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Subject: The Purge: # 397 Space Alert: A board game where you boss me around in real time rss

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Jayson Myers
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Please check out my other reviews at:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/145695/item/2728438#it...



Conclusion:

A bizarre mix of a game and luck. The idea behind the game is you listen to a sound track that tells you what you need to do. All the players have to coordinate with partial information how to defeat all the terrible things that are happening. Unless everyone is equal at the game, someone will tell you what to do or just try and take care of as much as possible. Boring.

I didn't like this game. At all. It was an exciting (I use that word loosely) period of minutes followed up by an inevitable watching of you screw everything up. The second part is really done by one guy and you just sort of watch if you still have interest in the game as it really ended a few minutes ago and you are just finding out if you lost (or won).

The game itself is frantic, but there really isn't much of a time pressure. We always had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do, despite it was always the wrong way to do. Isn't it funny to mess up and lose? Isn't it fun? No, it is not.

The components are good. The rules are long and tough to get through. The game is best taught, but because it is real time there is a learning curve to the game.

At the end of the day, I didn't find the game to be very fun. I was bossed around and just did whatever. If I had more experience, I would likely do the same thing.

I was so bored, mad, and pissy about this game I am not sure I could have fun even if I didn't have to wait 10-20 minutes while the game finished the game. I wasn't needed for most of the game.

Purge.



Components:

The components are pretty good. You get very small minis that lack any real detail. The wooden blocks are green and serve their purpose. The board is functional and has a nice art style to it. The rest of the bits are made of cardboard and are fantastic. The components in the box are very good and you are likely to have any complaints.



Rule Book:

The rules are given to the players over two rules books. The rule books are needlessly wordy and long. This is a game better off taught and you need to take it slow. The game is easy to learn the rules, but you have to download all the rules to your brain before playing as the game is real time and if you do not know the rules you will hurt your team.

You need to have this game understood before you play and the rules should be read and re read before you ever choose to play this game. There is a huge learning curve to this game.



Flow of the Game:

The flow of the game is simple. You listen to a real time CD and you move around the board and pre-program you character. After the time limit is up, you listen to the soundtrack and see if you did what you needed to do to win. That's the entire game.

I will attempt to explain a few other things. While playing you will need to move, load guns, shoot guns, command robots, power the space ship, etc. The game is difficult because you are attempting to program you actions under the pressure of time and your fellow players screaming for you to do something different. You must coordinate with the other players.

There are all kinds of rules to this game which I am not going to explain here. The main gist of the game is you will program you actions and they cannot be changed. You will make mistakes and you will lose a lot. Sounds like fun?

I have over simplified the game, but I thin the flow of the game is left.



Should I buy this game?:

No. I cannot recommend this game based on my experiences. There are people who will love this game. They will like the pressure and the crashing of your dreams. I didn't enjoy any aspect of this game. I can see what people like about the game. For me, I prefer a game where I can think about moves and plan a strategy and adapt my strategy.

Purge.
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Ian Allen
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I just do not like real time games.

I don't like Space Alert, Escape, Space Cadets: Dice Duel, Pit, or Space Dealer.

I just tried Zombie 15 and it was the only one I've ever tried that I didn't hate.

I don't know if I am going to keep it, but at least it wasn't terrible to play.
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Jo Bartok
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I don't like this game either but it surpases crap like pandemic times 10 cause it solves the alpha leader / solitaire pseudo coop issue very well and it is wuite thematic.

If you wanna try a similar game try ios/android's space team.
It is for free and imho more fun despite being digital only.

I'd recommend this game to people who don't mind occasional stress and pressure. This one is not for me bit i'd gift it to certain people.

An awsome game for some (there are some games people THINK are awesome but all they are is successful and well known... And overrated; this one excels at theme, flow and mechanics, I simply dont like it, where as I dispise and lame crap like splendor or pandemic) - one to pass for others (mostly those having a lot of time pressure and not enjoying that else where).

