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Subject: Popularity of the theme rss

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Tahsin Shamma
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I have a sneaking suspicion that if the theme were... the game would be more popular.

- Planets (sites) connected by space lanes with alien races and technologies as card decks.

Feel free to add your own below.
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Timothy Young
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Medieval kingdoms connected by roads and rivers with armies, guilds and medieval technologies as card decks.
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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Over 10 million books sold set in the Underdark and that's just one of the multiple authors, not too sure unpopular theme is the right phrase here.
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Jebstone Boppman
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theme is 100% fine and appropriately conveyed in the game play


the $110 CAD price point for poor quality components, mediocre artwork, some cards, small plastic bits, and a board is this game's biggest downfall.
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Tahsin Shamma
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Grumsh wrote:
Over 10 million books sold set in the Underdark and that's just one of the multiple authors, not too sure unpopular theme is the right phrase here.


Depends how many

A) People who read the books play board games

B) People who enjoy the books are looking for a deck building area control game

I still think the theme is not going to be a draw for the majority of board game players. Many people I've introduced the game to have no idea what the theme is.
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Tahsin Shamma
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Jebstone wrote:
theme is 100% fine and appropriately conveyed in the game play


the $110 CAD price point for poor quality components, mediocre artwork, some cards, small plastic bits, and a board is this game's biggest downfall.


I'm not complaining about the theme, mind you. I personally love the theme, just questioning how many other people do.
 
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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veector wrote:
Jebstone wrote:
theme is 100% fine and appropriately conveyed in the game play


the $110 CAD price point for poor quality components, mediocre artwork, some cards, small plastic bits, and a board is this game's biggest downfall.


I'm not complaining about the theme, mind you. I personally love the theme, just questioning how many other people do.


I love the theme it fits perfectly. I'll have a video up for it come January on my Youtube channel where I'll comment on this and more about the game.
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Derek Thompson
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Love the theme, love the game design. Dislike the price and graphic design, and the huge box. Still worth it.
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Jebstone Boppman
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veector wrote:
Jebstone wrote:
theme is 100% fine and appropriately conveyed in the game play


the $110 CAD price point for poor quality components, mediocre artwork, some cards, small plastic bits, and a board is this game's biggest downfall.


I'm not complaining about the theme, mind you. I personally love the theme, just questioning how many other people do.


D&D is still big in the tabletop world, as is high fantasy in general, thus why we see so many dungeon crawlers, and adventure games in the same genre.

Lords of Waterdeep has done very well for itself.

I can't see theme really hampering this game's sales/popularity. I'm 99% certain it's the price.
 
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Tahsin Shamma
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Jebstone wrote:

D&D is still big in the tabletop world, as is high fantasy in general, thus why we see so many dungeon crawlers, and adventure games in the same genre.

Lords of Waterdeep has done very well for itself.

I can't see theme really hampering this game's sales/popularity. I'm 99% certain it's the price.


Completely agree about the price. It's not helping. Everyone I recommend the game to look at the price and they second guess it.

However, this game's theme is not dungeon crawl (see the popularity of Clank!) nor is it D&D Faerun in general. It's very specific to Drow fighting over territory.

I'm suggesting that if the game had a completely separate IP or theme such as Star Wars, kingdoms conquering each other, Warhammer, etc, you'd see different kinds of interest.

I didn't really intend this thread to be about why the game as a whole is not popular, more just the consideration of the theme and whimsical suggestions for other themes. But if people want to talk about other reasons, it's cool.
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Cliff Fisher
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I think it's a mix of things - while I think people are into D&D and Drow stories and what not, it MIGHT limit the exposure or the interest vs. a more generic setting or a more massively popular IP. However, I tend to agree that's it's partially cost, partially reviews that negatively portray the game as cheap and drab (not necessarily incorrectly, I'm okay with it, but I digress.)

I also think it's partially the mashup of mechanics. I think from talking to plenty of people about this game... I think the Venn diagram, if you will, of Deckbuilder lovers and Area Control lovers probably don't overlap a whole lot, especially when compared to other mechanics. Folks that like area control games don't want their strats hampered by a bad hand draw (I can't assassinate this guy for 3 turns in a row because I haven't drawn enough fight! GRR!) and people who like deckbuilders probably say "seems neat, but I hate area control games." When people actually sit down WITH the game and are taught by someone competent and then play it, they enjoy it, but lots of people aren't even going to make it that far unless they ARE big fans of the theme or have close gaming buddies that make them try it at poisoned daggerpoint.
 
