100% Orange Juice, a board game on Steam filled with so much randomness that it would make random crit haters cry tears of blood.
Starting off, this game is filled with many characters, many of whom come from other games. Some are original to this game, while others come from different games from the same company, such as the Suguri series, Flying Red Barrel, and QP Shooting.
When you first start off on your magical adventure, you can choose one of four starting characters: QP, Suguri, Marc, or Kai. Each of them has their strengths and weaknesses, but I’d recommend playing through the single player campaign and unlocking all of them.
Outside of the four starting characters, there are many other characters to choose from. Most of them can be categorised into three main groups: Attack based characters, Defence based characters, and Evade based characters.
Attack based characters are ones that focus on attacking. They come with a high attack stat that can make any dodge player cry, and are quite capable of one hitting some characters. They generally have a balanced health, and may have negatives in the defence or evade stat. Yuki is the very definition of this character type, with +2 attack but -1 in defence and evade. With their high attack stat, they force evade characters to take a huge risk in evading, as a failed evade can quickly turn into instant death.
The next type of characters are defence based ones. They come with high health and high defence, but lack in evade and attack stats. Fernet is a good example of this, with +2 defence but -1 attack and -2 evade. What makes her good is having 6 health, letting her soak up a lot of hits. Because of how defending works, defence characters will take low amounts of damage. Due to this, they counter attack based characters, who cannot easily deal the high amounts of damage required to defence characters. With their higher health, they will outlast any attack based character.
The last standard type of characters are evade based ones. With medium health and high evade, and usually having at least a +1 in attack but a low defence stat, they are perfect for bullying defence characters with. Their evade stat lets them evade all attacks from the low attack of defence characters, letting them slowly chip away at people like Fernet. The best example for this type is Suguri, who has 4 health, +1 attack, +2 evade, but -1 defence.
All of the above ignores each characters hype card, a card that is unique to each character. These cards can often turn the tide of the game, but can be costly depending on the character. Suguri’s hyper lets her roll two dice, while Krila’s hyper places special traps on the field. Hypers serve to make the game even more random, while also helping out weaker characters. Generally, if your character isn’t as good in stats, they usually have a good hyper. Krila is an example of a weak character who is hyper reliant. With 6 health, 0 attack, and -1 defence and evade, Krila is not suited to any form of combat. However, her hyper turns her from a weak character into a trap master, filling the field with traps. Use multiple hypers, and you can quickly make everyone in the game hate you (Except Kyoko, who’s hyper allows her cancel a traps that she lands on).
However, even though characters have stats, the game is still a board game. What cards you draw are random (Although you do get to decide 10 cards that go into the 40 card deck, with the other 30 being chosen by the 3 other players), and the movement and combat are dependent on the dice rolls. This means that every game is different, and you can never be 100% sure of anything other than Marie Poppo winning (more on that later).
While this may turn some people off, especially those that hate randomness, there is an option for those who hate this. Simply selecting ‘Expert’ difficulty for the single player campaign means the dice are no longer random, they’re just rigged. And by rigged, I mean that you better not get involved in any combat as you will lose every fight you get into, even against Poppo. No longer do you need to guess if you can accomplish something, because you can’t. You will not win a fight, and the enemy will always get the dice roll they need. I don’t know about you guys, but I will happily take random dice over rigged dice (Although it is debatable whether or not the dice are ever fair).
Now, some of you are probably wondering “what’s so special about Marie Poppo”. Looking at her stats, with -1 in everything but having 7 health, she looks like a bad character. It is that train of thought that leads to you losing every game against her. While her stats are beyond bad, playing a card to reverse both players stats in combat will turn her from a joke into a living nightmare. However, it is her hyper that makes her truly shine. Her hyper, Ubiquitous, lets her steal stars equal to 10 times the targets level. Moreover, her hyper teleports her to the target, allowing her to get away from an angry Suguri. In a game where you win through wins or stars, this makes her a clear star collecting character. While her stats are bad, her high health will allow her to survive a battle or two. It is because of her hyper, with zero cost but with a possibility of stealing 50 stars, that allows her to go from losing to winning. Her only true downside is that whoever plays her will be targeted by everyone in the game.
Overall, the game is really fun, and I definitely recommend getting this game if you haven’t already. With its combination of randomness, dice rolling, cards (including hypers), multiple maps, and different characters, every game is sure to be different from the last. Whether it’s due to landing on a teleport square, or drawing your hyper when you need it, or even Marie Poppo deciding to pick on you instead of the person beside you, this game is sure to be a lot of fun, even if it can be frustrating at times. This game is the most enjoyable when playing with three other friends, but you can play with random players if you don’t have any friends to play with you. Although there are quite a bit of dlc’s for this game, they only add new characters (and I believe some new cards). This isn’t as big of an issue as in other games, as the characters are mostly balanced, and you can get your hands on those dlc cards if someone else brought them into the game.
If you’re still not sure on whether this game is right for you, I’d recommend waiting until the Steam sales hit again. The game is regularly $7.79 CAD, but with the sales, it can easily get under $2.00, which is very cheap for the fun you can get out of this game.