April 13, 2015 by brennon
Ninja All-Stars has been doing well on Kickstarter and they’re pushing on to new stretch goals so we took a little bit of time to talk with the guys from Ninja Division and Soda Pop Miniatures about the gameplay of this ninja-fest…
BoW: The Public Beta Test for your rules has begun in earnest now. How have the community taken to the current rules set and are they having fun?
Ninja Division: It is a scary leap to present your rules during a Kickstarter, but we were confident in the quality of game play and that we were the best champions for our product, loving it as we do. The community has not let up since our releasing of the rules, and like with any feedback loop, there is a percentage of players who skim the rules to get a feel for game play and then there are players who grind the product up for its essential elements and provide sometimes useful feedback on points balancing, or character rules.
What we are trying to say is – we have been overwhelmed at the sheer volume of feedback from interested supporters, the overwhelming majority not only say that the mechanics are quick to learn and play, but the game is simply FUN. The volume of conversation about the projects rules and game play has kept up with each new reveal in the Kickstarter. I think we have a real winner!
One of the big things about Ninja All-Stars is that it’s not all about one set victory condition. Can you tell us a bit more about the Challenge System and how that relates to players when they begin focusing on ‘the win’?
Well, a lot of comparisons are made to such wonderful legacy products as Bloodbowl and Mordeheim, and we hoped to bring out some of the core aspects of these styles of games in our product. We wanted our product to be rich and replayable, plus be flexible enough in its engine, to continue to provide succulent diversity in victory conditions as would befit the harsh ninja competitions of Kagejima.
The variety of challenges for your team, and your teams construction keeps players from pidgeon-holing certain builds that will “always win”. The different scenarios won’t let a focused team build win every game; you have to play to the challenge and its conditions so this will inform how you collect more experience while trying to win the challenge overall.
Another part of the game to touch on would be the way in which Elemental Dice are used. Can you tell us a bit more about that and how each Clan uses these to their advantage against opponents?
Elemental dice really form our determiner for combat, and though no clan is superior to another in utilization of their elemental powers, careful attention to advantages that some characters have intrinsically or can earn through experience will lend to a lot of benefit on the battlefield.
The dice are a part of every combat, and interact with everything from the cards in your hand, the phase of the moon, and some of the skills of your ninja.
With the addition of so many new characters and such through stretch goals what kind of crazy combinations do you think people are going to come up with for their clans down the line; do you have any you’d like to share yourself?
Well, half the fun is coming up with elite ninja gangs themed around the heroes abilities. We wanted to encourage people to hire out for specialist Ronin and heroes of the clan, more than previous games of this type so it should be a regular feature. Higher level gaming will surpass most Ronin, but that is also by design. I have to admit, some of my favorite combinations are as much visual as functional.
In traditional Japanese myth, Momotaro was the slayer of Oni, and put together a little warband of furious animal warriors to join him on his quests. I dearly want to see Momotaro, our Inu Clan Ninja, and our Ondori Clan Ninja all team up in games. I have also become a firm lover of the Tanchyo clan, my little green ninja filling the darkness with silent arrows to pincushion the enemy who then works in tandem with Jorogumo our Spider Witch to hold and control areas of the board, ties up my opponents to allow my archers to flit from roofline to roofline unleashing whistling shafts into any wayward ninja silly enough to get caught in Jorogumo’s web.
There are SO many nutty heroes and players are encouraged to find fun combinations. There will be a lot to chose from and don’t forget our Onryo. That creepy little ghost girl will haunt your enemies ninja.
…in keeping with that do you plan to keep the rules as updated as you can through either PDFs or maybe even a living rulebook type affair for Ninja All-Stars?
We have had a good practice in maintaining a very healthy living rulebook for our Relic Knights and Super Dungeon products, and Ninja All-Stars will be no different. Regular FAQ and downloadable content will always keep the organized play and at-home players updated with the latest answers to any tough rules questions.
The chibi style of the game is certainly very inviting for new players. Do you think that Ninja All-Stars’ rules work for not only new players looking for something a bit ‘deeper’ but also the veteran miniature gamer who has come from the big hardback books of the proper wargaming experience? What do you think both can get out of the game if that’s so?
Well, I hope that some experience with Super Dungeon Explore can help illuminate this answer. As we had the same model of approach there too. We provide for the beginner a great place to start learning to play strategy games with awesome miniatures. The themes are inviting, and easy to get people to sit down and play.
Like all our games, once past that initial start up, every bit of our product is a deep and rewarding battle game that scratches the itch of long time veterans (Like ALL of us here at Ninja Division) as well as treat new players to a fun experience. Competitive players, veteran hobbyists, strategy game enthusiasts, you name ‘em, we have them and more in our growing fan-base. We want to deliver really rich games experiences that throttle to your needs as a player.
We think that we have done that with Ninja All-Stars. Pound for pound we have the most ninja that have ever ninja’d in any game, anywhere, and it is fun, replayable, and super collectible. We know we have real treat with this product, I hope you all can back us in these last days of the Kickstarter, you won’t be disappointed!
Thanks for the update!
The team are closing in on their last week here on Kickstarter so if you’ve been wondering about getting into the game maybe this has tipped you over the edge. You can see the first part of a series of gameplay videos at the top of this page and if you’re so inclined you can also download the Beta Rules & Player Aids needed to test things out for yourself.
Have you been backing this project?
"...we have been overwhelmed at the sheer volume of feedback from interested supporters, the overwhelming majority not only say that the mechanics are quick to learn and play, but the game is simply FUN"
"Regular FAQ and downloadable content will always keep the organized play and at-home players updated with the latest answers to any tough rules questions..."