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Subject: Mean Mother Loving Servants of God. A review of Folklore: The Affliction rss

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Scott Sexton
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"So which are you? A faithless preacher? Or you a mean ************* servant of God?"

- George Clooney as Seth Gecko in "From Dusk 'Till Dawn".


Nicole Wakelin is correct. Vampires do not sparkle. Sometimes they have two left hands, but vampires never sparkle. Vampires are twisted, grotesque, monstrosities that feed upon and corrupt the human form in a way that is horrifying at a primitive level below even the subconscious. In reality though, they are an expression, a manifestation of a cultural fear of physical corruption and death. Throughout human history, folklore has served as a way for humans to express and explain the things that terrify us the most, the unknown and unknowable. Myths and legends about werewolves are the product of man's domestication and expansion into wild territories occupied by wolves. The idea of silver bullets killing a werewolf dates back a few centuries ago to southern France where a peasant farmer managed to take down a man eating wolf with one. We create myths as a way of coping with what we are incapable of understanding. Nobody likes a dangling plot thread.

Silly subtitles aside, Folklore: The Affliction, takes direct inspiration from Gothic European folklore and mythology. We are talking about the pre-Disney tales popularized by the Brothers Grimm with a bit of Mary Shelly and Bram Stoker sprinkled in for good measure. For those of you who have enjoyed The Witcher books and video games, Folklore is channeling that type of world. The setting itself is some timeless east European-esque region called Kremel, that feels like it could be found in modern Hungary or southern Germany. There are tropes abound, complete with a religion that is basically a generic pre-Reformation Catholicism or possibly Greek Orthodox. The setting and many of the details are given a haziness that allows the audience to generally recognize the setting without focusing on the anachronisms that pop up at a steady pace. Ultimately, I find the setting to be appropriate for the folklore inspired plots that players navigate. Just don't come in expecting something as thoroughly developed as what you may expect in a proper tabletop RPG or in the Witcher games/books. Folklore the game, like its namesake is just familiar enough to let you ignore the conflicting details and focus on the yarn.

The beats of game play are an interesting echo of what can be found in Green Briar Game's earlier title Grimslingers. In both games you play out a relatively on rails mission based RPG. You are given a story based directive (typically something like "go to X location"). You journey across the game map and encounter random story events and combat along the way. You arrive at your location for a nifty series of tests and/or story events. You are then given a new story based directive, wash, rinse, repeat. I know that sounds pretty dull, but in practice it works out quite well. In my earlier review of Grimslingers, I was pretty vocal that I felt the quasi-RPG narrative found in the game was its best attribute. For those of you who played through Grimslinger's campaign, you will find a very familiar story telling system. If you haven't played Grimslingers, I would compare Folklore to a mash up of Eldritch Horror and Mansions of Madness 2.0. Imagine Eldritch Horror except that every once in a while you have to pause the game and play out 15 minutes of story narrative and exploration on the Mansions of Madness game boards. Again, it sounds like a mess, but in practice it is compelling and addictive. The best compliment I have for Folklore is that its a game that is hard to walk away from, and when you do, its hard to stop thinking about.

Most of your time spent in Folklore will be following the linear story path given by the game, however, the game does offer you significant options to travel off of the beaten path. The Rumors expansion introduces bonus side quests that can allow a party to argue about where to go and what missions to prioritize. Do we go handle a quick fetch quest before we try to follow the story quest? Are the rewards worth pursuing at the risk of taking extra damage we can't easily heal? This evokes a feeling that reminds me a lot of video game RPGs. A big part of games like the original Fallout and Fallout 2 was managing the world map and your travels across the wasteland. Folklore takes alot of inspiration from these RPGs and does a good job of making the planning of your journey a fun element. Also reminiscent of Fallout is how Folklore is constantly bombarding the players with stat based tests and the occasional choose your own adventure styled choices. These stat tests unfortunately have a bad habit of interrupting the story scenes and can make the game's narrative pacing flow less smoothly. I think it is fine to have the stat tests tied to the game maps, abilities, and some side quests, but keeping them in the narrative sections feels awkward at best. If you are going to interrupt the story, I would rather it be to make a choice (which does happen in Folklore) and not simply to chuck some dice.

Something I hinted at earlier is the idea that taking damage and more broadly the idea of wearing down your characters is a BIG deal in Folklore. Unlike most RPG's, money is incredibly tight (especially early on in your campaign) and it is difficult to replenish your health and the power points you use to activate your abilities. Even more challenging are the nasty negative status effects you can get hit with. These negative statuses often require dumb luck to remove or significant amounts of money to remove. Taking a rare resting action only heals a fraction of your health. If you spend too much time running around the board, the encounters you run in to will start chipping away at your party until you are left limping into the final boss battle a literal shadow of your former self.

