Grind Review

12 02 2014

Over the last few months I’ve been trying out a few miniature sports games. I plan on reviewing a few here.

There is a definite draw for me to this genre of miniatures since the games involve a fairly small investment, have a reasonable playing time, and generally avoid power creep.

Up first: Privateer Press’ Grind.


Given my love for Warmachine/Hordes I picked up Privateer Press’ sports game Grind. I had read the original rules for use with MKI found in No Quarter 10 and thought they were pretty straightforward and interesting (even given the problems I had translating them back with my MKII knowledge of the game). However, the board game version of Grind turned out to be a different animal all together.

Looks cooler than it its.

In Grind, two players go head-to-head controlling five giant steam-powered robots trying to roll a four-ton spiked ball into the opponents goal. Each robot (conventionally called wajack or ‘jack) can be fitted with a variety of special arm that make it better at ball handling, blocking or disabling opponents ‘jacks.

Turns are controlled by a dice pool mechanic similar to Privateer Press’ Monsterpocalypse. There are three types of dice. Each has six sides but provide different probabilities for success, becoming better when moving from white, to blue, to red. White dice serve as a resource for each turn. As you use them they are moved to your opponents reserve. You can use more or less of these for different actions, but you must use at least one for each maneuver. There are likewise a fixed number of blue dice that you can use to help boost certain rolls. You have fewer of these, but they don’t wind up in your opponents reserves. Finally there are red dice. These have no chance of failure, but only slowly enter the game. They serve as a timer. Each round another is released from the round counter and when they are all in play, the round ends.

I really wanted to like this game, but simply couldn’t. I knew going in it had problems. Privateer Press has largely stopped supporting the game, and its forum are an empty wasteland. The rule book for Grind is a mess: poorly organized and aesthetically ugly in its lay out. Many of the issues that came up in my first game (heck, first turn!) were simply not addressed, and I was forced to wing it and houserule from the get go. The game does come with player aids, but even these are of little help when you start out. Privateer Press seemed to have realize this, because they even provide walkthrough videos on their website; but these were likewise less than helpful. It took myself and another competent gamer almost two hours to play a single half. Games tended to be three hour ordeals spent scanning the rulebook and discussing what the hell they were thinking.

Pretty, stompy robots

On the plus side, the game components are quite pretty and comes with 2 Cygnar heavy ‘jacks, 3 Cygnar light ‘jacks, 2 Khador heavies, and 3 Khador lights. These are all made of a cheaper plastic than those of the Warmachine plastic kits, but they are the same size and largely the same mold. At a price of less than $30 I now have ton of bits to mod into a variety of warjack for Warmachine or an Iron Kingdom character.


Grind is a great buy for bits but a horrible game to play.

Shut Up & Sit Down’s Review of King of Tokyo

6 03 2013

There’s finally a video up at Shut Up & Sit Down! Nice review of King of Tokyo.