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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-05-30 08:46am
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Zinegata wrote:
cadbrowser wrote:
I would imagine that i would start with the US as far as market goes; simply because I am in the US. But, there are many here who are so hung up on the idea that Evolution is of the devil ( :roll: ) that it may not fair that well). I was hoping that this could partially be loaded with interresting facts about evolution and it's mechanics towhere it can be geared towards the layperson so that they can learn something too. But, that would require a balance between fluff and fact.


Boardgames of this nature both in the US and Europe tend to be specialty games, with print runs in the thousands rather than the millions. I would not expect the Bible Thumper crowd to be an issue. Bios Megafauna for instance is a US game made for the US market.

Quote:
With these games that I have been given reference to check out...for those that have played them; what is the average time spent for these games to play out?


Most games nowadays average between 1-2 hours. A heavier game goes up to 4 hours. Any bigger and it's a a monster game that can take anywhere from 8 hours to 10 years to play. :twisted:


I am expecting that if I can put this game out there that it also would sell in the thousands...that is fine with me. Could Bios Megafauna do well in the European market?

I'm thinking that this would run about the same time as a munchkin game (2 hours max). Yeah...I know about MONSTER games... :lol: That's why I love playing D&D and Pathfinder (Table Top of course :twisted: )



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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-05-30 04:16pm
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@Zinegata
Yupp, played the spacethingie - found it more frustrating than fun though.

Game development is usually all about
Brainstorm - creation - playtest - fuck this - kill your darlings - rinse repeat.
Seems like he just misses the kill your darlings phase.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-05-30 05:30pm
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cadbrowser wrote:
Spoonist wrote:
Also isn't it very counterproductive to have a game about evolution where the goal would be to "counter" evolution by having a less "fit" hominid "win"?

:wtf: I don't think so. It's called hypothetical. I made that pretty clear in my initial post on this. Not sure why the negative nitpick. I don't see it any different than any of these other games suggested. Take Bios: Megafauna for example...according to their blurb on it you can create flying dolphins and other such things.
This is what I refered to above, you are defensive when there is no need. That was actual constructive feedback - wouldn't the game teach misconceptions about evolution rather than actual evolution, as you have described it so far? Like Megafauna does. Woudn't that be counterproductive to your goal?
Once the Last Glacial Maximum was over neanderthals couldn't compete with h sapiens. That is why they were wiped out.
cadbrowser wrote:
If a person learns how to utilize the mechanisms of evolution in the game the really who cares what species it's being used on?
Evolution is such a complex topic that most academics have misunderstood it's principles. To set up a game that actually shows that complexity and diversity would make it a very heavy game - plus too long for your 2h playthrough.
Me I'd advice you to pick one, either hominid history or evolution. Not both.

cadbrowser wrote:
Spoonist wrote:
However, realistic games like Brittania would only be for hardcore gamers, so you have a mismatch in goals. Do you really want to teach evulotion, or do you want to create a good game?
Hmmm...Ok...how 'bout if I word it this way:
I would like to create a good game that utilizes the concepts of evolution whereby players can learn.
I don't see how there are few that seem this to be a mutually exclusive goal. It boggles me. Just because it is factual doesn't mean it has to be boring.
Never said such a game would be boring - just that it would cater to hardcore gamers only, which seems to mismatch your goal. If you wanna go with fast and fun you are bound to have to cut down on game mechanics which would actually show real evolution at work.
cadbrowser wrote:
Quote:
There is also a game which copies the game mechanics but is in a fantasy setting instead which I think is more fun.
Oh really? Do you remember the name of it? Sounds like fun.
Forbidden Island. It's simpler than pandemic but has the same game mechanic.
Code:
Player is "x" species of hominid in "y" territory.  Player draws a fate card and turns up an infection/disease caused by a virus.  Now, if this virus normally occurs within the same territory as this "x" species, then there is a very high probability that most...if not all of the population could be immune.  If the virus was brought in from another creature or species of hominid, then there is a good chance that a very small portion or none is immune.  So, I can have a rule that either assumes immunity if the card they drew has a origin the same as the player's species, or he would have to roll to see how much of his population dies.

