Up to this point, everything I have played from Privateer Press has been awesome, but I suppose that streak had to end at some point. The end is their new game called Grind. This full metal “battle” sport takes the “Play Like You Got a Pair” motto of Privateer Press to an all new extreme and drains the game of fun. If you want to play a sports board, go check out Game Workshop's Blood Bowl.
A soccer game with giant robots sounds really cool, doesn't it? When I saw pictures of Grind, I figured that is what the game would be like. To be fair, it has elements of a soccer game. Each player controls a small team of steam jacks and tries to push a giant spiked ball(called the Grinder) into giant flaming pits of lava. So where exactly did Privateer Press go wrong?
Before I get to that point, lets go over the basics of Grind. Clocking in a seventy dollars, this game gives you 10 plastic steam jack figures, three other plastic sculpts, a Monsterpocalypse dice kit, a sturdy game board, several tokens, two quick reference sheets, and a rule book. Figure quality is decent, but I found them some what annoying to assemble and the arms caused all sorts of problems. The steam jacks can be equipped different weapons, but trying to remove an arm often results in hurting yourself or the figure. Even though the figures look like Cygnar and Khador warjacks, the customizable weapons are not real weapons from the Iron Kingdoms. Don't expect to reinforce your WARMACHINE from the figures of this game. While the art quality of the board is nice, it didn't lay flat. The rest of the component quality is average, but the game components combined are not worth $70.
High price aside, the real problem with Grind is that the aggressive level is so cranked up, that it completely eliminates player interaction. In pretty much every other game, the player's objectives take several turns of setup to complete. As a result, a player must react to their opponent's moves and adjust their tactics accordingly. During any given turn in Grind, it is almost guaranteed that the active player will be able to take a shot on goal. Therefore, in Grind, a player doesn't really need to adjust their tactics in reaction to their opponent's moves. A typical turn consists of three actions: Break a hole in the opponents defense, harass the goalie, and then move up and take a shot on the hopefully empty goal. Either a goal gets scored, or the goalie stops it. Either way, the roles the reverse and the next turn is played. Defensive tactics are AWOL. On your opponent's turn, just sit back and hope the opponent rolls terribly. This over-aggressiveness really puts a damper on much of the game. Movement tactics become stagnant and repetitive.
All around, Grind is just lacking. Both of the teams have identical stats and an identical selection of weapons. Privateer Press didn't even give the teams Cygnar or Khador themed names. Also missing from the rulebook are rules for a campaign or league. Granted a game doesn't need these extensions, but having league rules would have benefited Grind greatly.
Grind has a few high points. All the weapons work differently, giving players some different tactical choices. Granted, combat is little lame. Nothing ever gets destroyed and damaged for that matter. Stuff just gets bashed around and their functionality might be reduced for a turn. Combat dice mechanics for Grind resemble Monsterpocalypse, which is a good thing.
In all honesty, the high points are few and far between. In fact, I have a lot more little complaints I could continue on with, but I don't feel it is necessary to pound this game into the ground anymore. Grind is simply not fun and I really want my $70 back.