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     " Systems are lost, weapons malfunction, and life generally goes to hell... "

      Title: CAV by Reaper Miniatures

      Format: Table Top Mech Strategy

      Reviewing Monkey: Mojo Jojo

      The Hype: There can never be enough giant robot games…So Reaper Miniatures has leapt into the fray with Combat Assault Vehicles, or CAV. Take the field in 30 foot, 100-ton behemoths and lay wreckage to your friends.

      What This Monkey Thought...

      Playability: At first glance, you'll instantly think CAV is just another tactical tabletop game in a sea of clones. It has the normal plethora of rules, the typically arcane combat rolls, and more charts than you can shake a stick at. In all of these respects, CAV falls somewhere between fun and unremarkable. It is faster than many of it's competitors in play but has some really bizarre ideas on smoothness (including requiring a deck of playing cards for initiative) and is bogged down by requiring excessive rolling.
          Where it shines above everyone else in the field, however, is with its damage system. Genius in its simplicity, each cave vehicle sheet has up to 8 columns of stats. Each time the mechs take damage you slide a counter down the line…with each column giving you an entirely new set of stats for your rig. Systems are lost, weapons malfunction, and life generally goes to hell as damage is conveyed across your entire unit. In truth, it's a lot like "Mage Knight", but has several times the number of stats, allows for easier reference, and doesn't require you to pick up your mini every time you want to know what's going on. 3.5 out of 5

      Learning Curve: I'm going to break this section down into two simple statements: If you play the way you're supposed to, the learning curve is a little steep. If you use house rules (as we have started to) you can be rolling in no time. It's pretty obvious that the folks at Reaper wanted to make this as realistic as possible, which is good. But they've added so much redundancy and minutia to the rules that it's going to take you quite some time to figure it all out. My advice, though, is to cut through the extras and just play the basics. It makes it fun, fast, and easy. 3 out of 5

      Story: Bah! Story-schmormy. I wanna blow mechs up! But, just in case you're some kind of nancy boy that actually needs "motivation" to make some chaos, Reaper's been nice enough to fill the first quarter of the book with your standard fare. Various clans and political parties are described in detail and significant care is given to setting up the technology and its roots. A nice showing…if you're one of those wussies who needs a reason to kill. 4 out of 5

      Value vs. Cost: The soft cover Combat Assault Vehicle main book ranks in at a comfortable 110 or so pages and retails for just under 25 bucks. While a little steep, they've managed to include enough info that you probably wont have to spring for more supplements until you actually want to. Still, as with any miniatures game, those extra pieces of lead and the corresponding stats are gonna cost you plenty. 3 out of 5

      The Verdict:

       All in all, CAV makes a nice, though not spectacular, showing. Decent rules, fun background, and a killer damage system put this in the top half of its genre. Though a little more polish and a smoother system would definitely put it over the top.

      The Good: Some of the best damage recording in gaming history!

      The Bad: That everything else is only so-so.

      The Overall Ugly: If you're looking for a new strategy game, CAV is at least worth a look.

      What it's Worth: Picking up used.

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