Get Off My Lawn

I've become a grumpy old man when it comes to board games. I find most new games annoy me rather than give me pleasure. <P> In this blog, I'm going to explore what annoys me about games and tell them to "Get Off My Lawn". <P> <SIZE=3>These are not intended to be reviews.</SIZE> <P> Note - the opinions in this blog are Mine. Your tastes will vary.
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Luna - Doing random things for points

Scott Nicholson
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Welcome to "Get Off My Lawn," a blog where I talk about things that bother me in modern board games. In each post, I'm going to highlight something in a board game that bothers me.

I'm not saying any of these games are bad, but there is some mechanism that I find problematic. I've become a picky old grumpy gamer, so am going to let it out here. These aren't designed as reviews, as I don't plan on presenting everything about a game. Instead, I'm just going to highlight something about a game I found bothersome.

Today, I'm going to grouse about Luna. In this game, you have a number of workers who run around doing random things each turn, and some of these random things are worth points.

Let's look at the player aid card:

The middle column and the right column are all of the things you can do during a turn. Each one is different, and most involve moving meeples around the boards in different ways.

Most of the movement is around the islands. Each island has a picture of a different resource chip, and you can throw your guys into the water to get one. These chips represent.. well, I'm not really sure. A few of them make sense - Herbs, for example, which you can then smoke to crawl back out of the water and do something else. From a game perspective, they represent different sorts of actions you can take. You can also jump in the water to have sex and made more meeples - I guess water births are pretty popular.

Then you can move guys around to get different magical chips, or you can teleport them into the temple, which for some bizarre reason requires you to stand in line behind a guard that matches the magical chip that your island produces. Maybe it's like a queue in Disney, where you have to stand on the correct colored dot based upon where you were in line.

From the queue, you can stand in a specific spot in the temple that matches your queued spot, but if someone comes along later, you are kicked out.. unless you have a book. What?

You can also give a magical building chip to a builder on the islands who will then build one of your buildings for you, or chase around a moonbabe for area control points. There's also a bad guy who will give you negative points, but if you jump in the water, you scare him away.

Anyway, you get the idea. There are a bunch of random things you do to score points in different ways. There's nothing that holds all of these things together. It just feels like we are sitting around pushing pieces at each other.

Luna represents the sort of eurogame I've grown very tired of - a lightly themed abstract where the actions players take just don't make any sense. It's not that it's unbalanced.. it's just I don't find myself being involved with what I'm doing. I just don't care, and this makes me mentally detached from the game and from the other players.

Five years ago, I would have loved this game, or at least appreciated it for its finely honed balance of interesting choices. Now, I find it boring, as I want to be able to get involved in my games. I want to be engaged with the other players through the game, and Luna doesn't do it for me. I have enough other games in my collection where you do random actions for points that I don't need to learn one more.

(note added after discussion - as you can see from the discussion, there is a backstory in the rulebook to help the players understand what is going on. I was taught the game at a convention, and no backstory was conveyed, and the story isn't conveyed through gameplay. Therefore, you might have a different game experience if you are able to learn the backstory before playing.)
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