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Subject: Rebuttal to Dice Tower 'Assault on Doomrock' review rss

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I also posted the same rebuttal to Dice Tower forums.
It may be more important to make your opinions heard in that thread (than this one):

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1288654/rebuttal-assault-do...

===

This is a rebuttal to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDpbzY4JK9Y

I usually do not do this, in fact this is the first time I personally find that the review was misleading and a little inaccurate, possibly because Tom was expecting something different from the game, possibly something Descent like.

But Assault on Doomrock is not Descent. I have personally written a review about Assault on Doomrock here: https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1262270/one-best-adventurin... (this means that I won't rehash much what I already wrote there, but instead focus on things pointed out by Tom).

"What I don't like is that this game has all these bits and moving pieces all over the place and just piles and piles of cards, this gmae could have really benefitted from a board." and "the location cards could have benefit from being Dixit-sized big-sized cards, because they're very small and there's lots of writing on them that you're constantly squinting to see"

To start things up, I actually agree with Tom here, as not having a board takes a little away from the theme. Not having a board was possibly a cost-saving measure, as this was an Indiegogo campaign.

I also agree with Tom where he is giving criticism about the adventuring phase being about 'everybody having to agree what to do'. It does lead to alpha-player leading all the decisions and calculating the best odds for the group-puzzle. The entire adventuring phase is, technically, a solo experience. But at the same time, it cannot really be executed differently either, as the party has to stay together.

"I do like - kind of - the rolling the dice to put on the different spots, I wish there was more way's to manipulate the dice - it's very possible to roll the dice and simply not get a lot of actions this turn and watch the monsters wail on you."

I think that not being able to manipulate the dice more is absolutely wonderful in this game. You already have two dice that have a double-duty (1 and 6) and it's rare that you actually don't get to do anything. This is why the game is cooperative, if you don't roll what you need to hit the enemy hard, maybe you can assist your friends to do it. This game has led to some of the best table discussions my gaming group has experienced, it's like a thrilling (and very challenging) puzzle that we're all trying to solve and it feels very dynamic.

This would not be the same when players can manipulate the dice enough so that they can do the same thing every turn. Remember that in this game you roll first, decide second. Liken it with something like utilizing your entire skillset and seeing which is useful at any given time, it is far more natural for a combat than blind decide-and-roll.

"I don't like combat itself. Wow! There's only three combats in the game at most, each combat is this really long drawn-out affair and it's moving people around in this abstract sense and I really don't like that, I want it... Either we're just gonna roll dice and fight - or let's go in there and actually have some manouvering mean stuff. Here it's 'I'm in a party, I'm out of the party, I go to the nearest guy' and it's just, I don't know, I found it way too nebulus for my liking in that regard."

It is this point why I am writing here first and foremost. I think that the combat is the best part of the game and not only the best part, but actually that this game has better combat than most adventuring games, period.

I can sense the contrast here though, as Tom likes Descent and Imperial Assault. I don't. I strongly dislike games that try to calculate distances and have line of sight rules and have to roll for each hit. It feels like an insane micromanagement to me. And Assault on Doomrock feels so fresh by making the combat about the actual dynamic experience I want it to be.

Line of sight and exact distances don't matter in actual battle. So why should they matter in games? If you look at movies or read books, then movement and actual hits and all the micromanagement is NEVER visible, because that's not what the experience is about.

Assault on Doomrock manages to give you the same experience that you get in movies or books, while making you feel like you have a really thrilling cooperative control over it.

Combat really IS about skills and special abilities in Doomrock, it IS about using your strengths to the benefit of the group survival. Assault on Doomrock gets combat in a way that no other game does (so far) and I just find it almost addictive. Combat isn't about how far the opponent is, it isn't about what armswing is a success or not.

Combat should be this naturally evolving active-reactive puzzle and Doomrock captures this brilliantly. Descent is a dice-chucker in a way Doomrock is not. Doomrock takes a wider look at combat and combat dynamics in a way that you can never do in Descent, simply because it allows for beautiful combinations and tactical moves that make you feel like the best adventuring movies where you see the band of heroes truly being a team together.

Tom says that the game just has three drawn out combats, but that too is thematic. It's a 'movie' or a 'book' in three acts, culminating challenges that are really tough (and they ARE tough, this game is difficult). It's a game of three challenges. It really should not have more.

