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Jonathan Franklin
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I had the great fortune to play the game with Phil Reed (Steve Jackson Games) at PAX in Seattle. The game is not typical SJG fare. It has no luck, but lots of blind bidding.

It was one of the top three games on my list (along with Battlestar Galactica and A Touch of Evil) to play there.

The rules are already online, so I won't rehash those in detail.

The game is a series of blind bidding rounds. Each one is for 12 actions. Through those bids, you get combinations of three things, the ability to place cubes for area majorities, the right to instant victory points ('support') on the track surrounding the board, and chips for the next round. The chips you won in the previous round are used for the next round of blind bidding.

The game definitely has strategy. Our game with four players had bunched scores with Phil blowing us away. Interestingly, the way he did it is worth commenting on.

The amount of support that can be earned in a round is between 0 and 10. The more support you earn, the worse your chips and placement options, so going for 10 support is nice, but not a great forward looking move. At the same time, the values of the area majorities ranged from 20 to 50 support points.

These do not lock as they are filled, but instead all lock only at the end of the game. This means that the key to the game is being in a position to control the final few cube moves.

Since once an area is full, you do not place your blocks in it, the only two ways to influence a full area are to use the spy and the apothecary. The spy lets you kill someone else's block and place yours there. The apothecary lets you swap blocks with between two areas. The key to their power is that ties are BAD. In a tie in blind bidding, neither party gets anything. In a tie for majority, no one gets anything. Thus, if a player can solidify majority in two areas, they can then go about breaking down other majorities by forcing their opponents into ties.

The game lasted 30-45 minutes, even with newbies, including about 12 rounds of blind bidding on 12 actions on your playmat. It felt a bit like basketball to me in that the game is played for 11 rounds, but then appeared to be won or lost on the results of the 12th, especially the winner of the spy and apothecary. The reason this is so powerful is because most areas have 7-12 spaces in them. With four players, it ranged from two to four cubes for each player in a contested area. A swing on one, up or down is killer because there is almost always a way to create a tie between two opponents, causing the area not to score at all.

Tip: having an uncontested majority in a district is too great a power. You must fall on your sword and stop others from doing this or beat up on the perceived leader in other ways (protect each other's majorities rather than fighting amongst yourselves).

Phil suggested that some of their games have negotiation (I'll take square 1 of you take square 2), so the spoils are divided without the leaders fighting over them. I'll leave it to you to consider if that is a way you would like to play or not.

It should arrive in early '09
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I was interested until I saw the ratings. None of my geekbuddies have rated the game, so I took a look at the general ratings - easy to do since only 20 people have rated the game.

The designer gave it a 10 (OK with me; I don't want to open that can of worms again). A guy with an 'unusual' rating pattern also gave it a 10 (he's given out twenty-nine 10s, three 1s, and nothing in between).

But there are 5 other people who have given it 10s, who follow a disturbing similar pattern. Every single one of them registered in the last few days of February, gave a 10 rating to Revolution, and have never been seen since. None of them rated any other games whatsoever.

There's also a 6th user who registered then, rated only this game, and disappeared like the others, but that user gave it a 9. Tough grader!

Anyhow, stacking the ratings this way is not a good way to generate buzz for a new game. There is no way in the world that these half dozen shills all came up with the idea to register, give a 10 to Revolution and disappear. Whoever put them up to it should be ashamed.
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David Miller
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Quote:
There is no way in the world that these half dozen shills all came up with the idea to register, give a 10 to Revolution and disappear. Whoever put them up to it should be ashamed.


Alternatively, not everyone who's inspired to show up and rate a game that they love will be committed to BGG as a community.

Another thing to consider is that this game was being self-published for some time but will soon be published by Steve Jackson Games. There are some significant differences between the two versions. So perhaps older ratings, whether high or low, are not the best indicator.
 
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robul wrote:
Alternatively, not everyone who's inspired to show up and rate a game that they love will be committed to BGG as a community.


I can see that you are an actual gamer, robul, and I have no doubt that you think the game deserves the 9 you gave it. But I have a hard time believing you are naive enough to not see anything fishy in those ratings.

The game may actually be good, but I won't buy it because I don't want to support such an underhanded attempt to stack the ratings. My guess is that the designer was involved, since one of the shill raters shares the same last name. If he wasn't involved, it's his misfortune to be associated with the instigator, whoever that was.
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grandslam wrote:
I had the great fortune to play the game with Phil Reed (Steve Jackson Games) at PAX in Seattle. The game is not typical SJG fare. It has no luck, but lots of blind bidding.


Thanks for stopping by to play and for taking the time to post a review. While the game is different from the normal SJGames-style game, it does keep that feeling of "I'll punch you in the face!" nastiness that you get in some games of Illuminati.


grandslam wrote:
The game definitely has strategy. Our game with four players had bunched scores with Phil blowing us away. Interestingly, the way he did it is worth commenting on.


