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

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GF9’s Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps Loses its Aim - Review

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16 Dec 2020 13:46 - 16 Dec 2020 19:19 #317261 by Sagrilarus

fightcitymayor wrote:

charlest wrote: It's funny because I can't possibly imagine not getting excited by a beloved IP.

But this is what is used against us, as fans of a book/movie/album. The old "From the producers of Shlumpywumps comes the next big hit of the summer!" A person's emotional engagement in a thing is used as a cudgel against them when the license-holder finds a way to cut corners & increase profit margins instead of delivering on the promise of that emotional connection. I think we would all agree the history of licensed games is a history of crap-for-profit.

This discussion would make a good point-counterpoint article.


And in today's environment a fair number of sales are made before the product has even left the conceptual stage (which appears to be the case with this game in particular.)

As for being devoid of soul, well I'm a 56 year old white guy from the suburbs, I'm not sure I had soul in the first place. But I'll tell you this -- if the title ain't got game I'm not gonna like it if you slather it in barbecue sauce.

But that's not the point I'm making. The point I'm making is that for some people, the license is enough. Someone announces a game about Ghostbusters and the preorders roll in without so much as a mock-up of the cover. That doesn't make sense to me.

(In this particular case it doesn't help that Cameron makes the most vapid movies in Hollywood. Aliens is the movie in the franchise made for stoopid people.)
Last edit: 16 Dec 2020 19:19 by Sagrilarus.
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16 Dec 2020 14:24 #317262 by Shellhead

charlest wrote: A game allows me to do the same. I played Dune for the first time shortly after finishing my first read of the book, and it was magical. It allowed me to interact with the literature - even if by proxy - in a way which allowed me to develop a new viewpoint and appreciation.


Sag, I get that different people have different tastes, but if you want to understand why some people really enjoy games based on a licensed property, Charlie's explanation above is perfect.

I am more neutral about the licensed games, because I have played some good ones and some bad ones. A good game about a licensed setting that I enjoyed is great because I can get additional entertainment from that same licensed setting beyond even the released movies/episodes/books/whatever. A bad game about a licensed setting is just a bad game and generally doesn't cause me to have a worse overall impression of the original works.

Dune is an easy example, because it's a great game that really ties into the setting and even the themes of the original work. The Starship Troopers war game was pretty good, and so was the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game from Milton Bradley. And Gale Force 9 published several fine board games based on tv shows. But the mediocre and bad board games based on licenses are legion.
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16 Dec 2020 15:12 - 16 Dec 2020 15:14 #317265 by Gary Sax
I was thinking about my game playing and purchasing in the last several years, and I have really pushed away from IP hard. I used to be much more IP oriented. If all things were being equal and you told me there were two games, one with an IP I like and one I don't, I'd probably skew toward backing a non-IP game. More room for gameplay creativity.
Last edit: 16 Dec 2020 15:14 by Gary Sax.
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16 Dec 2020 16:19 #317266 by Sagrilarus
No, I get it. I've read Dune, and I watched Battlestar Galactica. In those two cases, "more" was good.

But, what if "more" sucks? It often does, and not just with games. I don't think wearing a Homey The Clown t-shirt makes the original skit any funnier. At times you need to take your win and get out of town before somebody ruins it.
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16 Dec 2020 16:22 - 16 Dec 2020 16:25 #317267 by Sagrilarus

Gary Sax wrote: I was thinking about my game playing and purchasing in the last several years, and I have really pushed away from IP hard. I used to be much more IP oriented. If all things were being equal and you told me there were two games, one with an IP I like and one I don't, I'd probably skew toward backing a non-IP game. More room for gameplay creativity.


God almighty THIS a thousand times.

I've been having a positive bitch-fest over Talon and some people's insatiable urge to paint Star Trek all over it. Talon has its own storyline. There's short stories that go with the game and describe the campaign and they're good, especially when you consider they were written by game-jockeys. But no, Mr. Fucking Spock is still getting shoved in front of everyone fifty goddamned years later.

At times, old shit is old shit. I just don't understand the need to roll around in it like you're a dog in a freshly fertilized garden.
Last edit: 16 Dec 2020 16:25 by Sagrilarus.
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16 Dec 2020 17:23 #317269 by Shellhead

Sagrilarus wrote: No, I get it. I've read Dune, and I watched Battlestar Galactica. In those two cases, "more" was good.

But, what if "more" sucks? It often does, and not just with games. I don't think wearing a Homey The Clown t-shirt makes the original skit any funnier. At times you need to take your win and get out of town before somebody ruins it.


BSG is a perfect example of what you are saying. The modern incarnation of the show started great, and declined in quality with each successive season, to the point where I completely bailed before the final season and refuse to watch any more. Likewise, the first season of the show inspired the design of a good board game, but every expansion to that game had a bad ratio of good and bad elements in the box.
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17 Dec 2020 07:21 #317273 by jason10mm
3

n815e wrote: ]

You should learn to distance yourself emotionally from negative reactions to your reviews.


