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× Talk about the latest and greatest AT, and the Classics.

Return of the Heroes or Prophecy

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28 Jan 2008 16:59 #1573 by Matt Thrower
Hi,

I'm not totally sold on games of this type (as anyone who reads my posts around here will know). However I feel the need, for the sake of completeness if nothing else, to have a modern RPG style boardgame in my collection.

Question is, which? And why?

Anyone want to pimp their favourite for my amusement and edification?

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28 Jan 2008 17:14 #1574 by Michael Barnes
Hard call...they're really different varieties of the ol' RPG on a board thing.

RETURN OF THE HEROES is really more like MERCHANT OF VENUS than an RPG game. It's very, very similar in a lot of ways except there are random fights and your pickup/deliver locations (called "quests" in this game) vary from game to game. There's more upgrading equipment and advancing levels but fundamentally it's a route planning/PU&D game at the end of the day. But it's a damn great one, and despite the general lack of interaction and fairly non-competitive play, it really creates a strong sense of atmosphere and more than anything else it's just fun to play. It really does remind me of a dramatically slimmed down Richard Hamblen game- it's very similar to MAGIC REALM in a lot of ways as well, or even SORCEROR'S CAVE/MYSTIC WOOD ramped up a bit. The expansions are great overall, definitely recommended.

PROPHECY is much more of a descendant of TALISMAN. You move around a board, draw random encounter cards, and roll dice trying to get to the ultimate finale, which in this game finds the players breaking through to another dimension to fight bosses and get ahold of these super artifacts. Then, if you play by the original rules, you go around slaughter the other players. It adds a lot of detail to the TALISMAN formula, there's guilds you can upgrade at, more control over movement, random global events, and even some nasty cards to hit other players with. It doesn't feel particularly RPG-ish either.

I still think paragraph games are really closer to what an RPG board game ought to be...TALES OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS, of course, or ARKHAM HORROR- it's really a paragraph game but the paragraphs are broken out into cards.

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28 Jan 2008 17:36 #1578 by Mr Skeletor
Prophecy. The chits in ROTH have to much set up and break down time assosiated with them.

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28 Jan 2008 19:36 #1582 by ubarose
I wouldn't recommend either to you. I think your your assessment of both would be "fun but ultimately not deep enough to remain satisfying for long."

If your kids were older I would say get Return of the Heroes as a family game.

Although it isn't a fantasy theme, I would recommend Arkham Horror as the current best "modern RPG style boardgame." I think that it is deep enough to satisfy for many plays, and the cooperative play can make it very interesting depending upon who you play with.

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28 Jan 2008 22:44 #1587 by KingPut
As a person more in the multiplayer conflict game camp than in the fantasy camp. I'd recommend PROPHECY. Prophecy is my favor game of this type because it’s more competitive. It’s so competitive that at the end of the game you basically get to kill each other. Throughout the game you’re basically stacking yourself up against the other players to see who’s stronger. It’s also more of “game” vs. just an experience. Not that there is anything wrong with having an experience vs. playing a “game”. However, Prophecy is probably the worst game for solo play. It’s also the game I gave Ubarose for her birthday this year.

Arkham Horror is the most interesting because of the subject matter and bits but it’s also cooperative. I’m not a huge fan of cooperative games even if I just made a trade of Princes of Florence for Arkham Horror.

Return of Heroes is a fun game and my 11 year old daughter Ghost and I have enjoyed it. Ubarose gave Return of Heroes to my daughter for her birthday.

I never played Runebound. Actually I’m interested in hearing the plus and minus of Runebound. Being a Wallace fan I’d like to try this some day.

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28 Jan 2008 23:52 #1589 by ubarose
KingPut wrote:


Arkham Horror is the most interesting because of the subject matter and bits but it’s also cooperative. I’m not a huge fan of cooperative games...


It's the cooperative aspect that really makes it feel like a RPG. The most interesting thing about RPGs, and what I believe makes them games rather than improvisational theatre without an audience, is the cooperative problem solving. The biggest factor in determining whether you win or lose at Arkham Horror is group dynamics. If a player is being a dick or an idiot, your probably going to lose. Same with RPGs. One person can make the entire game crash and burn. On the other hand, if you have good group dynamic, you're generating ideas, solutions, tactics, everything is clicking, then it's really exciting.

Prophecy is a good game, but it doesn't feel like an RPG. It's got a fantasy theme, but that doesn't make it an RPG style boardgame. Just because you get a card with a name on it and some stats doesn't make it an RPG style game either. You get one of those in Cosmic Encounter. It hardly feels like an adventure game to me. It's like there is so much game it gets in the way of creating good narrative. Does that make sense? I played it just two days ago. Had fun while playing, but I couldn't tell you now what happened. However, I can still remember the exciting bits of the game of Arkham Horror we played in August.

I'll bring Runebound with me in May.

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29 Jan 2008 00:47 #1590 by metalface13
I can recommend both Prophecy and Arkham Horror. But if you were only going to get one, I'd go with Arkham Horror. I haven't played Return of the Heroes although I did get it for my teenager brother-in-law a year ago for Christmas, but he didn't enjoy it as much as Descent or Prophecy. I assume because it's not competitive enough.

Prophecy is a much better version of Talisman, though I haven't checked out the 4th edition. It gives you more control of where you're going, how you're leveling up. It is competitive, but in most of my games the players don't interact much besides racing to get the good encounter cards. Also, I haven't seen many close games. Once one player starts getting artifacts they just keep rolling through the next ones while the other players desperately try to get their characters powerful enough to keep up.

