Swept from the table.
It isn't often I write a bad review. You see, I select and request everything I review. I am not showered with free games and obliged to cover them like some of the video reviewers are. If I want something, I have to look it over and go out with hat in hand. By that point, I'm usually pretty sure that what I'm asking for will at least be decent. So it's very rare, really, that I get to write negatively about a game. I don't like doing it, I think it's a downer, and it's a waste of my time. If I were a full-time critic and that was my only job, I might feel differently about it. But I do not care to waste my time – or your time – running somebody's game into the ground. My lack of interest is often a criticism in itself.
So this Head to Head on Fireteam Zero with Raf Cordero is a negative review. Sort of. I brought him on to do it with me because I knew that he had a much more positive opinion and I wanted to have a head to head that was more on the opposite ends of the spectrum than they usually are. It's part of our kick-off of the new Miniature Market website, they completely redid Review Corner so it doesn't look terrible.
I do not like this game at all. I tried, I really did. It's funny, when I don't like a game, I usually wind up playing it MORE before the review than if I do. I'm looking for something to grab on to, something good in it. I could find nothing other than it is easy to play and doesn't take long. Dumb and short. Not always a bad thing, but here it is.
The setting, mechanics, visuals…every single thing about this game is completely uninspired, pedestrian and redundant. The miniatures suck. The card titles suck. The rulebook sucks. The CD (come on) sucks. It takes a couple of beats from Gears of War, but it doesn't help its case. It's repetitive to the extreme. The cardplay is awful. The dice system is awful. This game actually made me angry, and on the last session I did with some friends it got swept from the table. That is the ultimate indignity. You put the box at the end of the table and literally sweep it from the table and into the box without sorting.Halfway through that lame game, I just didn't care even though it is a $100 retail title.
Oh, I know, there are expansions coming that add artifacts or whatever. Won't help. This game is terminally uninteresting and it's a poster child for Kickstarter shovelware.
But the positive side of it is that it put in the mood to play dudes in a hall games, and that's timely because of the Road to Legend app and Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower. I've also been digging into Assassinorium: Execution Force (GOTY in an alternate reality where it came out in 1991).
I finished the Road to Legend campaign yesterday and there is a lot of promise in what the app does, but there are also some issues. Some of which linger from the first edition of Descent ten years ago. It still feels like it takes way too long, for one thing, and for another "card creep" bogs it all down. The app has some grade A "Winds of Magic" bullshit going on, events that cause you to suddenly hit every character for 5 points, 8 points of damage. Shadow Dragons popping up out of nowhere. Endless spawns right at what should be the last 10 minutes of the game.
But it works well, and it does away with the stupid Overlord business altogether. I've added a couple of expansions, but to be honest what they bring to the campaign as it stands right now isn't much. I think I saw two of the monster groups out of the expansions show up, and none of the tiles or shop items. Maybe that is coming in the next campaign, I don't know.
Funny thing is, this version of Descent REALLY feels like a Diablo board game minus the loot. In one of the quests, you have take out these goblin banners because they keep dispensing goblins. That really reminded me of Diablo. Or Gauntlet.
I've just played Warhammer Quest: Silver Tower one time as of this writing, but it kind of blew me away (with Winds of Magic). It's very modern, very lean…but it's also old fashioned and fussy with a paragraph book, WYSIWYG models, having to look up tables , and so on. The setup is really interesting, depending on which rune you are going after, you build an exploration deck and it's random. No pre-designed map layout. Activation is similar to Claustrophobia, but streamlined and cleaned up. The setting is AWESOME, don't care what the AoS haters thing. It's psychedelic and weird, frankly more in line with what Priestly and co. had in mind when they came up with Warhammer in the first place. This is druggy fantasy more like Moorcock, Vance, or Gygax than the rote Tolkien stuff. I'll probably do a full review in a couple of weeks. But the from the hip word is "awesome".
I am actually going to paint it all up at some point, I'm just starting to dip around collecting some paints and supplies. God help me. I also have Betrayal at Calth on the way.
Jackpot week for review copies, so much good stuff in bound. I've got Falling Sky and 2nd edition Cuba Libre coming from the fine folks at GMT, Conflict of Heroes: Guadalcanal from Academy, and both 51st State master set and the will-likely-be-dumb Doctor Who Card Game: Classic Doctors Edition. Oh. And also Food Chain Magnate.