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Bugs: Recent Topics Paging, Uploading Images & Preview (11 Dec 2020)

Recent Topics paging, uploading images and preview bugs require a patch which has not yet been released.

Is Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons the Best Comic Book Game?

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13 Mar 2020 11:13 #307999 by Shellhead
As a life-long fan of superhero comics, I have long been hoping for a great superhero board game. So far, I have been disappointed by everything. This game actually sounds pretty good and I may end up getting it, but I suspect it still won't scratch that superhero itch.

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13 Mar 2020 11:27 #308001 by Josh Look

Shellhead wrote:

Jackwraith wrote: You can physically set it up in less than 10 minutes, but getting everyone to the point of understanding what they're actually doing in the game takes FAR longer than that. This is an inherent problem of any game based on cards, since every turn will be a burst of new information for the new player.


I just wanted to quote this particular remark for being very insightful. Game designers should take note.


I’m actually going to refuse to do that. That I actually have zero problem with, so long as there’s still a game to be had after everyone does understand what they’re doing. I went out of my way on the Kaiju game to ensure that it’s exactly that kind of game since that’s the kind of game with “depth” that I’m interested in. Root, Villainous, Res Arcana, all of those were massive inspirations. I’d put Theseus in that lot as well.

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13 Mar 2020 11:29 - 13 Mar 2020 11:30 #308002 by charlest
I believe that Josh and Michael and others are playing these types of games regularly. But I'd assume you're not playing individual title many times and the depth of strategy and potential for exploration just isn't there. Instead, Prospero Hall is landing hard with quantity and it almost looks to be its own sort of treadmill.

I'm not doggjng Prospero Hall designs, but I question many of the titles effectiveness for a hobby gamer.
Last edit: 13 Mar 2020 11:30 by charlest.

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13 Mar 2020 11:38 #308004 by Jackwraith
I think the "unnecessary systems" complaint is valid. From my distant impressions, Tapestry suffers from this. I think that Wonderland's War thing I posted about last month is subsumed in this problem. But I don't think emphasizing simplicity is the one truth, either.

A great comparison is Twilight Struggle and 13 Days. Twilight Struggle's scope is much larger and, thus, has a number of additional mechanics that 13 Days doesn't have or need. But they're both operating in a similar framework: card-driven, random draws that can benefit your opponent, competing on the same "tracks" (actual tracks for 13 Days, nations for TS), and having the one-track-to-rule-them-all to determine the winner. Plus, they both have a backdoor win in nuclear war(!) But I could explain 13 Days and have someone playing decently in a matter of minutes. TS takes longer than that because it is a more complex game. That doesn't mean that 13 Days is a BETTER game than TS. It's just simpler.

I think Funkoverse is a great, simple, quick-to-learn-and-play combat game. But I don't think that Wiz-War is any less because that spell deck is SO huge and there's so much to read and comprehend at any moment... and in the next turn it will all change. You could argue that there are a lot of "unnecessary" systems/detail in Wiz-War, but I don't think it makes it any less of a game.

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13 Mar 2020 12:16 #308006 by Josh Look

charlest wrote: I believe that Josh and Michael and others are playing these types of games regularly. But I'd assume you're not playing individual title many times and the depth of strategy and potential for exploration just isn't there.


I don’t think that should necessarily be a barometer for how we measure games. I will admit that I have not played Jaws as many times as other PH games, but I do always have a good time when I do. Isn’t that enough? Like, why do we have to play a game a metric shit ton in a short period of time? Under best circumstances, that’s how most people play games, not trying to cram enough plays in so that they can get a review out in time so that their work remains relevant. If I take Jaws of the shelf once, twice a month and have a good time with it, what else do I need out of it?

FWIW, I have played Funkoverse, Horrified, and Kero (which I again will plug here because it’s awesome and their most hobby-centric design) quite a bit. Funkoverse is going to obviously have some staying power with new models being released, but I’m by no means bored with Horrified yet, and that’s with at least 20 plays so far. Is there a ton of strategy? Probably not, but I still enjoy the puzzle of sizing up which monsters I have in the game, prioritizing which one I’m going to go after first and reacting to others when they start to get a jump on us. Again, like Jaws, it’s fun, what else do I need?

