Barnes on Games: Darkest Night Expansions in Review, Undercity, Xia

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17 Sep 2015 15:23 #210879 by Michael Barnes

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18 Sep 2015 07:58 #210880 by Legomancer
I'm really interested in Xia, but what kills it for me is that a) supposedly it doesn't play well with 2, which is a deal-breaker and b) the price. I'm glad the KS backers were happy with metal coins and bullshit, but I'm not paying $80 for it.
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18 Sep 2015 08:20 #210881 by Deleted
I've wanted Xia from day 1, but the price is what kills me. I was hoping for a review copy many moons ago, but now it's kind of hard to ask for one.

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18 Sep 2015 08:36 #210889 by Scott_F
I loved Xia my first play. Second play I liked it. Third play I wanted it to burn and vowed to never play again.

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18 Sep 2015 08:37 - 18 Sep 2015 08:50 #210890 by Mr. White
"In the forums I asked the question, “why aren’t you people talking about Undercity”. It really demonstrates a lapse of taste and judgment among the F:AT membership that folks aren’t like “Undercity, whoa”."

I'd guess part of it is...there's just too many damn games coming out. I didn't even know this existed. Even if I did, your comment about dungeon crawlers is on point. Too many. Especially if one bought into any line (DDAS, Super Dungeon Explore, Mice and Mystics, Descent, Imperial Assault, Shadows of Brimstone, etc...) they may want to explore what they have deeper before going for others. I dunno. We're drinking from a fire hose at this point.

Personally, I find the Iron Kingdoms to be one of the lamest fantasy settings in gaming. Besides all the Warhammer knock-off names, it's just silly. The fact that they put cavalry in Warmachine just because fans wanted it ("Warhammer has them!") shows they have no real vision for the universe. When there are robots shooting real bullets and rockets (to go along with all the magic slung around) I don't think riding around up on a horse is where anyone wants to be...
Last edit: 18 Sep 2015 08:50 by Mr. White.
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18 Sep 2015 08:45 #210892 by charlest
I agree, the Iron Kingdoms setting sucks.

Also, the enemy AI looked bland as hell. Just like the D&D Adventure series games. The board also looks ridiculously clean/boring.
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18 Sep 2015 09:00 #210894 by Deleted

Scott_F wrote: I loved Xia my first play. Second play I liked it. Third play I wanted it to burn and vowed to never play again.


Trade it to me, sucka!!

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18 Sep 2015 09:14 #210898 by airmarkus
It's funny, I played Xia earlier this year and was bored out of my skull. We were playing it two player so maybe that was the problem, but at that price, I'm not willing to take the plunge to find out.

I've given up on dungeon crawler board games. I've owned a couple of the D&D Adventure System games and Level 7: Omega Protocol, but after a couple of plays they all fall flat for me. The only one that I have enjoyed every play of is Mage Knight and that hardly ever comes out to the table anyway. I think with most dungeon crawls, I either feel like there is plenty to discover when it comes to items and monsters or whatever, but the combat gets repetitive and boring or there is a very slight feeling of character progression which leaves me wanting more that I know I won't get. Because of that, I tend to lose interest pretty quickly.
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18 Sep 2015 09:51 #210900 by Gary Sax

Scott_F wrote: I loved Xia my first play. Second play I liked it. Third play I wanted it to burn and vowed to never play again.


You can't leave us hanging with just that...

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18 Sep 2015 10:17 #210901 by charlest
Definitely stick to 3 with Xia Barnes. 4 is too slow IMO.

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18 Sep 2015 11:15 - 18 Sep 2015 12:02 #210905 by Egg Shen
Undercity has a few strikes going against it. This coming from someone that is basically a gullible rube that is easily taken advantage of when we're talking dungeon crawls. I love the genre and have to talk myself out of most of em.

Undercity has a pretty drab ass looking board. The look and artwork as a whole seems sort of uneven. Not the end all be all...but it's a valid complaint.
Game looks like it comes with only four characters. Kind of a bummer.
Price point - This is competing price wise with the heavy hitters in the genre.

On the plus side though

Those feat cards you constantly get are a great idea. Plus I like that your character has lots of options from the word, "Go"
The characters that they included are not your standard, warrior, mage, rogue, healer. They sort of are, but with a twist.
Game seems pretty easy and intuitive to play. Scenarios seems interesting to play through.

