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Subject: Why are there no Crawlers or Adventure(ish) type games in the top 50? rss

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Marlin Back
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As an avid dungeon crawler, adventure game, sci-fi, type of guy I was curious as to what BGGers thoughts were on this. As popular as these games seem to be there are virtually none in the top 50. Aside from Space Hulk, they don't even seem to get the same fanfare or attention as the higher ranked games. Is this type of game really a niche market? Perhaps a sign of the times, in that games such as Titan, Tomb, Runebound, Talisman, DungeonQuest, etc all have their ardent fans, but are mainly appreciated by old school gamers who grew up with them? You also see the postings where people are psyched about new crawlers coming out, but then the excitement fades and the games never seem to even hint at cracking the top 50 let alone the top 20 or top 10. Is it simply that these types of games have been pushed to their limits? Can there be nothing new and exciting added to this genre that would have mass appeal? Like many others I await the holy grail of my kind and in the meantime rely on my old favorites (Ogre, Runebound, etc) to get me through. Not that I don't enjoy them, it just seemed curious that such a popular genre would not see the success one would imagine. Your input is encouraged and appreciated as always. Good gaming.
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The most apparent explanation would be because the majority of gamers here don't like them as much as euro games. The rankings are a popularity contest, after all. So it must be that the people who rate games on this site tend to prefer euro games.

Personally, I like the kinds of games you listed too.

In case you don't know this site:
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Brian M
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It may also have something to do with their being a very limited selection of adventure style games in print, most of which suck pretty badly.
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Bartow Riggs
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StormKnight wrote:
It may also have something to do with their being a very limited selection of adventure style games in print, most of which suck pretty badly.


And that this site tilts heavily towards Euros. That is improving but is still the case.
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StormKnight wrote:
It may also have something to do with their being a very limited selection of adventure style games in print...

Holy Hannah, you must be joking. There's this one big gorilla on the play ground (Descent: Journeys in the Dark), but even still, there's gotta be over a dozen different crawlers out. Not to mention the Print & Play crowd!

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...most of which suck pretty badly.

But this is pretty much true - with maybe an exception or two. My guilty pleasure is Tomb. You have to be in the right mind set to enjoy it - that "I don't care what happen next, just let me add up all my bonuses and sling a fist of dice" sorta vibe.
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These games don't mean the requirements for a top BGG game.

A top game needs to contain as many of these characteristics as possible:

1. The use of Latin in the title or on the components, even if its used incorrectly and/or makes no sense.

2. Abstract wooden pieces that don't look anything like what they are supposed to represent. For some reason, wooden pieces are viewed as more aesthetically pleasing or elegant, even if they make no sense given the theme of the game.

3. Speaking of theme, this should just be pasted on. As long as the game involves moving cubes around "elegantly", its destined for top 50 glory.

4. Trading, commerce, and auctions are always more interesting than giant robots, dragons, trolls, and spaceships.

5. There should be no player interaction! Everybody knows the best games are those in which you only need to pay attention on your turn.

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Zaphod wrote:
These games don't mean the requirements for a top BGG game.

A top game needs to contain as many of these characteristics as possible:

1. The use of Latin in the title or on the components, even if its used incorrectly and/or makes no sense.

2. Abstract wooden pieces that don't look anything like what they are supposed to represent. For some reason, wooden pieces are viewed as more aesthetically pleasing or elegant, even if they make no sense given the theme of the game.

3. Speaking of theme, this should just be pasted on. As long as the game involves moving cubes around "elegantly", its destined for top 50 glory.

4. Trading, commerce, and auctions are always more interesting than giant robots, dragons, trolls, and spaceships.

5. There should be no player interaction! Everybody knows the best games are those in which you only need to pay attention on your turn.

:ninja:

He he.
:thumbsup:

Of course this is a stereotype, though. There are lots of interactive games in the top 50, and even some Ameritrash, like War of the Ring and Battlelore. Descent used to be near the top of the rankings too.
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kevin long
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There hasn't been any innovation in this area since the 70's Thats 3,000 years ago in board game age
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Steve Bauer
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BGG lists War of the Ring and Arkham Horror as adventure games.

Dungeon Lords and Descent: Journeys in the Dark sit just outside.

I am sure part of it is Eurobias of BGG but I always thought at least part of it is that if you give a group of players who say mechanic is what is most important and ask them to rate a group of games you will get general agreement. If you do the same exercise with people who say theme is the most important you will get no agreement at all.
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Richard Irving
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Because they SUCK!!!!!!

Not compared to other non-dungeon crawl board games. But to full fledged RPG's which provide a richer experience. Duingeon Crawl boardhgames are watered down to the point of dullness in too many cases.

The second reason, the Bayesian system requires 1000's of ratings for any game to sniff the top slots. No dungeon crawl gets that many votes.
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Philip Thomas
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As I have said elsewhere, when it comes to dungeon crawling, give me a full-blown RPG. The theme just doesn't work for me at the board game/card game level.

That said, Space Hullk got pretty close to the top.
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Um, all I can say is that they're not my cup of tea and so I haven't even rated any. blush
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Tim Stellmach
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adamw wrote:
StormKnight wrote:
It may also have something to do with their being a very limited selection of adventure style games in print...

Holy Hannah, you must be joking. There's this one big gorilla on the play ground (Descent: Journeys in the Dark), but even still, there's gotta be over a dozen different crawlers out.

A dozen is not all that many, when pretty much the Top 1000 or more are all pretty decent games.
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David desJardins
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marlinus64 wrote:
Is it simply that these types of games have been pushed to their limits? Can there be nothing new and exciting added to this genre that would have mass appeal?


There's no evidence that good games of this sort can't be designed. All that we know is that they aren't being designed.