Where is the hook for the player?
Case A, immune = discard card - no effect, so I don't really care
Case B, not immune = I get kicked in the balls, frustration since I couldn't do anything to prevent that.
So why would that mechanic make me play it again?
Suggestion: add the game mechanics:
risk vs reward && positive loss
*Risk vs reward, would in this case be for example Malaria is a known card at 15% prob, but only affects wetlands. Thus I can take the informed decision of risk vs reward, of spreading out to wetlands or not. Which gives the player the feeling he was in control. "Fuck we drew a malaria fate - I was too greedy I knew I shouldn't have spread to the wetlands" instead of "this game is just fucking with me".
*Positive loss, whatever hits you makes you stronger. Which teaches evolution better and doesn't give the feeling the game is against you. So if I'm hit by malaria there is a chance that the survivors are immune, with a bigger chance the harder I am hit.
You don't want your games to be "an aquired taste" like Megafauna.

cadbrowser wrote:
- Hopefully this'll be something I can distribute on my game site as a commercial product; but right now it is just a hobby as I am attempting to develop an RPG as well as find a few good people to write and etc.
So print on demand or stack of inventory?
cadbrowser wrote:
Distribution?
- Hoping to sell off my webiste as well as get in some small game shops.
How do you intend to reach those small game shops? What would make your game stand out? Do you have a business gimmick which is different from everyone else?
If you only distribute it through your own website then you are tops selling hundreds of copies not thousands - unless you get a Steve Jackson success - which is unlikely with your first ever try.
cadbrowser wrote:
Target audience?
- Thirteen and up
That is not a target audience. Are they hardcore gamers, or casual players? etc
What other games do they like to play?
What makes them pick out your game out of a selection of hundreds?
If you don't have thought through your target audience you can not cater to them.
Take an easy example boys 7-10, throwing in dinosaurs is good. Boys 13-21, boobs or violence. Etc. Yes, that is too simplistic but that is how you should start thinking.
cadbrowser wrote:
Needed wanted game mechanisms?
- Can you clarify? Not understanding this question.

See my examples above. But really a game mechanism could be stuff like
worker placement
auctions
co-op
push and replace (like ludo, or smallworld)
role management (like Puerto rico ro Race for the galaxy)
etc

cadbrowser wrote:
Cost? (your risk+munchkin is a worst case scenario of maximum cost, ie big board AND counters AND cards)
- Not sure; Still scroungin for parts to get some ideas on how I want the board layout to look like and stuff. In the end; I am shooting for an MSRP similar to a Risk game or less.
If this is your first boardgame ever and you are putting your own money into it, then I'd not go with a big board and all that jazz. Go with a cardgame or something.
Or do it like these good folks:
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/112/condottiere
http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic4744_md.jpg
That is how you keep costs down.
cadbrowser wrote:
Weight/difficulty?
- What do you mean by weight? Hoping to develop a system towhere it is very easy to learn and a lot of the cards you pick up explain themselves, and the curve to play is minimal without having a massive rule book.]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPi_uNWUJy0
cadbrowser wrote:
Give us a short explanation on the business model? (Hobby for distribution over net, print yourself etc???)
- In the process of developing my own LLC as an umbrella company for RPGs, board games, card games, novels, and etcetera to sell mainly from my own website. I have a URL reserved, RPG and illustrator hired that is appx 65% complete (with a prequel/sequel themes wrote out), several other RPG ideas on the back burner, and this game so far. Plus, I have a full time job, contribute to an rpg forum (sharing ideas gathering feedback), and support my sister and her husband by attenting their shows (both are bassist for two different bands locally! In fact, my sis won Bassist of the Year award last week...I'm so proud). Sorry, got off track there...but essentially I am looking to turn this hobby into a full time deal.

