You just reminded me how I dislike Twitter UI. I can’t zoom this thing!
I think I looked at the pics on the homepage, before installing the Twitter app. Now I can’t zoom, either…
7 Wondera Duel, such a great game!
I’ll go to my grave believing that Coup is a far more enjoyable bluffing game than Skull, and Celestia is a much more interesting push your luck game than Diamant.
Not an actual review, but a few podcasts ago Quinns was very dismissive of Bunny Kingdom.
I bought because
A: Richard Garfield generally gets all my money
2: Bunnies! (I have a 7 year old granddaughter who plays with us)
It’s a very good game, in our opinion.
Our favourite thing about the bois’ reviews is that they don’t just tell you whether they like a game or not, they generally tell you why they like a game or not.
The Isle of Doctor Necreaux has cropped up a few times in this thread, and I honestly understand people disliking it (I was disappointed by it too, the first time I played it), but for those who feel that way and didn’t actually get rid of it, there’s something important to know – while it may not be a great game, it gets much better with more players. It ostensibly supports 1-5 players, but I wouldn’t want to play it with fewer than 4.
Most of the fun of the game derives from the random collection of character attributes in play – three per character – and how you collectively make use of them; so quite simply the more players there are, the more attributes (and hence options) there are in play, and the more fun and engaging the game and its puzzle becomes.
You probably still have things you’d much rather play – even having a fondness for the game (and its lovely Flash Gordon-esque art style doesn’t hurt there), it’s not one that I bring to the table with any kind of regularity – but having experienced it at its best, I don’t see myself ever getting rid of it.
Of course you might well have played it with 4+ and still hated it; but just in case…
Through the Ages, obviously. I mean, I’m still not even sure what Matt and Quinns really think of the game, but Paul obviously didn’t like it, and followed that up with scathing remarks in several podcasts. And yet, sure, I’m willing to concede that their primary concern - that it can be too long for beginners - can be valid.
On, and Twilight Struggle. Not sure if they ever really reviewed this, but I remember criticism along the lines of the opening moves being mapped out too thoroughly, which just seems silly. The game branches too fast for that to be an issue, and the extent to which opening moves are discussed is only indicative of it being so popular for so long.
I’ve not actually seen SUSD’s review of this, but after having played it at a convention I would sum it up that the game itself is nice enough but the 30 minute pratting about scoring up at the end meant there is no way I will buy it. And I love games which involve scoring up at the end but it was just so ridiculous in this game!
I got heated up disagreeing with Paul on this one. Knowledge of cards and openings + static set-up aren’t a big issue to me with TS, since it’s complex enough and the game isn’t an efficient Euro game.
My main issue is that you have to count repeatedly to see what’s the score on that region and the admin.
Also Dominant Species: I understand that El Grande is king with Tammany Hall as close 2nd, but the way things are at this moment, DS is waaaay cheaper than Big Box El Grande (seriously big mistake from the publisher) and out-of-print Tammany Hall, and still very cutthroat and thematic.
(About Bunny Kingdom)
We found it really only takes a couple of minutes to score the fiefs.
Since you’ve been scoring them each round you’re fairly familiar with them. And the parchments do take a while, but we kind of enjoy going around the table to see what cleverness everyone has been up to.
LEWIS AND CLARKE! Man! This game is one of my favourites and everyone i have introduced to it loved it! The complaint that there is no player catch up mechanic?..never experienced that. Its always been really close and really tense in any game I’ve played. These guys are great for reviews but the odd time i disagree.
Also THE VILLAGE is ok. But nothing fantastic.
Its been a while since I’ve had an entry here or seen one I felt I was heartily on board with, but I think I have to add one finally. El Dorado, I’m just not feeling it. The ultimate problem with deck builders isn’t whether they have interesting choices and mechanics for purchasing cards, which El Dorado was novel for. The issue I see with most deckbuilders is a relative lack of choices once a card is actually bought.
Most deck builders don’t offer a wealth of decision making about what to do with the cards in your hand each turn. You make the best purchase based on your available resource and then the rest of your hand pretty much plays itself. El Dorado didn’t feel like much exception. I played myself and taught the game at a convention and I really didn’t see what the SUSD gang did. Players pretty much played their hands on auto-pilot each turn and only made some minimal choices about whether to save cards for extra money, or burn them to move, but often the limitations of their movement options each turn made the choice for them.
