Everything that sucks! And some things that don't.

Nuggets of wisdom amidst incoherent ramblings. You're welcome.
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Is it clobberin' time already?

Christian Heckmann
Rheinland Pfalz
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So after that detour into the future of gaming, let's get back to games that are actually out and you can play RIGHT NOW! Well... for the most part. You'll see...

So as teased a few days ago, designer Lorenzo Lupi was kind enough to provide me with a review copy of his duelling-deckbuilder Village of Legends (alongside the Village of Legends: The Horde-expansion) and while I didn't get it to the table on Monday, on Tuesday, D. came over and I was like "Let's give this one a go". So we played four games of it back to back. And then, on Thursday, I dropped D. a message, proposing "Hey, let's play a game of Village of Legends, then something else and then let's watch a super-violent movie" and he was like "Okay" and then he came over and we played four games of it again, didn't play anything else but watched the vastly underrated "Dead Heat" staring Treat Williams and Joe Piscopo afterwards. But that's not important right now. What is is that we played a total of eight games of Village of Legends in a pretty short timeframe. Because it is a really good game? Well... D. had a different theory when I presented that sentiment to him. He was like "Well, maybe we're just stupid". I like to think that the former is true.

Village of Legends is not without its flaws. The rulebook is a bit problematic (and I have no idea why Lorenzo decided to print vital keywords on the inside of the box-lid), some cards are worded strangely, its length is absolutely unpredictable (our first two games were over in like... ten minutes each, later games went up to 45 minutes or so) and randomness of the draw especially from the market deck can have a serious impact on the game itself. Plus there are some usability issues with the cards themselves (colored borders for the different kinds of cards - something that has been already announced for the new printing of the game - would help quite a bit, also since a lot of abilities refer to the types of weapons used, it'd be great if the type of the weapon would be denoted on the card itself and not just inside of the box-lid yet again...).
But aside from that, I can't say that I wasn't really entertained by the game. I was a bit apprehensive at first, thinking "Do I really need this if Star Realms and Allegiance: A Realm Divided exist?". And yeah, this one feels a bit like a crossover between the other two games. But there's enough ideas inside that make it feel unique. The option to sell unwanted items for half of their price for example, which helps with deck-thinning. The monsters, which are kind of like the outposts from Star Realms, but... also a bit like units in Allegiance: A Realm Divided, plus more (because they block your opponent's access to the market). The fact that you can be blocked by monsters, so you want to have enough weapons to get rid of them, making deckbuilding a far more thought-provoking process than usual. The wealth of different "always available to buy"-decks, which gives you many customization options. And more. This is a deeper game than you would initially be led to believe and it's quite easy to make a mistake (in our second game, I played a bat on turn three and D. was like "Well, okay, I've just lost... I sold my two staves and now I don't have any weapons left, so I'll never be able to access the market again..."... that was strange), so learning to get better at it is really rewarding. I like it. Even the die-rolling didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. Before playing, I had thought about substituting the D6 with two D3s, because that would lead to more predictable results, but truth be told, that would probably slow down the game a bit too much. It's good the way it is.
So yeah, if you were waiting for me to give you a verdict before deciding whether to pledge for the new version via Kickstarter, do so. I had a lot of fun with the game up until now and I'm really intrigued to find out how well it plays with more than two players (the six-player-format does sound quite intriguing if you asked me). Here's the link to the Kickstarter-page, check it out!

In between our two fourfold Village of Legends-sessions, we also played some more Blitz Bowl, proxying the miniatures with stuff from other games and checking out the other teams that were contained in the core-box. Our first match was Chaos (me) vs. Skaven (D.) and I used my beastmen to great effect. Seriously, with their free blocks, those guys were dropping the fragile Skaven left and right. D. couldn't do a lot about it. He scored some minor points via cards while I made two touchdowns or so and did some other impressive crap. After twenty minutes or so, I had lapped him pointwise and won the game. So we played a rematch, Dwarves (me) vs. Orcs (D.). That one went down even faster. The Trollslayer's ability is basically the same one as the Beastmen possess, only less restrictive, so I bludgeoned all of the Orcs into oblivion as well, reaching ten points before D. could score a single one. This seems to be my kind of game...

Yeah, I like it. It's fun. Sure, it's crazy random and depending on circumstances, it can also be over really quick or drag a bit if none of the teams gains any substantial ground. But even if that's the case, it probably won't overstay its welcome too hard. This isn't a very deep game. If you get stomped into the ground like D. did last time, and you're asking yourself what you did wrong, the answer might very well be "Nothing, you were just unlucky", but yeah, there's some neat things you can pull off here that make it fun to play.

So after slamming a door shout on all of my fingers at the same time, I was like "Now that that's done, I might as well play another game of Glorantha: The Gods War to find out whether it is as bad as I thought it was on my first try". Plus the size of the miniatures is really convenient if you have swollen fingers. Anyway, I found myself in another game of Glorantha: The Gods War on Wednesday, a five-player-game with the Empires Chaos, Darkness, Moon, Sea and Earth present. I played Chaos and annoyed the heck out of all of the other players. And I also did something kind of similar ingame. The game ran quite long yet again (three hours or so) even though everybody had already played beforehand and the end of the game was pretty anticlimactic, but at this point, I was kind of glad it was over. So was it as terrible as the first time? No, I don't think so, but that's probably mostly because I wasn't expecting anything out of it anymore. It's still quite bad but it didn't actively annoy me the way it did during my first game, it just felt like a gigantic waste of time and energy.

It's still really ugly with a terrible board and a lot of stupid looking miniatures, and it's still an exercise in utter pointlessness. Sure, in theory you've got a lot of freedom to evolve your own gameplan in different ways, but every one of those falls apart once you start to ask yourself the one question, "But why would I do this?". Nothing in this game feels like it matters. At some point, the feeling of "I can't possibly do anything to improve my position, so if I end the rund in absolutely the same state as I begun it, that's fine" sets in and everything just stagnates. Well, that is until the horribly unbalanced runes enter the game. While some of them are interesting in theory (I used the "Truth"-rune to great humoristic effect in our game), they just don't fit the rest of the game. I mean, everything feels so very insubstantial because of the obvious ways in which everyone else at the table could wreck your stuff anyway, so introducing a bunch of super-swingy hidden cards that can do even worse stuff is just adding insult to injury. And lastly, I don't care if people tell me that all of the stuff in the game makes absolute sense in regards to the theme of Glorantha. The game itself has to do a better job selling that to me. To the people uninitiated in this world, it feels like stumbling across an old set of 1000 Blank White Cards with stupid attacks and stupid counters scribbled all over it. So yeah, there you have it, Glorantha: The Gods War is still kind of crap and I think, two games of this is definitely more than enough for me.

Also, training. Yesterday I managed 28.2 kilometers in 45 minutes, which is a pretty decent average. Then again, perhaps I should do some longer training sessions in the future.

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