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Subject: Critique of Tom's review of Linwood rss

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J Holmes
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I have read a few of Tom Vasel's reviews and find them to be quite good. This is the first time I"ve seen one of his video reviews.

His video review can be found here http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/449739
It lasts roughly 7 minutes and is hosted on youtube.

To me it just seems like "The other kids picked on me" more than anything else. There were elements in the video that were either wrong or very haphazardly done as well such as using the wrong cards at times, moving the wrong token back to the centre, and laying down an extra tile at the end of the red player's turn. (This may be where the rules are slightly unclear, but reading them in order it states a tile is only played when a player moves into a new area and must be orientated such that a player can enter it.)

I would be very interested to know how many times Tom had played the game and against how many other players. I do agree that finding the forest first CAN give a player a powerful advantage but it isnt the be all and end all. The robber is restricted to the forest (cant use water tiles), and cant explore, players can usually find other paths to the element stones.
(Especially as element stone tiles have all paths on all 6 sides)

Tom also suggests that the optimal strategy would be to keep the robber by the forst element, you have to get the robber close to the forest element stone AND there be only one way to get to that stone, and by doing that you leave the start tile unprotected. For the Forest stone to be difficult to get another path to suggests that most the tiles have been used. Alternatively you may want to keep the robber near the start tile to stop someone from winning. Generally those options are not compatible.

My other problem with the review (Other than Tom getting more and more maniac because "someone" kept rolling 1s and getting picked on) is he implies that finding the Wood Stone ends the game. Because of the random nature of the game it is likely tunnels and other element stones will be found more often than the forest stone as the first stone, and players can build their strategy around that.

Additionally, using W's strategy of going in a long straight line only works if the player actually finds something.

Given this game is light, cheap, quick to set up, and quick to play I think Tom has been somewhat harsh in his views of this game. There are a number of strategies and ways of solving the problems that may come up in the game. I am happy to state there are a number of games where its clear that someone has actually won and the game can be called early, but other times it isnt nearly clear cut.


Editted to Clarify which Tom created the video review, and to link to that review.
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Eduard Navratil
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This should be posted into "General" section, as it is no review.
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Caleb Wynn
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Longshanx wrote:
This should be posted into "General" section, as it is no review.


My thoughts exactly.
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James Bentley
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I do NOT want to open a can of worms, but why is this a REVIEW of another person's REVIEW?

Does this mean someone's going to turn around and post a REVIEW of THIS review of a review?

I guess I'm missing something but I thought reviews were for the games being discussed here.
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Lance
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It may not be a review, but it was an interesting read.

I wonder who approved this in the GeekMod?
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Neil
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Um...I presume you mean TOM VASEL'S review, right?

 
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Jeremy Strope
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UndeadViking wrote:
It may not be a review, but it was an interesting read.

I wonder who approved this in the GeekMod?


I went back and forth on this one. I ended up declining it because it's not a review. It was a good enough read that I wanted to accept it, but it didn't belong in the reviews section.
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Corin A. Friesen
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Sidewynnder wrote:
Longshanx wrote:
This should be posted into "General" section, as it is no review.


My thoughts exactly.

Having a Kirk avatar, I would have expected you to say "...But why?"
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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i agree that this probably shouldn't be in the review section. but it's also not that interesting. Tom's primary points were all valid-

it's a roll-and-move game that does nothing to mitigate the Very Bad Things which stem from that, and instead multiplies the problems with random tile draw, and the benefits from finding the elements giving MORE power to the guy who got lucky with the tile draw to start with, creating a very very heavy tendency towards runaway leader. there may be a few decisions to make (and thus occasionally there will be an interesting game), but those will usually be hugely overshadowed by those other aspects.

saying he did things wrong, like revealing a tile when he reached a board edge, doesn't change the issues with the game. which is not to say you shouldn't continue to enjoy the game if you like it. but tom's review was pretty accurate about the problems.
 
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Железный комиссар
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This is a reply to Tom Vasel's review (at least that's my best guess), so it should be posted as reply in his review thread. It makes no sense for them to be in separate threads, particularly when this is a direct response that doesn't identify the original reviewer's full name.
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J Holmes
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Thank you for all the responses. My appologies if I did spell Tom's last name wrong (Obviously I was thinking about the Vassal game development system at the same time).

I do believe this belongs in reviews because if someone reads his review they then should be easily able to find a critique of that review. It would get buried or lost in his own thread, and could get lost if it was in General as well. If its in reviews then people can easily find it.

Keep in mind, Tom made atleast 3 gameplay mistakes in his demonstration during his video. 1 minor mistake is "acceptable", 2 is getting a bit sloppy, but 3 starts to be quite concerning because as said, his written reviews are very high quality, I would expect that same quality in a video review.

