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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Jackwraith wrote: The fact that they adapted it to their Terrinoth universe is a simple fact of marketing. If people enjoy 2nd Ed. Battlelore, how cool would it it be to play the Uthuk Y'llan in Runewars or Rune Age or fight them in Runebound? What could possibly be wrong with that strategy from a marketing and profit standpoint... -snip -
I agree with the premise of your argument, but the problem is that there isn't much that's "cool" about Terrinoth. It's a fine generic fantasy setting, but it isn't interesting. It has factions for the sake of having factions. It's completely fine if the criteria is "it exists", and "it works", but it doesn't capture the imagination in any meaningful way.
It's great that FFG is leveraging the IPs that it has access to. We've had better Star Wars and Old World games from FFG than we've probably ever had. They don't need an in-house universe to be legit. But it they go the in-house IP route they best do better than Terrinoth.
Shellhead wrote: In this context, I see the RPG angle as more of a loss leader than a graveyard. To make an analogy, comic books should be near death, with cover prices at $4.00 an issue, stories stretched thin so that you need to actually spend $24 to read a story, and continuities that have ballooned into hypercomplex nonsense. And the fanbase is aging out. And yet, comic book movies are still doing major box office, even the bad ones. So the comic books now serve as more of an early stage in the movie development process. Likewise, a game company could turn some creative writers loose to develop an rpg setting in support of a larger product line concept.
Yep. That's totally valid. I've been saying for 20 years that GW should be selling the codices and army books at cost, if not giving them away online as loss leaders, because getting more people to see the cool pics and rules would probably sell more models. RPGs could be used the same way for FFG. And I don't think they're wholly unprofitable. I just think that the margin is low enough that they're better off spending resources elsewhere. But, then, I have no more internal knowledge of their processes, so I'm just speculating.
Fair point about the Rex map, too. Shellhead. It is kind of overdone.
wadenels, I know I'm probably the only one on the site that has some interest in Terrinoth and it's likely driven by the fact that I'm a huge fan of almost all the games they've produced in that setting. I think Runebound is vastly superior to Talisman, especially given the number of ways to play with both large and small expansions. I think Rune Age is the best and more interactive deckbuilder I've ever played. And Battlelore, 2nd Ed. is one of my all-time favorite games. I've never had a bad or even mediocre experience with it and I'm chagrined by the fact that I only have one regular playing partner. So, I'm pretty immersed in the universe because I'm a fan of all of the games attached to it. I probably know more of the backstory little threads as a consequence, so it feels more than "generic fantasy setting" to me. But I get that it certainly doesn't seem to carry its own identity in the way that many other worlds do.
But those sets also forward the story and setting, which is what we are really talking about here. You get a set that has a self-contained storyline that feels rich and complete but leaves you wanting more.
- It'll be short on content like WHQ ACG.
- For more than 2 players, you'll need 2 core sets, and I'm not so sure just 1 will be sufficient for 1-2 players.
- This will be a $30ish game they'll sell for $45ish and the expansion packs will go for $15 with no guarantee you'll need only 1 expansion pack only.
- The campaign bit will mean they'll do a reset and new campaign after like 6-12 months. So, your old cards may not be usable for the new campaign.
- The first campaign will be sort of meh, but it'll be decent enough to hook you into at least finishing the campaign.
I guess I don't blame them for trying to make an easy buck. I just wish I wasn't so pessimistic about it because I think it might be a decent product with decent value if done right.
wadenels wrote: Also, Twilight Imperium has space lions in shrouds and space snapping turtles. Is that really something that needs an extended universe?
They made sure to put a "Pleasure District" on the map of Mecatol Rex....don't tell me you don't want to know more about the on-goings of this universe now??!!?
