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Shadows of Brimstone: City of the Ancients» Forums » General

Subject: A Final Plea, and an Apology rss

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Brian C
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So I couldn't get to sleep tonite. Tossed and turned, kept thinking about yet another of my negative posts here on these SoB forums. Which lead me here. Yep, I got up to come here and write this, so it's going to be quick.

First, I feel like a derp in these forums, and I think well I should. I've been a nuisance, no two ways about it. I won't be doing it to you guys any more, you have my word. In fact, if the next part of this post doesn't gain any traction, I'll be selling my SoB set and that will be that.

What's to gain traction? Well, my last ditch effort at trying to "save" this game: I come here begging the Hill Brothers to reboot this franchise. I'm talking solely from a ruleset perspective -- the setting is fantastic, the components are great. The gameplay just needs to be more tactical, if you're going to make a dungeon crawl based on combat.

So what I propose is an overhaul to the rules so that they work with the components that are already in the base games (map tiles would still be usable, and all those lovely minis) -- then release the new rulebook and the vast number of reworked cards as Brimstone Advanced (or something), Shadows of Brimstone for those that want tactics.

Charge us a buttload for it. I'd pay $100 for just a rulebook and cards if it was done right. And it would cost next to nothing in material. The cost would come in the time it takes to develop such a ruleset and new round of cards.

The upside is that you have a great prototype to work from, that we've been playtesting for you this whole time. You could take what's worked, leave what didn't, infuse it with tactical awesomeness (give us Facing and Cover and then wrap the entire game around those two elements), and then continue to build two sets of rules for each new piece of the game that you release: "Did you want that in Classic SoB, or do you prefer Brimstone Advanced?"

Just a longshot thought/hope/dream from a wannabe FFP fan. Peace and love to all of you SoB fans.

And now sleep for me..
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Max Maloney
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"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
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Based on the whole of the FFP catalog, I don't think the Hills have such a design in them.
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Andreas Lieberoth Wadum
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You know what? I haven't noticed you being all that bad. But in any case, I agree with the sentiment. I'd love to see an overhaul of the rulebook, and the game as a whole.

My hope is that Forbidden Fortress will be that revised rules set. Jason admits that the rule books could be organized better etc., so even if SoB:FF is not a complete overhaul, I hope that it will include some revisions.

The way the Otherworlds are turning out, more and more tactical variety is sneaking into gameplay. Hopefully we'll see that in FF as well.
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MT Dav

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If you have so much heartburn over this, do it yourself. HexCrawl developed because one person wanted it, made it, and it is awesome. Look at what Philbarfly has done on his own. Where would we be without all the stuff Klutz made? Get out of your chair, spit in your hands, and do it yourself.
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Brian C
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I don't have it in me, fixing someone else's game. I've tried. It always comes back to: why am I fixing someone else's mistake, yet they got paid for it, and I won't. Selfish? Probably.

Now variants that are additions to a game (like Hexcrawl), and not strictly a fix; that I could probably handle under the right circumstances. I almost came up with a variant for SoB along this vein that tried to create a sense of purpose for the player -- but it was still SoB as we know it, it just had another layer on top.

I stopped work on it because I got some good feedback that it was a bit 2-dimensional. He was right, too. I can tell you why I built it like that, though -- this isn't my game, it's not my passion, and I was just trying to hurry through the process.

Someone with more passion than I have needs to rebuild this game, and I had thought to appeal to the men who have been behind it since the very beginning. Maybe you're right though, maybe it has to come from one of us. But if so, if this is the only way that it happens, then I have one unshakable truth to put out there: this game will never be as great as it should have been.

It's good, it's already good. And probably "good enough," too. But maybe that's where I went wrong: I wanted greatness out of it..
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R.P. Kraul
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SenorMTD wrote:
If you have so much heartburn over this, do it yourself. HexCrawl developed because one person wanted it, made it, and it is awesome. Look at what Philbarfly has done on his own. Where would we be without all the stuff Klutz made? Get out of your chair, spit in your hands, and do it yourself.