To sum things up, Assault on Doomrock is, in a sense, an adventuring action movie in a box. It plays couple of hours and has a sense of progression for the party throughout, with an absolutely beautiful dynamic battle system that only looks abstract in first hand. But is being abstract something to criticize? Descent is just as abstract as Doomrock, it simply looks less so because of miniatures.

I agree that the game has its clunky parts, but I just have to yell out loud that Tom is wrong about combat in Assault on Doomrock. It really is the strongest aspect of the game and I highly suggest everyone give it a try that loves cooperative challenges. Perhaps the game really isn't for him and that's okay. But I just felt like a rebuttal is necessary.

The only thing I can think of is that combat is totally not what you'd expect when going into the game. But then again, everything new and innovative usually is. Give it a try and take Tom's review with a grain of salt
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I actually feel the same way as you do about the combat.
When I read the rules it sounded difficult and boring, but the abstract way it is handled when I finally got to play it was rather nice and refreshing. Easy to teach and no rubbish sight or distance calculations to be done.

That being said, it is rather long when played solo (the only way I have played so far), and I can imagine it being far longer with other players. Also, I would have preferred more AI card interactions and quantity. Having to activate 2 each turn requires a lot of shuffling and repeating of the cards.

That's just what I feel. I really like the game so far, I just hope it has legs with the limited card types for locations and enemies and starting traits
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Just played it, thought the combat was awesomely done. Other than act III was impossible to win and that's no fun.
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Jion wrote:
Having to activate 2 each turn requires a lot of shuffling and repeating of the cards.

I don't have my copy (yet), how many cards are there in a minion AI deck?
 
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I agree that Tom missed the point in his review of this game, but I can't fault a guy for liking different things than I do. I've long since realized that the Dice Tower and I like games for different reasons, so I don't typically pay attention to the 'opinion' part of their reviews (though I still watch them for the play breakdown and to look at the components).

I think, lately, Tom doesn't seem like he spends enough time with the games he is reviewing. The combat in this game creates narrative situations that just can't realistically appear in a game like Descent. Each encounter has monsters doing thematic, interesting, and varied things, and feel like level bosses from a good video game or act-ending encounters from a role playing campaign. You actually need experience fighting them to learn how to defeat them. That might be a negative for some, and I understand that. To me, it's rather brilliant.

I just got to the final act for the first time tonight and fought the tentacle monster. The way his tentacles dragged heroes in for a big, enraged chomp was hilarious, awesome, and very intimidating. I lost, but my experience with the fight is going to inform my tries in the future. These narrative battles exist because of Doomrock's unique take on combat, and you typically only see this kind of enemy AI with a game master making decisions for the creatures. If you do any sort of research on the developer's vision for this game, it was to create a narrative role playing experience where the mechanics mirror what only a game master can usually do. It's a fantasy adventure campaign in two-and-a-half hours.

I agree that tarot-sized cards for the areas would have been welcome, but they're far from necessary. I disagree strongly with every other point that was made.
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Jion wrote:
That being said, it is rather long when played solo (the only way I have played so far), and I can imagine it being far longer with other players. Also, I would have preferred more AI card interactions and quantity. Having to activate 2 each turn requires a lot of shuffling and repeating of the cards.

That's just what I feel. I really like the game so far, I just hope it has legs with the limited card types for locations and enemies and starting traits

Yes it is on the long side, especially as solo because you have only yourself for the company. But I've played it mostly as four-player and it does not play slower than solo and time flies since players are constantly discussing how to push through the next round and the next one.

Also, while there is a lot of meat already in the game with a lot of different items and characters and combinations, they are already working on the expansion

SeerMagic wrote:
Just played it, thought the combat was awesomely done. Other than act III was impossible to win and that's no fun.

Actually this is one of the reasons why I like the game. It's very challenging. It reminds me of the roleplaying computer games of the 90's where you puzzled for hours, turn by turn (as it was turn based) how to defeat the encounter. It felt alive, an actual challenge.

Not many games do it well, as difficulty can be done badly as well, but this one does. So far, if we lose, players have always come up with multiple things we could have done better. I like that the game does not babysit us - a dragon FEELS like a dragon. In fact all of the different encounters have behaviors that FEEL appropriate.

Sure it would be more thematic to have miniatures for all the beasts and characters (and Tom would have liked it a lot more had that been the case), but with a little imagination, it's brilliant
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Fnar wrote:
I think, lately, Tom doesn't seem like he spends enough time with the games he is reviewing. The combat in this game creates narrative situations that just can't realistically appear in a game like Descent. Each encounter has monsters doing thematic, interesting, and varied things, and feel like level bosses from a good video game or act-ending encounters from a role playing campaign. You actually need experience fighting them to learn how to defeat them. That might be a negative for some, and I understand that. To me, it's rather brilliant.