That wasn't a business model.
This is a business model:
http://www.cheapass.com/about
Quote:
Our Business Model:
Cheapass Games has a different plan. If you think one of our games might be worth $25, print it yourself and find out. Then, you’ve got a budget of roughly $24 to make the best version of the $25 game that you can. We just ask that you set aside the other $1 for us. Save up a few games’ worth, and then send us a healthy donation of $5, $10 or more. (Paypal charges us less on larger amounts.) ...

They make really cheap games, if they sell well they sell it off to a bigger company and produce a more value product. Example :
http://www.cheapass.com/freegames/kdl
That used to be cheapass cardboard etc.
http://paizo.com/paizoGames/v5748btpy8ar0
cadbrowser wrote:
No worries. Very much appreciate all the feedback. You have me thinking harder now on how to make this work.
Comments like that makes me worry.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-05-31 09:05am
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Spoonist wrote:
This is what I refered to above, you are defensive when there is no need. That was actual constructive feedback - wouldn't the game teach misconceptions about evolution rather than actual evolution, as you have described it so far? Like Megafauna does. Woudn't that be counterproductive to your goal?
Once the Last Glacial Maximum was over neanderthals couldn't compete with h sapiens. That is why they were wiped out.

I'm not seeing how answering your question is being defensive. Let me try answering your questions again. Given the theme of the game, yes, there would be misconceptions...because the game is in effect changing the history of mankind by allowing other homind species to compete with Homo sapiens sapiens past their extinction times (with exception of Neanderthas and Denisova hominim) by placeing them all as non-extinct in 100,000 BC. But, it would also be known that this is what is happeining by the opening paragraph of the rule book.
It would be counterproductive if I was being hardline about creating a purely factual game. But, in this case there is fluff mixed with fact. I don't see it being counterproductive if a person learns through playing the game the concepts of specation, divergence, mutation, or natural selection.
Quote:
Evolution is such a complex topic that most academics have misunderstood it's principles. To set up a game that actually shows that complexity and diversity would make it a very heavy game - plus too long for your 2h playthrough.
Me I'd advice you to pick one, either hominid history or evolution. Not both.

I see what you are saying here. Ok.
Quote:
Never said such a game would be boring - just that it would cater to hardcore gamers only, which seems to mismatch your goal. If you wanna go with fast and fun you are bound to have to cut down on game mechanics which would actually show real evolution at work.

I apologize, I misunderstood you. I am understanding you now.
Quote:
Where is the hook for the player?
Case A, immune = discard card - no effect, so I don't really care
Case B, not immune = I get kicked in the balls, frustration since I couldn't do anything to prevent that.
So why would that mechanic make me play it again?
Suggestion: add the game mechanics:
risk vs reward && positive loss
*Risk vs reward, would in this case be for example Malaria is a known card at 15% prob, but only affects wetlands. Thus I can take the informed decision of risk vs reward, of spreading out to wetlands or not. Which gives the player the feeling he was in control. "Fuck we drew a malaria fate - I was too greedy I knew I shouldn't have spread to the wetlands" instead of "this game is just fucking with me".
*Positive loss, whatever hits you makes you stronger. Which teaches evolution better and doesn't give the feeling the game is against you. So if I'm hit by malaria there is a chance that the survivors are immune, with a bigger chance the harder I am hit.
You don't want your games to be "an aquired taste" like Megafauna.

Yes! This is exactly what I was looking for. Excellent!
Quote:
So print on demand or stack of inventory?

I am not sure; I am leaning more towards "print on demand" right now; but I am not fully aware of the benefits of having either one over the other.
Quote:
If you only distribute it through your own website then you are tops selling hundreds of copies not thousands - unless you get a Steve Jackson success - which is unlikely with your first ever try.

Yes, this is very true. Any measure of sucess will be a positive thing. Any failures...I hope to learn from and do better next time.
Quote:
That is not a target audience. Are they hardcore gamers, or casual players? etc
What other games do they like to play?
What makes them pick out your game out of a selection of hundreds?
If you don't have thought through your target audience you can not cater to them.
Take an easy example boys 7-10, throwing in dinosaurs is good. Boys 13-21, boobs or violence. Etc. Yes, that is too simplistic but that is how you should start thinking.

