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A Most Dangerous Time: Japan in Chaos, 1570-1584» Forums » Reviews

Subject: A Most Disappointing Effort rss

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June Hwang Wah
Singapore
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I had really wanted to like this one. When I first broke it out, I marvelled at the quality of the components. Solid paper cards, and the pretty counters. I felt that the map could have been a little more colourful, with period icons for spaces, like the old AH Samurai, or Empires At Arms. But instead, you get geometric shapes with bars to represent the defence capability of the location.

The game mechanics look okay, but I have not really tested them out in real play. Some people have complained abouth the luck element in combat. Even between evenly matched opponents, there is a significant chance that in one round of combat, one side gets to shoot without getting shot at. But given the card-driven events system, this does not add too much to the chaos already inherent in the game.

It is good for a beer and pretzels game. However for a beer and pretzels game, there are significant errata and clarifications in the rules. For one, there are references to betrayal ratings for leaders to induce enemy or neutrals to switch sides. But in actual fact the rating presumably refers to diplomacy ratings. Then you have examples of play that are plain wrong. I am a regular of BGG, but I do not expect to login every time I buy a game and start downloading errata.

And what is it about the paintbrush shy thing for the character information cards? Surely some artist can come up with new pictures with a suitable period feel.

Like I said, I had high expectations for this game. The execution came up far short.shake
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Chris Severs
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So you say you hvent played it yet give it a disapointing review? I think ill disregard this review.
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Joel K
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grognard wrote:
The game mechanics look okay, but I have not really tested them out in real play.


Quote:
Like I said, I had high expectations for this game. The execution came up far short.shake


From the first quote, it's not immediately clear if you've played the game at all. Just solo? Against a real opponent? If so, how many times?

I'm all for negative reviews. But they tend to carry more weight when they're about your own substantive opinions of gameplay, not "some people's" views of the luck element, cursory opinions on art choices, etc. The points about the rules clarity, examples of play as written, and amount of errata seem fair enough, however.

On a positive note, this will probably be a pretty easy title to trade away if you determine you don't want to keep it.
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Darrell Hanning
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Frankly, I don't see this as even being a "review" - not even a bad review.

There isn't enough information, here, and the reviewer hasn't even played the game.

This is more like listening to my former mother-in-law criticizing furniture in a store. I didn't consider that a "review", either.
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Mick Mickelsen
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This should be a comment rather than a review. The geek moderators dropped the ball on this one.
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    Please spend the time to play a complete game and then let us know your thoughts. I appreciate that the aesthetics may not have been all you were hoping for, but my copy will be on the table, not in a frame over top of it.

             Sag.


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Sean Todd
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DarrellKH wrote:
Frankly, I don't see this as even being a "review" - not even a bad review.

There isn't enough information, here, and the reviewer hasn't even played the game.

This is more like listening to my former mother-in-law criticizing furniture in a store. I didn't consider that a "review", either.


If you have any quotes of your mother-in-law's furniture criticism, I'd look forward to hearing them. Might be fun.

Mother-in-law wrote:
Who would buy an orange couch?


On the other hand, a review of a game in which the reviewer likes the components, but not the gameplay for a game he hasn't tried...not so useful.
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Brian Workman
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*sigh*

It's "reviews" like this that make me wish we still had the "thumbs down" button.
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David G. Cox Esq.
Australia
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mickmick wrote:
The geek moderators dropped the ball on this one.


That's because you need no knowledge about anything to actually be a Geek Moderator.


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June Hwang Wah
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Sagrilarus wrote:

Please spend the time to play a complete game and then let us know your thoughts. I appreciate that the aesthetics may not have been all you were hoping for, but my copy will be on the table, not in a frame over top of it.

Sag.


I've been trying to set up a game. Still plan to. I have no problems with bucket of dice, being a fan of Titan and VITP. I picked up a stash of 10 MMP/Gamers titles, so lets see how that turns out.

I mentioned that I was disappointed with the _execution_ of the game. That means production, namely Asthetics and Rulebook. Given that MMP made the effort to produce the game on nice hardware (glossy rulebook, pretty cards), it is a pity that it fell short of those two counts.

