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It Came From the Tabletop! - Western Legends and Thunder Road

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It Came From the Tabletop! - Western Legends and Thunder Road

Podcast Details

Description
Join Josh and Al as they talk about what games they just played, going beyond mere reviews and into mechanics, genres and where games fit in the hobby itself.
Topics
Western Legends, Thunder Road

Game Information

Go get the rope, boys!  Josh and Al talk about Western Legends and manage to not say the "S-word," but totally fail to not make Bruce Springsteen jokes when they chat about Thunder Road.

Intro and outro music by Minibosses!

There Will Be Games

Josh Look (He/Him)
Staff Podcaster

One night during the summer of 1997, Josh Look's cool uncle who owned a comic shop taught him how to play Magic the Gathering. The game set off his imagination in a way that he could not sleep that night, and he's been fascinated by games ever since. He spent many afternoons during his high school years skipping homework to play Dungeons & Dragons and paint Warhammer minatures, going on to discover hobby board games in his early 20s. He's been a writer for Fortress Ameritrash and is the creator and co-host of the geek culture podcast, The Wolfman's Lounge. He enjoys games that encourage a heavy amount of table talk and those that explore their themes beyond just their settings.

Articles and Podcasts by Josh

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Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #296700 07 May 2019 08:44
I support Merchants and Marauders as an adventure game.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #296712 07 May 2019 11:05

Legomancer wrote: I support Merchants and Marauders as an adventure game.


(Insert bearded man nodding in approval gif)

The official ICFTT t-shirt will read this on the back in big font.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #296725 07 May 2019 14:45

Legomancer wrote: I support Merchants and Marauders as an adventure game.


SANDBOX!!!!! (There, see what you made me do. . .)
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #296728 07 May 2019 16:17

Josh Look wrote:

Legomancer wrote: I support Merchants and Marauders as an adventure game.


(Insert bearded man nodding in approval gif)

The official ICFTT t-shirt will read this on the back in big font.

Is "Drunken Adults" taken?
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #296729 07 May 2019 16:36
If anyone is good with the tools to make it happen and is willing to make up an “ICFTT Sandwhich of Approval” graphic, LMK.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #296740 07 May 2019 19:46
I bet you could make a copy of Thunder Road pretty cheaply.
Legomancer's Avatar
Legomancer replied the topic: #296759 08 May 2019 08:00
ICFTT microbadge now available: www.boardgamegeek.com/microbadge/46838
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #296771 08 May 2019 09:51

Legomancer wrote: ICFTT microbadge now available: www.boardgamegeek.com/microbadge/46838


SWEET! I'm sportin' mine right now!
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #296793 08 May 2019 12:41
Got mine!
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #296830 08 May 2019 23:33
I adore it when Al is very agreeable but then quietly turns the corner... "actually, you're wrong, some of the characters do determine your strategy..."
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #296833 09 May 2019 02:03
Your coverage of Western Legends finally enticed me to listen to one of your podcasts -- well done. Just another thing I have to add to "list of shit to keep up with", which is becoming much too long.

Westerns and Oil games might be my favorite two themes/settings, and I am always on the lookout for a new game. Part of me found your take on Western Legends refreshing -- matching my enthusiasm after my first few plays. Since then, my excitement has waned (although, I will keep playing since it is still probably the best Western game).

Some thoughts:

- At first, I liked the fact that the poker cards played a role in almost all of the task resolutions. The nice thing is, as you mentioned, is that it creates hard decisions about when to use which cards and what to use them for. However, regardless of how streamlined and modern it is, I think that eventually it gives a feeling of "sameness" to all the tasks that use the poker cards.

- I think that there were some missed opportunities to make the game feel more like a western. Namely, I think that the pick-up-and-deliver elements don't integrate well. The cattle rustling and cattle wrangling is somewhat monotonous and turns into an efficiency system.

- I think a missed opportunity would have been requiring Marshal players to get the bandits/outlaws they arrest back to town. While en route, other players should be able to disrupt them (this is something that the Life and Times of Wyatt Earp got right in 1958 -- probably the only thing, but satisfying none the less). Hell, how many episodes of Gunsmoke were literally just Marshall Dillon trying to get someone back to town safely so they could stand trial.

- The expansions are almost a necessity. They really should have just been included.

- As you guys bring up, the minis are just bizarre in that they don't match up.

- I wish the upgraded named items had slightly different effects instead of being identical. I don't know that this would an improvement on how the game plays, but it does give a bit more flavor/uniqueness to the game. Likewise, it would be nice if there were more variability in what it took to trigger the story cards.

