Monday, 6 February 2012

Elementary Notions - Why I Really Like Eden

Eden is a character driven skirmish game set in the world of not-Malifaux and has been around for ages. I've been eyeing it up as long but no one really seemed to give much of a hoot about it, so it stayed in my 'covet' pile for a while. A couple of months ago, my good friend Andy messaged me saying 'Them noo Eden moduls are ded prutty, wanna gie it a shot?'....... a week later I had two factions without even having played a game! Word got out, the popularity of the game snowballed and soon enough we had at least one player for every faction.... now that's progress!

Anyway, had a couple of games so far with my good friend Dave and these are my thoughts.....


Let's start with the models. As we all know (well, some of you won't) but as shallow as it may sound if the game don't look purty that's half the battle lost. Eden is produced by a company named Taban, who are French and as we all know the French tend to make some of the best models currently available. I believe some of their sculptors have worked for Asmodee in the past, creating the frankly stunning minis for Hell Dorado and that level of skill is evident in the Eden sculpts. THEY ARE REALLY FUCKING NICE. Here are some that made me wet my pants in excitement:

Yeah.... hell yeah in fact.


On to the game itself....... yikes! There's a lot of resource management in the game, and I mean a lot. It works off of an ever-popular 'AP' system (that's Action Point for all you losers reading this), but with a bit of a twist as you'll use those same AP's to activate during your opponents turn as well. I say activate.... it's more about opening up your options in melee. During your turn, each model gets 3 'standard' AP (some may have more, to my knowledge no model has less thus far)... as you may expect these are used to move, attack, interact, etc.... however, when you're attacked in melee you can spend any remaining AP's to try and dodge or riposte... and that's one of the reasons I love the game so much. If you run out of AP's before the chainsaw wielding thug in front of you attacks, you're boned. However do you want to try and get rid of him first? Do you want to save some AP's for defence or do you want to spend them elsewhere and just hope for the best.... it adds a lot of depth to the activation system....

But wait, there's more! At the beginning of the game, you calculate a number of 'SP' (that's Strategy points) and you will use these for myriad reasons. To activate a lot of special actions you need to spend SP, to play from a hand of cards you chose at the beginning of the game (that can affect the game in many varied ways) you need to spend SP. Hell, you can even use them to bid for initiative for that turn that you just *need* to go first.

It sounds like a lot of micro-managing, but it actually comes very naturally. The actual mechanics of the game are very simple, so I've never found myself getting overly confused (well, no more than usual). I'm not going to bother going into the actual mechanics, as you're probably panting to learn more already, so I'll just point you towards where you can go and download the rules, and all necessary stat, tactic and mission cards to play.

I've actually found myself likening it to Warmahordes in terms of gameplay, the mechanics are rather different but if has that same'super-tactical' feel to it. However, where in Warmahordes I find the rules take over the narrative of the game too much, Eden manages to balance it by being very characterful. So the games still feel like watching a story unfold - which I prize as about the most important thing any game can accomplish.

Now, it's not all fun and games, it has it's issues....most of which are to do with translation. Some of the missions/tactics/special actions make absolutely no sense whatsoever, which is obviously a problem. However, any issues I've had I've posted on the forum and the ever-charming Berf has calmed my confusions post-haste. It is a well supported game and clearly loved by the staff at Taban. Some of the translation problems can lead to some charming results though, from now on 'basics' shall be known to me as 'Elementary Notions', isn't that sweet?

Another, quite major issue is the lack of a rulebook....... that's right, you get the rules in the starters (or you can download them for free) but it's just the rules.... no fluff, no pretty pictures......this is bad. The game stands as itself as a great feat of gaming engineering but without any fluff (that's stories to you losers out there) it's quite hard to piece together the weird, post-apocalyptic world the game is set in.... why are drug-riddled clowns fighting giant Japanese robots? Why are there, for want of a better term, bondage nuns running about...... you may know more if you speak French as there is some french fluff up on the site but that doesn't help us ignorant English speakers now do it? Personally, I can stand not having a rulebook but it confuses me that there isn't one.... gamers like shiny books and the game would rocket in popularity if we had access to some super-sexy book filled with all the information us gamers desire to immerse ourselves in any world that isn't this one.

So, in short. Play Eden, just try it. You'll love it.


  1. I have no idea what that top miniature is or what it is doing, but I want it!

    And Eden is fun. And fast to play, with simple model rules, a small playing area and strongly narrative missions. I like it.

  2. It's an ISC drone.... 'serial something-or-other'.... and it'll be eating your face later this year :D