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Subject: Crenshaw Reviews: Thunderstone - Shuffling Cards and Comparing Numbers Is Not Enough rss

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Alexander Kuprijanow
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Following the overwhelming hype on BGG, Amazon and almost all game review sites I received an offer I could not refuse and got myself a complete set of Thunderstone. It included the basic set, its expansions and stand-alones including Doomgate Legions, Wrath of the Elements and Dragonspire. It was some sort of "one gazillion flies cannot be wrong"-purchase and it quickly proved wrong.

With most reviews prasiing this game's stellar replayability and its amazing atmosphere, I barely agree with them. Every single play of Thunderstone (four so far) annoyed me even more.


1Thunderstone : the Usual Dungeoncrawling Suspect


In the following, I shall give a brief overview of the game. It does NOT include every single detail like strength for bearing weapons, etc.

The basic premise of the game is yer olde dungeon-crawl: you choose your heroes, equip them and venture out to the dungeon, keen on killing monsters for gold and battle experience/victory points. TS consists of three main card types: Heroes (barbarian, thief, wizard, elf, archer, dwarf, etc.), Stuff (weapons, magic spells, food, lanterns, armour, etc.) and Monsters (demons, orcs, goblins, skeletons, mummies, etc).

Each player has his own "main" deck to draw cards from. Discarded cards go into your used pile only to be reshuffled into your main deck once you run out of cards. Most cards either give some gold or give/improve Combat rating.

The gaming area is separated into two parts: the Village and the Dungeon. The Village consists of 16 different piles of Stuff and Hero cards all players can "buy" in order to add them to their deck. The Dungeon consists of a Monster deck and three revealed Monster cards. After a player defeats a Monster of his choice, he adds it to his deck (=receiving victory points) and reveals another Monster. Since the Dungeon is missing light, you also need some kind of illumination (lamps, lanterns, torches, crystals), otherwise the Monsters receive bonuses on their Combat ratings. The goal is to get the Thunderstone, a special artifact hidden at the bottom of the Monster deck.

You start the game with some weak, beginner's Heroes and some basic Stuff (torch, dagger, proviant) in your "main" deck. Every turn, you draw six cards and decide on the following:

--> go shopping to the Village (discarding your hand cards for Gold, thus buying cards from the village draw piles for your own deck ).

--> go slaying monsters into the Dungeon, (use your hand cards for Combat rating for beating the target number = simply match the Combat rating of a Monster card). This way, you gain victory and experience points. Use the latter to improve your Heroes' stats - the defeated Monsters go into your deck.


2Pray, Draw Cards, Compare Numbers, Repeat - that's all


You look at the six cards you draw every turn: do they give enough gold to buy some Hero/Stuff cards from the Village or do they give enough Combat rating to defeat some of the revealed Monsters ? Are the Heroes and Stuff in my hand strong enough ? Do I have the necessary illumination to defeat a Monster without raising his Combat rating?

You draw your six cards every turn and hope to draw either cards you can dump for gold or to add to your Combat rating so you can defeat one of those revealed Monsters. You do so by adding either all your gold resources or all your Combat ratings (Heros, weapons, magical attacks, food, magic potions, etc.). Then you compare this number to the gold price of the coveted Stuff in the Village or the Combat rating of the Monster.You have enough o beat the target number, you add the card, be it Monster or Stuff to your deck.


3The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


The Good:

thumbsup Flawless, gorgeous dark fantasy pictures. They add a good lot to the dungeoncrawling element of the game. Plus, they all look very homogenuous

thumbsup The children I played it with (10 and 14 years old) liked it a lot.

thumbsup The game moves very quickly and there is little downtime for passive players - except for...


The Bad:

thumbsdownThe game quickly gets bogged down if the revealed Monster turns out so powerful that none of your deck's Hero and Stuff components can harm it. So far, it happened every time I played TS. Let's say, at some point, a Balrog, a Witch-King or Shelob appear in the dungeon.They all require certain magical weapons to be defeated or simply are so powerful that no player can defeat them. Now all players sit there, shopping turn after turn, waiting for the miracle of finally drawing more magical weapons or more Combat rating enhancers. This is boring and unneccessary. Come on, who would spend hours shopping around Tristram instead of daring into the dungeon, be it with a torch and a short sword?

Yes, I am aware of the rule that you can go into the dungeon and simply remove a monster from there, instead of fighting it...but why should I do that ? TS is not a cooperative game like LotR LCG or Space Hulk - Death Angel. If I skip a Monster in that manner I'll give away my turn, maybe offering my opponents a view to a quick new kill.

thumbsdown Due to the complete random nature of the card draw, you have little influence on what you get to do in a single turn - like in all games where cards are drawn. If you draw gold, good for you, go shopping. If you draw more gold on your next turn, go shopping again. If you draw some cards with Combat rating and some gold, this may only be enough to buy some shitty Stuff or to defeat a weak Monster. Meanwhile, your opponent drew better than you and managed to defeat two high-level-Monsters granting him a good advantage. Even you have a powerful high-level-deck at the end of the game, you still can draw a pretty bullshit hand and get stuck with it.

thumbsdown Maybe it's me but I think that there is too much information on the cards, especially on Heroes. There can be up to nine stats, including cost, gold, strength, illumination, experience points, victory points, keywords, active abilities, levels - all for a game with a bland, highly simple basic design (comparing stats) at it's heart. You get used to it after a while, but, considering layout, no "casting costs" should ever go to the middle of the card WITHOUT a symbol representing some money, coins, mana, whatever. The gold and illumination symbols are good but how do you keep apart victory and experience points ? Here the symbols are no help at all.If you have some swords representing your card type instead of the fighting/prowess aspect (like in all other games on the planet) I call it unintuitive. They might be as well some numbers scattered around the card with no symbols whatsoever.

thumbsdownThere is very little interaction between the players. The players are always alone when they're going shopping or slaying monsters. The only thing I can think about is that you can foil your opponent's plans by buying some high-level cards before he can expand on them or killing a strong Monster before he can do so. Yes, maybe some of the expansions I haven't played so far mitigate that problem by granting more interaction, but I want to get a good game with the basic set. I do not want an expectation that a big basic problem might get better if I buy the next set.
The description of "multiplayer solitaire" definitely fits here. I imagine this game would be perfect as an animated app for your smartphone.

thumbsdown I found the German rules to be poorly written (I do not know the English version). The game is easy to grasp for someone who played Dominion before, but otherwise, you quickly get irritated. This is what I call a poorly written rulebook with no guideline for first play/basic mechanisms.At least the card infos are explained.

thumbsdown It is difficult to reach a balanced gameplay of monsters that provide a challenge for the Heroes and are neither too-powerful (as described above) nor too-weak, reducing the game to a boring cakewalk. TS has not a scrap of the perfectly addictive spiral of the Diablo video games in which you always strive for more powerful items in order to defeat the more powerful enemies - you could have expect this from a board game with the same theme.

thumbsdown Near the end of the game, the accounting of Combat rating can turn into a fiddly, tiring math exercise.

thumbsdown I consider the prime mechanic of this game (you shuffle your deck, purchase cards and compare numbers, then repeat) simply as boring. Yes, the aspects of raising your Heroes's stats, the aspect of lacking illumination or the necessary attributes for certain Stuff cards like magic or heavy weapons go well with the dungeoncrawl theme. They all, however, are overshadowed by the dull and uninspired main game mechanic. This brings us to...

