Mysterium depends so much on how well you know your friends… In my case, knowing that all my friends were English lit majors in college have helped in interpreting some of their symbolism. Other times, I’m convinced that red = apple = snake, and that’s just plain wrong
Have you played Witness? It’s got some of the deductive aspects of Consulting Detective, but distills them down into 15 minute chunks where the barrier is communication. It’s really excellent, and can get “non-gamers” in really easily, only downside is it requires exactly 4 people.
The thing that gets me with codenames a bunch is I just focus in on the words I have and not so much the ones around them. Then I bust out what I think is an amazing clue and oh shit that’s like half the ones on the board
I have not! I’ll have to give it a look when the price comes down. Thanks for the recommendation!
Also, thanks for air quoting non-gamers, as I realize I hate that phrase and am going to edit it out of my original post
It’s a weird thing, especially with boardgames, 'cause I feel like there are a bunch of people who are completely experienced with boardgames but play a lot of vidjagames or vice versa, or only play certain games without wide experience.
I recently got a copy of the 2016 version of Roborally (this one, not the old one with the red box). I played the original version once a while back, and I was a little worried that the new one wouldn’t be quite as fun based off of some stuff I’d read online.
Thankfully, I actually like most of the changes that were made. The start/respawn rules are a little less interesting (for those who have played the original, they got rid of “virtual mode”, so no more phasing through obstacles for your first turn), but every other mechanic feels like it’s been improved tremendously. I especially like how the game deals with damage and rebooting; gone is the super harsh life meter and three respawn limit, having been replaced by damage cards that, over time, will flood your draw pile and make it harder for you to control your robot.
Overall, it just feels like the new version lets the gameplay be more about racing to reach all the checkpoints (the actual win condition) and less about trying to avoid getting blown to bits by map hazards. It lowers the skill floor enough to make the game easier for newbies without sacrificing too much in the way of depth for veterans. Very solid game, and I’ve really enjoyed the few games I’ve played of it so far.
I’ve never actually played Roborally, but I did see a life size version of it at GenCon a few years ago and it looked amazing. Is it a difficult game to get into?
So I’ve got a bit of a board game/card game question. Generally, it’s ‘how do you feel about board games that use cultural iconography and history while the game’s designers and distributors are not at all related to that culture?’
I’ve been thinking about it a lot thanks to the upcoming Legend of the Five Rings, a card game set in “a mystical pan-Asian samurai pastiche”, is being resurrected by Fantasy Flight Games. I’m unfamiliar with the source material, but a new LCG from FFG with some new mechanics means I’ve already pre-ordered the core set to give it a try.
I’ve been reading a lot about the game’s history, the way its plot was shaped by its players, and some of the drama surrounding the game. At first, I was very excited about the game, but as I’ve continued to learn about it, something’s been surprising me: It seems there isn’t an Asian presence in the design, production, or play of the game. My understanding is the game was designed by John Wick and published by an American publisher out of California. The designer is Nate French with Fantasy Flight Games out of Minnesota. I was surprised I’ve only found one article touching on my concerns - from 2014 dealing with an American card game trading in Asian cultural touchstones and stereotypes. What’s more, in the few tournament videos I caught, there did not appear to be a significant Asian player community. None of these things necessarily means there’s anything wrong with the franchise, but I was hoping there might be some Waypoint friends who might be able to tell me their own experiences with the game.
I’m very willing to believe I’m missing something, but as I’ve done more research, the game doesn’t sit well with me - it appears L5R is a game defined by it’s Asian setting with little to no game design or production done by Asians or Asian Americans. When I’m looking at a card game like this, it’s usually something I hope to spend a great deal of time with, marinating with the cards, the mechanics, and the flavor. With this release, I’m not feeling as comfortable with the game’s development as I’d hope to.
Do any of you have experiences with L5R? Did you have reservations about the original version? Am I being ridiculous for even worrying about this? Am I missing some examples of Asian influence in the development process?