That's my new gig! I'm gonna give reviews of the reviews reviewers give of reviews of their reviews (following me so far?)

In which case I give Michael a 8.1/10. It was succinct, direct, a bit funny, but could have used more cursing.
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17 Dec 2020 12:07 #317289 by Msample
Its not surprising that many people, myself included, bought this game ahead of seeing reviews. Overall, Gale Force 9 has a solid batting average on IP based games. I didn't play Dr. Who, but really like SPARTACUS, ST:A, and while not caring for FIREFLY, appreciated it for what it was . The DUNE new edition was done well and at a very good price point. I am aware that their original design team core is gone ( or sadly passed away ) but the vast majority of buyers are likely unaware of this. I would be curious as to why this exodus took place; they seemed to have a good thing going.

I've played a few scenarios of this game and overall while not quite as down as Michael ( although I am more critical of the minis assembly issue ) I agree its fairly lackluster as a game. It feels somewhat phoned in . Having a Burke character and no traitor mechanic other than a bad event card seems like a missed opportunity.

I think with more development, better minis it could have been something better.
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17 Dec 2020 13:12 #317292 by hotseatgames
I'm puzzled by the miniatures issue because looking at photos of them, they don't look more detailed than pre-assembled miniatures from standard games.

If I have to build it, it had better look like GW.
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17 Dec 2020 13:28 #317293 by Gary Sax

hotseatgames wrote: If I have to build it, it had better look like GW.


Yes, this, thank you. I forgive what Michael calls "bubblegum dispenser" quality miniatures because I don't have to put them together.
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17 Dec 2020 13:30 #317294 by jpat
Seems likely to have been a cost issue. I'm guessing there must be some cost savings in sprues and multiple parts than in one-piece figures, and they likely had a certain price point in mind but obviously wanted to keep the minis as a selling point. Plus, they probably assumed that most sales would be advance or early and that most people not in the know would assume no assembly, and nothing that I can see on the box indicates assembly required--which is probably the single biggest fail here.
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17 Dec 2020 14:09 - 17 Dec 2020 14:11 #317295 by charlest
It also may have just been ignorance.

I get the impression that when GF9's previous group left they basically lost the entirety of their board game industry knowledge.

GF9's parent company is known for Bolt Action, a miniatures game whose models you must assemble. Their first Tanks! game required assembly too.

It's also why I'm not sure calling the shortcomings of this design lazy or mailed in is necessarily accurate. I'm not confident they have the in-house knowledge to nail these types of games now. I bet the bulk of the weight is on Andrew Haught's shoulders.
Last edit: 17 Dec 2020 14:11 by charlest.
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17 Dec 2020 14:16 #317296 by Michael Barnes
That’s a fair point Charlie- they may simply not have savvy folks working their at this stage that can design or develop on par with other companies, and they are in fact coming from a different angle than Wizkids, FFG, etc.. It’s Flames of War though, not Bolt Action...FOW is actually more of an old timey war game than Bolt Action is.

Regardless, they aren’t making these games in a vacuum, and it’s easy to see when a a design at any stage of development isn’t up to standards. Given that this game had been YEARS in the making (as with Doctor Who), I get a sense that both games reached that “good enough” state and they had a shit or get off the pot moment- maybe even tied to license expiration/renewal.

The minis are just...I don’t know, I’m not sure why they need to be assembled, at least as far as the marines go- they could easily be one piece. The aliens are kind of multipose, but then then they should have been push for given the market and audience. But that goes back to Charlie’s point.
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17 Dec 2020 15:12 #317298 by Msample
I don't know what the cost difference is for sprue/assembly vs one piece molded minis, it must be somewhat substantial. Or maybe they looked at it as being easier to source due to Bolt Action already being that way. Certainly the price point for the base game is appealing...but fans who want all the characters are going to end up paying $150 when the dust settles. For about the the same price you could have KS Nemesis/Aftermath 2nd printing and gotten not only the same number of characters and sculpts, but much better quality miniatures. If there was ever an IP GF9 could have gotten a premium for, this would have been it.

As for the long gestation period, from what I understand part of the issue was licensing approval getting delayed when Disney bought whoever had the license before . This happened IIRC maybe 18 months ago. So its hard to say how long the game was actually developed; maybe work stopped while they ironed shit out.

And I'd still like to know why the original design staff left. They put out some very good stuff. This game doesn't feel as polished as those. For instance, the deck terminology - mentally I think of EXHAUSTED as being worse/more permanent than DISCARDED, but here its the opposite. Or putting a CUMBERSOME keyword on a weapon when it would be easier to just say "No Defensive Fire" which is easy to forget.
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17 Dec 2020 15:49 #317299 by Michael Barnes
That is very much what I meant about the nomenclature issues and the fussiness of the cards...recycle, reveal, discard, etc. it’s so overwrought and feels very much like early draft, underdeveloped work.

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