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Subject: Duel of Ages II, A Dirty Review rss

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Charlie Chuckle
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Duel of Ages II review.

My History: I've played many games, and I initially liked the theme of this game before even playing it..

=======================================================

Note: I usually try to keep my opinions unbiased, and on many occasions that gets me in hot water. It's sad, but I like to keep my integrity more than losing respect of others. Just remember, this is only an opinion, don't send me death threats please.

======================================================

This was my first time playing the Duel of Ages of any kind. I originally heard about it being hyped up on The Dice Tower. I watch their show religiously and take their opinions as what they are "opinions". If you compare them to American Media, then they are Gods when it comes to reporting the facts and unbiased opinions. Don't get me started on that.

1) When I first heard this game was being set up, I initially wanted to play. I was very excited to see four colors. I usually want to be Green. Then the host said it was only a two player game, but he could make it a team vs team game. My hype dropped a bunch of points. I generally don't like 2 v 2 or team vs team games.

2) Each team was given 12 characters and each player were to choose four characters each. We were playing 8 characters vs 8 characters. I picked on person from each era (advice given from the Host).

3) The symbols were straight forward and each card had a decent and entertaining history. However, I think being a newbie player, some of the excitement was lost not knowing the rules. I don't like arguing the rules on the first game, you normally learn while playing the first time. I had a sniper that couldn't shoot anything because trees kept being in the way of line of sight (Not most of these might have been in line of sight, I didn't care to review the rules on what line of site means, but if you could connect a string from one hex to the other without the string entering a blocking hex.. then my team had a huge disadvantage). Here's how we interpreted it: Sniper with a range of 15 couldn't shoot anyone at all. Because a guy 6 spaces away is half way covered by a single forest tile, many of our opportunities of Opfire were not allowed. In reality, a person who is standing near a tree, or half sticking out of a forest/tree can easily be shot. This game should of had a rule allowing a small penalty for Opfiring into forests.

4) We miss understood the rules. The host and other non-first-time players incorrectly understood how to apply bonuses for passing challenges in adventure times. It wasn't a big deal, score didn't matter because we were too far behind to care.

5) Random, unbalanced, unforgiving. My team was so far behind, we gave up trying. The game became a big joke. Minus two points for not being balanced, and the fun was about how broken the game became. Somehow our boxer became the MVP by doing the most damage to the other team.