The Ugly:

thumbsdown In my eyes, a good game need something unique, be it a specific gaming mechanic (like the shipbuilding aspect of Galaxy Trucker) or an element excellently fitted for that specific game (drawing poker hands for combat in Deadlands: Doomtown ).It even can be a little, adequately implemented element like applying some pressure on a senator in Glory to Rome to get the job done. Finally, it can be an interesting, somewhat complex processing mechanism like in Agricola. That specific something must stem out of the feeling these games want to evoke/emulate. If it is done well, you remember the game for a very long time. If that specific something is missing, you quickly begin wondering whether this also might have been a completely other game with an other theme and another presentation...and that is my problem with Thunderstone copying Dominion. Its main mechanism of shuffling cards, drawing, comparing numbers and addding cards to your deck not only feels boring to me - we're talking an adventure game here, not economy/development kind of game. I also see it highly unoriginal AND unfitting for the dungeoncrawl theme at all - despite some interesting moments like raising stats and illumination. While the primary idea of domain-expanding in Dominion works well with the game mechanism, in my eyes, it does not work with Thunderstone.

I consider Thunderstone as a game which not only blatantly rip-offs Dominion but also a game which could be made with virtually EVERY pop culture universe - just like Monopoly*. Just look at the possibilities:

Star Wars: we put Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Boba Fett, Jabba and the Emperor into the bad guy-Dungeon deck. The good guys (Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gonn) go shopping for items like bacta tanks, lightsabers, blasters, vehicles, medikits, energy cells, etc., thus improving their stats to next Jedi/Smuggler/Politician/Brash Pilot level.Then they beat the brains out of the bad guys.

Star Trek: as before, the bad guys (Klingons, Romulans, Borg, Dominion) go into the Dungeon deck; the good guys (Picard, Kirk, Sulu, Chekov, Riker, Data, LaForge, Worf) go shopping for phasers, medikits, starships, holodecks, advancing in ranks from Captain to Admiral.Then they beat the brains out of the bad guys.

Marvel: the bad guys go into the Dungeon Deck...you get the idea.

Just continue with all possible fantasy universes like World of Warcraft, Firefly, Buffy, Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, World of Darkness, Underworld, DC Comics, Hellboy, Harry Potter, etc. Shuffling your deck, drawing cards, comparing numbers, adding cards to your deck is just not inventive enough for me to make a good game if that mechanism also may have been applied to everything else.


4My Two Cents:


I really wanted to like this game. I still do so, hoping for the expansions (which currenty are residing on my shelf, still sealed) to correct some of the flaws I pointed out before. I agree that it was my fault to buy ALL the stuff for a game I have not played before.However, is is the first time that a game praised so well in the media disappointed me so much.

________________________

*there are some guys believing that THIS is a good thing.I don't think so. Playing Pulp Fiction, Shadowrun, Pirates of the Caribbean or Harry Potter Monopoly does not change the fact that Monopoly is an obsolete, interchangeable and completely random game.

At the very end I found myself wishing for a variant which would skip the deckbuilding aspect of shuffling and comparing numbers and turn TS into a preconstructed co-op game - with specific theme decks, adding some dice and skill checks by the way cool

EDIT: :
spelling, bold types, added notes on the card layout and manual; replaced Kankra with Shelob - for the english-speaking audience

2nd EDIT:

5One Flew Over The Board Gamer's Nest:

Now, there have been some stormily discussions about what TS really is and what it is not. I see it as my responsibility as the original reviewer to sum up the most important matters of that discussion so far, so that you, dear reader, can enjoy a concise synopsis of the whole topic.I am gonna cite those passages bearing the most important insights on TS this thread gave me. You can still read the whole version if if you want to.

Io Stesso
Italy
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Quote:
All this debate started because of the perspective from which this review has been written: bashing this game simply because doesn't play as a dungeoncrawl is wrong because this game isn't a dungeoncrawl. That's the point. If we should agree that Thunderstone is a dungeon crawl, I would even agree (partly) with the reviewer: this would be the most boring dungeon crawl ever conceived. Just shuffling and counting numbers, as the reviewer said. On the contrary, I think this is a LOVELY game if you play it for it is: an RPG themed deck building game.

If you prefer to think to Thunderstone as weird, boring, abstract DungeonCrawl just do it. I think to TS as a deep, strategic, fast, engaging card game.


Nathan M
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Quote:
My point was that ALL games have a level of abstraction. Thunderstone is a Dungeon crawl with a higher level of abstraction than most.The dungeon deck is very much an abstraction of a dungeon.That a deck building game doesn't require a dungeon doesn't mean that it can't have a dungeon.

So, how does a Dungeons & Dragons dungeon crawl play?
In my experience, we wander into the dungeon, fighting monsters and gaining treasure until we can carry no more, then we go back to our base village, sell our treasure, buy new equipment, rest to regain our spells and heal our wounds, level up if we have enough experience... then turn around and go back in. Repeat until we've explored the whole dungeon, possibly retrieving the treasure.

How does Thunderstone play?
We send our heroes into the dungeon, where they fight monsters and add them to our decks ( monsters usually provide gold value... this represents treasure gained from exploring the dungeon ). We use the gold provided by these monsters to buy new equipment, we rest to get rid of diseases or other inefficiencies in our deck, buy spells, level up heroes... then send our heroes back into the dungeon until we've gone through the deck and retrieved the prize at the bottom.

They sound very similar, don't they? That it uses deck-building mechanics and a slightly higher level of abstraction than you care for rather than role-playing mechanics and tactical maps does not make it less of a dungeon crawl.


Lyn Lee Fox
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Quote:
The fact that TS may be a mathematical game doesn't necessarily mean it's unrelated to a dungeon crawl.


Io Stesso
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Quote:
TS is, as you view it, either If you prefer to think to Thunderstone as weird, boring, abstract DungeonCrawl just do it.
I think to TS as a deep, strategic, fast, engaging card game.


Andy Leber
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Quote:

Arguing whether it's a "dungeon crawler", or just "dungeon crawler themed" game won't change the overall opinion of the games merits (or lack thereof). And if the debate is simply to agree on a label for the game., well we all should know how pointless and impossible of a debate that can be.


6The BOTTOM LINE for me as the initator of this review:


TS, in its heart, is a quick moving-card game following the classic tracks of Dominion's-deck building. I made the mistake of expecting it to be an adventuring game, probably due to the art and its theme. You have to find out for yourself whether the rather abstract deckbuilding aspect paired with the beautiful art and the easy rules of TS meet your expectations on that one or not. For me, the basic game only partially delivered that - but maybe one of the many TS variants available on the net can change that fact.