Exactly right. The nice thing about SOB is that it's an open-ended game that you can play pretty much any way you like. I don't remember who came up with it, but someone created a variant in which monsters spawn in an adjacent room, not the room with the exploration token. That's a game changer, as it makes the game a bit more tactical, and it pretty much snuffs the ability to pile characters in a doorway, limiting monster attacks.

One thing I wouldn't want to do with Brimstone, however, is adding so many tactical options that the game becomes longer--and the theme suffers. There are plenty of other options for a more tactical DOAM game. The way I play SOB now--to me, it's damn near perfect.
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Daniel Barbeau
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Totally on the same boat as you. For Brimstone, I tried really hard to love the game but it was not what I wanted.

Changed initiative, less dice rolling, Hexcrawl ( fantastic by the way ), changing the way the monsters move, etc... still not easy doing something with the stuff that is available to you. Ended selling the game.

In the end, I understand that the game I wanted was not Brimstone. The game I want will be made by another company or another designer. I can't spend a lot of time changing a system that is not perfect for me. It is a shame because the world of Brimstone is so full of wonderful ideas and is oozing with theme... ( having played Deadlands in my young years, you can't imagine how I was hyped for the game ).

Right now, I have high hopes for Gloomhaven. Well see...
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R.P. Kraul
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Exo Desta wrote:
It's good, it's already good. And probably "good enough," too. But maybe that's where I went wrong: I wanted greatness out of it..


We can all list deficiencies within the game--I've done this in my review. But when it comes down to it, Brimstone is a lot of fun to play. That's the aspect of the game that's difficult to quantify. FFP just got something very right here. Mechanically, it's imperfect, but there's not another game in my collection that I would rather play.

It's all subjective, of course. I see that you're a big fan of Dawn of the Zeds. The third edition was a game I really looked forward to playing, and I appreciate the variety of tactics it offers, but thematically, it's pretty dry, and for a zombie game, that's a deficiency I can't overlook.

There's no accounting for taste. It sounds like SOB just isn't your cup.
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Eric Harman
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If the lack of cover and facing are your main gripes, well it wouldn't be very hard to write up houserules for them (ala hexcrawl). Depending on how granular you want to get anyhow.
Cover exists in the game, you just need a away to add it onto tiles that arent built for it. Shouldn't be hard.
And facing, well I don't think facing adds much to tactics, lots of great tactical games don't use it, but that would be even easier to include.

But, ultimately, if you don't like the game (except the fluff) I'm sure there are other games that will strike your fancy more.

I hear kingdom death: monster is getting a new ks for a reprint.
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Dwayne Hendrickson
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Frontier Town introduced cover, Trederra adds an extra type of cover as well as facing for some enemies.
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Scott Arnone
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My problem with most games like this is that the combat isn't nearly kinetic enough. There's hardly any movement. That's one reason I'm really looking forward to Dark Souls--constant movement, both as actions and as results of attacks(pushes, pulls, and even bosses picking you up and slamming you into the ground).

Brimstone could really use a few tweaks like that--tentacles should be throwing people around. Dodging should force a space of movement. Lots of little possibilities that could have a big overall impact.
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Jason Daniels
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My two cents: sell it and move on, it's not worth an ulcer. I love adding to and modifying games that I enjoy playing for longevity's sake. But it seems to me that what you want is not SoB. If I play a game and feel like it needs the kind of revision you are suggesting here, I'm out. My shelf is full of stuff I do enjoy as is, and the future is pretty bright.

