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Subject: Like doing my taxes - only more fiddly rss

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Mike Hunnicutt
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I play this game solo with three to four heroes and, for me, the book keeping is where much of the fun resides. That's where I get to put together all the cool combos; bouncing powers and modifiers from hero to hero and then, eventually, to the villain.
It seems that, even if the game was in app form, you'd still have to keep track of all the modifiers just to plan your next move. The only this an app would do, without changing the game, is remember to add or remove "tokens".
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Mike Whalen
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Driver 8 wrote:
Yes, it's fiddly. Everyone knows it. Those who deny that it's fiddly are lying to themselves. But, if you can come to terms with the fiddliness and are OK with it, it's a great game. One of the best thematic games I've ever played. It's very easy to learn and play (aside from keeping track of modifiers and stuff). Unfortunately, it is the fiddliness that keeps it from getting played more with my group.

OK, do you know how cooperative games can degenerate into "Alpha player takes over and tells people what to do"? Well, I kind of feel the same way about SotM, except that it's "The guy who's reading off all the effects of the cards is the only one really paying enough attention to know what's going on". So, with my group it come down to:

Player A: Umm, I'm gonna use my power to deal 2 damage to that minion.

Player B (who is in charge of reading the card text when they come into play): Don't do that. Damage is reduced by 2 because of that ongoing card over there.

Player A: Oh yea, I didn't see that. Umm, I guess I'll use this other power to let each player heal 1 point of damage.

Player B: Don't do that either. Healing is reduced because of that environment card over there.

Player A: Oh yea, I didn't see that either. Umm, what should I do?

Player B: Just let me play the game solo.

EDIT: Having said that, I really enjoy playing SotM solo!


This is an accurate example of play. I think the enjoyment/annoyance of the game comes down to your like/or dislike of keeping track of a few (from 1 to maybe 8) details and card interactions. I have played the game many times and noticed I forgot damage reduction (or something similar) that has run a couple of turns. I just do my best to adjust. Still a pretty straightforward and excellently themed game.
 
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A game that a 9 year old can play solo controlling 3 heroes cannot be that complicated or the amount of tracking cannot be that overwhelming. I have seen it a few times.
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I felt the same way. In the middle of the last game I played I looked at my daughter's hero and asked, "What's that -1 damage token from?". She exhaustedly responded "I don't know". That was that. I still think it's a very cool game though. Just not for me.
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I felt the same way after a game or two but, in time, upkeep became second nature. I can definitely see why some people would be annoyed but all the number crunching though.
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Driver 8 wrote:
Yes, it's fiddly. Everyone knows it. Those who deny that it's fiddly are lying to themselves. But, if you can come to terms with the fiddliness and are OK with it, it's a great game. One of the best thematic games I've ever played. It's very easy to learn and play (aside from keeping track of modifiers and stuff). Unfortunately, it is the fiddliness that keeps it from getting played more with my group.

OK, do you know how cooperative games can degenerate into "Alpha player takes over and tells people what to do"? Well, I kind of feel the same way about SotM, except that it's "The guy who's reading off all the effects of the cards is the only one really paying enough attention to know what's going on". So, with my group it come down to:

Player A: Umm, I'm gonna use my power to deal 2 damage to that minion.

Player B (who is in charge of reading the card text when they come into play): Don't do that. Damage is reduced by 2 because of that ongoing card over there.

Player A: Oh yea, I didn't see that. Umm, I guess I'll use this other power to let each player heal 1 point of damage.

Player B: Don't do that either. Healing is reduced because of that environment card over there.

Player A: Oh yea, I didn't see that either. Umm, what should I do?

Player B: Just let me play the game solo.

EDIT: Having said that, I really enjoy playing SotM solo!


That just sounds like Player B isn't paying enough attention.
In helping people learn the game, advice can abound, but people having their own hands of cards with their own stuff going on is what makes the game cooperative, rather than solo.
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Mike Beiter
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Ronaldo wrote:
A game that a 9 year old can play solo controlling 3 heroes cannot be that complicated or the amount of tracking cannot be that overwhelming. I have seen it a few times.


What level complexity were the heroes and the villain? Were they all level 1s or were they higher? Because if they were beyond 1 then bravo.

It is not so much about the complexity, but about the upkeep and keeping track of every card. There have been so many games where every time someone had to play a card they had to reference 6+ cards on the field to modify it, or dictate who it can hit etc. And to many people that is not fun.