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Jason Birzer
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As someone who has played the base set a lot of Yucata, let me address some of your points:

* Powerful Monster on top: Yeah, it happens, but I haven't seen it stall the game much, since usually you can just attack the ranks beyond it until you build up enough strength to beat the top monster.

* Little influence on the draw: This is something that can be mitigated through thinning your deck. There are various cards in the village that can help with that and also some monsters that can get rid of some of the weaker cards in your deck. At worst, instead of buying 'shitty' stuff, you should probably instead rest and remove a card from your deck. Sometimes that's a better move than buying a card you don't need.

* Little interaction between players: Given the theme, I wouldn't expect a whole lot of direct player interaction. I look at this as adventuring groups seeking glory in the dungeon, rather than fighting directly with each other.

That being said, calling it multiplayer solitaire is extreme. You are all competing with each other for the same pool of monsters, heroes and village cards, and what you do can have a very real effect on what the other player can do. If you defeat a monster the other player was planning on being there his next turn, it can throw a monkey wrench in their plans. Same goes if you buy the last level 2 upgrade for a hero.

Before giving up on the game, I'd look into some of the ways people have worked on mitigating some of the perceived issues, either with the online Intelligent Randomizer (to strive for more balance) or the Epic Thunderstone rules. I'd also check online for updated rules, since the rules that come with the base set reportedly had issues. (I personally don't know, since I started with Dragonspire.)
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Paul Hackman
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I agree with every single word of the review. I didn't purchase the whole series but I did buy Dragonspire and Thornwood Siege in one shot based on the fact that so many praised the game so much. What convinced me to pull the trigger was reading descriptions of Thornwood Siege as the expansion that allowed the dungeon deck to fight back and attack the village (raiders) or escape the dungeon and actually affect the players (centaurs). This sounded like what I wanted, as opposed to a fantasy themed Dominion. And while some of those mechanics did prove interesting, ultimately it just added more theme and randomness, which the game already had in spades.

The solo game has been a bit more interesting, with a few houserules. In the solo game there is more tension. Do you kill a weak creature now or let it escape the dungeon while you're shopping for the weapons and heroes you'll need to fight the big VP creature that's coming up? Although there's still a lot of randomness, decisions seem less obvious. I haven't tried it, since I can't bring myself to ask others to play, but I wouldn't mind having the constantly shifting dungeon of the solo game used in the multiplayer game.

I want more interaction between players (Thieving heroes who steal from other players rather than attacking monsters? Spells that force opponents to enter the dungeon or seal off the dungeon for a round. Monsters that weaken certain types of heroes), more excitement when entering the dungeon (cards enter facedown until light has been shined on them, opportunity to continue questing in the dungeon after defeating a monster at the risk of losing everything you've gained so far, traps and treasures that add additional decisions rather than blind luck), and more control over your deck (the new prepare mechanic in Thunderstone Advance is a good idea).

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Vayda
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pomomojo wrote:


I want more interaction between players (Thieving heroes who steal from other players rather than attacking monsters? Spells that force opponents to enter the dungeon or seal off the dungeon for a round. Monsters that weaken certain types of heroes), more excitement when entering the dungeon (cards enter facedown until light has been shined on them, opportunity to continue questing in the dungeon after defeating a monster at the risk of losing everything you've gained so far, traps and treasures that add additional decisions rather than blind luck), and more control over your deck (the new prepare mechanic in Thunderstone Advance is a good idea).



Some of this is in the game. There are heroes that toss diseases around, thieves abound that force discards, heroes that can take from the discard piles, spells that force players into the dungeon on their next turn, monsters have lots of anti-class abilities.

As for the review, I appreciate the frustrations you have, but give it some tweaking. The art and theme for us is so worth it. Stacking the dungeon 10 1xp on top of 10 2 xp, on top of 10 3+xp is much better to avoid the monster stalling and get that diablo feel with little effort.

However, it will always be a deckbuilding game- and they are what they are. For my table Dominion is fun but had little narrative and felt pointless... TS gave us enough to feel like we are doing something in this genre. Since you own it all, I second the suggestion of looking at the variants. It may surprise you.
Thanks for the review.

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Tristan Hall
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Crensh3000ad wrote:
I consider Thunderstone as a game which not only blatantly rip-offs Dominion but also a game which could be made with virtually EVERY pop culture universe - just like Monopoly*. Just look at the possibilities:

Star Wars: we put Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Boba Fett, Jabba and the Emperor into the bad guy-Dungeon deck. The good guys (Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gonn) go shopping for items like bacta tanks, lightsabers, blasters, vehicles, medikits, energy cells, etc., thus improving their stats to next Jedi/Smuggler/Politician/Brash Pilot level.Then they beat the brains out of the bad guys.

Star Trek: as before, the bad guys (Klingons, Romulans, Borg, Dominion) go into the Dungeon deck; the good guys (Picard, Kirk, Sulu, Chekov, Riker, Data, LaForge, Worf) go shopping for phasers, medikits, starships, holodecks, advancing in ranks from Captain to Admiral.Then they beat the brains out of the bad guys.

Marvel: the bad guys go into the Dungeon Deck...you get the idea.

Just continue with all possible fantasy universes like World of Warcraft, Firefly, Buffy, Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, World of Darkness, Underworld, DC Comics, Hellboy, Harry Potter, etc. Shuffling your deck, drawing cards, comparing numbers, adding cards to your deck is just not inventive enough for me to make a good game if that mechanism also may have been applied to everything else.




I'd be interested to hear an example of a board game where the theme could not be easily swapped out.

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Thomas King
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Quite a few of these issues have been improved or dealt with completely in Thunderstone Advance. Though, I still wouldn't recommend it, it doesn't sound like you enjoy deckbuilding games very much in general.
 
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Ben Wand
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I agree with your review. I enjoy Dominion, but I consider Dominion basically a filler game. The thing I like about Dominion is that there are relatively easy ways to start ending the game. However, after multiple plays of Thunderstone Dragonspire with my son, it is way too easy for the game to just really drag and drag and drag and it quickly gets really boring. I think the dungeoncrawl aspect of the game is super cool, but unfortunately deck-building by itself just isn't enough of a mechanism to pull off a dungeoncrawl well.
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Io Stesso
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Crensh3000ad wrote:


The Bad:

thumbsdownThe game quickly gets bogged down if the revealed Monster turns out so powerful that none of your deck's Hero and Stuff components can harm it. So far, it happened every time I played TS. Let's say, at some point, a Balrog, a Witch-King or Shelob appear in the dungeon.They all require certain magical weapons to be defeated or simply are so powerful that no player can defeat them. Now all players sit there, shopping turn after turn, waiting for the miracle of finally drawing more magical weapons or more Combat rating enhancers. This is boring and unneccessary. Come on, who would spend hours shopping around Tristram instead of daring into the dungeon, be it with a torch and a short sword?Yes, I am aware of the rule that you can go into the dungeon and simply remove a monster from there, instead of fighting it...but why should I do that ? TS is not a cooperative game like LotR LCG or Space Hulk - Death Angel. If I skip a Monster in that manner I'll give away my turn, maybe offering my opponents a view to a quick new kill.


