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Barnes on Games- Empires: Age of Discovery and Tumult Royale in Review; A Study in Emerald

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04 Feb 2016 18:34 #221722 by Michael Barnes
The following user(s) said Thank You: ChristopherMD, Columbob, OldHippy

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04 Feb 2016 18:57 - 04 Feb 2016 19:03 #221723 by OldHippy
I've always been interested in Age of Discovery but never pulled the trigger on it. Now it seems particularly antiquated in terms of theme - although it still sounds interesting. Is there any hint of self awareness about post colonial thought hidden in the design somewhere? Not that you can't add that yourself by bringing it to the table but it would be cool if there was some hint that they understood how sensitive this topic can be for some people. I doubt that was ever a design goal but I've never played it so who knows.

Edit: I don't ask this because I want games to be PC, I don't want that, I just want them to be self aware. I'll gladly play colonists bashing native skulls, hell I'll gladly play Nazis and evil Gods... that's not the point. I just think that modern political discourse can actually make a game like this more interesting.
Last edit: 04 Feb 2016 19:03 by OldHippy.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gary Sax

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04 Feb 2016 19:09 #221724 by Msample
The floating red tab on the side of the screen while reading the review on the MM page....fucking annoying.

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04 Feb 2016 19:23 #221730 by Michael Barnes

JonJacob wrote: I've always been interested in Age of Discovery but never pulled the trigger on it. Now it seems particularly antiquated in terms of theme - although it still sounds interesting. Is there any hint of self awareness about post colonial thought hidden in the design somewhere? Not that you can't add that yourself by bringing it to the table but it would be cool if there was some hint that they understood how sensitive this topic can be for some people. I doubt that was ever a design goal but I've never played it so who knows.

Edit: I don't ask this because I want games to be PC, I don't want that, I just want them to be self aware. I'll gladly play colonists bashing native skulls, hell I'll gladly play Nazis and evil Gods... that's not the point. I just think that modern political discourse can actually make a game like this more interesting.


Ha ha!. Good heavens no, this is the heroic, European Age of Discovery where you are bringing civilization to the savages...who are represented as discovery tiles and cards. Narratively, if you are bringing over Colonists and Missionaries, you are simply stealing their land and resources and showing them the light of good Christian living. But if you bring soldiers with you, you get a bonus for "plunder". So there's that.

I thought about bringing this up in the review because it is a subject I am sensitive to IRL, but in the context of the game I sort of felt like it was irrelevant. The game is about what it says it is, and it's not really in its scope to comment on or assign moral judgment to it. It's about on the level of the slaves in Puerto Rico, really. It isn't very PC, but it's also kind of an "it is what it is" thing.

But I do agree with you, that a more enlightened viewpoint COULD lead to some interesting themes around colonialism/imperialism...I believe there was a game a few years ago that tried this, but it was one that pretty much no one played. I think it was called Colony.

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04 Feb 2016 21:49 - 04 Feb 2016 21:50 #221746 by MacDirk Diggler
Usually I find myself reading your reviews where you've scooped the pack and written about something prior to or just after it's release. Plenty of those have moved me to go and get the game. This time you have reviewed a game I know well. Too well. One of my old gaming buddies had a total boner for it and if there was ever a lull deciding what game we should play next he would start his AoE, AoE, AoE chant. When I left Norcal (northern California) I left my copy with him. So I probably have 25 plays on it easy. Before I burned out on it I liked it a lot. I feel it's a top 5 worker placement game and maybe THE most thematic one because I felt like I was colonizing (more than I ever felt I was managing a farm when playing Agricola or building a church when playing Pillars of the Earth). Anyhow,knowing the game well I feel this review really nailed it and i couldn't imagine a better review to sum up the game. My first post ever on F:AT (like 6ish) years ago? I said something about liking AoE and was summarily curb stomped for it. Times have changed around these parts what with the Eurogame Reclamation Project and whatnot.
I am curious to know how Age of Discovery differs from Empires. You mentioned the rules being tightened, but I thought the original rules were fine... just a few pages to grok really. The builder was not part of the original game but was added in the expansion. My only critique was that the capital buildings could really swing the game especially in the 3rd age if the right one popped that rewarded your overall strategy up to that point. Knowing the importance of the capital buildings made it important to commit a worker to get first or second on the initiative track when a new age started and new buildings would flood the lineup. A second map sounds interesting.
Last edit: 04 Feb 2016 21:50 by MacDirk Diggler.

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04 Feb 2016 23:06 #221750 by bfkiller
I've played 2 games of A Study in Emerald. I still have no idea what the zombie meeples are for... They've never come up.

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05 Feb 2016 00:41 - 05 Feb 2016 01:02 #221757 by Grudunza

bfkiller wrote: I've played 2 games of A Study in Emerald. I still have no idea what the zombie meeples are for... They've never come up.


Chrome. I've seen them I think twice in about a dozen games. One of the things I like, though, is that you can end up with some pretty different types of games, where sometimes there are zeppelins or Cthulhu or zombies or vampires or Moriarty or Holmes, and sometimes all of the above, or none. And some of the different things that can come up are pretty impactful, so you can get people fighting heavily over certain cards.

From what I've read of the comparisons between 1st and 2nd edition, I wouldn't call 2nd a net gain. Some things do seem to be improvements, but I can see where some of the fun dynamics as far as agents and fighting for cities is removed, and that seems like a big loss. It's probably a case, though, where what you don't know doesn't hurt you. So if I'd never played 1st edition, I might love 2nd as it is and prefer that. I do want to try 2nd at some point and give it a chance.
Last edit: 05 Feb 2016 01:02 by Grudunza.

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05 Feb 2016 08:50 #221767 by Legomancer
I only played AOE3 or whatever it was called a couple of times, but it seemed like there were false roads in it. IE, you can try X, Y, or Z strategy, but Y is easier and will almost always win. (If I remember correctly it was the "conquest" strategy, surprising no one.) But it's been a while and no one I know was particularly wowed by the game enough to dig into it.

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05 Feb 2016 08:54 #221770 by charlest
I'm a longtime fan of AoEIII as it was the first worker placement I truly enjoyed and convinced me I didn't wholeheartedly hate the mechanic. I love soldiering up and threatening war across the continent.

Dave - I never felt that way (after about 10ish plays years ago). Conquest was good but you could net great points from buildings and exploring could be huge although was very risky.

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05 Feb 2016 16:37 #221829 by Shellhead
I played AoEIII exactly once. I found it somewhat more enjoyable than other euro worker placement games, but still dry and mathy enough to fall short of actual fun.

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