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Lunar Base Board Game Review

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Tharos Board Game Review

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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

× Talk about whatever you like related to games that doesn't fit anywhere else.

Tabletop game reviews enjoyed lately thread

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25 Jun 2021 05:29 - 25 Jun 2021 06:35 #324225 by sornars
Dan is on a roll, he has another excellent essay about "othering" in board games for his Patreon subscribers that went live yesterday. It contrasts A Study in Emerald and AuZtralia by Martin Wallace and their approach to making it more palatable to do the horrendous by making the baddies aliens/elder gods.

I just finished the article and that was one compelling pitch for Sleeping Gods, moreso than his actual review.
Last edit: 25 Jun 2021 06:35 by sornars.
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30 Jun 2021 22:54 - 01 Jul 2021 00:00 #324346 by Gary Sax


I think this is actually a good review, if I'm being brutally honest I prefer the new dude to Quinns and Matt, but part of that is our taste is much more aligned. Congrats to Charlest for the shout out at the end!

I was reading a little about what a good SUSD review means, apparently it is an appreciable sales bump. The leder folks on their Discord were intimating it means a lot for the possibility of an expansion and sales:

Joshua Yearsley — Today at 1:03 PM
We're seeing the effect already. I probably can't talk specifics. :slight_smile:
Ask Cole and Patrick in the next designer chat. :smile:

Patrick Leder also mentioned a sales surge on twitter associated.

Good companion piece for our previews thread.
Last edit: 01 Jul 2021 00:00 by Gary Sax.
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01 Jul 2021 01:14 #324350 by Andi Lennon
Yeah that's a great, and thorough (!) review of a game that's definitely difficult to write about given its scope. I agree he's probably become SU&SD MVP. And big congrats to Charlie! Well deserved!

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01 Jul 2021 03:38 #324351 by mc

sornars wrote: Dan is on a roll, he has another excellent essay about "othering" in board games for his Patreon subscribers that went live yesterday. It contrasts A Study in Emerald and AuZtralia by Martin Wallace and their approach to making it more palatable to do the horrendous by making the baddies aliens/elder gods.

I just finished the article and that was one compelling pitch for Sleeping Gods, moreso than his actual review.


AuZtralia was always.... interesting... to me because there was a suggestion - denied from memory - that this brooding evil in the interior that the settlers are trying to deal with has to read as an indigenous presence. It might have even been Dan who noted it in his review, I can't remember.

I'm currently reading the book that A Study In Emerald is based on (not the Neil Gaiman one, the history of the anarchist diaspora), and, I mean, cthuly-whatsit as a metaphor for autocratic aristocracy, I'm down with (the only cthylu-thingo game I'll happily play for that reason), but the AuZtralia vibe seemed a bit off.

Cheers for the heads up, at any rate. Might have to slip Dan a few bucks!

*****

It's crazy to me that SUSD have this acknowledged effect now. I genuinely thought Rahdo or Vasel would have a much larger reach that would make a difference; I guess they more or less provide a baseline these days that is pretty wide.
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01 Jul 2021 10:36 - 01 Jul 2021 10:37 #324357 by charlest
SUSD have had that effect for several years now. They were the primary reason Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective had a new print run after the Ystari edition's initial allocation.

Usually you can't find a game immediately after a positive SUSD review.

I do think that Oath review is great. It uses the visual medium well and Tom's enthusiasm is infectious.

What I appreciate about both SUSD and NPI is the amount of thought and analysis they attempt compared to the typical video review. I often disagree with conclusions from both of them, but they're still interesting pieces of media to consume and usually worth watching.

Also, I definitely appreciate the shout out. I frankly don't get great traffic to my site and I noticed a huge bump yesterday. When I saw it was coming from YouTube I was confused and finally figured it out. It was very kind of Tom/SUSD mentioning both Dan and my articles.
Last edit: 01 Jul 2021 10:37 by charlest.
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01 Jul 2021 10:59 #324359 by hotseatgames
I can confirm that when SUSD plays your game totally wrong on twitch and trashes it, it does not help sales.
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01 Jul 2021 11:48 #324361 by Gary Sax

hotseatgames wrote: I can confirm that when SUSD plays your game totally wrong on twitch and trashes it, it does not help sales.


This was agony. And lest you speak up, this wasn't like "they got this one small rule wrong" or whatever. I hate that pedantic critique of every person creating content. This was legitimate disaster level fuck-up.
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01 Jul 2021 11:51 - 01 Jul 2021 11:52 #324362 by Gary Sax

charlest wrote: What I appreciate about both SUSD and NPI is the amount of thought and analysis they attempt compared to the typical video review. I often disagree with conclusions from both of them, but they're still interesting pieces of media to consume and usually worth watching.