I do think Wonder Woman will have an even longer shelf life since so much of it is more social/trust based than is typical co-op puzzle. It only has three villains, which I’m not willing to call a limit just yet, but I certainly wouldn’t turn more down in the future.

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13 Mar 2020 13:35 #308010 by Michael Barnes
OK, here's what I've self-realized in our apocalyptic age.

I'm not a hobby gamer anymore.

I was reading over Charlie's comments in particular and it just cast into relief that what I want out of playing games and what I enjoy out of playing games, and what the hobby game market's creators and publishers either want me to want or assume that I want is not what I actually want.

I've felt like this for a while - out of step with THE HOBBY. I don't fucking care about conventions, public game nights, Kickstarter, video content, and all of the hallmarks of the modern hobby. Remember the ERP, my long period of Games Workshop servitude, and now my return to RPGs? Think about the games that I've liked the most over the past few years. All not in step with the hobby, with maybe a few points of crossover.

No, I do not regard hobby board games and the principles of hobby board gaming as part of my life right now. That's a big revelation for me. I've played what would be called hobby games since I was 5 years old, so that's 40 years this year.

So when I hear "there's not enough depth/room for exploration"...I just don't care. Like Josh said above, if I pull Jaws out once or twice a month and have fun...why do I want more out of a $25 game I bought at Target?

I get wanting the deeper, richer experiences. And I still do. I'm playing Dune sunday. But that's the thing...the deeper, richer experiences are extremely rare. 9999 out of 1000 games today aren't deep or rich no matter how many hobby games mechanics they cobble together to make you think they are. True depth and richness comes from emergent, player-driven situations and bounded reactions described by the rules. This is why Acquire, Tigris & Euphrates, Cosmic, and Wiz-War are immensely deep and rich. Today's complex, over-designed hobby games are not because they foreground mechanisms and "clever" designs to generate a sense of depth.

As far as exploration goes, the fool's gold there is in scenario-based design, modularity, and character-based variety. Some games pull this off. Dominon is a great example, as is Aeon's End. The recent spate of sharply assymetric games is another exception - Root and Villainous for example, where the rules are a framework explored by the modules for different processes and outcomes. This is where the range of available options creates room for exploration and discovery. But most games built like this, the Kickstarters with all the expansions and scenarios...it's like what I've always said about Diablo (one of my favorite video games of all time) - the map does not matter. It does not matter if the dungeon doglegs right and the enemies are slightly different. It doesn't even really matter what your character build is. It is fundamentally, conceptually the same game with the same outcomes.

The reality of it is that having Kool-Aid Man and Joker square off against Aggrestuko and Ian Malcolm is just fun. It changes up a game of Funkoverse, but are you really exploring anything there, are you really encountering depth? No. But it doesn't matter, because it's fun to do and at the end of the day, that should be why you are playing that game to begin with. Not to aspire to a certain level of "hobby-ness".

So a lot of the concerns and harrumphing I hear around this stuff...it just washes over me because it sounds like someone that likes blues trying really hard to convince me that John Lee Hooker or whatever is great and I should listen to it because that is serious music. But I'd rather hear Carly Rae Jepsen.
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13 Mar 2020 13:58 #308012 by Jackwraith
I can understand that, mostly because I've never really registered the "hobby" aspect of it. I've just never thought of it that way. I just like to play games. Are they more complex than stuff that typically comes off the shelf at Wal-Mart? Yes. But, honestly, so is backgammon, contract bridge, and mah-jong. So, calling myself a "hobby gamer" has never been something that occurred to me.

When I was playing Magic, 24-7, and entering tournaments every other day, that was probably a hobby. When I was playing every minis game Games Workshop ever produced and painting everything I played with, that was definitely a hobby. But the fact that I have a bunch of games that are more complex than Sorry! sitting on my shelf...? Eh. Doesn't seem to fly with me. I could have a copy of every classic abstract currently labeled as such (actually, I think I might...) and nothing else. Would I still be a "hobby gamer" playing those on a regular basis? This is like trying to decide what genres of music fit which artists.