The two areas I won -- the Cathedral and the Plantation -- are spaces that earn very little in the way of currency but earn high support (score). In most games, I've noticed that people fight over the top and bottom rows but often neglect the middle row until late in the game, so I personally try to stick to the middle row for as much of the game as possible. With experienced players, this usually only works for a few rounds before someone steps in and starts fighting me for the middle row. That middle row can be valuable, because winning the Priest, Aristocrat, and Printer every round is 21 points each round. Of course, most people fight for the printer at least a few times during the game so that space is a lot harder to win turn after turn than the other two are.

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Sphere wrote:
I was interested until I saw the ratings. None of my geekbuddies have rated the game, so I took a look at the general ratings - easy to do since only 20 people have rated the game.


I understand your concern, but I'd like to point out that we (in the office) enjoyed the game enough to contact the designer and contract with him to publish it. Also, the game currently rated was sold by the designer so the people who own it at this time bought it from -- and likely know -- the designer. I know I bought my initial copy based on posts here at BGG.

I hope you'll give the game a chance once the SJGames version hits shelves.

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Philip duBarry
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Next time I try to design and sell a game, I'll be sure to discourage my friends and initial customers from rating it. Or maybe just limit them to 6.5 or lower... I could even put it on the box: WARNING - DO NOT RATE THIS GAME A 10 ON BGG!
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Richard Berg
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Shilling is an art . . .and, as Oscar Wilde said,

"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about."

Given that, the ratings process here on BGG has more holes than a moth-eaten piece of Swiss cheese. Much cum grano salis . . . .


RHB
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pdubarry wrote:
Next time I try to design and sell a game, I'll be sure to discourage my friends and initial customers from rating it. Or maybe just limit them to 6.5 or lower... I could even put it on the box: WARNING - DO NOT RATE THIS GAME A 10 ON BGG!


Nobody suggested any such thing. If your friends were members of BGG, and rated other games, nobody would have raised an eyebrow.

Or if you had said "being gamers, you guys would probably be interested in this cool website" and directed them here, some might have joined. Out of that group, some might decide to rate the games they had played, including yours. Either way, we could learn something about their tastes from their other ratings, and put their enthusiasm for Revolution! in context.

But if you said "you guys could really help me out by going to this website and giving my game a high rating", I would expect to see exactly what we've got here: half a dozen drive-by 10s.

Other designers have tried this method to pump up the ratings for their games, the most famous being the guy known as Shill King. It has never turned out well.
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Brett Myers
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Sphere wrote:
I was interested until I saw the ratings. None of my geekbuddies have rated the game, so I took a look at the general ratings - easy to do since only 20 people have rated the game.

The designer gave it a 10 (OK with me; I don't want to open that can of worms again). A guy with an 'unusual' rating pattern also gave it a 10 (he's given out twenty-nine 10s, three 1s, and nothing in between).

But there are 5 other people who have given it 10s, who follow a disturbing similar pattern. Every single one of them registered in the last few days of February, gave a 10 rating to Revolution, and have never been seen since. None of them rated any other games whatsoever.

There's also a 6th user who registered then, rated only this game, and disappeared like the others, but that user gave it a 9. Tough grader!

Anyhow, stacking the ratings this way is not a good way to generate buzz for a new game. There is no way in the world that these half dozen shills all came up with the idea to register, give a 10 to Revolution and disappear. Whoever put them up to it should be ashamed.



I'll be sure to have my first published game shilled by all my friends to keep it out of the hands of the paranoid hall monitors. I don't think I'd like to be seen with their crowd.
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disclamer wrote:
I'll be sure to have my first published game shilled by all my friends to keep it out of the hands of the paranoid hall monitors.


That's a wonderfully efficient use of language, Brett. You've managed to endorse the practise of shilling, demonstrate that you have no idea what paranoia means, and brand me with an insulting name, all in one short sentence. Well done!
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Sphere wrote:
disclamer wrote:
I'll be sure to have my first published game shilled by all my friends to keep it out of the hands of the paranoid hall monitors.


That's a wonderfully efficient use of language, Brett. You've managed to endorse the practise of shilling, demonstrate that you have no idea what paranoia means, and brand me with an insulting name, all in one short sentence. Well done!




I'm not convinced there's any shilling going on, other than an amateur designer's friends/family giving his game a favorable rating.

I know exactly what paranoia means. I think finding "disturbing" patterns in someone's ratings might qualify someone as paranoid. I think making accusations based on nothing more than delusional inferences of the motivations of persons one doesn't even know might qualify someone as paranoid.

Was it the 'paranoid' or the 'hall monitor' that you found insulting? Let me know if either of those are inaccurate and I'll retract the statement.