There are tons of variants to easily avoid this "issue". Though I can't see how it can bog down the game. Just build up some equipment and experience in order to be able to fight the most powerful monster.


Crensh3000ad wrote:

thumbsdown Due to the complete random nature of the card draw, you have little influence on what you get to do in a single turn. If you draw gold, good for you, go shopping. If you draw more gold on your next turn, go shopping again. If you draw some cards with Combat rating and some gold, this may only be enough to buy some shitty Stuff or to defeat a weak Monster. Meanwhile, your opponent drew better than you and managed to defeat two high-level-Monsters granting him a good advantage. Even you have a powerful high-level-deck at the end of the game, you still can draw a pretty bullshit hand and get stuck with it.


I'm afraid this is true for any game based on cards, decks and shuffling, from Magic to Dominion.


Crensh3000ad wrote:

thumbsdown Maybe it's me but I think that there is too much information on the cards, especially on Heroes. There can be up to nine stats, including cost, gold, strength, illumination, experience points, victory points, keywords, active abilities, levels - all for a game with a bland, highly simple basic design (comparing stats) at it's heart. You get used to it after a while, but, considering layout, no "casting costs" should ever go to the middle of the card WITHOUT a symbol representing some money, coins, mana, whatever. The gold and illumination symbols are good but how do you keep apart victory and experience points ? Here the symbols are no help at all.If you have some swords representing your card type instead of the fighting/prowess aspect (like in all other games on the planet) I call it unintuitive. They might be as well some numbers scattered around the card with no symbols whatsoever.


Yes, I think that it's actually just you. And, as you yourself admit, you get used to this "nine stats issue" easily. Anyway they just "fixed" the icons "issue" in the new version of the game. Still, I can't see how this can be a problem. By the way, I wouldn't say Thunderstone is based on "highly simple basic design", as it is the combination of all those informations on the card that make it deep and strategic. Those stats, that you find unnecessary, ARE the game.

Crensh3000ad wrote:

thumbsdownThere is very little interaction between the players. The players are always alone when they're going shopping or slaying monsters. The only thing I can think about is that you can foil your opponent's plans by buying some high-level cards before he can expand on them or killing a strong Monster before he can do so. Yes, maybe some of the expansions I haven't played so far mitigate that problem by granting more interaction, but I want to get a good game with the basic set. I do not want an expectation that a big basic problem might get better if I buy the next set.
The description of "multiplayer solitaire" definitely fits here. I imagine this game would be perfect as an animated app for your smartphone.


This is a very narrowing way to look at the game mechanics. Sure(as thousands of other nice games) this is not a game of direct confrontation between player but there are zillions of way you can hinder your opponent, even more if use the expansions of the game. It goes without saying it: if you only like games that imply your opponents being directly bashed in the face, well, this is not your game. May be Nightfall...

Crensh3000ad wrote:

thumbsdown The rules are poorly written (I do not know the English version). The game is easy to grasp for someone who played Dominion before, but otherwise, you quickly get irritated. This is what I call a poorly written rulebook with no guideline for first play/basic mechanisms.At least the card infos are explained.


Don't know about the german booklet, but the English one is well written and easily understable. By the way, the game is so streamlined that in my opinion is easy to grasp by anyone, kids included. I took me 20 minutes to explain the game to an audience of non gamers. And I'm not that good at explaining rules. And, as you yourself said, even the card infos are explained in detail.

Crensh3000ad wrote:

thumbsdown It is difficult to reach a balanced gameplay of monsters that provide a challenge for the Heroes and are neither too-powerful (as described above) nor too-weak, reducing the game to a boring cakewalk. TS has not a scrap of the perfectly addictive spiral of the Diablo video games in which you always strive for more powerful items in order to defeat the more powerful enemies - you could have expect this from a board game with the same theme.


Well, I played the game many (many!) times, and I never experienced such an imbalance. Still, this is a game you can personalize in so many ways: check, for instance the Tom Vasel, "epic Thunderstone" variant.

Crensh3000ad wrote:

thumbsdown Near the end of the game, the accounting of Combat rating can turn into a fiddly, tiring math exercise.

Matter of point of views, I guess. To me that is the fun part of the game: when you can really show the power of your combos... And, still, it's always a matter of seconds. How long does it take to make a couple of additions, three subtractions and, maybe, a multiplication? There are millions of games that require much more math than Thunderstione does.

Crensh3000ad wrote:

thumbsdown I consider the prime mechanic of this game (you shuffle your deck, purchase cards and compare numbers, then repeat) simply as boring. Yes, the aspects of raising your Heroes's stats, the aspect of lacking illumination or the necessary attributes for certain Stuff cards like magic or heavy weapons go well with the dungeoncrawl theme. They all, however, are overshadowed by the dull and uninspired main game mechanic. This brings us to...


Again, this is a very narrowing way to judge a mechanic. What about being able to buy the right things at the right moment, having the necessary gold, building a deck that give you back the right combos, destroying the card that hinder your hand,... and so on? Applying your "post-mortem" way of judging, you can kill ANY game ever produced.

Crensh3000ad wrote:


The Ugly:

thumbsdown In my eyes, a good game need something unique, be it a specific gaming mechanic (like the shipbuilding aspect of Galaxy Trucker) or an element excellently fitted for that specific game (drawing poker hands for combat in Deadlands: Doomtown ).It even can be a little, adequately implemented element like applying some pressure on a senator in Glory to Rome to get the job done. Finally, it can be an interesting, somewhat complex processing mechanism like in Agricola. That specific something must stem out of the feeling these games want to evoke/emulate. If it is done well, you remember the game for a very long time. If that specific something is missing, you quickly begin wondering whether this also might have been a completely other game with an other theme and another presentation...and that is my problem with Thunderstone copying Dominion. Its main mechanism of shuffling cards, drawing, comparing numbers and addding cards to your deck not only feels boring to me - we're talking an adventure game here, not economy/development kind of game. I also see it highly unoriginal AND unfitting for the dungeoncrawl theme at all - despite some interesting moments like raising stats and illumination. While the primary idea of domain-expanding in Dominion works well with the game mechanism, in my eyes, it does not work with Thunderstone.

I consider Thunderstone as a game which not only blatantly rip-offs Dominion but also a game which could be made with virtually EVERY pop culture universe - just like Monopoly*. Just look at the possibilities:

Star Wars: we put Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Boba Fett, Jabba and the Emperor into the bad guy-Dungeon deck. The good guys (Han, Chewie, Luke, Leia, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gonn) go shopping for items like bacta tanks, lightsabers, blasters, vehicles, medikits, energy cells, etc., thus improving their stats to next Jedi/Smuggler/Politician/Brash Pilot level.Then they beat the brains out of the bad guys.

