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Subject: Gencon 2015 info? rss

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Bill Jensen
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Trying to glean what I can from information from Gencon, but if anyone finds info please feel free to post or link it here.
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Alex Eaton-Salners
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IELLO is demoing a prototype version at their booth in the Exhibit Hall. The art looks like it's probably finished, but the components appear to be mock-ups.
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Alex Eaton-Salners
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I got a chance to play a game of this today. The IELLO rep said that it will be released at Essen.

The gameplay in the version I played is very similar to what was described in the overview video from Spielwarenmesse. There have been a few balance tweaks. For example, you can have up to five spells instead of four, you get six hand cards instead of five, and the timing and number of the curses on each page is different from what's described in the video. The number of curses increases during the game and the timing on each page is resolve boss, one curse, two curses, one curse (if applicable), and one curse (if applicable). The difficulty can be adjusted by changing the rate of the curse scaling.

Two of the four basic spells and many of the advanced spells enable player interaction (either immediate or in the future). It's not unusual for several players to contribute to a single turn.

Every time you cycle through your deck, you add a madness card (similar to a curse card in Dominion). They clog your deck and if the supply of madness cards runs out, you lose.

The game had a good dramatic arc and a high level of tension. I'm looking forward to my next play.
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Bill Jensen
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Thank you very much for this info.
 
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Anthony Martins
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I wasn't very impressed with my go at this game. Everything felt a bit deterministic, like we were spending most of our time puzzling out something that had a clear solution. It was cute, but it lacked the dramatic tension of other co-ops with a bit more risk analysis.
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Bill Jensen
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I do like to have strategic rather than obvious choices. Maybe play testing will bring more of this rather than just polish.
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David Jones
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Not a deal breaker for me, but in the GenCon video the rep said the game cannot be played solo. Is there any particular reason why one person can't just control two players?
 
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Anthony Martins
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davypi wrote:
Not a deal breaker for me, but in the GenCon video the rep said the game cannot be played solo. Is there any particular reason why one person can't just control two players?


From the demo I played, I couldn't see why one person couldn't play as two mages. There's no special hidden information or anything.
 
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Dan Cain
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Quizoid wrote:
I wasn't very impressed with my go at this game. Everything felt a bit deterministic, like we were spending most of our time puzzling out something that had a clear solution. It was cute, but it lacked the dramatic tension of other co-ops with a bit more risk analysis.


Totally agree with this. On your turn it is really obvious what to do, and the choices are very few and far between. I was really disappointed in my one play of the game at GenCon.
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Mitch Renwick
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davypi wrote:
Not a deal breaker for me, but in the GenCon video the rep said the game cannot be played solo. Is there any particular reason why one person can't just control two players?


I demo'd this at Gencon and I do not see why it couldn't be played solo by controlling more than one hero. In fact, its pretty much a solo play no matter how many people you have at the table.

In my opinion, this is a terrible game and by far my worst experience at Gencon this year. It may be one of the worst games I have ever played.

Why?

Because while other new co-ops are looking for ways to mitigate the alpha gamer issue, this one does everything it can to make the issue worse with shared hand information and shared cards. The "quarterback" or alpha gamer can plan out everyone's turn and it makes sense to do that. You wont win without optimizing everyone's hands into one big turn.

I was very disappointed. The art is great, the theme is cool and the deck building is done in a fun way.


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Nick Meenachan
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You all have made me so sad right now. This was my second most anticipated game of the year. Oh well, I will hold out hope that it's either a "different strokes for different folks"-type situation, or that there will be some tweaks to the system before release.
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Eric O.
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TheKillShirt wrote:
You all have made me so sad right now. This was my second most anticipated game of the year. Oh well, I will hold out hope that it's either a "different strokes for different folks"-type situation, or that there will be some tweaks to the system before release.


I agree, I had it all ready to pre-order, in my cart at Miniatures Market and then I saw this these comments and didn't order. I'm hoping to see a review now so I can decide if it would still be fun for my family or if it really is that "scripted" or obvious. Oh well, maybe it will save me some money.
 
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Scott Rogers
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I missed playing the demo at Gen Con (I had a ticket and everything) but after reading everyone's reviews, it doesn't sound like I missed much.

Too bad. I thought this theme and gameplay concept had a lot of potential.
 
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Bill Jensen
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Yeah I had been extremely exited for this game, but I am worried it will be so simple that it will have no depth. The theme and art (which look to be absolutely amazing) won't save a boring game with no depth.
 
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Adam
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Really wish we could get some reviews or gameplay videos. It's starting to feel like when film production companies hold back preview copies of a movie because they know it won't be received well, regardless of the flashy earlier trailers.
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Mitch Renwick
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I'll try to tell you what I can remember.

to start a round you turn the page in the book of madness to reveal a new monster. that monster will require a multiple combinations of symbols to defeat and each turn it is not defeated it will have negative effects to the player who will be taking their turn next. Depending on how long the monster has been out, those effects will get worse.

You start with a deck of spells that are essentially different colored elements (fire, water, life, etc)

On your turn you can play these from your hand to do a few things
1. buy upgrades of the spells, each upgrade card will give 2 or more power symbols instead of just one power. Think using coppers in dominion to buy silvers.

2. buy cards to add to your deck that give special actions. I cant remember what most of these did, but I think they were mostly things like draw cards or use symbols for other colors. I believe that these cards are always the same game to game.

3. use your cards to defeat one of the phases of the monster current in the book

4. add a card to your shared area another player may use it during their turn.

the art is great
the deck building concept is familiar but nice.

but that sharing of cards kills the game for me. you will need to "work together" in order to set up the next players to be successful and eventually have enough cards to take out the monster requirements.

