Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Attacktix Year in Review 2006 - Designer Notes

Web of Webhead

In 2006, Attacktix changed my life. Literally. This past March I joined the Attacktix design team as a game play designer, spending my Attacktix present making your Attacktix future. It has been a tremendous experience thus far, and it only has gotten better and better. However, this isn't about what Attacktix are still to come, but rather what has already come to pass. Here are what I consider the top five most important "things" Attacktix brought us this year...

Number Five - New Packaging, New Rarities, New Price Point

Beginning with the SW4 and TF boosters, we transitioned from the old triangle 3 pack boxes to the new 2 pack "clamshells". The new packaging makes pilfering a thing of the past...the new boxes are virtually bulletproof, and are almost impossible to open by hand (though easy to open with, say, scissors). This goes a long way towards protecting the integrity of the booster distribution and blocks many "rippers" off at the pass. This also allowed for the lowering of the price point per booster to around 5 bucks, comparable to many CCG boosters. The two tiered rarity system is also something we can take advantage of on the "backend," believe it or not, so this change to my mind was a win all of the way around.

Number Four - Intergalactic Showdown

This was really the showcase piece of the line this year. Beautifully packaged and highlighting some of the Major Players of both lines, this product let you know in no uncertain terms that Star Wars and Transformers Attacktix were meant to be played together and against one another. Not to mention it was a great value and entry point for new players, allowing you to get some of the "mains" right out of the box for both lines.

Number Three - The Original Trilogy

Star Wars Series 3 and 4 are both largely comprised of Original Trilogy figures which includes the classics, the ones us "old timers" remember fondly from our youth. In a non-movie year, the Star Wars figures came on strong with a number of powerful figs and some new favorites.

Number Two - Marvel Event Horizon

Marvel may or may not be on the shelves where you are right now but, within a month or so, it will be. We've been building up to it for months now, with previews running across three sites, including notes from the designers (well, me), and the fans (Joe, Sapph and Jason), bringing the faithful their first looks at the new powers and effects, as well as close up shots of the new sculpts and weapons. We started the previews for Star Wars and Transformers back in the summer and were really able to build on that to make the Marvel previews an event almost unto themselves.

Number One - Transformers Collectible Gaming Arrives

Back in 2002 there was going to be a Transformers CCG and it just kind of didn't happen. This year the Transformers crossed into tabletop gaming in a big way, joining the Attacktix universe of games. Transformers are ideally suited for the Attacktix game, which does a great job of capturing the fast paced laser gun battles of the TF universe. You have the good guys/Autobots, and the bad guys/Decepticons, and they shoot it out until only one side is standing. That's pretty much what it boils down to...right? With the movie next year set to be a contender I think the TF Attacktix are here to stay.

Five figures that changed the game in 2006...

With three booster series, a premium package, and a number of mega packs added to the game this year, there are a lot of great new figures to choose from. Here are the five I think changed the game the most in 2006...

Number Five - Tusken Warlord/Chief Chirpa/Boba Fett

The three way tie for innovation in a figures physical components. I remember when we first saw pictures of the Tusken Warlord and asked, "Is he a striker or is he a launcher?" It was hard to tell - he had a trigger, but what did it do? Turns out he was the first of the "stab" style of Strikers that most folks call prodders. Chief Chirpa brought something new to the Launchers in Series 4 with his rock throw launcher which was an attack so cool that it has spawned it's own side games. Finally, Fett brought the flight of gunships down to the figure level.

Number Four - Clone Wars Republic Gunship

Not particularly new in terms of game play, the new Gunship added a lot of personality to the game, perfectly capturing the essence and appearance of one of the cooler parts of the Clone Wars mini-series. You can now recreate a very specific scene from the show in fairly good detail. This is a huge bonus for the game and something I'd like to see more of.

Number Three - Optimus Prime (Gold)

The guy shoots a projectile the size of my fist and weighs about eight pounds, plus he has a universal power that works with any other figure in the game. That, and he looks darn cool. Optimus is far and away my favorite TF fig, primarily because he just feels so powerful. He's intimidating on the field, and the fact that you can "cheat" him in most of the time for 30 points thanks to his vehicle mode just makes him all the more dangerous.

Number Two - Wicket the Ewok

Who would have guessed? Wicket turned out to be a tough little cookie...solid in a theme team, deadly in multiples when it comes to tournament play.

Number One - Luke and Han Solo as Stromtroopers

In theory, we've had effects on figures since the Emperor in the first series. But Luke and Han Solo as Stormtroopers added a new dimension to the game by giving Effects to standard figures with existing attack powers. Additionally, the Effects are flavorful and powerful, a perfect template for Effects going forward in the game

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