This doesn't mean that Folklore is hard. In fact, I would say that with a good party of 4 characters or more, you should be able to survive, but be warned. Less then 4 characters is pretty much a hard mode for the game. The game isn't particularly well skewed to handle smaller parties. You can of course get around this by having players play multiple PCs, but I know there are a lot of gamers out there who despise that sort of solution.

Combat is an odd duck in Folklore. For starters, there are two kinds of combat. Normal combat works itself out as a typical minis on a grid map affair. This is going to be familiar to anyone who has played any number of Final Fantasy Tactics inspired game. But then you also have skirmish combat. Skirmish combat reminds me a lot of the text and dice based combat from the Fighting Fantasy or Destiny Quest books. You basically just roll a lot of dice back and forth trying to determine how much damage you sustain before you get to move the game forward. Neither combat feels as fully developed or richly nuanced as what you may expect in a typical modern dungeon diving game. It feels a bit dated honestly, but that isn't to say it is ever boring or unfun. In fact, I do like how the combat is designed as a way to break up the potential monotony of having too much combat. I've had my fair share of games where combat simply felt like I was going through the motions YET AGAIN. Folklore tries to keep players constantly doing something new and different and the dual combat system works well enough to keep the game moving in varied ways. I just wish that the combat engines were a tiny bit more interesting individually. Again, I'm not saying combat isn't any good, but rather, this feels like something I would have been playing in the late 1990's and you aren't going to experience it as doing anything revolutionary. I can't say this is a cardinal sin or anything because I'm a guy who wishes that Final Fantasy went back to using the ATB or simple turn based combat.

I obviously haven't made it through every story in Folklore yet. The base game comes with 6 stories with 2 or 3 chapters each (each chapter is a solid gaming session). The big box expansion comes with another 9 stories that seem slightly longer and more challenging then the base game. There is a third expansion adding even more stories in PDF format. The icing on the cake though are the crafting and Rumor expansions that add oodles of extra content to spice up the game. If I were to look into buying Folklore, I would suggest trying out the P&P demo to test the water and if you think the game has legs, go nuts and just get these expansions out of the gate. I would also suggest taking a pass on the very expensive large neoprene map. I'm not sure if this is going to be widely available, but this version of the map is just too big to be practical for most game tables, and worse yet it comes folded up in the box, complete with creases.

Player characters are always an important part of any good board game. Fantasy Flight's Arkham Files games are an excellent example of how having well developed and diverse casts of player characters brings added immersion and enjoyment to a gaming session. Folklore generally handles its PCs very well. There is a diverse cast of male and female protagonists. When I say diverse, please understand that I am referring to their diversity in classes and abilities, not their racial diversity. Yes, everybody is white, groan. Characters have their own branching ability tree they will unlock as they level up, but even more interesting, each character has a special set of things they can do when visiting towns that is unique to that class of character. For example, if my telepath visits the Gypsies she can unlock all sorts of nifty options like buying special equipment only she can get. If my magician character visits the Gypsies he can put on a performance and earn some extra cash. If my Witch Hunter visits the Gypsies he is very uncomfortable and will probably get into trouble. The really cool result is that players will take these elements of game design and use them as jumping off points to roleplay even if they don't mean to. When my party visits town everybody naturally runs off to take care of their own little errands and it makes for a neat little story experience.

My big beef though with the player characters is that GBG makes a big deal out of having each PC have their own special gear they can buy in town. Think of this as the way each character can unlock their ultimate weapons and armor. Once you buy these cool special items, you don't get a card for this new gear like you would with any other weapon or armor you get in the game. Instead, players are told to simply mark the new gear on their player sheet or to make their own tokens. I'm sorry, but that is utter tripe. This is a classic example of cutting corners. GBG should have cards that players can put in their tableau to show that they have these cool items and to serve as a reminder that they are there to be used (and to remind players that they take up space in their inventory). Obviously these cards shouldn't go in the item deck, but it would have been very easy to have a separate deck of cards for these extra special items.

I do have a brief word of warning to you minis aficionados out there. The minis, while generally good, do have some pretty odd stinkers in the batch. The quality of the sculpts seems inconsistent, ranging from excellent to pretty bad. There seems to be some scale issues with some figures (especially the humanoid ones) and the Vampire mini has two right hands. Also expect to get out a bowl of hot water to fix all the bendy swords, staves, spears, and shovels you'll come across. The majority of figures out of the box will need some work. Don't expect CMON or FF quality, but at the same time, the minis are acceptable.

