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Sleeping Gods Review

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O Updated April 02, 2021
 
5.0
 
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Sleeping Gods (Saturday Review)

Game Information

Game Name
Designer
Players
1 - 4
There Will Be Games

We had been transported to another world, another time maybe. The stars were all wrong, not matching any of the charts we had on board our ship, the Manticore. Captain Sofi Odessa decided we should make landfall and spotted a natural harbour nearby. As we got closer, we saw an old woman waving to us from the shore. It seemed like she had been expecting us. Once we had dropped anchor, we went to the starboard side to speak to the woman and find out what she wanted. She was clearly excited to see us and immediately told us that we were here to wake the Sleeping Gods by Red Raven Games.

If you know other Red Raven games, you know how beautifully the illustrations by Ryan Laukat are and Sleeping Gods is no different. His style is very recognizable and really fits the gameplay. In the game, you are tasked with exploring the world and find totems that will help you wake the Sleeping Gods who will thank you by returning you to your own world. You will travel in your steamship across the ring bound atlas of around 20 pages, travelling from island to island and going on land to explore, meet the people of this world and sometimes fight off monsters to help you gain more experience and find clues about where the totems might be found.

If you know Near and Far, then you will immediately recognize how the atlas works and what kind of decisions you may have to make when exploring locations on the map. You will also recognize the concept of keywords and how they affect the storyline. However, Sleeping Gods really takes this much further and makes the whole experience even more enjoyable - and it's a co-operative game, while Near and Far is competitive.

As the crew of the Manticore, you will have to work together and make joint decisions about what to do. You have to work out if you should try and get more supplies, maybe go to port to make repairs and heal wounded crew or whether you should continue on your journey and if you do, which direction to go. The world is fairly large and there are a lot of locations to explore, but you have to be careful, because members of the crew will get exhausted and can suffer wounds that will stop them from helping at all. So even though sometimes it might be tempting to explore another location, it might be better to turn around and return to port, where everyone can be healed and gain strength. You can also buy items, including weapons, that will help you on your adventures, so that is yet another decision you have to make.

Even though decisions should be made jointly, everyone takes turns being the captain and it's them who will have the final say. So if there is ever a time when nobody can agree what to do next, the captain will make the ultimate decision. Of course, as captain you don't even have to consult with the crew, if you really don't want to, but as this is a co-operative game, it makes more sense to canvas the other players for their suggestions, even if you decide to do something completely different.

So far, it doesn't sound very exciting, but what Sleeping Gods achieves really well and where it hugely improved on Near and Far are the so-called keywords. As you explore certain locations, you may be told to take a certain quest card out of the box, which is basically a summary of what has happened, as well as a keyword written in large letters underneath. These quest cards, or keywords, are basically the game's memory, because as you go back to the same location or visit other locations and explore them, the storybook, which is another ring bound book of over 170 pages, may point you to a different story, depending on which keyword you have in your possession.

So for example, if you go to a location and dig something out of the ground, you will be given a keyword, which means when you explore that location again, you can't dig the same item out of the ground again. The game has remembered that you were already there and had already dug everything up. The storybook will point you to a different section that tells you that you've already been there, which is really wonderful and is what really immerses you in the world that Red Raven Games has created.

There is another thing though when it comes to keywords. There are times when you might make a certain decision as you explore a location and as result you are asked to discard a certain quest card, a certain keyword. That keyword is now out of the game completely. You will never know whether your decision was a good one, or if you have lost a valuable opportunity to get a totem. So the effects of your decisions can ripple through the game and across the world. It's absolutely magical.

Like many co-operative games, you are unlikely to win Sleeping Gods on your first go. There will be a lot of things that you learn during your first playthrough. You will learn to be a bit more conservative with the resources you have and that you should treat your crew kindly.

However, the first play of the game will also be a lot of time spent reading the rulebook. The game comes with a starter scenario, that tries to teach the game as you play, and even though it does explain a lot of concepts, we found that we had to refer to the rulebook quite a bit during our first play. There are a lot of things to learn, a lot of concepts to understand, which is unusual for games from Red Raven Games, so if you've played Near and Far before, be prepared to learn quite a lot of new things before you get to enjoy the game fully.

