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Subject: Is this game for me? rss

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Billy Crawford - Greybeard
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I've had this on my 'I don't know list' for about a year and haven't decided whether this is something I want to play or not.

History:

I'm purely an Ameritrash game player. I almost always play games for the theme, and if the game is awesome with good mechanics along the way then score. If not, then I trade it off and get something I know I want.

Coming from a generation of pulp fiction, awesome 'B' movies, and the early years of D&D, I ride heavy on the things I love from my childhood to spur my gaming. And it works really well for me. It's a nostalgia ride for me, if the theme is done right.

This is a game with the Dungeons & Dragons theme, which appeals to me because i've been a fan of D&D for over 30 years now, specifically the Forgotten Realms setting.

But this is classified as a worker placement, thus a Eurogame.

That's the part that's holding me back. I know this is a Eurogame. But, one with theme. SO... Those of you who have played this that are Ameritrash players... what was the selling point for you?

Is there enough theme to matter or does it feel pasted on? I know it's cube pushing, but do the results of it feel like something is being accomplished?

I actually, until recently, never even played a game more than once that uses victory points, but that's where Ancient Terrible Things came in and man was that a blast.

Anyway, please let me know if i should sit this one out or jump in.

Thanks!
 
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Atnier Rodriguez
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Hard to say. If you are purely Ameritrash, then there's not enough theme, but if you are not afraid to broaden your horizons, then this is one of the safest entries into the other side.

I thought I was pure Ameritrash until I was "forced" to play Ra by my then local gaming group. From then on, I have constantly had to reaffirm my boardgaming profile depending on what games shatter expectations or fail to deliver.

There's no guarantees here, that's why actually playing them with the right group is the most accurate method. If that's not possible, then watch a gameplay video (better than a review).

Hell, not even reading the rules helps out, because some games click after several turns of playing. Or in the famous case of Race for the Galaxy, after several consecutive games.

With a little imagination, which I'm sure, Ameritrash fans tend to have in buckets, Lords of Waterdeep can evoke D&D flavor, but it sure ain't a dungeon run. It is a fun game that appeals to many, including neophytes. And if it doesn't, that's okay too. Plenty of games to try out and that's not stopping any time soon.
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The theme is nearly 100% pasted on.
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Billy Crawford - Greybeard
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okami31 wrote:
Plenty of games to try out and that's not stopping any time soon.


Isn't that the truth?

Thanks for the reply. Biggest problem I have is that I live in a smallish town and until about 2 years ago and my persistence there was 0 board gaming community. Lots of MTG players, including myself, but nobody wanting to sit down and play board games. Now there are about 20 of us, but NO ONE buys games but me LOL. So my real issue is, i'd like to try it out first.

I've tried watching videos, but so far the ones i have seen have been too steeped in explanations, I'd rather watch the game played and see the interaction between players. I watched the 'Tabletop' video but there seems to be alot of that cut out for time.

I think what I'll do is try it at BGG con. I had fully intended to not make a 'I want to play this at BGG' list, but I think this is one that'll be worth a try. And it's my first year going.... I have a feeling i'm going to be overwhelmed.

Anyway, thanks again for the reply. I appreciate the time.
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Nathan Bergom
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Hard to say, to be honest. I could see it being something you may enjoy, because you like Sentinels of the Multiverse which is a mathy game with superheroes, and Pandemic, another game whose mechanics could have just as well used another theme. On the other hand, you seem to enjoy it when games are just bursting with theme. Lords of Waterdeep's theme is more of a light coating. It adds flavor, but it's not the main attraction.

The best description I've seen of LoW is that it's D&D as envisioned by an HR manager. You're not really going to be sitting on your pile of orange cubes and thinking, "There's Ragnar, and there's Thorak, and there's Thundarr, and they're going to be part of the team to take down the vile Beholder!" You're just going to think, "I need two more fighters and a cleric. Joe also seems to be going for fighters, though; should I go for the fighter recruitment center before he can take it, or should I go for the tower to get the first player marker so I can be right ahead of him for a while?"

I wouldn't recommend buying it before you've had a chance to play, but definitely see if you can get a chance to play it. It's very popular; it shouldn't be that difficult, relatively speaking, to find someone who has it and wants to break it out.

Completely unrelated, after looking through your collection I have a suggestion and a question. First, since you enjoy Talisman (Revised 4th Edition), you might want to look into Prophecy. Prophecy is a faster, smarter version of Talisman. Second, with your appetite for theme, why am I not seeing the most strongly thematic game, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, in your collection?


Edited to change Battle Cry to BSG. Sheesh.
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Billy Crawford - Greybeard
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Idaho11 wrote:
The theme is nearly 100% pasted on.


Ahhhh, see. That's what I was afraid of. Thank you.
 
