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It Came From the Tabletop! - Year One Retrospective (Part 1)

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It Came From the Tabletop! - Year One Retrospective (Part 1)
There Will Be Games

We go back through the games we played and talked about and give an update on where we stand on them, as well as induct a few into the newly founded yet very prestigious ICFTT Hall of Fame.

Support us on Patreon!

Intro/Outro by Minibosses!

Also, if it isn't obvious, we're recording via voice chat for the first time while we do the right thing and maintain social distancing.  Please bear with us while we don't sound quite as good!

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 ThereWillBe.Games 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.

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Articles & Poscasts by Josh

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Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #308832 02 Apr 2020 16:41
World of Warcraft The Board Game did not have that much down time.

There's a maintenance aspect to the game, but frankly, that's what you do when the other team is taking their turn. There's action you do after your turn and action you do before your turn and that fills an awful lot of your opponent's turn.

There's a lot of games that have this kind of thing. When me and my buddies play Merchant of Venus we more or less are all taking our turns at the same time, where we use the movement part of the turn to keep in sync. You have to let the guy before you finish moving because he may beat you to a spot. But then after that you do your movement while he's finishing his melf pelt business and with any luck the guy due to go after you has cleaned up his unloading and loading prior to you handing him the dice and starting your own business.

Oh, and Josh, you do actually hate Scythe. Everyone hates Scythe, it's just a matter of time. If I can quote a man of great wisdom, "let the hate flow through you."
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #308836 02 Apr 2020 18:30
I listened to this while assembling my fancy insert for Firefly.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #308843 02 Apr 2020 21:43
It's weird but I file Mysterium as one of those great experiences but I don't need to own it. It thrives on new blood and unique cards. It's a great event but not a great game.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #308844 02 Apr 2020 22:03

WadeMonnig wrote: It's weird but I file Mysterium as one of those great experiences but I don't need to own it. It thrives on new blood and unique cards. It's a great event but not a great game.


We’d been playing Obscurio (the latest from that designer) before things went south. Fantastic game, best one yet.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #308851 03 Apr 2020 08:01

Sagrilarus wrote: World of Warcraft The Board Game did not have that much down time.


It was actually my first FFG game, and if memory serves correctly, my first hobby game. That’s a pretty tall order for an entry point, so much to manage, so yeah, our downtime with even two players was pretty steep.

I’m sure with more experience I would have eventually said, “Okay, you can start your turn while I do this,” but that’s never sat well with me. Not sure why, just one of those things, like Al with writing down locations in hidden movement games, it just rubs me the wrong way.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #308852 03 Apr 2020 08:49
If you were playing 2-player that adds to some of the issue as well, as team play allows you to discuss and debate what action to take on the following turn while your opponents are carrying out their turn. This part is fully separate from the idea of letting turns overlap, because it's just about planning for your next action.

As for not being comfortable with concurrent turns, well, that's something that is going to increase play time. My guys are very comfortable with it. When we play Merchant of Venus the downtime comes when you're finished with your turn and the guy to your right (i.e., all the way around the horn) hasn't finished moving yet. But that's us, and games like Merchant of Venus or World of Warcraft allow for that. In games with tighter player coupling you just can't. You need to see where the guy before you finished.

I'm a big fan of team games, as I think they bring a lot of camaraderie to the play while still providing the challenge of a living breathing opponent (or two). World of Warcraft The Board Game really brings out the teamy goodness. Multiple players on the same side actually reduce downtime in this title, because there's plenty to talk about, both with leveling up and with next steps. I think this could be done better in a version 2 or another game of this scope, but I think "WoWTBG" was a great step in the right direction. Alas, very few designers following suit. I don't think there's much of a market for team games. Kinda sucks for me.
Josh Look's Avatar
Josh Look replied the topic: #308855 03 Apr 2020 09:56
Team games are entirely underrated. All the camaraderie of a co-op with the satisfaction of going against a person rather than systems. Al and I have a team mode in the Kaiju game, and I feel like I see team play variants included in games frequently, but never as the default mode of play. We need more, I say.

Don’t get me wrong, I will go along with starting the next turn before the current is technically over, I also value my time, but it wasn’t as much of a through that had occurred to me way back when (also, we were so new to hobby games that help every step of the way was more a thing) and I still don’t care for it now. Might be the type of games prone to it. Who knows, just isn’t my thing, plain and simple.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #308860 03 Apr 2020 12:48
We always practiced "start before turn is over" in Firefly in regards to buying cards as a last action.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #308862 03 Apr 2020 13:14
I'm conflicted on "play before turn is over" approaches. I see so many people complaining about "downtime" between turns when I never really understood that phenomenon. I'm actively interested in what people are doing on their turn because 1) it affects what I'm going to do on my turn (or, at least, it does if the game is any good); and, 2) it lets me know how they play. You know what I'm doing on "someone else's turn" during a poker game? Watching every move they make. Same thing applies in most other games. My entertainment isn't limited to my actively doing something and my approach to strategy definitely isn't, either. That said, if there are basic bookkeeping things to be doing on your turn before you're making moves that will impact me, then, sure, go ahead and do that stuff while I'm finishing up.

Agree with Josh that team games are underrated. Being something of an alpha gamer at the table, I've tried to curb that instinct for a while now and team games are a good way to do it. You don't want to ride roughshod over your teammate, since you're supposed to be doing things together (which appeals to my Marxist nature, anyway.) You don't want them being reluctant to speak up at a time when they might have an idea you haven't considered.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #308891 03 Apr 2020 19:59

Jackwraith wrote: My entertainment isn't limited to my actively doing something and my approach to strategy definitely isn't, either. That said, if there are basic bookkeeping things to be doing on your turn before you're making moves that will impact me, then, sure, go ahead and do that stuff while I'm finishing up.


Well said. If the game is entertaining enough, I should enjoy seeing what happens to the other players and enjoy following the story that unfolds. Why is everybody in such a rush? I would rather enjoy a game fully than push through it just so that it is over more quickly. If there is less time available, play a shorter game. . .

Also, I'm surprised to hear Sag say he enjoys WoW the Board game, mostly because I don't think I've ever heard anybody say that. Ever.
Sagrilarus's Avatar
Sagrilarus replied the topic: #308892 03 Apr 2020 20:12

engineer Al wrote: Also, I'm surprised to hear Sag say he enjoys WoW the Board game, mostly because I don't think I've ever heard anybody say that. Ever.


There was likely some alcohol involved.

I really did enjoy it. I think I played it three or four times. But I'm perfectly happy sitting down to one game for the entire evening.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #308895 03 Apr 2020 23:41

Sagrilarus wrote: But I'm perfectly happy sitting down to one game for the entire evening.


Totally (he says, while having just traded a complete set of TI3...) When my regular 2-player partner was around, there were so many wargames that we'd just spend three hours playing on a weeknight. So many block games, like Sekigahara... Man, I miss those days.
hotseatgames's Avatar
hotseatgames replied the topic: #308897 04 Apr 2020 09:30
My favorite team games are Guards of Atlantis and Captain Sonar. At some point this year, Guards has a sequel coming to KS. I was supposed to help out on it but I’m not sure if that will happen. My own projects kind of blew up.
engineer Al's Avatar
engineer Al replied the topic: #308904 04 Apr 2020 14:47

hotseatgames wrote: My own projects kind of blew up.


Well THAT sucks! Do you mean "blew up" or "on hold" till we reach the other side?