We went through this during the Rail Raiders Infinite KS. There were people who wanted the game to go in a different direction than the designers intended. If what the designers provide doesn't work for you, move on or "fix" it to your own personal liking. Do you suppose they (or any other designer) release a game and say "It's not what we wanted to sell you, but it works.". No, the design is intentional.
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Brian C
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Cooperton wrote:
If the lack of cover and facing are your main gripes, well it wouldn't be very hard to write up houserules for them (ala hexcrawl). Depending on how granular you want to get anyhow.
Cover exists in the game, you just need a away to add it onto tiles that arent built for it. Shouldn't be hard.
And facing, well I don't think facing adds much to tactics, lots of great tactical games don't use it, but that would be even easier to include.

But, ultimately, if you don't like the game (except the fluff) I'm sure there are other games that will strike your fancy more.

I hear kingdom death: monster is getting a new ks for a reprint.

I think we may have different visions of what could have been. In my mind, if you used Facing as a core mechanic: now you have heroes trying to get behind enemies to deal extra damage (Scouts might be more adept at this -- so they should have a class ability that promotes it), or trying to get out of an enemy's attack arc so that he won't blast you with his breath weapon (the enemies would need to be reworked to use Facing in their abilities).

The use of Facing creates that wonderful combat dance, that necessary movement inside a fight scene that, essentially, makes it what it is. Do you press further into the room in order to give yourself an advantage on this attack, but also open you up to attacks from your flank? Or do you wait just one more turn in your Bottleneck Formation before breaking rank and cleaning up the riffraff?

Cover I agree is less intrusive, but IMO still should be woven deeply into any tactical game worth its salt (ie. Give the players an obvious bonus for using cover, and then give the game ways to negate that bonus -- certain enemies could destroy cover, other ones could take the cover positions on the battlefield before the players can and would need to be destroyed and replaced with Heroes as the fight wears on, still other ones might actually create cover during a fight [I can see an XL sized enemy doing this on a critical miss, smashing a huge hole in the ground where now a Hero can hop in and use it to duck under some incoming fire]).

You're right that we could jerry rig the game if we wanted, but I'm looking for a dungeon crawl exactly like SoB, but with the intention of bringing a tactical experience to the table, not just an immersive one. And I don't think this game is going to accomplish that with just a few tacked on rules here or there.

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Brian C
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The Boilerman wrote:
If I play a game and feel like it needs the kind of revision you are suggesting here, I'm out. My shelf is full of stuff I do enjoy as is, and the future is pretty bright.

Wise words..
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R.P. Kraul
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Exo Desta wrote:

You're right that we could jerry rig the game if we wanted, but I'm looking for a dungeon crawl exactly like SoB, but with the intention of bringing a tactical experience to the table, not just an immersive one. And I don't think this game is going to accomplish that with just a few tacked on rules here or there.



It almost sounds as though you're looking for a miniature game, not a board game. I would suggest looking at GW's stuff.
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Brian C
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Drpretorios wrote:
It almost sounds as though you're looking for a miniature game, not a board game. I would suggest looking at GW's stuff.

But the loot system, Doc. Have you ever seen such a wonderful loot system in all of your days?

Why can't we just have both... cry

(We can hold our conversation about DotZ for another day -- I assure you I will not forget. Them were fightin' words.. )
 
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MT Dav

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I was considering playing the next few games with bifurcating movement into exploration movement, which is normal, and combat movement, where everyone and thing rolls a D4 (+ bonuses).

I've also been replacing the barrels and crates, and a few other bits, with 3D things to add flavor and when models move behind they get cover. I have shootout guys move to put cover between themselves and the heroes. With the increased health due one of the difficulty modifiers someone made, it makes enemies tougher and fights more interesting. Simple things, that add a bit of difference. I roll randomly for the doorway that heroes enter on every tile before placing it, rather then what the card says. I stopped using advanced encounters because I got tired of having the same encounters, I just draw a random one.

If you want facing to be an issue then create a facing dynamic-with square patterned tiles it is easy, left, right, front, back. If you are in the rear then you crit on a number less then usual.