Now these are just small complaints, it still is probably one of the best Western games out there. I put it up there with Gunslinger (which is shooting for a completely different feel).

As for Thunder Road, my almost 5-year old son is obsessed with it. He carefully unboxes it (I still have my copy I got for my 8th birthday in 1987) and sets it all up and makes his mom play when I'm at work....with rules that he makes up. We are just starting to incorporate the chopper rules -- really is just a great game.

We also are doing Battleball, Pac-man, and Bumper Cards. They've also been enjoying Curse of the Cobras...
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #296860 09 May 2019 12:27

Space Ghost wrote: Just another thing I have to add to "list of shit to keep up with".


Thanks for listening, Space! Glad we could make your list of "shit". . .

I'm interested in the games you mentioned when playing with your kids. I'm always looking for good games to play with my kids at school. Battleball has been a favorite for a while, but I've never heard of the rest that you mention. They seem to not exist on BGG, except for Curse of the Cobras which is owned by a total of 18 people. Where did you get these games? Are they ALL remnants of your childhood?
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #296867 09 May 2019 13:37

Gary Sax wrote: I adore it when Al is very agreeable but then quietly turns the corner... "actually, you're wrong, some of the characters do determine your strategy..."


Except that I was still right, just not about the first stages of the game.

Space Ghost, I think you’re right about a lot of what you listed. I was just thinking about how easy going to jail is and what I would have done if designing the game. I kind of came up empty handed. When we showed our Kaiju game to Matt a few months ago, something he said that lead to a lot of course correction is that dicking someone over or denying them can definitely be fun, but there’s a thin line between fun and bullshit. There’s definitely the sweet spot between those two things (and Intrigue is the living proof of it), but I do feel like arrest in Western Legends is done the best way it can be done. There’s definitely some tropes that can’t be mined there, but what would the outlaw player be doing on those turns where they’re brought to town? Dueling to get away? The marshal player would need a pretty killer hand to ensure they can hold them. Even then, the process would slow down advancement of not only the outlaw player, but the marshal. I think it would lead to less interaction if it were to take more time than it does, and that would _really_ hurt the game.

I find myself talking a lot about how clean and streamlined modern mechanics in thematic games are, but I feel like knowing where to abstract is the most important. This is what leads to games, not just this one, where every turn offers something that’s fun. Old games were streamlined, too, but not all of them could guarantee a fun option every turn. Modern games where the designer knew where to abstract, condense, and exclude all together when dealing with familiar territory are the ones that tend to impress me the most. We’ve been looking at certain subjects and settings in games for so long, it almost takes a leap of faith to work in such broad strokes. Civ: New Dawn is my poster child of this. It has no military units or a linear tech track and it’s certainly more abstract, and I would still play it over most other 4X games because it is so consistently fun each turn.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #296875 09 May 2019 14:59

Josh Look wrote:

Gary Sax wrote: I adore it when Al is very agreeable but then quietly turns the corner... "actually, you're wrong, some of the characters do determine your strategy..."


Except that I was still right, just not about the first stages of the game.


Yes, Josh was still right.

Except for where he was wrong. . .
trif's Avatar
trif replied the topic: #296882 09 May 2019 19:57
Just started really listening to this (and working my way through the previous podcasts.)

It's just enjoyable listening to you guys talk.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #297095 15 May 2019 14:46
My phone is informing me that the listeners of It Came From The Tabletop also listen to the Mindful Living Spiritual Awakening podcast. Thunder Road and Meditation, eh?
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #297107 15 May 2019 16:10
Listen, I'm just trying to get by day to day Sag.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #297110 15 May 2019 16:20

engineer Al wrote:

Space Ghost wrote: Just another thing I have to add to "list of shit to keep up with".


Thanks for listening, Space! Glad we could make your list of "shit". . .


More of a compliment than anything -- my list is long and most of it is work related, so nice distraction :)

I'm interested in the games you mentioned when playing with your kids. I'm always looking for good games to play with my kids at school. Battleball has been a favorite for a while, but I've never heard of the rest that you mention. They seem to not exist on BGG, except for Curse of the Cobras which is owned by a total of 18 people. Where did you get these games? Are they ALL remnants of your childhood?


How old are the kids at school? These are almost all remnants of my childhood in the 80s. Curse of the Cobras is like that game where you press the crocodile teeth and hope not to get bitten -- this is just much more charming and I would say exciting. Also, it has the Indiana Jones theme.

Bumper Cards should have been Bumper Cars -- my son likes it quite a bit, but right now, he is in to Daytona 500 with altered rules where everything is die rolls. We're using some exploding sixes and drafting. Finally broke down and took him to his first NASCAR race -- it was pretty cool. Made me appreciate Thunder Alley more.