P.s I do also think it is a much better game than robo rally cause that has even more luck AND tons of down time due to analysis paralysis... And no its not garfields fault; i love Netrunner; in fact the author of this game here (space alert) probably has only worse to offer and tends to create board games of pc simulation games)

If you didnt have time pressure, then you played a too easy mode ;p
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Nicola Bocchetta
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Quote:
The game itself is frantic, but there really isn't much of a time pressure. We always had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do, despite it was always the wrong way to do.


Is there no time pressure? You have 10 minutes to decide your 12 actions without interefering with the other players, but instead coordinating with them to solve multiple problems, with a limited hand of actions from which to choose.

I might agree on the rest of your review, aknowledging this game is not for your tastes, while instead I like it, but not on this.

If you always did the wrong thing, probably you were not doing the right thing, and that's because you hadn't thought over it enough.

"Perfect missions" (i.e. without damage to the ship) are possible, if you get good at the game.
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Byron Campbell
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I don't think I've ever read a review with which I have disagreed so completely. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, it's just that mine is the polar opposite for nearly every line of the review. Not gonna say that you misrepresented the game, but clearly, our tastes differ.

Quote:
A bizarre mix of a game and luck.


This is one of the most low-luck co-op games I have played. Unless you are playing an all-red mission (only possible with the expansion), I believe that it's possible to survive every single combination of threats the game throws at you, and in many cases, you can do so with no damage.

Quote:
Unless everyone is equal at the game, someone will tell you what to do or just try and take care of as much as possible. Boring.


I hate it when people review a game negatively and then somebody pipes up and says "You played it wrong," but it really sounds like you played it wrong (as in poorly). No wonder you lost! The game is built around the concept that you need to coordinate actions to win; it's impossible for one person to do everything, and if they try to micromanage everybody, you will probably run out of time and lose anyway.

Quote:
We always had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do, despite it was always the wrong way to do.


Well, there you go. You had plenty of time to play cards pretty much at random, but you didn't have time (or didn't even attempt) to strategize to overcome the challenge by working together.

Quote:
Isn't it funny to mess up and lose? Isn't it fun? No, it is not.


If you don't find the "Oh sh**" moments during the resolution phase amusing, then you probably wouldn't like this game. There's the core of the review right there.

Quote:
You need to have this game understood before you play and the rules should be read and re read before you ever choose to play this game. There is a huge learning curve to this game.


That's what the training missions are for. Ideally, you should do one training mission without the soundtrack to learn the ins and outs of the game. Then, do one with a soundtrack, add in the C button actions and do a simulation. At that point, you're ready for a real mission. Yes, it is a pain, but you should never have to read the rules 50 times before ever playing. The rules are explicitly designed for you to learn by playing.

Quote:
For me, I prefer a game where I can think about moves and plan a strategy and adapt my strategy.


Which is what you should have been doing in Space Alert. Instead, you "just did whatever."

In any case, it sucks the game wasn't for you. I think you were absolutely right when you said that to love the game, you have to "like the pressure and the crashing of your dreams." Good luck with the next one!
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Evgeny Reznikov
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ionas wrote:
I don't like this game either but it surpases crap like pandemic times 10 cause it solves the alpha leader / solitaire pseudo coop issue very well and it is quite thematic.


This. A thousand times this.
While I wouldn't call Pandemic crap, although I dislike it myself, this is why Space Alert is about the only co-op I'm willing to play. The opportunity to boss around less experienced players is greatly diminished, and I don't get the feeling I can just walk away from the game without changing anything.
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Daniel Kearns
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The intro mission is pretty easy. Twice.

Then we moved on to the regular game and got our butt kicked about 6 times. There wasn't enough time and it was super hard to lead and coordinate.

Plus, new people rotated into the table and jumped right in. People who hate coops really liked this.

I fully expected this game to bomb like hell and it was the biggest surprise good experiences I've ever had.