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Timothy Young
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veector wrote:


I didn't really intend this thread to be about why the game as a whole is not popular, more just the consideration of the theme and whimsical suggestions for other themes.



Here's another one I thought of that would probably have more appeal than the current theme:

Near-future militarized corporations fighting for control over various governments and resource-producing territories, with different social/political factions, militaries and technologies making up the decks.
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Cliff Fisher
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TIM0THY wrote:
veector wrote:


I didn't really intend this thread to be about why the game as a whole is not popular, more just the consideration of the theme and whimsical suggestions for other themes.



Here's another one I thought of that would probably have more appeal than the current theme:

Near-future militarized corporations fighting for control over various governments and resource-producing territories, with different social/political factions, militaries and technologies making up the decks.


That one kinda reminds me of Cry Havoc with more cards.
 
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WD Yoga
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I love DnD. I love the Drow. I love Lords of Waterdeep. Watching the gameplay video, I think I will like playing it. The drab board really repels me though...
 
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Dirk Meijlof
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veector wrote:
I have a sneaking suspicion that if the theme were... the game would be more popular.
...
Feel free to add your own below.

Maybe something like the colonization of Mars, with different countries/companies fighting for the best spots. The cards represent the abilities of the colonization-teams.
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Will Fulton
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I can only speak for myself, but as someone that loved the R.A. Salvatore Drizzt books as a young teenager and is, as an adult, very fond of deck building games (especially where player interaction is necessary), I was pretty thrilled about the theme here, even if the execution on the art is somewhat lackluster. Far more than Waterdeep (which I like well enough, but has always seemed pretty abstract) the mechanics here actually feel quite flavorful to the theme of scheming Drow houses. I'd personally be much less interested if it was a more generically popular theme. It hasn't had a huge launch, but given the positive reception it's received from people that have actually played, I feel like this could be a grower rather than a shower, especially if it gets some nice expansions in the nearish future.
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Graham Gass
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I think a Game of Thrones theme would be a pretty natural fit for this game, you wouldn't have to change all that much.
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Cliff Fisher
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WilyOdysseus wrote:
I can only speak for myself, but as someone that loved the R.A. Salvatore Drizzt books as a young teenager and is, as an adult, very fond of deck building games (especially where player interaction is necessary), I was pretty thrilled about the theme here, even if the execution on the art is somewhat lackluster. Far more than Waterdeep (which I like well enough, but has always seemed pretty abstract) the mechanics here actually feel quite flavorful to the theme of scheming Drow houses. I'd personally be much less interested if it was a more generically popular theme. It hasn't had a huge launch, but given the positive reception it's received from people that have actually played, I feel like this could be a grower rather than a shower, especially if it gets some nice expansions in the nearish future.


This sums up my feelings of the game pretty well. And the next two expansion decks are on their way soon, according to the folks at Gale Force 9 when I talked to them at BGGCon, but no ETA thus far.
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Gene Chiu
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Personally, I took notice of the game partly because of the theme. I have played D&D since the 80's and have read the DE Trilogy. I saw it played at a game store and when I found out that it was a deck builder with direct player interaction, I was sold. I love the deck building mechanic, but it can feel like playing solitaire at times. This was one of the few deck builders where you can actively attack opposing players.

With a different theme, I would likely still buy it. Maybe the D&D IP bumped up the price a bit. The issue I have is that red and orange is too similar. Likewise, the grey and dark purple are also too similar.
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Lance Holly
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solanthos wrote:
TIM0THY wrote:
veector wrote:


I didn't really intend this thread to be about why the game as a whole is not popular, more just the consideration of the theme and whimsical suggestions for other themes.



Here's another one I thought of that would probably have more appeal than the current theme:

Near-future militarized corporations fighting for control over various governments and resource-producing territories, with different social/political factions, militaries and technologies making up the decks.


That one kinda reminds me of Cry Havoc with more cards.


Or even Nexus Ops!
 
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Paul Wright
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This theme was a huuuuge turn off for me. Really not a fan of high goblins and elves fantasy, let alone Dungeons & Dragons. The theme alone is enough for me to stop in my tracks and back away slowly. It was only the comparisons to Ascension (which I loved the mechanics of but felt needed an extra something) and the rave reviews that finally convinced me to overcome the theme. And even then it was because I got it for a steal, so could sell it on for the same price if I didn't like it. I really can't overstate how reticent a purchase it was (sorry!).