Star Trek: as before, the bad guys (Klingons, Romulans, Borg, Dominion) go into the Dungeon deck; the good guys (Picard, Kirk, Sulu, Chekov, Riker, Data, LaForge, Worf) go shopping for phasers, medikits, starships, holodecks, advancing in ranks from Captain to Admiral.Then they beat the brains out of the bad guys.

Marvel: the bad guys go into the Dungeon Deck...you get the idea.

Just continue with all possible fantasy universes like World of Warcraft, Firefly, Buffy, Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, World of Darkness, Underworld, DC Comics, Hellboy, Harry Potter, etc. Shuffling your deck, drawing cards, comparing numbers, adding cards to your deck is just not inventive enough for me to make a good game if that mechanism also may have been applied to everything else.


Well, this is by far your weakest point. Don't take it personally, but to me it sounds like sheer nonsense. As someone else before me pointed out, give me a game, and I will apply any theme to it. Do you really think that the shipbuilding mechanics of Galaxy Trucker coudln't be applied to the building of something else? And don't you think you could draw a poker hand for any possible purpose? There are hundreds of games and videogames that use poker hand drawing as a mechanic: and so? Really an embarassing weak point.

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I understand that reviews are opinion pieces, but I don't think low player interaction is a negative, more a bullet point that could be mentioned.

It's just another method of play that's neither good nor bad. I enjoy games with all degrees of interaction. Plus there are numerous cards that screw with your opponents directly. True, they may not always end up in every game, but I think the interaction is much higher than say, Agricola (which I also love).

I don't find the luck factor much different than a multitude of games out there (chess aside). It's a factor, but strategy plays a much more major role than luck.

I disagree that the decision to go to the Dungeon or Village is always obvious. I'm torn on what to do often throughout the game. Sometimes I'm genuinely not sure which action to take... and even once I decide, you still need to decide what to do when you get there. This is particularly true in the Village (what card do you buy), but sometimes you have more than one good choice in the dungeon too.

My 2 cents.





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Woo-ha ! Thanks for all your responses - maybe it is too early for me to throw my TS stuff away - I'll just see so that I get my hands on that Epic variant.

..but then again, why does a Variant have to optimize the game, which I consider weak as it comes from the publsher ? I do not want a game I can tinker with later, I want a good game right out of the box.
Quote:

There are tons of variants to easily avoid this "issue". Though I can't see how it can bog down the game. Just build up some equipment and experience in order to be able to fight the most powerful monster.


Yes, this is exactly what I wrote. Yet I want to go dungeoncrawling and not waste my time on building up/gathering Stuff.

Quote:
I wouldn't say Thunderstone is based on "highly simple basic design", as it is the combination of all those informations on the card that make it deep and strategic. Those stats, that you find unnecessary, ARE the game.


Sorry for pointing that one not clearly enough out. I do not find these stats unnecessary, not at all.I do not like the card design that struggles with finding a right place for them on the card. The fact that the publisher fixed it in a later version only emphasizes my point.

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Well, I played the game many (many!) times, and I never experienced such an imbalance. Still, this is a game you can personalize in so many ways: check, for instance the Tom Vasel, "epic Thunderstone" variant.


Well, I played the game less often than you and I experienced it every time.Monsters are either too strong at the beginning or too weak at the end. Aye, I definitely will take a closer look at the Epic variant.

But once again: I expect to purchase a game without any community modifications that might make it enjoyable for me. Such pimping must be optional, not necessarily required. I am talking about the basic game and I kindly ask you to bear this in mind - these flaws are already there, and now I can decide whether I shall deal with them or simply move on to another game, sparing me all the extra fuss. Please accept that.

Quote:
Do you really think that the shipbuilding mechanics of Galaxy Trucker coudln't be applied to the building of something else?


Please tell me about some settings to which the whole Galaxy Trucker frame could SO incredibly easily be transferred.I am looking forward to this one meeple

Quote:
Don't know about the german booklet, but the English one is well written and easily understable. By the way, the game is so streamlined that in my opinion is easy to grasp by anyone, kids included. I took me 20 minutes to explain the game to an audience of non gamers. And I'm not that good at explaining rules. And, as you yourself said, even the card infos are explained in detail.



ROFL. Well, for me, it is self-explanatory that a rulebook must contain detailed info on the cards. If you see it as nice bonus... ...then we clearly have different standards for that matter

Please be so kind and read what I have written BEFORE you start defending your game. I did not write that the game is difficult to grasp whatsoever. My problem is that the German rulebook cannot explain the game flow in a good and understandable way. Whether a game is complex or not, I expect the rulebook to be able to convey the course of the game.If the game by itself is simple and the rulebook fails to explain it in a simple way - bad rulebook ! yuk

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As someone else before me pointed out, give me a game, and I will apply any theme to it.


Well, as my math teacher once said, you can also sew on a button on your left cheek, if you want to do so laugh

I give you a set of GoFish and tell you to make a Dune, Sherlock Holmes or a War and Peace game out of it.Then you are gonna tell me that you can make a good game out of it ? Will it be able to transform all the aspects of the different universe ? [ Yes, this is rhetorical question cool]. Some formats are not to be pasted onto certain genres, imho. The mechanic of deckbuilding is okay, it just doesn't hold water considering Thunderstone's dungeoncrawling.

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There are hundreds of games and videogames that use poker hand drawing as a mechanic: and so? Really an embarassing weak point.


Please be so kind and tell me about at least five of them or so - and these gotta be GOOD games, not some copycat junk. Judging from those hundreds you mentioned this one should be able to happen really fast.

It is true, you can paste poker hands on everything: nursing homes, superheroes, economy, post-apocalypse, insect hives, dinosaurs, space travel. Applying poker hands in a game of Wild West is nothing but brilliant.

Quote:
Again, this is a very narrowing way to judge a mechanic.

Maybe, but these are just my two cents. To add fuel to the flames, I also do not like the mechanics of Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon


Yes, maybe Nightfall suits me better. But from now on, I shall try to play-test a deckbuilder before buying it


Quote:
I understand that reviews are opinion pieces, but I don't think low player interaction is a negative, more a bullet point that could be mentioned.


You are right. My problem is probably that, in a Diablo-like dungeoncrawl game, I expect more interactivity than Agricola, in which each farmer cultivates his own land, running his own business - which I also like very much After all, the players are heroes that imho should work together against the greater evil of dark forces.
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More fundamentally, a serious problem with your point is that Thunderstone is nothing close to a blatant ripoff of Dominion...any more than any of the zillions of worker placement games are ripoffs of each other.

Dominion invented a new genre of games: deck-building. In that sense, all other deck-building games are "ripoffs" of Dominion. However, the genre has been taken in many different directions, with all sorts of tweaks, adjustments, and innovations.

As someone who plays Dominion extensively, I find Thunderstone to be very different mechanically...the methods of resource allocation, turn options, and trade-offs between growth and scoring are quite different between the two games. To say the Thunderstone has a pasted on theme that blatantly rips off Dominion to me shows primarily that you're not very knowledgeable about the world of deck-building games.

