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Voidfall

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16 Oct 2021 20:06 - 16 Oct 2021 20:07 #327260 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Voidfall
One more day on this, I put one dollar in. It's in active development and turczi has a good record but boy it is hard for me to back without a dynamic coop already in place... even if they seem active and mindclash is a very interesting company.

So kind of where I started with it.
Last edit: 16 Oct 2021 20:07 by Gary Sax.
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31 Oct 2022 15:01 - 02 Nov 2022 06:52 #336515 by sornars
Replied by sornars on topic Voidfall
Since the final rules have been published I've been playing a fair bit of this. I think I have 4 or 5 solo games under my belt. This is not a $300 game; however, it is still a pretty good game. It has improved vastly since my initial play during the Kickstarter and all of the development effort does show. It's tight, not too long, but gives you that satisfying brain burny puzzle that Mindclash is known for while still evoking the intended theme. My games wrap up in about 2.5-3 hours; if you're playing with another person then make sure they're not prone to AP. The learn to play tutorial serves its purpose but is not half as good as other games I've seen (e.g. Oath). The rulebook is fine but required me to read and play several times before I stopped needing to refer to it. It's ordered in such a way that it introduces gameplay concepts and turn structure at the front but the specifics of what you need to know and terms defined are only revealed at the back of the book. The iconography is mostly pretty good but there is a lot of it and you need to put some effort into learning it if you want a smooth experience. Eventually the graphic design on the player boards and the iconography in the card clicks and all of that burden fades into the background. Despite having the trappings of a 4X this game is very much a point collecting game. I usually don't like those style of games but for whatever reason this one works for me. The solo game is pretty much identical to the co-op game and the competitive game is only marginally different.

The game is structured in 3 rounds consisting of 5-7 turns each. You have a hand of 9 action cards with 3 potential actions on them. Each turn you play a card and activate 2 out of the 3 actions unless you spend a special, kind of difficult to get token which lets you do all 3. In the solo mode 3 upgraded version of your action cards are on display each round, specifically interacting with some of the co-op mechanics, and they can be selected in lieu of the matching card should you play it. At the beginning of each round some galactic event will get revealed which will often impose some burden on you while sometimes giving you a reward. It'll also set some additional bonuses/scoring criteria for hitting certain achievements. Ultimately you're trying to either expand to new sectors and build out your economy each round.

The solo mode also uses a separate deck of crises which gets revealed at the start of each turn. The crisis will generally have some challenge condition required for you to get rid of it (e.g. spend 2 additional credits when doing action X) during your turn. Otherwise you have the option of paying a different penalty (e.g. spend 2 science or fend off an invasion) at the end of your turn. You can also get rid of it by using 1 of 3 catastrophe tokens but those hand points to the Voidborn. The last and most tempting option is to defer the first challenge condition to be resolved later. If you do that you place it on a board and for each card on the board, either the economic or military challenge at the end of the round will get more difficult but they can be resolved by completing the challenge during subsequent rounds to ratchet down the difficulty of the end of round challenges.

The round event, crisis deck, technology display and end of round challenge are the only real source of dynamism in the game. Compared to Spirit Island this world feels less alive but it's dynamic enough to feel interesting for now. I worry that the game may start to feel samey after many plays but I think there's a lot of juice to squeeze before it gets to that point. David Turczi has been keen to point out the permutations of games the setup can generate with the scenarios, available tech and starting house cards but I don't think this will have the longevity of SI for those of you have played hundreds of times.

Speaking of the houses, they represent the most interesting part of the game for me. Puzzling out how to play them well is the best part of the game. None of them are gamebreakingly wild but they are certainly interesting and do feel different at the beginning. The second best part of the game is the agendas which you draw into and which become your scoring conditions for more points. They definitely help incentivise different modes of play. Some combination of house and agenda may incentivise early aggression while others require you to build tall population centers with a lot of production. By the middle to end game they've started to feel kind of samey because ultimately you are converting resources into different colours using an economic engine you've built up over the course of the game but it's fun to see how different approaches can arrive to the same place. In the co-op game the Voidborn score points for what you didn't do and while that ultimately means it's a point race, the obfuscation is good enough for it to feel like you're fighting an opponent without the administration of actually managing an opponent.

I've played a bunch of games over the last couple of weeks which suggests the game is doing something right, I'm looking forward to playing some more but this isn't a strong recommend (not that it's an option because I think the pledge manager is locked). I think Ah_pook is correct, try and find a copy on the secondary market; this reminds me a lot of Anachrony (in abstract, not specifics) which I rate a solid A- game. It's good, maybe even great but it's not going to be my favourite game. For now I'll enjoy solving the puzzle it presents! In terms of how the game feels, I described it on Discord as being a senior civil servant in a government fighting multiple fires. Everything is a pulled back view of a vast empire and your job is to manage it.
Last edit: 02 Nov 2022 06:52 by sornars.
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11 Jan 2023 12:26 - 11 Jan 2023 12:35 #337793 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Voidfall
I decided not to back this ultimately, but I had the one dollar pledge so I get the e-mails. They just sent out preproduction pictures.

