$30.00
$15.00
$5.00
$20.00
Recommend
8 
 Thumb up
 Hide
9 Posts

Salvation Road» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Solo Review, Not a Good Game rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
B S
msg tools
mbmbmb
As the title suggests this is strictly a review of the game played solo. I fully suspect with the right group it could be a fun experience, sort of in the vein of light role playing. Also, I tend to like heavier solo games, so keep that in mind. Now onto what is wrong with the game:

1) Super pricey for what you get. I have seen the board praised by other people, but the board does practically nothing. You are putting out a bunch of tokens and cards into piles which really could go anywhere. In fact, many of the set up directions have you putting piles of cards off the board anyway. This means you basically have a cosmetic playmat. I have found for space reasons that it is actually easier to just not use the board at all, but you paid for it. In addition the cards and tokens are certainly not bad, but they aren't very good either for a game that has an MSRP similar to Eldritch Horror.

2) Basically no replayability. Nothing meaningful changes from one game to the next. You have some randomly selected locations, but they each have one characteristic and a lot of times you just pick a couple of them and farm hard. There are 16 characters, but you will use 4, 6, or 8 each game so you run through them pretty quickly. And they each have one ability (plus technically varying amounts of health) so again they feel remarkably similar. Yes, the amount of supplies you need to gather and the apocalypse cards vary, but they are super similar and mathematically the supplies even out anyway.

3) Pasted on theme. Caveat is I really don't care about theme if there is a good core game, but this one never felt like an end of the world scenario. There might technically be motorcycle bandits out to get you but they never do anything, you just lose if they all show up. There might be different resources, but they are food/ammo/health/gas so I can think of 50 themes that would use 4 resources, especially since they basically all do the same thing. There is almost no sense of foreboding doom, because you can see when the last card will run out and just time it to head out on the road then. You may well lose, but that's just bad luck not anything you did and not climactic since you lost because you had too few ammo, gas, etc.

4) Meaningless/obvious choices. This is my biggest problem with the game. If you like super light games great, but if you want a euro/puzzly game that requires any thought this is not for you. I think you fairly easy could determine the optimal plays and even then you would lose a set number of times. It is clear that the designer/developer did a good job of running the numbers so this basically functions as a hidden spreadsheet. You should get about as many resources as you need, but it will be close. Personally I would rather just roll a die and see if I get higher or lower than a 3.5 as my measure of winning.

Summary: This is not a bad game. I imagine some people will really like it. If you want a solo game that makes you ponder your strategic choices or immerses you in the theme, DO NOT GET THIS.
22 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Mark Robinson
England
Lancashire
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for the good (bad) review! cool

I DO like the game and it works playing solo but as you say when played in a group it would be more fun. I guess I'm not into heavier solo games and Mad Max 1 & 2 were a big influence for me back in the day.

Nice to see a reasoned opinion rather than just bashing the game just because.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian C
United States
Lansing
Michigan
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Thanks for being bold and voicing your opinion, even though it may not be a popular one.

However I can see having many of these issues with another game that seems similar to Salvation Road -- Robinson Crusoe.

And while I don't find that game to be deeply strategic or heavy with weighty decisions, it still ends up delivering a strong narrative. Which is, I think, one of a board game's most effective "outs," when it comes to still providing a valuable gaming experience, even when it's short on depth.

TL;DR: Does it tell a good story? And does that story have enough moving parts to make it worth retelling, again and again? If so, it may still be something I'd want to look into.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
B S
msg tools
mbmbmb
Exo Desta wrote:
Thanks for being bold and voicing your opinion, even though it may not be a popular one.

However I can see having many of these issues with another game that seems similar to Salvation Road -- Robinson Crusoe.

And while I don't find that game to be deeply strategic or heavy with weighty decisions, it still ends up delivering a strong narrative. Which is, I think, one of a board game's most effective "outs," when it comes to still providing a valuable gaming experience, even when it's short on depth.

TL;DR: Does it tell a good story? And does that story have enough moving parts to make it worth retelling, again and again? If so, it may still be something I'd want to look into.


I think the comparison to Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island is an interesting one. For me, those choices actually feel like they matter because there are so many. Will I build an item (if so which one), will I explore the island, will I fight a beast (and there are so many), will I gather resources. Also, the 6 scenarios are dramatically different whereas in Salvation it is one story line that doesn't change.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Xander Fulton
United States
Lake Oswego
Oregon
flag msg tools
designer
mbmbmbmbmb
Interesting review - I think I've come to a different conclusion on it (I do like it), although I only really disagree with one of your points. Agree, but think it is a selling point on another. And two of them I think are more valid criticisms.