Does Thunderstone owe its existence to Dominion? Sure, just as many Worker Placement games can thank their existence to Caylus (not the first WP game, but it certainly popularized the mechanic). Does that mean that Thunderstone is Dominion with a pasted on Fantasy theme? Not in the slightest. In fact, while I love Dominion, if I was going to accuse a deck-building game of having a pasted-on theme, my target would clearly be Dominion rather than Thunderstone.
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In addition, one could equally apply that particular criticism of pasted-on theme to any "dudes on a map fighting" game the way you've presented it...and those games seem to be more up your alley as direct player conflict seems to be important to you. You can have dudes fighting over Middle Earth (War of the Ring), dudes fighting on Naboo (Queen's Gambit), dudes fighting on an alien planet (Nexus Ops), dudes fighting on a futuristic Earth (Risk 2210 AD). The fact that these games all share elements of "dudes on a map fighting with dice based combat" doesn't remotely make their themes "pasted-on", they simply share a common mechanic, but feel very different because of the exact implementation behind each.
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Crensh3000ad wrote:
Woo-ha ! Thanks for all your responses - maybe it is too early for me to throw my TS stuff away - I'll just see so that I get my hands on that Epic variant.

..but then again, why does a Variant have to optimize the game, which I consider weak as it comes from the publsher ? I do not want a game I can tinker with later, I want a good game right out of the box.


Personally, I think it is a good game out of the box. (Considering the rating is over 7 here on BBG, many agree with that opinion.) But, not all people like the same things. So, others have tinkered with the mechanics to make it more to their liking. While I do respect those who like Epic Thunderstone, it isn't the way I want to play the game. Maybe you will be one of those people, and more power to you. I'm just trying to suggest ways where the game might be more enjoyable for you so you don't feel like your investment was a waste.
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Lyn Lee Fox
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Crensh3000ad wrote:
I give you a set of GoFish and tell you to make a Dune, Sherlock Holmes or a War and Peace game out of it.Then you are gonna tell me that you can make a good game out of it ?
You said “like Monopoly” so by definition it doesn't have to be a good game.

Speaking of Monopoly, the theme in the basic game: buying property, building houses and hotels, and charging rent. That makes a lot more sense in the basic game then it does in the millions of re-themes. If that's the rule-stick by which to measure, any game can be re-themed to just about anything.

You mentioned Galaxy Trucker, but that's a particularly easy one to re-theme. In essence it's about building something that then has to go through events that might destroy parts of it. Thus it could be about defenses to protect a medieval fortress from an invading horde, or a post-apocalyptic outpost from raiders, or a super-villain's lair from secret agents, and so on.

At any rate, I do agree with you that without variants, Thunderstone is a bit lacking. But it's got a lot of potential. There is a ton of rich theme in there, and with the right variants it can really shine.

BTW, don't think of the theme as heros fighting off evil monsters. Think of it as heros competing for the glory that comes from fighting off the monsters. If it were the former, it'd be a cooperative game. (which, btw, I see some good potential for that in this game too. I've had a lot of fun with it as a solo game)
 
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Crensh3000ad wrote:


Quote:
There are tons of variants to easily avoid this "issue". Though I can't see how it can bog down the game. Just build up some equipment and experience in order to be able to fight the most powerful monster.


Yes, this is exactly what I wrote. Yet I want to go dungeoncrawling and not waste my time on building up/gathering Stuff.


Again, Thunderstone IS NOT a dungeoncrawler: accept this fact and find the peace inside yourself. Building up and gathering stuff are a fundamental part of the game. If you want a dungeoncrawler go and buy one.
Your review is about a guy who bought Monopoly expecting to bring home a wargame. And he is very very disappointed about it. That's it.

Let's say you want go dancing, and you can't do it in Thuderstone. Who is to blame for that? Thunderstone?

Crensh3000ad wrote:

Quote:
I wouldn't say Thunderstone is based on "highly simple basic design", as it is the combination of all those informations on the card that make it deep and strategic. Those stats, that you find unnecessary, ARE the game.


Sorry for pointing that one not clearly enough out. I do not find these stats unnecessary, not at all.I do not like the card design that struggles with finding a right place for them on the card. The fact that the publisher fixed it in a later version only emphasizes my point.


The fact that the publisher is going to "fix" it in a later version, could simply means that something good can get better. It's a matter of point of views. Anyway I see your point: you can't distinguish an icon/number from another one on the cards. It's a shame. Maybe I'm just luckier as I can do it on a regular basis since my first play.

Crensh3000ad wrote:

Quote:
Well, I played the game many (many!) times, and I never experienced such an imbalance. Still, this is a game you can personalize in so many ways: check, for instance the Tom Vasel, "epic Thunderstone" variant.


Well, I played the game less often than you and I experienced it every time.Monsters are either too strong at the beginning or too weak at the end. Aye, I definitely will take a closer look at the Epic variant.

But once again: I expect to purchase a game without any community modifications that might make it enjoyable for me. Such pimping must be optional, not necessarily required. I am talking about the basic game and I kindly ask you to bear this in mind - these flaws are already there, and now I can decide whether I shall deal with them or simply move on to another game, sparing me all the extra fuss. Please accept that.


I'm not going to say that "you didn't play it right" (did you?), "you played it just once" (did you?) or that here "you are just pushing an issue" (you are!), still there is whole community here that knows that what you say is at least... weird. It happens 1 in 50 times (40? 30? 20?) to find oneself in a really imbalanced situation, and still you can play through the game easily and in an enjoyable way, simply adopting a different strategy from hurling yourself in to the dungeon. Hard to call this a "flaw". But of course you are entitled to. Because you feel the need to hurl yourself into the dungeon every second,and this is the very reason that made you buy Thuderstione, right?

Crensh3000ad wrote:

Quote:
Do you really think that the shipbuilding mechanics of Galaxy Trucker coudln't be applied to the building of something else?


Please tell me about some settings to which the whole Galaxy Trucker frame could SO incredibly easily be transferred.I am looking forward to this one meeple


Come on! You are NOT silly, don't play it! Everyone one knows that you could build anything (a base, an apartment, a car, a plane) using the Galaxy Trucker building tile system. Are we really going to waste time discussing this topic??

Crensh3000ad wrote:

Quote:
Don't know about the german booklet, but the English one is well written and easily understable. By the way, the game is so streamlined that in my opinion is easy to grasp by anyone, kids included. I took me 20 minutes to explain the game to an audience of non gamers. And I'm not that good at explaining rules. And, as you yourself said, even the card infos are explained in detail.



ROFL. Well, for me, it is self-explanatory that a rulebook must contain detailed info on the cards. If you see it as nice bonus... ...then we clearly have different standards for that matter

Please be so kind and read what I have written BEFORE you start defending your game. I did not write that the game is difficult to grasp whatsoever. My problem is that the German rulebook cannot explain the game flow in a good and understandable way. Whether a game is complex or not, I expect the rulebook to be able to convey the course of the game.If the game by itself is simple and the rulebook fails to explain it in a simple way - bad rulebook ! yuk


Probably YOU should have read my reply before to ROFL about it. I clearly stated that the English instruction booklet is well written and perfectly streamlined. Only then I added that the game is so easy that even a kid could play it right out of the box. Perhaps they used a bad translator: you are really unlucky. The English edition, though, is very nice. And for your info you can find explanation about card text in many, many games. And yes, it's a bonus in my opinion.

