× Talk about Eurogames here.

Pax Emancipation

More
17 Aug 2018 20:11 #280012 by Erik Twice
Replied by Erik Twice on topic Pax Emancipation
I don't agree with the idea that you can get

I maen, it's true that the Pax games are "jumped up tableau builders with more direct interaction than usual". But that's

Michael Barnes wrote: Like Dave says, ultimately in terms of gameplay there isn’t anything here you can’t enjoy elsewhere- and in games where the design and production are not practically defying you to have fun.

I see what you mean, but I don't agree.

There really aren't many games like Eklund's. Heavy, highly thematic strategy games are rare and the vast majority of them cover military themes, not science or nature. Sure, you can get half a dozen euros with dinosaurs on them, but none of them really use their themes beyond window-dressing. There's real appeal in this and nobody else is covering this niche.

And it's not just a thematic niche, many of his games are multiplayer conflict games which are also rare nowadays. It is true that the Pax games are tableau builders with more interaction than usual, but that's interesting on their own and it's not like we are drowning in interactive tableau builder. In fact, I can't think of any other tableau builders that are deeply interactive . Like highly thematic strategy games, multiplayer conflict is a rarity and I would be hardpressed to find many alternatives (If you know of them, please let me know, for real)

I think his games are a bit like Silverton. Silverton is not the best train game. It cannot compete with the 18XX series, nor with the Winsome titles of today. But it doesn't need to, because it's nothing like them. It's the Ameritrash equivalent, a different kind of design. And it's a good game! The fact that you have a good game that simulates railroading down to building each stretch of track and loading your trains with good is great.

It is undeniable that his games tend to include a fair amount of crap, mostly unecessary "expansions" and "modules" that only tie up time. I feel this very strong need to redesign aspects of his games or call a developer to cut out unecessary stuff or keep a focus on strategy. But it's also true that he has improved notably in this regard, I was actually surprised at how simple High Frontier was and how well it worked. I would happily play any of his modern games, while I would run from Lords of Sierra Madre as fast as I could.

Kickstarter and involvement from other designers, developers and fans has also helped in this regard. Bios Megafauna looked like crap, but Bios Megafauna Second Edition is actually a very pretty game that looks great on the table:

boardgamegeek.com/image/1157674/bios-megafauna

boardgamegeek.com/image/3542070/bios-megafauna-second-edition


I seriously think the political rules of High Frontier would be better off not existing and he needs to keep working with a developer, but the results are more than ok. I mean, I played like 3 different point salad euros with "first gets +6vp, last loses 4 VPs" kind of mechanics this week, followed by a couple "flavour text means Ameritrash" kind of games, so credit where it's due.

Gary Sax wrote: I will say that Eklund (and now Wehrle) are better at something than most other designers, such that I do get something relatively unique from them. I think the Pax games (and now John Company to a lesser extent) are some of the best designs at getting that X number of players competing against each other not by attacking each other, but by manipulating the game state and table itself in a very aggressive, non-bland euro way. I love that mechanic. It's like a vastly shorter, more political, less economic version of what people love 18XX games for, IMHO.

This is part of the appeal for me. I think this kind of games are very difficult to make and very niche in their appeal so they are very scarce. Personally, I want more games like these.
The following user(s) said Thank You: jur, Gary Sax, Msample

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
26 Nov 2018 08:42 #286828 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Pax Emancipation
Chris Farrell has some really interesting first thoughts:





Sounds like it's still a skip for me, ick.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
26 Nov 2018 14:59 - 26 Nov 2018 15:15 #286884 by CranBerries
Replied by CranBerries on topic Pax Emancipation

Gary Sax wrote: Chris Farrell has some really interesting first thoughts:





Sounds like it's still a skip for me, ick.

cfarrell317@rdeleskie I was feeling charitable so I was rereading his notes tonight, as I feel like I’ve been understanding his game more. And good lord, they really are horrifying - straight-up delusional Randian bullshit. And you can see it in the game! But interestingly, not in ways that defy other more rational interpretation, which is deeply weird.