Very good advice; I will get to work on that then. I have requested advice from this forum and another; which I would guess contains a mix of hardcore to casual gamer types.
Quote:
See my examples above. But really a game mechanism could be stuff like
worker placement
auctions
co-op
push and replace (like ludo, or smallworld)
role management (like Puerto rico ro Race for the galaxy)
etc

Oh, you meant "wanted/needed game mechanics". Ah..ok. I am not sure yet; I am still trying to figure that part out. Remember, I just came up with this idea only a few days ago. So if I seem scatter-brained...it's because I really am.
Quote:
If this is your first boardgame ever and you are putting your own money into it, then I'd not go with a big board and all that jazz. Go with a cardgame or something.
Or do it like these good folks:
http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/112/condottiere
http://cf.geekdo-images.com/images/pic4744_md.jpg
That is how you keep costs down.

Ok, I will check those out and see what/how I can apply it.
Quote:
That wasn't a business model.

Ok...I will work on one then.
Quote:
Comments like that makes me worry.

Why?



Writing fiction here.
Sharing my winemaking adventures here.

"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." -Ozzy
"Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded." - Sparky Polastri
"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum." - Frank Nada

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-05-31 10:43am
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cadbrowser wrote:
Spoonist wrote:
cadbrowser wrote:
No worries. Very much appreciate all the feedback. You have me thinking harder now on how to make this work.
Comments like that makes me worry.
Why?
Sorry, that was not meant to sound as condescending as it came out.
Why such comments makes me worried is because they show that you have not so far thought things through. Have you seen the Dragon's Den show when they have featured games? It's not pretty.
There are hundreds of gamers each year in the US alone that try to make games. Most of them end up losing a lot of their own money because they were overconfident in their initial idea and didn't do a reality check. Some of those games are brilliant, but a brilliant game doesn't suffice, you need distribution-busniess plan-marketing-etc to succeed.
I worry because your responses gives me that sinking feeling. Don't take that the wrong way though, take it as something from a jaded cynical old man who have seen too many go down the bad route. So an early advice - go for cheap at first, if the game holds and it's mechanisms work then you can always scale up. All gamers I know who got the cheapass version of Kill Dr Lucky, also got the upscale version when it came out some years later. Don't go for big boards and big boxes, that is for big companies.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-05-31 11:15am
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Oh, I understand. Trust me; it's not that I haven't thought them through, its more so that due to my inexperience that I am unaware of WHAT to think through. I am one of those types of people that I have to get things out of my head so that I can sleep and then move on to the next step. The other thing is that this is such a new concept I am still defining what it is that I want to do with it. But your suggestions and criticisms have helped me tremendously.

I will take your advice and go cheap. That makes the most sense to me as well.



Writing fiction here.
Sharing my winemaking adventures here.

"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." -Ozzy
"Cheerleaders are dancers who have gone retarded." - Sparky Polastri
"I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass...and I'm all out of bubblegum." - Frank Nada

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-05-31 07:59pm
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I posted it earlier in the thread, but Tabletop with Wil Wheaton featured 'Small World' on its first episode. A half-hour vid that shows you how the game works.



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You kinda look like Jesus. With a lightsaber.- Peregrin Toker
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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-01 02:52am
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Played my first game of [urlhttp://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/50768/ninjato]Ninjato [/url]last night. It's a worker placement game where your workers are ninjas. You have to steal treasure by using stealth or combat (the treasures are guarded by various types of guards) and use that treasure to gain more influence in one of the 3 clans (which get you points in the beginning, middle and/or end of the game if you have the majority), buy rumours (special cards that give you bonus point at the end of the game). You can also upgrade your troops by buying ninja skills that give you additional bonus is stealth or combat. Great game.



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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-01 03:01am
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Ninjato gets my thumbs up for the stealth vs combat mechanic with the cards. Having low-numbered cards good for stealth and high-numbered ones good for combat was brillant.

