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Top Ten FFG Games - PART ONE
Say, didn't FF do plain old Space Hulk? For those who played, was it not worthy?
Mr. White wrote: Seriously though folks, these are all the same arguments that came out last time. If you really buy Peterson's line that X-Wing to WoW is the same as WoW to Wreckage then there's nothing I can say that will sway you. Previous attempts years past, pointing out how it was designed to be similar to WoW until FFG lawyers stepped in and wanted the WoW crew unmentioned (I think this is when the Nexus/Ares thing was going down, so I don't know what legal particulars where happening due to that and the distribution deal with FFG) seems to have done nothing. Either way, to make the leap from Wreckage to X-Wing without giving any sort of acknowledgement or mention to what the WoW crew did (from gameplay, to packaging, to model design, etc) is completely blind at best and dishonest at worst. It's like if Screeching Weasel were like "What? The Ramones? No idea about that. We're just playing 50s tunes at a faster clip..." But whatever enables you to feel good about your hordes of Made in China plastic...carry on.
Nice try, I don't even like X-Wing. While WoW has popularized the system, really, X-Wing is much-much closer to Wreckage when you think about it, in that they cards & templates. And also of course the damage deck. It could be reasoned that when they say it's similar to WoW, it's because that's the way people understand easily. No one knows about Wreckage. But that doesn't mean that it didn't exist. The same when WoW take some aspects from Wreckage, nothing mentioned.
And I don't see Ares game giving Doom or Descent any credits either when they're doing Galaxy Defenders...
Anyway, thanks for the interesting article. I've drifted away from FFG, in large part because of the things that dominate this list. I've zero interest in anything Warhammer/40K, X-Wing seems like a money pit (and I wish they would've acknowledged Wings of War; just a personal quirk I guess), and I'm surprised by the absence of A Game of Thrones (board game) and maybe Arkham.
Looking forward to the second list.
Sevej wrote: And I don't see Ares game giving Doom or Descent any credits either when they're doing Galaxy Defenders...
I haven't played Galaxy Defenders so I don't know what it cribs, but here's the difference. I'd wager if you asked Ares, they may say, 'Yeah, we really enjoyed [Game Here] and considered our favorite bits during the design process of Galaxy Defenders" or some such. Interviews with designers do this all the time. They may not list Doom in the game credits, and they don't need to, but if Doom was an inspiration I'd bet my bottom dollar they'd say so if asked.
X-Wing was handled totally differently. There was no "We really like where Andrea took dogfighting games and during our time publishing Wings of War we learned a lot about how to package a prepainted minis game of this nature. Having the honor of being the distributor of WoW for the past several years put is in a great position to leverage that experience when the Star Wars license fell into our lap."
Instead it was handled like so, "deny, deny, wreckage, deny, deny, other dogfighing games, deny, deny, list of differences", which is a bit poor form, IMO, but not a legal issue.
el_skootro wrote: With all due respect, Mr. Shen:
I read Chaos in the Old World as #3 and then TI3 as #2 and I got super excited for #1! And then .... hmmmm.
I'm starting to doubt your decision making skills.
Don't leave me hanging Skooter...what should the number one game have been!
Also I wanted to discuss a few more games that didn't make the list a bit more.
Rune Age - This game keeps getting better overtime. It's a very focused deckbuilder and I really like what it does. The factions all play differently and each scenario feels drastically different. Though I'm convinced I will never be able to beat that Cataclysm scenario solo. So fucking hard. I'm also sort of glad that this game didn't get an endless parade of expansion material. With the base game and the one small box expansion it feels complete. There is plenty of game there and won't get stale for a while. While FFG is known for their big box stuff, many of their small square box games are terrific!