I think you owe the designer an apology for your harmful accusations.
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disclamer wrote:
I'm not convinced there's any shilling going on, other than an amateur designer's friends/family giving his game a favorable rating.


I never suggested that it was any other sort of shilling, Brett.

disclamer wrote:
I know exactly what paranoia means.


Then you are aware that it refers to baseless suspicions. I carefully documented the basis for mine.

disclamer wrote:
Was it the 'paranoid' or the 'hall monitor' that you found insulting? Let me know if either of those are inaccurate and I'll retract the statement.


Sounds like you'd like to go another round, but I wouldn't give any more weight to your retraction than I did to your name calling so let's just leave it.

disclamer wrote:

I think you owe the designer an apology for your harmful accusations.


I disagree. I noted in my earlier post that if the designer wasn't behind the shill ratings, it was his misfortune to be associated with the instigator. I'll stand by that.

I'm not the sort who gives '1' ratings to counter shill ratings, or follows the designer around and brings something like this up repeatedly in multiple threads. I'm entirely willing to let this thread recede quietly beneath the waters whenever you are.
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Brett Myers
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Sphere wrote:
disclamer wrote:
I'm not convinced there's any shilling going on, other than an amateur designer's friends/family giving his game a favorable rating.


I never suggested that it was any other sort of shilling, Brett.


Yes you did.

Sphere wrote:
There is no way in the world that these half dozen shills all came up with the idea to register, give a 10 to Revolution and disappear. Whoever put them up to it should be ashamed.


I did not mean to imply that giving a favorable rating, in itself, was shilling. It is, in fact, not. Shilling implies dishonesty. There is no evidence of anything dishonest, unless we are to believe that every person who doesn't log in regularly and follow some arbitrary rating pattern is a swindler and a cheat?

Sphere wrote:
disclamer wrote:
I know exactly what paranoia means.


Then you are aware that it refers to baseless suspicions. I carefully documented the basis for mine.


It was paranoia that led you to check the profiles of half a dozen users in the first place. You saw that a game with few ratings had several 10s and decided that those could not possibly accurately reflect the honest opinions of independent users and so you found "evidence" to support your paranoid theory. You saw a few 10s and were immediately suspicious, then you looked for justification for your suspicion. No big surprise that you found some.


Sphere wrote:
I noted in my earlier post that if the designer wasn't behind the shill ratings, it was his misfortune to be associated with the instigator. I'll stand by that.


You're perfectly happy to stick with your paranoid accusations and guilt-by-association, that's nice. People like you make this a much better place.
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disclamer wrote:
It was paranoia that led you to check the profiles of half a dozen users in the first place. You saw that a game with few ratings had several 10s and decided that those could not possibly accurately reflect the honest opinions of independent users and so you found "evidence" to support your paranoid theory.


I'll ignore the rest of your crap, but let's set the record straight here. I looked at the profiles of the people who gave it 10s in order to see what other games they rated highly. To get a feel for their tastes so I could put those ratings in context. That's how I noticed that none of them had ever rated anything else.

The thing is, a 10 from an Advanced Squad Leader fan doesn't mean the same thing as a 10 from a Munchkin fan. I don't think that bogus ratings can be fixed, or controlled. But I do believe that when the cumulative ratings are wildly distorted by ballot stuffing, that can be legitimately pointed out.

You are having some sort of emotional meltdown because I noted that more than a quarter of the current ratings were given by people who came here with the apparent sole purpose of inflating this game's ratings.

It really isn't their problem - those folks came and went on that day in February, and were never seen again. But I am a member here, who adds content regularly and contributes money annually. If I see something that I think is wrong, I'll say so. Whether you approve or not.
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Sphere wrote:
let's set the record straight here. I looked at the profiles of the people who gave it 10s in order to see what other games they rated highly. To get a feel for their tastes so I could put those ratings in context. That's how I noticed that none of them had ever rated anything else.


Wow, that is the biggest load of crap I've read in some time. I guess it's too bad Philip's friends are unlikely to have the opportunity (or inclination by this point) to set the record straight themselves.

Sphere wrote:
You are having some sort of emotional meltdown because I pointed out that more than a quarter of the current ratings were given by people who came here with the apparent sole purpose of inflating those ratings.


No meltdown here, George. Just fighting for a little justice. Your accusations are based on nothing more than your own suspicious nature. I see no reason to believe that this is anything more than the designers friends saying, "Hey, I really like your game. You did a good job." To infer some sort of ulterior motive behind them is laughable and childish and to make public accusations of wrongdoing is irresponsible.
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disclamer wrote:
To infer some sort of ulterior motive behind them is laughable and childish and to make public accusations of wrongdoing is irresponsible.


Try to follow along, Brett. It isn't the motive of the drive-by raters that is in question. It is the motive of the person who directed them to a boardgame site which they obviously didn't know of or care about.

