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Barnes on Games- Scythe Roundtable, Mansions of Madness in Review

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30 Aug 2016 09:24 - 30 Aug 2016 09:25 #233052 by charlest

SuperflyTNT wrote: I'm still trying to figure out how Scythe is "hybrid", not "FEPSB".


It feels like a hybrid for me, mostly because combat has occurred often enough in my games that conflict is a present part of Scythe's identity in my perception. It can be dramatic too (I've seen players spend way too many resources and get burned, as well as surprising victories when fighting).

I've seen people swoop in and fight unexpectedly. I've seen spaces with 5+ resources get taken and the victor laugh while the loser cursed him.

It feels like a (heavily Euro swinging) hybrid to me. It doesn't feel like a Feld game at all in my opinion.
Last edit: 30 Aug 2016 09:25 by charlest.

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30 Aug 2016 11:36 - 30 Aug 2016 11:38 #233061 by LazarusTNT
I remain unconvinced; fighting in Euros exists in abstract ways and per the "theme" it's not combat. It's bidding.

Its spending one resource (power) to bid on a space.

It's not unlike El Grande where you're bidding (power card) to gain a action choice position, in my estimation. In El Grande, many power cards allow you to move opponents' workers to another space, or *gasp* off of the board.

El Grande has never been called a hybrid or Ameritrash game.

Just sayin'
Last edit: 30 Aug 2016 11:38 by LazarusTNT.

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30 Aug 2016 11:52 #233062 by charlest

SuperflyTNT wrote: I remain unconvinced; fighting in Euros exists in abstract ways and per the "theme" it's not combat. It's bidding.

Its spending one resource (power) to bid on a space.


Are you saying you can't have combat without dice? You bid Power, yes, but you also play a card.

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30 Aug 2016 11:55 #233063 by Michael Barnes
Nothing is more abstract than rolling dice to simulate conflict or a non-numerical outcome.

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30 Aug 2016 12:37 #233064 by Chapel
Funny, what you state about Scythe, I used to say a similar thing about Tempus in 2006.

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30 Aug 2016 12:42 #233065 by Space Ghost

Michael Barnes wrote: Nothing is more abstract than rolling dice to simulate conflict or a non-numerical outcome.


That's actually an interesting statement because it could imply that combat via die rolling is abstract but with fairly accurate outcomes. If you consider historical wargames where the circumstances and outcomes of numerous battles are already known, it would be possible to construct tables that would accurately reflect the probability of winning/losing a battle (I envision something more complex than seen in most wargames).

Die rolls via combat seem to be concerned with strategic level combat; whereas, card play seems to be more tactical level (although, I think of this in terms of "back and forth" card play).

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30 Aug 2016 12:45 #233066 by LazarusTNT

charlest wrote:

SuperflyTNT wrote: I remain unconvinced; fighting in Euros exists in abstract ways and per the "theme" it's not combat. It's bidding.

Its spending one resource (power) to bid on a space.


Are you saying you can't have combat without dice? You bid Power, yes, but you also play a card.


Obviously, no. What I'm saying is that it's not combat - you're bidding on a space. You're using persistent resources (power) and a temporary resource (card) in order to bid on ownership of the space. There are no casualties, really. You're just sending them home.

We can go around and around on this, but it's very hard to call what Scythe does "combat" the more I think about it.

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30 Aug 2016 13:04 - 30 Aug 2016 13:06 #233067 by charlest
I don't see the outcome of where the losing pieces going as that relevant to defining whether what happened was combat or not. For instance, a few games feature respawning and Kemet has them go back to your pool to be deployed, not lost permanently.

In Descent, if the overlord attacks a hero and knocks them down, did combat not occur? What about Gears of War the board game? Rum and Bones has units respawning too. Probably countless other examples we could come up with.

But I don't get the distinction on bidding, really and why that's not combat. A resolution system is a resolution system. You can certainly prefer one more than the other but combat to me is two different units clashing over a space and conflict occurring. The military background of the game makes it combat as opposed to just conflict.
Last edit: 30 Aug 2016 13:06 by charlest.