The time spent learning the rules is definitely worth it though. The storytelling is wonderful and the journey you will go on will be amazing. You will come across a lot of people, all of whom will provide you some sort of opportunity. You are likely to end up with a lot of quest cards, all of which lead you into different directions, so you have to just decide to follow-up one and maybe stick to that. There is certainly hours upon hours of gameplay in Sleeping Gods. I believe, officially there is supposed to be over 20 hours of playing time on offer.

Of course, you will never discover everything in a game, so you will want to play Sleeping Gods several times, and even though on subsequent plays you will remember certain locations, you will still have plenty more to explore that will offer you new surprises and new adventures.

Depending on the mode you play, the game either ends when your ship has sustained too much damage, all of your crew have lost all of their health or when the event deck has run out three times. I would recommend you play on normal mode, where the game is limited by the event deck, which basically functions as a timer. There are 18 cards in the deck, that represent more and more severe events that you will face on your turn. Once the deck runs out, you will refill it, play through it once more and then refill it one last time. If the deck then runs out again, the game is over and you will find out how well you did.

Yet, playing through basically 54 event cards takes much longer than just a couple of hours, so Sleeping Gods does have a save mechanism, which I think is really clever. Setting up and saving the game does take a little time, but it's really neat and you can pick up exactly where you stopped. So you can stop playing at any point after someone has finished their turn and then start again when you have time.

You don't even need to have the same players for every session, which is great. There are 8 characters in the game that are shared evenly between players and the captain character is controlled by whoever is the captain at the time. So if someone can't make it to a session of Sleeping Gods, you can distribute their characters among the other players and carry on playing. It's really flexible in that sense, but I must say, I'd probably prefer to ensure everyone is there for every game, as you do get slightly attached to the characters you control.

I really love Sleeping Gods and the world it inhabits. The storytelling isn't necessarily at the same level as a good novel, but it works really well and does help you immerse yourself into the world of the game and make you feel for the people you meet and the crew of the Manticore, who are trying to get back to their own world. So if you want to spend an hour or two over several sessions living in another world and being another character, then Sleeping Gods is the game for you.

 


Editor reviews

1 reviews

Rating 
 
5.0
Sleeping Gods
If you want to spend an hour or two over several sessions living in another world and being another character, then Sleeping Gods is the game for you.
O
Oliver Kinne
Oliver Kinne (He/Him)
Associate Writer

Oliver Kinne aims to publish two new articles every week on his blog, Tabletop Games Blog, and also release both in podcast form. He reviews board games and writes about tabletop games related topics.

Oliver is also the co-host of the Tabletop Inquisition podcast, which releases a new episode every three to four weeks and tackles different issues facing board games, the people who play them and maybe their industry.

Articles by Oliver Kinne

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Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #321606 02 Apr 2021 13:29
I am wrestling with temptation. I want Sleeping Gods and I want Cursed City, but I am on a budget. It will likely depend on how cheaply I can get a stripped copy of Cursed City.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #321634 03 Apr 2021 20:01
Sleeping Gods offers a unique experience, and one that suits this extended period of social distancing, so I'm going to get it. I had concerns about the combat system, but I watched a couple of YouTubes and concluded that wasn't an issue.
Frohike's Avatar
Frohike replied the topic: #321635 03 Apr 2021 21:13
It’ll make a nice pairing with Tainted Grail. Like Charlie mentioned, TG offers a less scattershot narrative but comes wrapped with a grind that, while gradually less implacable as you level up & explore, does create an intentionally oppressive ambience. Sleeping Gods is much more open, though the story feels a bit more like Tales of The Arabian Nights in its more nonlinear/aleatory blooming of keywords & locations as you sail the map. Both have given me some memorable solo experiences. I’m taking a breather from narrative games for a bit, but I can’t wait to jump back into the extra content for TG.
Joebot's Avatar
Joebot replied the topic: #321733 06 Apr 2021 16:37
Great review! I agree with all of that. My family is about 2/3 of the way through our first game (just finished the second time through the Event Deck). We've got 4 totems (out of the necessary 8), so we're going to have to pick up the pace.

