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SUSD reviews you don't agree with


Any who prefers Arctic Scavengers to Nightfall is a bad and wrong person, and they should feel bad.

Perhaps I should expand a little. In my admittedly short experience of AS, I found it to be a bland by the numbers deckbuilder, while NF is pure vampire punching action.


In general, the SUSD team seem to favour games with bite sized procedurally generated stories in them, like Arabian Nights and Arkham Horror LCG. These kinds of stories never really gel for me, I guess I’m more of a mechanics than theme fan.


The Scythe review is an insta-entry here for me. I’m not terribly put out that Paul disliked the game, but the review itself was tepid at best. I’m not sure what was so off about it, but it just lacked any sort of energy or charisma and didn’t do much to sell me on the validity of the ideas presented. All in all, Paul just seemed tired during the whole thing and almost a little put out that he had to review a “kickstarter game”.

On that note, continuously referring to a game as being a “kickstarter” game isn’t exactly an effect bit of data and is really just a way to foster preconceived notions. This game, like all of Stonemaier’s offerings, is available at retail. Yes Kickstarter games have certain elements they need to present well in order to garner funding, but that doesn’t mean it adds some inherent quality or aspect to the games themselves that is useful in judging whether a game will be of good quality or not. This would be like judging Fantasy Flight for how much hype they generate with flashy press releases.

All in all I’m a little disappointed about the quality of this review; its not what I expect from SUSD.


Could it be that Paul needs to find himself a Canadian Matt–someone to play off of in his new reviews?

Of course, I don’t presume to tell people how to do what they do that I already like a lot (and I, personally, had no problem at all with Paul’s Scythe review)…so any critique/suggestion is offered with respect.


I will say that Paul’s most recent reviews have all felt a little lacking in energy. And a bit rambly. I don’t know if this is due to some personal aspects, not having a second person to work with, or what. For that matter, many of his solo efforts are a bit more subdued than the usual SU&SD fare. I think it’s just his style of reviewing.


I do think that he has good insights much of the time, but I would almost agree he needs someone a little more energetic to play off of. All Abbott and no Costello.


Given the conclusion of the review might this not be the subject matter? Maybe the problem is simply that he found the game somewhat tepid - it’s hard to get enthusiastic (or perhaps animated would be a better word) when you find the game doesn’t do anything particularly wrong, but equally doesn’t do anything particularly exciting either. There’s only so much you can really do when your ultimate conclusion is “it’s alright I suppose”.


I haven’t heard them actually review it, but I know they don’t like Talisman. It’s my #1 favorite game. So even if they haven’t officially reviewed it, I certainly don’t agree with their opinion.


[quote=“sdfostj85, post:223, topic:229”]
the review itself was tepid at best. I’m not sure what was so off about it, but it just lacked any sort of energy or charisma
[/quote] I’ve felt that way about Paul’s solo reviews for a while, so I’ve been passing on them for some time now. I did watch the Scythe review and, although I like the game quite a bit, I must admit that his quibbles are similar to my own. That being said, it wasn’t very entertaining, which is what I started watching SUSD for. Honestly, I’m not that interested in Quintin and Matt’s output either. They’re both fine, but the chemistry I found so fun to watch between Mr. Smith and Mr. Dean is gone. Truth is, all of the videos have gone pretty…“meh”, since Paul moved away.


[quote=“Tika, post:218, topic:229”]
EDIT: Something about replying when on my phone swallows up the reply to person.
[/quote] It’s not just your phone. Mine does that too.


I thought Paul did a great review of Isle of Skye! But he ended up really liking the game and that probably helps produce more exciting content.

What were his last few reviews? Scythe, Kingdom Death: Monster, A Feast for Odin? Scythe was an alright, and KD:M even less favourable, and Feast was well received? At least by my memory. I don’t remember the Odin review (did I imagine it?), but the other two weren’t showstoppers AND that’s okay because I appareciate that when SUSD doesn’t like a game they don’t rip it apart for laughs! They’re still critical, but they don’t go the easy route of tearing a game down by spending the whole review making jokes at is expense. The result is a lot of “It’s fine. Some people will like it.”

I haven’t played KD:M, and won’t, but for the rest he’s been pretty bang on with what my gaming experiences were.

A big problem I’ve seen in the board game (and video game) community is hype. Boy oh boy, do we love hype! Kickstarter lends itself to even more hype. You pay up front and spend months, or years waiting and commenting on a game as updates roll in. Then it finally arrives and it has to live up to those expectations. When it doesn’t people get defensive. They’ve invested so much time loving something that everyone else should love it too. And if they don’t they’ve missed something.

I’ve learned my lesson and I try not to get on the hype train anymore. Gloomhaven might make a liar out of me. The result for me was mostly agreeing with what Paul said about Scythe. The art is amazing, it’s overproduced, the combat is pretty boring, and it’s a fine economy building game.

That went off on a tangent. It’s late. I’m not proofreading what I wrote. I’m sorry. Goodnight.


I dunno. I think it’s quite refreshing to have a reviewer that doesn’t shout.

I enjoyed the review. Having never played Scythe I can’t comment on its accuracy but I found it highly entertaining.


I’m surprised multiple people have commented on the lack of energy in the review and no one has pointed out that he seemed rather ill which is a rather common cause of being a bit under the weather.