The person that sent them here must have thought the ratings were important. And that person didn't want to let nature take it's course and wait for bgg members to rate the game when they played it; they wanted instead to artificially boost the intitial ratings, in hopes of drawing attention.

And here we are, giving those ratings attention!

By the way, Brett, I notice that you have over 200 geekbuddies, yet not a single one of the half dozen drive-by raters that you think so highly of is included. Why is that?

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Forgot to ask - why isn't Mouse Chaos in your collection?
 
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Sphere wrote:
disclamer wrote:
To infer some sort of ulterior motive behind them is laughable and childish and to make public accusations of wrongdoing is irresponsible.


Try to follow along, Brett. It isn't the motive of the drive-by raters that is in question. It is the motive of the person who directed them to a boardgame site which they obviously didn't know of or care about.

The person that sent them here must have thought the ratings were important. And that person didn't want to let nature take it's course and wait for bgg members to rate the game when they played it; they wanted instead to artificially boost the intitial ratings, in hopes of drawing attention.


Gosh, you win. It's completely obvious to me now. These people cannot have possibly liked this game because they didn't know anything about boardagamegeek.com! They registered to become false bgg members at the direction of the evil game designer, in a shameless bid to lie to the 'real' bgg members. They never liked this game at all, and now they've been exposed, thanks to you, real bgg member-man.



Sphere wrote:
By the way, Brett, I notice that you have over 200 geekbuddies, yet not a single one of the half dozen drive-by raters that you think so highly of is included. Why is that?


Same reason you aren't there. I did not find their contributions useful.
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disclamer wrote:
They registered to become false bgg members at the direction of the evil game designer, in a shameless bid to lie to the 'real' bgg members.


Even through the twisted language, this is close to the the truth. BGG members are game enthusiasts, and we are always on the lookout for good new games. High ratings from our peers stimulates that process.

disclamer wrote:
They never liked this game at all


Either your comprehension is abysmal or you simply prefer to make things up and attack them rather than deal with what I've actually said. Given your penchant for name calling, I suspect the latter.
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Sphere wrote:
Either your comprehension is abysmal or you simply prefer to make things up and attack them rather than deal with what I've actually said. Given your penchant for name calling, I suspect the latter.


My comprehension is just fine, George. You refuse to acknowledge the obvious error in your argument. Honest ratings or not, you have damned them simply because they did not choose to participate further in the bgg community (as welcoming to newcomers as it is...).

Re-read your first post. You list some facts and then you make an assumption based on your interpretation of those facts. Then you make an accusation based on your assumption, not the facts, which may be (and likely is) entirely spurious.

And you honestly stand by that? What, just so you can say, "A-ha! I told you so!" somewhere down the road?
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disclamer wrote:
Sphere wrote:
Either your comprehension is abysmal or you simply prefer to make things up and attack them rather than deal with what I've actually said. Given your penchant for name calling, I suspect the latter.


My comprehension is just fine, George.


So you were just making stuff up.

disclamer wrote:
You refuse to acknowledge the obvious error in your argument.


If I thought there were an error, obvious or not, I would acknowledge it.

disclamer wrote:
Honest ratings or not, you have damned them simply because they did not choose to participate further in the bgg community (as welcoming to newcomers as it is...).


They aren't 'newcomers', Brett. A newcomer would actually be here. These are people who were solicited to register their votes here, which they did. The rating for this game is at present seriously distorted as a consequence.

I have nothing against those people, who were just doing a friend a favor. But I think it's worth pointing out that the rating for Revolution! is skewed in comparison with those of other games, which don't benefit by having 25% of their ratings posted by drive-by enthusiasts.

I'm not on a crusade here. The thread had lain dormant for 5 days until you showed up and started calling me names. I'll answer your personal attacks and distortions as long as you keep trotting them out. Or I'll happily let the thread die whenever you're finished.
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On second thought, other people shouldn't have to wade through any more of this crap. Say whatever you like, Brett - I'm done.
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Sphere wrote:
On second thought, other people shouldn't have to wade through any more of this crap. Say whatever you like, Brett - I'm done.



Good for you George. You get to come in here and piss all over someone's hard work and not have to answer for it. Bravo!


Sphere wrote:
I think it's worth pointing out that the rating for Revolution! is skewed in comparison with those of other games, which don't benefit by having 25% of their ratings posted by drive-by enthusiasts.



Perhaps if you'd stopped there, with the facts, this thread would have died 5 days ago.
 
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To sum this ratings-thing up for me:

- Yes, I am intersted in the game - seems quite short, but tricky enough.

- No, the ratings not given by regular users but "only somebody" (as for many other games with designers having a lot of friends ...) do not influence my opinion of the game or the designers or the people who gave these ratings. All fine.

Peace!
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