Navia Drapt gives an entertaining new twist to the game of chess, in the form of a collectible miniatures game from Bandai Entertainment. In Navia Drapt, you play the role of a Navia, which would be analogous to the King in chess, and your goal is to defeat the opposing Navia. While it seems a simple premise, there is a depth of strategy that will be uncovered. Added to the fact that seven of your pieces, which would be analogous to your queens, knights, bishops, and rooks, are left for you to choose from a pool of collectible figures, you have a lot of options to try out and play with. Navia Drapt is heavily influenced by both chess and Shogi (a Japanese version of chess), so experience with those games will provide some advantage in playing Navia Drapt, but is not absolutely necessary, and new players will quickly catch on.
The gameplay is, like chess, fairly simple to learn. During the review process, several of our test players managed to pick up the game after the first couple of turns, allowing them to be more concerned with strategy and tactics. In a turn, you can do one of several things. You can move pieces to collect resources, summon new pieces onto the board, or upgrade pieces that are already on the board. Like chess, if one of your pieces manages to move into the same square as one of your opponent?s pieces, then you take that piece and earn resources either equal to the number of resources the piece makes when it moves (if it is a Gulled or pawn equivalent), or its upgrade cost (if it is a Maseitai, the customized line of pieces mentioned earlier).
You win the game by either taking your opponent?s Navia or by earning the required 60 resources to Drapt (the game?s term for upgrade) your own Navia. This further complicates the game since you have to decide what sort of victory you want to attempt and you must also watch your opponent?s pieces to see what kind of victory they are trying to execute. It?s important to be prepared to change your strategy depending on the conditions of the game.
Gameplay is fast and easy, taking about half an hour for a game and the rules appear to be easily suited for younger children as well as older game-players. With the depth of strategy and options presented by the game, it is easy to come back and play over and over again. The starter set contains everything one person needs to play: a play mat, one Navia, seven pre-selected Maseitai, and all the necessary cards, counters, tokens and rules. There are two starter sets currently available and two starter sets are needed to play. The initial investment is a little bit over the cost of a modern video game for one person to buy both starter sets; however, if two people end up splitting the cost, the investment goes down considerably. In addition, the game has less expensive booster packs, containing a random selection of Navia and Maseitai pieces and their cards. These booster packs are not necessary to play the game, but they do offer more variety.
The pieces you get in the starter sets and expansion packs, even the board and support pieces, are of a very high quality. The Gulled pieces look like ancient stone tablets, and the money is in the form of gemstones, with pieces representing 1, 5, and 20 money units in the game. These pieces really do help enhance the feel of the game, making it easier to imagine that you are fighting on some foreign mystical battlefield, rather than just sitting down to play a chess variant.
Navia Drapt has very little in the way of things that could be thought of as harmful or offensive. The only point that may be of concern is that bringing new pieces into the game is known as ?summoning your Maseitai,? which may be of little concern considering it could be very easily discarded from the game entirely and viewed as bringing in reinforcements.
Navia Drapt is a fast, fun alternative to chess, with an anime feel that is appealing to both younger children and adults. Gamers won?t be disappointed with this mystical creation from Bandai with enjoyable and fast gameplay. Offering expansion packs allows for endless variations in strategy to keep Navia Drapt replayable for a long time after purchase.
» By Plain Games, Plain Games. Published 8/28/2007 2:02:19 PM.