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Sleeping Gods Review

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02 Apr 2021 00:00 #321605 by oliverkinne
If you know other ...

We had been transported to another world, another time maybe. The stars were all wrong, not matching any of the charts we had on board our ship, the Manticore. Captain Sofi Odessa decided we should make landfall and spotted a natural harbour nearby. As we got closer, we saw an old woman waving to us from the shore. It seemed like she had been expecting us. Once we had dropped anchor, we went to the starboard side to speak to the woman and find out what she wanted. She was clearly excited to see us and immediately told us that we were here to wake the Sleeping Gods by Red Raven Games.

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02 Apr 2021 13:29 #321606 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Sleeping Gods Review
I am wrestling with temptation. I want Sleeping Gods and I want Cursed City, but I am on a budget. It will likely depend on how cheaply I can get a stripped copy of Cursed City.

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03 Apr 2021 20:01 #321634 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Sleeping Gods Review
Sleeping Gods offers a unique experience, and one that suits this extended period of social distancing, so I'm going to get it. I had concerns about the combat system, but I watched a couple of YouTubes and concluded that wasn't an issue.
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03 Apr 2021 21:13 - 03 Apr 2021 21:15 #321635 by Frohike
Replied by Frohike on topic Sleeping Gods Review
It’ll make a nice pairing with Tainted Grail. Like Charlie mentioned, TG offers a less scattershot narrative but comes wrapped with a grind that, while gradually less implacable as you level up & explore, does create an intentionally oppressive ambience. Sleeping Gods is much more open, though the story feels a bit more like Tales of The Arabian Nights in its more nonlinear/aleatory blooming of keywords & locations as you sail the map. Both have given me some memorable solo experiences. I’m taking a breather from narrative games for a bit, but I can’t wait to jump back into the extra content for TG.
Last edit: 03 Apr 2021 21:15 by Frohike.
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06 Apr 2021 16:37 #321733 by Joebot
Replied by Joebot on topic Sleeping Gods Review
Great review! I agree with all of that. My family is about 2/3 of the way through our first game (just finished the second time through the Event Deck). We've got 4 totems (out of the necessary 8), so we're going to have to pick up the pace.

One thing I would mention is that the game is hard. Resources are tight, and you never seem to have enough money or command tokens. Our ship is currently held together with duct tape and prayers. We've got about four bucks to our name, just about all the characters are exhausted and banged up for shit. It's tough. And with the Event Deck timer, you don't have time to grind or play it safe. There's tremendous pressure to keep pushing onward.

One of the more interesting things for me is judging when to go all-in on accomplishing a Challenge. Do we exhaust a bunch of characters, spend a ton of command, and use up some adventure cards, just to make sure we pass?? Sometimes it's worth it just to say "to hell with it, gonna take the 'L' on this one," take your punishment, and keep going. In most cases, failing a challenge doesn't prevent you from continuing; it just means you're going to get hammered, usually with damage.

Combat is surprisingly meaty. It's long, and I've read complaints that it bogs the game down, but that's rubbish. It doesn't crop up often enough for it to really be a problem. In our last session, we didn't have any combat at all. I like the combat system a lot. Tons of tough decisions and table-talk as we puzzle through the best approach.
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06 Apr 2021 17:08 #321737 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Sleeping Gods Review
I think how often you have combat and how difficult the game is overall - regarding resources, exhaustion, ship damage, etc. - is highly variable. I've had a string of sessions with little combat, and other plays where I had three fights in about 90 minutes. It really depends on what story options and quests you pursue.

Overall I've found the difficulty good. A little difficult but where it should be. I've never felt that strained. I will say, if you get a totem or two which offers a strong effect (such as a strong weapon), things can get much easier.
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07 May 2021 03:12 #322928 by oliverkinne
Replied by oliverkinne on topic Sleeping Gods Review
It's great to see that so many of you are intrigued by Sleeping Gods and some of you have already played it and enjoyed it. Thank you for all your comments.

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07 May 2021 09:22 #322934 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Sleeping Gods Review
I ordered Sleeping Gods from a re-seller who buys multiple copies of Kickstarter items. My order of Sleeping Gods has been put on back order twice now, and may arrive in June. I am sticking with this re-seller so far because the communication has been good.

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07 May 2021 17:57 #322968 by cdennett
Replied by cdennett on topic Sleeping Gods Review
I managed to finally get this to the table in my first "full" game night this week with 4 of us, and while the rules were a slog (I was totally unprepared, having read the rules months ago and not thinking people would go for it), we mostly had it figured out by the end (and were nearly through the first pass of the event deck). I had been afraid to try it with just wife, but the wife actually liked it and wants to keep playing. I went ahead and ran with the official "easy mode" packaged with the FAQ, as time is not something we have a lot of, so I'd rather experience the content with out too much gatekeeping. Oh, and we had exactly one combat in the game, and it kicked our ass pretty good...we really should have bought more shield market cards (once we realized we were cheating using the weapon shields for regular end-of-round attacks).