The most significant problem I have with Folklore is the editing and rules. I'm lumping these two items together, but really they are two separate issues. The editing is amateurish at best. Major typos are frequently found on prominent components like on player stat cards. Luckily most of these typos aren't game breaking, but they are a huge annoyance, especially when they show up during a lengthy story passage. This of course always serve to break player immersion into the game, and is frankly something a professional publisher shouldn't be allowing to happen in 2017. I am being generous when I describe the rules book as a hot mess that is barely functional. There was no professional editing or blind testing on the rules. The rules are broken into what I would describe as a quick start guide (designed to get you into your first game) followed by sections of more detailed reference rules you can turn to during play to flesh out any rules you pick up through the game play. The writing itself is terrible and if I didn't know better I would have guessed it was a rough draft translated from a set of rules in another language. I would point to sections describing how visiting towns work, how fillable items work, how thrown weapons work, how diagonal movement/line of sight works, or how modifying items works. The language is ambiguous and without clear and detailed examples of how it works, players are forced to make guesses and hope they are correct. I found myself doing this A LOT in every game of Folklore I've played. There are so many fiddly little rules that even if the rules were better written, I suspect I would still get some things wrong from time to time. In real life I am a literal rules lawyer. I make a living reading rules and manipulating them to the benefit of my clients. I know how to critically read rules and if I may say so, I am damn good at my job. I've read Folklore's rules, 30 some odd pages, cover to cover probably a half dozen times, and while I think I know how to play the game correctly, I can't say I'm 100% comfortable with the rules.

Now, you'd think I would hate this game for all the trouble I've had with the rules. Luckily, that isn't the case. Folklore is such an excellent experience, that not even crappy rules can manage to get in the way of a good time. This is an extremely important point. If you want to enjoy Folklore for the wonderful story telling experience that it is, you are going to have to accept the rules for what they are and be cool with making judgment calls on the fly that may not be correct. Just know that you are always right if you are making a ruling to maximize the fun your group is having.

I really have come to adore Folklore for what it does well. Fans of story telling in games will find that Folklore stands out with games like Mansions of Madness 2.0, Near & Far, and Time Stories as a true accomplishment in narrative gaming. Folklore is a game that needs to be played, and I desperately hope that it finds an audience among influential game designers. Green Briar Games should be sending a copy of this game to Rob Daviau and begging him to consult on a legacy expansion (which would seem like a perfect fit for Folklore). Well, maybe they should first talk to Paul Grogan about finding an editor, but they should definitely be looking into figuring out how they can get Rob Daviau to at least consult on an expansion.

Folklore ultimately is an excellent game that just falls short of being a masterpiece. That sounds like a back handed compliment, but it shouldn't be interpreted that way. Its my way of saying that you should buy this game with tempered expectations, and love it for what it is. Its also my way of telling YOU Green Briar Games, that you do good work, but I want more from you. I want more Folklore, and I want you to make it the masterpiece that it can be. The story is rich, immersive, and highly satisfying. The pacing/flow of the game play is constantly changing modes and never feels like it gets stuck in a boring rut. The art of Stephen Gibson is truly stellar (he is up there with the likes of some of the best artists in board games people!). Character growth (aka, the game's positive feedback loops) is a bit slowly paced, but it is ultimately very satisfying. I can't forgive, though, the places where GBG cut corners. I want my special equipment cards. I want better rules and editing. I want a bit more development work done with the combat design. And while I'm putting together my wish list, I want Rob Daviau to make this a legacy game. I can be passionate about these short comings because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE Folklore for what it already is, which is a memorable game experience that has given me things I will be talking about for years to come.

Folklore is no faithless preacher, my friends. Its a mean mother loving servant of God!

BGG Score - 9.0 (for those who can't forgive the shoddy editing and rules, 7.0)


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Dillon Flaherty
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Really great review that mirrors a lot of the way I've been feeling about this game. There's quite a bit of fun to be found there, but I do think that there are a lot of little points that blatantly lack polish that it ends up dragging the experience down a little bit.

With that said, I think there is an audience for this game that will absolutely love it. It's like a longer-term version of the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure games, with a lot more character customization and development added in.
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Michael Olsen
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Excellent review, thanks.

I do however disagree on the Legacy part. One of the advantages of Folklore is its openendedness and the way players can make new stories to share with the community. I feel a Legacy part would ruin that.
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Good review once it got to the meat. I see you have played Gloomhaven, although it has been compared to it already surprised you didn't compare a few things there (has been called the AT version of GH).

scottatlaw wrote:

Instead, players are told to simply mark the new gear on their player sheet or to make their own tokens. I'm sorry, but that is utter tripe. This is a classic example of cutting corners. GBG should have cards that players can put in their tableau to show that they have these cool items and to serve as a reminder that they are there to be used (and to remind players that they take up space in their inventory). Obviously these cards shouldn't go in the item deck, but it would have been very easy to have a separate deck of cards for these extra special items.The minis, while generally good, do have some pretty odd stinkers in the batch. The quality of the sculpts seems inconsistent, ranging from excellent to pretty bad. The majority of figures out of the box will need some work.

