Greetings all! We got a review on ignition:core from a tabletop simulator user out in the wild. This may seem minor at first, but for over a year all my feedback has been received from players experiencing the game with me present to explain the rules, clarify misunderstanding and otherwise infuse my own enthusiasm into the experience. So with that, getting a firsthand account of how the game played out with just two people and a rulebook, working out how to play this without any creator input is a big deal for me.
You can read the full write-up over on Board Game Geek. Here are a few key excerpts you can skim over:
"Players gain points for fulfilling objectives (the two scenarios present in the mod are objective based - the classic "for each controlled objective (out of 3) you get one point at the end of the round" deal) and destroying enemy units. The latter works in a rather unique manner, since each round every destroyed unit respawns in the deployment zone of its controlling player (which is good, since units tend to die quickly if focused), and points are awarded for destroying ALL units of a certain type in one round - which creates interesting choices, since killing that one last soldier would award you a point for killing all infantry, but maybe going for one of the two enemy light mecha will help prevent your own forces from being driven off the objective, but if you do not finish the other mecha, destroying only one will award no points...
While it may look "gamey" on paper, it does feel pretty fluid in game and is very easy to track - after the round ends it takes only one glance at the destroyed units (before the are redeployed between the turns) to see who scored how many points. All in all, a quite elegant system."
"But where the ruleset really shines for me is the so-called "tactical abilities" which are used between setting up the initiative track and the proper activation phase. Going from the lowest/last initiative, players each decide if they want to use their tactical abilities which allow for very unique manoeuvres. This is when players can set up "overwatch", smoke cover, or sometimes just gain additional movement in exchange for losing the ability to shoot until the end of the turn. There is a lot of character in those abilities and used properly they can grant a sizeable tactical advantage - almost all of them require considerable trade-offs, so they are not just power-ups that can be used indiscriminately, but interesting tools that -used at appropriate times- can turn the tide of battle."
"So in the end I was pleasantly surprised by ignition:core, since many similar(ish) tactics games tend to either be too random or too simple, while this one managed to deliver a compelling ruleset that allows for (relatively) quick games with interesting tactical decisions (and a nice -and underutilized in wargaming- [anime] aesthetic too!). While the asymmetric but balanced nature of factions is always something I do love to see in games like these.
Taking all the caveats regarding my limited exposure to the (full) game, I really recommend it."
Many thanks to BGG user 'Axololth' for taking the time to write this up and allowing me to share this wonderful feedback!