Having played it twice though, the combat-oriented school seems to be better overall.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-04 03:52am
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OK, technically not a board game (unless you can find a really big board), but if you looking throwing wooden sticks, Kubb and Mölkky are great games to play outdoors. Spent a whole sunny afternoon playing Kubb this weekend and it's been a blast.



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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-04 04:28am
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wautd wrote:
OK, technically not a board game (unless you can find a really big board), but if you looking throwing wooden sticks, Kubb and Mölkky are great games to play outdoors. Spent a whole sunny afternoon playing Kubb this weekend and it's been a blast.

Which version of Kubb?
I found that the official one could be very much too long when playing with inexperienced players. It would go back and forth without any actual win until one team got lucky.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kubb

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-04 05:07am
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Spoonist wrote:
wautd wrote:
OK, technically not a board game (unless you can find a really big board), but if you looking throwing wooden sticks, Kubb and Mölkky are great games to play outdoors. Spent a whole sunny afternoon playing Kubb this weekend and it's been a blast.

Which version of Kubb?
I found that the official one could be very much too long when playing with inexperienced players. It would go back and forth without any actual win until one team got lucky.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kubb


There's more than one version? I played it during a small (but unofficial) tournament, but I wouldn't know if we played the official version or not. I don't think any game took longer than half an hour that day tough (one game as in: 1 win, not best out of three or something), but if it did, the game would be ended and the players with the most kubbs standing get the win.



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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-04 05:21am
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Well, it might depend on the access to and amount of beer mjöd as well... *hrm*

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-04 07:29am
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Pandemic: on the brink is a must have expansion if you like Pandemic.
You get good value for your money. New event cards, new role cards, rules for five players, and optional game challenges to increase the difficulty, an extra epidemic card to play the game on 'Legendary' difficulty, the Virulent Strain challenge, the Mutation challenge, and the Bio-Terrorist challenge, which adds an antagonist player.

Personally I was already sold on the petri-dishes that come with it :)
(my only remark is that you can't fit them all in the orginal box unless you take out the insert).



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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-05 01:07am
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We found the Bio-terrorist expansion to be quite a bit skewed in favor of the Bio-terrorists though. It's quite easy for him to mess up the world.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-18 10:13am
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After playing 2 more games of Trajan last week, I'm convinced it's a must have. Appearantly it's sold out in most shops, but I managed to order a copy for a decent price :)

Oh, and a bit more info about the upcoming Eclipse expansion

Quote:
The expansion introduces several new additions to the base game, such as Rare Technologies, Developments, Alliances, Ancient Homeworlds and Warp Portals. There are also three new player boards with four new different alien species to choose from. New components allow up to nine players in one session.



Yeah, I'll have one copy please.



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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-18 10:50pm
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wautd wrote:
After playing 2 more games of Trajan last week, I'm convinced it's a must have. Appearantly it's sold out in most shops, but I managed to order a copy for a decent price :)


If this is Stefan Feld's Trajan, then you should consider his other games - Year of the Dragon, Macao, and the Castles of Burgundy in particular. Teflon theme (as a Canadian friend put it), but mechanically interesting.

Quote:
Quote:
The expansion introduces several new additions to the base game, such as Rare Technologies, Developments, Alliances, Ancient Homeworlds and Warp Portals. There are also three new player boards with four new different alien species to choose from. New components allow up to nine players in one session.



Yeah, I'll have one copy please.


They need to fix the damn Plasma Torpedoes though.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-22 12:18am
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Biblios is fun. It's a set collection game in two phases, a card drafting phase and an auction phase. It's quick, it's fun, and there's plenty of hidden information (During each round of the draft phase, 1 card will be drafted sight unseen, and none of the other players will know what it was). Also players have to adjust to changing goals, at the beginning of the game each set is worth 3 points, but there are cards that come out which will allow players to adjust whichever dice they want up or down (depending on the card). Play time is quick 10 or 15 minutes per game, and it's light enough that newbies figure it out pretty quickly.