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Randy Espinoza
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I didn't get it for the theme (although if it was a different theme, like "trading in a small town in Europe" I might not have bough it), but you do get the feeling of sending your lord's agents to hire people (rogues, wizards,etc) to help in the completion of quests. The theme is not 100% pasted on, I disagree with that statement.

I think you should play it before buying it, with the expansion it is a terrific game, always tense and a lot of fun with the right group. The interaction and combos that you can get from the intrigue cards and some of the quest add a lot of dynamic to the game.

If you have an iPad my advise is to check the iOS version of the game which is top notch an a faithful representation of it.
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nbergom wrote:
Hard to say, to be honest. I could see it being something you may enjoy, because you like Sentinels of the Multiverse which is a mathy game with superheroes, and Pandemic, another game whose mechanics could have just as well used another theme. On the other hand, you seem to enjoy it when games are just bursting with theme. Lords of Waterdeep's theme is more of a light coating. It adds flavor, but it's not the main attraction.

The best description I've seen of LoW is that it's D&D as envisioned by an HR manager. You're not really going to be sitting on your pile of orange cubes and thinking, "There's Ragnar, and there's Thorak, and there's Thundarr, and they're going to be part of the team to take down the vile Beholder!" You're just going to think, "I need two more fighters and a cleric. Joe also seems to be going for fighters, though; should I go for the fighter recruitment center before he can take it, or should I go for the tower to get the first player marker so I can be right ahead of him for a while?"

I wouldn't recommend buying it before you've had a chance to play, but definitely see if you can get a chance to play it. It's very popular; it shouldn't be that difficult, relatively speaking, to find someone who has it and wants to break it out.

Completely unrelated, after looking through your collection I have a suggestion and a question. First, since you enjoy Talisman (Revised 4th Edition), you might want to look into Prophecy. Prophecy is a faster, smarter version of Talisman. Second, with your appetite for theme, why am I not seeing the most strongly thematic game, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, in your collection?


Edited to change Battle Cry to BSG. Sheesh.


Thanks for taking the time to check my collection. Prophecy is one that is on my list to get my hands on, most definitely. I've read and listened to enough chatter on this game to know I want it.

So, Is Battlestar Galactica really that good? See, I love the betrayer/traitor element in games. ALOT. A matter of fact, that seems to be the only time I win is when I get to be a traitor ha! I will definitely be checking it out, thanks.

And yeah, I think i'm going to take your advice about waiting to play. BGG here i come. November coming up quick and I'm stoked.

I had forgotten about Pandemic. I guess that could be considered to have euro mechanics?
 
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Espinoza wrote:
I didn't get it for the theme (although if it was a different theme, like "trading in a small town in Europe" I might not have bough it), but you do get the feeling of sending your lord's agents to hire people (rogues, wizards,etc) to help in the completion of quests. The theme is not 100% pasted on, I disagree with that statement.

I think you should play it before buying it, with the expansion it is a terrific game, always tense and a lot of fun with the right group. The interaction and combos that you can get from the intrigue cards and some of the quest add a lot of dynamic to the game.

If you have an iPad my advise is to check the iOS version of the game which is top notch an a faithful representation of it.


I don't suppose there is an Android version?
 
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Randy Espinoza
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I'm afraid not. You could also watch some of the many videos online, I believe it was played on TableTop (without the expansion sadly).
 
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Espinoza wrote:
The theme is not 100% pasted on, I disagree with that statement.


To me, a theme is pasted on if it would be easy to remove it, replace it with another theme, and still have a game that felt as thematic. Take out the lords and agents, replace them with chefs and ingredients, and you'd have the same game. You could pick pretty much any "leader" and action they'd be trying to do, and you'd have the same game.

Compared to a game like The Manhattan Project (a Euro I would consider to have stronger thematic integration), and you'd be more limited. Certain actions in that game inform the theme, rather than just underlie it. There is a much smaller range of themes that would work as well with that game's mechanisms, which, to me, means the theme is less pasted on.

All that said, even in LoW, I've never felt like a lord sending agents out. I even purchased the DnDeeples, and everyone still just calls them by their colors. There's not enough of a connection between what you're actually doing vs. what it represents to make the theme anything more than a surface sheen.
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Randy Espinoza
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Quote:
Compared to a game like The Manhattan Project (a Euro I would consider to have stronger thematic integration), and you'd be more limited. Certain actions in that game inform the theme, rather than just underlie it. There is a much smaller range of themes that would work as well with that game's mechanisms, which, to me, means the theme is less pasted on.

I think I agree for the most part. But then, that's what makes The Manhattan Project a more "euro" game than LoW: the actions are more complex, with different types of workers assigned for different effects, something that makes thematic sense.

I do still believe that with the corruption dynamic introduced in the expansion the theme in LoW runs a bit deeper.