I think about this A LOT. It first caught my eye back when Five Tribes came out, and when I started looking for it, I found this kind of appropriation everywhere I looked. Even subtle things like the “colonists” in Puerto Rico turned my stomach a bit.
It’s good that you bring up the Five Rings game, because that one immediately set off the bells for me. I absolutely don’t think you’re being ridiculous - far and away the two biggest problems I have with the board games industry are the rampant sexism/toxicity and the cultural appropriation. I see Asian cultures as the target of this quite a lot, but I don’t think any are so heavily abused as Middle Eastern cultures - you practically can’t talk about any genre of board games without mentioning a classic title that uses Middle Eastern iconography and design. The worst part is that these games have such solid mechanics that they could be set in a totally fictional fantasy world or sci-fi setting without losing any quality - though the argument of mechanical quality vs aesthetic quality (gamefeel??) is another one entirely.
So, in short - I feel you. It’s rampant and it’s gross and not enough people are talking about it in the industry (imo).
Has anyone tried the Bloodborne game? I’m real curious how that turned out
Yay! Boardgames! They seem to be the only thing that I own besides clothes that take up the most space at my house!
Currently I’m really enjoying the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game (it even got me to read the books! Eagerly awaiting the expansions. A very fast-paced hand management brain-burner), Scythe (Love the world, although mainly because it has Mechs in it. Mainly play the solo version) , Arkham Horror: The Card Game, (very good thematic game, while also being strategically interesting.), and Gloomhaven (a HUGE game, also a very cool tactical hand management game. I mainly like it because it’s a fantasy world that doesn’t really rely on Tolkein inspiration too much) . I really like co-op games, as I am a lonely person, and co-ops allow me to play by myself.
Has anybody else played these games? If so what do you all think?
It’s actually not that hard to get into. The trickiest things to wrap your head around are:
Turning action cards (ie. “turn left” and “turn right”) are all done relative to your robot, not to you. So like, if you’re sitting facing north, and your robot is on the board facing south, adding a “turn left” action to your queue will turn the robot so it faces east. This can trip you up when you’re first learning the game, and you will have at least one turn ruined in your first game by spinning the wrong way. I wish they had changed the cards so they gave the turn directions as clockwise/counterclockwise in the new version, but it’s not too big of a deal once you get used to it.
The order in which things play out. Action priority can be a big deal, and it can be difficult to remember the exact order that events fire in. It roughly goes Player Actions->Stage Hazards->Scoring/Bonuses, but the exact order players act in can change after every single action in a round, so you have to check the player order at the start of every single action phase. Stage hazard activation order is always the same, but there’s just a lot of stuff to keep track of on the board. Thankfully, the manual has a nice page near the back dedicated to hazard order, so you’re pretty much fine if you just leave that open the whole game.
As with any board game, it’s best if your first time playing is with someone who has played before, just so someone with no experience doesn’t have to try and keep track of all the stuff in point 2. Having said that, if you’re an experienced board gamer, it shouldn’t be too hard to pick up and play after skimming through the manual once. Other than the event order stuff, the game is very rules light, and you could easily play a whole game without consulting the manual for anything other than the activation order for stage hazards.
I played a round of Scythe with my partner (we got a lot of rules wrong) and enjoyed it, but never tried the solo mode. I was impressed that they actually contracted out that aspect to another group - so I’m not surprised it stands up well. I also played a bit of the Arkham Horror card game, and while it’s another good iteration on the Arkham/Elder/Eldritch series (is there a good name for those?) I find that they’re kind of just going down the path of “it’s really hard and you’ll never win” which gets a little old for me after awhile. The latest Elder Sign expansion was like that for me too - even with optimal play and some pretty above-the-expected rolling, we got turned out pretty quickly. I cut my teeth as a board gamer on the hardscrabble style of Arkham Horror, so this isn’t new to me, but then maybe that’s why I’ve drifted away from it in general.
Awesome! I might have to check that out sometime. Thanks for the quick overview!
