It Came From the Tabletop! - Star Wars: Outer Rim and War Chest

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It Came From the Tabletop! - Star Wars: Outer Rim and War Chest

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
Star Wars: Outer Rim, War Chest

Game Information

There Will Be Games

A Star Wars pick up and deliver game, an abstract bag building game, the story of how Josh and Al met and the beginning and end of the "relating games to albums era," all in one episode!  Punch it, Chewie!

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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Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #299960 23 Jul 2019 09:13
Also, thanks to Legomancer for the in-joke that fueled this episode!
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #299971 23 Jul 2019 15:47
Tell me calling Xia "euro" was another in-joke, because that's the most baffling thing I've heard in minutes. You roll for literally everything!

War Chest is super rad and it's getting an expansion soon! I give the edge to Root for "best of year" awards but they're so different from each other that that doesn't mean anything. I need to play it more.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #299973 23 Jul 2019 16:14
It’s far from Euro, but it did strike me as dry and bland. I should said that it feels like the “smartest” pick up and deliver game around, but Euro is what came out of my mouth. Also, in comparison to something like Firefly or even M&M, which feel more like pure AT games, felt like more of a hybrid to me. One of those slip ups you make in podcasting but can’t really go back and fix what you were trying to say without cutting the whole bit out, which I also didn’t want to do. But yeah that game does nothing for me.

Optimization and efficiency is the heart of any game in the genre, which is what Xia is all about, but for what ever reason there was nothing else in it that really hooked me or drew me in. I dunno, the generic space pirate/merchant thing did not click with me. I’ve only played it once and maybe I need to try it again, but I haven’t felt much desire to revisit it.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #299984 24 Jul 2019 00:05
Enjoyed the ep. Was kind of shocked to hear how much uba liked Outer Rim!
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #299986 24 Jul 2019 01:16

Gary Sax wrote: Was kind of shocked to hear how much uba liked Outer Rim!


Why? I love Merchants of Venus and Talisman. Outer Rim is the perfect melding of the two.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #299990 24 Jul 2019 07:39
It’s a much better game than early reviewers have said.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #299991 24 Jul 2019 08:57

Josh Look wrote: It’s a much better game than early reviewers have said.


Nah.

And I would say Xia is one of the adventure games least focused on efficiency. I mean, you score a VP for rolling a 20, can blow up mining, it rewards you for player combat, can blind jump into the sun, you roll for movement, etc.

Anyone who's invested in carefully planning out their turn and maximizing actions will flip the table.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #299992 24 Jul 2019 09:44

charlest wrote:

Josh Look wrote: It’s a much better game than early reviewers have said.


Nah.


I know three people who severely disagree.
charlest's Avatar
charlest replied the topic: #299993 24 Jul 2019 09:53

Josh Look wrote:

charlest wrote:

Josh Look wrote: It’s a much better game than early reviewers have said.


Nah.


I know three people who severely disagree.


Sure, I play with other people too.

One guy was anticipating this game more than any other this year and was hoping I wouldn't like it, as I'd likely just give it to him. By the end of our first play he removed it from his wishlist and was very disappointed.

Your taste probably perplexes me the most on TWBG Josh (I'm sure people may say the same about my own, though). I feel there are things we strongly agree upon, but then there are several games that we are so wildly divergent it's difficult to grasp.

Not trying to be a dick or anything, just returning your jab at "early reviewers" with my own poke.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #299994 24 Jul 2019 09:55
The early reviewer I had in mind was Man vs Meeple. Though, to call the hack job they did on the game a review is being generous.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #299995 24 Jul 2019 10:23
To call anything Man vs Meeple does a review is being kind. Really well produced commercials though. I see why they get paid The Big Bucks.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #299996 24 Jul 2019 11:42
Josh perplexes me too wrt my personal taste! But then I have weirdly similar taste to charlest. The pod still totally works for me, fwiw, this is not a criticism of the material.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #299998 24 Jul 2019 12:09
I like what I like.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #300002 24 Jul 2019 13:10
I can't get over Shellie not liking Inis ;)
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #300004 24 Jul 2019 14:36
As an aside, since I haven't played Outer Rim (I only know one person who owns it and the last time he was here, we played Cthulhu Wars instead), I have to say that I was kind of blown away by the quality of War Chest and agreed with pretty much everything you two said about it.