Totally agree, and cheap to give us those cards too making it a non-issue. Unfortunately there are more examples of corner cutting too, not giving us a printed version of the book we paid $20 for (D&D artifacts), charging $15 for the Mystery box that at least 75% of the people are unhappy with (if not with the item, the price), the very thin map tiles announced after the campaign ended, the bent mini issue which while some think it is tolerable I do not and other companies provide minis that do not end up bent like Mythic games for a recent example(who is providing an awesome value on Joan of Arc currently), and probably more things I have not even seen yet.

scottatlaw wrote:

The most significant problem I have with Folklore is the editing and rules. The editing is amateurish at best. Major typos are frequently found on prominent components like on player stat cards. I am being generous when I describe the rules book as a hot mess that is barely functional. There was no professional editing or blind testing on the rules. The writing itself is terrible and if I didn't know better I would have guessed it was a rough draft translated from a set of rules in another language.

This is very unfortunate and unexpected given the extra long delay and who we thought we were dealing with. While I am sure we'll get an updated rulebook eventually (par for the course these days, esp with KS), it will be one we have to print on paper and we have to deal with all the other mistakes on components permanently. Overall definitely all these things above cut into the overall quality of what we got, and are disappointing given it was not a "cheap" game.
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c4dillon wrote:
It's like a longer-term version of the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure games
I sure as hell hope not
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Scott Sexton
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Michael_Olsen wrote:
Excellent review, thanks.

I do however disagree on the Legacy part. One of the advantages of Folklore is its openendedness and the way players can make new stories to share with the community. I feel a Legacy part would ruin that.


I think that is fair. I think I should instead say that I think fans of Legacy style games would really enjoy a Legacy version of Folklore. Folklore doesn't need to be redone as a Legacy game to be good, but speaking as someone who enjoys Legacy games, I would KILL for a Folklore Legacy game.
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flowercita wrote:
Good review once it got to the meat.





flowercita wrote:



I see you have played Gloomhaven, although it has been compared to it already surprised you didn't compare a few things there (has been called the AT version of GH).


Gloomhaven has almost nothing in common with Folklore. They are both campaign fantasy adventure games, and the similarities stop there.

Folklore's strong point is story.

Gloomhaven's story is paper thin and unimaginitive.

Gloomhaven's innovative battle engine and legacy aspects are its strengths.

Folklore uses lots of Ameritrash mechanisms we have seen in games for decades, but sews them together in an interesting way.

Both are good games that have their merits and flaws. Both are worth trying if not owning. I happen to prefer Folklore for the immersive narrative and the relative approachability for my kids.
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scottatlaw wrote:


Gloomhaven has almost nothing in common with Folklore. They are both campaign fantasy adventure games, and the similarities stop there.

Folklore's strong point is story.

Gloomhaven's story is paper thin and unimaginitive.

Gloomhaven's innovative battle engine and legacy aspects are its strengths.

Folklore uses lots of Ameritrash mechanisms we have seen in games for decades, but sews them together in an interesting way.

Both are good games that have their merits and flaws. Both are worth trying if not owning. I happen to prefer Folklore for the immersive narrative and the relative approachability for my kids.


I think the similarities go much deeper than that, but I do agree with the strengths and weaknesses you noted. GH has more of both to be sure
 
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First off, thank you for the excellent review. This game is on my "maybe" list and your review is really helpful for me in determining if this is a game I would want to spend time on. I'm pretty picky. The concept sounds interesting, tactical combat and character leveling wrapped in a very good, immersive story. I do have a ton of red flags though and you hit on one and I am hoping you can go a little deeper on.

A concern I have for a game that sells the story so hard above the gameplay itself is the game is under-designed. I would love a good story, but only if the gameplay is solid as well. The discussion on rules makes me nervous. Do you think its an issue strictly of poorly written rules or do you thing its a sign of under-development? Specifically, do you think that the game is fully designed and rules exist for all of these confusing scenarios and its just a matter of the written rules not communicating the game properly? Alternatively, is it an issue that the written rules are so incomplete because the gameplay and design themselves are only half-baked. I certainly could deal with poorly written rules even if the the rulebook is not complete (if the game is really good), but it is another issue for me entirely if there is not tight gameplay.

I certainly understood your perspective that enjoying this game may mean making decisions on the fly. I was curious if this is interpreting ambiguous rules or literally creating rules for situations that were completely not addressed in the rules/design? My concern is that for a cooperative game, if the balance is lost, it can quickly become not a game (or a "game" with no challenge), but something else (a story or even worse an activity to pass time).

Anyway, thanks for the great review. Very helpful. And if others had thoughts on my questions, I certainly would appreciate any viewpoint others want to offer.
 
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bk375 wrote:
First off, thank you for the excellent review. This game is on my "maybe" list and your review is really helpful for me in determining if this is a game I would want to spend time on. I'm pretty picky. The concept sounds interesting, tactical combat and character leveling wrapped in a very good, immersive story. I do have a ton of red flags though and you hit on one and I am hoping you can go a little deeper on.

