other TCGs, I like this style ven better, especially for the creature cards. The cards show a lot of creativity and imagination and bring some of the creatures to life. When you get the decks, they are inside of a plastic wrapping. All of the cards are facing inward, so you do not see what cards are inside. All of the cards are facing in one direction, except for four, which are the four foil cards. I have to be honest, when I first heard foil cards, I though that they really meant cards that were foil (kind of like the foil cards they have given away at Dennys). However, they do not have as much foil as I would have expected. There are three types of rare cards, the "rare," "super rare" and "ultra rare." At first, I had a hard time distinguishing between the different types of random cards. In the rule book, they wrote that the rarity of the card can be determined by the symbol at the upper right hand side of the card, but unless you look very carefully, they really do not look too different. The easiest way I found was that the rare cards are the ones with the top title written in foil, the super rare have the graphic/picture in foil, and the ultra rare (I got one in the boosters) have the graphic in foil as well as say "Ultra" under the rarity symbol. The rare foil cards are cool, but disappointingly, not very cool. But you have to see the super and ultra rare cards, those are really awsome. It is also pretty cool knowing that they are so rare. One criticism is that some of the cards are nothing more than a strange design of colors, it is semi okay, but nothing spectacular.
What I did find strange is that everything was in alphabetical order, except for the rare cards. For instance, if you look at my deck pulls below, it is exactly how they appeared as I pulled them out of the deck. Although, I guess the cards you get are random, they set up the decks in such way that they pick out 6 creatures in alpha order, then the attack cards, etc. So you may not know exactly which cards you are going to get, but what you see below is the number of each type of card, and you know that they will appear in alphabetical order.
Sorry, but I am not going to have enough time to go over the individual cards right now, but will do so during the week, as well as talk about them on the Chaotic forum. The artwork, once again is amazing, and too bad these cards are not much bigger to really get the full extent of the cards. All of the text is large enough to read (one of my criticisms of YGO cards), but until you memorize the symbols, you have to get used to where the stats are and what they mean. It is also cool to see the codes on the bottom of each card. Looking at the stats on each card is interesting and how high or low they are in comparing them and that will probably be a full discussion for another blog.
Grade for Cards: B+ -- There is some really fantastic art work on these cards with slick designs, and the super and utra rare cards are unbelievable. However, there are a few cards that have art that is just okay, and it will take a few games to finally understand the stats.
The Chaotic Trading Cards - Booster Packs
I recieved four different packs of booster cards. There were two different images on each (see picture below). The front of the packs have the images along with the TC Digital logo on the upper left side, and the "First Edition" logo in the upper right hand side. Now, what is really interesting is that it says "English Edition" under that logo. Now, I find that to be interesting, because does it mean that there will be another version in another language. If so, it would only make sense that it would be French (for the French speaking Canadian Province of Quebec). However, is it just there because of future worldwide releases, for this beta release or for the mass retailer release? Then there is the usual Chaotic brand logo in the center of the front middle. Under the logo are the same words as the deck, "Trading Card Game" followed by the name of the booster set "Dawn of Perim" Secrets". Then underneath they wrote "Includes Online Game Play at: ChaoticGame.com. On the ower left hand side is 9 Cards Per Game.
On the back are a few things. In the upper left is the Chaotic logo (got to hand it to those people who are trying to brand everything). Under this (on the left hand side of the back) is written "This pack contains a random assortment of 9 cards from the 144 Dawn of Perim Chaotic Trading Card Game Booster Card Set. Set content subject to change. Stated odds reflect an average if the entire production run; no ratio is guaranteed to exist within an individual box or case. ©2007 4 Kids Entertainment, Inc. and Chaotic USA Entertainment Group, Inc. Chaotic is a registered trademark of Home Focus Development Limited. U.S Pat. 5810666 and 5954332. All rights reserved. Underneath are the logos for Chaotic USA, TC Digital and 4Kids, then the UPC bar code appears under that.
On the upper right hand side is a paragraph that reads "With morning's first light seven notes sound distantly in the wind. The power of Mugic has no doubt been cast in a faraway battle, the outcome of which could affect both the OverWorld and UnderWorld . For now, the Creatures of these realms awaken to pursue their common cause, the Cothica, and to try to unravel the mystery of the codes that weave their lives inextricably together. Thus a new day begins . . . ." There is a graphic below this, followed by "Enter the Code" then "ChaoticGam.com. Then they provide information on the rarity of the cards:
9 Cards are in every pack.
Under this is a nother small graphic, followed by "Warning: Choking Hazard - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years. Under this is a symbol that shows that this is not for children and another symbol that shows this is good for kids 8 and over.
The coolest thing about opening up these packs is that I got to see even more new art, including Danians and Mipedians, which are not in the demo decks or the promo cards. Some of the Artwork is even better than a lot of the stuff I had already seen. Each booster pack also brought me at least one Rare and one Super Rare or in my case, I was fortunate enough to get one Ultra Rare of a Mugic Card for Song of Deflection. The whole card face is in foil with the Ultra text under the rarity symbol on the upper right hand side. As you can see, no Maxxors or Chaors, but some fairly cool cards. I am glad that they added the other two tribes in the boosters and each pack also includes some of the rare cards.
Grade for Booster Packs & Booster Cards: A+ -- These booster packs are a great compliment to the starter decks. The art once again is amazing and just goes so well with together.
Grade for the Beta Release: A -- Overall, I
was very satisfied with the Starter Decks and the Booster packs. Everything was
well packaged and except for a few minor issued I mentioned above, this game is
a class act that should be the prototype for all games that shall come after it.
The Lord of Perim
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