I also recently acquired Yggdrasil, a co-op game where players take the role of various Norse gods, the threat on the board are 6 Norse villains/demons, whatever: Loki, Fenrir, Hiddog, Jormugand, Surt, and Hel. Each turn a card is flipped over and the corresponding villain token advances one space, all those villains also have unpleasant abilities that will make the heroes life less pleasant. There are 3 phase lines on the Demon track, each time a demon crosses one it's health improves and the unpleasant thing it does gets more effective. If 5 demons cross the first line, and the gods are unable to push one back by the end of their turn, they lose, if 3 demons cross the second line, a similar loss, and if one demon reaches the end of the track the game ends in a loss. The Gods win if all the demon cards have been drawn from the deck before any of the loss conditions happens. The gods take various actions, like grabbing mythical weapons from the dwarven forge: Gugnir, Mjolnir, Dreipner, and other things that have too many consonants and not enough vowerls, recruiting vikings or elves, improving the recruitment bags, fighting ice giants, or engaging in combat with the 6 evils. It's another good co-op, and is customize-able to a higher difficulty, with extra demon cards, and Ragnarok (every Demon moves) cards. I like the theme, and the artwork. Playtime on the box was 90 minutes, with 3 people I managed it 1:10. It suffers from the same problems that lots of co-ops have where more make the game harder, and I haven't really seen a good fix on any of the co-ops I've played.

Zinegata wrote:

They need to fix the damn Plasma Torpedoes though.


Our group manages to deal with the torpedoes pretty well, what's happening to you that makes 'em unbalanced? (I will note that when we have newbies they usually get a fleet spanked once or twice by torpedo laden interceptors.)



The rain it falls on all alike
Upon the just and unjust fella'
But more upon the just one for
The Unjust hath the Just's Umbrella

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-23 12:20am
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Gerald Tarrant wrote:
Zinegata wrote:

They need to fix the damn Plasma Torpedoes though.


Our group manages to deal with the torpedoes pretty well, what's happening to you that makes 'em unbalanced? (I will note that when we have newbies they usually get a fleet spanked once or twice by torpedo laden interceptors.)


Our main issue is that the only real defense against torpedoes is to have the technology yourself, which is not always possible depending on the tech chit draws. A plasma torp navy fighting a navy without plasma torps is like a carrier navy fighting a battleship navy.

Virtually every other ship design (i.e. Plasma Gun cruiser) must balance and compromise between engine, firepower, accuracy, and protection due to energy requirements. Plasma Torpedo ships don't have to; because the torps have no power requirement.

I like to joke that Eclipse has one of the best ship design mechanics to ever grace a game; but it's all undone by plasma torpedoes. Because while designing anything else requires some forethought, any five year-old can simply slap as many Plasma Torpedoes unto a hull and send it out to fight. And if you were unlucky enough to fight someone who is at least smart as a nine-year old, they'd realize that all that surplus power can be used to power computers which make the missiles more accurate. Again, I tend to say the above as a joke - but it's disturbingly close to the truth.

Personally, the best fix would be to give the torps a modest power requirement.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-25 03:22am
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Zinegata wrote:
Gerald Tarrant wrote:
Zinegata wrote:

They need to fix the damn Plasma Torpedoes though.


Our group manages to deal with the torpedoes pretty well, what's happening to you that makes 'em unbalanced? (I will note that when we have newbies they usually get a fleet spanked once or twice by torpedo laden interceptors.)


Our main issue is that the only real defense against torpedoes is to have the technology yourself, which is not always possible depending on the tech chit draws. A plasma torp navy fighting a navy without plasma torps is like a carrier navy fighting a battleship navy.



Oddly enough I never had a game with anyone having plasma torps yet, but won't shields work against plasma torps? They negate the target computers of your opponent, so the chance you'll get hit is greatly minimized. + the fact that plasma torps can only shoot once means his ships will be less effective to useless once his first strike.