I'll admit, it's completely down to my personal bias. I feel that tabletop games have come a long way over the last 20+ years, and D&D represents the bygone era which helped create a stereotype that puts a lot of people off ever trying games IMO.

Personally I appreciate any unusual theme. Too many games out there with zombies, spaceships, trains or medieval European cities. To use cookie cutter themes and known franchises shows a lack of confidence in the product. If they need to slap a franchise badge on it to sell, it's likely not to be very good. Corporate espionage, ant colonies, gangs of kids taking over the suburbs in the summer break, bacteria competing in a microbiome. Anything different!
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Timothy Young
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PaukW wrote:
To use cookie cutter themes and known franchises shows a lack of confidence in the product.


Either that or good business sense. I mean, if you're held responsible for making a company turn a profit are you going to market the product that will likely sell lots of units, or the one that will likely sell only a few? Just a basic business choice. This is coming from a company whose identity is built around fantasy settings. If they tried marketing a game about kids running around the suburbs or bacteria competing in a microbiome their customer base would drop it like a steaming turd.
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Paul Wright
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TIM0THY wrote:
PaukW wrote:
To use cookie cutter themes and known franchises shows a lack of confidence in the product.


Either that or good business sense. I mean, if you're held responsible for making a company turn a profit are you going to market the product that will likely sell lots of units, or the one that will likely sell only a few? Just a basic business choice. This is coming from a company whose identity is built around fantasy settings. If they tried marketing a game about kids running around the suburbs or bacteria competing in a microbiome their customer base would drop it like a steaming turd.



D&D obviously have a safe audience, they're the Coca Cola of tabletop, but appealing to D&D fans alienates non-D&D fans in a big way, there's no getting around that. Board games have grown in popularity a lot over the last 10 years - that's a large demographic who haven't grown up with D&D (myself included). So if I had a choice of a different theming, would I take it? Sure. As I said, it was a personal bias, and so an entirely selfish choice on my part.

That said, I don't think a different theme would kill the brand, but they'd certainly need to put a bit more effort into the design and presentation of the game to keep up in the current market. I find it interesting that the reviews of TotU on YouTube are not the same channels that cover D&D, they're board game channels. That's who this game should be using theming to appeal to, not D&D fans, IMO.
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Gene Chiu
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PaukW wrote:
TIM0THY wrote:
PaukW wrote:
To use cookie cutter themes and known franchises shows a lack of confidence in the product.


Either that or good business sense. I mean, if you're held responsible for making a company turn a profit are you going to market the product that will likely sell lots of units, or the one that will likely sell only a few? Just a basic business choice. This is coming from a company whose identity is built around fantasy settings. If they tried marketing a game about kids running around the suburbs or bacteria competing in a microbiome their customer base would drop it like a steaming turd.



D&D obviously have a safe audience, they're the Coca Cola of tabletop, but appealing to D&D fans alienates non-D&D fans in a big way, there's no getting around that. Board games have grown in popularity a lot over the last 10 years - that's a large demographic who haven't grown up with D&D (myself included). So if I had a choice of a different theming, would I take it? Sure. As I said, it was a personal bias, and so an entirely selfish choice on my part.

That said, I don't think a different theme would kill the brand, but they'd certainly need to put a bit more effort into the design and presentation of the game to keep up in the current market. I find it interesting that the reviews of TotU on YouTube are not the same channels that cover D&D, they're board game channels. That's who this game should be using theming to appeal to, not D&D fans, IMO.


Good points all around. As a D&D fan, it never occurred to me that a D&D themed game would turn of non-D&D fans. Not sure what the numbers are, though. I don't know the corporate factors that came down to making this game in this theme. It could be WotC wanting to grab a piece of the non-RPG gamer market. Games like Lords of Waterdeep and Tyrants of the Underdark and others to me are an attempt to expand their reach to non-RPG gamers. Someone who doesn't play D&D may buy these games and maybe be enticed to actually try D&D.
 
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Dirk Meijlof
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To be honoust: I don't know anything about D&D. But I do know that I enjoy playing Lords of Waterdeep and Tyrants of the Underdark very much. These are really nice and solid (family) games without much of a theme.
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