At the end of the day many worker placement games can be easily abstracted and the theme can become less important (after all, most of them are euros) but your particular approach (and that of your group) to the game can make the theme shine through or not and determine how much you like the game.
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phaelen2003 wrote:
nbergom wrote:
Hard to say, to be honest. I could see it being something you may enjoy, because you like Sentinels of the Multiverse which is a mathy game with superheroes, and Pandemic, another game whose mechanics could have just as well used another theme. On the other hand, you seem to enjoy it when games are just bursting with theme. Lords of Waterdeep's theme is more of a light coating. It adds flavor, but it's not the main attraction.

The best description I've seen of LoW is that it's D&D as envisioned by an HR manager. You're not really going to be sitting on your pile of orange cubes and thinking, "There's Ragnar, and there's Thorak, and there's Thundarr, and they're going to be part of the team to take down the vile Beholder!" You're just going to think, "I need two more fighters and a cleric. Joe also seems to be going for fighters, though; should I go for the fighter recruitment center before he can take it, or should I go for the tower to get the first player marker so I can be right ahead of him for a while?"

I wouldn't recommend buying it before you've had a chance to play, but definitely see if you can get a chance to play it. It's very popular; it shouldn't be that difficult, relatively speaking, to find someone who has it and wants to break it out.

Completely unrelated, after looking through your collection I have a suggestion and a question. First, since you enjoy Talisman (Revised 4th Edition), you might want to look into Prophecy. Prophecy is a faster, smarter version of Talisman. Second, with your appetite for theme, why am I not seeing the most strongly thematic game, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, in your collection?


Edited to change Battle Cry to BSG. Sheesh.


Thanks for taking the time to check my collection. Prophecy is one that is on my list to get my hands on, most definitely. I've read and listened to enough chatter on this game to know I want it.

So, Is Battlestar Galactica really that good? See, I love the betrayer/traitor element in games. ALOT. A matter of fact, that seems to be the only time I win is when I get to be a traitor ha! I will definitely be checking it out, thanks.

And yeah, I think i'm going to take your advice about waiting to play. BGG here i come. November coming up quick and I'm stoked.

I had forgotten about Pandemic. I guess that could be considered to have euro mechanics?

I'm glad you're already looking at Prophecy. It's a lot of fun, and if you use the two-treasure variant, it goes for only about 90 minutes or so.

Is Battlestar Galactica really that good, when you love the traitor element in games? No. It's better. Holy crap, are you going to love BSG. The only issue is that it's a hard game to get people into (5-6 players to really play it well, 3+ hours playing time, and they're some awfully intense hours). But if you can get a group that enjoys it . . . the table talk after a game of BSG will make the table talk after Eldritch Horror look like it belongs in a monastery.
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Teamski wrote:
This one is not for you.

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Yeah, things are pointing that direction.
 
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Espinoza wrote:

At the end of the day many worker placement games can be easily abstracted and the theme can become less important (after all, most of them are euros) but your particular approach (and your group's) to the game can make the theme shine through or not and determine how much you like the game.


Definitely, though then I'd argue the theme is still pasted on, you're just doing extra work to bring it out yourself. "Pasted on", to me, is an inherent quality of the game, not something that depends on the players.

That said, the OP said he's an Ameritrash gamer that is worried the theme here isn't deep enough. Under that criteria, saying that your group's approach is what allows the theme to shine through is the same as saying that this game is not for this player and his group.
 
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Well, if you are looking for a deep fantasy game that's an evolution of Magic the Gathering then try out Mage Wars...but that's 2-players only and requires concentration and good knowledge of the rules.

 
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nbergom wrote:
phaelen2003 wrote:
nbergom wrote:
Hard to say, to be honest. I could see it being something you may enjoy, because you like Sentinels of the Multiverse which is a mathy game with superheroes, and Pandemic, another game whose mechanics could have just as well used another theme. On the other hand, you seem to enjoy it when games are just bursting with theme. Lords of Waterdeep's theme is more of a light coating. It adds flavor, but it's not the main attraction.

The best description I've seen of LoW is that it's D&D as envisioned by an HR manager. You're not really going to be sitting on your pile of orange cubes and thinking, "There's Ragnar, and there's Thorak, and there's Thundarr, and they're going to be part of the team to take down the vile Beholder!" You're just going to think, "I need two more fighters and a cleric. Joe also seems to be going for fighters, though; should I go for the fighter recruitment center before he can take it, or should I go for the tower to get the first player marker so I can be right ahead of him for a while?"

I wouldn't recommend buying it before you've had a chance to play, but definitely see if you can get a chance to play it. It's very popular; it shouldn't be that difficult, relatively speaking, to find someone who has it and wants to break it out.

