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Subject: Question to Hans im Glück: How about a retheme/facelift instead of the next Big Box edition? rss

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Flo P
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El Grande is a true modern classic, in over twenty years of its existence, nothing has come along that challenges its tight core game play. As reflected by the BGG rank (in the top 50 after such a long time!), the game is still held in high regard, which is a true achievement by the designer.

However, we are in 2018 now and certain changes to the game are overdue. The presentation is so incredibly dry that it is hard to get this to the table (something it shares with an equally good game: Hansa Teutonica, although that one is a bit better on the player count issue). I think instead of yet another Big Box, that might in the works for the 25th anniversary, an updated game with at little bit of artwork for the cards and a changed colour palette (that map is simply too yellow) or probably even a complete retheme might be called for. I also think that the the lower player counts are in need of some revisioning, as it can be hard to find 4-5 people willing to play this game (this ties back to its dry appearance). Because of the latter alone, my go to area control game right now is Inis (although that one has its own set of problems).

I don't know whether there is enough of a market for this project, I would certainly be interested in buying it, but seeing how after over 20 years there hasn't been a true successor for this game, why not release your own before someone else comes around? I am sure there is a whole new generation of gamers waiting to discover this game, that right now simply pass the box when they see it on a shelf because of the two white European dudes trying their best to mimic Zoolander.
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bluesheep wrote:
However, we are in 2018 now and certain changes to the game are overdue. The presentation is so incredibly dry that it is hard to get this to the table ....

I completely disagree... if it ain't broke don't fix it

as far as finding it hard to get to the table... sounds more like you need another set of gaming buds....
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Flo P
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JeffyJeff wrote:
if it ain't broke don't fix it


It isn't broken, as I clearly stated the gameplay of this game is state of the art. The problem is getting people to the point were they appreciate that. Nowadays when someone walks into a FLGS and sees something like Blood Rage or Scythe and next to it El Grande, well which game do you think he is going to take home? I am not saying that El Grande needs to be as lavish as those games (after all a reasonable price range is much more important than unnecessary bling, which can even get in the way like the map of Scythe), but El Grande's yellow map is simply off-putting. Just have a look at the image section here, there are quite a few fan made re-skins of the map and all of them look a lot more pleasing to the eye.
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Nick West
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Talking nonsense in my view. If the game is good enough it will get played.

Chess anyone? Nah, too dry ninja
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Eric Matthews
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JeffyJeff wrote:
bluesheep wrote:
However, we are in 2018 now and certain changes to the game are overdue. The presentation is so incredibly dry that it is hard to get this to the table ....

I completely disagree... if it ain't broke don't fix it

as far as finding it hard to get to the table... sounds more like you need another set of gaming buds....


It is broke. It’s ugly,outdated and could use actually use rules update to streamline the rules, particularly for how expansions work (there is a good reason many players totally ignore the expansions).

And yes a rethemeing could really bring this great game to more people.

There is a huge missed opportunity for this classic to also be a poplar evergreen. El Grande could sell (and get played) like Pandemic or Ticker to Ride- it will never be a true evergreen with its current art and theme.

Art matters not just for sales but for people wanting to actually spend time with something.
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Rex Moore
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bluesheep wrote:
Nowadays when someone walks into a FLGS and sees something like Blood Rage or Scythe and next to it El Grande, well which game do you think he is going to take home?


Depends on what they're looking for. But El Grande for me, easily.


Quote:
...because of the two white European dudes trying their best to mimic Zoolander.


...because of the two white Spanish European dudes trying their best to mimic Zoolander. (Also, Zoolander mimicked El Grande, which came out 6 years earlier.)


Quote:
El Grande's yellow map is simply off-putting.


Seriously? I think it looks great.

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Greg S
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Re-theme and/or redesign El Grande? No. No no no no no no no. A thousand times no. Hell no!
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Greg S
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JeffyJeff wrote:
bluesheep wrote:
However, we are in 2018 now and certain changes to the game are overdue. The presentation is so incredibly dry that it is hard to get this to the table ....

I completely disagree... if it ain't broke don't fix it

as far as finding it hard to get to the table... sounds more like you need another set of gaming buds....


