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Blackout: Hong Kong» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Blackout: Hong Kong impressions after first play rss

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Tahsin Shamma
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hieronymus71 wrote:

Just played my first solo game. The theme is not superstrong, but it's there. A misconception may be that you are not trying to get the power back on, you are trying to keep the city from falling into complete chaos.

So each location on the board with a cube is a secured checkpoint or other important landmark. A secured district is when all adjacent locations are secured. That means thematically that there are enough people, resources, etcetera to keep everyone safe and fed in that district.

I conflated Scouting and Securing in a post earlier. Scouting is going into an unsecured area (Scout tiles are removed when a district is secured) to find stuff, based on "GPS" information. This is dangerous, so someone in your team gets hurt.

Overall, both mechanically and for points, the gist of the game is to build a team of volunteers who can help gather resources and/or convert resources into other things. Then, your team helps around the city (plan objectives), and whichever player's team is best at that (expressed in points), wins the game.

This. I'm not sure where the perspective that the game is themeless comes from. Just from reading the rules I got this exact impression of equating actual situations in a blackout and game mechanisms.
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Nick Buckby
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Big fan of Herr Pfister's work

To me this is a disguised Euro-Zombie game. In a good way.

Scour the city for resources. Using "scouting points and GPS" not "attack value and extra ammo". Find tools not guns. Glen never dies.
Secure more districts for your survivalist crew than the other survivalist crews do.

Works for me :-)

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Luke Hector
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A good read and I look forward to more plays of this game before it gets reviewed.

I would disagree however that the theme is "that well" integrated. It's there and certainly this isn't a bone-dry Euro, but it's a bit like Great Western Trail. You've got a setting, but other than that you don't really feel like you're a cowboy rustling up cattle. Here other than one bit on your player board being called "restore power" - where does the blackout theme come into player - other than making the board all black and rather boring to look at? I didn't think you could make something look more basic than the Pandemic board but it's achieved. Also why does one guy get injured every single time you scout? No chance that they all come back unscathed?

Also component quality varies. Tokens and board are fine, though I noticed some wear already. But those cards are horrible quality. Flimsy and black bordered = painful wear and tear unless you sleeve them, adding another lord knows what money to the cost of the game.

Mechanics are pretty cool so far though, the card play is fun, scouting is OK, I like how the dice influence your choices each round and it is very much a point salad style game, just need more plays now - so far it's neat, but nothing innovative or new (especially as people are comparing it to Mombasa which I won't touch with a barge pole) so I do wonder whether the mass Essen hype train this year was purely based on a designer name alone. I remember asking many people psyched about it what their thoughts were and the majority hadn't even seen or tried it yet. Call me picky, but I like to try a game first before jumping on the train even if it means getting to my destination a little late.
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David desJardins
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farmergiles wrote:
I would disagree however that the theme is "that well" integrated. It's there and certainly this isn't a bone-dry Euro, but it's a bit like Great Western Trail. You've got a setting, but other than that you don't really feel like you're a cowboy rustling up cattle.

How well the theme is integrated is a different question than how much the game feels like a simulation. A game can be highly thematic and yet the mechanisms are completely unrealistic. Two different things.
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Luke Hector
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Well however you view "theme" in a game, I'd be hard pressed to say Blackout so far feels like a thematic game. The only connection to Hong Kong even is that you're using HK dollars.

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marne
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farmergiles wrote:
Well however you view "theme" in a game, I'd be hard pressed to say Blackout so far feels like a thematic game. The only connection to Hong Kong even is that you're using HK dollars.

I haven't played, so not arguing either way, but I believe Mr. Pfister has said in an interview that the publisher added Hong Kong as a setting and he just made a game about a big blackout. So not feeling the Hong Kong connection makes sense.
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Guy De Coninck
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As Hong Kong is one of the most illuminated cities in the world, they probably choose it just for that reason. The City is just to have a setting, they could've said it would be Paris, New York or Las Vegas instead.

I like the theme, now still have to play the game. My copy lies here, smiling at me!
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Stephen Biggs
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Smoothsmith wrote:
How significant are the area control elements? It's my least favourite mechanism but I'm so, so tempted to get this anyway ^^.
You can't block other players from an area. If they want to scout the area they can, whatever you do choose to do. What the controlling player gets is a higher score for the area and to place the "house" in that area.
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Jonathan Nagy
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hieronymus71 wrote:

I'm curious, to those who don't feel the theme, how they view games like say Gentes or Terra Mystica?

The theme of Gentes is a bit opaque. Generally, it's civilization building - there's a limited number of things you can do, and if you do the same thing (meaning take the same action) as other people it costs more due to supply/demand. The card mechanic and set collection is difficult to string a theme together. I view it as 'needing to curate a certain level of diversity in the civilization'. However, the types of buildings the cards are irrelevant, people only look to match symbols / colors.

Anyway, I don't play games primarily for the theme. With Gentes I play it for the unique 'reverse worker placement' mechanic. The lack of strong theme is made up for by the "wow I've not played a game like this before" experience. I look past the fact that you can "build a house here and get a priest", then you can "take some priests and change someone's career" because I'm concentrating on other things.

Blackout has some really interesting choices to make, but my main focal point is 'what does a GPS token mean?'
 
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William Shields
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tilikumc wrote:

- clear iconography

Sorry, speaking as someone who has bad vision, I have to respectfully disagree. I've made numerous errors with the red/purple locations on the map and misinterpreting the supply run token icons (water and gasoline IIRC are the worst).

I compare this to GWT, which has probably the best iconography of any game I can recall.
 
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Garfield Cat
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hieronymus71 wrote:

Well, for me the link between mechanisms and theme is pretty clear, just from reading the rules. Scouting is going into darkened places to get resources to fulfill objectives, which are named, and going into darkened places leads to injuries.

Getting volunteer objectives is adding volunteers to your team, once you provide them with resources, which grows your team. Placing cubes and houses is securing districts.

I'm curious, to those who don't feel the theme, how they view games like say Gentes or Terra Mystica?

Collecting resources makes sense. But securing areas? Why should I do that as a normal person? I expected something like 'turn on the lights again'. But for me it seems like it's all about fullfilling the objectives to get the points on the cards.

And because everyone plays simultaneously it feels like multiplayer solitaire. And if you don't, the game would last over 3hrs I guess...

 
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Garfield Cat
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hagin wrote:
tilikumc wrote:

- clear iconography

Sorry, speaking as someone who has bad vision, I have to respectfully disagree. I've made numerous errors with the red/purple locations on the map and misinterpreting the supply run token icons (water and gasoline IIRC are the worst).

I compare this to GWT, which has probably the best iconography of any game I can recall.

And the icons on the dice suck as well :/
 
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