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The Pleasures and Tortures of - Heroes of Land, Air & Sea

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30 May 2019 13:57 #297804 by ubarose
I absolutely cannot deny that the toy factor is a...

Heroes of Land, Air and Sea is a whimsical 4X-lite game which "captures that real time strategy feel." Which means it sort of feels like Warcraft, but with the aesthetics of a Victorian amusement park, and leans a bit more tactical than strategic.

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30 May 2019 18:48 #297805 by Gary Sax
So is this sort of like a Clash of Cultures thing but with more specialized sides? Like a hyper Clash: Civilizations game?

I think I understand the RTS analog in digital space, I'm just not as clear on how it plays in board game space.

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30 May 2019 18:58 - 30 May 2019 19:00 #297807 by ubarose
Oh, the RTS quote is from the game’s marketing. It’s pretty clear that the game was WoW inspired, but they can’t say World of Warcraft.

The only thing sort of real time about is that when you chose certain actions, other players can follow and take the same action if they have a free peasant and enough resources. So there is an interweaving if turns.

I haven’t played Clash of Cultures in years, and don’t remember it well enough to comment on the comparison between the two. Although, my lingering impression is that HoLAaS feels a bit lighter.
Last edit: 30 May 2019 19:00 by ubarose.

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30 May 2019 19:38 - 30 May 2019 19:38 #297813 by Gary Sax
The RTS part is mainly from the narrative you described---upgrading your base, sending out villagers to get resources, moving up a tree of buildable speciality units. Which is identical to StarCraft, command and conquer, etc.
Last edit: 30 May 2019 19:38 by Gary Sax.

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30 May 2019 22:05 #297817 by Greg Aleknevicus
This game seems so much like Warcraft et al that I'm left wondering why one would play it rather than its computer-based brethren? What does it do better than the games that inspired it?

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30 May 2019 23:13 #297822 by ubarose
@Gary Sax

Yes, exactly

@Greg

I guess it really boils down to if you like computer or video games or if you prefer board games. I prefer board games. I get to hang with my friends and husband. The game is over in a couple of hours at which point you win or lose. And the the next time we play we get to start over and try out new races and new strategies. Plus, it has pretty airships that you can load up with dudes and make whooshing sounds as you move them around the board.

Honestly, I don’t play any electronic games other than really stupid iOS game on my iPad to kill time. I haven’t played Warcraft in over 20 years.
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31 May 2019 01:28 #297825 by Greg Aleknevicus
Warcraft or World of Warcraft? (They're different beasts.)

From your review, HoLAaS sounds *very* much like Warcraft, which also has the ability to be over in a couple of hours (usually less), to try new races and strategies, and play with friends. But it also allows for complexities and features that a board game could never hope to implement.

I too prefer board games to electronic ones (at least in general), but there are certain games that work so well in one genre that it seems odd to recreate them in another. (But hey, you're enjoying the game, so maybe it isn't so odd after all?)

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31 May 2019 07:58 #297832 by Josh Look
Definitely WarCraft, not World of WarCraft.

I have to disagree with the marketing here, it totally isn’t at all RTS like. The aesthetic is definitely Warcraft III inspired, but the only gameplay bit that comes from WarCraft is that you need certain buildings in order to build certain units. That’s it. It has by far more in common with the 4X genre, though on a much, much lighter scale. I know of a few fantasy 4X games on the PC, like Master of Magic, Age of Wonders, etc, but this is more like a fantasy version of Civ.

That said, this is a really fun game. It’s definitely designed by someone with Euro sensibilities because you get points for doing anything, which bugs me, but the system it runs on is really clean and sharp. It’s one of those games that has a lot going on but the barrier to entry on rules is very low, and all your turns feel pretty important. The turns are also pretty fast most of the time, you’re doing one thing, other players may follow it and you’re moving on to the next turn. This is a double edged sword, as it is in all games that last longer than an hour. The pacing of your play seems fast, but the overall game pace can seem slow after you realize you’ve had so many turns and it feels like you’ve accomplished so little. If you’ve ever played Scythe, you’ll know what I mean. And the game is way too long, that’s really the biggest knock against it. The gameplay warrants at most 90 minutes, the 2+ hours (and it really is more than 2 hours more often than not, even after you’re familiar with it) it takes is way too much.

I’d be happy to play it again and I’m glad Uba ones it so that I don’t have to, but I’d really like to see what would happen if the game were to get a second edition somewhere down the road after folks have played it for 5 years or so. It could be a top tier entry in the 4X genre at that point.
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31 May 2019 09:27 - 31 May 2019 09:29 #297841 by ubarose
I am sorry if the first sentence mislead people. Here is how it breaks down.