So, my final verdict is a 7 out of 10. It has potential, but the large randomness and complicated rules don't work well together. If you're gonna give me a luck driven game, then at least make the rules a lot more streamlined. I'm extremely hesitant to play any type of Duel of Ages again, it doesn't really live up to the hype.
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Johan Haglert
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Charliechuckleberry wrote:
1) When I first heard this game was being set up, I initially wanted to play. I was very excited to see four colors. I usually want to be Green. Then the host said it was only a two player game, but he could make it a team vs team game. My hype dropped a bunch of points. I generally don't like 2 v 2 or team vs team games.
Guess you mean 1vs1 game. And that's how it plays. Though with lots of characters it may be hard to handle them all and I guess move slowly if one person is to decide what to do with all so split them up on more players to help with the flow and size of the game likely help.
Charliechuckleberry wrote:
2) Each team was given 12 characters and each player were to choose four characters each. We were playing 8 characters vs 8 characters. I picked on person from each era (advice given from the Host).
Did you control the whole team or not?
Charliechuckleberry wrote:
3) The symbols were straight forward and each card had a decent and entertaining history. However, I think being a newbie player, some of the excitement was lost not knowing the rules. I don't like arguing the rules on the first game, you normally learn while playing the first time. I had a sniper that couldn't shoot anything because trees kept being in the way of line of sight (Not most of these might have been in line of sight, I didn't care to review the rules on what line of site means, but if you could connect a string from one hex to the other without the string entering a blocking hex.. then my team had a huge disadvantage). Here's how we interpreted it: Sniper with a range of 15 couldn't shoot anyone at all. Because a guy 6 spaces away is half way covered by a single forest tile, many of our opportunities of Opfire were not allowed.
That was played wrong it seems. You draw line of sight from the center of your hex to the center of the target hex and for line of sight only actual terrain graphics count that there's terrain on the hex if the line doesn't pass that terrain doesn't count. Now if that line of sight passes one hex with forest on it the forest will provide +2 stealth bonus. So if your sniper got a say 8 aim and the target got a 4 stealth their stealth will increase by 2 to a 6. Your 8 is 2 better than theirs so you draw a challenge card and see if you hit or not. If you made a hit you check the power of your weapon against their armor and draw another card and see how much damage was affected and add that value to the damage value of the weapon.
Charliechuckleberry wrote:
In reality, a person who is standing near a tree, or half sticking out of a forest/tree can easily be shot. This game should of had a rule allowing a small penalty for Opfiring into forests.
It's only is a stealth bonus of 2, it doesn't totally prevent opfire or fire. You don't count the terrain in the shooter's space and if the line of sight passes into two hexes at the same distance where both have terrain in it rather than giving bonus from both you just add bonus from the one which give the most bonus. So say line of sight 5 hexes away passes inbetween both a swamp and a forest and touches both terrains then you'd only add the bonus from the swamp. And if the line doesn't touch either of the terrains then you add no stealth at all.
Charliechuckleberry wrote:
4) We miss understood the rules. The host and other non-first-time players incorrectly understood how to apply bonuses for passing challenges in adventure times. It wasn't a big deal, score didn't matter because we were too far behind to care.
+ for each of age, setting and circle matching that of the guardian in labyrinths.
Charliechuckleberry wrote:
5) Random, unbalanced, unforgiving. My team was so far behind, we gave up trying. The game became a big joke. Minus two points for not being balanced, and the fun was about how broken the game became. Somehow our boxer became the MVP by doing the most damage to the other team.
I would assume all characters got some kind of advantage if you learn it / how to use it. Random yes. But also long and with lots of characters. At say 16 rounds using 12 characters each the luck should go both ways more than a few times.
Charliechuckleberry wrote:
So, my final verdict is a 7 out of 10. It has potential, but the large randomness and complicated rules don't work well together. If you're gonna give me a luck driven game, then at least make the rules a lot more streamlined. I'm extremely hesitant to play any type of Duel of Ages again, it doesn't really live up to the hype.
I agree it's a lot to take in and remember and some question marks. Would likely had helped if you played the trial scenarios rather than going straight into a full game if that's what you did. Especially if the person who tried to explain the game did a poor job or didn't even knew how it worked him- or herself.
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Chris May
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Thanks for the time and effort you put into this review. I do like hearing negative reviews of my favorite games as they help me see the flaws and choose which people I teach this too.

However, I do have several problems with the review.


1). It seems you spent more time on this review than learning the rules. You said you didnt bother to look up the line of sight rules and then complained your sniper couldn't shoot. The poster above has already drawn attention to this, but forests do not block line of sight. You would have been able to shoot a lot.

2) you should have played the trial game if you were learning as you played

3) the game is random and can be unbalanced, but this is where tactics come in. You have to find your characters niche and follow that strategy.

4) you gave a FINAL score of 7 out of 10. It sounds to me like it should be a lot lower for you. However i think it is unfair to give a game a final score after one game in which you played all wrong and didnt do the suggested trials for learning.

It really could be this game is not for you. It is a 1v1 or team game. I love that part, but it maynot be for you.

If you really want to play the game you need to learn the rules thoroughly and give it a few more chances.
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Cole Wehrle
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This seems more like a session report than a review.
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C. Rexford
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As was mentioned in the previous reply, forests do not block line-of-sight, they add to the 'stealth' of the target. It sounds as if your host, and the other players, were not on top of the rules.

Also, since this is just your opinion, it is valid and appreciated. However, declaring a game to be 'broken' and 'unbalanced' is a rather harsh statement to make after playing it only once, and not even playing it by the rules at that. You can also view the rules for the game online to get a better grip on it before playing: http://www.duelofages.com/DoAII/HomeResources


Also, there are some nice cards included with the game to indicate the terrain and their movement cost, and line-of-sight penalties. I dont know if said cards were utilized for your game, but it sounds like they were'nt and should have been.