I have seen a game with 2 level 1 heroes, a level 2 hero and a level 2 villain and it still had us all having to stop and recount and recheck and realize we forgot to do certain things at several points in the beginning of the match. Granted it was our first time playing with all of said heroes, so I imagine once you have played with Plague Rat you will know what he does and will have his cards basically memorized.

But the first time playing any 2+ complexity hero or villain is going to require a lot of checking your math or referencing several in play cards. Each time you introduce an unfamiliar element into the game it is going to require some degree of learning the rules and open the door for mistakes.
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André Nordstrand
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Wow, I really didn't expect to see so many replies to this, clearly it's a game that has a place in peoples hearts. I won't reply to each and every person, that would just take too long and look messy.

Yes, my example was made up, but it is very close to the truth. I've played a round with all heroes and villain on a complexity level 1, but still a lot of things to think through. I've tried 3 of the environments in the deck, but couldn't find anywhere in the rulebook where it stated its complexity level. Probably because it's just a location, and not a character to face.

I never said it was a complex game. I enjoy many complex games, most from Fantasy Flight Games. To compare, Lord of the Rings Card Game is far from stream lined and has a lot of text on various cards. But it's much more managable, and you don't have do calculate all the different variables. As to the fact that the "fiddlyness" becomes more managable, sure. If I do my taxes once a week, it becomes second nature to me. Still not fun to do, but it is more managable. I want to play a game, not have the game play me.

Apples to Apples is not even close to a fair comparison to this game. Flux would be closer, as those cards have text which alters the game rules as you go on. But there's no need for book keeping, as the rules are pretty straight forward. Usually no card is dependant on any other cards, except for win conditions.

As for the tokens to help me keep track of things; I tried to use them. The tokens mostly have +1/-1 modifiers, but often the modifiers would actually be +-3 or +-4. And as cards were removed from play, sometimes we forgot to remove the modifier. And then we had to look over the cards once more when we couldn't justify a modifier.

In one of the games I became the book keeper. The other two players didn't pay too much attention to the cards and their text, and I almost felt like a referee when I constantly had to remind them about existing modifiers which woult alter a power or card useless. I became player B in Chris' example, although I didn't go as far as playing it solo, but it would probably have gone faster.

Calling me a liar for saying that I lied about comparing a card to all others, that I don't understand. Do you not compare the card you play with all the cards in the game, or are you blindly looking away from certains cards because you 'recall' that the cards didn't have any affect to boot? If you physically compare it or not, you still have to have them in you thoughts when using powers, actively or passively.

I do believe a 8 year old player would have no problems with the fiddlyness here. Children are excellent memory players, and do things naturally faster than an adult. In games where memory is important, kids usually make more accurate guesses when it comes to what has been played and where/how many/etc. So using a child as an example for this game not to be fiddly/complex, is actually an argument I would use to make my point.

There's a convention coming up in my area, and I have been promised to play this game with a person who is an excellent SotM player and all his sessions are great fun. So I can't wait, because I really wanted to like this game with all the hype its been receiving.
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Johannes Stål
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Agree that this game has alot of tracking, I only play this with the Ios app for tracking (https://itunes.apple.com/se/app/sentinels-sidekick-track-hit...). The app could be improved and track alot of other modifiers but is already a great tool for playing this game more smoothly.
 
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André Nordstrand
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The fact that it's an own app that cost money confirms the fiddlyness. But I will put out a couple of bucks and try it out before I dismiss this game.
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Josh
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takras wrote:
The fact that it's an own app that cost money confirms the fiddlyness. But I will put out a couple of bucks and try it out before I dismiss this game.


Just for the record I wasn't calling you a liar. You weren't the one who claimed that every card needed to be compared to almost every other card when played.

There is definitely an intangible 'game state' that is in constant flux in Sentinels, no one can deny that. That fluctuating state is the core of why Sentinels feels like a chaotic battle between supers and not a dry roll&kill style game. How players choose to handle the game state very much has an impact on their reactions. Sentinels is co-op and players need to tackle this both thematically and mechanically. Each player should focus on what they can do, their own options, and those things that impact them. If everyone is trying to keep track of everything then overload ucan ensue I imagine, but that's a euro approach to a non-euro game. If I play Ra I need to focus on damage. What boosts my damage, is anything immune to fire damage, does anything have damage reduction? Cards come out one at a time so I can note each new entry without too much trouble. My role is to either clear out smaller threats or tackle the villain if nothing else is pressing. I've actually had folks complain Ra was *too easy* to use and not interesting enough. At the opposite end you have Argent Adept and yes, a first time player to the game could easily be overwhelmed by him, the rules warn this by marking him max complexity. However his role can still be broken down as support. He has a wide array of options to help the other heroes. His complexity comes in needing to know what his allies need. Do they need card draws? Do they need lots of power usage? Are they unable to handle ongoing cards? Whatever the need the Adept can provide and focusing on that helps bring things back into focus.

