Warning: This podcast contains strong language and adult content.
The boys discuss Kickstarter and the effect it’s had on tabletop games. We discuss the best board games we’ve backed, the ones that have been lacklustre and those we regret not backing. Via questions from our listeners we also look at how Kickstarter has effected the gaming industry and muse over if the bubble will burst.
The latest episode is available to listen on the following pod-cast services:
Warning: This podcast contains strong language and adult content.
The Polyhedron Collider Crew return, with another slice of board gaming chat interspersed by rabbit holes and nonsense.
Steve and Jon venture out to battle the Gloom of Kilforth, all three members of the team love Dice Forge so much they keep getting distracted and Andy tell us the tales of Captain Cocktail and his intrepid crew in the Star Trek Adventures RPG from Modiphius.
If you are a regular reader of www.polyhedroncollider.com or a regular listener to the Polyhedron Collider Cast you may have noticed a downturn in our output over the last few months. The good news is that we fully intend to continue with the podcast, albeit at a slower pace. The bad news, however, is that I am seriously considering either taking a hiatus form creating written reviews or maybe even stopping completely. Either way I think you deserve an explanation.
The last twelve months have been a bit odd. My wife and I moved house to be closer to my wife's work and it subsequently placed me an hour’s drive away from my regular gaming groups. This on its own wouldn't be so bad, but I already commute for 3 hours of my day, so spending another two of them also driving is not appealing. We have moved to a small town in the Cotswolds and although I have found a gaming group in Stratford upon Avon it didn't really gel with me. This has basically destroyed my gaming time, I have gone from two to three board game sessions, and one RPG session a week, to two or three gaming sessions a month. Which makes it very difficult to review games.
Then there is my enthusiasm for writing reviews, and here I feel I may be suffering from the dreaded reviewer burnout. I feel as if over the last twelve months I burnt through all of my 'board game media fuel' at the UK Games Expo and since then I have been drained of energy. I'm just not enjoying writing reviews at the moment, a problem that seems to be exasperated by mediocre Kickstarter games, tight deadlines and a realisation that with a full-time job and 3 hours of commute I just don't have much free time.
Finally, and this one is the hardest to explain, I'm finding it difficult relate to board game media in general. There are a lot of us around, the barrier to entry is extremely low and so there is massive competition for views and review copies. In the past I have always chased pageviews in the hope that it means we can get hold of a review copy of a game but it was a video by Undead Viking that made me realise that I can't keep this up. I have a full-time job that I both enjoy and it pays really well, and so I am never going to give that up to pursue board game reviews and so trying to compete is both fruitless and unhealthy.
There is also a weird trend I am seeing in board game reviews, that can best be described as a celebration of mediocrity. Some of the reviewer forums and Facebook groups strongly encourage that reviews should never be negative and should always be balanced. Subsequently I am seeing people being applauded for bland reviews and the writers of such mediocrity touting themselves as review experts and it's making me irrationally angry. Again, that's not healthy.
The podcast though is a different affair. The aim of the Polyhedron Collider Cast was to make a podcast that felt like three friends having a chat in the pub about games (and other nonsense). We’ve had a few hiccups along the way, such as poor audio quality, Libsyn removing a third of our numbers due to a "re-calculation" and complaints about our language but I feel as if I have achieved what I set out to create and the feedback from people we bumped into at the UK Games Expo was wonderful. We love meeting everyone and chatting on Facebook, twitter and the BGG guild. And yes, how we talk on the podcast is how we talk in real life, though I think in reality I actually insult Andy more than I do on the show.
So where does that leave us with written reviews. Well they aren't going away completely, not yet. But I am going to be carefully considering which games we accept to review in the future and reducing the number of Kickstarter reviews we do in favour of published games.
Fancy a Stranger Things game but don't fancy that egg waffles nonesense - then check out InBetween from BoardAndDice
I can firmly say that I am a massive fan of Stranger Things, the Netflix television series that mixed 80s movies, Dungeons & Dragons and a smidgeon of Cthulhu. What is there not to like? Which is why I was very excited about the new little game form Board&Dice, InBetween. For starters it’s Stranger Things the card game, and is certainly a lot better that that Eleven egg waffles nonsense that was recently announced. Secondly the game was designed by Adam Kwapiński, and although he may not yet be a household name, I think he is always one to watch.
Pour yourself a wee dram and grab the tin of shortbread as Andy ventures to Scotland to review Clans of Caledonia
Whenever I visited my gran’s house, she always had a ropey old tea towel in her kitchen, presumably from around the time when Robert the Bruce was a lad, depicting hairy “coos”, big red-headed strapping men in kilts and the odd wild Haggis. It is this romantic image of Scotland that stuck with me through my life until I lived there and found that it’s actually an accurate depiction of the place and the image on the tea towel was presumably actually a photograph, much like the image above.
There is a certain charm about Scotland and you’ll see it on pretty much everything that comes out of the country; from tins of Shortbread to furry toys, they all have a look about them. This is captured rather whimsically in the artwork of Clans of Caledonia (and, incidentally Isle of Skye, which it looks eerily reminiscent of) which I had the pleasure of going through before its release at Essen following its Kickstarter campaign.
Monster Lands may look like a light dice placement game but more like gambling. And we liked it a lot.
Monster Lands is a bit of a tease. Its cartoon artwork and cutesy graphic design are nothing but a honey trap, luring you in with the promise of a cute game for all the family but you will soon come to realise that Monster Lands is a meaty grown up game of resource placement and second guessing your opponent. However, even that veneer is misleading because behind Monster Land's euro game appearance is a game where the roll of a die can change everything.
In Monster Lands you must hire a group of mighty warriors to defeat fearsome monsters and conquer lands in the quest for glory and reputation. I'm not going to try and explain every rule and mechanic for Monster Lands, because believe me when I say there is a lot going on in this board game.
It’s time to get excited about Essen Spiel and so the boys try and keep it clean and family friendly. Unfortunately, a request for Polyhedron Collider to review adult products leads to a discussion of said products and things evolve into childish giggling.
We do however get a chance to play ‘game of the year’ contender Clans of Caledonia, dice placement fantasy game Monster-Lands and talk about the Stranger Things inspired two-player card game Inbetween. We also then take our pick of the most interesting games to play and buy at Essen.
Fuel up and head out into the wasteland in our review of Wreck and Ruin, a Mad Max inspired board game heading to Kickstarter.
Oh what a day! Oh what a lovely day, when a brand spanking new Kickstarter prototype arrives at my door. And it's not for a micro card game, a fantasy dungeon crawler or some form of worker/dice placement, no it's tearing around a post-apocalyptic wasteland in a diesel guzzling vehicle a la Mad Max. Oh what a lovely day indeed.
Wreck and Ruin's premise is hardly new or original, as your gang of petrol heads ventures into the wasteland in search of artefacts and resources from before the big "Pox-Eclipse". You'll manage a small car sales lot in bikes, buggies and big-rigs and face off against one to four opponents as you race to capture the tech. It may not be original, but oh boy is it fun.
After a bit of a break the chaps from Polyhedron Collider return with a good old chat about board games. We go full throttle for our review of Wreck & Ruin, race animals in The Champion of the Wild, get all depressed in This War of Mine and drown our sorrows on a Drinking Quest.
The boys then have a good lock chat about the current state of board game reviews and look at ethics, how we approach reviews and the best and worst receptions we have had to a review.
The other day I received a mysterious package, and well, if it weren't for a couple of clues I would be pretty freaked out. For starters, I receive a shipping notification from Poland. Ohh I think, is it a Kickstarter? Well the shipping and tracking data gave no information, only that the package came from Poland.