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Subject: Colosseum's coming back (as a Collector's Edition) - TMG obtained publishing rights rss

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Nim Chimpsky
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I'd like to think I could easily look past the cover of a game, but something about this new cover just looks so dopey to me.

The font makes me think more of cavemen than of ancient Rome.

If the components look good and the gameplay is solid, then the box ultimately won't matter to me. Panamax has (in my opinion) a terrible box, but the stuff inside looks much better, and the game itself is great.

I've seen people describe the old Colosseum art as looking dated, but I think DoW boxes have more of a timeless look. This cartoony style seems more likely to look dated in a few years.
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Dan Ridge
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I will reserve judgement for the final components when we can see it all.

However, my beef with the small glimpse I've seen of the cover doesn't give me a collectors edition vibe. Usually a CE is blinged out and special and I don't get that feeling at all seeing that cover. If I didn't know about the old version and what it was I would probably NOT give this game a second look at a store and THAT is the single most important thing. It must be excruciating to pick up a license to a known older game and completely re-do the artwork from the ground up because people have preconceived notions of how it should look. Personally, I'm a bit burned out on the super cartoony style in general. It would have been nice to see a little more adult tone but again I haven't seen the overall project so I'll remain hopeful.
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Allan Clements
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In thumbnail form the box art looks like an old video game. Which would be a good thing, were it meant to look like an old video game

Even if cartoony, I would have preferred a more zoomed out box, showing the colosseum itself and with some sort of event going on inside it. Not a close up of a guy fighting a tiger.
 
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Justin Fuhrmann
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I think the thing that bothers me the most about this cover is that I don't think it's really representative of what the game is about. The new cover gives the impression of a game that's about gladiators fighting wild animals and stuff. Yes, that happened in the Colosseum, but that's not what the game is about - it's about putting on plays. Which may have had trained wild animals, but probably not untrained ones that would attack people (note that the old cover had a guy RIDING a lion).

If people don't know anything about this game, I don't think the new cover is going to draw in the people who would be most interested in the gameplay. The game appeals to people looking for a family game without direct conflict. The cover seems to indicate an arena fighting game. I think the cover art is a big miss thematically.
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Jason Preder
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drakecoldwinter wrote:
Well, one thing for sure, the new art is sure to not please everyone.

I think that the old version offered a very realistic art and now people are shocked to see this new cartoonist art.

Personally I think I like it, I'm eager to see the rest of it, but I would not be displeased if the overall art of the game was this kind of cartoonish.

I think a very important part will be to offer more content in this new version and do a better hype for the game.


Exactly this. I also don't mind the new art style of the box. In fact, I think it is much more consistent with the old games components, as highlighted by Andy.

I'm not sure about arguments stating this won't be seen as a family game due to its cartoonish nature, when that's typically a good indicator of a family game. That being said, Colosseum dips a little past a family game anyhow. There is a lot of analysis going on, and trading assets to optimize your performances can be pretty cutthroat. Sure, this isn't Game of Thrones: The Board Game, but it's surely more complex than Ticket to Ride.

I don't think the art will have much influence on this games success at all. It's just the eyecatcher, and I think this box cover will do just that. The real success will be in generating hype and awareness about this version, and more importantly, refining or reworking game mechanisms that were subpar or at least adding a bit more flavor to the game other than a graphical reprint.
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Ilan Vonderwalde
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I'm not sure I like the art choice either. Frankly, I would be happy with a classy solid colour box with the word "Colosseum" on it for the CE/deluxe edition. I'm thinking something like the box cover for Carson City: Big Box or Glory to Rome.

I don't know why, but I'm put off by the art. I'll probably back it anyway because this game has been at the top of my wish list since the day I discovered it, but I just don't feel as inspired or excited about it with the new look (so far). I also think that the font choice especially is what bugs me the most.
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Gamemanue wrote:
I think the thing that bothers me the most about this cover is that I don't think it's really representative of what the game is about. The new cover gives the impression of a game that's about gladiators fighting wild animals and stuff. Yes, that happened in the Colosseum, but that's not what the game is about - it's about putting on plays. Which may have had trained wild animals, but probably not untrained ones that would attack people (note that the old cover had a guy RIDING a lion).