One way to increase the pain for no gain is to play Sentinels in a point-maximizing euro style. Each hero has a hand and decisions to make, let them even if they make imperfect choices.  I find this anti-alpha mechanic to be a godsend. Sure sharing card info now and then is beneficial, but if you are comparing every drawn card 'open hand' style with every other for maximization you're both adding unintended 'fiddleyness' and subduing the chaotic battle-theme.

I suppose my hackles get up at the use of the term 'Fiddley' in a way I see as very innapropriate. I see fiddleyness as either an overabundence of minutae (due to the weather roll being an am storm each of the seven units in these four hexes must roll morale or suffer a -1 in the first turn of any combats initiated this round) but no one is even close enough to attack! or a game where each and every individual decision has long term ramifications over a heavy time investment. This sort can come from nearly any moderately complex game depending on who you play it with/how you approach it. (you only invested 4 points in agriculture in turn 3 and 5 in science. If you had instead invested 4 and 5, you could have achieved the plow in turn 7 instead of turn 8 allowing for the legionary in turn 9 as opposed to 11 and an additional victory point at the end of the game after turn 25 by placing the extra two legionaries in Dacia and Aegyptus. Thus giving you victory insead of defeat) (yes these are both made up examples and both hyperbole, but neither actually sound far from the truth of some games.

Conversely Sentinels may offer 'information overload.' if you don't have a good parsing ability, or try to maintain too tight a control over thecinformation flow, but it is at the core always simple. You win by defeating the villain. You do that by doing damage. Things that do lots of damage to heros are bad and need to be dealt with. Your influence on the game is play a card, use a power, draw a card. Everything that happens involves a changecto these basic features. Generalizing helps. Grand Warlord Voss has a -2 damage reduction per minion out. Trying to remember he has a -8 with 4 minions out and correcting it to -6 when one dies is self-inflicted complexity. It can be shorthanded to 'It's a bad idea to attack Voss while he has minions out.'

If you are in earnest about trying again there is one very excellent method to help tracking. It isn't in the rulebook(which though flavorful does lack) Play cards left-to right as they come out, making rows as space requires) Resolve them similarly. If cards in the middle of the villain area 'die' move other cards back to fill the gap while maintaining order. this 'storybook' style to the play area helps make scanning and tracking easier. You will still need to keep track of universal effects, but pickingeasier hero/villain combinations while you learn can help. Try Citizen dawn for practice. She has a lot of information to track, but her deck is organized around nemonic devices (Hammer and Anvil. Truth or Dare. Blood, Sweat, and Tears etc) making the interactions more apparent. Think of her as a mental challenge with training wheels. Use Haka against her and see if you can discover what his unique advantage against her is. Most importantly don't worry about 'gaming' the game too much and be content to win or lose (lose against Dawn a lot) frequently as suits comic books.

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Gary Boyd
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I guess the theme, to me, doesn't lend itself to how much bookkeeping is required. If I'm playing a superhero I want to be able to use my superpowers not spend ten minutes going through the twenty-plus cards on the table making sure that everything is accounted for. My son loves the game, but he doesn't keep track of what's out. I think the game would be more fun for me if I just played the villain and let the rest of the family play the heroes.

I just don't find the gameplay enjoyable and I think it may just be a personality issue. I enjoy some games which are a much bigger time investment and maybe I'm just not that fond of it.
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Shadrach wrote:
takras wrote:
The fact that it's an own app that cost money confirms the fiddlyness. But I will put out a couple of bucks and try it out before I dismiss this game.


Just for the record I wasn't calling you a liar. You weren't the one who claimed that every card needed to be compared to almost every other card when played.




It doesn't matter. Referring to the other poster's statement as a "bold faced lie" was still uncalled for. That poster's claim was the way many people feel about this game. I know YOU don't feel that way about it, but many do. Saying that SotM is a game about the porn industry in 1970's Eastern Berlin WOULD be a "bold faced lie". But saying you have to check every card in play with other's to see how the cards are affecting each other is a reasonable perception people can have. Certainly you can point out how you feel that is not true. But to call that a "bold faced lie" is attacking someone's character for making a subjective claim about a game you hold in high regard. It would be nice for BGG to remain an environment where we can discuss our likes/dislikes of games without worrying about attacks becoming personal.
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I've played this game a bit. I even played a couple of games with one of the games creators and we STILL had trouble keeping track of everything. We even had to go back and re-calculate some damage because we missed some modifiers. That's part of the game. To me, it's really not any more complicated than your average war game. But I wouldn't say it's a casual game or a filler game that's for sure.