I don't want to invalidate your bad experience, I can totally see how frustration could abound, just wanted to report that too much time and bossing wasn't my experience.
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Eh, some people experience no bossing around in SA, some people the same as in any other coöp, some more.

It's easy to see how that happens. If everyone is overwhelmed equally, then there would be no bossing around. If some are overwhelmed and others aren't then maybe the same as in other coöps. If someone is overwhelmed such that they won't decide what to do within the time limit, then I can see the game actually encouraging someone else telling them what to do, making it even more bossy than other coöps.

The truth is, people can boss you around in any game. I've had people tell me what to do when playing Small World.
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Jon W
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william4192 wrote:
We always had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do, despite it was always the wrong way to do.

I hope you realize the contradiction in this sentence. If it was the "wrong way to do," then perhaps take a little more time and find the right way. I think you might find you don't have plenty of time if you approach the game thoughtfully.

Also, if you're getting bossed around in this game, but "inevitably" screwing things up, you might want to mention to the bossy player(s) the old canard about the definition of insanity: repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results.

I definitely think of this game as one "where I can think about moves and plan a strategy and adapt my strategy". I just have to do that really fast, and in tune with the others at the table.
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Jayson Myers
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I don't disagree with anything that you said.

I think you have to have a commander; someone coordinating the effort because time is scarce. It almost requires an alpha player. That was my experience, but you have played it more than me.

I also wouldn't want to play this with anyone not experienced. They are just going to screw things up. In this single sentence, it reminds me of Race to the Galaxy. Likely so much better with people who like the game and know the game. No doubt about that to me.

I did whatever because they didn't need me. We won both missions (I think?) without using me for anything. It was frantic, but it was so fast that I just lost interest. There was so much going on and I didn't care. I had zero time to think about my actions. This led to indecision and finally no decision.

I normally would like an exercise like this. Matter of fact, if it was solo I think I would like it. If I had equal footing with the other players, I might like it more. The chances of me having 4-5 guys of the same experience to play it is unlikely.

I didn't like the part where we "wasted" time letting the AI hit us. It might have been fun for those that liked the game or were moving things around the board. Boring for the rest of us. (Um...I'll go play this game over here, let me know if we won...yea!).

It felt like luck because if everyone did what they need to do we would win. If you are playing with less experienced players, good luck! We were just prone to mistakes and the game is counting on it.

I've been hearing about this game for years and wanted to play it really bad. I'm also not a fan of Galaxy Trucker. To each their own. I do like Curse of the Temple (or whatever that Queen game is called). I am going to try GT more before I make a final decision.




kittenhoarder wrote:
I don't think I've ever read a review with which I have disagreed so completely. You are entitled to your opinion, of course, it's just that mine is the polar opposite for nearly every line of the review. Not gonna say that you misrepresented the game, but clearly, our tastes differ.

Quote:
A bizarre mix of a game and luck.


This is one of the most low-luck co-op games I have played. Unless you are playing an all-red mission (only possible with the expansion), I believe that it's possible to survive every single combination of threats the game throws at you, and in many cases, you can do so with no damage.

Quote:
Unless everyone is equal at the game, someone will tell you what to do or just try and take care of as much as possible. Boring.


I hate it when people review a game negatively and then somebody pipes up and says "You played it wrong," but it really sounds like you played it wrong (as in poorly). No wonder you lost! The game is built around the concept that you need to coordinate actions to win; it's impossible for one person to do everything, and if they try to micromanage everybody, you will probably run out of time and lose anyway.

Quote:
We always had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do, despite it was always the wrong way to do.


Well, there you go. You had plenty of time to play cards pretty much at random, but you didn't have time (or didn't even attempt) to strategize to overcome the challenge by working together.

Quote:
Isn't it funny to mess up and lose? Isn't it fun? No, it is not.