The Roman ludi were varied in their content, and gladiatorial exhibitions were a major component (particularly later in the timeline of the empire).

Yes, there were also circus acts, theatrical performances, mock animal hunts, and more, but the Western imagination has mostly been taken with the gladiators, so it's little wonder that the box cover features one.
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Jason Preder
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If you have not played Colosseum, this are the parts of the game that seem fiddly to me, and could use some attention.

1. Event(show) selection. Everyone has a huge list of all the available shows you can perform. There are like 20+ of them, if I remember correctly. If you are a novice gamer or looking for something light to teach the kids, this particular mechanism is pretty overwhelming, especially when you have to consider all the assets available, etc. Not sure what to do about this one, it's pretty integral.

2. Trading assets. I always found trading in competitive games pretty problematic. It seems very rare that someone is going to give you something you need, especially when so many of the assets are pretty tight to begin with. In most cases, this comes down to nepotism in trading or just ignoring it all together. Both can cause frustration. I've seen one game recently that handled trading in an interesting way. Mara Nostrom has an initiated trade action, and everyone is forced to put assets into a combined pool, then the assets are taken in a round robin format. This was really interesting, and I think more games could benefit from this forced trade mechanism, where you have to work for first place in the pick order, rather than working to convince someone to part with their assets through futile negotiation.


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Susie_Cat
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MilkFromACow wrote:

2. Trading assets. I always found trading in competitive games pretty problematic. It seems very rare that someone is going to give you something you need, especially when so many of the assets are pretty tight to begin with. In most cases, this comes down to nepotism in trading or just ignoring it all together. Both can cause frustration. I've seen one game recently that handled trading in an interesting way. Mara Nostrom has an initiated trade action, and everyone is forced to put assets into a combined pool, then the assets are taken in a round robin format. This was really interesting, and I think more games could benefit from this forced trade mechanism, where you have to work for first place in the pick order, rather than working to convince someone to part with their assets through futile negotiation.


This is the "Settlers" problem: You should only want to trade if it is going to improve your position, but if everyone obeys that rule, then nobody will trade unless it is equally mutually beneficial. Added to which, if you are the leader nobody wants to trade with you anyhow and you can afford not to trade with them so long as you are significantly in front. So nobody trades and the game stagnates. Of course settlers gets round this with the Robber, but I quite like the sound of this Mare Nostrum enforced trading as possible variant.

Susie_Cat.
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Jeremy Heilman
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MilkFromACow wrote:
If you have not played Colosseum, this are the parts of the game that seem fiddly to me, and could use some attention.


I'd say both of these elements are integral to the game... I have found the trades to be pretty freewheeling in Colosseum, since often items have next to no value for you given the show you're trying to stage... maybe my groups just haven't been that confrontational.

That being said, if these two elements bother you about Colosseum, I'd suggest trying The Princes of Florence, if you haven't already. It is a very similar game (also co-designed by Kramer) with an easier list of "shows" to complete and no trading.

Both are probably in my favorite few Eurogames, but I'd give Princes the edge.
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truekid wrote:
To speak briefly on the direction of art for the TMG version:

We expect people, regardless of how the art looked, to vocally be negative about it (they are about every game, from every company). This is the internet, it's easier and more common to be negative than positive, and as a reprint of a classic euro, this game is going to have a big target on its head.


I disagree, but then that makes you look like you're right, so we'll skip over that.

truekid wrote:
People are looking at the cover and comparing it to the cover of the prior version, as should be expected. However, we wanted consistency between our cover and our contents. Had we gone with a gritty cover (which would not have matched the gameplay), people would be freaking out about the grittiness and be pointing at the components of the prior version as "evidence" that we're doing it wrong:

This person is looking at the cover and comparing it to what I know the game is about, and I see a complete disconnect. If I were to see this on the shelf, I'd think it was a game about gladiator combat, not putting on performances.

truekid wrote:
Regardless of unrealistic comparisons, every style of art will have people who don't like that style.

It's not the style I don't like. It's the style put onto this game that I don't like. (See above)

truekid wrote:
I had put the cover in the geekmod queue right before the decision to delay the launch was made, the two are unrelated. It's ok that it's out there, and we'll probably put up more art as things move closer to final.