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30 Aug 2016 16:47 #233069 by LazarusTNT
So, if I go to an auction, and I bid X on a '59 Gibson Les Paul, and two other guys bid on it as well, then it could be said that there was combat? I'm saying that you could say "they battled it out over the guitar" or "they fought over the guitar" as an analogy or colloquialism, but at the end of the day, no combat occurred. It was an auction. Same thing applies here.

In Dune, the combat is the same. You're bidding a resource, soldiers. One might be able to say that it mirrors Dune (play cards and a secret number of soldiers up to your total soldiers) but in the case of Scythe, it's simply trading commodities. The winner is the one who has the casualties (WTF?) if "Power" is an abstraction of troops, and the spoils don't exist after you've won two battles (the spoils are stars). So, really, you're bidding on a star and a space.

It just doesn't feel like combat. I get that it's very Dune-like, but fuck me, if someone compares it to Dune in my presence they're going to get an earful. It's a great mechanic that was absolutely dumbed down and pussified to cater to the Boiled Tofu crowd that need to get trophies when they finish dead last.
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30 Aug 2016 17:52 #233071 by Shellhead

Michael Barnes wrote: Nothing is more abstract than rolling dice to simulate conflict or a non-numerical outcome.


Your statement is logical. But I know that the lack of dice-rolling is the specific reason why I find Dungeon Twister somewhat unsatisfactory. Maybe the act of rolling dice makes the combat feel more exciting and therefore a bit more thematic because of the uncertainty. By comparison, playing a card from a very limited set of cards for a set value feels less dramatic and therefore less like combat.

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31 Aug 2016 00:33 #233087 by kookoobah

charlest wrote: Has anyone else here played Cry Havoc and Scythe? I'd love to get into a discussion comparing those two. I think both are very good games that adopt different approaches while both still being hybrids with area control. I think Scythe is the better game but it's not by a huge margin.


I like Cry Havoc a little better. It's like Nexus Ops on steroids, with a little deckbuilding. Whereas Scythe is Agricola, with combat twice per game.

Mansions 2.0 felt dry. I was having fun for the first 15-20 minutes, but it quickly became repetitive, I'm glad I still have my 1.0 stuff

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31 Aug 2016 03:12 - 31 Aug 2016 03:14 #233091 by Sevej
I absolutely detest bidding combat. Pete's right, it doesn't feel like combat. Part of it is because it's usually detached from the actual troop movement. You move figures, then you choose what value to add. The process of choosing what value to add is usually unrelated to the amount of troops, just random arbitrary number. I'd rather have Nexus Ops style, where card effects at least interesting (the time reverse thingy rocks), but no... just numbers. Even when you add text to these numbers (such as in -Blood Rage), it still feels sterile. Put cards face down, reveal... really? That's not exciting.

The act of choosing random number is usually depends on your 'strategy'. That is, you want to expend now or not? But really, this kind of choice is already made when you devote an x number of unit into an area.

It's almost like fucking without a dick. You play orgasm card or impotent card...
Last edit: 31 Aug 2016 03:14 by Sevej.
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01 Sep 2016 20:41 #233199 by LazarusTNT
Not to kick a dead horse, but for those uninitiated, allow me to demonstrate an example of the fantastic narrative and exploration that the amazing Scythe delivers by the motherfucking truckload:


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01 Sep 2016 21:36 #233203 by Michael Barnes
That's a great example, Pete, of how much more sophisticated the narrative is in this game than many others that rely on descriptive text.

You get an evocative image and what amounts to three possible interpretations of it, which are essentially how your character responds. You might have a choice to be "good", but get tempted by the reward for being "bad".

These little stories add a lot to the game - I think most groups will have fun cracking jokes about what happens along the way.

I love that the "adventure" aspect of the game is more up to the imagination than flavor text...and I think it's pretty brilliant that the mechanic is, essentially interpretation of an image.

Thanks for pointing it out!
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01 Sep 2016 22:03 #233204 by Sevej
That should be in more games. I really like the idea for a flip encounter card game.

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