Sorry your experience with this game was unpleasant. We have had a very different experience and we, like many others, are quite happy with it.

edit: changed 'line-of-site' to line-of-sight, because it is rite, I mean right. Thank you daveroswell.

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Scott Aikens
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I've found this game (like most games) is much more enjoyable when you understand (and are playing by) the rules.
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Bryan Watson
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Interesting read....the approach to the game was completely different than mine has been. I've been enjoying the process of soaking up the rules, reading the forums and watching playthroughs. I honestly can't imagine just jumping in and playing a 12 character game right off the bat. In fact, I think the reaction to the OP should be expected under those circumstances. Therefore, I think really what most people can take from the review is simply an affirmation of what is stated right on the Duel of Ages web site:

Duel of Ages II is not a light party game, and it is very different from most family hobby store games like Settlers of Catan. You'll have to strive a little to learn it.
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William Cunningham
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A friend and I jumped right into the Rush mission from the basic rulebook and had almost zero issues with the rules. To me, this game is far from overly complicated. Of course, I love GMT and Academy Games, so maybe I'm just filtering that through different lenses than those who feel this game is difficult to learn.

I've got about a half dozen games under my belt and I still love it. I'm planning my first team game for next weekend with a 2x2 game.
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Jarrett Dunn
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Cole Wehrle wrote:
This seems more like a session report than a review.


I must agree with you Cole, this does seem more like a session report, and apparently it looks like they were new players who jumped right into Triad without fully grasping the rules, and apparently without having read the rulebook himself. Nothing wrong with that, but it does kind of bias your opinion as you are not getting the full experience or understanding all of the strategy behind it.

Some flaws I did see in the review:

1. Disappointment over it being a 2v2 or team vs team game when the review you watched from Tom specifically states it really only works as 2v2 game.

2. Not fully understanding the rules. The host really should have walked you through the tutorials first, discussed with you your options at each decision point/pointed out weaknesses of your play, or at least allowed you forgiveness for rule errors and missing things.

3. You really have to look at the game from the point of view of a team-based FPS. I generally don't even pick my avatars from a specific set of rules such as 1 from each era. Instead I seperate them into 3 piles. Those I absolutely want because they simply seem awesome to me from a color perspective, those I might be interested in, and those I have zero interest in due to consistently getting them repeatedly (one of which seems to be Pat Garrett who I seem to get dealt every game). That then determines what strategy I am going to use in the game based on what I happen to have.

Let me provide an example, presently my wife and I are set up for a Quad game today, one of my characters is Avindal who is only any good in Ancient territory (except he is freakin' AWESOME on ancient land). So that determined my platter pick, and first 3 item placement (Glade, Ancient Labryinth, Alt. Ancient Lab all hooked together) with the intention of him primarily staying to that one platter and working to block people from adventuring there, plus I placed it in the middle of a string of platters so he is my blocker. I also try to put dedicated roles to all of the characters just like I would in a team based FPS (i.e. you have your assaults, your medics, your blockers, etc.).

Unfortunately thinking like that isn't going to come with one game, it's only going to come once all of the rules are understood. And being a tactical game that is going to take time.

Like I said I understand the opinion and you are welcome to it, I simply think you are really doing a dis-service to whether or not you will enjoy the game by not having knowledge of the rules.

Although this does remind me I really need to get my wife to create a BGG account today and post a review of what she thinks of the game as while she enjoy strategy games (Runewars being her favorite) this is a new one for her and on a much more tactical level. That and I freely admit I am already heavily biased to the material, while I think she can give a much better and even handed review.
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Baz Hemmons
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Just wanted to say well done to everyone for being so diplomatic... I'm all for negative reviews, just as useful as positives, if not more-so. I also don't entirely mind one-play reviews - it's not always easy to get multiple plays in, even if in an ideal world you would hope reviewers would give a game at least a couple of goes before putting fingers to keyboard.

