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

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18 Sep 2015 11:54 #210911 by SuperflyPete
The problem is that there's just too many fucking games now. (Thanks, Kickstarter!) It's virtually impossible for even the tastemakers to keep up with everything, so you end up basically only hearing about what your go-to guys and friends are talking about.

I've never even heard of Mistfall until you brought it up.

Too much chaff, not enough wheat.
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18 Sep 2015 12:02 - 18 Sep 2015 12:05 #210913 by Mr. White
I hadn't heard of Mistfall until now either.

At one point I was thinking of doing up an article focusing on 2005. It felt like a new era of board gaming particularly with FFG starting their reprints (FoD, WK, Britannia) and there were still decent Euros coming out. The cool thing about that year, in addition to the new games and promise of games to come, was that the overall release schedule was still at the point where, yeah, you and your game group could collectively be aware of and talk up/play the games as they were released.

Last year I was posting 'tiring of board gaming' threads and really it was because the hobby has now moved too fast for me. I could no longer keep up even if I wanted too. So, going towards the alternative, I went back to playing fewer titles and only log onto BGG for trades and sales. I don't have the time to research every title that appears on the hotness list (a list that turns over weekly), every title mentioned in the news section, or coming up through KS, etc.

I'm not solely blaming KS. There are also a ton of publishers doing the regular thing, but all together ... I had to tap out.

Naturally, the 'too many games' situation is likely also why the comment count on these review articles have gone down drastically over the years.

It's unfortunate, and I don't know where we go from here. I always feel like the 'old man' on this site, but is this good? Maybe, maybe not, I dunno, but I'll have to watch from the sidelines.
Last edit: 18 Sep 2015 12:05 by Mr. White.
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18 Sep 2015 12:30 #210917 by charlest

Michael Barnes wrote: 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.


Wait - The AI is card driven? When researching it awhile back I thought they always activated in between heroes? Never mind, that takes care of my AI complaint.

Mistfall looked cool but man, it has a ton of errata and component issues. Just the weight of the BGG threads discussing all of the mis-marked stuff and rules misunderstandings kept me away.

mikecl who posts here is a huge fan though.
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18 Sep 2015 13:18 #210928 by Sagrilarus

Mr. White wrote:
Naturally, the 'too many games' situation is likely also why the comment count on these review articles have gone down drastically over the years.

It's unfortunate, and I don't know where we go from here. I always feel like the 'old man' on this site, but is this good? Maybe, maybe not, I dunno, but I'll have to watch from the sidelines.


I'm feeling as old as you, as I've largely chosen to ignore anything new. I can't keep up, so I'm waiting for things to settle out. But the message is so fractured now that really good games, Kickstarter or otherwise don't get the attention they deserve even after a year or more. On game night you get one shot with your new title, and if it doesn't really knock everyone's socks off it isn't coming out again. That $40 price tag is likely good for one session only. And I'd wager my group is a little more conservative than most.

It's odd that the mature half of the industry is in the middle of a huge merger-fest while Kickstarter is coming in from the bottom essentially with onesies.
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18 Sep 2015 15:00 #210943 by Scott_F
My thoughts on Xia. As a reference I've played the base game of Firefly once and hated it for 1)lack of interaction 2)long play time 3)abusing an IP that is fucking awesome. Also played one game of Merchants and Marauders and enjoyed it even though the explanation was pretty bad and it seemed like a dice fest. Anyways.

Played Xia 3 times when there was snow on the ground, about 6 months ago, all within the span of a month. First game I learned it the second and third game I taught it. Each game we had 4 players. I enjoyed the universe building, tile exploring, and the customized ships alot. That got me hooked on the idea that I needed to buy this game myself even though a friend owns it. The ship bonuses are such a great idea I don't know why something like M&M didn't add that in the expansion. The title bonuses that pop up once a set number of points is reached adds alot to the game in terms of incentives and looking for opportunities. The game and the board looks damn good and the game itself tells a decent story. Those are my positives.

For negatives lets start with how the game is structured. Similar to something like Alien Frontiers, you can't plan your moves ahead of time. You wait and wait and wait for you turn, cursing the slow bastards in front of you for not planning, then its your turn and you...roll a dice to move. So you review your single mission card and re-assess the state of the board. Then you move. Then you roll another dice, and do the process all over again. You can generally plan your moves but not the specifics. And in a game where there are actual spaces to move and firing ranges, you want to plan the specifics. All three games took 3-4 hours and we never got above tier 2 ships and something like 15 VPs. After the first two hours we just left the board after our turn and watched other games until it was close to our turn again. Fucking brutal.