If you don't find the "Oh sh**" moments during the resolution phase amusing, then you probably wouldn't like this game. There's the core of the review right there.

Quote:
You need to have this game understood before you play and the rules should be read and re read before you ever choose to play this game. There is a huge learning curve to this game.


That's what the training missions are for. Ideally, you should do one training mission without the soundtrack to learn the ins and outs of the game. Then, do one with a soundtrack, add in the C button actions and do a simulation. At that point, you're ready for a real mission. Yes, it is a pain, but you should never have to read the rules 50 times before ever playing. The rules are explicitly designed for you to learn by playing.

Quote:
For me, I prefer a game where I can think about moves and plan a strategy and adapt my strategy.


Which is what you should have been doing in Space Alert. Instead, you "just did whatever."

In any case, it sucks the game wasn't for you. I think you were absolutely right when you said that to love the game, you have to "like the pressure and the crashing of your dreams." Good luck with the next one!
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Jayson Myers
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dkearns wrote:
The intro mission is pretty easy. Twice.

Then we moved on to the regular game and got our butt kicked about 6 times. There wasn't enough time and it was super hard to lead and coordinate.

Plus, new people rotated into the table and jumped right in. People who hate coops really liked this.

I fully expected this game to bomb like hell and it was the biggest surprise good experiences I've ever had.

I don't want to invalidate your bad experience, I can totally see how frustration could abound, just wanted to report that too much time and bossing wasn't my experience.


Maybe I need more plays with different people....
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waddball wrote:
william4192 wrote:
We always had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do, despite it was always the wrong way to do.

I hope you realize the contradiction in this sentence. If it was the "wrong way to do," then perhaps take a little more time and find the right way. I think you might find you don't have plenty of time if you approach the game thoughtfully.

Also, if you're getting bossed around in this game, but "inevitably" screwing things up, you might want to mention to the bossy player(s) the old canard about the definition of insanity: repeating the same mistakes over and over again and expecting different results.

I definitely think of this game as one "where I can think about moves and plan a strategy and adapt my strategy". I just have to do that really fast, and in tune with the others at the table.


There are some games I suck at and I really want to get better. I end up caring. Tetris has this affect on me. Other games too.

I ended up so frustrated, I didn't care.

After reading this, I might want to give it another go with another group. I'm open to it.

Anyone up for a game?
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Daniel Kearns
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Out of curiosity, how many players were there?

We had 4 or 5. Not sure it matters but I thought I'd ask.
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I have had boring AND great sessions playing this game.

Boring = people who dont get it. They get the rules, but they lack the capacity to coordinate or plan moves in conjunctions with others, which means they dont get how to play.
The end result of these groups are sittig around for 10 mins and then seeing the results and not understandinh why they survived or lose.

Awesome = people who gets it. Luck becomes almost entirely mitigated as players announce what what they will do and what they lack. Actions are planned in seconds as they work the logic of where things are bein routed. Enemies' defeats are planned. Of course screw up happens.
Now here lies the difference between fun and not fun: sense of humor. Awesome group laughs off human errors. Not so fun group gets way seious about mistake and not winning.

Anyways the question is, if your group can implement a coherent strategy and your grp know what they r doing (like some of your favourite games that you can understand and play well), would this game still suck to play?
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Ps i also urge u to consider changing the 'mix of luck' comment. I assure u, this game has very low luck factor as a lot of it really can be mitigated! I do enjoy reading ur purges.
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Jayson Myers
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dkearns wrote:
Out of curiosity, how many players were there?

We had 4 or 5. Not sure it matters but I thought I'd ask.


It was 5.
 
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alafter wrote:
Ps i also urge u to consider changing the 'mix of luck' comment. I assure u, this game has very low luck factor as a lot of it really can be mitigated! I do enjoy reading ur purges.


Thanks for kind comments.

