Vast: a Creativity Quest Review
Dungeon crawling is the most overworked, over-produced genre in all board gaming. Even more so than impressive Renaissance nobles. It was a surprise, then, to find one mentioned over and over when I cast about for the most innovative games around. What could Vast: The Crystal Caverns possibly do to revitalise the most moribund group of games at all? The answer came as quite a shock, because it's not only new for dungeon games but for board games in general.
hotseatgames wrote: Nice review! Does the game feel at all euro? When you win or lose, does it feel like it was because of something over which you had control?
Also, how long do you think it would take experienced people to play?
Glad you enjoyed it: can't have done the best job, though, if there's questions to be asked.
It's a good mix of Euro and thematic sensibilities. Winning is often a matter of manipulating both the social and strategic aspects to "steal" a victory out of other players trying to peg you back.
Play time is enormously variable, depending on how many players and which roles you're using. Finger in the wind estimate is 30 minutes per player.
I think there's elements of this game that are downright innovative, but after a few plays I came down somewhat harsh on it. It's difficult to teach every single damn time, people don't understand their roles and even when they have a solid grasp, if they switch roles next game they basically need to re-learn it. It's such a simple game that wants to move along quickly but it has accessibility problems oozing out every crevice in that cave.
Legomancer wrote: The different rules not only make it hard to teach, they make it hard to play.
charlest wrote: It's such a simple game that wants to move along quickly but it has accessibility problems oozing out every crevice in that cave.
Yeah, I had read all this before I went in, and I did find it very hard to learn myself. I had to watch videos of other people playing to understand it. Once I got the concept, though, I found it far less problematic than I expected. I taught it and played it with two groups, both of which had the swing of the entire game before the end of a single session and both of which wanted to play again.
It may be that I just got lucky. The reference sheets were key because they let you explain only a brief overview of each player's role and then they can read the details for themselves. And the downtime actually helps in this regard because it gives everyone space to read their sheets and to watch and understand what each player in turn is doing.
Gary Sax wrote: Another casualty of the fact that people play their games once or twice with the same people. Then if it doesn't immediately stick, on to play something else.
I have a lot of games I love and enjoy playing, and if something isn't fun right out the gate I have no problem tossing it aside. Maybe I'll miss out on the greatest game of this generation but that's okay.
This game had great potential, but they just blew it in the end.
-A dungeon crawl where each player has a unique motivation-- Great!
-And each player has their own victory condition-- Great!
-And each player's actions affects other players differently-- Great!
-And each player has a completely different set of rules-- wait, what?
-And none of the rules cross over from one character to the next-- huh?
-And some characters' rules will be really simple and quick, while others will be very complex and time-consuming-- just stop.