A concern I have for a game that sells the story so hard above the gameplay itself is the game is under-designed. I would love a good story, but only if the gameplay is solid as well. The discussion on rules makes me nervous. Do you think its an issue strictly of poorly written rules or do you thing its a sign of under-development? Specifically, do you think that the game is fully designed and rules exist for all of these confusing scenarios and its just a matter of the written rules not communicating the game properly? Alternatively, is it an issue that the written rules are so incomplete because the gameplay and design themselves are only half-baked. I certainly could deal with poorly written rules even if the the rulebook is not complete (if the game is really good), but it is another issue for me entirely if there is not tight gameplay.

I certainly understood your perspective that enjoying this game may mean making decisions on the fly. I was curious if this is interpreting ambiguous rules or literally creating rules for situations that were completely not addressed in the rules/design? My concern is that for a cooperative game, if the balance is lost, it can quickly become not a game (or a "game" with no challenge), but something else (a story or even worse an activity to pass time).

Anyway, thanks for the great review. Very helpful. And if others had thoughts on my questions, I certainly would appreciate any viewpoint others want to offer.


Hi bk, to me the game is good and playable as it is. Some ambiguity is present in a very small amount of the content as the game contains so much to remember, Which is not a bad thing at all as this diversity of content helps to build up each mission to keep the players engaged. I love how death of characters and their rebirths are woven through the game taking in many places around the map promoting exploration.

A lot of content and rules will keep being brought up for a while as folk are still receiving their games and hitting the same bumps.

The games had a few different people pushing the game in a range of directions over its development with new content being made up and incorporated. so some discrepancies had the potential of falling through the gaps.

Lots of content within the boxes that arn't used leaving plenty of scope for own builds and future additional content.
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Scott Sexton
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bk375 wrote:
First off, thank you for the excellent review.


Thank you! If you are really picky and money is tight, this is not a game to buy into blindly. The upcoming kickstarter may be a pretty good deal for you though, especially if you don't feel the need to have the minis. My normal retort would be to suggest you watch a video or two to get a sense of how well you like the game, but I've not seen a video yet that really conveys the game particularly well. I think Undead Viking comes close, but it still misses the mark. Cross your fingers that Ant Labs does his inevitable video soon. Make sure you listen to this coming Wednesday's episode of The Secret Cabal. Jamie should give a pretty fair assesment of the game and I suspect he will mirror what I am saying. Also, check out Charlie Theel's comments in his recent Ding & Dent episode. Charlie usually has a pretty solid analytical take on these kinds of games.


bk375 wrote:


Do you think its an issue strictly of poorly written rules or do you thing its a sign of under-development?


I think it is 75% bad rule writing and 25% insufficient blind testing of the rule book. I think the testing/development of the game design itself is 100% solid. Every rule issue I know of, I suspect is the result of bad writing or omissions that should have been spelled out better. I get the feeling that every rule issue could be solved by a designer or Zee simply posting a response.

Bottom line, the game has solid bones.

BTW, this is exactly the same problem I have with my likely game of the year, The 7th Continent. Solid design, but the rules aren't. Bad rules don't have to be game breaking.

bk375 wrote:

I was curious if this is interpreting ambiguous rules or literally creating rules for situations that were completely not addressed in the rules/design?


LOL! I'm sure there have been times where I've thought I was interpreting an ambiguous rule when in fact I was completely inventing a rule that was missing!

I think you are suggesting that you don't want to have to fix or house rule a game. Which is perfectly normal, perfectly fine. I'm thinking on this hard and I'm pretty sure it is ALWAYS a case of me having to interpret poor writing. The answer is pretty much always there in the rules, but its a matter of interpreting them. I know how visiting towns works, but I'm almost positive normal people can't figure it out without a bit of guess work, and even then there is a good chance people will botch it. As I suggested in my review, the grammar, syntax and word choice are almost Lovecraftian in their awkwardness. The rules are there, but reading/comprehending them is challenging.

I must also confess, that since I play with my kids, I'm willing to fudge the occasional rule if it will maximize the fun we are having. Same thing happened during the 7th Continent, too.

Please, get Paul Grogan or Dustin Schwartz on the case!
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Drewtavian wrote:


Hi bk, to me the game is good and playable as it is.


I agree. The game is excellent and playable as it is.


Drewtavian wrote:

Some ambiguity is present in a very small amount of the content as the game contains so much to remember, Which is not a bad thing at all as this diversity of content helps to build up each mission to keep the players engaged.


I have to disagree with you. There is a LOT of rules overhead in this game, but it isn't as great as something like Star Wars: Rebellion. The difference here though is that bad writing makes Folklore MUCH harder to grok then Rebellion. My point is that good rules writing can make complex rules sets easy to digest.