It helps a great deal to use the counters that come with the revised game. If you don't have them, order them from the SoTM website. We put modifiers that applied to a hero in front of the hero and global modifiers we put in the middle. Same with villain modifiers. It wasn't perfect, but it did make keeping track of all the modifiers easier in a 5 person game. There is even a PDF in the file section with a local/global modifiers sheet.
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takras wrote:
The fact that it's an own app that cost money confirms the fiddlyness. But I will put out a couple of bucks and try it out before I dismiss this game.
Don't do that. It won't help you enjoy the game one bit if you don't already. If you gave it the effort you claim to, it may just not be a game for you.

And that's okay. In my world, you're allowed to not like things I like.
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cold_fuzion wrote:
takras wrote:
The fact that it's an own app that cost money confirms the fiddlyness. But I will put out a couple of bucks and try it out before I dismiss this game.
Don't do that. It won't help you enjoy the game one bit if you don't already. If you gave it the effort you claim to, it may just not be a game for you.

And that's okay. In my world, you're allowed to not like things I like.


I would recommend that he give it another try, but I do agree with you on the mentality of the app. If someone feels that they absolutely need extra materials to tolerate playing the game even after playing a confirmed "easy to mangage" setup, then there's no real sense in forcing it.
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You seem to be mistaken about the statement you are defending.

AndySzy wrote:

In contrast, Sentinels cards generally have at least a full sentence (and sometimes more) explaining what they do - and that sentence/paragraph needs to be checked against nearly every other card in play to see if it interacts.


This is the statement in question. It is not subjective. 'To me it feels like...(rest of statement) is subjective. That is a declarative statement and is in fact provably wrong. You do not even need to actually play the game. Simply looking at the cards shows that most of them do not reference other cards in play or affect other cards in play except specific targets when used in game.

The author himself said it was hyperbole, which I can believe, but contextually it wasn't presented as such. It was nestled within a response to my own post that was written so dryly as to take 'slightly above' A2A in complexity to mean exactly the same level of complexity.

The statement was a lie, pure and simple. Every sentence does not need to be checked against nearly every other card in play to see if it interacts. There is a lot of interaction, that is the point of the game, however that doesn't make that particular statement any more true.

I'm not certain it rises to the level of an attack on character either. I'll admit it was a curt response to a bold assertion. People lie though; sometimes willfully, sometimes mistakenly. Calling him a habitual liar, claiming he never tells the truth, eats puppies, or does other dastardly deeds would be an attack on character. (I claim none of these things) Pointing out a lie, doesn't seem like it to me. However just to make it clear:

I Josh do not assert that Andy is a being of low character or loose morals in any way. It was my sole purpose to point out the falsehood of his particular assertion in this particular discussion. Any judgments of his character are left to those who know him and not to some random bloke on the internet who doesn't know him from Adam.

Now back to your regularly scheduled discussion about the, you know, game.

pfctsqr wrote:
Shadrach wrote:
takras wrote:
The fact that it's an own app that cost money confirms the fiddlyness. But I will put out a couple of bucks and try it out before I dismiss this game.


Just for the record I wasn't calling you a liar. You weren't the one who claimed that every card needed to be compared to almost every other card when played.




It doesn't matter. Referring to the other poster's statement as a "bold faced lie" was still uncalled for. That poster's claim was the way many people feel about this game. I know YOU don't feel that way about it, but many do. Saying that SotM is a game about the porn industry in 1970's Eastern Berlin WOULD be a "bold faced lie". But saying you have to check every card in play with other's to see how the cards are affecting each other is a reasonable perception people can have. Certainly you can point out how you feel that is not true. But to call that a "bold faced lie" is attacking someone's character for making a subjective claim about a game you hold in high regard. It would be nice for BGG to remain an environment where we can discuss our likes/dislikes of games without worrying about attacks becoming personal.
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Andy Szymas
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Shadrach wrote:

I'm not certain it rises to the level of an attack on character either. I'll admit it was a curt response to a bold assertion.


I agree with Josh here. I felt it was an admirable attempt to attack my argument and not my character.

Shadrach wrote:

I Josh do not assert that Andy is a being of low character or loose morals in any way.


Aw shucks. Unfortunately, I also need you to certify that I am not a person of high character or tight morals as well. Otherwise people might get the wrong idea.