I may still like the game after several plays. But not as much as I would have, if the "execution" was better.
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Wendell
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grognard wrote:
Sagrilarus wrote:

Please spend the time to play a complete game and then let us know your thoughts. I appreciate that the aesthetics may not have been all you were hoping for, but my copy will be on the table, not in a frame over top of it.

Sag.


I've been trying to set up a game. Still plan to. I have no problems with bucket of dice, being a fan of Titan and VITP. I picked up a stash of 10 MMP/Gamers titles, so lets see how that turns out.

I mentioned that I was disappointed with the _execution_ of the game. That means production, namely Asthetics and Rulebook. Given that MMP made the effort to produce the game on nice hardware (glossy rulebook, pretty cards), it is a pity that it fell short of those two counts.

I may still like the game after several plays. But not as much as I would have, if the "execution" was better.


Well then the nicest thing I can say about this is it was an INCOMPLETE review. Reviews should normally discuss game play as well. I don't think you have to have played a game 15 times to review it, especially not a longer game like AMDT. But at least ONCE would be nice.

Oh and I think somebody who started this expecting a "beer and pretzel" game would have his head explode. I haven't PLAYED this yet (bad timing with my move, etc ) but reading the rules it's clearly NOT that kind of game.
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Barton Campbell
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grognard wrote:
I am a regular of BGG, but I do not expect to login every time I buy a game and start downloading errata.


That's exactly what I do with all of my games, usually, long before I've actually purchased them. And if you don't you're not a hardcore game geek. But thanks anyway for your heads up on these problems but this game is definitiely on my wish list despite it's flaws. Why? I really don't care that much about misprints (though, I would rather not have them), for me it's all about GAME PLAY! Is it fun? Yes. Then I want it.
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Adam Parker
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Great game design makes the complex simple, replayability maximum, and abstraction credible.
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grognard wrote:
However for a beer and pretzels game, there are significant errata and clarifications in the rules. For one, there are references to betrayal ratings for leaders to induce enemy or neutrals to switch sides. But in actual fact the rating presumably refers to diplomacy ratings. Then you have examples of play that are plain wrong. I am a regular of BGG, but I do not expect to login every time I buy a game and start downloading errata.


This is exactly the type of information a review should provide. Thanks for the contribution Grognard. I guard my dollars closely too and I saw this game today in my local store. Your review has saved me from going out on an impulse tomorrow and buying it.

I have no problem with a review focusing on even a single aspect of a game, if it's important to that reviewer.
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Michael
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Adam Parker wrote:
grognard wrote:
However for a beer and pretzels game, there are significant errata and clarifications in the rules. For one, there are references to betrayal ratings for leaders to induce enemy or neutrals to switch sides. But in actual fact the rating presumably refers to diplomacy ratings. Then you have examples of play that are plain wrong. I am a regular of BGG, but I do not expect to login every time I buy a game and start downloading errata.


This is exactly the type of information a review should provide. Thanks for the contribution Grognard. I guard my dollars closely too and I saw this game today in my local store. Your review has saved me from going out on an impulse tomorrow and buying it.

I have no problem with a review focusing on even a single aspect of a game, if it's important to that reviewer.


You are missing out on a good game in that case. The few minor rule clarifications took me all of 15 seconds to writing into the rule book. No different from most wargames I have purchased and played over the years. But if you want beer and pretzels, this isn't the game for you away.
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June Hwang Wah
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Adam Parker wrote:
I have no problem with a review focusing on even a single aspect of a game, if it's important to that reviewer.


Thanks for your kind words, Adam. I called it as I saw it.

Having already bought the game, I still hope to get in a few games, after clearing my existing backlog of must-plays.
 
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Jay Sheely
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I love the 'look' of the game and am very content with what I got in my box. The colors and the 'classic' portraits of the various characters are very cool. I think it is a beautiful game.
 