I would bet that a good editor could get Folklore's rules cut down to 16-20 pages AND would eliminate at least 50% to 75% of the rules questions you see posted in this forum.
 
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scottatlaw wrote:
Drewtavian wrote:


Hi bk, to me the game is good and playable as it is.


I agree. The game is excellent and playable as it is.


Drewtavian wrote:

Some ambiguity is present in a very small amount of the content as the game contains so much to remember, Which is not a bad thing at all as this diversity of content helps to build up each mission to keep the players engaged.


I have to disagree with you. There is a LOT of rules overhead in this game, but it isn't as great as something like Star Wars: Rebellion. The difference here though is that bad writing makes Folklore MUCH harder to grok then Rebellion. My point is that good rules writing can make complex rules sets easy to digest.

I would bet that a good editor could get Folklore's rules cut down to 16-20 pages AND would eliminate at least 50% to 75% of the rules questions you see posted in this forum.



Don't get me wrong with my opinion on the rules, When I or my group reached any point that caused any confusion we made a ruling on them and just carried on. true thou on reducing some of the superfluous wording and content which could then free space to get a better consensus on certain rules with some of the updated content and explanations been added.
 
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Björn Tufvesson
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flowercita wrote:


Totally agree, and cheap to give us those cards too making it a non-issue. Unfortunately there are more examples of corner cutting too, not giving us a printed version of the book we paid $20 for (D&D artifacts), charging $15 for the Mystery box that at least 75% of the people are unhappy with (if not with the item, the price), the very thin map tiles announced after the campaign ended,


The map tiles was announced during the campaign, not after it ended. Update 13, October 20.
"To bring everyone up to speed our map tiles are 10 x 10 inches or 25.4 x 25.4cm. The grid size is 1 inch squared. In order to prevent any warping due to the large size, we have opted to go with thick card stock at 400 gsm."
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Good review- and agree with most of it. I do like the skill checks that occur in-story. That seems appropriate in something inspired by D&D, and it's the closest a board game has come to that experience. I also love the large map. I agree that you need a lot of space for it, but I've had the game for a week and the wrinkles have all come out completely and it lies perfectly flat. Plus, it looks great. Yes, the rules are frustrating in spots. I don't think it prevents you from moving ahead, but it can slow you down. I still have questions about things that could have been spelled out much more simply.

Your final conclusion is spot on. I hope this gets the attention it deserves. But when you look at the 'hotness' list, you can see people are generally attracted to the same stuff, over and over again. It's a great candidate for expansions and tie-in.
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Mithroth wrote:


The map tiles was announced during the campaign, not after it ended. Update 13, October 20.
"To bring everyone up to speed our map tiles are 10 x 10 inches or 25.4 x 25.4cm. The grid size is 1 inch squared. In order to prevent any warping due to the large size, we have opted to go with thick card stock at 400 gsm."


Good catch, I guess I was remembering when the production of them was screwed up and it delayed the delivery further.
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flowercita wrote:
Mithroth wrote:


The map tiles was announced during the campaign, not after it ended. Update 13, October 20.
"To bring everyone up to speed our map tiles are 10 x 10 inches or 25.4 x 25.4cm. The grid size is 1 inch squared. In order to prevent any warping due to the large size, we have opted to go with thick card stock at 400 gsm."


Good catch, I guess I was remembering when the production of them was screwed up and it delayed the delivery further.


I didn't mention the card stock on the map tiles in my review because I found them to be perfectly serviceable. I was originally quite dubious about them but I came to like them, especially since they aren't as subject to curling or warping. The art on them is top notch.
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Thanks a lot. My copy should arrive in Denmark tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to getting my own firsthand impression.

Sad to hear that the combat is off, and the editing isn't up to snuff. These are the exact issues I have been fearing after reading earlier versions of the rules and following the project.

On the other hand, it also sounds like the good parts of the game deliver what I hoped: A strong narrative side to the dungeon crawler genre.

At least, it sounds like some of your major issues can be fixed in the upcoming second Kickstarter with some professional editing, proofreading and a b it of rules refinement.

(BTW, I find it funny that you mention Final Fantasy as an inspiration: Looking to the rules and people involved, I see a pretty direct attempt at putting an oldschool 80's-90's pen-and-paper role playing game into a box)
 
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I'm eager to receive my copy. I've mixed pre-feelings about this one. A lotta people seem to be very positive but criticize the combat a fair bit. To me, that seems like a pretty important part of the game.

The big negative seems to be that you can get stuck in a corner and then it's just a dice fest. Even without getting stuck in a corner, it sounds pretty much a dice fest. But I've not tried it yet so I'm just going on what others say.