This is a WAY better game then Near and Far, even if the narrative isn't as cohesive. We had a lot of fun with the exploration, though we probably spent way too many resources on challenges we should have just lost. I expect we'll finish this up over the next couple of weeks, and then maybe it's a once in a while game to pick back up again.

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27 Jan 2022 11:08 #330168 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Sleeping Gods Review
I finally received my Sleeping Gods this week. I'm struggling through the rules and plan to get it on the table this Saturday. I realize that icons can be a very efficient way to communicate information in a board game, but once a game has more than two dozen different icons, it is effectively a new alphabet to learn. I just wish that all of the icons were on that icon chart on the back of the rule book.

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27 Jan 2022 11:34 #330170 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Sleeping Gods Review
One thing I remember the rules not being perfectly clear about - for tests, you can draw a card and attempt success without exhausting a crew member. That's very important.
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27 Jan 2022 12:04 #330171 by Virabhadra
Replied by Virabhadra on topic Sleeping Gods Review
Maybe you've gotten this far already, but just in case - the Quick-Start guide is not optional because it contains the beginning of the story and assigns your first quests. It also gives you the impression that you need to be drawing cards and stuff during the Quick-start material - you don't. Everything including the card draws is pre-scripted in the Quick Start guide and then all the components reset before you begin the game proper. But you can't skip it.

It's more annoying than confusing, but it still tripped me up.
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27 Jan 2022 12:20 #330173 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Sleeping Gods Review

charlest wrote: One thing I remember the rules not being perfectly clear about - for tests, you can draw a card and attempt success without exhausting a crew member. That's very important.


I saw that the Travel action works that way, so it sounds like it is consistent for the other tests.

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30 Jan 2022 10:00 #330260 by Shellhead
Replied by Shellhead on topic Sleeping Gods Review
Friend came over to play board games yesterday, and I had Sleeping Gods all set up to play. I knew that he would be interested, because he prefers co-op adventure games over just about any other kind of board games. We played for over six hours straight, took a long break, then came back to play for another two hours. We got through about 45% of the game so far, and left it set up for next Saturday.

There is a lot to like about Sleeping Gods, and I'm glad that I got it. The components are lovely, and do an excellent job of establishing the setting of the game. The combat system is moderately complex and quite thematic, and offers players a satisfactory level of control while still posing some risk. Movement is simple and exploration is a delight. It amuses me that there is bold text throughout encounter book that serves as a tl;dr if somebody doesn't enjoy reading the whole entry out loud. Sometimes the risk/reward of a given exploration choice is explicit, and sometimes you just need to make a choice before you can discover the consequences.

At it's heart, Sleeping Gods has a euro influence that permeates the overall design. Every turn is an efficiency puzzle to solve, centered on gaining resources, spending resources, and managing resources. This might be very enjoyable for some players, but it was our least favorite aspect of the game. I grudgingly accept that resource management is the appropriate type of play to thematically express our ongoing need for food, repair supplies, and healing. And especially the command tokens, which are at the very core of this game design.

The other major euro aspect is the way randomness is addressed. In an ameritrash adventure game, you would apply your modifiers (especially the ones that need to be expended), then make a die roll. In Sleeping Gods, you flip a card for a fate number, then deploy as many modifiers as needed to reach your target number for your challenge or combat attack. It may seem like a minor distinction, but it is actually significant because it shifts the emphasis from risk management to resource management, and resource management is inherently less exciting than risk management. It's the difference between gambling on the unknown or fixing something with complete knowledge of the situation. Eventually, a degree of analysis paralysis seems likely to invade the game, as we continue to pile up adventure cards with a variety of uses. AP is always a potential threat when a game has a lot of available information on the table.

Beyond that, the game is a little too easy. We played on normal mode, because easy mode looked a cakewalk for kids. We had a couple of tough fights, including one where seven of our nine crew got taken out of action, and the two remaining crew could only hit the monster if they flipped a 6 for fate. We managed to get a couple of 6s, as well as a couple of misses, so we just barely won. But other than that one fight, we have never felt like everything was at risk in a situation. Instead of worrying about life or death, it's more of a slow and gradual recovery from exhaustion and heavy wounds.

We only have one totem so far. At the rate we are playing, we might gain a total of three totems by the end of the game, which will probably not be an impressive outcome. But we are enjoying the story, especially the occasional surprises. I would recommend this game to any reasonably experienced gamer, if they like co-op games with the semblance of a story.

By it's very nature, Sleeping Gods would seem to have limited replay value. For all the trouble we went to obtain our one totem, I will probably never forget where we got it. So every future play of the game would include me knowing where that totem is, and deciding whether or not to tell the other players. And solitaire play would be completely compromised by that kind of knowledge. To get the most out of this game, I would probably make sure to re-play the campaign with different players each time, and always let the other players decide where we are going and what we are doing.
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30 Jan 2022 14:08 #330273 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Sleeping Gods Review
The difficulty of Sleeping Gods is wonky. Some people really struggle with it and others find it too easy. I found it pretty middle of the road in terms of difficulty. I think there's a high degree of randomness in difficulty as more challenging encounters aren't gated by level or progress, so you can get into quite a bit of trouble if you go to certain places.
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