Giant robots were my childhood, from watching Voltron and Transformers on early Saturday mornings to Gundam Wing on late nights, there was nothing cooler than a giant robot punching another giant robot. Unless those giant robots also combined into an even bigger, cooler robot! And that, of course, is the crux of Zephyr Workshop’s AEGIS. AEGIS: Second Ignition is their second go-around at this
heavy metal (literally) formula. For those who missed the first edition, the basics are this: You and your opponent have 5 robots of one of 5 different classes: Assault, Evasive, Guard, Intel, and Support. These each do what they sound like, Assault are your tough bruisers, Evasives will harry flanks, Guards will soak damage and play havoc on enemy formations, Intels will do tricksy things to give you a leg up, and Supports will stay in the backline and provide long-range devastation.
Each bot adds energy to a shared pool, which refills at the beginning of each round. Moving and attacking spend that energy. Moving is the most expensive option, so often the best thing to do is get into position and lay down fire. However, once damage starts piling up on your bots, there are very few ways to repair them, and a dead bot is the worst situation to deal with. So what to do? Well, combine them with another knackered bot, and get a fresh, shiny, and much more powerful combined robot. These new combined bots are often more than mere upgrades to their component parts and are a good way to maintain parity while salvaging bad turns. This also leads to a cool flow of battle, with many fights ending with two massive machines bashing it out for victory.
The new season offers a brand new array of bots, with 68 unique fighting machines in the preview box Gaming Trend got its hands-on, with 6 new commanders (and a mysterious 7th which will be designed by backers). Each commander has a built-in team of 9 bots (5 base, 4 combined), with a handful of extras that fill in the roster if you want to do a bit of mixing and matching.
Also new in this version is a solo mode against a boss fight. This boss is a brutal, upgraded version of one of 2 level 5 AEGIS machines. One is from this box, and the other is from the original box. The new boss deck determines what it, and its supporting cast of minions, do each turn. I’ll admit that it was quite an overwhelming foe to face in my testing of the system, so returning veterans have a challenge to look forward to.
Finally, there are 3 new maps (2 small maps, and one big, 4-player map), some new ways to play, including Bot Draft, and an area control mode called Starpoint Arena. All in all, it’s a great addition to those who have the original, or a great opportunity for new players to try a light tactics game with an interesting edge. AEGIS: Second Ignition’s already blown past its funding goal on Kickstarter, and it’s a perfect time to get your hands on this robot fighting game.
Unpublished game designer, programmer, DM and progressive activist. Always willing to see what cool ideas people have in the board game industry. I love a good gimmick, but strong mechanics are still important.