Fluo Games is running a Kickstarter campaign for their second game, Color Warz: Dark Threat right now. That game is the sequel game to Color Warz: Paint Brawl. Well, Fluo was kind enough to send me a copy of Paint Brawl so I could give it a look-see.
So get your rollers ready, break out your favorite can of enamel and let's dive into another TGN review. This one's Fluo Games' Color Warz: Paint Brawl
Color Warz: Paint Brawl, the first game from Flou Games, takes the idea of painting your minis and your terrain to a whole new level... sort of.
In Paint Brawl you take command of a small tribe of Khromaz warriors and enter battle with your opponent. The game is heavily scenario-based with no “generic” way to win the game. This means that every time you play, you're playing a slightly different game, keeping things fresh. Most of the scenarios involve getting lines of painted tiles to a certain point or to paint all your opponent's pieces. The game is also free of any real randomizing factors. Attacks will always hit; moves will always happen and so forth (well, that's a little bit of a lie, but read on to find out the exception).
The game consists of four corner board pieces and a central connector piece, several punch-out sheets to represent the figures and walls that will go on the board, 150 “paint puddle” stands (25 of each of the 6 different colors), 16 Action cards, 24 Bonus cards, 12 Blasts cards and 6 Action Guide cards. The cards are good quality and the boards are rather thick. Since the punch-out miniatures will be going into the little stands repeatedly, there is also a small sheet of clear, square stickers that you can put on the little tabs at the bottom of the cut-out figures. This will keep them from fraying with repeated use (and their addition shows some nice forethought on the part of the game-makers, which I greatly appreciate).
The game has 6 colors (or tribes) that you can play: red, green, blue, orange, yellow and purple. Each has a slightly different army build that differentiates it from the others and makes it stronger in one situation versus the others. For example, red orange and purple have 2 warrior troops each, but red has a hunter whereas purple doesn't and a shaman that orange doesn't.
The types of basic troops are the Chief, Warrior, Hunter and Shaman. There are also Mini and Maxi Paint golems. Each type of trooper has a specific kind of movement and attack. Warriors can Run (that is, move in a straight line any number of spaces, like a Rook in Chess) and their attack is a Brawl, which paints 3 squares adjacent to them in an L shape. Hunters can only walk (that is, move 1 square in any direction) but their attack is to shoot paint into any square in a line away from them at range. Shaman troopers also walk, but their attack is to place 2 paint puddles in a line from a 3rd paint puddle. Each of these troopers also has a Special Ability, usable when you combine several actions together on a single model. Warriors destroy paint golems. Hunters can climb on top of walls and Shamans can create new golems. Golems also have a special move, which is the slug. When a golem moves, it leaves a paint puddle in whatever square it left. Golems can also combine to form larger versions of themselves. Oh, and golems can also explode, slinging paint everywhere, more on that in a bit.
Not only can you paint squares on the board, you can also paint enemy models. If an attack gets paint of a certain color on an enemy, it becomes friendly to the model that attacked it, becoming the same color. That model can then be used by the new player immediately. So while you may start out with a certain set of pieces, it's highly unlikely that you will end with that same army composition. Only golems can be destroyed. Every other model on the board will always be out there.
A player's turn consists of two movements and two actions. There isn't a limit to the number of times a model can be given one of those moves or actions in a single turn. You could spend all 4 on the same model or spread it out to 4 different ones, or anything in-between. When a player has used both their actions and movements, play passes on to the next player.
There are also Bonus Cards in the game. These are the one randomizing factor in the game and the one thing that can stop a movement or an attack. This deck of cards has 8 different ones inside. Fatigue cancels a movement of another player. Missed cancels an attack. Kadamas cleans up 3 paint puddles anywhere on the board. Golem Invocation creates a new mini-golem out of a paint puddle. Immunity cancels out another Bonus Card and finally there's Golem Explosion, which... well... explodes golems, sending paint out in every direction.
And there are the basic rules for the game. There are also advanced rules where a player can replace one of their basic troops for an Advanced Combatant model instead. Each type is an “upgrade” of one of the basic Combatants and has different, but related, movements, attacks and special attacks. The three Advanced Combatants are Smasher, Ranger and Mystic.
Another advanced element are the Blasts cards. Blasts are super-special abilities that each combatant type possesses. These moves are very powerful. So much so that a player can only use them twice per game and only once per turn (so no going and using both at the same time). Both the Blasts and Bonus Cards can be played in addition to the 2 Move and 2 Attacks available to a player every turn.
Overall, the game is rather fun and quick to learn. I could see this being easy to teach to younger gamers. Plus, the non-violent nature of the game lends itself to being kid-friendly. Gameplay has a sort of Othello-feel to it as you create squares marked with your paint puddles while trying to clean up or change your opponent's paint puddles to your color. Though this sort of “kiddie” feel to the game might be a turn-off to some, I don't think it gets in the way of an enjoyable experience. The game is deeply tactical (though I kept having some trouble with a bit of an “alpha strike” mentality in the first few turns) and you have to keep up with what options are open for your miniatures as the game goes, since your force might be changing turn-to-turn.
Fluo Games also sent me one of their Miniatures Expansion Packs that you can get for the game. The box game, itself, only has the cardboard punch-outs and doesn't have any actual miniatures in it at all. However, for those gamers out there who must have minis to play, they are available. Each color has their own pack as well as a female pack you can get to switch out your force (those also contain the Advanced Combatant models). The pieces are resin and I must say, they're some of the best-detailed miniatures I've seen in a while. While they are simple in design, overall, the textures in-particular on the fabric and wood grain are spectacular and will give advanced painters plenty to work with. The only thing I found “wrong” with the models is that, being resin, the small pieces are very fragile. There are a couple connections that are rather tiny and those can break at the drop of a hat. It's no small task to put them back together, but an experienced modeler will know what to do when this sort of thing happens.
Fluo Games has teamed up with Devil Pig Games and Ammon Miniatures for their second game, Color Warz: Dark Threat. The game's up on Kickstarter now. It's billed as a sequel to Paint Brawl, but also could be used to enhance your Paint Brawl experience as well. I'd love to get a copy of Dark Threat to give it a try. Go check it out.