Ronaldo wrote:
takras wrote:
The fact that it's an own app that cost money confirms the fiddlyness. But I will put out a couple of bucks and try it out before I dismiss this game.


No, it doesn't. It confirms the fiddliness? Ultimate proof!!!

The only thing your post confirms is that you are pushing and reaching for straws.


It confirms that the game is recognized as fiddly enough that people recommend a helper app. In contrast, I am unaware of any Apples to Apples helper apps

Perhaps instead of fiddliness, the phrase to look for is a high degree of bookkeeping?
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Well back to the game, this blog has some really interesting news (was on the front page on BBG as well)

http://handelabra.com/blog/2013/9/16/sentinels-sidekick-is-r...

Looks lite the "sidekick" app is going to be able to track a whole lot more stuff(quote: "you really can leave ALL of the cardboard tokens in the box. We think you’re gonna love it as much as we do.")and be able to use several sources (more then one iphone or ipad) (quote: Every device on that table is tracking the same game, at the same time, “automagically” as it were.). I think this is really great i think more game should utilize support/integration with tablets/phones, especially for tracking and calculating but also for soundtracks or eyecandy.
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I would totally go with a high degree of bookkeeping, just to execute some thread necromancy here. That admits that there is a lot of it, but doesn't have the connotation of it being superfluous. I can't imagine how you'd do that Sentinels does without bookkeeping, but I can totally buy that some people just don't want that in any game they play.


AndySzy wrote:
Shadrach wrote:

I'm not certain it rises to the level of an attack on character either. I'll admit it was a curt response to a bold assertion.


I agree with Josh here. I felt it was an admirable attempt to attack my argument and not my character.

Shadrach wrote:

I Josh do not assert that Andy is a being of low character or loose morals in any way.


Aw shucks. Unfortunately, I also need you to certify that I am not a person of high character or tight morals as well. Otherwise people might get the wrong idea.

Ronaldo wrote:
takras wrote:
The fact that it's an own app that cost money confirms the fiddlyness. But I will put out a couple of bucks and try it out before I dismiss this game.


No, it doesn't. It confirms the fiddliness? Ultimate proof!!!

The only thing your post confirms is that you are pushing and reaching for straws.


It confirms that the game is recognized as fiddly enough that people recommend a helper app. In contrast, I am unaware of any Apples to Apples helper apps

Perhaps instead of fiddliness, the phrase to look for is a high degree of bookkeeping?
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I can't imagine playing the actual game. I have the IOS version. If IOS has already removed the accounting, I still can't find a decent game to play here. This is the worst ten bucks I spent on a game, ever. What a disappointment. After getting galaxy trucker for 4.99, this is just way overpriced. So blah, boring, repetitive, colorless heroes and abilities, and goes on way too long. At least Yomi is done in five minutes.

And who really cares about superheroes unless they are ones you actually grew up reading? I don't have fond memories of RA comics. If the game revolved around childhood memories, and involved a half decent game, that's one thing, but what a lame assortment of 'heroes' and banal card play this is. I have played so many ios card games and this is the worst I have ever experienced. Usually games are on my ipad for weeks before I delete them. Even leaping lemmings has a longer residency on my ipad than sentinels. I couldn't care less about variations of heroes that look like 4th tier watered down rejects from Stan Lee's mind when he was sick with the flu.

Deleted after four interminable games. Makes Star Realms (also way overrated) look like MTG.
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Peepser wrote:
I can't imagine playing the actual game. I have the IOS version. If IOS has already removed the accounting, I still can't find a decent game to play here. This is the worst ten bucks I spent on a game, ever. What a disappointment. After getting galaxy trucker for 4.99, this is just way overpriced. So blah, boring, repetitive, colorless heroes and abilities, and goes on way too long. At least Yomi is done in five minutes.

And who really cares about superheroes unless they are ones you actually grew up reading? I don't have fond memories of RA comics. If the game revolved around childhood memories, and involved a half decent game, that's one thing, but what a lame assortment of 'heroes' and banal card play this is. I have played so many ios card games and this is the worst I have ever experienced. Usually games are on my ipad for weeks before I delete them. Even leaping lemmings has a longer residency on my ipad than sentinels. I couldn't care less about variations of heroes that look like 4th tier watered down rejects from Stan Lee's mind when he was sick with the flu.

Deleted after four interminable games. Makes Star Realms (also way overrated) look like MTG.


So you didn't like it, then? whistle

Honestly, while I think there's way too much bookkeeping and going around making sure you have played all the effects, I can understand the appeal. I'm glad some people really enjoy it. I personally don't find it very entertaining, but that may be because I've ended up doing all the book keeping.
 
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