Can't wait to see it.
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Jeremy Heilman
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Murr wrote:
It's not the style I don't like. It's the style put onto this game that I don't like. (See above)


Really it's just this for me as well. This is a poor art choice for this particular game. The art itself is strictly average on its own terms. The problems are that the theme of the game doesn't stress combat and the gameplay is heavy enough that cartoon art seems like a mismatch. Furthermore, the cartoon art just doesn't seem to be the stuff that you'd expect to find gracing an "Emperor's Edition". It looks like it's targeted at the mass market. We don't know what the price of this reprint will be, but the implication was that MSRP would be higher than average. That this is also a special edition of a game that has already been singled out as one of the most beautiful board games of its time just raises the bar even more.

It seems silly for a company to suggest that its potential customers' complaints were fully anticipated, yet still proceed in a manner likely to alienate its most likely customers (i.e. fans of the game being reprinted). Obviously they think that there will be more people that love the art than don't, I suppose, but I'm not so sure...
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Jason Preder
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nyfilmfest wrote:
Murr wrote:
It's not the style I don't like. It's the style put onto this game that I don't like. (See above)


Really it's just this for me as well. This is a poor art choice for this particular game. The art itself is strictly average on its own terms. The problems are that the theme of the game doesn't stress combat and the gameplay is heavy enough that cartoon art seems like a mismatch. Furthermore, the cartoon art just doesn't seem to be the stuff that you'd expect to find gracing an "Emperor's Edition". It looks like it's targeted at the mass market. We don't know what the price of this reprint will be, but the implication was that MSRP would be higher than average. That this is also a special edition of a game that has already been singled out as one of the most beautiful board games of its time just raises the bar even more.

It seems silly for a company to suggest that its potential customers' complaints were fully anticipated, yet still proceed in a manner likely to alienate its most likely customers (i.e. fans of the game being reprinted). Obviously they think that there will be more people that love the art than don't, I suppose, but I'm not so sure...


I'd argue that Belfort has similar art on the cover and is a MUCH more complex game than Colosseum. I can't disagree that the focus seems to be on the gladiators, but I still don't think this is something that will or won't sell the game. The market has so many games constantly coming out with new and interesting mechanics, that reissuing and old game with updated art is a sure way to fail. Hopefully they have refined or updated some of the mechanisms.
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Jeremy Heilman
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The Belfort point is well-taken, but obviously I wasn't suggesting that no heavy game has ever had cartoon art... I was just talking about the expectations created by a cover like that.

MilkFromACow wrote:
The market has so many games constantly coming out with new and interesting mechanics, that reissuing and old game with updated art is a sure way to fail. Hopefully they have refined or updated some of the mechanisms.


Heaven forbid.

I love Colosseum as is, so I'd likely be more upset if they changed the gameplay significantly than I am by any art changes. I don't see anything that needs to be changed at all. At most, some of the shows could be slightly altered for better balance, I'd say. The game is still relatively unique in the market, which is why it's still worth reprinting at all.
 
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Jason Preder
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nyfilmfest wrote:
The Belfort point is well-taken, but obviously I wasn't suggesting that no heavy game has ever had cartoon art... I was just talking about the expectations created by a cover like that.

MilkFromACow wrote:
The market has so many games constantly coming out with new and interesting mechanics, that reissuing and old game with updated art is a sure way to fail. Hopefully they have refined or updated some of the mechanisms.


Heaven forbid.

I love Colosseum as is, so I'd likely be more upset if they changed the gameplay significantly than I am by any art changes. I don't see anything that needs to be changed at all. At most, some of the shows could be slightly altered for better balance, I'd say. The game is still relatively unique in the market, which is why it's still worth reprinting at all.


Not hoping for a major reworking, just possibly some fine tuning like you mentioned. Also, possibly a new trade mechanism.
 
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I fear that in general there will be some disillusionment when more people start to play this game. It's a nice game, but it's at advanced family game level. You are definitely held on rails that keep the game from going too long or from anyone who is paying even a little attention going too far wrong. The entire game is quite restrictive and really more oriented toward the casual gamer. I think there is a reason it didn't sell so well when it was first published and it is mainly its unavailability that has increased demand over time. Don't get me wrong, it is a nice family game, but I don't think it warrants the mystique it seems to have built up among gamers.