I think I’d pick something like Tyrants of the Underdark as a better deck builder because it offers more choices in how to use the deck you’ve built than just playing hands on auto pilot and only asking “what card do I buy”.
I think it gets a lot harder to deck-build effectively in-situ when you have a more complex card game that’s also expecting you to build a deck as you go. I don’t think it’s an accident that games where you build decks between sessions have more far more complex play from the hand.
There might be other issues in El Dorado, but I think focusing on deciding where to move, what to buy, and how to balance your deck rather than making play from the hand itself complex is the right move in El Dorado.
Similarly I think having a fixed deck with Exhaustion cards that get thrown in is the right move in Flamme Rouge with it’s much more engaging hand-play. I think these two approaches can be mixed, but that doesn’t mean they always should.
Mage Knight is an extreme case but an interesting one here–hand play is very complex as is deck building as is navigating the map–which is really more of a race than a dungeon crawl, making it an even better touchstone. Again, it’s not that all roads mixing complex hand play and complex board and drafting/building play lead to Mage Knight but it’s a nice example of where that approach can, rather than leading to more interesting decisions, instead lead to a lot of dead weight. The deck building is interesting! The dice are interesting! The hand-play is interesting! The map is interesting! The character upgrade system is interesting! But all together? Well … there isn’t enough time either in hours or in-game turns before the end condition is met for me to feel like I made headway with any of it. There’s a lot to be said for focus, especially in a racing game.
And as long as you’re rewarding players for thinking about complex card synergies or intricate hand tactics ahead of time while they’re building their deck … usually it makes just as much sense to have that deck ready to go when the game starts.
Wait, what? Dead weight in MK? Where? Lack of interesting decisions? What? Compared to Flamme Rouge, El Dorado, and the like?
I’m so confused. I thought MK is practically the definition of snowballing to epic endgame states.
Oh no, wait. You are just wrong =P
(Sorry, I know this isn’t the “Gwathdring reviews you disagree with” thread, but I couldn’t let it slide)
EDIT: In fact, the one criticism I have of MK is that the snowballing effect can be too extreme, which may force a player to concede before reaching the endgame. Not a problem 2-player, but in 3+ you don’t really want player elimination occurring. In practice, this hasn’t ever actually been a problem though, as the lagging player has always so far been happy to play it out just to see how well they can do (because people seem to enjoy simply playing it so much that it doesn’t require playing to win).
I feel like I made a pretty clear point that it has an abundance of interesting decisions. My point, your personal feelings about Mage Knight aside, is that interesting decisions are a somewhat limited framework for making enjoyable games.
In my experience Mage Knight is a very compressed game despite it’s long run-time. The epic-ness of the theme doesn’t stick to me quite so much as how little of the level-up track and rewards get used, how few cards get added to the decks, how few turns are taken, and how little progress is made each turn. It’s an intense and fascinating game that manages to simultaneously feel like a slog. I find it a deeply weird experience, not a bad one.
The comparison to El Dorado or Flamme Rogue is one of focus–whether you like Mage Knight or not, not every game is supposed to be Mage Knight. Mage Knight divides itself up quite substantially. It doesn’t have the intensity of deck and hand management that Flamme Rogue does–that’s not why Mage Knight doesn’t work for me, but it is why Flamme Rogue doesn’t suffer for lacking the complexity of movement tactics or deck upgrading or character progression that Mage Knight has.
Put otherwise, I’m not convinced games need to have much in the way of tactics from the hand just because they use cards in other ways.
I agree with your argument in general terms, and I agree that El Dorado does not need and would not benefit from more complex hand play or management. Simple focused games are good.
It just struck me that your core criticism of MK directly contradicts my own experience. My main criticism of MK is that the snowballing effect is so extreme that someone who starts off their roll just a little more slowly can end up losing well before the endgame - which seems to me like a direct contradiction of “isn’t enough time either in hours or in-game turns before the end condition is met for me to feel like I made headway with any of it” and “how little of the level-up track and rewards get used, how few cards get added to the decks, how few turns are taken, and how little progress is made each turn”. I always feel like I make so much progress, and experience the full arc of the game every time. Going from 5 to ~9 card hands, 16 to 25+ card decks + units + skills + mana… it’s a little too much, if anything.
