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07 Aug 2021 22:07 - 07 Aug 2021 22:08 #325319 by Gary Sax
No, I'm with you, that's a huge draw. But it's so much more than "just" a dirtbag minis game. I feel like people underestimate it a little.
Last edit: 07 Aug 2021 22:08 by Gary Sax.
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08 Aug 2021 00:43 #325327 by Jackwraith
I used to be in the habit of packing games into a drum kit bag that I got off Amazon for $20 because it's almost precisely the dimensions of most modern board game boxes. I can stack a whole column of them in there and put it in a car seat. I was bringing it to one of the FLGS's game nights, a Meetup group I was a part of, and friends' houses whenever they suggested getting some games in at their places instead of mine (I usually have the largest collection, so it makes sense to play over here.) I pulled it out last night to go to a friend's house who wasn't able to travel (car is in the shop) and realized it was the first time I'd put anything in it in almost two years. We've played some games in COVID times, but always at our place.

We had four people, so I pulled out Tiny Epic Western. Unfortunately, the lighting at his table isn't anywhere near as good as mine and I hadn't brought my (now frequently necessary) glasses. Thankfully, I've played TEW so much that I remember what a lot of the cards do by name. It was the Bounty Hunter (me) vs the Chief vs the Entertainer vs the Lawman. The Chief focused on picking up his third dude for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th rounds, which gave him a solid advantage as it often does. He went heavy on the Train buildings, while I was focused on Wagons and the Lawman was heavy into Mining. The Entertainer lost several duels and missed buying a building in two rounds, which left her way behind the rest of us. I managed to secure my third dude for the last round, which let me turn some things to my advantage, including changing my card to win all three poker games that I was involved in, plus the Town Hall, which let me put Wagons in the final space, helping to give me the final margin: 27-24-15-9. It's still my favorite TE game, along with Kingdoms.

Then we turned to Dune: Imperium, which was a learning game for all three other people. We got to the last Stage II conflict before the host managed to hit 10 VPs and the game ended. I was on the verge of pulling off a multi-alliance turn that would've gotten me close but still a round away from victory, I think. I was hampered multiple times by not being able to play an agent to the major factions and we ended up in a situation where we almost ran out of both spice and solari, because people were sitting on stacks of it with little to spend it on that made sense for what was in their hands. In fact, we had a couple turns of people giving up on placing agents and just going straight to a Reveal turn, which is the first time I've encountered that in this game. In principle, I like the game, but I often feel hampered by the inability to remove starting cards from your deck and which produce some awful hands several rounds into the game. One of the best mechanics of Tyrants of the Underdark is promotion, so you can get rid of poor starting cards and at least get something of value for them. There's only one board space in Dune that allows you to trash cards and otherwise you're dependent on cards that allow you to do that turning up in the market. If you don't get them, your deck can really suffer in comparison with others who do. I still want to play some more to really explore it before deciding on whether it should be traded.
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08 Aug 2021 03:58 #325330 by mc

Gary Sax wrote: No, I'm with you, that's a huge draw. But it's so much more than "just" a dirtbag minis game. I feel like people underestimate it a little.


Oh yeah, I'm with you too.
I wouldn't touch minis games normally.
Accessibility of gear aside, what makes it sing is mostly the ruleset. I love the implicit encouragement to be loose but not to the detriment of clarity. The shifts and mounting risks feel right, as do the crashes and attacks. It's essentially simply gamified smashing your cars together on the floor, but doesn't lose the feel of that through too many rules and edge cases or procedural elements. The only thing it's missing is actual pyro-type stuff like putting bangers in the cars and setting them alight, but I mean, I suppose there's nothing to stop you doing that if you want (although my partner would not me too happy about the carpet).
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08 Aug 2021 10:56 #325332 by hotseatgames
Last night was a 3 person game night, but one person couldn't show up until later, so I taught the first arrival Battle for Biternia. He was familiar with MOBA concepts so he took to it pretty easily, and started kicking my ass. He had the hero who assigns a hunter's mark to an enemy at the beginning of the game, and for the rest of the game that enemy takes extra damage any time the hunter attacks them. He used this handily, and I was foolish and kept making it easy for him as well.

We got about mid-way through the game and the other person showed up, so we declared me the loser and I taught them JAWS. We rolled to see who would play the shark, and the new arrival won that title. I controlled Quint, my friend controlled Hooper, and we shared duties for Brody. I think we made a grievous error not deliberately setting up a better motion sensor net, since the shark did a great job of evading us, with us really only pinpointing his location one time. All requisite swimmers got eaten, putting the shark on great terms for Act 2.

We held our own for a long time, but the Orca got quite battered until there was barely any place to stand. As in the film, poor Quint was swallowed whole, just as the last remaining bit of the Orca sunk beneath the waves.

The game was a big hit, and probably went 90 minutes which I would say is the outside for this one. I blame poor strategy on the part of the humans. We also probably overthought some things.

The shark player left, so we started a second game of Battle for Biternia. This time we had the confidence of having the rules fresh, and we kept our same teams as well. Knowing your characters, as well as the characters of the enemy, is SO important in this game. It really rewards repeat plays to see how all of the parts mesh together. A brilliant game, and I managed to dispatch his heroes so much that I won the game without ever even attacking one of his towers. On the final round, he was down to only two heroes on the board while I had all four. I had initiative, and started off by sending my Gorgon to stun the only character I cared about, effectively taking that character's turn and defenses. It was then easy for my other characters to deal the killing blow.
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08 Aug 2021 12:05 #325334 by Michael Barnes
Gaslands is the best miniature rules set ever written. It’s a masterpiece.