Speaking of scoring. Roll a 20 on a d20 you get a point! Are you fucking kidding me? I refused to play with this rule after I learned of it, and it does happen surprisingly often. Absolute pure luck giving VPs. Try and mine some resources in an asteroid belt, roll a d20. Gather nebulae material, roll a d20. I hated the dice reliant results. Which is not to say I disliked the combat aspect though, as that is based on d4/6/8/etc and is actually kinda cool.

And thats all I have. Looking back I don't have many negatives. But I don't want to play it again. There is very little strategy that goes into winning the game. Instead it focuses more on building a world and forcing the players to come up with their own narratives, especially as the mission cards contain absolutely none. Some people like this. I don't.

Xia demands a big time commitment, involves significant downtime, and the final score might as well involve the 3-4 players chucking twenty dice and calling the player with the highest total the winner. Its not a game meant for me but I know plenty of people willing to play this every 2-3 weeks and have been for the last 6-9 months. If you do play it for fucks sake play it with 3. Four is painful and five I don't even want to imagine.
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18 Sep 2015 15:03 #210944 by charlest
The roll a 20 get a Fame point seems to be there to help slightly prop up the mining, which is a somewhat inferior option to Missions/Trading.

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18 Sep 2015 15:12 #210947 by DukeofChutney
On the subject of the exponential growth of releases, i think we are sort of at the stage where its almost not with paying attention to the first print run if its by a lesser known designer or company and waiting to see if it makes a second. Most of the games that garner a real following will generate subsequent print runs. If you cut down the volume that way its perhaps easier to see what is worth looking at.
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18 Sep 2015 22:10 #210960 by Pat II
Too many games is on spot. It usually takes me a few go's to get the hang of strategic depth necessary to enjoy a deep game. By the time I get to that point with my more limited game time, my group is moving on to something new.
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19 Sep 2015 00:06 #210962 by scrumpyjack

Michael Barnes wrote: 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.


I've been reading through the archives since June 2009 of the What (board games) have you been Playing? and it was fascinating to see the consistent amount of posts about certain big games, especially Battlestar, Arkham Horror, Cosmic Encounter and Last Night on Earth.

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19 Sep 2015 01:01 #210963 by wadenels
Jeff's comments are on point. I've looked at Undercity and it looks cool, but I enjoy Mice & Mystics and I'm all in on that. When a new dungeon crawl style game drops about every 20 days I can't be bothered to care when I've already found a system I enjoy with enough material to keep me playing.

I would love to experience the next great breakthrough in dungeon crawl games, but there are so many releases at this point that the next great breakthrough could come and go without ever hitting my radar. I'd be sad to find out I missed out after the fact, but I'd still be enjoying Mice & Mystics or whatever else I'm playing.

Haven't been in the hobby as long as a lot of you, but within the last couple years I've begun to become leery of the quality and proofreading of first print runs. I don't know if this really a new development or just me being more cranky, but it definitely tempers my excitement with new releases.

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19 Sep 2015 01:14 - 19 Sep 2015 01:16 #210965 by Wetworks
The Undercity was a quick 3 strikes your out for my personal taste when I researched it.

Strike 1: $70 price tag
Srike 2: Boring art on tiles
Strike 3: Requires you to play 4 characters when you solo

Point 3 is the biggest one for me, I really don't like soloing a game that requires me to play more than 1-2 characters. I might pick it up if it ever goes on clearance, aside from that there are too many dungeon crawls more suited to my taste coming out soon.

Warhammer Quest coming out soon $30, playable with 2 characters
New Runebound $45, playable with 1 character I'm sure with a few tweaks

The Sword & Sorcery kickstarter from Ares & Gremlin starts on Oct 15. It's a fantasy themed Galaxy Defenders with promised improved A.I. and shorter gameplay sessions. I'm holding out hope that it'll end up being good.
Last edit: 19 Sep 2015 01:16 by Wetworks.

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20 Sep 2015 09:37 - 20 Sep 2015 09:38 #210998 by King Grunt
The Gloomhaven (yet another dungeon crawler) Kickstarter campaign is underway & it looks to have some pretty unique elements to it. It uses a dice-less combat system and has legacy-style game changing elements to it. I've backed it because it looks different enough to warrant a go. Rhado's "review" was gushing with positivity, but he tends to like that for most of the run-through games he does (although this was a bit more than usual).

Sword & Sorcery is intriguing, but it won't be bringing anything new to the genre as far as I can tell. If you're already invested in a game system or two, I don't see much reason to back this one.
Last edit: 20 Sep 2015 09:38 by King Grunt.

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20 Sep 2015 19:17 #211021 by SuperflyPete

wadenels wrote: I would love to experience the next great breakthrough in dungeon crawl games, but there are so many releases at this point that the next great breakthrough could come and go without ever hitting my radar.


If SEAL team Flix gets made then you will hear about it. It is literally the perfect dungeon crawl, despite not being in a dungeon, per se.

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