Also, the DOW, version was already pretty darn deluxe. However, I actually think the new cover art style is a very good fit for the game. This is a family game, not a deep Euro, and I think it is a good idea to represent that on the cover.
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BTW, if you're open to gameplay changes, I'd suggest trying to find ways to bring the play time down a bit.

It's actually a pretty good game, but for our group has always sort of outlived its welcome 20-30 minutes too long. With a couple of clever design changes you can probably shorten things a bit while keeping the meat of the game intact.
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I think my parents old saying of, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all" would be prudent. If you don't like the art that is fine, but I don't think that we need to be mean about it.
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carlsbad wrote:
BTW, if you're open to gameplay changes, I'd suggest trying to find ways to bring the play time down a bit.

It's actually a pretty good game, but for our group has always sort of outlived its welcome 20-30 minutes too long. With a couple of clever design changes you can probably shorten things a bit while keeping the meat of the game intact.


Then stop at turn 4! Turn 5 is always the slowest.
 
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Frank M.
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I don't feel like wading through 6 pages of posts...

Are any of the show tiles (or what ever they are called) going to be altered? I recall there was one (#26?) that seemed to be the ONE to get, greatly increasing your odds of winning the game. There was a thread about it a few years (or more) ago; again, I don't feel like wading through pages of posts to find it.

Who knows what I mean and can any one at TMG comment on any game changes besides the art? (I strongly dislike the new cover.)
 
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Gar Per
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Susie_Cat wrote:

MilkFromACow wrote:

2. Trading assets. I always found trading in competitive games pretty problematic. It seems very rare that someone is going to give you something you need, especially when so many of the assets are pretty tight to begin with. In most cases, this comes down to nepotism in trading or just ignoring it all together. Both can cause frustration. I've seen one game recently that handled trading in an interesting way. Mara Nostrom has an initiated trade action, and everyone is forced to put assets into a combined pool, then the assets are taken in a round robin format. This was really interesting, and I think more games could benefit from this forced trade mechanism, where you have to work for first place in the pick order, rather than working to convince someone to part with their assets through futile negotiation.


This is the "Settlers" problem: You should only want to trade if it is going to improve your position, but if everyone obeys that rule, then nobody will trade unless it is equally mutually beneficial. Added to which, if you are the leader nobody wants to trade with you anyhow and you can afford not to trade with them so long as you are significantly in front. So nobody trades and the game stagnates. Of course settlers gets round this with the Robber, but I quite like the sound of this Mare Nostrum enforced trading as possible variant.

Susie_Cat.


Huh. I have never looked at Settlers this way, and I never will. I don't like to see any trade go down I am not involved in - two people have both improved their position while I sat stagnant. Even a trade with the leader is fine up to the point they rest "on the verge". Then people stop trading with them, but trading doesn't stop. And mutually beneficial trades are often easy to find due to the placement of resources on varying tiles and varying number payouts; as well as the different purchasing goals of the players involved.
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Gar Per
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Oh, and thanks TMG. I wanted to back this one, but kickstarter has been hitting the wallet hard. That hideous box cover makes passing on this "collectors edition" pretty easy.

I mean... really? Awful. Who the hell thinks that looks good? Insult and offense intended. That thing is just terrible. Doubly so for a CE.
 
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Philip Cereto
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I like it.
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Drake Coldwinter
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Me too I like it, maybe just change the font.

On the other hand, I can agree with people stating it doesn't look like a deluxe edition. I think people were expecting a black (or deep stone gray) box with just the embossed logo, something classy.

I like the box, but I agree it doesn't like deluxe. Let's see what's inside before doing a final statement about the deluxe or not factor.
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Cory Yates
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I'm intrigued. I definitely want to see more, but my first impression was iffy. I mean, the original art is so incredible. I do wish TMG would stop going with so much cartoony artwork ALL..THE...TIME! Now, I'm not saying the art is bad...I think its good and want to see more.

Also, I do think the cover needs to be changed. The idea of going with a collectors edition cover similar to the Carson City Big Box is a great idea. Or something similar to the great TMG cover Gold West.
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