I LOVE Scythe. A bunch of friends and myself recently went to a small board game con in NH and played it like 3-4 times. The last time, we did it as a team game, which there are unofficial rules out there for and we house ruled some stuff. That was one of the most intense games of it we have played. It really came right down to the line, and two or three quick moves led us to victory. It was a great feeling!
I too have been playing Arkham Horror TCG and really dig it. I own Arkham Horror, which was fun until we play Eldritch Horror which I enjoy WAY more. It feels like a better, streamlined, somewhat less monster heavy version of AH. Elder Sign is fun too, I mostly play it on mobile, but its just AH: The Dice Game basically.
I think those games tend to live or die on how much you (or your group) loves the thematic elements over game play sometimes.The first time we play Eldritch horror, we totally turned down the lights, lit candles, found some cosmic horror soundtrack and really got into it haha. It definitely offset how hard it was because we were just having a ton of fun reading the little blurbs and “living” in that world. Because you are totally right, those games can be BRUTAL, but we go back to them time and time again.
Right on time! I just posted this on r/boardgames and was immediately booted out, so:
I grew up loving Warhammer and 40k, MTG, and DnD. In my late 20’s though, there is absolutely no way I could devote that sort of time/resources to a table top game,but desperately want to get back in to it.
Any hot reccos for a game that meets the following criteria?
- Strategy, or preferably tactics based
- Low time-to-setup
- Aesthetically rich
- I’d be interested in self-contained card games with the same criteria.
Boo. Hopefully we can help you out more than reddit heh!
We talked about it above, but check out Arkham Horror: The Card Game (if you are into that sort of theme!). It can be played solo, which for someone with not a lot of time, might be a pretty good thing! The game itself too is a pretty neat, scenario based on going story. It sort plays like a light Choose Your Own Adventure too when you finish a scenario. You earn XP at the end too, which lets you upgrade or add new cards to your character deck to make you stronger. It’s relatively quick and easy to play too! Again its not without some caveats. It can be BRUTAL on solo if you just play a single character. It’s also has that random factor to it that can instantly make or break a skill check for you and be really frustrating. That aside, I have been running through it solo and quite enjoying it.
Another option if you like 40k is maybe the X-Wing Miniatures Game? It’s heavy on the tactics and strategy and while the game itself takes 15-20 mins to set up (ie assembling your ships and such) you can always use the multitude of fleet building sites out there to help you pre-configure what you want to fly and upgrades to make it quicker than doing it at the start of the game. Plus if you like Star Wars it’s great to fly some iconic ships yourself! Again though, it’s a miniatures games which somewhat means money sink. I pretty much played a friends copy first, figured out I like flying Imperial and stuck to just buying those and its helped save me a ton haha.
Lastly if you like Deckbuilding games, maybe check out anything in the Legendary line of games. They too can be played solo, or with a group as a co-op game.
Hopefully that helps a bit haha!
Holy cow - thank you so much for the detailed response! I really appreciate it and your time.
While I’m not a huge Star Wars guy, Arkham Horror sounds right up my alley. I love Lovecraft (his writing, at least…) and this format looks really cool to me. I’ll give it a go and report back.
Anytime! Yea, the whole run of Akrham games are pretty fun and full of great theme and story stuff IMO. There is already a few “Mythos” packs (smaller single scenarios) as well as bigger campaign stuff out too.
The other thing I kinda love about FFG and this game, is that it’s considered part of their “Living Card Game” run of games. Basically unlike say MTG where you would need to buy booster pack after booster pack hoping to get the one card you want, when you buy an expansion pack for these LCG’s, EVERYONE else who buys it gets the SAME cards. Now, its not that big of a deal with AH:TCG because it’s a co-op game but in something like say, Netrunner (another game I HIGHLY suggest if you can find someone else to play with) it keeps things a bit more balanced, and doesn’t feel like such a money sink if you are short on cash. Both the base games of AH and Netrunner come with enough cards and variety though that you can go a while without needing to touch expansions or whatnot unless you want to.
Whoa. Netrunner looks dope. I know Idle Thumbs hosts an entire podcast about it, but I’ve never given it a thought. Maybe I’ll jump.