"1) I greatly appreciate that (as a father of two daughters) Nya is not accessible in only a $50 set, and in only one set per season (ie, 70675 and 71711). That has been deeply disappointing in the past.
2) The play-ability has been amazing. While the vehicles of the past seasons are nice, they take up a lot of space, and require even more space to operate as a vehicle (drive them around). If you set 3-5 on a table, there just isn’t any room left for the kids to play. Even if they play on the floor, so much of the show is spent outside of the vehicles, it’s not surprising that the bulk of the play time is also spent outside of the vehicles. In this regard, the past sets (71712 and 70678) don’t have enough room for all the characters to interact in a meaningful way on the set. My kids have largely been playing with all the characters on 70670 after putting a 32x32 baseplate in the center of the monastery and 1or2 baseplates outside of the main gates with halfhazardly build obstacles and landscape. In contrast to previous sets, this build is really great for moving around the characters on the set in story play even without playing the game. The 2 stud 2x2 are fantastic, I may need to just bricklink a bunch of these for custom add-ons or retrofit old sets. After trying the game a few times, my child just played out a “rescuing Lloyd” scene a bunch of times until bedtime.
3) The game rules were hard to find. The QR code wasn’t working when we opened the set, and I ended up tracking it down via a youtuber, who only found the rule set from a viewer (https://www.lego.com/en-us/campaigns/kids/ninjago/choose-the-path). It’s also clear that rule designers and the set designers/mold artists had some breakdown in communication here. I had hoped to find updated rules in the past couple of months, but I haven’t found any.
Here’s how I’ve adapted the rules depending on how long I want the games to take:
Movement Rules: Spinner number tells you how many spaces to advance. If you land on a trap (skull sticker), then lose a health. DM (Daddy Monster) can place the “bad guys” on the scene ahead of time or spin to advance his “bad guys” (spin once and move all “bad guys” that amount so the kids don’t get bored spinning a bunch of time, once for each NPC).
Combat: Quick: Player spins. Heart = Player wins (knocks out NPC), Skull = Bad Guy wins (player loses a heart) Slow: Both Player and DM spin. If both people spin Hearts and both spin Skulls it’s a “draw”, and there’s fighting (weapons clashing) but no one gets hurt. I suppose you can speed this up by saying if both roll Skull at the same time, both take damage. Bad guys (except bosses) have “1 heart” so taking any damage = knockout.
Lost Hearts: Players can rest at campsites/beds. Quick: heal all hearts after 1 rest Slow: recover 1 heart per turn, or spin once per turn and only recover 1 heart if you spin a heart. You can speed this up by saying if you roll a heart, recover as many hearts as the number on the spinner. If players get knocked out, send them back to the beginning or nearest rest area (fire place or bed) to “rest and recover” or “put them in the cage also (if a large group of players and someone’s likely to rescue them or a player is controlling more than 1 character)”
Actions: Quick: Heart = success, Skull = Fail Quick, Flavor: Heart, 1 = barely succeed. Heart, 3 = amazing success. Skull = 1 barely fail. Skull, 3 = spectacular fail. This includes sneaking past traps, when they land on one.
Advanced: Use character skill sheet. My kids aren’t old enough for this, so haven’t play tested this, but I can see several ways to use the hearts/skulls. You could count the heart as a +3, so that now you have a six sided spinner (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Or, separately, you could count the heart as +1 and skull as -1, so that it changes the spinner to 0, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4.
You can also treat the shield as a 4th heart by saying, you can prevent losing 1 heart by “sacrificing” (removing) the shield.
Also, use the arrows as guides, but allow players to backtrack to rest.
In summary, the details and “secrets” in the builds, and that the sets are designed to combine, and that there’s enough room to put all the character’s on the combined set for adventure play for kids is amazing occupying them for hours without the board game component. I hope there is more of this in the future, and not just “cool large vehicles”. Also, really happy that Nya is accessible in multiple sets/season. A little disappointed that the rules were clearly not play tested on the sets (maybe they were play tested virtually on a spreadsheet), but this disappointment pales in comparison to all the amazing firsts. I hope they update the rules and incorporate this for future seasons, but the fact that there hasn’t been any word from Lego on this worries me that these “fun and interactive” aspects of S13 sets might not be returning for season14 sets."