Completely unrelated, after looking through your collection I have a suggestion and a question. First, since you enjoy Talisman (Revised 4th Edition), you might want to look into Prophecy. Prophecy is a faster, smarter version of Talisman. Second, with your appetite for theme, why am I not seeing the most strongly thematic game, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, in your collection?


Edited to change Battle Cry to BSG. Sheesh.


Thanks for taking the time to check my collection. Prophecy is one that is on my list to get my hands on, most definitely. I've read and listened to enough chatter on this game to know I want it.

So, Is Battlestar Galactica really that good? See, I love the betrayer/traitor element in games. ALOT. A matter of fact, that seems to be the only time I win is when I get to be a traitor ha! I will definitely be checking it out, thanks.

And yeah, I think i'm going to take your advice about waiting to play. BGG here i come. November coming up quick and I'm stoked.

I had forgotten about Pandemic. I guess that could be considered to have euro mechanics?

I'm glad you're already looking at Prophecy. It's a lot of fun, and if you use the two-treasure variant, it goes for only about 90 minutes or so.

Is Battlestar Galactica really that good, when you love the traitor element in games? No. It's better. Holy crap, are you going to love BSG. The only issue is that it's a hard game to get people into (5-6 players to really play it well, 3+ hours playing time, and they're some awfully intense hours). But if you can get a group that enjoys it . . . the table talk after a game of BSG will make the table talk after Eldritch Horror look like it belongs in a monastery.


Holy crap man, you're getting me excited about this game.

My group always has 5-6 peeps and we usually ARE playing 3-4 hours on game night.... Dear lord, going to look for it now.
 
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phaelen2003 wrote:
Idaho11 wrote:
The theme is nearly 100% pasted on.


Ahhhh, see. That's what I was afraid of. Thank you.


Actually it's not that simple

The game design came out of applying well known mechanisms to a planned theme, so - in that sense - the theme is not pasted-on. Now it would be easy to paste on a different theme (cookery has often been suggested, arms manufacture would work, maybe even gardening!) but that does not modify the fact that the designers had the intent to produce a D&D game and the mechanisms came out of that intent.

If you play the game as "placing meeples" (or, even worse, "workers" or "tokens") on "action spaces" collecting coloured cubes to fulfil targets then the theme becomes invisible; but if you send your "agents" out to recruit "adventurers" for "missions" or "quests" (preferably talking a bit of backstory to go with that action) then, in what is mathematically the identical game, there is plenty of theme.

Playing with DnDeeples or minimeeples instead of the cubes helps. Fancier meeples for the agents and metal money helps further. But "pimping-up" the game with those costs money.

As one of the other comments suggests, the iOS version is an excellent way of deciding if the game for you (if you have an iPad).
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Even though the theme is pasted on, I think it works extremely well in this case; playing as a hidden Lord hiring adventurers to complete your quests to become the most powerful ruler of the city.

I find it a great entry into the worker-placement type of game without being overly complicated or punitive for bad decision-making.

The game also has a very high production value. It's beautiful. All the art is taken from the City of Splendors book.

If you're not sure about the game style, you could always get it on the iPad if you can't get in an actual game. It's quite a good translation of the board game.

Quite of few of my friends picked up this game with the expansion to play with their own groups after trying it with my copy because it is easily accessible and pretty. If you do get this game, the expansion will be an automatic buy for you.
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If you have an iPad, buy the iOS app for it and try it out.

You can enhance the theme a little by using character meeples (like Lords of Waterdeep: Character Meeples) instead of the cubes.
 
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The theme makes sense with what you're trying to do, but I agree, it's pretty much 'pasted on'.
I love D&D, and themed games, and dice games, and games where you high-five your team when you win or groan when your characters go down to a defeat.

That said (and admittedly based only on one play, with 4 players), I really liked LoW. It could be by comparison - the day before I had played Yedo which is apparently similar, except mindnumbingly long (for me) and totally unfun (for me). So when the guy said LoW was "kinda like Yedo" I almost didn't play it. But I did, and had a great time. Even though even I said "white cubes" and "two black cubes" instead of "two wizards" and "an assassin". (I read the flavor text aloud on pretty much every game that has cards with flavor text.)

I guess I vastly prefer Ameritrash and theme and adventure games, but I'm open enough to 'worker placement' and 'resource management' games that LoW is within my range of acceptability. (I also like other 'light' strategy games like Splendor, Finca, Fearsome Floors, Thebes; I dislike games like Agricola, Glass Road, Speculation, etc).

The theme and trappings drew my attention, the gameplay made me enjoy the play.

I like that it moves pretty fast, is a finite duration, doesn't appear to TOTALLY block someone from useful moves, and offers a non-paralyzing number of choices.

Try to give it a play to see what you think. Even if you buy it and don't like it, you may be able to resell it and break close to even.
 
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