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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-25 04:23am
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wautd wrote:
Oddly enough I never had a game with anyone having plasma torps yet, but won't shields work against plasma torps? They negate the target computers of your opponent, so the chance you'll get hit is greatly minimized. + the fact that plasma torps can only shoot once means his ships will be less effective to useless once his first strike.


There are several major problems with shields.

First of all, the shooter assigns the hits, so any "6" they roll can be assigned on a shielded ship (auto-hit regardless of shield level), while any non-6 roll can be assigned to a non-shielded ship. You need to have your entire fleet having a homogenous level of shielding in order to prevent this, which in practice is hard to accomplish over multiple ship types. Interceptors in particular are hard-pressed to have more than 1 shield component, and it's not uncommon to see the plasma missiles simply wipe out all the poorly shielded Interceptors.

[Caveat: The above isn't a big issue in small skirmishes, but it's a very major issue in big battles]

Secondly, the problem really boils down to the power consumption disparity. Shields eat up power, preventing you from adding more regular guns which also need more power. So a heavily shielded ship will likely carry very few guns.

The "better" alternative is to actually use Improved Hull, because Improved Hull has no power requirement - which will generally allow you to pack more guns and targetting comps while still improving survivability. However, you'll still lose a lot of ships in the initial strike and will merely go from "utterly screwed" to merely "mostly screwed".

Thirdly, a good anti-plasma design relying on shields is expensive research-wise. You need a decent gun, the shields, and an improved power source - all of which put together is potentially more expensive than the plasma torpedo tech. Improved Hull is again the more cost-effective alternative, since you won't need an overly good power source.

Finally, the biggest issue is that you can switch your starship components around in the middle of a turn - even when ships have already been committed to fight. So a fleet with plasma missiles can do a quick switcheroo and add some guns when necessary if the opponent goes for a specialized anti-plasma torpedo build. And with zero power requirements, it's hugely easy to refit ships to get plasma torps. If you want to add plasma torps to a ship, you can often simply add two torpedo components. With a gun cruiser, you need to add a gun then a new reactor.

This is why I said the only real defense against plasma torpedoes is to have your own torpedoes - the only way to counter the threat of your opponent picking off your ships is to be able to return the favor using your own torps.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-25 06:01am
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Perhaps a good houserule would be that plasma torps suffer from a -1 accuracy penalty (because torps move slow or something like that).



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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-06-25 07:03am
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The most popular house rule that I've seen adds a 1 power requirement for the torps, which is still incredibly cheap but it at least prevents players from simply slapping on as many plasma torpedoes as they want on a hull. This at least gives players a turn or two to react before the plasma missile player goes on the offensive (because the plasma missile player now needs to pick up other techs - particularly reactors), which in turn buys time to get their own plasma missiles or at least Improved Hull to counter.

=======

Also, because I haven't emphasized this, I must add plasma torps change the game much more in major fleet battles, but not so much when it comes to minor skirmishes. A cheap Improved Hull Interceptor (3 HP + Plasma Cannon or even Ion Cannon) has a pretty decent shot of defeating a Plasma Missile Interceptor - even though the former requires very little research.

The problem really rears its ugly head in major fleet battles, especially with dreadnoughts or cruisers that are filled to the brim with missiles. Slapping missiles on a big hull is considerably more efficient than slapping them on an Interceptor - because you can have 1 computer giving a bonus to a huge number of missiles, whereas an Interceptor will only have room for 1 computer and 1 missile set. Heck, you often don't even need to upgrade the reactor on a missile cruiser / dreadnought, whereas a reactor upgrade is mandatory if you're doing a gun cruiser / dreadnought.

(And remember, due to selective targetting, the missile dreads choose which elements of your fleet to destroy, which often makes the follow-on gun battle little more than a mop-up).

The only thing that really equalizes this imbalance is to get plasma missiles yourselves. That way, you can design high initiative ships (i.e. Interceptors) armed with plasma missiles, which will fire before the Dreadnoughts and cruisers during the missile shooting phase. And since missile Dreads / Cruisers typically come with no armor, you can take out big expensive Dreads / Cruisers with only one hit. It is simply absolutely critical that you can shoot during the missile phase too - because without that ability the enemy is free to make big missile ships with impunity.