One thing I would mention is that the game is hard. Resources are tight, and you never seem to have enough money or command tokens. Our ship is currently held together with duct tape and prayers. We've got about four bucks to our name, just about all the characters are exhausted and banged up for shit. It's tough. And with the Event Deck timer, you don't have time to grind or play it safe. There's tremendous pressure to keep pushing onward.

One of the more interesting things for me is judging when to go all-in on accomplishing a Challenge. Do we exhaust a bunch of characters, spend a ton of command, and use up some adventure cards, just to make sure we pass?? Sometimes it's worth it just to say "to hell with it, gonna take the 'L' on this one," take your punishment, and keep going. In most cases, failing a challenge doesn't prevent you from continuing; it just means you're going to get hammered, usually with damage.

Combat is surprisingly meaty. It's long, and I've read complaints that it bogs the game down, but that's rubbish. It doesn't crop up often enough for it to really be a problem. In our last session, we didn't have any combat at all. I like the combat system a lot. Tons of tough decisions and table-talk as we puzzle through the best approach.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #321737 06 Apr 2021 17:08
I think how often you have combat and how difficult the game is overall - regarding resources, exhaustion, ship damage, etc. - is highly variable. I've had a string of sessions with little combat, and other plays where I had three fights in about 90 minutes. It really depends on what story options and quests you pursue.

Overall I've found the difficulty good. A little difficult but where it should be. I've never felt that strained. I will say, if you get a totem or two which offers a strong effect (such as a strong weapon), things can get much easier.
oliverkinne's Avatar
oliverkinne replied the topic: #322928 07 May 2021 03:12
It's great to see that so many of you are intrigued by Sleeping Gods and some of you have already played it and enjoyed it. Thank you for all your comments.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #322934 07 May 2021 09:22
I ordered Sleeping Gods from a re-seller who buys multiple copies of Kickstarter items. My order of Sleeping Gods has been put on back order twice now, and may arrive in June. I am sticking with this re-seller so far because the communication has been good.
cdennett's Avatar
cdennett replied the topic: #322968 07 May 2021 17:57
I managed to finally get this to the table in my first "full" game night this week with 4 of us, and while the rules were a slog (I was totally unprepared, having read the rules months ago and not thinking people would go for it), we mostly had it figured out by the end (and were nearly through the first pass of the event deck). I had been afraid to try it with just wife, but the wife actually liked it and wants to keep playing. I went ahead and ran with the official "easy mode" packaged with the FAQ, as time is not something we have a lot of, so I'd rather experience the content with out too much gatekeeping. Oh, and we had exactly one combat in the game, and it kicked our ass pretty good...we really should have bought more shield market cards (once we realized we were cheating using the weapon shields for regular end-of-round attacks).

This is a WAY better game then Near and Far, even if the narrative isn't as cohesive. We had a lot of fun with the exploration, though we probably spent way too many resources on challenges we should have just lost. I expect we'll finish this up over the next couple of weeks, and then maybe it's a once in a while game to pick back up again.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #330168 27 Jan 2022 11:08
I finally received my Sleeping Gods this week. I'm struggling through the rules and plan to get it on the table this Saturday. I realize that icons can be a very efficient way to communicate information in a board game, but once a game has more than two dozen different icons, it is effectively a new alphabet to learn. I just wish that all of the icons were on that icon chart on the back of the rule book.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #330170 27 Jan 2022 11:34
One thing I remember the rules not being perfectly clear about - for tests, you can draw a card and attempt success without exhausting a crew member. That's very important.
Virabhadra's Avatar
Virabhadra replied the topic: #330171 27 Jan 2022 12:04
Maybe you've gotten this far already, but just in case - the Quick-Start guide is not optional because it contains the beginning of the story and assigns your first quests. It also gives you the impression that you need to be drawing cards and stuff during the Quick-start material - you don't. Everything including the card draws is pre-scripted in the Quick Start guide and then all the components reset before you begin the game proper. But you can't skip it.