Consider if he was reviewing Agricola and said "Any time you have any 2 animals in a stable you can breed them and choose which animal you want as the child", "You get to choose if you want to start with 7 occupations or 7 minor improvements" and "You can only ever Bake Bread by choosing that action". You'd be a bit concerned too if you knew the proper rules and how they are implemented.

It also seems people are stuck on "Find 1 element stone and that person instantly wins!" again, this is wrong. Because the tiles are hexes (6 options rather than 4), because you choose their orientation and because you can choose to keep searching or chase after an element stone you still have a lot of choices. As I have also pointed out, there are a lot of strategic choices to be made if you control the robber, and as I suggest, Tom probably did get unlucky AND was targeted by other players from the sound of his review. Tom's review at one point suggests "Get the Robber, defend the wood stone!" but then he also says "Get the Robber, defend the start point and repeatedly steal stones from a player and ruin their fun!". The problem is, unless there is a very rare board, you cant do both.

If you read my session report "W wins without collecting an element stone" You'll see it was me and the GF making a possible strategic mistake with 14 tiles left NOT W finding the fire element as the first tile late in the game that led him to winning.

As said, I enjoy this game, its fun, its light, there are plenty of choices to be made, and if you dont win, its only a few moments to set up and play again.

And yes, I am working on a couple of variants as well.

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j_holmes wrote:
I do believe this belongs in reviews because if someone reads his review they then should be easily able to find a critique of that review. It would get buried or lost in his own thread, and could get lost if it was in General as well. If its in reviews then people can easily find it.


On the flipside, most people who come across your review will expect a self-contained review, because that's how you labeled it. I clicked on it and had no idea what you were talking about. I had to go back to the reviews forum, sort the reviews, see Tom Vasel's name, and assume that his review was the one in question. You don't use his full name at any point in the review. Your review does not include a link to his. To get anything out of your review, I now have to go watch his and then come back to this thread. Furthermore, unless Tom subscribes to this game and happens to stumble on your review, he has no way of knowing that you've replied to him. Even if he comes over to your thread and responds, all of the information will not be in one place. Currently the the responses to Tom's review are not even half-way to a second page, so I don't know how this could have been "buried" or "lost" had it been posted as a reply.

I appreciate that you want to be heard. I'm just trying to illustrate the potential for confusion here.
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J Holmes
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I think you are getting a little confused. This isnt a review of Linwood, but a critique of Tom Vasel's review as per the title. I have posted an entirely separate review of Linwood, titled "Straightforward Linwood review" http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/449739

As per your recommendation I have included Tom's last name and link to his review.

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Tom Vasel
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Whoohoo! I'm famous, I have a review of me!

Can you clarify my mistakes for me? Is it possible that I was just quickly setting up the game for purposes of the short review during the video. I don't understand what you are saying I did wrong.

But unless you find a MAJOR error, I will stand by my opinion that this is a horrible game.

And I wouldn't mind if you posted this under my review next time. Why not ask a moderator to move it?
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Gordon Adams
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Video review ? Where is that, please ?

Thanks.
 
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Gordon Adams
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Found it !

 
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J Holmes
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Thats the perplexing thing, I would have thought you were famous here, you write exceptionally good reviews and a lot of them.

The "MAJOR" mistake you made is roughly 1 minute enough, when you move the red pawn. At the end of shifting 4 units, you then reveal another tile on the edge where the red pawn finishes. As per my understanding of the rules, which read "You only place a tile when your pawn is about to move onto it" thats a reasonable sized mistake in game play. Following on from it would also change strategy reasonably as well.

The other 2 mistakes involve wrong cards, and then moving pawns somewhat haphazardly. While the rules booklet is rather small, I'm not sure there are any questions that can arise that are not already answered in it. I do agree examples might have been helpful.

Like I said, the written reviews are great, this video review did seem somewhat rushed.

As per my 1st session report on this game, and my comments in this critique and my own review, I just dont get the feeling you played this game more than 3 times, and probably not with more than 2 other players.

I summise from that that the wood stone came up early twice, and you unfortunately rolled 1s more than statisitically likely in the short run.

You even mention this in the first part of the review that "but thats ok, as it should balance out" however, later in the review when you are getting more hyped up, it seems clear you rolled a lot of 1s.

From other comments I know you do on occasion play "roll and move" games, but just seems you were expecting a lot more from this game
than was likely from the description of the game.