I'm really on the fence for this one. I just re-acquired DungeonQuest...still have a ton of Imperial Assault to play through and buying Undercity seems like a pretty over indulgent thing to do at the moment. I wish it were more of a slam dunk for me...I really do. But I think I can pass on it for now.
Last edit: 18 Sep 2015 12:02 by Egg Shen. Reason: Spelling
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18 Sep 2015 11:41 #210907 by Michael Barnes
Here's the thing about a title like Undercity...this is probably article fodder, really...but it's salient to the discussion here.

When I look at something like Undercity, I may comment on the flooded dungeoncrawl market, grouse about how there are too many new games, and so forth but ultimately if what I am looking at is something that I have a high opinion of and think is a superlative example of the genre...then it's my duty to emphasize that aspect of it. The high quality of the design, the product, the uniqueness of the setting or whatever. Because ultimately, I'm analyzing and commenting on that game- not on market trend or saturation. And it isn't up to me as a critic to determine for you, Joe Gameplayer or Joe Gamebuyer, if this game is "one too many" for you. But yeah, damn straight I'll mention that it's a saturated genre in the review. Because that's just the truth of it right now.

In other words, I am not going to express a negative opinion about a high quality game because there are too many others in its genre or class. That would be like saying "welp, there's already enough science fiction movies, there can't ever be any more good ones because we have plenty, thanks".

It does help that I really like low complexity dungeoncrawls, regardless of how many there are.

Per Egg's comments...the board is actually a really good idea. It's a plan grid and you just lay the wall tiles on it. No puzzle-work involved. It's an area-based game, so it allows for big zones with many figures in them. They really should have dressed up the textures a bit, I do agree that it looks bland. But the rest of the artwork and graphic design is top notch- the figures are REALLY good, I think some of them are actually just Warmachine/IK sculpts put in plastic. I know I've painted that alchemist dude before.

It is only four (technically five) characters, but they are well done, and they extensive upgrade paths. This doesn't really bother me. The storyline is very specific to these characters, you can tell that they wanted it to be their story.

Price is high, definitely agree there, but it's still lower than a Kickstarter with a similar number of figures (44).

I like the Iron Kingdoms stuff...of course, I used to play Warmachine so that helps there. I liked that it had horses and mechs, it kind of has a WWI like feel because of that.
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18 Sep 2015 11:47 #210908 by Michael Barnes
Oh, Charlie's comment about the AI. It is pretty much the system from Galaxy Defenders. The villains have three options and you do the first one that they are eligible to take. They are basically attack, shoot, charge or approach- at least from what I've seen so far. There is some nuance to it, like a crossbowman in range can hold and shoot, meaning they get to aim. But they won't shoot into a fray, they'll approach it to get a better angle. Some special villain abilities and scenario rules mix some of this up.

For example, in the second scenario, the story is that you're trying to apprehend these four suspects that are expected to travel through this common thoroughfare. They activate and behave completely differently because they are trying to avoid you. During that scenario when I played it, a rampaging Warjack showed up and it sort of intermittently worked. Which was really neat, because this broke-down mech was in the middle of this brawl and when it activated, it pretty much always flattened one of my guys.

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18 Sep 2015 11:47 #210909 by Mr. White
You are correct in how you should review a game. My response was only directly pointed at the comment as to maybe why we, the peanut gallery, haven't been talking it up in the forums. It could be great, but are there enough of us with funds/interest left over to buy it? Enough of us to carry on a forum discussion?

Ravenloft dropped just prior to this glut, so interest was sky high. Even if we didn't have the game yet, we wanted to talk about it. At this point, I'm not sure how many radar's this was even on...

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18 Sep 2015 11:50 #210910 by Michael Barnes
That's getting at a much larger cultural shift that's happened in the hobby over the last 10 years, Jeff. It used to be that there was a sense that everyone was kind of on the same page- a game would come out, and of course you had played it or knew someone that had it and were going to play it next weekend. And then there'd be discussion about it here or elsewhere. Now, it's harder to have those conversations because of how dispersed interest is and the avalanche of games that are out there.

Like, I'd really like to have a conversation with F:ATties about Mistfall...but I might be the only one out of our membership that even owns it.
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