Boy, it is not a real draw to think about another infinity anachrony box hogging my shelf. That one already stresses me out.

I'll be really curious if the graphic design (black/dark purple) pops on a table. Ian O'Toole stuff often has this problem but the preproduction made me think about it more. And this is a very detail oriented game where you can't miss anything to make good decisions.

On the plus side, the metal enamel tokens do look cool.
Last edit: 11 Jan 2023 12:35 by Gary Sax.
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11 Jan 2023 12:33 #337794 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Voidfall
Box size has become one of my primary decision points on purchases now.
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11 Jan 2023 12:46 - 11 Jan 2023 12:53 #337795 by sornars
Replied by sornars on topic Voidfall
I thought the exact same thing. The standard box looks so much more manageable.

Space is absolutely the most important currency in my library right now. I’m thinking of unloading Unmatched because there’s just too damn much of it (also because of personal animus towards Restoration Games). Too bad I chucked most of the pretty boxes; all of the out of print pop culture IP sets go for ridiculous sums if complete; like a fool I optimised my set for playing.
Last edit: 11 Jan 2023 12:53 by sornars.
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11 Jan 2023 13:48 #337796 by Msample
Replied by Msample on topic Voidfall
For me box size is a concern but not so much about shelf space as about table space . I am lucky enough to have a fair amount of space in my house to store stuff - IF its worth storing. But for me , its whether its footprint is worth the gameplay . For instance, NEMESIS takes a fairly large footprint but the game play is worth it IMO, and clocks in around 3 hours or so, maybe a bit more including set up/take down. Whereas I played the immensely bloated and utterly shallow JOAN OF ARC TIME OF LEGENDS last year and not only did all the shit barely fit on a 6 person dining room table, but set up and take down took longer than the actual game play. Similar story for the only slightly less execrable V FOR VICTORY POINT BLANK.

Basically a big ass box also comes with big ass expectations in my book.
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12 Jan 2023 08:32 - 12 Jan 2023 08:34 #337804 by sornars
Replied by sornars on topic Voidfall
I think the right metric tying together box size and table presence is ease of play (and ergonomics in general). A large box hinders getting a game played just as much as a small box that's a frustrating tetris puzzle to put away. A game that requires you to rearrange your furniture is as frustrating as one that's too small and has fiddly overlapping bits. I've been really looking forward to Splotter's new game, Horseless Carriage, but hearing reports that it's a table hog has me a bit apprehensive of actually getting it to the table in real life.

User experience is an important consideration when producing a game; despite being a rather middling experience, Eclipse 2e is a testament to incredible UX. The Anachrony Infinity box seems like it gets in the way of playing the game but to Voidfall's credit, a fair amount of thought seems to have been put into making this game easily playable out of the box.
Last edit: 12 Jan 2023 08:34 by sornars.
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12 Jan 2023 09:41 #337805 by Jackwraith
Replied by Jackwraith on topic Voidfall
Does it depend sometimes on how orderly/careful you want to be in putting things away? I'm minorly legendary among my local groups for managing to pack games into a single box or occasionally two. It would seem like it makes them more difficult to unload and put away, but it hasn't really turned out that way. I have all of Rising Sun, for example, (all expansions) in the original box, not the larger one from the KS. It means I have to think a bit to get all the monsters in there and it also means that I got rid of the packing frames for all of the figures but, as I have repeatedly stressed to people on BGG, these are PVC figures. You can pile them together without breaking or bending anything. They're flexible. Same with Ankh, which I only have down to two boxes because of the insane pile of figures that came with everything. But, still, that's six boxes down to two. Unpacking and repacking does take a few minutes, but it's never seemed to really take a bite out of our actual gameplay time. I probably spend more time putting cardboard chits in the right place on Triumph of Chaos than I do something with a ton of figures.

Table presence is something to be considered, though. We usually play at our square table with four leaves that make a circle or a friend's rectangular table. We've been able to get six decently at both, but it's sometimes a challenge if you have games that involve player boards for each person, like Heroes of Land, Air & Sea or Cthulhu Wars.
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12 Jan 2023 09:53 - 12 Jan 2023 09:54 #337806 by Sagrilarus
Replied by Sagrilarus on topic Voidfall
I hope none of you take this personally, because I need to get it off my chest just once.

Warning: Spoiler!
Last edit: 12 Jan 2023 09:54 by Sagrilarus.
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12 Jan 2023 12:06 #337808 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Voidfall

Sagrilarus wrote: I hope none of you take this personally, because I need to get it off my chest just once.

Warning: Spoiler!


Argent: The Consortium fan spotted.

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13 Jan 2023 18:35 #337826 by Virabhadra
Replied by Virabhadra on topic Voidfall

Sagrilarus wrote: I hope none of you take this personally, because I need to get it off my chest just once.