It's more annoying than confusing, but it still tripped me up.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #330173 27 Jan 2022 12:20

charlest wrote: One thing I remember the rules not being perfectly clear about - for tests, you can draw a card and attempt success without exhausting a crew member. That's very important.


I saw that the Travel action works that way, so it sounds like it is consistent for the other tests.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #330260 30 Jan 2022 10:00
Friend came over to play board games yesterday, and I had Sleeping Gods all set up to play. I knew that he would be interested, because he prefers co-op adventure games over just about any other kind of board games. We played for over six hours straight, took a long break, then came back to play for another two hours. We got through about 45% of the game so far, and left it set up for next Saturday.

There is a lot to like about Sleeping Gods, and I'm glad that I got it. The components are lovely, and do an excellent job of establishing the setting of the game. The combat system is moderately complex and quite thematic, and offers players a satisfactory level of control while still posing some risk. Movement is simple and exploration is a delight. It amuses me that there is bold text throughout encounter book that serves as a tl;dr if somebody doesn't enjoy reading the whole entry out loud. Sometimes the risk/reward of a given exploration choice is explicit, and sometimes you just need to make a choice before you can discover the consequences.

At it's heart, Sleeping Gods has a euro influence that permeates the overall design. Every turn is an efficiency puzzle to solve, centered on gaining resources, spending resources, and managing resources. This might be very enjoyable for some players, but it was our least favorite aspect of the game. I grudgingly accept that resource management is the appropriate type of play to thematically express our ongoing need for food, repair supplies, and healing. And especially the command tokens, which are at the very core of this game design.

The other major euro aspect is the way randomness is addressed. In an ameritrash adventure game, you would apply your modifiers (especially the ones that need to be expended), then make a die roll. In Sleeping Gods, you flip a card for a fate number, then deploy as many modifiers as needed to reach your target number for your challenge or combat attack. It may seem like a minor distinction, but it is actually significant because it shifts the emphasis from risk management to resource management, and resource management is inherently less exciting than risk management. It's the difference between gambling on the unknown or fixing something with complete knowledge of the situation. Eventually, a degree of analysis paralysis seems likely to invade the game, as we continue to pile up adventure cards with a variety of uses. AP is always a potential threat when a game has a lot of available information on the table.

Beyond that, the game is a little too easy. We played on normal mode, because easy mode looked a cakewalk for kids. We had a couple of tough fights, including one where seven of our nine crew got taken out of action, and the two remaining crew could only hit the monster if they flipped a 6 for fate. We managed to get a couple of 6s, as well as a couple of misses, so we just barely won. But other than that one fight, we have never felt like everything was at risk in a situation. Instead of worrying about life or death, it's more of a slow and gradual recovery from exhaustion and heavy wounds.

We only have one totem so far. At the rate we are playing, we might gain a total of three totems by the end of the game, which will probably not be an impressive outcome. But we are enjoying the story, especially the occasional surprises. I would recommend this game to any reasonably experienced gamer, if they like co-op games with the semblance of a story.

By it's very nature, Sleeping Gods would seem to have limited replay value. For all the trouble we went to obtain our one totem, I will probably never forget where we got it. So every future play of the game would include me knowing where that totem is, and deciding whether or not to tell the other players. And solitaire play would be completely compromised by that kind of knowledge. To get the most out of this game, I would probably make sure to re-play the campaign with different players each time, and always let the other players decide where we are going and what we are doing.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #330273 30 Jan 2022 14:08
The difficulty of Sleeping Gods is wonky. Some people really struggle with it and others find it too easy. I found it pretty middle of the road in terms of difficulty. I think there's a high degree of randomness in difficulty as more challenging encounters aren't gated by level or progress, so you can get into quite a bit of trouble if you go to certain places.
mads b.'s Avatar
mads b. replied the topic: #330287 31 Jan 2022 04:13
I think that if you've only found one totem in eight hours of play, then the game is more difficult than you feel it is. For me, the point of combat is mostly not whether I can win or not, but how long I'll spend getting ready for the next possible fight. And that's also where risk mitigation comes in. Can I risk this encounter even though my crew is banged up and exhausted? If I go back here to heal and recover, do I still want to pursue that side quest or should I just get along with what I think will give me a totem?

