Thank you for taking the time to reply, it doesn’t come off as defensive at all. I could tell from the audience reaction that there are a lot of people who love this game so I am interested in their perspective.
Did Rob and Austin really happen to roll/make a bunch of characters that are all slightly jerkish, both in their base personality and their relationships? I understand that Quidbarn was the sort of blunt/inconsiderate type and it’s fine to have that kind of character, but I remember all of them having moments of this. Likewise, I understand that some characters were set up to be rivals, but the vibe that produced was mostly low key hidden disdain, when rivalry can also express itself in other interpersonal ways. Like I said, more like office workers who secretly hate each other but have to cooperate, as opposed to for example the trope of frenemies or rivals with grudging respect etc.
You mention D&D and that’s actually a comparison we had while trying to figure out why we don’t like the writing, and “D&D group where the players aren’t friends” was one of the things that were said.
Now what you mention makes me curious what happens when you create more friendships and romances and how that impacts the tone. Still though, I wouldn’t think that a pool of what, 6-7 characters would be such a thin slice of options that it dominated the tone and couldn’t show off what else the writing could be.
And yeah, I definitely would like to see the game played in one of the campaigns you mentioned as more deeply written. Pre-existing relationships sounds like something that would make it work better.
As with combat, I don’t think I am missing special mission types or objective oriented missions. Like I said before, this is heavily coloured by me comparing it to XCOM, both because of the previous tactical tuesdays campaign and my own recent playthrough of WOTC, which is obviously not a fair comparison to make.
But I think what makes XCOM strong is that it is an encounter based system: you encounter a bunch of enemies, you have to deal with them, and managing the risk the enemies pose is the central point of tension. Not just in the sense that you need to figure out which enemies provide the greatest threat compared to how you can eliminate threat (as in, a kill priority list). But also that for every enemy in play, you have to know some way to deal with them if they even pose any threat at all.
Wildermyth doesn’t really have that, it is more about taking enemies off the board efficiently while sustaining non-fatal amounts of damage. I think part of the problem is the smaller game board, combined with the fact that keeping your units close is rewarded (while XCOM penalises it because of grenades). You can concentrate your strength and usually bring it to bear on whatever enemy you want to prioritise. While in XCOM your team being forced to spread out a bit means that you also have to weigh how different units are able to deal with different enemies to different degrees.
Again, not all of what XCOM is doing is available to a small game with limited resources, but I think some design decisions needlessly pull Wildermyth into the wrong direction.
Of course, you say you prefer Wildermyth’s “can you take on this map of enemies” approach to XCOM’s “can you take on this sequence of isolated encounters” approach, so it’s clearly a matter of taste, and good tactics can come into play for both of them. I just think the encounter based approach has higher tension and higher spikes, and is more suitable to make captivating streaming.
Hm. Now I’m coming away from this wanting to see another Wildermyth Tuesday campaign, just to challenge some of my criticisms a bit more.