Warning: Spoiler!


What does this mean?

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02 Jun 2023 12:20 - 02 Jun 2023 12:25 #339557 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Voidfall
To check in with this, it's shipping in the next couple months, I went through the Tutorial because sornars and I are playing it tomorrow now that the final rules are out (I didn't back it ultimately even though I came within an inch of doing so).

So I guess to get this out of the way most of you on this forum shouldn't play this game. It's a 4x game that is very heavy on accounting. The competitive version, however, does have meaningful combat and you can lean into it pretty hard, but it's not TI---your opponent's home systems are safe from invasion and you're fighting a lot of alien trash mobs instead. But you can take systems and they will hurt your opponent given the nature of the resource production x population system. I still think this might actually be best in its competitive version to add the potential for an opponent to threaten systems and disrupt the non-random nature of most of the systems which will otherwise encourage serious over-efficiency AP.

That said, I liked it quite a bit even though it was a heavy lift. In particular, the graphic design is insanely complex with the number of different euroglyphs on it, but broadly the graphic design is really good, I was very impressed. This is not a game that drags on except in how AP prone your decisionmaking could be in terms of sequencing and sums. The economy is also not that complex, you have 5 types of resources and it's mostly straightforward how they will be used.

This will be personal, but if you like the old Runewars command card system that is the core of this game---it used to be even moreso, because it used to have cardplay "initiative" which will be famiilar to anyone who played Runewars, but now it just has a normal high stakes turn order based on Vps (influence). I think it's brilliant, and it's further changed because everyone's command cards are not the same like they were in Runewars---different factions have different versions of the cards so there's a ton to learn puzzle style in the factions on offer.

In sum, if I had spent all that money, I'd be pretty happy with the game that I was receiving, it is exactly as was advertised by them and it plays a lot smoother than I had thought once you understand the dense systems---the graphic design on the shared galaxy board, in particular, takes you straight through the game procedure and its intense euroglyphics really well. There are lots of little clever touches (upkeep and trade tokens, for example) that I won't get into that abstract a lot of little fun things in a 4x in a cool way. The objective system is awesome to determine what you'll be getting VPs for, as well.

As it is, the size of the mammoth KS box and the cost of getting a post-kickstarter version is not going to have me chasing it down, but eventually I think this might make its way into the house as a dense economy 4x puzzle. I guess if someone offered me their KS they didn't want I'd have a really hard problem on my hands but as it is I can afford to sit on the sidelines.
Last edit: 02 Jun 2023 12:25 by Gary Sax.
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03 Jun 2023 20:55 - 03 Jun 2023 21:01 #339571 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Voidfall
This thing is a handful. It's still solid for a detail oriented accountant brain. I went military and I like their deterministic combat system with military techs.

Ultimately, by the back third of the game I was getting mentally gassed with sequencing properly. It played long too, our 2 player coop was maybe 4 1/2 hours on TTS. I could see shaving a half an hour off that, maybe 45 minutes but I think you'd have a hard time taking more than that off. I could be wrong though---it's just that introducing the shared card actions makes the collaborative decisions intense.

I think this game could be very mean competitive just like lots of other 4x games, so I didn't see the no conflict eurostyle guardrails, someone could fuck you up in this if invested in military. We played coop, and I had mixed feelings on their coop enemy system. They incentivized streamlining, which is good. The card flip challenges every player card play, though, were a little athematic and mechanical vs. a more "logical" but still randomly drawn system like Navajo Wars/Comacheria.

We lost on easy. I will definitely play again.
Last edit: 03 Jun 2023 21:01 by Gary Sax.
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04 Jun 2023 16:49 - 04 Jun 2023 16:50 #339578 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Voidfall
I want to steal something from sornars, not sure he'll post this here, but his take on this was perfect: this is to 4x sci-fi games what mage knight is to fantasy adventure games. I'm going to use that from now on when I describe the sort of person who will like this.
Last edit: 04 Jun 2023 16:50 by Gary Sax.
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08 Jun 2023 23:44 - 09 Jun 2023 11:48 #339621 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Voidfall
I must grudgingly admit that this game is pretty darn good. The economic elements and the combat are particularly well designed. Sornars said while we played he was starting to get the Mindclash house style and that kind of clicked to me with how Anachrony plays and this plays---shorter than you think, lots of procedure, but generally a lot of sharp euro-style decision points. And shockingly thematic---the trade token system in this game meets every one of Michael Barnes's old requirements for thematic design. If he still played games and haunted these parts in his complex euro period, I think he should really give this game a try.

I still wish the solo/co-op opponent were less random and athematic. It's serviceable and emphasizes planning appropriately, but it's really missing a lot of sense that you're facing a challenging, thematic, but nevertheless inscrutable opponent coherently coming after you.
Last edit: 09 Jun 2023 11:48 by Gary Sax.
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