Every single time my heavy games group tries out a new area-majority game, we always end up asking out loud "isn't El Grande better than this?" and the answer is "Yes". Every. Single. Time.
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Peter S.
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Qualm wrote:
JeffyJeff wrote:
bluesheep wrote:
However, we are in 2018 now and certain changes to the game are overdue. The presentation is so incredibly dry that it is hard to get this to the table ....

I completely disagree... if it ain't broke don't fix it

as far as finding it hard to get to the table... sounds more like you need another set of gaming buds....


Every single time my heavy games group tries out a new area-majority game, we always end up asking out loud "isn't El Grande better than this?" and the answer is "Yes". Every. Single. Time.

And what does that have to do with its theme? I've never gotten any distinct feeling of medieval Spanish politics from playing it, and it's a fairly abstract game. I don't see why a different theme couldn't be draped over it, nor do I see how that would necessarily harm the game.
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Brian K
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Hehe

Dune retheme of El Grande (with Ilya artwork)
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Eric Matthews
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Qualm wrote:
JeffyJeff wrote:
bluesheep wrote:
However, we are in 2018 now and certain changes to the game are overdue. The presentation is so incredibly dry that it is hard to get this to the table ....

I completely disagree... if it ain't broke don't fix it

as far as finding it hard to get to the table... sounds more like you need another set of gaming buds....


Every single time my heavy games group tries out a new area-majority game, we always end up asking out loud "isn't El Grande better than this?" and the answer is "Yes". Every. Single. Time.


But it feels like playing ASL it’s so ugly. It would get the play it deserves if it didn’t maintain (even after a kickstarted reprint which claimed to have improved the art!) such a tired look. The field of graphic design has developed quite a bit since the game came out and even if someone updated the graphic design while keeping the art of the same age and theme it would be played more.

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DH Bok
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For nice graphics I'll take a comic book. Or go to the museum. For a really cool game I play El Grande.
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hench critter
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I have an old cube version of El Grande but no expansions. To be quite honest, I don't see the need for major changes in the gameplay. Some minor tweaks may help as some clarifications. I think El Castillo should be worth less points.

But the theme: agreed. Now it's very dry. Although I like
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's Dune theme, it is not mainstream enough. But even with a good retheme and great looking parts, the game won't get mainstream. The game, even with it's simple rules, requires way too much thinking for that.
 
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Some of the comments in this thread are so unimaginative and closed minded. Let's face it, El Grande looks boring. It may be a good game and the presentation may be functional, but there is no way it goes toe to toe aesthetically with other area majority games being released today.

There is zero reason why excellent art, graphic design, and other production elements have to be exclusive to other forms of media.

The "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." mentality, is for people who settle for average. I rather have designers push themselves to their limits and improve what already exists. That's what moves this hobby forward.
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Rex Moore
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Bryle wrote:
Some of the comments in this thread are so unimaginative and closed minded. Let's face it, El Grande looks boring.


Dude, just because someone disagrees with you on aesthetics doesn't make them close-minded or unimaginative. You're just insulting people and not providing any support for your argument.

While I'm sure something could be done to make El Grande look better to you, it does not cry out as needing help like some games:


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I stay in the middle.

Learning a new game takes effort. Even as a geek, the first time gaming playing a game, is a strain. The first few turns or half of the first game, I'm more busy with learning then tactics, strategy. Learning a game is an investment.

The problem with El Grande, is that it looks dry. When you look at it, it seems to ask: "Putting cubes on a map, how can this be fun?". The cards are also dry. So why should a new player invest time into it? Because it's a great game, it is. But they have to take your word for it.

Compare it to Colt Expres. Every part just oozes the rich western flavored theme. The games seems to say: "remember the fun you had playing Cowboy and Indian? This game lets you have this much fun because you can have a western style train robbery complete with brawling shooting and mayhem. Just play, it will be fun like in the old days". Yes, a rich theme that lures people in and almost lets them forget they are investing.

Colt Expres seduces people with a theme. The dryness of the El Grande look, seems to make it look like a geek only game: tough to learn, worse to master. A bit like chess. And the strange part: El Grande is easy to learn and not chess like hard to master.

I agree with Bryle that the game looks boring. Although I don't have the research to label it as fact, which I won't, I do think it is a valid, thought out opinion and a strong case can be made.