Specifically:

1) I disagree strongly that the theme is 'pasted on'. That is, if you describe the game as a 'collect resources and spend them' and that's all - sure, it sounds thin. But such a description would also cover half the games on this site. The question that determines 'theme' is...does it make sense (given the theme) what resources you are collecting? Does it make sense (given the theme) how you COLLECT them? Does it make sense (given the theme) how you SPEND them?

Compare something like Knizia's "Lord of the Rings" - the textbook 'pasted on theme'. What are the resources? Shield tokens, heart tokens, ring tokens, and ?SUN? tokens? What do these have to do with the theme at all? And then HOW you get them makes even less sense - why does spending more time in Shelob's Lair get you MORE heart tokens, sun tokens, shield tokens, etc. And for spending them - what sense does it make to spend shield tokens to summon Gandalf??

Contrasting to Salvation Road - the tokens for fuel, ammo, medkits, food...makes sense given the theme. You are scavenging for supplies - those are the sort of things you need as supplies. And HOW you get them makes sense for the theme, too - you are scavenging for supplies, so...yeah. As to spending them? You can save them for solving issues on the road, use medkits to heal a character, etc. Again, all makes sense for the theme.

The key distinction between a 'pasted on theme' and a 'thematic game' is not the COMPLEXITY of the mechanics, but whether it feels like the theme came first and mechanics developed to accommodate that (Salvation Road) or the mechanics came first and theme added afterwards to sell it (Knizia's Lord of the Rings).

2) I do agree it's a "light" game. In this case, I think that's a selling point rather than a fault - but, of course, opinions will vary on this, and that's fair. It feels, in complexity, about at the level of the "[something] Panic!" games. For the group of folks I most often game with, who are not 'hardcore gamers', again, that's actually a HUGE selling point. Games of this level of complexity see table time. 'Agricola'? Not a chance in hell.

3) Replayability does feel a bit light, and I see this as a valid criticism. I, too, would really have preferred more road and apocalypse cards, more characters, and MANY more locations. I don't think it's enough to knock the game from being popular with our group, but...yeah, I feel you, here.

4) The board does feel...actually, I was almost going to post a similar thread when starting the game, asking if I was missing something, or if the board was completely meaningless. I mean, I *DO* think it looks great, and adds something to the game in BEING that 'themed playmat' as you note - but it feels unnecessary. If there had been some kind of area-movement mechanic where distance or positioning of locations meant something, I could see it having use, but...as it is...eh. It is nice looking. But, yeah, does seem a bit redundant, which feels like a missed opportunity.

As to the meaningless/obvious choices...I dunno, the 'choice' basically amounts to "how far do I push my luck gathering resources" (on which I'd partially agree that there should be a 'game ends' apocalypse card mixed into, say, the last 4 or 5 cards or something to make that ending variable and more risky to stick around), and then "how do I use this resource" (IE., immediately or for the end-game). So...not COMPLEX choices, but certainly not meaningless/obvious. And as to price...well, I got a group buy from Kickstarter, and at $40, it feels totally worth it to me. Can't speak to how I'd feel at MSRP.
13 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Moisés Solé
msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
The low number of apocalypse cards is intentional by design. If there were lots of them, you couldn't really plan for anything you may find, and then there'll be cries of "You lose at random by the draw of a card because you can't cover them all".
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jerry
United States
Elkridge
Maryland
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
I won't argue that the board is unnecessary (but pretty!), but I have to disagree on a couple of points. Disclaimer: I was a playtester.

Even using the maximum 8 characters, you have 4900 different possible combinations, not including the variety in locations.

If you're playing the game the same regardless of locations and characters, you're probably not winning very often, in my experience. To me, the game seems to be balanced towards figuring out how to best use/mitigate the characters you have against the locations available to gain an advantage of additional actions (or equivalent). If you play without an eye to this, you will usually end up feeling you are close, but not actually succeeding.

It's one thing to say you prefer heavier solo games, and that's not what this is. But to say this isn't a good game because you care for something else entirely is a bit much.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Dean Hunt
United States
miami
FL
flag msg tools
mbmb
I have only played the game once, but when I look at your reasons I feel like you could apply those same reasons for dislike to Pandemic, and they would all still be as valid.. and that is a classic.

6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
chris penoyer
United States
California
flag msg tools
new user
i feel like the original poster is docking this game for not being something that it was never intended to be.

this is a strategy game of resource, character, and action management. not a thematic storyteller.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.