Could not have said it better myself. +1
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giga wrote:
Jion wrote:
Having to activate 2 each turn requires a lot of shuffling and repeating of the cards.

I don't have my copy (yet), how many cards are there in a minion AI deck?

It varies, but typically six to ten cards, with cards removed based on the number of players.

I think the point of a small minion deck has to do with balancing the tactics of the monsters. You don't want the zombies to steal too many dice, but you want dice stolen once per pass through their deck. Same with the tentacle monsters. It is all but required that it respawns a tentacle, as killing tentacles is the only way to kill the boss (unless you can get through 4-8 shields plus 15 armor in one round of combat). So once per reshuffle of the AI deck, you can be assured that tentacles will respawn.
 
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I also posted the same rebuttal here, it may be more important to make your opinions heard in that thread (than this one): https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1288654/rebuttal-assault-do...
 
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Slashdoctor wrote:

Actually this is one of the reasons why I like the game. It's very challenging. It reminds me of the roleplaying computer games of the 90's where you puzzled for hours, turn by turn (as it was turn based) how to defeat the encounter. It felt alive, an actual challenge.

There is a big difference between challenging, and you cannot win. The first 2 battles where very challenging. The last was flip a card and read "you loose".
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Fnar wrote:
giga wrote:
Jion wrote:
Having to activate 2 each turn requires a lot of shuffling and repeating of the cards.

I don't have my copy (yet), how many cards are there in a minion AI deck?

It varies, but typically six to ten cards, with cards removed based on the number of players.

So in average you shuffle the deck once a round?
Edit: I meant when playing 4 players. When playing 2 players it should once every two rounds and when playing solo once every 4 rounds?

For someone used to play Onirim, it seems very low
 
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Fnar wrote:
I agree that Tom missed the point in his review of this game, but I can't fault a guy for liking different things than I do. I've long since realized that the Dice Tower and I like games for different reasons, so I don't typically pay attention to the 'opinion' part of their reviews (though I still watch them for the play breakdown and to look at the components).
This. The stuff the OP quoted from Tom was mostly opinion. "I don't like"..."I really don't like that"..."I found it way too nebulus for my liking".

There are a couple statements that are more objective/less subjective:

"each combat is this really long drawn-out affair"
"it's moving people around in this abstract sense"

Even there, "drawn-out" could mean 2 minutes or 20 minutes, depending on a person's tastes. And I think that even if you're a fan of the game, you could agree that the combat is somewhat abstracted. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is, of course, opinion.

When Tom trashed Bombay, he was factually wrong, and I was among those calling him out on it. Here, I don't see anything that deserves a strong rebuttal.
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peakhope wrote:
Fnar wrote:
I agree that Tom missed the point in his review of this game, but I can't fault a guy for liking different things than I do. I've long since realized that the Dice Tower and I like games for different reasons, so I don't typically pay attention to the 'opinion' part of their reviews (though I still watch them for the play breakdown and to look at the components).
This. The stuff the OP quoted from Tom was mostly opinion. "I don't like"..."I really don't like that"..."I found it way too nebulus for my liking".

There are a couple statements that are more objective/less subjective:

"each combat is this really long drawn-out affair"
"it's moving people around in this abstract sense"

Even there, "drawn-out" could mean 2 minutes or 20 minutes, depending on a person's tastes. And I think that even if you're a fan of the game, you could agree that the combat is somewhat abstracted. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is, of course, opinion.

When Tom trashed Bombay, he was factually wrong, and I was among those calling him out on it. Here, I don't see anything that deserves a strong rebuttal.

Problem being that a reviewer is expected to give a well-rounded opinion and overview of the game and at least this review is one that simply walks against his tastes due to Tom preferring dice chucking where you have to calculate line of sight and ranges, while Doomrock is anything but. The way I see it, he misunderstood why the combat is this way, because he expected it to be something different and could not get over it.

I could easily make a really good case for why the combat in Assault on Doomrock is far more thematic and dynamic than anything in the action-adventure games that Tom Vasel rates really highly.
 
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His dice combat complaints certainly bugged me too. He complained that sometimes you can't do anything a die roll. Um hello Tom, a huge amount of the dice chuckers you play 1/2 the dice don't do anything at all!!!
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giga wrote:
So in average you shuffle the deck once a round?
Edit: I meant when playing 4 players. When playing 2 players it should once every two rounds and when playing solo once every 4 rounds?