Edit: This difficulty modifier: https://boardgamegeek.com/article/23621520#23621520
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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You're playing Diablo, but you'd rather be playing Mount & Blade. If you don't want to customize your game, then you should probably find a different game to play. We're living in a golden age of dungeon crawlers, I'm sure one of the many others out there would be more your cup of tea? Try Galaxy Defenders, or Folklore: The Affliction.

-shnar
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chang chang

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shnar wrote:
You're playing Diablo, but you'd rather be playing Mount & Blade. If you don't want to customize your game, then you should probably find a different game to play. We're living in a golden age of dungeon crawlers, I'm sure one of the many others out there would be more your cup of tea? Try Galaxy Defenders, or Folklore: The Affliction.

-shnar


no the problem is that is not even diablo.. is playing diablo at difficulty normal when your character should be facing T3+ enemies, or at least master level

This game DO NOT scale AT all. a game design with your characters to scale in power should properly do so for enemies as well.
my problem with this game is that they FAILED major to do so. After new enemies were introduced that just don't stand there while being killed, it has improved. But releasing a "official" rule to better AI or scaling enemies should be done.

By now, I did it. So my last campaign went pretty well, a character even almost die. We modify how many cards to draw, added a % that monster increase HP and how many elite abilities they have.. and such..
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chang chang

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Exo Desta wrote:
....


hey man, sadly I don't think that would ever happen. And I would be happy if they were to just release with the new expansion a "rulebook" or reference guide of scaling enemies.

One look like they actually playtest a whole campaign. Because it seems that this was just literally about driving a roller over enemies. With the rules as they stand there is not need to have any herb to heal or whiskey. or anything to buff you. And if that was their intention, then why bother with herbs, a character with healing, items that heal / cure you?

A table / reference including all enemies release up to day and how to scale them as you level up and with number on party would be enough for me.

The more tactical part is simple another game, and one aspect that we introduced ourself either with fan content here or we made ourself. e.g. range enemies do damage from far, spider don't try to void the same hero twice... and so on

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Bryce K. Nielsen
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chang_1910 wrote:
shnar wrote:
You're playing Diablo, but you'd rather be playing Mount & Blade. If you don't want to customize your game, then you should probably find a different game to play. We're living in a golden age of dungeon crawlers, I'm sure one of the many others out there would be more your cup of tea? Try Galaxy Defenders, or Folklore: The Affliction.

-shnar


no the problem is that is not even diablo.. is playing diablo at difficulty normal when your character should be facing T3+ enemies, or at least master level

This game DO NOT scale AT all. a game design with your characters to scale in power should properly do so for enemies as well.
my problem with this game is that they FAILED major to do so. After new enemies were introduced that just don't stand there while being killed, it has improved. But releasing a "official" rule to better AI or scaling enemies should be done.

By now, I did it. So my last campaign went pretty well, a character even almost die. We modify how many cards to draw, added a % that monster increase HP and how many elite abilities they have.. and such..

Well, that's a real easy house-rule fix: just bump up to the next threat level. Or if you're already at max, have all the critters add one or two ELite abilities. Problem solved.

-shnar

P.S. That's one reason I suggested Galaxy Defenders though. That's a co-op that has a pretty good AI that might satisfy your group better than Shadows.
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Drpretorios wrote:
It almost sounds as though you're looking for a miniature game, not a board game. I would suggest looking at GW's stuff.


Multiple western miniaturees rules systems exist. Blackwater Gulch is currently running a KS, and Tombstone will be out later this year. Myself, I'm going to look into "The Rules with No Name" because I have the mini's for it. Rules has a "deck initiative" system, where everyone's initiative cards are shuffled into a deck, so nobody quite knows when they'll act! You can easily mod this system to include the AI and spawning for NPC monsters and civilians. The players, of course, have to save the civilians as well as kill all the monsters!

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/TheRulesWithNoName/files
http://www.angelfire.com/mech/ironclad/RWNN.pdf
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Ben Turner
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Whilst I await Wave 2 to finally try something beyond the base boxes of Brimstone, I feel echoes already of the OPs sentiments. We've played the base box to level 6-7, and the game just feels "pretty good" with amazing aspects, but needs more tactics, better balance, more interesting progression, better loot at higher levels etc...