My only issue with Paul’s reviews is they seem to run a little bit long for what they try to get across. But I don’t mind that the reviews are about the games first and the entertaining second. Paul tends to review games that are a little more outside my wheelhouse so I appreciate the more contemplative tone. :slight_smile:


I didn’t get any sense of illness from him until the end when he was obviously starting to lose his voice. Overall, I did think it was a good review. It went over the game in pretty good detail, he expressed what he found good about it and also his reservations about it. He may have spent a bit too long on the “stuff” element and Kickstarter criticisms, despite them being rather justified. I just feel his last few reviews have expressed a bit less energy than he usually shows, and that very well may be because they are games he found just not quite good enough to not recommend, or perhaps the Canadian winter is getting to him.

I just rewatched the Panamax review which just got reposted, and while he is notably more reserved than his cohorts he still seemed a bit abuzz with enthusiasm for his review in comparison to recent entries. Of course, he liked and recommended Panamax, but then he also liked and recommended A Feast for Odin, but there he still seemed a bit less energetic. Still a good review, just a little mellow.


I’ll be honest, the first time I played Tales of Arabian Nights we played with a trans person who was immediately transformed into a different gender and told she couldn’t win unless she got herself turned back. The person who owned the game still maintains it’s a great experience, but… it kind of soured the rest of us on it.


You’ve brought up an interesting tangent. We recently played for the first time in a year and I had the same initial reaction when someone else got that status. It isn’t overtly offensive like something from Cards Against Humanity or even how the gender roles are parodied in Ladies and Gentlemen. Still, the initial gut reaction didn’t feel right.

We came to the conclusion that the player ultimately decided the gender identity that felt right (and sexuality for that matter). As your character generates more stories and renown, word travels near and far of your exploits. A sex-change represents a disconnect between you and the locals you brag to about your exploits. They clearly remember hearing stories of a bad ass and ruthless woman matching wits with terrible mage, and you are now a lanky dude with beard, clearly that couldn’t have been you! We even discussed pride in your gender and how anyone should want to reclaim their identity if it was just stolen away.

Obviously, this isn’t a perfect solution nor am I implying that you shouldn’t be offended by how the game presented itself in your situation, but talking through that gut reaction with my friends made me appreciate them more. Unfortunately, troubling tropes of gender and sexuality are pervasive in media (especially pre-2010) and I think discussion leads to a healthier understanding whether something actually detracts from the experience enough to warrant stopping consuming it.

Now to be slightly contrarian, I agree with your friend that is a great experience. Some of my most memorable nights with friends have been with this game.


Tales of the Arabian Nights was not much fun for me at all, I got put in prison on turn 1, only to escape and get caught the very next turn, and the next 2 times I escaped, no more than 2 turns later for each was I put back in jail. I told the other players to forgive me, that I really didn’t want to play anymore 'cause I was quite bored spending 90% of the game in jail…


This is where house rules come in handy, essentially the game is just about storytelling and the points and even the rules to some degree don’t really matter too much, at least to me. If I was running that game I’d say something along the lines of you know what, if you get put in jail again you only stay in for a go as you’re now a master escape artist.

Essentially when game mechanics (especially in something like Tales) get in the way that severely of having an enjoyable time a bit of flexibility is required I think. Maybe I just don’t take most games that seriously, I’d often rather sacrifice a bit on the rules side to maintain fun, within reason.


I find it interesting discussing Tales of the Arabian Nights, Above and Below, Talisman and such as storytelling games. Not because they don’t literally tells stories but because they very intentionally file everything down to interchangeable compartments. Sure, you can enjoy the experience and expand on the characterization implied by a given sequence of random compartments, but they ask you to do most of the heavy lifting in terms of storytelling without giving you the flexibility of a system that empowers that sort of lifting.

If the points and the rules don’t matter, what advantages do TotAN or AaB give you over a more improvisational game? I suppose you don’t have to come up with the ideas yourself but there is no shortage of random encounter tables on the internet. Are the paragraphs so stunningly well written? So inventive? Or is it the kernel of chance that makes it tick, is it actually those mechanics that people recognize to be a bit faulty that–faults aside for a moment–are what make the game worth experiencing?

I think it is the mechanical systems–the element of chance, the CYOA moments, the skill buffs and debuffs and so forth that give the otherwise disparate snippets of fluff a sense of purpose. Not a sense of coherence or anything resembling a sober, serious storytelling but that’s fine! That is the purpose many of these games want to create a sense of. But that makes these sorts of mechanical issues that much more important for all that they feel besides the point during play. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if I am wrong why these sorts of games over other narrative experiences more focused on narrative?


I can only only answer for myself, but as someone who can be pretty self-conscious when it comes to RPGs I enjoy these games because they’re like role-playing but without any actual embarrassing role playing.

I don’t know what it is…I’m very extroverted and I don’t suffer from any kind of social anxiety—my friends would say I suffer from the lack of it!—but actually role-playing gives me the cringes something fierce.

(It’s the same with party games that are too far on the “improv exercise” end of the spectrum, often to an arbitrary degree: Snake Oil? Totally fine and I love it. Funemployed: nope, no way, yikes.)

But I still love the idea of role-playing with friends, so I play these games to scratch that itch. Reading out the story elements, or just reacting to them being read to you, lets you get into character, but on your own terms. It’s more fun that way, but still optional. And because of that it doesn’t trigger my “Jesus Christ I feel like a dork” response.