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Subject: One evening with Burning Suns rss

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Drake Coldwinter
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One evening with Burning Suns (a small review filled with suggestions)


Before doing this review, let me say that I have played many many tabletop games and it happens most of the games I play are mostly similar to another already existent game. I was shocked to see so many fresh and good ideas on burning suns.

First let me tell what makes this game different/special:

- The ideology/race/structure idea is fantastic. I loved very much the ideology part where your race can become good/neutral or bad, although this could be better exploited in the game.

- The DieShips designs

- The map. The idea of circles instead of hexagons was puzzling to me at first, then after checking the instructions I saw the different setups, then I realized that having circles gives you so much more flexibility when creating the map, it makes many different maps and allows for a lot of flexibility.

- Diplomatic unstability. Normally in other games once you grab control of a galaxy the only way to loose it would be with combat, in Burning suns you can cause someone to loose control of his planet using diplomacy. This is very nice/neat.

- Variable item/power strenghs. Different depending if you get good, neutral or bad, this is very nice.



Now let me tell the things I didn't like on the game, yet keep in mind the game is still under developpement

- Too many stats. On the structure part in particular there are too many numbers and stats, it isn't easy to check/follow.Even more difficult to quickly evaluate the enemy.

- Race differences hard to check. The leaders of each race have different strenghs, this is okay as I don't need to check the other races leaders, but the ships have different stats...it makes difficult for me to evaluate if my 3 battlecruisers will be enought to confront 3 battlecruiser + 1 fighter of an enemy as the stats are too different...

- Limited upgrade system, I couldn't upgrade most of my ships(Guardians), and I was not interested in upgrading the ground forces, hence I bought not a single upgrade in both our games. Also the upgrades didn't seem that much useful (we got several building upgrades, yet few planets to build them). Also the race global technology being only 1 or 2 slots, makes you wait until you see something truly interesting in the market, yet you don't wish to spend actions to cycle the market.

- The dieShips may be a little too overkill. 1 Titan wiped out a fleet of 12 ships. I only did 2 hits to the titan. This was provoked by the attack initiative of the titan. I don't know if we played that part right, but in our first game the attacker went first and defender retired the looses before replying, then we repeat the process, so the defender suffers looses every single round before replying... We felt it was okay for the attacker to have the initiative in the first round, yet in the second round the attacks should be simultaneous, otherwise we felt the attacker had too much of an advantage. There could be a tech to always give the attacker the initiave, but otherwise after the first strike it should be simultaneus. I understand the dieships are supposed to be stronger, but 1 dieship vs 12 ships should have a little more trouble, as it is now, if you built a titan, normal ships can't oppose you. Not sure this is a good thing x_ X

- Graphics, unfortenally I didn't like the base graphics. I mean the drawings on the cards are wonderful, the icons also very good, the planets incredible... the brushed metal background soso... the race mat distribution/graphics placement also soso...the game doesn't have yet a complete professional look.

Now Burning Suns is still evolving and developping and the designer is already making changes to accomodate some of the defaults I point. He told me he has already implemented a cycling on the market so that the items change and more interesting upgrades appear. Also he is still fine tuning the dieships strenghs. As for the graphics he plans to rework many of them by professionals.

Still I would like to see a few changes to this game,one of the most important for me would be to simplify a little the structure card. To streamline it would make a more elegant game and lower the entry point for new commers.


Also I would exploit more the alignment of the races, combat of good vs evil is always a interesting theme. The agents for example should be influenced depending on the alignment. In fact it makes so much more sense with the agents than with the technology cards.

At last, I would implement one of these 2 choices:

- All the races ships have nearly the same stats (Ex: the guardians battlecruisers and the cybors battlecruisers have the same strengh/costs or very near/comparable because both are battlecruiser class)

- The races have completely different ships (ex: the guardians have "defender ships" while the cybors have "drones", as the ships have different name, different designs and different stats nobody will try to compare them directly). This would make a more interesting game, but for sure way harder to balance.

Maybe the space ships could become separate cards, so the ships wouldn't be defined by the race but you could buy them in the galactic market. This would give even more variety to the game. The minis of the ships would be all gray with a changeable color stand. The race would define the dieships and the leaders only. Also they could add a battle or cost modifier to the ship cards.

Overall I think that burning suns is a very special and unique game. It has many qualities that could make it stand as a different game. I hope the designer is carefull in his choices and exploit better some of the nice ideas he has and makes a worthwhile game.