I hope my Wave 2 stuff gets this game firing again for me, but I have a strong gut feeling that what I really want also is Brimstone Advanced...

Anyhow - will see if the avalanche of extra stuff in Wave 2 distracts me from that for a long time or not! If not, well, I've spent a LOT of money on this game (over $1000) so it may behoove me to spend a little time trying to work out what Brimstone Advanced even looks like...
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Brian C
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shnar wrote:
You're playing Diablo, but you'd rather be playing Mount & Blade.

It feels like a closer analogy would be this: I'm playing a game that advertised itself as Diablo, and it has the loot system of Diablo (which is saying a lot), but it doesn't have the combat system -- and Diablo is all about the hack and slash.

What good are all those badass items if you don't have an interesting use for them..?

chang_1910 wrote:
And I would be happy if they were to just release with the new expansion a "rulebook" or reference guide of scaling enemies.

One look like they actually playtest a whole campaign. Because it seems that this was just literally about driving a roller over enemies. With the rules as they stand there is not need to have any herb to heal or whiskey. or anything to buff you. And if that was their intention, then why bother with herbs, a character with healing, items that heal / cure you?

This is what hurts me the most as an avid dungeon crawl fan -- I can overlook the fact that there's no purpose to the game, I can see the design decision there, and I can also see pretty easily building a variant to accomplish that.

What hurts is the obvious lack of playtesting. That's where I think the game went off the tracks. Not pointing any fingers any BGGers that may have playtested SoB, but FFP needs to find a more fastidious group. Some people who aren't afraid of speaking against the grain. I get the feeling there were a bunch of yes men in that room, and the game suffered because of it.

It was either that, or the Hills just didn't want/have the time to have it fully playtested -- which hurts even more to think about. So I won't.
 
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I think the real issue is they were looking to replicate Warhammer Quest as closely as possible. Shadows of Brimstone is Arkham Horror when it should have been Eldritch Horror. Its a dated design, and it shows.

I mean, if you think about it, the loot system isn't even all that good. More than half the stuff you find is useless to you, but meanwhile, one player might find the best possible gun for their class on the first mission, and then what do they have to look forward to?

The game enticed me because, 1) western horror theme, and 2) at the time, there wasn't really much better. The D&D Dungeon Crawlers were kind of junky and boring. The Descent App didn't exist yet. MoM 2nd Edition didn't exist yet. There was no sign of things like Gloomhaven or Dark Souls.

But now? You just kind of see how it brings nothing to the table but its theme. And even that, if you think about it, doesn't really come through because the combat has no mechanics that tie to that theme, really.

You've got "Sanity"..but what does that actually do? Its just a secondary health pool. Meanwhile, in game like Mansions of Madness 2.0, when you take Horror damage, it actually causes effects! It can drive you insane and completely change your role! That's theme and mechanics tied together.

But what else? I mean, there's nothing that reinforces the "horror" theme at all. You've got big ol beasts coming at you.. but they aren't exactly scary. The hallmark of good horror should be dread. Those huge monsters shouldn't be just rushing across the map at you. They should be trudging slowly, while you ineffectually unload bullets into them, staggering them slightly, but they keep coming. Their mere presence begins to break your sanity as you struggle with the realization that they aren't going down, and you've got nowhere to run!

And then, at the same time, you have the opposite, Alien-esque horror, where you have creatures that are fast and brutal, striking and then disappearing so that you can't fight them on normal footing. The tension keeps building, your sanity begins to suffer until... all of a sudden there's an entire horde of them and you're overwhelmed and firing blindly amidst the screaming of your allies!

I mean, I still like the game because it has an open-ended campaign mode that I don't have to GM, and because of its cowboys vs monsters setting. But yeah, massively flawed and I doubt it'll be in my collection 10 years from now.
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