Yeah, luck may not have been the right word despite it feeling like "luck". I think you need "luck" to plan everything correctly, everyone has to follow a plan (good luck! with that), and things have to sort of go your way. Yes, you can plan your way to victory. But the game is working against this really. If it was simple, there would be no game.
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My wife loves co-op games because most of the time I can help her out and kind of tell her what to do. So Arkham Horror, Pandemic... stuff like that she loves. I'm not a fan of that. I've always wanted a co-op where we could coordinate, but you can't have an 'alpha' player.

Then I tried Space Alert. This game is amazing if you DON'T want an alpha player. I played it one time solo (with no time table) just to understand the rules before I brought it over to my friends place. I took about 20 minutes to explain the game beginning to end then we set it up and played a couple of training missions. We barely survived the first mission, which is probably a good deal my fault. I instinctively tried to play the alpha and really I just made things worse. It wasn't until the second game when I tried more open communication and less telling people what to do that we won. These were just the training missions though, no big deal. So we tried the simulations, we stomped them easily. Now it's time to add in the screen saver as well as yellow difficulty cards. This is where it got fun. Everything is going great and then about round 4 you notice something you had missed during the game and everything spirals into shit. It was hilarious, but it made us want to try again. We ended it after we beat the second advanced simulation (I think that's which one we did). We never got to internal threats which is too bad. I'm looking forward to trying that next.

There are two times of co-ops I really enjoy. Traitor co-ops and now timed games. I'd pick this over a normal co-op any day of the week.

I pretty much agree with every word Byron Campbell said.
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william4192 wrote:
Anyone up for a game?
I'd love to play! I've really enjoyed your other reviews, and would be happy to help give you another chance at this one. Are you going to GenCon by any chance?
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Michael Drog
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This is one of my favorite games.

Mainly because my most memorable gaming experiences are based on communication, table talk, humor, cooperation, successes and failures.... whereas my least memorable are silent, efficiency calculating,action selections of a crazy dry game.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion though.
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The OP should try Damage Report. It's another real-time co-op, but it's not as insane as Space Alert. Players play simultaneously and resolve their actions as they go (just like Escape the Curse of the Temple), but you have a little time between your actions to assess the board, talk to the other players, and keep evolving the team strategy. There is very little chance of one player keeping track of what everyone is doing (or should be doing), so there is no alpha leader. All players are active from beginning to end, so there is no "playback" phase where you're just sitting around watching.

While I love Space Alert, the pacing and flow of Damage Report is just so much better.
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Jayson Myers
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dthurston wrote:
william4192 wrote:
Anyone up for a game?
I'd love to play! I've really enjoyed your other reviews, and would be happy to help give you another chance at this one. Are you going to GenCon by any chance?



No to Gen con, yes to Grand con
 
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First of all, it's good that you took the time and effort to write a review with pictures of a game you didn't like. It's good to have negative reviews on games as it shows people a more balanced opinion.

From what you describe of games you like, I think we may be similar. I like medium to heavy euro games where you can think about your moves. If you expected Space Alert to be anything like them games and was disappointed that it wasn't, then whoever persuaded you to play the game did a bad job of explaining it

Saying that, I love Space Alert, even though I prefer solid euros.

Quote:
Unless everyone is equal at the game, someone will tell you what to do or just try and take care of as much as possible. Boring.

I have to disagree here. This isn't Pandemic. There simply isn't enough time for one player to boss others around as he has all his own things to worry about. Yeah sure, someone might take charge in a way - but there is a captain, and he's supposed to do that. He can shout "We need someone to go and recharge the shields on turn 4!", but he cant boss around another player and tell him to do it. It's a co-op game. If I was playing, and the captain said that, AND I had the right cards to do it, then I would do it. And I'd shout back "Yes sir, I'm on it, I can recharge the shields on turn 4!". But there is no way one player can tell everyone else what to do all during the game, its just not feasible. Plus, if one player was trying to do this - that's their fault

Quote:
I didn't like this game. At all. It was an exciting (I use that word loosely) period of minutes followed up by an inevitable watching of you screw everything up. The second part is really done by one guy and you just sort of watch if you still have interest in the game as it really ended a few minutes ago and you are just finding out if you lost (or won).