But having said that, criticising a games mechanics when you haven't played the rules correctly, criticising a game for being a team game when it's never claimed to be anything else, and calling game "random and unbalanced" when you just haven't played it nearly enough to judge balance in the slightest - well, that's pretty weak. I'm really not sure a review like this adds anything useful to the discussion at all, other than the inevitable responses debunking all the errors. Oh well.
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trevor

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Gotta agree with everyone else, I don't mind negative reviews but how can you be critical when you play SO many rules wrong?, also it sounds like the person teaching the game had only a vague, basic idea of what you're supposed to do and probably only read the first half of the rule book, then said "F#@& it, lets play!"
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Got two game tables and a microphone
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Most everything that needs to be said has been said. Except this: It is LINE OF SIGHT!!!

Sigh. Sorry, I HAD to get that off my chest.
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Johan Haglert
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daveroswell wrote:
Most everything that needs to be said has been said. Except this: It is LINE OF SIGHT!!!

Sigh. Sorry, I HAD to get that off my chest.
I have the same problem with a Swedish friend who always call a Swedish investment company Industrivärlden (Industrial world) rather than Industrivärden (Industrial lord.)

I wonder if someone didn't had the same issue with some game title to.

Edit: Just read on TV a couple of hours ago about how supposedly the IT generation (so what am I? =P) was expected to develop worse vocabulary because the best way to learn languages was to listen, talk and repeat but people mostly saw the words. Guess that may be one thing. Nowadays I handle when, than, that, what, were, where, we're, there and so on nicely (though I may still write it wrong occasionally because I hear the word in my mind and type it but I may not type the correct one =P) but I wasn't all that great in English in school, I suppose especially at an older age relative others. I also have more or less no grammar knowledge in general. The only thing which has rescued my English by now is reading and writing a lot of it and occasionally once I've noticed the differences checking up what things really is / mean / how they are supposed to be used =P

Also I suppose if one are dyslectic maybe all sorts of weird things can happen and it's totally not the end of the world if someone writes line of site (as for my friend I just don't understand why he don't get it / actually know the company name because it's not what he both write and likely say.)
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Mark Mitchell
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bazpoint wrote:
Just wanted to say well done to everyone for being so diplomatic... I'm all for negative reviews, just as useful as positives, if not more-so. I also don't entirely mind one-play reviews - it's not always easy to get multiple plays in, even if in an ideal world you would hope reviewers would give a game at least a couple of goes before putting fingers to keyboard.

But having said that, criticising a games mechanics when you haven't played the rules correctly, criticising a game for being a team game when it's never claimed to be anything else, and calling game "random and unbalanced" when you just haven't played it nearly enough to judge balance in the slightest - well, that's pretty weak. I'm really not sure a review like this adds anything useful to the discussion at all, other than the inevitable responses debunking all the errors. Oh well.


Totally agree, pointless as a review as he didn't play the game properly.
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Jarrett Dunn
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BTW I do have to agree with the game being unbalanced, we are half way through our quad match and my wife is mercilessly beating me 5 to 1 so far. Brett you should have slipped in some extra cards for me to stack MY deck with so she wouldn't win just by her draws.... That's it she is winning PURELY by luck.....




And if you can't tell, I am being sarcastic. Ok so I am annoyed that she consistently wins every game she plays but whatever . What makes it more frustrating is when we are tied she complains I am kicking her butt... Bah.. Wives....
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Vic DiGital
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Even though the specifics of this review are easily debunkable, and don't add any real objective value, this review DOES have great value in showing what Duel of Ages is NOT. The OP came in with a certain set of expectations about the game that won't be uncommon, in spite of what the website says, or the box, or even other reviews. We've all played games where we sat down and just dove right in, relying on our experience playing many many games to get us over the bumpy parts.

Clearly, THIS game isn't one of those games where you can do that. The OP's reactions to the game and the way his game played out are entirely valid, but more as a warning to anyone else reading it that NOT familiarizing yourself with the game ahead of time or playing the training sessions will more than likely result in a negative experience for a game that is otherwise getting massive praise.