But I disagree with branding people that disagree for being "unimaginative and closed minded". Yeah, a very minor minority people might be but even then: make a better case. Show people you have thought it through present a case that makes sense. That will win people over. Or people have a strong case against your case. Then make a case against their case. Or if they have a better case: be a sport and say they are right. Perhaps you need to agree to disagree. But even then you have learned from the other side points and they may earned your respect since they thought things through.

In other words: let the discussion commence. So much better then branding the other side.
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DH Bok
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People! I AM unimaginative and closed minded! Stop denying that!
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orangeblood wrote:
Dude, just because someone disagrees with you on aesthetics doesn't make them close-minded or unimaginative. You're just insulting people and not providing any support for your argument.


Have you read some of the comments in this thread? There is a guy arguing that we should expect high quality art in a comic book or museum but not a board game. Another comment was basically repeating "no" 10 times. Finally, someone disrespectfully suggested that there was something wrong with the original poster's group and that he needed a new one.

The OP raised some excelent points and a lot of people shot him down with dismissive, elementary responses. My comment was fuelled in direct response to some of the unfair replies he recieved. I'd say that's providing plenty support for my argument.

I've yet to hear why this game can compete aesthetically with Scythe, Blood Rage, Inis, Kemet, etc. If you feel that I was wrong to accuse people of being unimaginative and closed minded, I ask you this... Before I posted, who actually crafted a well thought out response about why El Grande doesn't need a facelift?
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"in over twenty years of its existence"...

The game is 20 years old. The focus 20 years ago was not 'eye-candy' and KS deception but on pure gameplay. Even a potato-head knows that unless of course, you are in Junior High.

And, I don't think anyone said it can compete aesthetically with the games you mentioned, and I don't really care about that. But it sure is a fine example of what it is and is 'better than most', even without the eye-candy. I would not buy a glamoured up version of the game with 'cool' Caballeros or a 3d-printed Castillo or a redrawn, 3d-relief map so they can charge me up and extra $20. That would just be silly.

If you need that kind of flash for your games, good for you - go play Scythe or Blood Rage. Not everyone does.

2c, I want change.
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Florian Kalenda
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Ah, this thread makes me feel so old.

Because, you know, I like the El Grande graphics by Doris Matthäus still so much better than Scythe or Blood Rage. I don't like plastic minis. I don't care for rendered "3D" landscapes with lots of details. Believe it if you can, you youngsters.

Yes, it must have something to do with my age. I was young when El Grande came out.
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Pete Goch
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Yeah, call me a curmudgeon too but I don't really care for the design style that approximates a toddler eating a giant box of crayola crayons and barfing up the results all over a game board and pieces.
 
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Florik wrote:
Ah, this thread makes me feel so old.

Because, you know, I like the El Grande graphics by Doris Matthäus still so much better than Scythe or Blood Rage. I don't like plastic minis. I don't care for rendered "3D" landscapes with lots of details. Believe it if you can, you youngsters.

Yes, it must have something to do with my age. I was young when El Grande came out.
I wasn't young when El Grande came out. When I was young, most games were crap. Note that this was before MB's Gamemaster series, Catan or Heroquest. But we had fun and thought they were great. But since many modern games have raised the bar, I must conclude they were crap. I'm glad with these modern better games: wish I had them when I was young. Change and evolution are good.

Most of the old game I played have vanished. Only to be found in garage sales and inheritances. But not in any shops or reprint. The few ones that escaped that fate, managed to bind a younger audience. Gameplay wise, El Grande can easily become one of the survivors or even a evergreen. It is one of the games that is guilty of raising the bar. But the looks are so 1990 and not y2k proof. If El Grande wants to survive by attracting a younger player base, adapt or die applies.

Note that a style where someone barfed half digested, crayola crayons on the board is not what I mean (A style where someone hacked wooden pencils in blocks is also not what it needs) ;)
 
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slaapgraag wrote:
People! I AM unimaginative and closed minded! Stop denying that!
I'm not buying it. Since you live in the Netherlands, we may meet. There might even be a game of El Grande on the table and we may be going toe to toe.

