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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past» Forums » Reviews

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Nathaniel Chambers
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Austin
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I really wanted to like this game. There's so much going for it. Good theme, good implementation of theme, fun IP, good story source material (the comics). But in the end I just couldn't get into it. There's a constant tug of war between the two sides and it often just feels like stagnation even if it isn't. The games weren't fast enough to make that okay either. Instead of feeling like a brawl it felt like a crawl. I got to the end of the 3rd book, out of 4. So many of the scenarios boil down to this.

The good stuff: well it wasn't all molasses, some of the game felt perfect. I loved the dice combat, which is unusual for me. I think it works well because it's simple enough that you can say "you'll probably hit" and "you'll probably not block." I actually really like the way it is distributed. I like the Turtles' abilities. And I don't really like coop games, but this felt great, the way we used the dice to help team mates. Perfect. Which is why it's all the more sad that the game gets bogged down in scenarios that don't support the game feel.

The scenarios all sort of have this goal of slowing down the Turtles. And boy does it feel slow. Another complaint is that the scenarios didn't really feel story driven enough. All the setups might as well have been random. This would be the same game with a deck of cards used as a random scenario generator (better even). The whole campaign concept here really fails. On top of that, there are some misprint issues, some strange rules phrasings (minimal, mostly good), and some of the worst board art and design I've ever seen. Red and Orange boarders are hard to tell apart. Black boarders change colors so you aren't sure which things are supposed to have it or not.

So what would fix this game (aside from new board art)? For one, I'm really hoping that the expansion brings some major gameplay changes. I haven't played Imperial Assault, but I see that it has it so that you have to down all 4 heroes, and they get to keep playing until all 4 are down (albeit at less power) after they are 'wounded'. This would have made the sluggishness significantly improved. Along with some actual scenarios with plot, descriptions, etc, I think this could end up being a game I really like. But right now? Right now it's a'system' I really like, but the game as a whole is not fantastic. And that's a real shame because there's a lot of special stuff here. Not the least of which is a competent dice 'campaign' game that isn't fantasy or space themed (I crave variety). But unless it gets some major improvements in the next expansion, this is a game that will be let go from my shelf. But I like it enough that if another game were made using this same system (say, Transformers!!!), then I would try it in a heartbeat, if it addressed the mentioned issues.

This is my first review (maybe?), please be gentle. I'm happy to answer any questions.
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Phil Jurney
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I'm sorry you didn't like the game. This has become one of my favorite games in a very short time. I have only played it 3 times. Yes there are a few problems with board and rules, but to me these are minor and I know Kevin Wilson has been very active in helping out with those, even created an official FAQ. I don't fully understand though why you don't like it. It sounds like all the things you don't like in other games this does well. Is it just the time it takes to play the game? As far as hoping that expansions will fix the game, don't hold your breath the next two expansions just add more characters and don't change any game play that I am aware of. The expansion after that (I think is scheduled for later this year) may have more terrain and missions with added characters. Anyway, not every game is for every person and I'm sure someone would be happy to buy your copy.
 
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Nathaniel Chambers
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jurney06 wrote:
I'm sorry you didn't like the game. This has become one of my favorite games in a very short time. I have only played it 3 times. Yes there are a few problems with board and rules, but to me these are minor and I know Kevin Wilson has been very active in helping out with those, even created an official FAQ. I don't fully understand though why you don't like it. It sounds like all the things you don't like in other games this does well. Is it just the time it takes to play the game? As far as hoping that expansions will fix the game, don't hold your breath the next two expansions just add more characters and don't change any game play that I am aware of. The expansion after that (I think is scheduled for later this year) may have more terrain and missions with added characters. Anyway, not every game is for every person and I'm sure someone would be happy to buy your copy.


I think Imperial Assault fixes many my issues with TMNT(and I'm sure will add a few of its own), but I haven't played it yet. I think I will prefer the simplicity of TMNTs powers and the theme of TMNT is much more appealing. I've played through book 3, so I'm about 8 games in. I don't think this is a 'bad' game, but it isn't working for me as much as it could. I know I shouldn't hope for future expansions to change, but I've seen other games learn a lot from initial release and fix things.
 
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Hardboiled Gregg
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Having played Descent and Imperial Assault, I'm not sure if those would fix your issues as they can feel like even more of a slog. What I like about the system in TMNT is that it allows you to do multiple things on a turn and that you are constantly coordinating with your team. The other systems limit you to two actions a turn and it generally becomes a case of "do you want to go there and hit them or shall I?"
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Nathaniel Chambers
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HotHeart wrote:
Having played Descent and Imperial Assault, I'm not sure if those would fix your issues as they can feel like even more of a slog. What I like about the system in TMNT is that it allows you to do multiple things on a turn and that you are constantly coordinating with your team. The other systems limit you to two actions a turn and it generally becomes a case of "do you want to go there and hit them or shall I?"


100% fair and like I said I haven't played it. Perhaps the whole of the genre simply isn't for me, but it feels like it should be. TMNT is really close to awesome. I still think it's good. But I think the things I mentioned keep it from being 'great' and a permanent game on my shelf. Sometimes 'game feel' is hard to pin down.
 
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Geoff ...
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Nathaniel I think you should try to get some plays in of similar games, including the ones you mentioned. This will help you understand what it is you like and dislike in such games.

TMNT is fun, but IMHO a little overrated. I'll reserve further judgement till I've played some more, could go up or down.

Personally I think IA is brilliant, and will be the number one co-op skirmish game once FFG's Descent-like app comes out.
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Patrick Reynolds
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I haven't been able to play too far into this one yet, but I do think that your critique feels fair.

However, I HAVE played a lot of Imperial Assault, and I can tell you that as brilliant as that game is (as far as I'm concerned it's by far the best of FFG's one v all dungeon crawls) it can turn into a horrible slog if the hero players don't understand when to rush forward and ignore enemies and when to stand and fight.

In the early scenarios at least, the turtles feel extremely powerful. It's not unusual to have a single turtle take out two or three enemies in one turn and then laugh at the pathetic villain attack rolls of 2-3 dice before throwing a 5-6 dice defense roll. Maybe that changes with later scenarios and tougher enemies.
 
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Nathaniel Chambers
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pkreynolds wrote:
I haven't been able to play too far into this one yet, but I do think that your critique feels fair.

However, I HAVE played a lot of Imperial Assault, and I can tell you that as brilliant as that game is (as far as I'm concerned it's by far the best of FFG's one v all dungeon crawls) it can turn into a horrible slog if the hero players don't understand when to rush forward and ignore enemies and when to stand and fight.

In the early scenarios at least, the turtles feel extremely powerful. It's not unusual to have a single turtle take out two or three enemies in one turn and then laugh at the pathetic villain attack rolls of 2-3 dice before throwing a 5-6 dice defense roll. Maybe that changes with later scenarios and tougher enemies.


It definitely gets harder. Also my main complain is the simple get from one side of the map to the other. The mechanics reinforce staying in a group and moving slowly in those missions. Go to far too quick and you are going to get knocked out, which is the only villain objective in some missions.
 
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