surrealcouchuniverse

"You're not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." – Dean Martin


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INFURIATING THINGS IN BOARD GAME RULEBOOKS

The following thing I find infuriating in the rulesbooks for board games:

Multiple Gameplay Walkthroughs- Having more than 1 gameplay runthrough, with the rules split between them, makes it extremely hard to look-up rules. It also confuses people as they are trying to go through the rules to learn the game. Have all the rules in one spot in a logical order. See Portal Games for the worst examples.

Missing Significant Rules- If something is in the game, it should be defined in the rulebook. This is a problem with Kickstarters, with terms defined (oftentimes not intuitively) on cards that are just missing from the rulebook. See Endure the Stars (1st Edition).

No Player Aids or Rules Only on Summary- The summary should give you the rules that have been explained in depth elsewhere. If your game has 11 different actions (with effects that aren’t indicated anywhere) and an action only fully defined on a summary, you need a decent player aid and blind test. See In The Name of Odin.

Wall of Text- This is self-explanatory. Things should be set out with headings, examples, etc. Having just a wall of text to try to find rules and definitions is a nightmare. See Ravens of Thrh-Sahari.

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MUSIC PLAYLIST UPDATE (11 SEPTEMBER 2017)

So I figured I would write about some of the new music on my playlist:

FEELS by CALVIN HARRIS, PHARRELL WILLIAMS, KATY PERY AND BIG SEAN: If you get over the fact that they keep trying to push that this is a Swift/Harris/Perry revenge song, this is another hit by Pharrell. It just seems to move from bridges to chorus and lyrics pretty good, and Big Sean has some good lines.

ATTENTION by CHARLIE PUTH: After his creepy and stupid One-Call-Away, Charlie writes a song that kind-of embraces his inner nice-guy/creep. He is singing about a creepy stalker-type woman and how she finally got him. But it really should be about him (and that is how I like to imagine it).

@SS BACK HOME by GYM CLASS HEROES feat. NEON HITCH: A song that only works because it decides to start with a chorus and some vocal sound effects to make up the hook. The contrast about people who love each-other and now want to be back together after growing apart. It is great that it is a male/female dynamic between the chorus and lyrics. It tends to lose steam by the second verse but it was a good ride by then.

DON’T LET ME BE YOURS by ZARA LARSON: A song talking about how she is bad for the guy. I first heard this playing Just Dance and that is how it was good. Blame was the same. Zara Larson seems to go from strength to strength with me.

RENEGADE by JAY-Z feat. EMINEM: Well, featuring Eminem might as well be Eminem featuring Jay-Z. Eminem definitely owns this one. I am glad I can skip it because it could’ve done with 30 seconds to a minute trimmed off it.


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BOARD GAMES ON THE SALE LIST

I just thought that today I would give some quick thoughts on some board games that are on the to-sell list and my thoughts on them:

ABOVE AND BELOW: A nice game but the encounter book is so random and also has such a big effect on the final scores. The stories are also not that good in the encounter book (on average).

CHAMPIONS OF MIDGARD: A nice idea but I would have preferred the damage system from Ancient World potentially. The randomness can really destroy your plans on what is a tight game. However, I do like how the troll was implemented and believe most semi-coop games should use this model as opposed to the everyone-loses approach.

DEAD OF WINTER: A game I only really got to try playing the once at least. It doesn’t really work 2 player and the cross-roads cards and roll-a-dice for everything also make it swing allot. I do like the secret individual objectives though and is perhaps the only semi-coop game I have come close to liking.

IN THE NAME OF ODIN: A kickstarter game that I enjoy except for a couple of things. The first is what seems to be the lack of polish around components (or testing of the final version). The second is the lack of testing around final scoring and end-game triggered. Overall, it is a bit dry for my tastes with Feast for Odin replacing it as a more engaging puzzle game with more teeth.

SHADOWSCAPE: I was really looking forward to this one and then it fell completely flat. It can be gamed too easily, completely lacks any sort of theme and the graphic design is exceptionally poor (to the point of being near-broken). I wonder how much actual playtesting went into this at all. This and Name of Odin have made me take NSKN games off my list of good companies as a lack of polish seems to now be there standard practice (poor rulebooks, typo’s, untested games, poor graphic design).

3 WISHES: I received this with the new Mistfall Kickstarter. It is okay, but needs 3+ players to play and also sometimes feels a bit random unless you have a good memory for where things are. Unlike games such as Love Letter, however, you don’t feel like you can do well without the memory aspect or deck knowledge.

ESCAPE: ZOMBIE CITY: I picked this up on one of the big sales from Miniature Market. It is okay, but doesn’t really create the tense atmosphere of Escape or Zombie 15′. A good idea that just needed a bit more tension throughout (making Zombies a bit more deadly or moving a bit faster). Instead, it often feels flat.


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THINGS I LOOK FOR IN BOARD-GAME KICKSTARTERS

So no new music has been added to the playlist. No big new kickstarters have come out. So I thought I would just talk about what I normally look for when deciding to back a Kickstarter:

History of Delivering Games- Kickstarter isn’t about companies delivering on dreams anymore. It is much more of a pre-order service. For this, I look for the history of a company delivering quality products (well reviewed games) in the past.