The Fugitive Slave Law is considered a Left Wing Barrier in the game for example, meaning it’s an obstacle to freedom put in place by the political left. Which makes no sense at all - the US political left hated and flaunted the Fugitive Slave Law - but in the fever swamp of libertarianism where anyone on the political left is just waiting to be the next Josef Stalin, maybe (maybe?) it makes sense? But the names are too small to read anyway, so if you just parse it as that there are some greater-good-motivated obstacles and some religiously-motivated obstacles to a freer society it actually kinda works.

The bizarre classification of the American Revolution as a Civil Rights revolt (which it barely might have been, but it was also a a revolt to preserve slavery in the face of increasing British hostility) while the US Civil War is an authoritarian slave revolt is harder to rationalize, except in a world where you’re a libertarian and you believe the greatly increased power of the central government that the USCW created was a huge problem, even if that power was explicitly required simply to protect the rights of all of its citizens.


I'm a little disturbed that some of Cfarrell's most interesting writing is hidden away in Instagram.
Last edit: 26 Nov 2018 15:15 by CranBerries.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
26 Nov 2018 15:11 - 26 Nov 2018 15:14 #286887 by CranBerries
Replied by CranBerries on topic Pax Emancipation

Michael Barnes wrote: I used to think Phil Eklund games were crazy and obsessive and singularly commited to their subject matter. I was willing to work through the rules and horrendous, to quote Frank Branham, “Dr. Bronner” graphic design. I’ve praised his games in the past but what I want from games is very different now.

It’s like when you realize that Rush is terrible.


Just leave They Might Be Giants alone, you monster.

Last edit: 26 Nov 2018 15:14 by CranBerries.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
26 Nov 2018 21:51 #286924 by Not Sure
Replied by Not Sure on topic Pax Emancipation

CranBerries wrote: I'm a little disturbed that some of Cfarrell's most interesting writing is hidden away in Instagram.


Yeah. But let's not discount Sax's back-and-forth bringing some of that out.

I'm glad my nose for bullshit is getting better, maybe that's one good thing about getting old.

I'll still go out on a limb and say that Pax:Transhumanity will be even worse.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
27 Nov 2018 01:48 #286938 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Pax Emancipation
I think that's a pretty sturdy limb. It's a game about libertarian utopia isn't it?

Although the ACW interpretation thing sounds pretty low. I'm imagining Transhumanity will have some things to say about identity politics.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
27 Nov 2018 08:44 #286945 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Pax Emancipation

CranBerries wrote: I'm a little disturbed that some of Cfarrell's most interesting writing is hidden away in Instagram.


Eh, I understand it. I like it enough that I do it now too. I can only post 10 times in a row to a thread on TWBG or drift something into the BGG swamp so many times. Instagram is easy and a different group of people read it.

Speaking of, seems pretty positive about the game aspect:

The following user(s) said Thank You: CranBerries, Msample

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

More
05 Apr 2019 20:27 #295060 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Pax Emancipation
Yeah, a hard pass for me. Over my line, ymmv:

"There are two major ways to place a freedman on the map: westernizing, which requires that you already have an agent posted on a region’s chain — and posting them requires money and another preciously limited action — or manumission, in which you simply purchase and then free the slave outright. In both cases, you’ll first need agents in the marketplace to “unlock” the proper method of freedman-making, proper management of the game’s financial system, and crossed fingers that your preparations won’t be undone by a random event."


www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/2180277/pax...al-space-biff-review

Very good review from Dan, by the way, it's a thoughtful one that doesn't always take the easy way out.

I wish all these Instagram links hadn't broken when the IG tool was added, the cfarrell posts above are interesting.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Not Sure

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Moderators: Gary SaxFrohike
Time to create page: 0.160 seconds