Imports Dragon NHL Figures League App Review – The new NHL Figures League App from Imports Dragon may quite simply be the perfect combination of physical collectibility, game play and digital experience in the sports collectibles market. Having recently completed my first full, month long season, I thought I’d share my thoughts on the experience.
(For more information on the App and figure line itself, please refer to this article which includes a video demonstration of the game play experience and gallery of figures.)
Imports Dragon NHL Figures League App Review – Game Play
After downloading the free App, available for both Android and iOS, you register with an email address or Facebook. You then open your free starter pack. This starter pack includes an assortment of six random figures – three forwards, two defensemen and a goalie.
Each figure (in both the App and physical blind bag) is accompanied with a player card. This card lists the figure’s capabilities in several categories including: shooting, passing, intercepting and shot blocking. Goalie capabilities are shot blocking and passing, both long/short passes.
In addition to player capabilities, each figure’s card designates the player’s overall point value. This is important in determining your roster. Reason being is that you are allowed to field a team comprised of 25 total player points divided among the six players.
You are then walked through an interactive tutorial. This is an actual scrimmage game against the App’s AI. There you will learn how to: pass, shoot, face-off, intercept, shot block and tips to play.
You are allowed to play as many games against the “trainer” as you like before playing against a physical opponent. As a player, you then have two choices. You can play a “friendly game” against people you have connected with on Google+ or Facebook. Or, you can enter tournament play in a “ranked game”.
Every calendar month coincides with the game’s tournament season. Within that month, players engage in “ranked” games against other players. Physical prizes are awarded at the end of the month to the Top 20 players in the world. These prizes range from autographed memorabilia, NHL figures in 12″, 6″, 2.5″ and in-app tickets.
Winners are determined by those with the most Cup Points. In each “ranked” game, players win or lose Cup Points. The more Cup Points you acrue, the higher your “league ranking”. All players start in League 8 and try to move up through the season to League 1.
In addition to Cup Points, players earn tickets for every winning game and/or Most Valuable Figure of each game played. These tickets can be used to purchase additional, random, blind bag figures within the app.
Imports Dragon NHL Figures League App Review – Pros
What intrigued me most about the NHL Figures League App is the ability to play an actual game based on the figures collected. In addition, the fact that the figures can be played in a physical tabletop game AND a digital game, brings the best of both worlds. Couple that with the fact that the figures themselves are collectible and Imports Dragon has created a winning formula.
The games themselves are compelling, easy to play, entertaining and highly addictive.
A wide variety of players insures a diverse array of potential lineups.
Some figures have “Bonus” attributes reflective of that individual player’s actual capabilities. In addition, certain figure combinations provide additional “Bonus” attributes.
Imports Dragon NHL Figures League App Review – Cons
I think something needs to be done with the algorithm that determines the awarding of the all too precious Cup Points. As the game currently stands, there is a disproportionate discrepancy in the way those points are lost or accrued. This is particularly true for players with a higher league ranking. A higher seeded player can lose as many as 55 Cup Points to a lower seeded player. Conversely, the lower seeded player can earn the same number if beating a higher ranked opponent.
However, the award for a higher seed beating a lower seed can be as low as 5 Cup Points. While that may seem fair on the surface, the game doesn’t take into account the figure rosters of either team when awarding the points.
In the monthly season I played, I faced numerous opponents with the lowest league ranking with a roster of figures commiserate to mine. So even though on paper we were evenly matched, I had much more to lose than I did to gain in those types of match-ups.
While I understand that ranked games are solely dependent upon whom is online and available to play, I think something should be calculated into the game play that accounts for players with equal rosters in different leagues.
In addition, I did experience a couple of significant hang-ups with the game. One time I had decided to spend my accrued tickets to purchase another figure. I purchased the figure, confirmed the purchase, saw my tickets deducted and shown a pack to open. When I tapped on the pack, the app crashed. In restarting the app I was disappointed to see that my ticket total had been reduced by the previous purchase amount with no way to re-claim the figure purchase.
Another time, during the middle of a “ranked game” the app became unresponsive as the game clock itself continued to countdown. After waiting for a couple of minutes, I restarted the app only to find that I had been penalized 55 Cup Points as the system treated my restart as a game loss via forfeit.
However, since an update to the App a couple of weeks ago, I have experienced no issues and hope that those problems are permanently fixed.
Imports Dragon NHL Figures League App Review – Prize Fulfillment
If you are lucky enough to finish in the Top 20 of any season, you’re a winner! However, the prize fulfillment process is a bit cumbersome at the moment. You will need to contact Imports Dragon through the settings icon within the App itself. Notify them that you were a Top 20 winner with your email address, mailing address and team name.
After waiting a week or so to be contacted, I discovered this. I was promptly awarded my in-App tickets. However, I am still waiting on my physical figures to arrive, as of the time of this writing.