Re: Final Fantasy - It's funny because there was another Kickstarter called Nova Aetas which is pretty much the tactical combat from FF Tactics. It has an excellent ACtion Point/time system that has minis activating similar to how FFT was. So I'm not sure where the comparison to Final Fantasy in relation to Folklore comes from (but am curious).
 
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Sarimrune wrote:
I'm eager to receive my copy. I've mixed pre-feelings about this one. A lotta people seem to be very positive but criticize the combat a fair bit. To me, that seems like a pretty important part of the game.

The big negative seems to be that you can get stuck in a corner and then it's just a dice fest. Even without getting stuck in a corner, it sounds pretty much a dice fest. But I've not tried it yet so I'm just going on what others say.


To be fair, this isn't like most board games where combat IS the game. You spend a relatively short amount of time in combat. My group spends just as much time out of combat as in combat.

Honestly, I'm always surprised when people say they are disappointed in the combat saying it is a "dice fest". All you would have needed to do is watch a preview video or read the first draft of the rules to know that the game has dice driven combat. This should come as a surprise to nobody.

Regarding the "stuck in a corner" issue. This is more of an issue with small group builds and I've not had this ever happen in any of my games.

People should also look a bit closer at my review when I discuss the combat. I can be critical of something without ultimately saying its bad. The combat isn't bad.
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scottatlaw wrote:
Sarimrune wrote:
I'm eager to receive my copy. I've mixed pre-feelings about this one. A lotta people seem to be very positive but criticize the combat a fair bit. To me, that seems like a pretty important part of the game.

The big negative seems to be that you can get stuck in a corner and then it's just a dice fest. Even without getting stuck in a corner, it sounds pretty much a dice fest. But I've not tried it yet so I'm just going on what others say.


To be fair, this isn't like most board games where combat IS the game. You spend a relatively short amount of time in combat. My group spends just as much time out of combat as in combat.

Honestly, I'm always surprised when people say they are disappointed in the combat saying it is a "dice fest". All you would have needed to do is watch a preview video or read the first draft of the rules to know that the game has dice driven combat. This should come as a surprise to nobody.

Regarding the "stuck in a corner" issue. This is more of an issue with small group builds and I've not had this ever happen in any of my games.

People should also look a bit closer at my review when I discuss the combat. I can be critical of something without ultimately saying its bad. The combat isn't bad.


Well, I did read your review. Carefully I thought.

It felt like you said a lot of critical things (which isn't a bad thing) about it and painted broad strokes as to what you liked and then 'suddenly' gave it a 9 out of 10 saying that you loved it.

From what you wrote, I don't know why you gave it a 9 out of 10. I'm trying to figure that out.

You definitely seem to like the narrative parts. But I can't quite understand what makes them special. It might be something that I need to play and experience to understand.

If combat is (roughly) 50% of the game, then that is a significant part of the game. Words used: 'odd duck, isn't bad, etc' does not imply to me that it's actually good or fun. It sounds like you didn't hate the combat but didn't like the combat. It sounds like you found combat (a signficiant part of the game) to be merely okay. Please correct me if I'm wrong, that's what I'm getting from your words and misunderstandings can happen.


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Sarimrune wrote:

You definitely seem to like the narrative parts. But I can't quite understand what makes them special. It might be something that I need to play and experience to understand.


I think that this raises a really interesting point about how the merits of a game like Folklore could/should be considered? I've just been watching Season 2 of Stranger Things and like Stanger Things Folklore works as a design based on its ability to deliver an engaging narrative and an element of rose tinted nostalgia. (I'm not suggesting that's the only reason Stranger Things works )

We've know what the game engine looks like for some time. The combat system has always looked weak and there are other potential issues such as scaling. I'm not sure however that the game should be judged on it's individual mechanics? Certainly our experience so far is that in a four player group it provides a lot of fun and a narrative that feels much better than the railroad track that you're actually traveling on has any right to deserve. It reminds me of my early days of role playing back in the 80's with relatively simple tales and 1 dimensional GM's... but having a blast with something that was new and fresh.

I'm surprised the game hasn't had more criticism from those, entirely reasonably, who want to consider it purely for its merits as a board game. I can't see much longevity in it for anyone that wants to approach it purely on that basis. For those looking for a narrative device with a game behind it and a soft spot for nostalgia I think that there's a lot to like here.....which is a long winded way of saying I can understand why liking the narrative parts might lift something that sounds like middle of the road into something that has the potential to be special.
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Skipp wrote:
Sarimrune wrote:

You definitely seem to like the narrative parts. But I can't quite understand what makes them special. It might be something that I need to play and experience to understand.


