Re: Mad Zeppelin: A brief review
You mentioned appeal - It would likely appeal to someone who enjoys Citadels.
For me it might be my love of Citadels that makes me hate this game. I didn't need Mad Zeppelin to be better
than Citadels, just decently different. It's like the designer loved Citadels and wanted to do his own take on it, yet in trying to make it his own lost most of what made Citadels great.
For me Citadels is 99% about doublethink and choosing the right character at the right time. Do you get the obvious character that will benefit you now but risk getting assassinated or robbed? Do you take the character that the leader would most like to choose? Coupled with the player order it's an incredibly tight system.
Mad Zeppelin has too many characters and randomness to the character selection process to be able to make really educated guesses on who your opponents chose and how to deal with their selections.
Using specific but unmemorable names
for the characters in MZ is another problem. People need to reffer to the character sheets to try to figure out who they should target. What was their color again? It doesn't say on the character roster cards.
I also think the giant character cards are a mistake. They are unwieldy and unsleeveable so if even one gets creased the deductive aspects go out the window.
I was super-excited for it because it combined role selection with a cool theme in a somewhat new way. Unfortunately it flopped massively.I really feel like there's a good game that can emerge from this with some 2.0 rules.
I hope Fantasy Flight will give this game another coat of polish when they reprint it and I hope they'll publish a strategic variant. I'd gladly give it another shot then.