There's no right way to have fun. I don't think there's much point in trying to label it, either.
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13 Mar 2020 14:18 - 13 Mar 2020 15:37 #308014 by Gary Sax
Appreciate all your thoughts and the discussion, thank you for taking me at face value as that was not a troll.

It probably says a lot about me and my tabletop gaming that in my video gaming my most played games are the Paradox Grand Strategy games. Systems within systems. So I do think it's a gaming ethos differences thing and I'm glad to hear your ethos, which makes sense.
Last edit: 13 Mar 2020 15:37 by Gary Sax.
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13 Mar 2020 14:32 #308018 by charlest
I think it's totally fine to just play a game a couple of times. I play Earth Reborn every other year at most.

I guess what bothers me slightly is that it feels like you're trying to have it both ways. It seems to be a common criticism that Kickstarters are full of junk, people play them once or twice, there's no depth and they're just propped up by minis, etc.

Is the critical difference the price? Is that enough? When is it ok to play a game once or twice and when is it not?

Mostly being devil's advocate here, but I think the psychology here is interesting.
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13 Mar 2020 15:17 - 14 Mar 2020 19:51 #308021 by Sagrilarus
The psychology is very interesting, and that's the conversation going on in the CMON Tyranny thread to some extent.

Step 1 -- figure out what you like.

All the other steps follow that, and the steps that follow are easy. But you need to figure out what it is that is bringing you happiness, and that's sometimes very hard to do. The whole industry is telling you what you should like.

I get the feeling I'd think this game is well-produced junk. I thought Villainous was a waste. In fact I've more or less given it away. But that's me. It just felt stilted and detached and required me to turn my thoughts inward and that's not what I look for in a game. So it's not a good fit.

Years ago Shellie referred to Merchant of Venus as a once-a-year game. It's expensive, and more importantly to me it's taking up a fair chunk of space on my shelf. But, when I play it once a year I frikkin' love it. So it stays.

I think what I'm trying to say is ignore the self-appointed cognoscenti and make sure you understand where you should be spending your money for you and yours. It's all valid, but it may not all be valid for you.
Last edit: 14 Mar 2020 19:51 by Sagrilarus.
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13 Mar 2020 15:19 #308023 by Michael Barnes
Totally worthwhile questions to ask.

I think the money is issue is definitely a thing, and that brings with it the issues of crowdfunding, FOMO, exclusivity, phony "investorship", KS milling, lack of proper development time, lack of editorial restraint, wasteful production, and so forth. I think we are talking about something very different when we are holding a $200+ game that ships in 5-6 boxes or whatever, stuffed with...stuff...that buyers pay for a year in advance versus a professionally designed $25-40 game made by Ravensburger.

I get the "have it both ways" comment...but the reality of it is that some games have a time, and when that time is gone, you move on. There are very few forever games. Right now, these games are what I want. That may change 3 years from now. I may want something different. I may want no board games at all. I may just be playing strictly RPGs. Or not.

When I complain about the KS games barely getting played, that has as much to do with the churn and the absolute tidal wave of releases as it does with any individual game. And maybe somebody gets $200 worth out of 1 play of Marvel United, that's up to them, not me. But this is my position on it, and that's what I'm concerned with rather than the larger hobby which has, in a very real sense, abandoned game players like me that want more like Quest for El Dorado.

And also too, you've got to remember that Josh and I were talking about playing Jaws once or twice a month. Not "in total". I've played it maybe 15 times? No, I don't play it every time I'm at the table. But I'm still eager to play it again and if someone suggests it I get excited - I don't secretly dread it coming out again like I might for the bigger, more complex games out today.