I think that this raises a really interesting point about how the merits of a game like Folklore could/should be considered? I've just been watching Season 2 of Stranger Things and like Stanger Things Folklore works as a design based on its ability to deliver an engaging narrative and an element of rose tinted nostalgia. (I'm not suggesting that's the only reason Stranger Things works )

We've know what the game engine looks like for some time. The combat system has always looked weak and there are other potential issues such as scaling. I'm not sure however that the game should be judged on it's individual mechanics? Certainly our experience so far is that in a four player group it provides a lot of fun and a narrative that feels much better than the railroad track that you're actually traveling on has any right to deserve. It reminds me of my early days of role playing back in the 80's with relatively simple tales and 1 dimensional GM's... but having a blast with something that was new and fresh.

I'm surprised the game hasn't had more criticism from those, entirely reasonably, who want to consider it purely for its merits as a board game. I can't see much longevity in it for anyone that wants to approach it purely on that basis. For those looking for a narrative device with a game behind it and a soft spot for nostalgia I think that there's a lot to like here.....which is a long winded way of saying I can understand why liking the narrative parts might lift something that sounds like middle of the road into something that has the potential to be special.


I like to go back to videogames as an example. My favorite video game narratives are all relatively "on rails" (or at least the main story is): Final Fantasy 7-10, Mass Effect 1-3, and The Witcher 1-3. Many critics love to complain and throw around "on rails" as a pejorative. When it comes to telling a good story, I don't care if the game is on rails or not. I just want a good yarn and for the gameplay to be sufficiently engaging.

Here is the real nut to ponder, would Folklore work as a game if the combat were any more fleshed out? Part of why Folklore works so well is that the game never stays put on any one thing for too long. Long fights are done in 20 minutes or less. Skirmishes typically run no longer then 5 minutes and never more then 10. If Folklore had a really innovative and satisfying battle engine, combat would become the game, and that isn't what Folklore is aiming for. CLEARLY, combat was intended to be as streamlined as much as possible to keep it short. It is the exact opposite of Gloomhaven where combat really is the game and the other stuff is just there to break up combat. Combat in Folklore is almost a mini game to break up the storytelling and adventuring.
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Sarimrune wrote:


From what you wrote, I don't know why you gave it a 9 out of 10. I'm trying to figure that out.

You definitely seem to like the narrative parts. But I can't quite understand what makes them special. It might be something that I need to play and experience to understand.




I happen to believe most game reviews skew too positive. I always try to focus on the flaws in an effort to steer people away who won't enjoy a game and to serve as a voice to designers/publishers to explain what I as a member of the audience feel about their game. I don't need to write a review to assure people who already own the game that it is good. My positive feelings about the game are there as an honest reflection of how I feel AND I float out only enough to attract those who I think will enjoy the game. That is to say that if you like a narrative rich game that feels a bit like an old school videogame RPG (or a diluted tabletop RPG) Folklore is a great fit for you. I'm not sure I need to say more then that. If those games don't appeal to you, you should know enough that my rating is meaningless to you.
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Skipp wrote:
Sarimrune wrote:

You definitely seem to like the narrative parts. But I can't quite understand what makes them special. It might be something that I need to play and experience to understand.


I think that this raises a really interesting point about how the merits of a game like Folklore could/should be considered? I've just been watching Season 2 of Stranger Things and like Stanger Things Folklore works as a design based on its ability to deliver an engaging narrative and an element of rose tinted nostalgia. (I'm not suggesting that's the only reason Stranger Things works )

We've know what the game engine looks like for some time. The combat system has always looked weak and there are other potential issues such as scaling. I'm not sure however that the game should be judged on it's individual mechanics? Certainly our experience so far is that in a four player group it provides a lot of fun and a narrative that feels much better than the railroad track that you're actually traveling on has any right to deserve. It reminds me of my early days of role playing back in the 80's with relatively simple tales and 1 dimensional GM's... but having a blast with something that was new and fresh.

I'm surprised the game hasn't had more criticism from those, entirely reasonably, who want to consider it purely for its merits as a board game. I can't see much longevity in it for anyone that wants to approach it purely on that basis. For those looking for a narrative device with a game behind it and a soft spot for nostalgia I think that there's a lot to like here.....which is a long winded way of saying I can understand why liking the narrative parts might lift something that sounds like middle of the road into something that has the potential to be special.


Agree 100%. I can definitely see Folklore not appealing to those who are all about innovative game design. It doesn't do anything new or too creative. You're absolutely right that this game is about nostalgia and capturing the tabletop RPG experience. If the combat mechanics were NOT a Gygaxian dice fest, I think it would actually work AGAINST the game because it would not be true to what the classic RPG tabletop experience is for many of us.

When I used to play AD&D 2E with my friends, I firmly was aware of how backwards THACO was. Did that take away from the experience? Absolutely not. Us playing D&D was all about escapism and getting to pretend be someone in a different world. That experience was the reason to play. Same here.

The game works. It's not a brilliant innovative design but it does what it's supposed to do and it does it in the way that it should.

Other board games have tried to hit that RPG/boardgame hybrid sweet spot. This is the first one that actually does and I love that this game exists.
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