Crensh3000ad wrote:

Quote:
As someone else before me pointed out, give me a game, and I will apply any theme to it.


Well, as my math teacher once said, you can also sew on a button on your left cheek, if you want to do so laugh

I give you a set of GoFish and tell you to make a Dune, Sherlock Holmes or a War and Peace game out of it.Then you are gonna tell me that you can make a good game out of it ? Will it be able to transform all the aspects of the different universe ? [ Yes, this is rhetorical question cool]. Some formats are not to be pasted onto certain genres, imho. The mechanic of deckbuilding is okay, it just doesn't hold water considering Thunderstone's dungeoncrawling.


Probably your teacher would be proud of you remembering her precious lines, but, still, if I were you, I would let this point fall. In my country your way of discussing is called "climbing on a glass". If you just want to be right, just be it, I let you. But everyone else (a part from you) perfectly knows that you can take all of the card games in the universe (CCG, LCG, deckbuilding and whatever) and easily swap their themes. And again: Thunderstone IS NOT a dungeoncrawling game.shake

Crensh3000ad wrote:

Quote:
There are hundreds of games and videogames that use poker hand drawing as a mechanic: and so? Really an embarassing weak point.


Please be so kind and tell me about at least five of them or so - and these gotta be GOOD games, not some copycat junk. Judging from those hundreds you mentioned this one should be able to happen really fast.

It is true, you can paste poker hands on everything: nursing homes, superheroes, economy, post-apocalypse, insect hives, dinosaurs, space travel. Applying poker hands in a game of Wild West is nothing but brilliant.


How boring you are. "Tell me 5, but they must be so and so, and they must be not this and that...". Again, you know you are plain wrong about this one too, but who am I to depart you from your ideas?
In your opinion a fight made of poker rounds is brilliant in a Wild West games, but it is completly absurd in an RPG? Yes, because cowboys used to play poker (to carry out fight of course: everyone knows they used to do so) while dwarves and elves didn't. An interesting take on the concept of "realism" in gaming. ROTFL
Anyway, if this makes you feel better: CowPoker, Sword Poker, Sword Poker 2, Poker Quest, Runespell Overture


Crensh3000ad wrote:

Quote:
Again, this is a very narrowing way to judge a mechanic.

Maybe, but these are just my two cents. To add fuel to the flames, I also do not like the mechanics of Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon


Yes, maybe Nightfall suits me better. But from now on, I shall try to play-test a deckbuilder before buying it


Better, if I may suggest: leave alone deckbuilding games and focus on Galaxy Trucker or look for a real dungeoncrawler

Crensh3000ad wrote:

Quote:
I understand that reviews are opinion pieces, but I don't think low player interaction is a negative, more a bullet point that could be mentioned.


You are right. My problem is probably that, in a Diablo-like dungeoncrawl game, I expect more interactivity than Agricola, in which each farmer cultivates his own land, running his own business - which I also like very much After all, the players are heroes that imho should work together against the greater evil of dark forces.


No, if you think Thunderstone is a "Diablo-like dungeoncrawl game", I'm afraid you have a much bigger problem than the one you stated: you lost your connection with reality
Maybe this is the point: wrong expectations. Thunderstone simply is not the game you thought it was. Try Descent, Wrath of Ashardalon, or something like that.
This is why your review is flawed at its root. You started it with the following sentence "The basic premise of the game is yer olde dungeon-crawl". You mistook the theme for the mechanics! You simply didn't understand what the game is, and judged it basing your judgment upon wrong premises (and, I guess, very few plays). At the very end of your review one can read "At the very end I found myself wishing for a variant which would skip the deckbuilding aspect of shuffling and comparing numbers and turn TS into a preconstructed co-op game - with specific theme decks, adding some dice and skill checks by the way"... this sentence says it all, you would like to transform Thunderstone in a completely different game, let's say a dungeoncrawler with dices... What about adding a board "Talisman style" too?

I'm sure your next review will be much better. Keep on trying.
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How is Thunderstone not a dungeon crawler? You keep saying "it isn't," but never explained in what way it isn't. You hire heroes and buy gear in town, then go to the dungeon and fight monsters, earning experience to level up characters. Thus, dungeon crawler. In fact, comparing it to the Diablo games is a pretty decent comparison, since in those you frequently go into town to hire mercenaries, buy/sell gear, and can get various services from villagers before going back into a dungeon to fight monsters and get experience for leveling up.

The only thing Thunderstone doesn't have much of is a way to represent the dungeon. There are trap cards, and Thunderstone Advance has two dungeon types (normal dungeon and the wilderness) with different darkness effects. But that's about it. The dungeon is more of a vague location where you find monsters than a real element of the game. Not to say that there won't be more cards in the future that expand on the dungeon aspect.
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Montag451 wrote:
How is Thunderstone not a dungeon crawler? You keep saying "it isn't," but never explained in what way it isn't. You hire heroes and buy gear in town, then go to the dungeon and fight monsters, earning experience to level up characters. Thus, dungeon crawler. In fact, comparing it to the Diablo games is a pretty decent comparison, since in those you frequently go into town to hire mercenaries, buy/sell gear, and can get various services from villagers before going back into a dungeon to fight monsters and get experience for leveling up.

The only thing Thunderstone doesn't have much of is a way to represent the dungeon. There are trap cards, and Thunderstone Advance has two dungeon types (normal dungeon and the wilderness) with different darkness effects. But that's about it. The dungeon is more of a vague location where you find monsters than a real element of the game. Not to say that there won't be more cards in the future that expand on the dungeon aspect.


It's quite simple: TS is not a dungeon crawler because there is no Dungeon where to crawl in.
I mean, how can you consider TS a Dominion ripoff (the reviewer did), and, at the same time, a dungeoncrawler?
The dungeon, the heroes, the stuff, set up the *theme* of the game, not the mechanics. In TS there is no crawling whatsoever: there is no dungeon to discover, not even real fights. You simply manage your deck in order to get enough points to kill a monster. But actually there is no real combat: you don't lose any stamina, if you lose a combat the monster just get back in to the Dungeon deck. And this is a strategy to avoid an opponent to put his hands on more VPs...
TS is a strategy came, where you must maximize your active resources (your hand) by managing your deck.
The dungeon is just an abstract repository, where you can see the VP you can gain (without even "entering" it) by producing the right amount of combat points through a wise deck and hand management. Same is for the Village: the Village isn't a location, but a "pool" where you pick the cards you have to manage in a mathematical way. Village is the "collecting pool", Dungeon is the "spending pool". That's it.