This leads into a conversation of what do you all have in your hands and one person saying ok you share this, you share that, and then he'll do this and I'll do this and we'll win the round.

Because each round is essentially one big shared turn, its a total alpha gamer takeover fest.

Maybe this would be good with a parent and a couple of their kids so that they can really coach their kids along, but at that point its not a gamer's game, its a kids game.


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Eric O.
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snowren24 wrote:

Maybe this would be good with a parent and a couple of their kids so that they can really coach their kids along, but at that point its not a gamer's game, its a kids game.




That's what I was wondering. I planned on purchasing this to play with my wife and kids but I don't want it to be a game where I just tell them what to do. I unfortunately do that too much with Forbidden Island already.
 
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Adam
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Hmm. Think that could be fixed by not allowing players to
a) discuss hand composition, or
b) discuss whether or not they are going to help and how?
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Eric O.
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johnjon wrote:
Hmm. Think that could be fixed by not allowing players to
a) discuss hand composition, or
b) discuss whether or not they are going to help and how?


That's true.
 
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Mitch Renwick
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johnjon wrote:
Hmm. Think that could be fixed by not allowing players to
a) discuss hand composition, or
b) discuss whether or not they are going to help and how?


Possibly, but then I think the game difficulty will skyrocket. We were taught at the demo that the only way to win is to discuss what you have in your hand.
 
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Paul Newsham
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Maybe don't play with terrible people
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Mitch Renwick
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Tarnop wrote:
Maybe don't play with terrible people


or maybe use game design reminiscent of 2015 and not 2005
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Matthieu BONIN
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johnjon wrote:
Really wish we could get some reviews or gameplay videos. It's starting to feel like when film production companies hold back preview copies of a movie because they know it won't be received well, regardless of the flashy earlier trailers.
We wish we had any review copies yet, but unfortunately, we don't. We do have a final prototype that were played many times on fairs and cons in the past few months. Most of the players loved the game, and I witnessed another awesome game being played just yesterday.
Some groups didn't like the game that much. Most of the time, it's because they were expecting something else that what it really is. The Big Book of Madness is a challenging cooperative game, quite like Ghost Stories. You have to continually brainstorm to make the right choices together. I guess you can't really help someone taking the lead if everyone tells him exactly what they have in hand, but I'm not sure I'd want to play with him. :/
And even in 2015, I'm not sure most of the new cooperative avoid this issue (some do, of course). Or am I the only who does not play with a bossy partner and still enjoy Pandemic, Ghost Stories and such?

What is more surprising to me is the feeling that the game does not offer enough choices. There's plenty to do at your turn, and the obvious choices are often not the best ones. As the difficulty is pretty high (we have a 30% success rate for a first game with the lowest difficulty level — there are 9…), you better think twice before making obvious choices…
But I can understand why some might say it feels like a puzzle. It's quite true, it's a sort of cooperative puzzle to solve, but there's a few random factors (monsters powers and card draws) and many options that still makes sure there's not only one way to succeed…

We will demo (and sell) the game at Essen next month, so you should get more feedback from more unbiased players than me then. In the meantime, you can read the rules here (I'll upload them on BGG today).
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Nick Meenachan
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Mattintheweb wrote:
johnjon wrote:
Really wish we could get some reviews or gameplay videos. It's starting to feel like when film production companies hold back preview copies of a movie because they know it won't be received well, regardless of the flashy earlier trailers.
We wish we had any review copies yet, but unfortunately, we don't. We do have a final prototype that were played many times on fairs and cons in the past few months. Most of the players loved the game, and I witnessed another awesome game being played just yesterday.
Some groups didn't like the game that much. Most of the time, it's because they were expecting something else that what it really is. The Big Book of Madness is a challenging cooperative game, quite like Ghost Stories. You have to continually brainstorm to make the right choices together. I guess you can't really help someone taking the lead if everyone tells him exactly what they have in hand, but I'm not sure I'd want to play with him. :/
And even in 2015, I'm not sure most of the new cooperative avoid this issue (some do, of course). Or am I the only who does not play with a bossy partner and still enjoy Pandemic, Ghost Stories and such?

What is more surprising to me is the feeling that the game does not offer enough choices. There's plenty to do at your turn, and the obvious choices are often not the best ones. As the difficulty is pretty high (we have a 30% success rate for a first game with the lowest difficulty level — there are 9…), you better think twice before making obvious choices…
But I can understand why some might say it feels like a puzzle. It's quite true, it's a sort of cooperative puzzle to solve, but there's a few random factors (monsters powers and card draws) and many options that still makes sure there's not only one way to succeed…

We will demo (and sell) the game at Essen next month, so you should get more feedback from more unbiased players than me then. In the meantime, you can read the rules here (I'll upload them on BGG today).


Thanks for this response Matthieu. I am still looking forward to the game, and while I do wish I could get a review copy ahead of time, I'm sure it will be worth the wait. One question I would like to know the answer to: is it possible to play this game solo, despite the face that it's marked as 2-5? How hard would it be to just run two characters, or change the rules enough to make winning as a solo player possible?
 
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Matthieu BONIN
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TheKillShirt wrote:
One question I would like to know the answer to: is it possible to play this game solo, despite the face that it's marked as 2-5? How hard would it be to just run two characters, or change the rules enough to make winning as a solo player possible?
I'll ask the designer when I have the chance to, but here's my thought:
• nothing prevents you from running several characters on your own, with all the hands face up. You'd miss the cooperation that we think is key for fun in this game, but technically, I don't see how it wouldn't work.
• I think playing a single character would need a certain amount of tweaking, as support and having other players play during your turn is pretty crucial in the game.
I'll talk to Maxime and see if he has any idea about playing solo.
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