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-07-03 04:15pm
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5-player power grid on the Brazilian map, with a single robot player. Self, FLGS owner, resident midget, dude with a De Lorean, and his missus. Oy....

See, each robot is built out of five segments. Each segment has 6 possible choices.

First entertaining cockup was actually grokking the robot rules, both in general, and the specific ones applying to the bot we used. For instance, a robot will never willingly open itself to the possibility of downgrading its maximum potential output - the plant it's bidding on (if fourth or later) must have at least a great an output as the smallest of its existing plants. Cities are built strictly along cheapest connection route. (Even though it's a purely tactical heuristic, it produced some dick moves that buggered me sideways with a router later in the game).

IIRC, the one we drew always paid 10 elektro to build a city, only bid the minimum bid on the second-smallest power plant, bought only enough resources for a single turn unless it was last (then buying as much resources as its cash allowed), forced us to pick starting cities in descending player order (then claimed in reverse order), and never built more cities than it could supply (and thus, get paid for) that turn.

On reflection, I think I like the starting-city-order rule, and may try and convince gaming group to integrate it into all-human games.

Right, got that out of the way....

Stage 1 played fairly normally, until the midget and Monsieur De Lorean figured out how to point the bot at people.

Ouch. Self and FLGS owner were poor sods on the receiving end of this one (as we rapidly started duking it out for the lead).

I ended up breaking an incipient stall by building out most of the southern region (after aforementioned cash-depleting dick move by bot). Having 10 cities (instead of getting gazumped on 9) would have suited me much better heading into stage 2. Madame De Lorean made anyone needing to buy coal pay through the nose.

What was a little weird was me staying completely away from nuclear power. Strange.

Stage 2 got interesting. To quote MdL: "World War 2 in a phone booth."

Thankfully, the bot never got into a position to dance a fandango on the resource market.

Having gone south as far as I could (wot with running out of Brazil and all), I just stepped north, with the odd Great Leap Sideways to avoid getting boxed in. The mind games on the auction rounds were fierce - I gave almost as good as I got, getting caught on the strategic hop once (where the #5 plant in the market was one I KNEW the other players collectively weren't going to let me get - 5 cities from wind power).

I ended up holding short of the rush-to-14 at 11 cities, wanting to save cash up for said rush in stage 3. It was about now that self, midget and FLGS owner pulled away from Monsieur and Madame De Lorean and the bot (or so we thought) into serious contention for the win. Elephants were fighting, and mice were getting trampled.

As usual, stage 3 came around far too early and not early enough. Had to refresh FLGS owner's memory on powerplant market in S3 (open-slather).

Mad scramble for capacity ensued. Monsieur De Lorean was all-nuclear (usually, that's me). All the while, FLGS owner slowly expanded and accumulated cash. Midget and I raced ahead, neck and neck.

Blasted bot ended up triggering endgame, turn after midget, FLGS owner and I all built to 13.

Not sure why (consensus was cerebral flatulence) but FLGS owner didn't buy enough fuel to fire all three (quite large) plants (including Mr Fusion (#60, 8 cities, no fuel input) ). Naturally, we all kept quiet (M and Mme De Lorean trying not to piss themselves laughing, self and midget to not jeopardise chance at the win).



Helluva lot of fun, with completely different game dynamics.



A mad person thinks there's a gateway to hell in his basement. A mad genius builds one and turns it on. - CaptainChewbacca

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 Post subject: Re: The Big Thread of Board Games PostPosted: 2012-07-06 02:25am
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So we started on Risk Legacy the other day. First two games had the guy holding Australia win the game, so that's either coincidence or because nothing much has changed with the original. But it felt for more, so we'll see how the next 13 games turn out (I guess the first ones are very basic, but I'm sure it'll be more complex with every turn)



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