Diablo has very little to do with Thunderstone. You can't say they are similar just because in both you can collect stuff. In Diablo you walk around, you move, you discover, you take directions, you suffer your wounds, you heal yourself, you have an inventory you can count on... Descent, perhaps, could be considered close to Diablo, not Thunderstone IMHO.
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andymase wrote:
It's quite simple: TS is not a dungeon crawler because there is no Dungeon where to crawl in.
There is this deck of monsters, and possibly traps and treasures, that is set up at the start of the game. The players work their way through this deck. When you get to the Thunderstone near the bottom of the deck the game ends. So there is absolutely a dungeon. It's even called the Dungeon deck. It's highly abstracted, yes, but it's there.
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foxx wrote:
andymase wrote:
It's quite simple: TS is not a dungeon crawler because there is no Dungeon where to crawl in.
There is this deck of monsters, and possibly traps and treasures, that is set up at the start of the game. The players work their way through this deck. When you get to the Thunderstone near the bottom of the deck the game ends. So there is absolutely a dungeon. It's even called the Dungeon deck. It's highly abstracted, yes, but it's there.


You are just playing with words.
The fact the Dungeon deck has the word "Dungeon" in it, doesn't make it a Dungeon. And the fact the Village is called "Village", doesn't make it a Village.
Players DON'T WORK their ways through the deck. The Dungeon deck is not made of dangers to face or adventure to overcome: is a pool of victory points, disguised as monsters, nothing else. Players never actually go in to the Dungeon, they never get an encounter, they can never be caught by surprise by a monster, they never risk anything... Players FIRST look from the outside at the monsters they can fight, then they simply collect the stuff needed to mathematically beat the monsters IN ADVANCE. A player can't ever lose a fight in the dungeon: when a player face a monster, the player is absolutely sure he will win (at least if he is good at math).

As a comparison, think to the card game called "Dungeon Crawler". In that game the dungeon (again a Dungeon Deck) is still made of card. But those cards are monsters that fight back, real locations and different hazards that gather to simulate a dangerous space where you move and try to survive. In that Dungeon you MUST fight whatever you encounter! You MUST use your heroes to defend and to attack, to kill the monsters in order to move on, and the monsters can kill your heroes. The Dungeon is not just a showcase of Victory Points you CAN pick up having the right combinations of combat point and light points in hand. Dungeon Crawlers Dungeon Deck it's a dangerous place where you go adventuring. Adventuring in a dungeon is the essence of any dungeon crawl game. Where is adventuring in Thunderstone?

Saying that in TS there is an "highly abstracted" dungeon is an understatement to say that there is no dungeon.

Again, if you think that TS goes in the same category as Descent, Warhammer Quest, Space Hulk or Heroquest, well, ok. I don't think so.
 
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@andymase: Sounds like you have a very narrow view of what you want to call "Dungeon Crawler" and Thunderstone doesn't fit your narrow description. But words are never so clear cut. Words have meanings with fuzzy edges. While it's true that Thunderstone does not exactly follow the same style of game as something like Diablo for example, it still has a flavor undeniably close to that.

As I've said, this is not a game about trying to fight some evil or whatever. It's about competing over the glory that comes from it.

And by the way, most of the cards that let you draw cards happen after you've chosen whether to go to the Dungeon or not. So you don't necessarily always know in advance that you are going to win. (Besides, I think that's a pretty poor descriptor for a dungeon crawl; if you are playing Diablo with a character that's invincible, does that suddenly make it not count as a dungeon crawl?)
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foxx wrote:
@andymase: Sounds like you have a very narrow view of what you want to call "Dungeon Crawler" and Thunderstone doesn't fit your narrow description. But words are never so clear cut. Words have meanings with fuzzy edges. While it's true that Thunderstone does not exactly follow the same style of game as something like Diablo for example, it still has a flavor undeniably close to that.


Yes, exactly, Thunderstone has the flavour of a Dungeoncrawl. Just the flavour. And you could make a Thunderstone with many different flavours. In a certain sense, Dominion is a Thunderstone with another flavour.
But, as you probably know, garlic flavoured bread is quite different from garlic.

foxx wrote:

As I've said, this is not a game about trying to fight some evil or whatever. It's about competing over the glory that comes from it.

Yes, I agree. But again you are talking about theme.


foxx wrote:

And by the way, most of the cards that let you draw cards happen after you've chosen whether to go to the Dungeon or not. So you don't necessarily always know in advance that you are going to win.


Don't follow you. It never ever happened to me to lose a fight in the Dungeon.Ever. Not once in over hundred plays.


foxx wrote:

(Besides, I think that's a pretty poor descriptor for a dungeon crawl; if you are playing Diablo with a character that's invincible, does that suddenly make it not count as a dungeon crawl?)


A dungeoncrawl where the hero is invincible is a nonsense. No risk, no fun, no sense whatsoever. Who would play Diablo with an invincible character?? Where would be the challenge?
 
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wrote:

A dungeoncrawl where the hero is invincible is a nonsense. No risk, no fun, no sense whatsoever. Who would play Diablo with an invincible character?? Where would be the challenge?


i agree. I think it's a good game. Not like MtG that has some awesome mechanics but it lacks the hit point sistem.Maybe they'll make a new version 6 weeks later just to add that and so and on. . .(Epic variant is official now).

The new Thunderstone advance adds some new rules and corrections to the game but basically it's the new layout, that IMHO really sux. As i sad previouslly: it's like mixing two diferent games. MTG tried to make some new layout for cards and it sux if you mix with older version. So it's back to the well known layout again.
Like Heavy metal music: the great bands play the same stile forever, and they will aways get people at shows.

If the game has a theme it's mechanics has to fit to the theme IMHO.
Thunderstone is that kind of game that you love or hate.

PS: sorry for any mistakes, it's about 3 am here and i'm very sleepysnore
 
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andymase wrote:

It's quite simple: TS is not a dungeon crawler because there is no Dungeon where to crawl in.

I'm starting to wonder how experienced you are with dungeon crawlers. In many, believe it or not, the dungeon does not play a very pivotal role beyond the setting. Like in Thrunderstone, the dungeon is simply where the action takes place. Hence, why it's a dungeon crawler, it has a dungeon; even if it's not explorable, it's still there.
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The definition of a dungeon crawler is most certainly not "it has a dungeon". For example, neither Dungeon Lords, Cave Troll, and Magdar are all games which have dungeons but are not dungeon crawlers
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fizzmore wrote:
The definition of a dungeon crawler is most certainly not "it has a dungeon". For example, neither Dungeon Lords, Cave Troll, and Magdar are all games which have dungeons but are not dungeon crawlers

You misunderstand, I'm not saying that the only prerequisite for being a dungeon crawler is simply "having a dungeon," but rather that having a dungeon is a prerequisite that Thunderstone meets (even if barely).

I don't think anyone is trying to say TS is a strong dungeon crawler, or that it's as detailed as most. We're simply saying it is a dungeon crawler. There's plenty of things I could say I would have done differently or added to the game, but it's not my game and I have no say over it. Regardless, I can still appreciate the game for what it is.
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