Runebound 2nd Edition - I hold this game in particularly high regard, but I couldn't in good faith put it on this list. It's a fucking mess of a game. When I play it use a combination of expansion rule variants, Mr. Skeletor's rules and others. It's an absolute blast when I playing it though. I really enjoy those character decks which let you specialize your hero. They add a bunch of fun and fuckery to the game. It's an excellent game for fantasy adventure junkies, and I'll never get rid of my copy. However, at this point Runebound 3rd Edition base game is WAY better than the base game of 2nd Edition. It's really good. It's not fair to properly compare them because 2nd Edition has so much expansion content that elevates it. However, if FFG properly supports the 3rd Edition it is going to be one of the best games in the genre. No bullshit Jack.
As for stuff like Arkham, Warrior Knights, and others...those MIGHT show up on the next list. Who knows? My approach was that if it was an outside property that FFG acquired and reworked/remade it didn't go on this first list. If it was one of their own IPs that got a new edition or morphed into something different it was fair game for this list.
Coming out with a targeted list with parameters is a great conversation starter for us to discuss the finer points of an unarguably influential library of games.
Any other big titles you should comment on (why they made it/didnt for you)?
Egg Shen wrote: Rune Age - This game keeps getting better overtime.
Good point. Forgot about this one because it's been so long since I played it but I really enjoy it, as well. It was the first really player-interactive deckbuilder I found (after the group solitaire experiences of Dominion, Race for the Galaxy, et al.) The fact that it takes place in the same world as so many of my other favorites (Battlelore, 2nd Ed.(!)) is just the crowner.
Egg Shen wrote: Runebound 2nd Edition However, if FFG properly supports the 3rd Edition it is going to be one of the best games in the genre. No bullshit Jack.
Hm. I was OK with Descent 2nd Ed. because you could see the obvious flaws in 1st Ed.: Games could take a long time with little real progress. It was easy to spend an hour in just the starting area or even lose in the first room if the Overlord drew the right cards or the heroes made one mistake. So, even though I had everything for 1st Ed., 2nd Ed, was enough of a different game that I feel fine owning both. But I have everything for Runebound, as well, and despite being able to see the flaws in it just like Descent (We play with the Marketplace rules from BGG and Trenloe will never see the light of day, etc.), I still have SO much stuff for it and, since it doesn't turn into the set piece slugfests that Descent 1st Ed. would often become, I still feel like I don't really need 3rd Ed. The big expansions and some of the small ones create so much variety in the play experience that it's like I have my Runebound experience fulfilled. Descent 2nd Ed. was a very different experience from 1st. Can the new Runebound be that much different from the old? I guess it's possible. But I remain to be convinced.
waddball wrote: Anyway, thanks for the interesting article. I've drifted away from FFG, in large part because of the things that dominate this list. I've zero interest in anything Warhammer/40K, X-Wing seems like a money pit (and I wish they would've acknowledged Wings of War; just a personal quirk I guess), and I'm surprised by the absence of A Game of Thrones (board game) and maybe Arkham.
I'm with you there. I'm not interested in the licenses that FFG has been milking hard lately, though I am open to picking up a game or two with strong reviews, like maybe Rebellion. Maybe Arkham Horror isn't on this list because it is a new edition of the old game published by Chaosium in the late '80s, or maybe because people who have tried both Eldritch and Arkham tend to have a strong preference for one over the other. As for A Game of Thrones, I think it's worth a separate thread to talk about why nobody plays it anymore even though the show is a big deal now.
I picked up Rebellion about a week ago and have gotten in a couple full plays (and several half-plays; it's long). Bit more gamer's game (as opposed to thematic but fundamentally light game, such as Queen's Gamit) than my daughters were inclined to like, so it's a limited audience for me. But seems really good at what it is.
Shellhead wrote: I am open to picking up a game or two with strong reviews, like maybe Rebellion. Maybe Arkham Horror isn't on this list because it is a new edition of the old game published by Chaosium in the late '80s, or maybe because people who have tried both Eldritch and Arkham tend to have a strong preference for one over the other. As for A Game of Thrones, I think it's worth a separate thread to talk about why nobody plays it anymore even though the show is a big deal now.
Yes, agreed about Game of Thrones, weird that it's been so forgotten. But it is another example of what I referred to earlier, where every iteration isn't perfectly developed, so the design lurches around, fixing one thing while breaking another.