I enjoy Arkham Horror's co-op nature which really adds to the RPG feel and it does have a greater narrative. I also enjoy the change in setting and theme. Nothing beats being a private eye or gangster shooting cultists and other dimensional beings with a .45!

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29 Jan 2008 02:23 - 29 Jan 2008 02:25 #1591 by SenorOcho
Return of the Heroes:Magic Realm :: Tempus:Civilization. It just tries to be streamlined and complex simultaneously, only to collapse all over itself. Better to stick to Magic Realm or even Runebound.

Prophecy I give a resounding "meh."
Last edit: 29 Jan 2008 02:25 by SenorOcho.

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29 Jan 2008 05:27 #1594 by Matt Thrower
ubarose wrote:

I wouldn't recommend either to you. I think your your assessment of both would be "fun but ultimately not deep enough to remain satisfying for long."


Thanks for the input, everyone. I quoted Ubarose because this is what I've always suspected I'd think about these games and partly why I've always avoided them. So far you've all managed to put me off either game :)

If your kids were older I would say get Return of the Heroes as a family game.


Interesting thought. But I've only got one so far, and my partner is never, ever going to play Return of the Heroes.

Although it isn't a fantasy theme, I would recommend Arkham Horror as the current best "modern RPG style boardgame." I think that it is deep enough to satisfy for many plays, and the cooperative play can make it very interesting depending upon who you play with.


Oh lordy, I keep coming back to Arkham Horror. I'm so, so tempted but I've forgone it so far for two reasons. Firstly no-one I regularly game with, amazingly enough, will dig the theme at all. Secondly my general experience with co-op games is that they suck, big time and usually end up with one player telling everyone else what to do. The last couple of times I played Knizia's co-op LotR game (after beating it on the second try) we ended up fighting over who got to finish the game in possession of the ring just to try and inject some life into the thing. Needless to say, Sauron ate our little hobbit souls :).

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29 Jan 2008 07:27 #1596 by KingPut
Uba is the guru of this genre and I agree totally with what she said. If you want the full body immersion into the Ameritrash RPG, Cooperative, highly themed experience than there is only one answer and that’s Arkham Horror. If you’re not ready for that and you want to try out the Ameritrash baby pool first or you want to try something that’s a little more familiar or what I called a real board game than Prophecy or one of the other games is better choice.

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29 Jan 2008 08:56 #1599 by KingPut
Arkham Horror is much better than Lord of the Rings as far as cooperative games. The first time I played Lord of the Rings I felt like a bystander handing out feet cards. In Arkham Horror everyone acts totally independently of each other until the final battle and when you’re on the same space you can exchange money or weapons. You’re ultimately working for one common goal but everyone has different paths. It’s easy to forget you’re working together in Arkham Horror until somebody like Uba yells out “Dan stop shopping at the store and go closing some damn gates.”

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29 Jan 2008 09:45 #1601 by ubarose
KingPut wrote:

It’s easy to forget you’re working together in Arkham Horror until somebody like Uba yells out “Dan stop shopping at the store and go close some damn gates.”


See, we played that game 5 - 6 months ago, and you still remember details. I think that's an idication of a good game.

However, I think Matt is correct. He probably doesn't have the right group to play Arkham Horror. Sounds like he has BOTH dicks and idiots.

Matt, if I were going to recommend a fantasy adventure game to you, I'd have to go with Runebound. I believe that you once said that you liked the risk manegement aspects of AT games, particularly when there are choices about which risks you take and the means to mitigate those risks. Runebound does this very well. You can choose when to fight, and the level of difficulty of the fight. The greater the difficulty the greater the reward. Runebound does this better than any of the other games of this type. Your rewards allow you to level up (mitigate risk) and enables you to have progressively more challenging encounters that yeild greater reward, allowing you to level up. etc. Prophesy, Return of the Heroes, even Talisman essentially has only a two tier system - the bosses, and everything else. In these games, on your first turn out you could encounter something really tough, at the end you could start pulling the putzes. That's the eternal complaint about these games.

Also, it sounds as if Matt plays with a very competitive group. I think Runebound does well with highly competitive players. There is the race aspect, but also there is motivation to go and beat on each other.

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29 Jan 2008 13:53 #1621 by Mr. Bistro
I really do love the narrative that develops in Return of the Heroes. The heroes start off as members of fallen noble houses venturing out to return their families to positions of importance. Along the way they uncover evidence of a nameless evil orchestrating the fall of the noble houses behind the scenes. When a hero finally manages to regain his family's prestige, he has no choice but to go confront the nameless evil and prevent it from causing further harm. While it is by no means a combat-laden game, nor the deepest of the RPG board games, I enjoy the sense of discovery and exploration it creates.

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29 Jan 2008 15:27 #1623 by jeb
Oh for crying out loud, get Arkham Horror. Stop guessing what other folks want--the game is great. "Won't get into the theme" is no excuse. It's whatever theme you want it to be. Really, it's excellent. Matt, your avatar always reminds me of the information rich AH monster counters.

As for Return of the Heroes--that thing can be had on the cheap. I just got one (played once) from eBay for under $20 shipped. BGG had similar prices in the marketplace.

That said, I'm looking at Descent and Runebound myself. Word on the street is that Descent is lacking in the character development area, but this is largely corrected with the new expansion. Runebound is a race game, but it looks like a blast.

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29 Jan 2008 17:27 #1627 by Mr Skeletor
You know, maybe you shouldn't get any Matt? If you don't like these types of games why waste your money? Too "fill in a gameing niche in your collection?" That's BGG talk man!

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