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Agents of SMERSH» Forums » General

Subject: Theme suddenly a turnoff...as the world gets crazier rss

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Jonathan Meltzer
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SMERSH has long been one of my favorite games. I am always wanting to introduce it to new players. I am a fan of the James Bond movies, and this game allows you to have adventures and be the cool spy that you see in the movies and on TV.

Last night, we played with my sister-in-law, who is here for the week. As we went through each turn, reading the flavor text on the Villain cards (to get the end-of-turn events and such), we realized as a group that the game was not really funny any more. With all of the terror attacks going on in the world, the events in the game are no longer in the "Well, that only happens in the movies" zone. Many events have entered the "Well, that has not happened yet, but who knows?" zone. While we enjoy the gameplay, the humor is gone. Having a gun represent success on the dice strikes a wrong note now, too. It is becoming all too clear that having a gun does not lead to anything successful. Too many people have been victims lately for me to be happy to be seeing guns come up.

Has this happened to anyone else? Are there any other games that used to be fun, that become less fun due to outside events/influences?

We had this happen, to a lesser extent, with Flash Point: Fire Rescue, once we started volunteering with the Red Cross and helping people whose houses had burned down.

I still applaud the gameplay of SMERSH, but I honestly don't know when it will come out again. My wife loves Tales of the Arabian Nights, and that is okay, but it does not have the co-op element to it. I like to play that every once in a long while, but until now SMERSH was the game in this genre that I liked the best.
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Aaron Bredon
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When the James Bond movies (Sean Connery/Roger Moore) were playing, the IRA was setting off bombs in Northern Ireland, the PLO was terrorizing Israel, and there was fear of the posdibility of nuclear war between the US and USSR.
The USSR collapsed economically, and there were negotiations with the two terrorist groups that led to peace for quite a few years (still holding in Ireland, but a new radical faction came to power in Palestine, leading to conflict with Israel)

Don't let the theme keep you from playing this game - the movies were made as escapism from a scary world -trest the game the same way, and you should be OK.
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Glenn Darrin
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Mizerak wrote:
My wife loves Tales of the Arabian Nights, and that is okay, but it does not have the co-op element to it.
Well if you really let the outside world and all its sometimes miserable reality into your own, what should be enjoyable, gaming sessions, then bad news...you'll probably have to quit TotAN also. Any TotAN player worth their salt can tell you transgender issues can sometimes really throw a wrench into your game.whistle And if you live in a state like North Carolina right now, you especially know how divisive and important this is.

Gaming should be an escape from all the craziness of the real world. Let loose a bit, relax, have fun with friends and family and let the game take you away knowing that everything in that box was designed specifically for your enjoyment and not to bring you down or make you resent that you may actually have fun.
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Neil Edmonds
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I understand what the OP is talking about. Part of the explanation for what's going on is biology. The human brain is really good at storing reactions to negative events and responding to stimuli that resembles the stored information; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an extreme example of this.

It could also be that the OP's perspective has changed. Action movies - particularly the genre where the hero was wronged and is seeking revenge - were more thrilling to me when I was twelve than they are now. As a middle-aged adult I recognize the impact violence has on people's lives, the sterotypes used in action films, how dated some films have gotten, etc. and it influences my experience. I still like action movies and video games; they're just not "the best ever" for me any more.

Maybe you could reskin SMERSH into something you have a positive association with? You could use characters from Archer and Venture Brothers if you like those shows. A more extreme conversion might be turning SMERSH into an episode of Dr. Who with the doctor trying to stop an event that would derail humanity's development.
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Neil Edmonds
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For games with a story telling aspect, I can recommend the following alternatives - although none of them are like Agents of SMERSH or deal with the same subject matter.

Star Trek: The Adventure Game

Legends of the American Frontier
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Rob Rob
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Yes, I imagine a WWII vet probably wouldn't enjoy playing the Lock 'n Load: Band of Heroes or D-Day at Omaha Beach "games." Like TV and movies, we enjoy the theory or concept of something more than the nitty gritty of it.
 
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Joel Wolski
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Autoduelist wrote:
For games with a story telling aspect, I can recommend the following alternatives - although none of them are like Agents of SMERSH or deal with the same subject matter.

Star Trek: The Adventure Game

Legends of the American Frontier

Also on KS right now Ryan Laukat has a new game, Near and Far.
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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Yeah, except the stories in SMERSH are still quite over-the-top and even 60s ish, it's not happened in our games. It's way too campy, and we love it.

-shnar
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Jason Brown
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I felt the same thing when I was playing with my son this weekend and one of the cards said that SMERSH bombed an airport. It's a bit awkward for sure, but I still really like this game. Gaming is my escape and I don't want to let the shitty things that happen in this world infect every aspect of my life.
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Dudley Albrecht
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The OP should not even consider playing "Warfighter:Special Forces" from DVG of "Labyrinth:The War On Terror" from GMT....
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jeffery yelton
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I'm a 22 year military vet, have lived outside the U.S. for 27 years (with many of them in third world countries), and trust me, there is no game I could play that would top the things I still deal with on a daily basis, if anything, they are a welcome outlet for lighthearted enjoyment...compartmentalization is the key, I have no trouble separating a game from reality.

But here we're all together as gamers, so that being said, if it doesn't bring you joy, then by all means, don't play it.

It's actually funny you bring up Arabian Nights because I have a 20+ year old copy of that game and tried to play it this summer when my 20 year old daughters boyfriend was visiting and no one really got too butt hurt but we stopped playing when we ran into one of the extremely sexist encounters that go along with the "historical theme" of a medieval Islamic setting and I got Agents of Smersh as a specific alternative to Arabian Nights because it wasn't well received by my wife and daughter, LOL.

Small world...but really funny how our experiences have worked out...oh well at least we can agree to keep on gaming!

Cheers.
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Jason Brown
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icgamer69 wrote:
I'm a 22 year military vet, have lived outside the U.S. for 27 years (with many of them in third world countries), and trust me, there is no game I could play that would top the things I still deal with on a daily basis, if anything, they are a welcome outlet for lighthearted enjoyment...compartmentalization is the key, I have no trouble separating a game from reality.

But here we're all together as gamers, so that being said, if it doesn't bring you joy, then by all means, don't play it.

It's actually funny you bring up Arabian Nights because I have a 20+ year old copy of that game and tried to play it this summer when my 20 year old daughters boyfriend was visiting and no one really got too butt hurt but we stopped playing when we ran into one of the extremely sexist encounters that go along with the "historical theme" of a medieval Islamic setting and I got Agents of Smersh as a specific alternative to Arabian Nights because it wasn't well received by my wife and daughter, LOL.

Small world...but really funny how our experiences have worked out...oh well at least we can agree to keep on gaming!

Cheers.

I'm a 19-year active duty Army Officer and feel the same way. I deployed with US Army Africa to Liberia for the Ebola task force two years ago and brought a few games with me. Know which one was most popular? You guessed it...Pandemic.
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