I rather controversially liked Scythe. We had that big roundtable review at MM. And I did honestly like it a lot. But as my tastes changed out from under it...I started to absolutely dread playing it. When I got the last expansion, I was like "oh man, I really do not want to set that game up". And that is why a lot of games that I get I play for a while, enjoy, and ditch. Because I start to dread them. These PH games...I haven't dreaded them one bit, going back to when Villainous really put them on my radar.

There are number of factors there. One is that their games require almost no setup. Another is that I don't have to relearn the rules every time and teaching is generally quick and easy. Villainous DOES require some player experience and understanding, but I've found it still easier to apprehend and share than Cthulhu Wars or Root. Another is that these are licenses that I'm really excited about - I'm a huge Disneyphile, so Villainous had my name on it the second I saw it. I love Jurassic Park, Jaws, Universal Monsters...all things that I love, and despite my staunch stand against corporations and capitalism, they are brands that I love. I'm always going to be excited to play a Jurassic Park game.

So I think this is a complex matter...you aren't wrong to point it out as something of a contradiction. But the truth of it is that all games is personal, so to speak.
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13 Mar 2020 15:22 #308025 by Michael Barnes
Something else I want to point out here - I'm not less _interested_ in games than I have ever been. I still love them and think that they are an evolving medium with a lot of potential. But I'm just not entrenched in the hobby, such as it is, at all. And my concerns and interests are not to do with anything going on in the hobby. My general MO now is that if I see something that catches my attention, I may ask for a review copy or buy it. But I'm not keeping up with stuff, I'm not worried if I'm not in the conversation about whatever the top game is for the week.

And I'm more interested than ever in finding those marginal, out-of-the-way titles like Shadows of Malice or whatever that are doing things differently against the direction the hobby is going.
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13 Mar 2020 15:24 #308026 by Frohike
I think you nailed it in your question, Charlie. For me it's a price issue and the over-inflation caused by overproduction. A related issue, which is more subjective for me, is the incommensurate marketing, FOMO, and "hobby gravitas" surrounding these over-produced games that are sometimes designed for a handful of plays. The gravitas and cultural cachet can be deserved, but in a majority of cases it seems like this is just the de facto mode that is expected of anything hobby-oriented that's churned out of the KS mill (c.f. anything presented by Man Vs Meeple). So you get the worst of both worlds. Wasteful production, infomercial marketing, mediocre quality designs, consumer over-expense, and shipping nightmares for both the producer and the aftermarket.
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13 Mar 2020 17:01 #308031 by ubarose
These Prospero Hall games and El Dorado have become the go-to spontaneous common-ground games. If you have a diverse group who can't agree on a game to play, just suggest Villainous, Jaws or El Dorado. Everybody knows them. Everyone enjoys them. They play in about an hour. If someone doesn't know them, you can explain the rules quickly, even to someone who is new to gaming. So they are getting pulled out and onto the table frequently.

I haven't seen WW or Top Gun yet, but I expect they will start showing up before to long (once we start meeting for F2F gaming again).
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13 Mar 2020 17:39 #308033 by Msample
The question is not what kind of long term legs these Prospero titles have but how many of them does a typical gamer need ? I hated VILLAINOUS, thought HORRIFIED was OK ( co-op, meh ) and JAWS was pretty fun. But I've only got need for so many filler games - and to me that's what these games are . For the most part, when I get together with friends to game its for longer sessions and we're more interested in longer deeper games - not  ripping through a bunch of short stuff. And I've already got a pretty well established bag of games for filling in time slots waiting for other people to show up/finish their game etc . I mean the price point is attractive, but at the end of the day they strike me as somewhat forgettable in the long term  .  I think for me personally its a finite need of how many such games I'll want to hold onto. I've got well worn/established games like GLORY TO ROME, possibly ROOT now that more of my group knows it, JAWS, PAX PAMIR ( its a bit long for filler but still on the short side for people who don't fuck around  ). 

When I look back on what I played at a four day con last month, it was about 2/3 long stuff and one third short stuff. I have a bigger interest and need for variety in that 2/3 space than the 1/3 space. 

I do wonder with the near term nesting/social distance trend , if people will look towards more immersive stuff as their game groups contract . 
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