Perhaps it’s just a matter of perspective, but I can’t figure out an angle to get round to yours.
Maybe you’re playing some kind of longer scenario? I don’t think I’ve ever had a 25 card deck and that’s with lollygagging. I might be mis-remebering the raw numbers, too. It’s been a while. Mostly it felt like where was a lot I was interested in doing that there wasn’t really time for–even the movement system, which is very tactically interesting can make it excruciatingly expensive to move around if you also want to fight things or buy things and so forth. This makes for very engaging hand-play but can make dealing with enemies feel like a slow motion punch-up out front of a bar more than an epic battle as you sort through whether to put your left foot in front or your right or save the left foot so you can use it with the green mana crystal your right foot produces.
It’s a weird game. It didn’t quite click with me. I think it’s my favorite game I would never recommend, if that makes any sense? I really like it in a lot of ways that didn’t feel quite worth it when I was playing it. I wouldn’t say it’s poorly designed or anything like that and every time I think of selling it on I instead try to convince someone to play it.
Is it longer with 3? I’ve only played with 2. It also would hardly be the first game in the history of the world that’s immensely more fun when you’re good at it.
P.S. It would also hardly shock me if I’ve never actually played it correctly. The rulebook isn’t the best and I don’t play it often enough to have it down or to have thought to print myself up a cleaner reference off the internet.
Well, perhaps I was thinking of solo and cooperative play, as it’s been a long while since I played a competitive game with others (technically, it’s been ages since I’ve played it at all, but I recently had a bunch of requests to update the Vassal module for the Ultimate edition, so I did, and in testing I somehow ended up starting and finishing two solo games). It’s almost a certainty that a standard settings competitive full conquest game will end in Round 5 and well before you hit level 10. I’ve heard that the Dungeon Lords scenario, for instance, can provide for ridiculous scaling even in competitive games (but not tried it), and the Shades of Tezla scenarios can feel that way too (not played them enough). Cooperative Volkare games are ones I have played a fair bit, and they get very epic. 4-5 AAs, a couple of artifacts, a couple of spells = 25 cards.
With 2 people on the ball, 3 is just as fast as 2 I find. I mean, I’ve usually just finished processing my rewards and coming up with a plan and a mana contingency plan by the time my turn comes around again, so I don’t really feel any downtime.
I certainly think that totally integrated familiarity is the best way to enjoy the game, but it’s been so long I can’t even remember what it was like to learn (well, other than I made mistakes on my first half-dozen games…).
Never tried it co-op. Sounds like that would be the next thing to try, then. The version I bought used has at least the first expansion in it (I think that’s the Volkare one?), only trouble is the card backs are different and it’s not sleeved. Well, not just look different but differently textured, cut, and with the opposite warp from humidity.
It’s bad enough I’m not sure a riffle would even work, card identification aside.
Not a review, but more of a throw away dismissing that I hear from time to time. Mansions of Madness 2nd Edition. I’m not sure where the genesis of their negative feelings on the game come from, but it’s definitely not one that I can relate to. Recognizing (obviously) that it’s not a perfect game, but MoM is the game that brought me into my understanding of what board games are and can be now. My gateway drug for board games. Some of the nights that I’ve spent with that game have been bizarre and hilarious (and often deeply frustrating, but that’s… every game even remotely inspired by Lovecraft for you I guess).
One playthrough in particular that I remember most fondly was when the instruction on the iPad was to remove every map tile from the table and replace it with a single new one because the mansion had been sucked into a vortex or something. It was so out-of-nowhere and made for a really huge impact with the group. A big reaction.
Anyways, I owe MoM a lot for bringing me to a hobby that I love and so it could be that is part of my love for it, but I also just really enjoy it. I’m also not especially precious about staying true to Lovecraft - because if we really want to get pedantic about it then the inspired works should have way more racism, anti-Semitism and homophobia in them along with their creeping dreads…