I get your point about tests and risk, and I think you're right. But precisely because the game is so long I like that you will usually not be screwed by a bad card draw.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #330298 31 Jan 2022 12:32
It's important to me that mechanics match up with theme in a game. When they are aligned, rules are easier to remember because they make sense. When mechanics clash with the rules, they are arbitrary and therefore harder to remember or even learn, if the game is complex. For the most part, Sleeping Gods does a great job of wedding mechanics and theme. The two exceptions were the command tokens and the ability cards. The command tokens sort of make sense, in that they represent the ability to give orders that will be executed immediately, but it often felt like we were herding cats due to a limited economy of command tokens.

Ability cards were even more problematic, because they didn't seem to clearly represent anything that made sense. They are equipped to become... temporary skills? That get used up or lost when the event deck is empty? And it takes command tokens to equip them? It felt like considerable mechanics were used to simulate something that doesn't make any sense. So we initially misunderstood how we were supposed to use them, and it took even longer to realize that we should try to avoid equipping ability cards with more than a 3 fate value.
Dschanni's Avatar
Dschanni replied the topic: #330303 31 Jan 2022 16:45

Shellhead wrote: At it's heart, Sleeping Gods has a euro influence that permeates the overall design. Every turn is an efficiency puzzle to solve, centered on gaining resources, spending resources, and managing resources [...]

It may seem like a minor distinction, but it is actually significant because it shifts the emphasis from risk management to resource management [...]

we have never felt like everything was at risk in a situation [...]

I would recommend this game to any reasonably experienced gamer, if they like co-op games with the semblance of a story.


Appreciate that you do not mince your words and talk tachlis.

I have read other reviews on other sites, had similar impressions, but I was still on the verge.

This has been very helpful for me. Keep up the good work.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #330486 06 Feb 2022 09:17
After another six hours of play yesterday, we finished our first game of Sleeping Gods. We never found another totem. We continued to wrestle with remembering un-thematic rules, such as doing a point of damage anyway even if you miss in combat. That rule alone leads me to believe that the game was designed by a millennial who grew up getting participation trophies.

Losing all of our equipped abilities stung badly when we finished the event deck again. The tight economy of command tokens and fatigue felt like an ongoing handicap that kept us from exploring and enjoying the game. We finally lost a couple of battles, which sped up the game because we were playing at normal difficulty. I truly believe that a potentially great game was partially sabotaged here because the designer was unable to fully break free from an obsession with resource management games. Our finale was 50/50 completely what I expected and not at all what I expected. I averted my eyes, but noticed that there were quite a few possible finale outcomes.

I still like Sleeping Gods. It is a complete and cohesive design that largely accomplishes something distinctive, a blend of choose-your-own-adventure and resource management with an original combat system. But resource management is not something I seek or enjoy in my gaming, so that aspect continued to grate, particularly since it involved the least thematic elements of the game. This would be a good game for serious gamers who either prefer eurogames or are open to playing all types of games. A young or inexperienced gamer could also enjoy Sleeping Gods, as long as there is a more experienced player there to help navigate the moderately complex and counter-intuitive rules.
Virabhadra's Avatar
Virabhadra replied the topic: #330539 07 Feb 2022 22:13
So you ended up with one totem at the end of the whole campaign? Sleeping Gods definitely has a learning curve, but I've seen a couple other people gripe about only finding one or two totems in the course of a whole game and I'm not sure it's a matter of difficulty so much as approach.

To that point, someone on TOS recently noted: "With too many MMOs under my belt, my tendency has been to search all the locations in the starting area for quests and then set off in a direction where I have a few, exploring everything on my way. This ends up feeling awfully disjointed and non-immersive, and none of the individual quests I've stumbled upon so far have lived up this game's narrative promise." Does this resonate at all?

