The challenge with the talk, for me, is that I largely agree with the crux of his argument, yet disagree with almost every individual point he ended up making.
In my mind, something happened near the back end of the talk. Somewhere around the 25 minute mark he stops talking in generalities and starts to make his focused point (boss fights). As a one-off suggestion, that’s fine, but he really goes on about it as that single thing one could do to “fix” the “broken” nature of these games. And that’s bloody outrageous. This is why I suspect he got tripped up a little trying to drive home his point using a specific example. I don’t think he meant to be quite so black-and-white about things.
Quite honestly, the Ameritrash>Euro argument never even entered my mind. I kept thinking: this guy wants TTRPGs.
In any case, I think the core of his argument has serious merit. It’s definitely common for games with victory point mechanisms to boil down to end-game accountancy, and that absolutely can—and has—spoiled games for me. Why he didn’t use existing games that find creative ways around this problem (Teotihuacan being a recent example out of my collection) to strengthen his position is beyond me.
Now let’s get to Root, because he harped on that game quite a bit, and yet never really used it to exemplify his point, instead focusing on the thematic weirdness of his victory. This drove me absolutely nuts because, in my opinion, Root is the most egregious example of how stupid victory points can be. Here we have a highly thematic game, with asymmetric factions embroiled in a conflict for supremacy that affects all sides. So naturally, you win when your points track hits the threshold, game over, good job, want to play again? Me neither.
Victory points do kind of suck, I agree with him. But I’ll gladly count beans evermore if the alternative can only be some grind toward an ultimate battle. Victory points are just another mechanism, and like any game mechanism, we should evaluate its application and execution on a game by game basis.
A far more interesting talk, in my mind, is: “How do we make victory points suck less often”.