The most serious attempt in recent years is Runebound (Second Edition). And it's got some decent ideas, but, overall, is pretty badly flawed.

Sometimes the existence of a flawed game can make it more difficult to produce better games in that genre, because what exists affects people's expectations and also provides competition especially in terms of production quality. It doesn't help that this kind of game seems to be inherently both expensive to make and fiddly and time-consuming to play.
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Will
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Philip Thomas wrote:
That said, Space Hullk got pretty close to the top.

Yeah, I think it was #7 before GW shot themselves in the foot. Now its 180
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Eric Jome
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It is my theory that the term "dungeon crawl" comes from the term "pub crawl". What is a pub crawl really? Well, you go from pub to pub, having drinks. Because having drinks is what you do at a pub.

And what do you do in a dungeon? Kill things and take their loot. So, a dungeon crawl is going room to room, killing monsters and stacking up treasures.

Exciting, isn't it? (That's sarcasm.)

That's why none are in the top 50. Highly ranked games around here are self-contained exercises in real strategic variables. Not killing things and taking their loot. People can continue to have the fantasy that the website is some giant conspiracy against their niche tastes and that their personal preferences are what everyone secretly really likes, but the Conspiracy keeps them down. I wouldn't want to deny them that with a cold hard dose of reality.
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David desJardins
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cosine wrote:
Highly ranked games around here are self-contained exercises in real strategic variables. Not killing things and taking their loot.


This doesn't make any sense. What is the theoretical argument that there can't be "strategic variables" in fighting monsters and collecting and using their loot? You're telling me that plowing fields and growing vegetables can be strategic, but fighting monsters can't??
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Steve Bauer
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I would agree with David, there is no reason a dungeon crawl could not be just as strategic as any other game theme. Dungeon Lords, sort of a dungeon crawl from the monsters point of view seemed deep to me in the one play I have. It could have easily been done as a more standard dungeon crawl with the players playing the parts of the heros.

I don't know if a more strategic game is what the typical audience for a dungeon crawl is looking for. As has already been mentioned for really complex adventure games, RPGs fit the bill better. Also for a more straight forward explore the dungeon type game, a video game can give a lot more variety and varied gaming experience.
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Jason Waeber
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IMHO, as much as people malign euros for having a lot of the same stuff going on (wooden pieces, mediocre themes, resource management), they tend to use very different decision trees. There are some similarities, granted, but I think I have yet to play any sort of crawler/adventure game which really had any decision trees which were different from any other. Theme, quality, components, etc... can and do all get better, but they do not a game make (IMHO).

Also, as someone who used to play (console) RPGs quite a bit (and still do, when one worth my time comes out), I have come to find that the particular decision tree which so many of those games utilize just isn't that interesting. I understand that some people get off on the "role-playing" part of the genre, but I'm more interested in the "game" part.

I have actually played Arkham Horror, which is a rich, lush, very developed adventure game, and I strongly, strongly dislike it. All you do is grind for several hours. It's like playing WOW when you're taking out all of the timing and coordination necessary in the battles.
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Magic Realm and Warhammer Quest seem to be "the" holy grails of adventure boardgames and dungeoncrawlers, but both are long out-of-print.

Maybe RGG will publish DXV's 500-card adventure game. Who knows. laugh
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They take too long for what they are, and thus are harder to get to the table.
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David desJardins
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jerubbaal wrote:
I think I have yet to play any sort of crawler/adventure game which really had any decision trees which were different from any other.


I find this hard to understand. Maybe you have just played very few games? The decisions in Runebound (Second Edition) are all very different from Return of the Heroes, for example. And those are two games that are about as similar in genre as you can get.

Quote:
I have come to find that the particular decision tree which so many of those games utilize just isn't that interesting.


I thought that was the question. Why aren't there better games?

(I also disagree with characterizing the strategy in games in terms of a "decision tree". Most interesting games don't have tree-like decision structures. Mixed-integer programming would be a better model, if you're looking for a mathematical theory. But I think you're just using this as a figure of speech.)
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Jesse's answer near the top was humorously sarcastic, but that IS the reason.

It's the same reason I only own three out of the "Top 50" games and only two others are even on my wish list.

This website is heavily biased in favor of Eurogames. Crawlers are not Euros. Ergo, they have a hard time moving up the list.

It really isn't any more complicated than that.

We could debate all these other things others have brought up, and I disagree with some of them, like the decision tree thing, and the 1970s crack, etc. But there really isn't much point in doing so when the main reason was given back at the beginning of the thread.
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Finrodimus wrote:
This website is heavily biased in favor of Eurogames. Crawlers are not Euros. Ergo, they have a hard time moving up the list.

It really isn't any more complicated than that.


No, rank games by worldwide popularity, and you'll get similar results. It can't be "bias" if everyone feels the same way. The core issue is the lack of compelling board game designs in this genre.
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Why is it people whine over top 50/100 rankings? Most people on here know that anything with a RATING of 6 or better(with enough ratings to rank), is at least a worthwhile game within that style, and almost all of the top 1000 is at least worth a shot. You might not like auctions, worker placement, or role selection, but they provide VERY different decision trees than you see in crawlers, and these have been implemented in more ways than crawlers have.

I like them some, but it's not that far from playing an RPG, and there's been more innovation there, not to mention RPGs are more character driven. It's not that unreasonable to go for the RPG instead, and play euros or wargames when you want other game types with less commitment.

Randomness is another issue. How much and where it is in the decision tree are usually very different in crawlers/RPGs than in Euros. Most Euros have very little randomness, and most of those with a lot have it set up to be offset by your decisions. (Stone Age being an example for offsetting randomness). Catan would be the big random Euro, and I dislike it for randomness and metagame decision making.

/end rant
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