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

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Barnes on Games- Psycho Raiders in Review, Samurai, Defenders of the Realm Revisited, Champions of Midgard

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29 Oct 2015 16:49 #213705 by Michael Barnes
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29 Oct 2015 18:27 #213706 by Gary Sax
Defenders does look comically bad, I opened it a few months ago and thought the same thing. It's also, for me, an objectively worse design than Pandemic but something I'd still rather play. Despite its messiness.

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29 Oct 2015 19:32 #213713 by Michael Barnes
I just don't understand how it was OK'd for print. It literally looks like they took Richard's MS Word prototype files and sent them to a printer. After replacing the Larry Elmore artwork he used from Google Image search with original Larry Elmore illustrations. I've seen many of Richard's prototypes over the years, and the game as published looks EXACTLY like them. Maybe Eagle/Gryphon thought it was good enough, maybe they decided to just cheap out...on a $90 retail game.

I played it again last night and had a grand time...but the whole time I'm looking at these figures, the fonts, the map...and just shaking my head at it. It is hilariously inept- and it's not even a Kickstarter game!

It really does feel more like a DoaM than Pandemic does.
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29 Oct 2015 20:24 #213719 by stoic
For me Defenders of the Realm, warts and all, replaced Pandemic.

I truly love the nostalgic art since it's what I remember when I played D&D in the 80's--it's truly nostalgia for me. What wouldn't I like done by Larry Elmore?


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29 Oct 2015 21:37 #213726 by Sevej
The art is fine. The graphic design is a disaster. A good designer could have done wonder with Larry Elmore's art, kitsch and all.

EGG is one of the few publishers in my blacklist. They have several really good games, but is really stingy when it comes to graphic design and art.
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30 Oct 2015 10:21 #213755 by SuperflyPete
I totally agree with your sentiment; the graphic design is terrible.

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30 Oct 2015 10:59 #213758 by OldHippy
When I sold Pandemic, which I enjoyed ok solo but sucked for my group, the plan was to pick up Defenders of the Realm - but every time I saw it I just couldn't justify the price. The package looked so amateur I never pulled the trigger on it. I still wouldn't mind a copy of it but I can live without it and the design is certainly a part of that.

I was shocked at how much I love Samurai. Nice review, if I didn't already own it that write up would certainly pique my curiosity. First time I played it I could tell right away this was a keeper. Very solid game, a little heady and abstract but wonderfully tense and thematic enough. I find that I've played so many games now that it's reasonably easy for me to get theme out of something (setting too really, but art helps more in that case). I could probably play a pure abstract and still feel enough theme there to keep my imagination going. Once those synapses start firing in that way you're able to feel theme from the simplest of rule sets, because you're used to looking for it and the short hand implies the language we're used to. In any case I absolutely adore it.

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30 Oct 2015 13:37 #213773 by Hex Sinister
JJ, maybe you should pick up Defenders of the Last Stand when it comes out and review it for us =)

I've reversed my opinion on the production values of DotR. It's so over the top bad that I get off on it now. I'll just snicker when I look at it. That's the best case scenario I guess... Ok, the "jazz hands" dragons really make me grumble but I never use them.

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30 Oct 2015 13:55 #213775 by dfour
Is it just me or is there actually no links attached to your review links above?

I just bought Chaos in the old World for $30 so I'm hoping that crushes my desire to jump into the Cthulhu Wars kickstarter.

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30 Oct 2015 14:21 #213778 by hotseatgames

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30 Oct 2015 18:26 - 30 Oct 2015 18:27 #213803 by drewcula
I really hope you can publish a Cthulhu Wars review before their KS wraps on 11/18. I've made quite a few purchases based on your reviews already, and having your two cents on CW should help sober any of my delusions.

Speaking of purchases, I bought 'Psycho Raiders' after last week's glowing thread. We played two games on Wednesday evening. I believe the hype may have left me disappointed. This game could be great, but instead I feel it's just good.

- The soundtrack/radio station is a fab idea. But in practice, it's web design it pretty weak and the music is more miss than hit. I felt the same about LNoE's sound. "Meh."

- A magazine game is an awesome, old school, retro approach. I have much love for the gonzo fluff. However, the cards are horribly sized for contemporary gamers. The card stock is fine, as is the finish. It's the size that frustrates. The game may only be $24, but you know what? I wanna sleeve my cards. Because BEER. I can't sleeve the cards because they are some unholy size maximized to the 8.5 x 11" sheet. You say, "Just crop them Drew!" Well, I can't do that because the stats are usually at the margin or bleed line. Christ. It would have taken five minutes for the designer to compress or reformat the images to allow a small margin.

- The rulebook is arranged in an index format. Not my favorite, but I can work with it. The worst however;

- The map. It sucks. Like it or not, 'Psycho Raiders' is a tactical game. Tactical games need distinct spaces. Don't pass off a hex map with a tree line that covers 1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, and 3/4 of a hex. WTF is it? It's kind of important to know when you're running for your life. The same with the road. Is that space On Road, or Off Road? You say, "Drew! Just take a marker and make the distinctions yourself!" The hell with that. Design an illustration that follows gameplay. And while I'm at it: IT'S TOO GOD DAMN DARK! I appreciate the need for atmosphere, but when you can't tell if you're in a shadow, or a tree, or whatever - the form does not follow function, and it's a fuck up. The designers can play cute and make remarks about it in the rules, but its unacceptable. Pay for a proof next time fellas. I'm playing the game with four other professional artists and we're like, "how did this thing get past copy?"

Negatives aside, we loved the illustrations and the game generated a lot of laughs. Three days later, and we're still screwing with each other during work. "RAAAAANDY! I can see you hiding in the woods!" It's a lot of fun, but maddening that simple steps could have made it outstanding. Nice write up MB.
Last edit: 30 Oct 2015 18:27 by drewcula.

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30 Oct 2015 22:35 #213815 by UniversalHead
I'd like to pick this up, but at about US$50 including shipping to New Zealand ... well, it's just too pricey, sadly. Damn shipping costs!

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