But I'm trying to think of any board game title that has actually worked to establish its own world really well, and I'm coming up empty. (Others might disagree, and I'd love to be proven wrong.) The very nature of board games, which have a limited ruleset and require players to be "on board" before they work, means that the world kind of has to be in place in the player's mind before the game really pay off in that regard. It's not just as simple as FFG using their own IP, because as others have noted those IPs almost all exist in a medium that is perhaps not very well-suited to world-building.
RPGs and minis games have it a little differently, since they rely far more on flavor text and background information. They also rely on player choice to give those actions meaning, something that I think is also true of board games. The difference is that RPGs and minis game provide a much bigger space to play there. Watching "Stranger Things" this weekend, I was reminded that for a lot of D&D players the world itself is kind of secondary. It's more what the players can create on their own as they go. Maybe that means that board games have a little more world-building capability in a more sandbox-style format, like Duel of Ages II.
I dunno, I'm rambling a bit here. But my point is, I suspect that established IPs are so effective because board games are not particularly well-suited to world-building.
Which is a roundabout way of saying that board games with FR settings are an immediate turn-off for me, while other generic settings may not be.
*I liked Greyhawk, and my AD&D was loosely arranged around that.
Same with RPGs actually, although in that hobby it's more of a recognized problem -- usually referred to as "game designer as frustrated novelist" or something similar.
And Forgotten Realms is terrible.
wadenels wrote: It's great that FFG is leveraging the IPs that it has access to. We've had better Star Wars and Old World games from FFG than we've probably ever had. They don't need an in-house universe to be legit. But it they go the in-house IP route they best do better than Terrinoth.
It's funny. I think making a movie for your RPG is a great way to immerse folks into your background and lore. People will buy into it more because the format allows some suspension of disbelief..
But if your writers suck, then you have a very expensive lesson.
Enter Midnight. An expensive lesson indeed.
Then they made Terrinoth, which is arguably worse than the Midnight setting. Even for generic fantasy, it just gets a resounding yawn.
Im glad they seemed to have stopped trying and instead have just used other peoples successful IP.
Android has promise though. Its a genre that hasnt been beaten to death like the others.
dysjunct wrote: And Forgotten Realms is terrible.
Ive thought about this a lot for the last 20+ years, and I think I figured out why if its disliked, that a setting like greyhawk is seen in a better light by those that dislike it..
Greyhawk gave you just enough for you to make it yours. Greyhawk put you in control with some gentle prodding to inspire you.
Forgotten realms rams their shit down your throat about how important and unique it is, even though it's the syfy channel version of greyhawk.
"We have drow! We Have temple of elemental evil (now with less elemental evil)! We have all this resource material to tell you precisely what stuff looks like and sounds like! We stole everything from greyhawk, and added a a harness and collar for you to wear while you ingest the pure "product" feeling of this product.
Ive never like FR, despite some laudable traits such as waterdeep and the Undermountain campaign. The setting as a whole is a creative misfire because they took the generic, and tried to make it into their own specific and "unique" brand (see all these unpronouncable names? Copyright, bishes!). Just like terrinoth.
The Realms, OTOH, had a fair amount of depth and history attached to its place names and had relatable motivations for many of its nations. The world-spanning evil organization was evil not because they were into death and torture but because they were into money. The Zhentarim spent most of their efforts trying to secure caravan routes. Amn was in a trade war with Waterdeep, not only from a natural rivalry, but because the thieves' guild had been expelled and taken root somewhere else. The Realms always struck me as far less Standard Encounter* than Greyhawk. People are decrying it for being "vanilla" but this was 1985. There weren't that many fantasy worlds out there that weren't Tolkien or Moorcock. Unless you wanted something with an unusual flavor like Dark Sun, this was the setting for your fantasy campaigns. It's like someone watching Casablanca now and complaining about how it's filled with cliches.
*"You enter a room. It has an ogre and a treasure chest."
"No evidence that the ogre, for some reason, lives here in this 16x16 room with a treasure chest?"
"Or maybe why he'd choose to live way out here in a haunted castle that no one, especially no prey, ever comes to?"
"It's the next encounter, OK?"