When I buy your story, neglect you as an 'unimaginative and closed minded' player. That will give you an edge. Or I may recognize this attempt at reverse psychology and see you for the danger you truly are.
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Bryle wrote:
orangeblood wrote:
Dude, just because someone disagrees with you on aesthetics doesn't make them close-minded or unimaginative. You're just insulting people and not providing any support for your argument.


Have you read some of the comments in this thread? The OP raised some excelent points and a lot of people shot him down with dismissive, elementary responses.


Indeed I have. OP says it's dry and too yellow. Those are not excellent points, because I don't think it's dry at all nor too yellow. And my point stands about your response.


Quote:
I've yet to hear why this game can compete aesthetically with Scythe, Blood Rage, Inis, Kemet, etc. If you feel that I was wrong to accuse people of being unimaginative and closed minded, I ask you this... Before I posted, who actually crafted a well thought out response about why El Grande doesn't need a facelift?


I suppose they were waiting for a well-thought-out argument that it does need a facelift. The burden of proof is normally on the accuser.

Other than the "too yellow" remark, no one is saying why they think it's ugly. I love the yellow old-map feel and the colorful border lines. I like it better than Scythe, which to me looks like a mess. But that's just my opinion and if you like it better, I'm not going to call you close-minded.
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Flo P
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Ok, so I think it is time for me to jump back into the discussion, since I started this mess after all. I have to say that I was shocked to see the first few replies, in particular comments like this

JeffyJeff wrote:
as far as finding it hard to get to the table... sounds more like you need another set of gaming buds....


are usually just below what I would consider worth to even reply to. An attitude like that is essentially the conservative mind's mantra: Don't you dare change something such that it fits your needs, if you cannot find happiness within the status quo the flaw is within you. The same kind of logic is applied whenever someone points out a problem in society and wants to do something about it and he is just met with lazy defensive sentences like: "If you don't like it here, you can go somewhere else".

I also got the notion people didn't properly read my post, because I felt that I clearly outlined that the reason El Grande should get a facelift, is in order to appeal to new gamers so that it hits the table more often. The gameplay itself is sublime (once again: as I clearly stated in my original post, but I still had to repeat myself afterwards), but player count can be an issue - a point which was conveniently ignored by the nay-sayers.

But before I start to elaborate further on my original request, lets first shut down a troubling development I spotted in this thread:

No one here is demanding that El Grande becomes Scythe - or for that matter - a big KS campaign with superfluous stuff like minis.


This is simply a straw man argument put into place by the nay camp in order to undermine the whole discussion here. Guys, please stay objective and refrain from using cheap polemics like that. For what it's worth: I feel like Scythe's map is actually the other extreme, it favours art over functionality and is way to overloaded and can be hard to read at times.

With that out of the way, lets get back on topic:

I really cannot understand why there is such strong opposition to rejuvenating the game. This process happens all the time with board games nowadays. Apparently I must have missed the outrage when Through the Ages got its second edition or when Brass got a fresh coat of paint or when animeeples and veggiemeeples were introduced to Agricola. These are just a few examples out of many that happened over the last couple of years and they were all widely appreciated. These cases stayed true to the essence of the game and didn't introduce any plastic miniatures, so I think this clearly showcases that such a process can be done with respect to and understanding of the original core idea. Just have a look at the image section here to see what great proposals fans already came up with.

Its puzzling to me that people who already own and enjoy the game bring arguments like

markgravitygood wrote:
... map so they can charge me up and extra $20. That would just be silly.


to the table. If you are so afraid of a possibly higher price tag, well guess what: you already own the game. No one is pointing a gun to your head telling you to buy it again. But maybe there are others out there (which is exactly what I wanted to find out with this thread) that would actually be interested in an updated version.

Another poster here pointed out that there is potential for El Grande to be an evergreen - I actually couldn't have said it better myself. I am glad for everyone that still manages to get it regularly to the table, but looking at my own playgroup and even my gaming club I can see that it often gets passed on because of its dry appearance (among people who don't know it well) or its bad support for lower player counts (among people who know it, but are simply too few). I just feel that this is a huge missed opportunity for Hans im Glück as there really is no better area control game on the market right now. Failing to improve yourself while you have been at the top for a while is usally the start of an inevitable decline.
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