Good Customer Support- Similarly, I know Kickstarter’s often have first print runs. However, a company that doesn’t seem interesting in addressing issues with previous kickstarters (errors, component quality, etc.) isn’t going to get my money.

Uniqueness in the Game- Probably less important than the other two, I am looking for games that give me some advantage to getting a Kickstarter. Whether this is unique components or Kickstarter bonuses (although I hate the practice of game-affecting exclusives). I need something to justify spending the money when waiting for retail will likely be cheaper.

That is what I look for. Sometimes companies can succeed and then fail later, in which case they will have to earn my trust. As a Kickstarter backer, I am not a proto-typer or investor. Pure and simple, I give you money (including some for postage) and I should get a quality, tested game.


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BOARD GAMES I PLAY IMMEDIATELY

The following is a list of board games that I would play immediately (pending organising a group) when they come out:

TIME STORIES: A bit hard to organise as we need a group of 4, but as soon as it comes out I am ordering it and giving people the heads up to organise a day. This is definitely a game I will drop most things to play but is slightly hamstrung by needing to organise the same group of 4.

UNLOCK: Also by Space Cowboys, I will try to organise people to come around and play it immediately to see what new tricks they have in store for us. I would imagine that EXIT or Deckscape would be similar to this if I played them.

MANSIONS OF MADNESS 2nd EDITION: When a new scenario or update comes out, I look forward to playing this. This also has the advantage that I can play it solo quite effectively and then have things play out differently if I play it again.

The only other game that may be added in is Arkham Horror Living Card Game when I have the chance to play it a bit more. I have read the rules but just need time to sit down an give it a play. The Scythe expansions (I think 2 more are coming soon) are also instant buys to want to play.

 


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Kickstarter Board Game Thoughts (10 July 2017)

Well, after the madness of May/June Kickstarter, things look a bit quieter now on here for the big projects. Instead, there seems to be a bunch of small projects around the place. Here are some quick thoughts on some new projects:

TRIPLOCK by JOSH AND ADAM CARLSON: Too Many Bones has come out to great reviews. So now, they have made a puzzle-type game that looks great. It has well-passed its funding goal. It is 1-2 players only though and abstract, but that doesn’t seem to have slowed it down. Backed.

PERDITIONS MOUTH: TRAITOR GUARD EXPANSION by ARCTIC UNION: I have the original game, and this looks like a nice little mini-expansion. Not only that, but you can bundle it with the kickstarter stuff from the original. This is a cool campaign-based dungeon crawler with an action rondel where your party gets worn down between missions and needs to rest. And the rondel also punishes you from spamming action. Backed.

GODS OF TYN HARRA: With a Dice Tower Origins preview video and gorgeous art, this game looks intriguing. Not to mention the price point seems pretty good. However, with Codex, Aventuria, Allegiance: A Realm Divided, Star Realms, etc.  in my collection, I don’t feel the need to try another dueling-type game unfortunately.  Not to mention $20 worldwide shipping seems a bit steep.  Pass.

PEPPER AND CARROT by LOYALIST GAMES: A nice little puzzle-type game. It seems quite cheap and has you modifying your goods tableau to pattern match. I have the early-bird pledge locked in but, with Century: Spice Road and Splendor (or Theseus for a more serious theme), I may not keep it. It is a decent price but shelf space is not. Backed (for now, but may pass soon).

BIO-LOGIC by ANDREW GAIA: A game about moving through the human body. It looks cool, kind-of like Mage Knight with a Carcasssone tile-placement. But, with Viral coming out soon and a previous Kickstarter game about an anatomy (not sure what the name was), the theme isn’t quite as unique as it was a year or so ago. The price point for a non-miniature Kickstarter also seems slightly high, but shipping seems low (so some base shipping costs appear to be part of the pledge).  At the moment it is a pass, but it doesn’t seem to be getting much traction. With a few more reviews and playthroughs (if it relaunches) it may be backed.


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MUSIC LIST: NEW ADDITIONS

So here is a summary of some of my new additions to my music collection:

THUNDER by IMAGINE DRAGONS: Just love that synthed out intro to the chorus and the big chorus compared to the talk-sing of the rest of the song. Quite a good back-up beat and never quite rests on its laurels to be boring.

HEAVY by LINKIN PARK feat KIARA: A good team-up. Although a bit different from most of Linkin Park’s songs, it is on my list. I don’t foresee it being a long-term thing as I think I will be bored of it soon.

DESPACITO by LUIS FONSI, JUSTIN BIEBER, ETC: I think I liked the music video and choreography before I liked the song. Seeing Bieber just acting like a kid-star and timed to the music is good. Really good song, although I think the original (without the video) is forgettable.

KISSING STRANGERS by DNCE and NICKI MINAJ: A song that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And a film clip that has allot of dog humour. DNCE have followed up Cake by the Ocean well.

SYMPHONY by CLEAN BANDIT and ZARA LARSON: Once again, I don’t think this will be long term as it feels like it tries a bit too hard to be grand while also not being quite grand enough for this effort. But Clean Bandit and Zara Larson are two of my favorite artists and I like the big chorus. It just could’ve been bigger and felt like it was trying a bit less….