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Subject: Wake up. Time to die! - A review supplement rss

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Paul Bauman
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Much like the initial reception of Blade Runner which this game takes as its inspiration, Rogue Agent has garnered some polarized reviews and comments in this community, which makes it difficult for someone with a surface (or even somewhat researched) interest in the game to gauge just how much they would personally enjoy it.

Other reviews have certainly already covered the rules, the overall gameplay elements, and the components, so I won't retread those here. In fact, this should be a supplement to the information already available. I highly recommend Joel Eddy’s review and the detailed writeups that are currently posted:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1161044/radio-review-57-rogu...
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1161625/rogue-ausloos
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1162674/daisy-doodle-dice-re...

I was intrigued enough by these reviews to grab the game but in the context of some later negative reactions to the luck factor, I think it might be more helpful at this point to contextualize this game with some expectations and some questions for the potential player.

First of all, do you enjoy games like Wiz War? I mean even when they piss you off?

Specifically, are you OK with a certain amount of controlled chaos, with just enough predictable elements to give you some direction for your next decision and a peek into the next turn? Are you more interested in the badass and/or funny narratives that can emerge from something like this than in a grand strategic plot between victory point engines?

If so, then you're likely to enjoy this game, though the following are some suggestions to keep in mind as you approach the game.

As you read the rulebook and see the quasi-euro scoring methods and the dice-controlled resource placement, resist the urge to start formulating strategies. The scope of most decisions in this game is turn-by-turn and tactical with a strong emphasis on mitigating luck, jumping on opportunities, and paying close attention to how criminals, assassins, and the resource-culling police will be moving at the end of each round (these all move in a non-variable pattern for the duration of the game). And, yes, thanks to the dice, sometimes your carefully considered tactical risks will blow up in your face at the worst moment; sometimes literally when you fail to defuse that bomb that was worth a VP and it detonates. Did you have low health when you started cutting those wires? Then own the risk you took, laugh with your friends, and keep playing.

While we’re on the topic of luck, I've heard some complaints from players who repeatedly died to a weak criminal on fully "upgraded" but nonetheless bad dice rolls. Your decision to gamble in this game should always be weighted by what you are willing to lose. If you're only a couple of stamina points away from death, consider the risk of losing a VP and most of a turn against that "easy" roll with 6-8 dice. These are the types of decisions you come across at almost every turn in this game, usually between an immediate but risky gain, or a safer move for an upgrade and/or good position in relation to the moving elements in the game (which is particularly important when you want to control how soon you may be "outed" as an android).

Lastly, Blade Runner should be a part of your lexicon and you should apply it liberally here. Don't start abstracting everything to hell or you'll lose the soul of the game. Get into the theme and you'll enjoy this much more, especially if you play it as a less principled, more dickish Blade Runner agent (not a nice, solitaire-y, euro point collector). Bounties are usually well worth stealing from your friends and a well timed metamorphosis into a board-destroying android close to endgame can be very satisfying… unless you’re being shadowed by another player because you were too obvious. Then you’re just a victory point piñata soliloquizing about tears in rain.

In the context of the games that I personally enjoy, I can confidently say this is a game for me. It's tense, bluff-ridden, confrontational, opportunistic, and constantly teetering on the brink, which is a feeling that blends nicely with the theme.

If you’re still not quite certain that this is the game for you, but suspect it might be, I have a proposal.

In the spirit of what Sphere once did with his Dirty 1/4 Dozen review of Claustrophobia, I’m in the process of documenting a playthrough of this game with the added android mode. My goal is to illustrate the available decisions in the game, the thought processes behind those decisions and how they mesh with the chaotic elements and overall theme. Since this game is kind of in a genre unto itself, I think this approach will be a good way to allow readers who are on the fence to come to their own conclusions.

More soon.
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Joel Eddy
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Frohike wrote:
Blade Runner should be a part of your lexicon and you should apply it liberally here. Don't start abstracting everything to hell or you'll lose the soul of the game. Get into the theme and you'll enjoy this much more, especially if you play it as a less principled, more dickish Blade Runner agent (not a nice, solitaire-y, euro point collector). Bounties are usually well worth stealing from your friends and a well timed metamorphosis into a board-destroying android close to endgame can be very satisfying… unless you’re being shadowed by another player because you were too obvious. Then you’re just a victory point piñata soliloquizing about tears in rain.



The GG was for that paragraph
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Kent
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Solid opinion piece.

Although, I doubt that you meant to list this link twice:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1161044/radio-review-57-rogu...
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Paul Bauman
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Oops! Fixed
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Stephen Buonocore
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Wow! Just fantastic review!

You have truly captured the essence of the game, and why one would like (love!) this game. Major kudos!

And tip given... especially for THIS section:

Quote:
If you’re still not quite certain that this is the game for you, but suspect it might be, I have a proposal.

In the spirit of what Sphere once did with his Dirty 1/4 Dozen review of Claustrophobia, I’m in the process of documenting a playthrough of this game with the added android mode. My goal is to illustrate the available decisions in the game, the thought processes behind those decisions and how they mesh with the chaotic elements and overall theme. Since this game is kind of in a genre unto itself, I think this approach will be a good way to allow readers who are on the fence to come to their own conclusions.


Can't wait to see this! And I'll hit ya with another tip then!

What is the ETA?

Thank you so much!


Thanks,
Stephen M. Buonocore
Stronghold Games LLC
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Paul Bauman
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I'm about half-way through the annotated game, in the middle of round four, jotting down pages of notes and taking snapshots of the board state and dice rolls as I go. To get that far has taken me roughly three nights, since my window of opportunity after the kids are in bed is very limited. So it's slower going than I expected, but I'm having a blast doing it.

Doing the full write-up will require some additional work to turn it into something that's more than just a session report (getting into the head of each player, staying in theme, etc... Sphere set a high watermark there), and of course I've got to upload and organize all of the snapshots. So, ETA is probably sometime next week. I may pause at a good stopping point or a cliffhanger and post the game in progress, then update the post with more rounds over time until the conclusion is reached.
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David Ausloos
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Wow Paul, that sounds like a fantastic endavour.
I agree that such an in-depth playthrough report will give a very good idea of stuff most reviews will not be able to cover, and offer readers a good glance of what the game actually feels like.
Look forward to see the end result.
Thanks for investing so much time into this.
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Frohike wrote:
I'm about half-way through the annotated game...

I was away from BGG for a 15 month stretch beginning in early 2013, eventually returning in July of 2014, so I missed this thread when it appeared. Seeing a Hot Deal link today had me researching the game, so I checked Geekbuddy Analysis. saw Frohike's comment and it led me here. The kind words about my Dirty 1/4 Dozen review have me blushing, but I'm not posting to call attention to that.

Paul, I know what a bear it is to post a full on annotated game with the players in character, and I know full well that even when you think you're 90% done you're really just reaching the halfway point. I'm guessing you may have reached that point and stalled. Obviously there may be other factors in real life that delayed things, but I truly hope that if that's the case that you'll return and finish this project after you get those sorted.

I literally knew nothing about this game until today, but I'm thinking I may buy it just on spec and tuck it away in the hope that you'll post your story one day. That way I'll be ready to pull it out and follow along as I read. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that - I have no doubt it will be worth the wait.

Go for it, dude! Don't rush on my account, but follow through so the time invested won't be lost. I'm pulling for you.
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