The whole campaign has a set turn limit (the Event deck), so your most valuable resource is time. We learned pretty quickly that checking every map location willy-nilly was a waste because you often need a keyword to access the story there - if you didn't lose resources just by visiting the spot, you still lose an action finding out you don't have the right keyword. We noticedthat the cities and homesteads across the map were the best source of Quests and Keywords leading to totems and started making them our primary destinations.

It helps that my girlfriend is so enthusiastic about the story because the mechanics start to grate on me during long stretches of play. We'll be starting our second campaign soon with easily 60% of the world left to explore and we've actually taken break since the last campaign. GF loves it enough that I know we'll end up exploring every nook and cranny eventually. I've had a difficult time landing on how I feel about the whole thing, though.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #330558 08 Feb 2022 10:40
I have a suspicion that our failure to find totems was related to our exploration style. For the first half of the game, we thoroughly explored the initial two-page map, then moved north to the one with the eerie columns and covered much of that area. In the second half of the game, we moved around more, trying to see more of the overall world at the expense of carefully exploring any one area. As a result, we racked up a lot of keywords that never became relevant.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #333644 13 Jun 2022 11:00
Friend ("F") came over with Acquaintance ("A") to play some Marvel Champions. However, I knew A primarily from playing the following games with him in the past: Mansions of Madness 2nd (one of his favorite games), the Firefly rpg, and a couple of other co-op games. I asked A if he was a fan of Marvel comics, and he said that he had only read one comic book his whole life, though he like the MCU movies. F likes to play all kinds of board games. So I showed them Sleeping Gods, and A was very interested in playing, so we set it up and started a campaign. Since I played once before, just a few months ago, I told them that I would take a back seat to any decisions about exploration. To free me up to look things up in the rules, I also volunteered to play just 2 crew members while they divided up the other 6.

It started well. We did really well in our first three fights, suffering minimal injuries while gaining a bit of XP and loot. We stayed very focused on the initial map, so we completed three quests, though got no totems. By a funny coincidence, all three of those early fights took place when I was the active player, even though we were all doing equal amounts of exploring.

Then we pushed our luck too far. We had a couple of unpromising clues (quests) that we followed up on just to be thorough, even though one involved vicious beasts and the other was an isle of demons. The vicious beasts turned out to be a swarm of venomous wasps that chased us back on the ship. The alleged isle of demons led to a brutal fight with four monsters, and we got wrecked. We drew high cards when we didn't need them, and low cards when we desperately needed high cards, and the lead monster kept counterattacking or attacking for 6 damage, when most of our crew member had just 5 hit points each.

Since we were not playing Brutal Mode, our helpless crew went back on the ship and we washed up at the nearest port after discarding six event cards. This made us lose all of our attached ability cards and put us in a fight with the giant deity-hating sea monster. He easily beat us again, so we lost another 6 event cards. But the sleeping gods healed our whole crew after that fight, so we are ready to get back to the exploring. We are nearly broke, short on food, and most of the crew has at least one exhaustion token. We hit a market once, so we have a few decent pieces of equipment, but no new weapons. However, we had just enough XP to buy one of the cheapest XP cards, so we upgraded my doctor's ability to heal people. We decided to take a break for the night, but look forward to continuing next weekend. F is only in town for two more weeks, but I think it will only take us two more sessions to finish the campaign, since we are already 4/9 of the way through the game.

My opinion of the game has not changed. The exploration is fun, the combat is interesting, the resource management is a hassle, and the command token economy is miserly. Both of my friends really enjoyed the game, more than I did, and that's why I wanted to play Sleeping Gods with them. I don't mind playing a game that gives me mixed feelings if I know that my friends will enjoy it.
Joebot's Avatar
Joebot replied the topic: #333652 13 Jun 2022 12:50

Shellhead wrote:
My opinion of the game has not changed. The exploration is fun, the combat is interesting, the resource management is a hassle, and the command token economy is miserly. Both of my friends really enjoyed the game, more than I did, and that's why I wanted to play Sleeping Gods with them. I don't mind playing a game that gives me mixed feelings if I know that my friends will enjoy it.