It is such an interesting relationship with their content. Tom brings someone on board who I actually share game taste with. Quinns I, at best, overlap only a little bit in taste and I am often actively repulsed by the games Matt Lees tends to like. I think their content is usually pretty solid, but our tastes have historically been so disastrously out of synch that it's kind of a fascinating reminder of how different people are in their reaction to games... in good faith.

I'm repeating myself from two years ago or something, but I've been here forever.
Last edit: 01 Jul 2021 11:52 by Gary Sax.
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01 Jul 2021 14:07 #324364 by Jackwraith
I honestly don't spend that much time watching any regular reviewers. In fact, the one I watch most often- Rodney -isn't a reviewer. The reason I've watched SUSD as often as I have is because I appreciate Quinns' sense of humor. I don't take the game preference of most of them into account as, while I appreciate their opinions and insights, I usually have to play something to really garner interest/distaste for it. For example, most of SUSD didn't really care for Root. I think they're nuts but I'll still watch if they're covering something I'm interested in already. Similarly, Tom Vasel LOVES Cry Havoc, but I rarely watch his stuff at all.
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23 Jul 2021 18:56 #324881 by Gary Sax
playerelimination.com/2021/07/23/a-sword...t-chronicles-review/

This game is so painfully forgettable thematically I'm always blown away with how well regarded it is by reviewers I like.

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23 Jul 2021 19:12 - 23 Jul 2021 19:17 #324884 by sornars
That anecdote about classic rock is so relatable and the segue into influences and touchstones of nostalgia was brilliant and immediately made me understand where this game is coming from (having never heard of it before). I'm grateful that I'll never find myself in that situation but only because I don't listen to the radio. I'll continue to listen to my pop-punk and emo collection on roadtrips as I always have.
Last edit: 23 Jul 2021 19:17 by sornars.
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13 Aug 2021 09:32 #325540 by sornars

sornars wrote: Dan is on a roll, he has another excellent essay about "othering" in board games for his Patreon subscribers that went live yesterday. It contrasts A Study in Emerald and AuZtralia by Martin Wallace and their approach to making it more palatable to do the horrendous by making the baddies aliens/elder gods.

I just finished the article and that was one compelling pitch for Sleeping Gods, moreso than his actual review.


spacebiff.com/2021/08/12/greenwashing-history/

Dan's article mentioned above just went public and I thought it was worth re-sharing here.
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13 Aug 2021 10:34 #325544 by Gary Sax
I read it last night too, very interesting and worth a read if a touch long.
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13 Aug 2021 18:35 #325563 by Erik Twice
It's a good article! Can't find much to disagree with it. However, I think there's an elephant in the room. I think focusing on "greenwashing" and the connotations of the terms puts far more responsability on the designers that the medium affords them on a cultural level. That is, I don't think it's so much that Wallace wants to avoid the implications of XIX century anarchists, it's that it's impossible to publish a game where you take that role. Games, particularly boardgames, aren't given as much room as books, movies or other media to cover the ground they want.

Boardgames are very much in that stage where bad guys get a pass but only if they lose at the end or aren't really bad or whatever. It's still controversial to play as historical bad guys, or show sex or just to treat games like one would other art forms. For example, a significant part of the talk about colonialism, including the recent article on The Atlantic seems to oppose the subject matter as a whole.
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14 Aug 2021 12:10 #325586 by DarthJoJo
To take off from your point that board games struggle with these topics, I think the challenge is that we, the audience, and the designers very much treat them as entertainment rather than art. The dividing line line is blurry, of course, but I’d say art is meant to sit with us afterward while entertainment is a pleasant distraction. Brass might look like Buddenbrooks, but it’s honestly closer to Fate of the Furious in how we treat it.

Because we just want a little fun when we sit down for a game, designers are more eager to elide and ignore the less savory elements of popular historical settings or more challenging themes. Then, because the designers are putting more thought into mechanisms and balance for the fun and treating setting and theme as secondary concerns, it’s hard to analyze and critique their works like we would a Jonathan Franzen or Kathryn Bigelow. Instead people can only look at their settings and can only say “Colonialism bad. Sexism bad. Nazi Germany and Confederacy bad.” I can’t disagree, but it’s a boring analysis. Not that the vast majority of of designers are offering something meatier with which to engage.

Meltwater and The Cost are a vein of games that if not art, definitely offer a statement that one can agree or disagree with and critique in a more substantial way. Amabel Holland’s This Guilty Land and The Vote, too, but it sounds like playing the bad guys in them isn’t that much fun mechanically in addition to being pretty terrible in the setting.

I hope the hobby matures to make more room and attention for games like these. Board games aren’t well suited to tell a Tristram Shandy, but by putting people in charge of systems, they are ripe for economic and political analysis.
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