It's not just the game. The components and production are really remarkable. The heft of the coins/units, the quality of the emblems on the lined(!) bags, the box with the magnetic clasp in which everything fits perfectly. I'm not usually prone to commenting on production values outside of artwork and minis quality, since most games are delivered in standard sized boxes and with components that are as nice as needed to deliver an experience. But this one is just leaps and bounds above most others for such a simple and elegant game. The thought and planning that clearly went into things as simple as the unit tray and the box speaks highly of Alderac/Gigamic.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #300008 24 Jul 2019 16:23

WadeMonnig wrote: I can't get over Shellie not liking Inis ;)


I think she likes stuff that is either on the far end of the stupid scale or stuff that’s really heavy. Most games in the middle she tends to come away saying why bother.

I don’t even understand my own tastes, but I will say that I typically will revisit things I have an initial deep disliking for and find that I actually really like it a lot. It’s happened more times than I can count, Spirit Island, Agricola, Scythe, the list goes on and on. Not sure why this is, but it happens.

Xia was not a game that really turned me off, so I’m not sure if I’d come around on it or not, but what I’m saying as for it feeling dry to me is that I just could not get into the gameworld. I think that’s important to me when it comes to adventure games and why I like so few of them. I need to connect with the setting because none of these games really have any mechanics that make me sit back and say, “Now THAT is a fucking idea.” While there are certain themes that are an immediate turnoff for me, there really isn’t another genre that lived or dies by this, and I think that’s due to my RPG roots as discussed in the previous episode. What does impress me is when a design can trim out the bullshit, which Outer Rim does super super well, as does Runebound 3e. When you start making those broad cuts to things long thought to be inalienable from a games genre, that’s when you start to find some things that might actually be more brilliant than they look at first glance.

I played Outer Rim again for a fourth time since recording this and I like it even more now. What’s there works well and the quality of life improvements over Firefly are significant enough for me to say that I prefer OR. I think I said it on the show, but even though this is a long game, it values my time in ways Firefly does not.

I forgot to say on there, and I know Charlie disagrees with this, but I really like the NPC ships. The way they move is quick, easy, and they do get in the way of the players in meaningful ways. They don’t go to war with each other, and not only is that fine but I *love* that choice. This is not the story of the Empire vs the Rebellion and I don’t want to deal with that overhead bullshit. This is my story of being a smuggler or a bounty hunter or an assassin or whatever. Your alignment with these factions and their enemies are the only thing that the game should address and it does.
Gary Sax's Avatar
Gary Sax replied the topic: #300013 24 Jul 2019 17:12
Interesting point about game world/setting. I can go either way. I can go generic like Xia or deeply grounded like the Pax games or a licensed star wars game pretty easily. Both can still be really thematic to me in play.

I think my ultimate fusion of these is Shadows of Malice, which is sort of generic (roll up all your enemy monsters) but in practice is extremely thematic in setting via its combination with your items, magical tools and weapons, etc.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #300014 24 Jul 2019 17:15
I tend to be able to get into generic fantasy easier than I do generic sci-fi. And Shadows of Malice is evocative AF. It has the look of an old NES Zelda map. Love the art direction in that game.
mc's Avatar
mc replied the topic: #300018 25 Jul 2019 02:13
Josh, if Outer Rim was generic a la Xia, would it knock Firefly off the perch for you still? You know, like, if it was a Roxy Music cover band (or Rush.... dammit, I can't remember which one you said now heh). Genuine question though.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #300023 25 Jul 2019 07:43
Maybe, maybe not. The un-fun stuff in Firefly was really starting to drag it down for me, so maybe I would appreciate a generic space game that removed those parts and tightened everything else up?
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #300029 25 Jul 2019 11:23
For me it might as well have been a generic space setting, as I was unfamiliar with the part of the Star Wars Universe it is set in. I think if you are more familiar with the characters, planets and politics of the setting it might inform some of your choices, but I didn’t feel like I was at a significant disadvantage not being familiar with them.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #300072 26 Jul 2019 01:25
Played Outer Rim today at WBC and had an awesome time. Continuing to LOVE this game!
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #300122 27 Jul 2019 11:19
I played it yet again last night.

Guess what?

I still love it, it’s still awesome and we easily could have set it right back up
and played again.