To close this review I would say that I talked with Emil and commented with him my feelings aboutthe game, he was incredible positive about and gived me much feedback. He is truly involved in the game and very receptive about the comments and suggestions from the community. Also he is very down to earth. I was very impresed by his personality.
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Daniel Barbeau
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I was with Drake when we played the playtest game. I agree with every commentaries made. Burning Suns is a great game... that is, for now, lost under floors of useless complications. But, remember, with the will and wits of the designer everything is possible!!!

p.s. Emil is truly a great guy.
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Emil Larsen
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Thank you for your very kind words guys! It really means a lot for me
What more can I say... I just want to keep going!
Best regards Emil
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Frank Müller
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many thanks for the interesting review. I am on the fence for this game. I am normally a space game buff, but I dont like needless complicated games. So I guess I am waiting after release and then decide. If the designers do streamline it I will consider buying it.
 
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Emil Larsen
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#Frank > I hope you'll stay tuned. And I'd be happy to see you after the campaign too

Most of the final process/development taking place together with the backers is focused around such things as streamlining, minor balancing and polish (polish, and more polish). [/i]

Have a great day Frank
Best regards Emil
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Frank Müller
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thanks emil for your answer. I will stay tuned thats for sure. I have 2 questions in regard to the game:

-are groundtroopers involved? I cannot see any minis for them.
-is there a (simple) system how to modify/design space ships classes for BS?

best wishes
enpeze
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Emil Larsen
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Ground troops are involved in assaults, when you attack or defend a planet from enemy invaders.
They are also different from race to race, and will greatly affect how easy you'll be able to conquer your foes.

They have their own tokens.


Are you thinking in-game or outside like a fan?
In game you modify them with a few upgrades, no near the scale of Eclipse, since I want to keep it clean and simple.
Ships can get both combat upgrades and more versatile upgrades against sabotage and so on.

Thanks,
Best regards Emil
 
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Beyer
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enpeze wrote:
...I am normally a space game buff, but I dont like needless complicated games...

Just a heads up: I didn't find the rules themselves convoluted, it's the amount of decisions you can make in-game that are bountiful.

To me that makes a huge difference, because you spend time pondering the game, not the rules. I can see why some wouldn't like this because you spend too much time frying 'cells, but that is always a matter of preference.

Just wanted to chip in. Needlessly complicated, no. Expansive options, yes.


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Frank Müller
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thanx alot emil and stunke for infos and clarification. Maybe you should put up on the net a rules pdf, that would be perfect.
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Duncan McEwen
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FYI the rules are available on the Kickstarter page in PDF. There are three short rule books, 1. Game play, 2. Setup options, 3. Components description.

Please check them out, I think you will see they are pretty straight forward.
Thanks,
Duncan

(That said, Emil, maybe you would want to put a copy of the rules here at BGG too?)
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Captain Nemo
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drakecoldwinter wrote:
I was shocked to see so many fresh and good ideas on burning suns.

First let me tell what makes this game different/special:

- The ideology/race/structure idea is fantastic. I loved very much the ideology part where your race can become good/neutral or bad, although this could be better exploited in the game.

- The DieShips designs

- The map. The idea of circles instead of hexagons was puzzling to me at first, then after checking the instructions I saw the different setups, then I realized that having circles gives you so much more flexibility when creating the map, it makes many different maps and allows for a lot of flexibility.

- Diplomatic unstability. Normally in other games once you grab control of a galaxy the only way to loose it would be with combat, in Burning suns you can cause someone to loose control of his planet using diplomacy. This is very nice/neat.

- Variable item/power strenghs. Different depending if you get good, neutral or bad, this is very nice.


Very nice to have your comments but without wishing to seem critical these are not original as you can find them in previously published games.
 
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Emil Larsen
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#Captain Nemo > It's okay, I believe it really depends on your definition of "original".

I won't say that all my ideas are original from bottom and up, but I would love to get some references on where you've seen Dieships before, as well as the other ones of my implementations.

Granted some of them exist in lesser forms or as separate mechanics...
But maybe the most important factor, is how you'll define original.

Of course - as the designer, I'll be biased But as an example, I think of my idea of taking dice (who's been used for hit counters a million times before) and combine them with plastic pieces (who's had a million different hit counters attached to them before), is an original concept.

Have a good day,
Best regards Emil
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