So, this one guy took over again. That's bad. Working out what happened in our games is a joint experience. I feel that this 'one guy' did kinda spoil the game for others.

And it isn't inevitable that you screw everything up. Don't get me wrong, the game is hard. Maybe you lost every game, maybe you did screw things up all the time.

To hear that you didn't find the actual resolution of what happened at all interesting really says that this isn't your kind of game. But that doesn't make the game bad. And it doesn't mean that you should be sat around for 20 minutes whilst one guy works out what happens and you are bored. This is an unfair assessment of the game, even though it is your opinion, and therefore you are right to have that

Quote:
The game itself is frantic, but there really isn't much of a time pressure. We always had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do

At this point, I think you are playing a different game. Seriously, were you just playing a training mission, or was there a fracture in the space time continuum or something?

The rest of your review is pretty spot on
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PaulGrogan wrote:
First of all, it's good that you took the time and effort to write a review with pictures of a game you didn't like. It's good to have negative reviews on games as it shows people a more balanced opinion.

From what you describe of games you like, I think we may be similar. I like medium to heavy euro games where you can think about your moves. If you expected Space Alert to be anything like them games and was disappointed that it wasn't, then whoever persuaded you to play the game did a bad job of explaining it

Saying that, I love Space Alert, even though I prefer solid euros.

Quote:
Unless everyone is equal at the game, someone will tell you what to do or just try and take care of as much as possible. Boring.

I have to disagree here. This isn't Pandemic. There simply isn't enough time for one player to boss others around as he has all his own things to worry about. Yeah sure, someone might take charge in a way - but there is a captain, and he's supposed to do that. He can shout "We need someone to go and recharge the shields on turn 4!", but he cant boss around another player and tell him to do it. It's a co-op game. If I was playing, and the captain said that, AND I had the right cards to do it, then I would do it. And I'd shout back "Yes sir, I'm on it, I can recharge the shields on turn 4!". But there is no way one player can tell everyone else what to do all during the game, its just not feasible. Plus, if one player was trying to do this - that's their fault

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I didn't like this game. At all. It was an exciting (I use that word loosely) period of minutes followed up by an inevitable watching of you screw everything up. The second part is really done by one guy and you just sort of watch if you still have interest in the game as it really ended a few minutes ago and you are just finding out if you lost (or won).

So, this one guy took over again. That's bad. Working out what happened in our games is a joint experience. I feel that this 'one guy' did kinda spoil the game for others.

And it isn't inevitable that you screw everything up. Don't get me wrong, the game is hard. Maybe you lost every game, maybe you did screw things up all the time.

To hear that you didn't find the actual resolution of what happened at all interesting really says that this isn't your kind of game. But that doesn't make the game bad. And it doesn't mean that you should be sat around for 20 minutes whilst one guy works out what happens and you are bored. This is an unfair assessment of the game, even though it is your opinion, and therefore you are right to have that

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The game itself is frantic, but there really isn't much of a time pressure. We always had plenty of time to do what we wanted to do

At this point, I think you are playing a different game. Seriously, were you just playing a training mission, or was there a fracture in the space time continuum or something?

The rest of your review is pretty spot on


I'm going to try it again with a different group.

We played the first two missions. I have zero idea which ones they were.
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william4192 wrote:

I'm going to try it again with a different group.

We played the first two missions. I have zero idea which ones they were.


Cool. Always start with the training missions. And be the captain!

I vaguely remember from our training missions, there was one game where I think I was needed to just press one button once, or it was my job to wiggle the mouse whilst everyone else rushed around and did stuff. But, that's just the training, where you are not playing with internal threats, battlebots, etc. full missions have a lot more going on
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