- Posts: 4017
- Thank you received: 1219
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.
Please consider adding your quick impressions and your rating to the game entry in our Board Game Directory after you post your thoughts so others can find them!
Please start new threads in the appropriate category for mini-session reports, discussions of specific games or other discussion starting posts.
What KICKSTARTER(S) are you BACKING and WHY?
The TTS mod is currently almost unplayable in it's current state although it does give an overview of the flow of play and how it all fits together. The main changes between this reboot and the original are what they have done to the in-game economy and matchday resolution. In my view they have gone too far with the best intentions of opening up the system in order to create more opportunity, and made a bit of a mess of it all in the process, but this is exactly what Ignacy has noted in his post - breaking the system to open it up and then fixing the pieces so it works again. My concern though is that this approach might lean everything into more comfortable and less innovative territory, but happy to see how it pans out as I have a lot of goodwill banked for both Ignacy and Portal and he has expressed many times how much he admires the original.
My verdict would be that if you are interested in getting the fancy extras and the bundle price then put in a buck and wait for the pledge manager and some more development time to pass, otherwise sit this out until the final product can be considered on it's own standing.
Into the specifics:
Club Stories is a drum-tight experience where every action you take has a significant impact so you cannot undertake anything lightly. Improving your fan base fills the stands which pushes up your income but when you sign players it causes your income to drop; if you start to lose games then those fans disappear and the stadium empties, leaving you at zero cashflow and then team spirit (which used to be the green track) starts to drop as a result because the implication is that you are not paying wages or maintaining facilities as a result.
If your team spirit is low then you become more vulnerable to negative events and so there is a very neatly interlocking internal pressure to build for and to retain success on the pitch, or to play it safe but risk failing to produce results and miss your scenario goals. These tracks are not easy to move and you really feel the impact of any changes that you make. The same thing applies to the fitness track; when you train for new tactics or to improve ability you reduce the track itself which leaves you more vulnerable to related issues e.g. training injuries and less able to repeat these functions on future turns. This careful balancing act has been muted as the tracks now generate resources which are used to pay for everything, resulting in an upward spiral that is unsatisfying and makes the game feel more like a generic Euro where you just get consistently better and there is no sense of where you could continue from the point the game eventually stops. This feeling is exacerbated with the introduction of stadium improvements that let you convert resources - bleurgh - although these do kind of make sense (fans go to the club shop and you get money, then you can spend that money on training).
Actions also often came with an element of risk, e.g. you could chase after a player and have the money ready to pay for them but they might simply say no to you, wasting your time. To mitigate this you could double or even treble up actions to improve or guarantee your chances, which made for some interesting decision points - do you go for the best option and either take a gamble on failure or sacrifice other things by spending all your time and energy on that one big whale, or do you spread yourself thinner on less explosive yet more consistent options? Now you simply get three actions plus two or three bonus actions and all your options are 'balanced' or, in other words, a bit less interesting by the redesign sacrificing chaos for stability. I'm fairly ambivalent about this particular change, although it has pulled a bit of the drama out of play as a result.
Matchday is currently a catastrophe. The mechanism for this in the original was that the pitch is divided into three zones and you assign a maximum of four players into any given zone, producing the standard formations we all know although missing out on things like 5-4-1 or the more esoteric multi-tiered ones. Some of these spots are attacking and some defending so there are limited but very important decisions to be made, particularly when assigning star players to these locations. The match then resolves by zone, requiring you to match players against the opposition - so if you had three strikers against four defenders you would choose which three defenders would go against each of your strikers - and wherever there is an attacker either unopposed or with a greater ability than the defender it results in a goal. Tactics, scouting and special abilities allow you to perform some degree of manipulation to influence this resolution. Another really tight tactical situation where your decisions seem simple and subtle, yet are absolutely vital as good decisions made on the back of careful preparation are what wins matches. What we have at the moment are nine zones and no limitations on which positions are attacking or defending, and this allows for obvious degenerate strategies that create easy victories with huge and unrealistic scorelines. It's just a complete mess and really needs to be pulled back, the current conversation is around loading lots of conditional rules that are attempting to replicate what was previously a very simple yet very effective system.
charlest wrote: I think the real problem with a crowdfunding campaign like this is the expansion bloat. By tossing a large swathe of optional buys it frontloads a huge cost on the game. It's terrible for consumers.
15 years ago this hobby grew at a great rate because you could pick up titles for $16.50, $19.99, etc. It wasn't a huge outlay and could be an impulse buy. So lots of people tried lots of games because they could support their hobby for maybe $250 a year.
Things have changed a bit. Now $250 may be a single purchase. Games that once were defined as "lifestyle" games are coming out all the time. At what point do they become an impediment to happiness instead of a source?
And yeah, if there's that one game that really checks all the boxes for you personally, then it's a must-have. And it's worth the price. A pretty big If when you don't get to see it in advance, but you know what I mean. But the number of times I hear people kinda sound obligated to buy a game . . . it doesn't sound like happiness to me. It sounds like a publisher pushing as far as he can while still making the sale. It has a used car dealer vibe to it.
I was keeping an eye on Myth and Goal by Blacklist Games, designed by James Hewitt and Sophie Williams and Thunder Road: Vendetta by Restoration Games and both games looked pretty close to complete rules wise and had reasonable art but both Kickstarters were cancelled this week; presumably due to not seeing the sort of explosive returns the publishers were expecting. Both publishers intend to follow through on both games (Thunder Road in January), (Myth and Goal TBD) but it was interesting to see two projects get cancelled despite looking a hell of a lot more baked than things that I've seen fly off the shelf in the past. (That Stellaris board game comes to mind).
If you like Cube Rails games, Union Station looks like a good time in a small package: www.kickstarter.com/projects/dnlnwmn/union-station . Amabel Holland's quote sums up my feelings about new designs; I also like weird and divisive games.
I'm also still contemplating Voidfall.
Myth & Goal has Hewitt and Williams name on it, which is a huge selling point, but the game doesn't necessarily scream innovation. I'm willing to bet it's a good game, but that genre is one that most people don't need to own several different games of the type. So it's not incredibly sexy as a proposition. The minis are also a bit boring.
But what really hurts it is that Blacklist's name is bruised. They had so much trouble with the Street Master's Aftermath KS that it will cling to their reputation permanently.
Thunder Road suffers from Restoration's KS reputation being poor as well. Anyone who backed Fireball Island paid twice as much as they needed to compared to retail. That's not even considering the new edition at Target which is 25% of the original Kickstarter price.
I would say consumers are getting wiser as time goes on, and the influx of FNG backers isn't what it used to be.
Kickstarter is going nowhere though. Watch how well Awaken Realms' Lords of Ragnarok does or the next CMON Marvel Zombicide or whatever they push. Projects that will retain value long after they deliver, thus minimizing risk, will continue to flourish.