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Shawn Woods
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Sorry, but in my opinion this review should be removed or it should be specified that it is a preview or component overview/review. Many people, myself included, probably came into your review to see why the game was a disappointing effort only to be met with a disappointing non-review.
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Lawrence Hung
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Hi June,

I hope that after two years since you wrote the review above, you finally got a chance to play this game on your table. Yes, I am quite sure you would like it, as my recent gaming experiences with AMDT show. You will find this game is as colourful as any kind of Akira Kurosawa's movies on the period.

The rules are easy to absorb actually, once you go through them the first time and then sandpushing the counters while reading the rules. There are many rules to like, as they continuously reveal cloely with the historical period. For example, the line of communication rules reduce the number of units a Daiymo can bring along the roads if the force is out of communication with its home castle. Very neat.

The mechanics and the systems in this game are very solidly made and composed to reflect the many special features pertaining to the warring states of Japan. The betrayal stuffs via negotiations or event cards are portraying so lively the many side-changing stories during the Unification War. Since negotiations always happen before combat, you can always try to talk the enemies over first before taking military actions. The chance is 1/6 under the normal circumstance looking for a dieroll of 6. And since the presence of Daimyo and Samurai always modify the dieroll, only the neutral unit or one that is besieged would it be defected. How simple but effective to relate the chance of a unit's defection to the level of pressure exerted by leadership and under siege.

The chits-pulled based activations of the Daiymos' factions drive the game, not the cards as you said in the above, during the Impulse Phase and when the "Turn End" chit is picked up, play would proceed to Turn End Phase for performing administrative stuffs like regroup, disband and illness checks. For those who are familiar with Richard Berg's (Waterloo, Battles for North Affrica) and Mark Walker's (World at War series) designs, you would feel right at home. Some may think the mechanic is luck-dependent, I think it is exciting. Plus, it gives different narratives every time you play!

This is the only game I have seen so far that can successfully integrate complex diplomatic situations, different clans, factions on the two main opposing alliances, with the common miliatary aspect of siege combat with castles and temples. There are plenty strategic decisions for the player to make during the game.

A minor quibble might be that since both sides can have 8 units in a single space, the space is absolutely too small to place 16 units in one place on the map. You can find the same in Russian Front, one of your favourite. Since you own AMTD, I hope you would love the game as much as I do. There is a lot to study in this game.
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June Hwang Wah
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I got in one FTF, and perhaps several solitare games. The last game has been some time back, so memory is a little hazy.

I liked the chitpull system. There is absolutely no guarantee that your troops will get to react to an enemy move, because your chits may not get drawn before the turn ends. The cards adds another level of uncertainty as your lords may turn against you in the midst of combat, or the opponent may get an additional bunch of dierolls because he had firearms.

The level of "chaos" in the game required a different frame of thinking for me, mainly to keep the big picture at the back of the mind, and focus on short term tactical aims. Actually it made for a fast and furious game.

One thing that came up in combat was the ability of some lords to persuade enemy combat units to defect. It seemed to be a tad powerful. The Oda had a bunch of these at the start, which led to a killer stack that was almost unstoppable. Perhaps some more play would come up with a strategy to overcome this. But so many games, and so little time. :-)

I have upgraded my opinion and rating of the game. Now that you have piqued my interest again, maybe it will hit the table again soon!
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Patrick Ries
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Hi,

I have now half a dozen games under my belt (all FtF) and could only conclude that i am disappointed. The chit pulling system is a drama, how often one or the other is just sitting there doing nothing is incredible. Die roll for movement adds to this feeling that not the best strategy wins, but the guy who is luckiest. This counts for combats too. A daimyo with a bravery of 2 (and i am not even speaking of Uesugi with a rating of 3) are very difficult to handle in a frontal battle, they always seem to get at least one turn of free lunch, which is nightmarish to handle. The number of times I threw 6-7 dice to kill the last man standing in a siege and not achieving it is very frustrating too.
With the guy not controlling Kyo getting a card draw if he takes control of a space, the card whoring possibilities are overwhelming.

All this to conclude, disappointed big time for a game setting ( unification of Japan) which I adore

Pat
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