I haven't played this game yet, but want to. This is just validation that I need to really study up before I even think of playing that first game if I truly want to enjoy it.

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Ava Jarvis
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VicDigital wrote:


I haven't played this game yet, but want to. This is just validation that I need to really study up before I even think of playing that first game if I truly want to enjoy it.



The tutorial missions are quite a fun way to study. It's how I got going in a few play sessions!
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Gregory Curtis
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As others have said...

This is not a review...its a Session report or at best First Impressions.

From what you said you guys were playing the game completely wrong. I have no problem with someone being harsh on a game they just dont like. But you guys were clearly not playing right. Saying one forest stopped you from shooting someone is just completely wrong.

Not doing bonuses right on the adventures....again another huge issue.

Op-fire was probably not being done correctly either. Id also be willing to bet you guys were probably not doing things like K weapons and base assaults.

Again...Im not being negative at the OP at all for being negative on a game...but at least play it with most the significant mechanics correct before doing a review.


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VicDigital wrote:

I haven't played this game yet, but want to. This is just validation that I need to really study up before I even think of playing that first game if I truly want to enjoy it.


That is one way to go Vic. Alternatively, as others have mentioned, the programmed instructions are actually a very enjoyable way to introduce the layers of rules and strategy in the game. They build the complexity nicely, and after each mission you really get the rules and just need to reference the occasional rule. It is a nice compromise between "learn by playing" and "learn by reading rules up front."

While teaching, it has been tempting for me to go "all in" with this, since I want to introduce the full experience to people, but I'm starting to understand that it is not the optimal approach for some players.

The complexity of this game is actually quite interesting. It does take a certain amount of time/effort to learn the rules. But once you have the rules down then there is an engrossing lightness to the game.
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Mark Mitchell
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There's another pointless 'review' like this about Netrunner:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1003221/sold-netrunner-after...

Why do they bother?

My advice "play the bloody game before posting".
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Scott Aikens
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I really do hope Charlie Chuckle returns to this thread sometime to update his experience with the game (assuming he ever plays it again), or at least takes the time to read through the comments, so at least he knows how OpFire should work.

As it stands now, this review is akin to me reviewing a grapefruit after eating it whole, rind and all. Of course it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth -- I'm doing it all wrong!
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Charlie Chuckle
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gamecat_uk wrote:
There's another pointless 'review' like this about Netrunner:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1003221/sold-netrunner-after...

Why do they bother?

My advice "play the bloody game before posting".


I hated Netrunner before even playing it. It has an awesome theme, and some unique and interesting mechanics that fit the theme nicely.. but.. but.. it's too expensive to play for me.

I talked to the local game store, and they say a expansion pack comes out for $15 every month. I'm assuming the game store owner was accurate and I don't want to play a cheep chump deck verses an elite expensive deck(opponents at game store). Not my idea of fun.
 
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Charlie Chuckle
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aardball wrote:
I really do hope Charlie Chuckle returns to this thread sometime to update his experience with the game (assuming he ever plays it again), or at least takes the time to read through the comments, so at least he knows how OpFire should work.

As it stands now, this review is akin to me reviewing a grapefruit after eating it whole, rind and all. Of course it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth -- I'm doing it all wrong!


If you donate some Geek Gold, then I might push to try and play this game again. If you look at my history, then you'll see I have a wide array of played games and a decent rating system for them all.

We did play 2 vs 2, and I was in control of four dudes. We played a full game/version and it lasted 2-3 hours? I'm not sure how long but we didn't keep track of the rounds and finished when the game store closed.

I honestly don't like 1v1 or 2v2 type of games. All of my highest ranked games might include something like team victory; or some type of dynamic team victory. (Battlestar Galactica, Cosmic Encounter, Haunted House on the Hill, Resistance, Sabatour, all come to mind).
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Scott Aikens
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No GG for ya, CC, but I've given you a thumb for coming back to the thread.
 
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trevor

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Nice little scam you got running; "I write a crappy review of a game people like but if you give me GG I might write a good review"
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