Keep in mind, even when 1 element stone is revealed, you still have strategic choices regarding if you take the current path to it, try to build a shorter path, or even head the other way to find tunnels and other element stones. Your decisions will be influenced by how many tunnels are out, and the distance you are from the found element stone and other factors.

I'd hope that after you read a few more session reports and see some of the strategic choices and situations that come up you will dust off Linwood another go (preferably with 4 players) and see what happens.

By then there will probably be 2 or 3 other variants up that suit you more as well.

Worst case scenario, you lose an hour of your time and were correct, best case scenario, you see the game in a better light and enjoy it.

Editted: Forgot to add I'm reasonably happy for this thread to stay where it is, rather than get moved or lost somewhere else.
 
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Tom Vasel
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j_holmes wrote:
The "MAJOR" mistake you made is roughly 1 minute enough, when you move the red pawn. At the end of shifting 4 units, you then reveal another tile on the edge where the red pawn finishes. As per my understanding of the rules, which read "You only place a tile when your pawn is about to move onto it" thats a reasonable sized mistake in game play. Following on from it would also change strategy reasonably as well.


OK, you're right. I actually know the correct rules and follow them - I did this (I think) just to keep the flow of the game moving for purposes of the video.

Quote:
The other 2 mistakes involve wrong cards, and then moving pawns somewhat haphazardly.


I'm not sure, but again, I think this was simply to keep the video moving.

Quote:
As per my 1st session report on this game, and my comments in this critique and my own review, I just dont get the feeling you played this game more than 3 times, and probably not with more than 2 other players.


That's correct, I played four times. Twice with two players, once with three, and once with four.


Quote:
I summise from that that the wood stone came up early twice, and you unfortunately rolled 1s more than statisitically likely in the short run.


That happened in one game, sure, but in another game I KILLED the other players with my luck. Just because the luck swings for or against me doesn't mean I like / don't like it.

Quote:
Keep in mind, even when 1 element stone is revealed, you still have strategic choices regarding if you take the current path to it, try to build a shorter path, or even head the other way to find tunnels and other element stones. Your decisions will be influenced by how many tunnels are out, and the distance you are from the found element stone and other factors.


This SOUNDS like it should happen, but actually - tunnels often come up in completely unhelpful areas - the card tiles are bunched in odd places - strategy is usually very obvious. And strategy means moot when you roll a pile of low numbers.

Quote:
I'd hope that after you read a few more session reports and see some of the strategic choices and situations that come up you will dust off Linwood another go (preferably with 4 players) and see what happens.

By then there will probably be 2 or 3 other variants up that suit you more as well.

Worst case scenario, you lose an hour of your time and were correct, best case scenario, you see the game in a better light and enjoy it.


Sadly, this won't/can't happen, as I've already given the game away to some students who I thought might enjoy it more than myself.
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J
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Moved to Linwood General Forum
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Andy Van Zandt
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I'm not sure how you can view the mild demonstrational changes as having ANY impact on perception of how the game actually plays- all core mechanics and stated flaws remain. The game could be changed to entirely match what he showed in the video, it would have no meaningful bearing on gameflow.

you're basically saying "oh, if you roll doubles 3 times in a row, you go to jail? THAT makes Monopoly an ENTIRELY different game now".
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Tom Vasel
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Jay, I ask nicely, do YOU know what you are talking about? The MINOR errors I put on the screen do not affect gameplay at all. They have now been pointed out in this "review". I challenge you to find anyone who would change their opinion on the game based on this.
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Peter Jones
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Tom, I think Jay's right. Now that I know that you don't place a new tile down if you can't move onto it well that makes all the difference in the world.

All my life I've been searching for a game where you can only place a new tile when you move onto that tile, but upon watching your review I saw that you place a new tile even after you had stopped moving. It was at that point I decided never to buy this game, but now that I know this isn't the...

I think you get my point. This is a ridiculous argument. You could quite clearly see that Tom was just giving a brief overview and not a detailed description of how the game works. Did you also notice that he tipped the tiles all across the table? I'm assuming that's not part of the official rules either.
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Peter Jones
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JDintheOC wrote:
As far as the Statement "Did you also notice that he tipped the tiles all across the table? I'm assuming that's not part of the official rules either." I doubt anyone in their right mind would consider that as being part of the rules.


My point exactly.
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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JDintheOC wrote:
It wasn't an argument, it was an observation (mine) which lead me to an incorrect conclusion.


what incorrect conclusion? because as i said before, all core gameplay and flaws remain. you could play the game as written, OR you could play it with the infinitesimally small changes from the video, and the core gameplay and flaws discussed would be present regardless. the "changes" were non-impacting.
 
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Andy Van Zandt
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i see. but your last reply, 3 hours prior, wasn't?
 
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