When people talk about Heroes of Land Air and Sea, one of the things they say is - "It's like Warcraft"

The game is being marketed on Amazon as:

4X RTS Large Scale Board Game
CAPTURE THAT REAL TIME STRATEGY FEEL; Heroes of Land, Air & Sea offers players the reminiscent feel of classic RTS games

This has been picked up by some other people writing about games, or maybe vise versa.

I find most marketing and one sentence descriptions of board games amusing, and absurd. I ask myself, what the heck does this mean? What on earth are they trying to say? And why are they saying this?

The game has also been described as 4X-lite and as whimsical

So here is the structure of the blog.

First sentence - a rather silly one sentence description of the game as it has been described and marketed.
Second sentence - A sentence that mocks the prior sentence, interprets it, and functions as a thesis statement.

So my thesis is that this game is being described as an RTS game because it sort of feels like Warcraft.

The body of the blog describes the game, demonstrating how it sort of feels like Warcraft, although the comparison is tenuous and calling it an RTS game is absurd.

In the future, I will try to keep in mind that my appreciation for the absurd is is not shared by most people, and is difficult to communicate, and therefore confusing. I will try to avoid it, although it is so much a part of who I am and how I approach this hobby (I mean seriously, we are adults playing with little elf and orc dolls), that I may not be successful.


Also - sorry I wrote WoW in my comment to Gary Sax. Al was hurrying me to come to dinner.
Last edit: 31 May 2019 09:29 by ubarose.
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31 May 2019 09:40 #297846 by charlest
I think the RTS comparisons are fine and appropriate.

The follow action gives a sort of dynamic flow to the game. The unit trees and buildings are reminiscent of the genre. The way your units can pop out between towers feels arcadey. The resource system and unit production remind me of RTS'.

It's not real-time, sure, but I don't think it's a poor comparison.
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31 May 2019 09:42 #297847 by Josh Look
I didn’t find anything confusing about the blog at all, and my chiming in was to clarify to Greg and then share my feelings about the game. I almost backed the game on its first KS and I know they were really trying to push that WarCraft inspiration all along, which we can all agree is kind of ridiculous. It certainly *looks* like WarCraft but the gameplay doesn’t really evoke anything similar to WarCraft. That’s their marketing and I know that it isn’t your assessment.

No need to change your style to appease anyone, if they have a problem with it, f*ck ‘em.
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31 May 2019 09:47 #297848 by Gary Sax
My comments weren't critical, ubarose. Your review was great. I was just trying to understand the ways in which they tried to translate RTS to the tabletop. My clash of civ comparison actually sounds kind of weirdly ok now that I read up on it.
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31 May 2019 09:48 #297849 by Vysetron
Article made sense to me. Obviously it can't be a straight up Warcraft-to-tabletop conversion. Sounds like it does a solid job of what it actually aims to do.

It's really weird to see a massive Scott Almes game. Have to wonder how many Tiny Epics he had to sign off on before they'd start production on this monster.
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31 May 2019 11:16 - 31 May 2019 11:18 #297855 by ubarose
Thank you for the reassurance. I was feeling a bit incompetent.

And also thank you for sharing your own opinions of the game as well as the questions. I think that our discussions are illuminating and helpful to readers interested in the game. Different opinions are a good thing. And everyone here has made good points.

I'm still in the exploratory phase with Heroes of Land, Air & Sea. I've played it 4 times, which is usually enough for me to feel like I know the game well enough to actually be playing it against other players in a meaningful way, rather than feeling like I am still learning the ropes and experimenting. However, due to all the special race powers and the way they interact with each other, I think my exploratory phase is going to continue for quite a while. And that's okay. I like this phase, and feel like there's a lot of game here to keep me coming back for a long time.

My impression right now is that some of the races significantly impact how you approach and experience the game, and may be some what scripted, whereas others are less so.
Last edit: 31 May 2019 11:18 by ubarose.
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31 May 2019 18:22 #297890 by southernman

Greg Aleknevicus wrote: Warcraft or World of Warcraft? (They're different beasts.)

From your review, HoLAaS sounds *very* much like Warcraft, which also has the ability to be over in a couple of hours (usually less), to try new races and strategies, and play with friends. But it also allows for complexities and features that a board game could never hope to implement.

I too prefer board games to electronic ones (at least in general), but there are certain games that work so well in one genre that it seems odd to recreate them in another. (But hey, you're enjoying the game, so maybe it isn't so odd after all?)


As Uba said you create for all the people who have no interest in playing a computer game, who prefer to game face to face with friends and family for the fun that generates. And because they sell it means that is a totally valid reason (I'd buy this if the price was right but wouldn't even consider playing it on a computer).
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