We are probably going to play Key to the Kingdom soon and maybe Dark World -- I have all the expansions, so that should be an event.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #297112 15 May 2019 16:28

Josh Look wrote:

Gary Sax wrote: I adore it when Al is very agreeable but then quietly turns the corner... "actually, you're wrong, some of the characters do determine your strategy..."


Except that I was still right, just not about the first stages of the game.

Space Ghost, I think you’re right about a lot of what you listed. I was just thinking about how easy going to jail is and what I would have done if designing the game. I kind of came up empty handed. When we showed our Kaiju game to Matt a few months ago, something he said that lead to a lot of course correction is that dicking someone over or denying them can definitely be fun, but there’s a thin line between fun and bullshit. There’s definitely the sweet spot between those two things (and Intrigue is the living proof of it), but I do feel like arrest in Western Legends is done the best way it can be done. There’s definitely some tropes that can’t be mined there, but what would the outlaw player be doing on those turns where they’re brought to town? Dueling to get away? The marshal player would need a pretty killer hand to ensure they can hold them. Even then, the process would slow down advancement of not only the outlaw player, but the marshal. I think it would lead to less interaction if it were to take more time than it does, and that would _really_ hurt the game.


Played Western Legends a bit more and thought about this more. I think that it could be something that happens in the normal course of events. First, the Marshall gets 1 point for the arrest. Then, at the beginning of the next turn (after the arrest), the outlaw can attempt to escape (which I am sure could be resolved with the ubiquitous poker card system): (a) if he fails, then he goes to jail and the Marshal gets an additional LP, (b) if he succeeds, he gets 1 LP and can put his figure within a move of anywhere between where he was arrested and the jail. No added time to the arrest action, and adds a bit of push your luck to the escape attempt. If he doesn't make the attempt, he just goes to jail as the rules are written.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #297128 15 May 2019 21:56

Space Ghost wrote: How old are the kids at school?


I work with kids ages 6 through about 14. I've been using board games for years as a way to develop relationships with kids as well as to help them develop social skills. I'm always looking for fun, interesting games that can be played within about 30 minutes. Especially cooperative games.
Space Ghost's Avatar
Space Ghost replied the topic: #297133 16 May 2019 01:13
Cool -- here are some that might be neat

Eagle Eye Detective Agency -- I think it is great, especially for the older range of the age group you listed.

Caves and Claws -- it is an exploration game that is co-op. There's a "smelly sock" that you can encounter, kids usually love that.

Deap Sea Diver -- my brother and I played this to death when we were kids. Teaches teamwork so you can complete a dive and get some treasure.

Sky Travelers -- you are extra-terrestrials who have crashed on Earth and have to find parts to fix your ship.

Earth Game -- another game we played a lot with my cousins. Goal of this one was not to let World War break out. You still have to make trade agreements, deploy "Peace" armies to quell trouble areas.

These are all cooperative -- I had more when I was a kid, but these are the ones that survive (or at least that I have).
stormseeker75's Avatar
stormseeker75 replied the topic: #297135 16 May 2019 07:37
Guys, I love your banter. Your conversations are great.

PEAK LIMITER. You need this. When Al jumped up with a loud "Bang!" out of nowhere you damn near gave me a heart attack.

If you need help running the audio through something to reduce the peaks and valleys, I'm happy to help you. It's a simple process to flatten out the audio which will make it much more listenable.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #297140 16 May 2019 08:56

stormseeker75 wrote: Guys, I love your banter. Your conversations are great.

PEAK LIMITER. You need this. When Al jumped up with a loud "Bang!" out of nowhere you damn near gave me a heart attack.

If you need help running the audio through something to reduce the peaks and valleys, I'm happy to help you. It's a simple process to flatten out the audio which will make it much more listenable.


Hey -- it's about the content, man. These guys aren't some sellouts to the corporate sound, they send it raw and real. The day they start limiting their peaks is the day they become part of the corporate machine.

I have cassette tape copies if anybody needs one.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #297176 16 May 2019 13:07

stormseeker75 wrote: Guys, I love your banter. Your conversations are great.

PEAK LIMITER. You need this. When Al jumped up with a loud "Bang!" out of nowhere you damn near gave me a heart attack.

If you need help running the audio through something to reduce the peaks and valleys, I'm happy to help you. It's a simple process to flatten out the audio which will make it much more listenable.


I’ll get at you for the next one.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #297188 16 May 2019 17:42

Space Ghost wrote: Cool -- here are some that might be neat.


Awesome! Thanks so much, I will be checking these out!