With regards to Gen 7, there seems to be a thread through many reviews I’ve heard of the game: everyone was excited at the premise, especially coming as the next Crossfire game after Dead of Winter; a legacy game with a compelling narrative and interesting idea; crushing disappointment that the core game wasn’t much fun and it didn’t get better as the game went on, it didn’t change or got WORSE. Games are subjective, obviously. The Dice Tower has mentioned multiple times that their first play of Time Stories, like for many folks, was an incredible experience. One of the TDT crew (Zee) said after the first play it would have been a 10/10 for him. Successive modules poisoned the well.
Some of that can be ‘the shine off the apple’, but in general I think this is more a question of failure to fulfill the game’s promise. When I first saw a friend playing ‘Quacks’, he told me, ‘Yeah, I think this is a winner; I really like it.’ I respected his opinion, so when my wife expressed interest, we got it. After the first play I wanted to immediately play again (like the boiz). Each successive play has only left me hungry for more (and I’ve played it 5 times in a MONTH, which is huge for me). While they mentioned ‘Just One’ only needing one play, they then immediately DID play it again and enjoy it again…they just didn’t feel the need to seek it out. And I don’t think that’s a design conceit, it just happened that they’d played it, gotten it’s measure and said ‘yeah, fine’.
I’m not sure how someone could frontload a game to be super-appealing on the first play and not subsequent plays except for a legacy game and…why would they bother to specifically engineer that? If they put that much thought into it, they’d make a great game on purpose, instead. I don’t think the makers of Gen 7 set out to make a game that’s been so poorly received…they thought the opposite, I’d wager. But even great authors, filmmakers and musicians sometimes stumble; gamemakers aren’t any different, I’m sure. If Gen 7 works out to be Plaid Hat’s ‘Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark’, well…better luck next time. (note: the infamous Spider-Man play was made by a lot of very creative people, most of whom were either very successful at other things or even at Brodway, just not THIS TIME).