For someone used to play Onirim, it seems very low

My experience so far is that the deck is entirely used up in round one, and then you typically shuffle once a round. This is with two-hero games.
 
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Problem being that a reviewer is expected to give a well-rounded opinion and overview of the game
I enjoy watching Tom's videos, but I definitely don't expect a well-rounded opinion.

It seems that you are reviewing him the way he reviewed Doomrock. You each expected and prefer something different from what you got.
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Fnar wrote:
giga wrote:
So in average you shuffle the deck once a round?
Edit: I meant when playing 4 players. When playing 2 players it should once every two rounds and when playing solo once every 4 rounds?

For someone used to play Onirim, it seems very low

My experience so far is that the deck is entirely used up in round one, and then you typically shuffle once a round. This is with two-hero games.

Wait what? You draw only one card per round per player. There are eight AI cards so it takes four rounds with two player until you have to reshuffle the AI deck. Or did you mean something else?
 
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Fnar wrote:
giga wrote:
So in average you shuffle the deck once a round?
Edit: I meant when playing 4 players. When playing 2 players it should once every two rounds and when playing solo once every 4 rounds?

For someone used to play Onirim, it seems very low

My experience so far is that the deck is entirely used up in round one, and then you typically shuffle once a round. This is with two-hero games.

Wait what? You draw only one card per round per player. There are eight AI cards so it takes four rounds with two player until you have to reshuffle the AI deck. Or did you mean something else?

Since you activate two monsters per hero, doesn't that mean that you actually draw 2 cards per player per round? Am I missing something?
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Slashdoctor wrote:
Fnar wrote:
giga wrote:
So in average you shuffle the deck once a round?
Edit: I meant when playing 4 players. When playing 2 players it should once every two rounds and when playing solo once every 4 rounds?

For someone used to play Onirim, it seems very low

My experience so far is that the deck is entirely used up in round one, and then you typically shuffle once a round. This is with two-hero games.

Wait what? You draw only one card per round per player. There are eight AI cards so it takes four rounds with two player until you have to reshuffle the AI deck. Or did you mean something else?

But you need to activate 2 minions per player. Each minion gets its own AI card, so that would be 4 cards per round. Which for me meant a reshuffle was needed every other round or so.
 
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Mishenka wrote:
Slashdoctor wrote:
Fnar wrote:
giga wrote:
So in average you shuffle the deck once a round?
Edit: I meant when playing 4 players. When playing 2 players it should once every two rounds and when playing solo once every 4 rounds?

For someone used to play Onirim, it seems very low

My experience so far is that the deck is entirely used up in round one, and then you typically shuffle once a round. This is with two-hero games.

Wait what? You draw only one card per round per player. There are eight AI cards so it takes four rounds with two player until you have to reshuffle the AI deck. Or did you mean something else?

Since you activate two monsters per hero, doesn't that mean that you actually draw 2 cards per player per round? Am I missing something?

Ah yes, correct. I'm now trying to think why I don't have to shuffle every round, since we did play that rule correctly.

EDIT: Now I know. Since we rarely have 8 creatures remaining after a round, that's why the AI deck won't get reshuffled after every round. Single creature cannot be activated more than twice.
 
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Slashdoctor wrote:
EDIT: Now I know. Since we rarely have 8 creatures remaining after a round, that's why the AI deck won't get reshuffled after every round. Single creature cannot be activated more than twice.

Unless a hero hasn't activated a minion yet.
 
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Fnar wrote:


I think, lately, Tom doesn't seem like he spends enough time with the games he is reviewing.

Oh, I think this is generally the case. How can he possibly maintain that output without cutting corners? This is a game needs several plays to begin to understand how to approach it.
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My impression lately has been skewed by the zombie horde which, in a two player game with three activations per player, uses up the entire six-card (for two heroes) AI deck in one round.

But you're right, it's more of an every-other-round thing, I think.
 
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Absolutely, the abstract combat and 'optimization game' in the adventuring to better your chances in combat are for me which makes this game STELLAR. and I mean that. Once you know what the AI decks will throw at you, you know how to prepare... This is incredible. IT is not roll dice to see what you can do, it become what do I need to do prior to activation... this dictates what I need to roll.. This level of planning is key to success. It also makes the combat heckofalotta fun.

For me the only downside is the # of adventure area cards... and event cards. both need more.
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