But I’m going to go somewhat against the grain here...I think the fact there aren’t minis and terrain sets to buy- and I mean Gaslands products, not MDF stuff off Etsy or metal weapon sets from the UK- holds it back from being a tentpole of the hobby like Magic, D&D, Warhammer and Catan. It is absolutely in that class in terms of design and potential. But for as much as I like supergluing Ork sluggas onto Hot Wheels muscle cars, that still puts this game at arms length for some folks. Sure you can just play with “stock” hot wheels. But having prebuilt/painted cars with a stat block (like maybe how X-Wing ships are sold) and some terrain kits you can just open the box and put on the table...that would make this game blow up. Sure, that would cause the game to lose of of its homespun charm but the trade off could be the difference between 10,000 people playing this game and 1 million people playing this game.

I’m really surprised Osprey hasn’t gone this route. Truth be told, I would even like to see just a boxed set with a 3x3 play mat, 4 cars (maybe with plug-in weapons), and some terrain/gates.
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08 Aug 2021 12:23 #325336 by hotseatgames
I for one really like that the game expects you to spend all of about $26, and that includes the book.
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08 Aug 2021 12:32 #325337 by Michael Barnes
I get it and I like that too but for a more mainstream audience that’s not going to customize toy cars, that makes the game kind of inaccessible.

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08 Aug 2021 15:14 #325339 by Gary Sax
I don't think it would be hard to do both, you're right. Still sell the rulebook for dirtbag play and for people who love to customize, but also sell premodded minis.

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08 Aug 2021 16:40 #325341 by Disgustipater
As I recall, Mike Hutchinson has said that he does miniature agnostic games because it would be on him to manage the selling of minis and as he has a day job, he doesn’t have the time. He used to sell movement templates early on but even that got too much.
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08 Aug 2021 18:13 #325344 by ChristopherMD

Disgustipater wrote: As I recall, Mike Hutchinson has said that he does miniature agnostic games because it would be on him to manage the selling of minis and as he has a day job, he doesn’t have the time. He used to sell movement templates early on but even that got too much.


To me this sounds like an opportunity for the right investor to get licensed to sell official stuff.
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08 Aug 2021 22:05 #325353 by Andi Lennon
My Sunday was swallowed by a five hour session of 'Time of Crisis- The Roman Empire in Turmoil' which was about two hours too long for what it offers. I'm sure a lot of the fault here is with us stumbling through the rules at first. It was tight though, even after all that time it came down to a single encounter at the climax. There was much 'standing at table with breath held'. Hopefully I can convince the crew to throw down again now we've ironed out the complexities, it's dryer fare than they normally engage with but I'm training them up for the COIN series.
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08 Aug 2021 23:26 #325356 by Msample
Unless you have players with AP, TIME OF CRISIS is a 2.5-3 hour game once you learn it.
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08 Aug 2021 23:58 #325357 by mc

ChristopherMD wrote:

Disgustipater wrote: As I recall, Mike Hutchinson has said that he does miniature agnostic games because it would be on him to manage the selling of minis and as he has a day job, he doesn’t have the time. He used to sell movement templates early on but even that got too much.


To me this sounds like an opportunity for the right investor to get licensed to sell official stuff.


I mean isn't that already kind of done? It's been ages but I got my dice from an official supplier who had (i presume) a license to make the dice and templates and I'm pretty sure they made terrain and objects and stuff too.

I get that we are talking a next level uniformity but you can buy this stuff instead of making your own. (or just not).

I guess it's kind of related to shelf presence really. A pdf and your own shit doesn't exactly advertise to potential players.

But, as a kid the reason I didnt do war hammer was 100% accessibility - i.e., I couldn't afford the things. Seems odd to ping Gaslands for low accessibility (i get it but i think maybe it's more about exposure?)

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09 Aug 2021 01:13 #325358 by Andi Lennon

Msample wrote: Unless you have players with AP, TIME OF CRISIS is a 2.5-3 hour game once you learn it.


That sounds about right. The major AP was in selecting decks at the end of each turn. Which inevitably were stripped of their utility by the following actions haha

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09 Aug 2021 12:13 #325372 by jason10mm
I got Iron Helm to the table. Regardless of Barnes' issues with the developer, the game itself is rock solid. Like a lot of solo games it can be a bit fiddly with the amount of accounting you have to do but the core experience is pretty good and the "Draw 2 cards and resolve the first or risk the part 2 on the second card" mechanic is both elegant and quite good at increasing tension that isn't just a random die roll.

Alas I chose poorly and got pounded by some of the tougher enemies on the part 2 skirmish and ambush cards and met an early demise well before the boss was even close to being summoned. There is a strong card counting aspect to managing the dungeon deck (even if you can't count the unflipped cards) because if you can side step even 1 or 2 combat encounter cards in favor of the inn or campsite it can have some big rewards. Definitely need to be less precious about gear as well, I was hitting the encumbrance limit early and often and should have focused more on expendables to conserve health and energy than outfitting myself with multiple weapon sets like some video game RPG.

The build quality is AMAZING. I don't know who game crafter is but they certainly don't skimp on box, card, or counter quality. Thick stuff that feels like it will endure years of abuse. They laser cut counters though, so be prepared to clean soot (this feels like the old Victory Point Games stuff, are GC the same folks?). They are also good with psychology, including card dividers for the expansions as well as some random cards for what I assume are other games is a sure fire way to engage the obsessive compulsive "gotta have it all" instinct :)
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