My family bounced pretty hard off Sleeping Gods last year when we played it (especially my wife), and I have not been able to get it played again. It makes for a very very pretty shelf toad. I do agree with you regarding the command tokens. That was my least favorite part of the game. When you want to do something cool, or use a neat action card, and you can't ... that kinda sucks sometimes.

I'm very curious about Ryan Laukat's sequel Sleeping Gods: Distant Skies. This looks promising, if for no other reason than that it eliminates the command tokens! It looks like the game streamlines a lot of the more clunky, unintuitive rules around skills and combat. If Distant Skies is a more focused, accessible version of Sleeping Gods, that would be amazing. Here's hoping.
southernman's Avatar
southernman replied the topic: #333694 14 Jun 2022 13:37

Joebot wrote:

Shellhead wrote:
My opinion of the game has not changed. The exploration is fun, the combat is interesting, the resource management is a hassle, and the command token economy is miserly. Both of my friends really enjoyed the game, more than I did, and that's why I wanted to play Sleeping Gods with them. I don't mind playing a game that gives me mixed feelings if I know that my friends will enjoy it.


My family bounced pretty hard off Sleeping Gods last year when we played it (especially my wife), and I have not been able to get it played again. It makes for a very very pretty shelf toad. I do agree with you regarding the command tokens. That was my least favorite part of the game. When you want to do something cool, or use a neat action card, and you can't ... that kinda sucks sometimes.

I'm very curious about Ryan Laukat's sequel Sleeping Gods: Distant Skies. This looks promising, if for no other reason than that it eliminates the command tokens! It looks like the game streamlines a lot of the more clunky, unintuitive rules around skills and combat. If Distant Skies is a more focused, accessible version of Sleeping Gods, that would be amazing. Here's hoping.


Every game will have a target audience, a group of the target that will love it, and people who will dislike parts or all of it ... nothing new there. I enjoy a lot of it and the Command tokens is a good mechanic to make the game a bit more thematic/realistic (stops characters being super humans and running around doing everything while quaffing magic potions to keep them going) but many gamers will find this to hard - totally believable and normal, I find many heavy euros to be beyond my abilities to paly it well enough to have fun or even be able to understand it.

And new game companies are seeing this and are watering down their designs to get more of the market (casual, family, new gamers). Awaken Realms is an example (a company whose games I love) - they produce complex and often grindy games but as the feedback from (self entitled ?) gamers saying "this is a crap game because I'm not having fun" meant they have made changes to grab more customers.
First Etherfields has had official watering down optional rules and components included in their 2nd wave shipping (and even calling it 2.0), then ISS Vanguard had the ship management phase watered down (to my and many people's disgust) because test player groups couldn't understand it or said it took too long (even though all the KS channels got it easily) so now I'm getting a less fun game delivered, then Lords of Ragnarok has had a rules/mechanics watering down from the original Lords of Hellas, and the upcoming Tainted Grail sequel is apparently going to be designed differently and also include a Tainted Grail 2.0 version with the project that I'm assuming will be a watered down edition of the original.

And this is all completely OK as they are a business out to earn money to pay it's staff and shareholders, it's just a downer for people who liked the original design elements their games had that were not based on the lowest common denominator gamer.
Shellhead's Avatar
Shellhead replied the topic: #333764 17 Jun 2022 09:47
Am looking forward to continuing the campaign we started last weekend, but I got a text message from one of the players yesterday: "V and I had a great time playing SG the other night. Due to our 11th hour mishap, I contemplated starting over and Vince had thought about houseruling out our last TPK."

Based on my detailed description of the game in progress a few posts above, do you think we should:

A. Pick up where we left off.

B. Quit the current game and start over.

C. Houserule away the implications of our last (second) Total Party Kill, which is to lose six turns out of a 57 turn game.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #333767 17 Jun 2022 13:01
I'd have them restart.