Recommend
127 
 Thumb up
 Hide
78 Posts
Prev «  1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   | 

Dungeons & Dragons: Castle Ravenloft Board Game» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Comparison to Claustrophobia rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
bearn wrote:
To be honest Claus, RL and Space Hulk all are essential spind on the dungeon crawl. The only difference is that one plays super solid from the base game. One needs some expansions to flesh it out and one of them only gets balanced with two out of print expansions that are not likely to ever be reprinted for it.
While I think Claustrophobia does have some similarity to dungeon crawls, I don't see the same being true of Space Hulk (even though Claustrophobia is similar to it as well).

Space Hulk is more of a tactical duel game. It's key components of extreme asymmetry and tension/pressure are not conventional elements of dungeon crawl games.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There's been some debate over whether to compare CR and Claustrophobia, and I admit it seems odd to me to.

Its kind of like comparing a car and a boat. Yes, there's a lot you can compare. Speed, range, carrying capacity, construction, color, etc. But at the end of the day, you either want to go on land or you want to go on water!*

If you're looking for a cooperative game, Claustrophobia won't fit the bill, no matter how good it may be. If you want competitive, CR will fail you.

Quote:
...and balanced the scenarios with the expectation that players would do so.
Ok, I think Castle Ravenloft is quite fun, but I think you are seriously overestimating how much playtest and balancing went into the game in the first place.

At the very least, difficulty varies greatly based on number of players.

*Ok, it IS possible you are looking for "a recreational vehicle of some sort, I don't know where I want to go". But I think most people will get the analogy anyway.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ben Boersma
Australia
Officer
Victoria
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A great review Sphere. I agree Claustrophobia is outstanding.
I am thrilled to have that sitting in my game collection and it gets a lot of table time.

Castle Ravenloft however was quickly disregarded by our group and has now been traded away. I have my Warhammer Quest to fill that niche, something that I still think WHQ does better than any other.

Cheers,
Ben.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jackman
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good stuff! Though something kinda makes me twitch a bit with this comparison:

While I do see many many similarities between these two games, it is difficult for me to truly think that, as games, they are all that similar. This is due to the fact that one is coop, and one is not.

Mechanics are well and good, but the experience of coop games are completely dissimilar to competitive games. a 1v1 game will always have intense, agonizing, double-think sort of feel. A 3+ play competitive game will also have a very different feel (more mouths generally means more talking), and when you compare a multi-player coop to a 1v1 competitive, i just have trouble comparing the games at all, since the social dynamic created by these two situations is so so so different.

This is probably not truth for everyone, and again, i do definately see the mechanics similarities. But it still just feels like apples to oranges to me.

The situation where i want a 1v1 game is entirely different than the one where i want a multiplayer coop.

Cheers!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Outlaw
United Kingdom
Devizes
Wiltshire
flag msg tools
badge
The Wing Warrior - learn more at www.facebook.com/thelegendriders
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The games do have a lot of mechanical similarities - group of heroes (customiseable, with powers that help each other) v group of monsters, tile based movement, heavy emphasis on exploration, modular, "event" cards that hurt the heroes, and so on.

They compare very easily - however, that does not mean liking/owning one should prevent you from liking/owning the other. I think there is room on the shelf for both. Comparing is not the same as replacing
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Charles Simon
United States
Ashley
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Great review and comparison, Sphere. I agree completely that Claustrophobia is the better game design by game mechanics, but both games have different draws for why I'll pull them down from my shelf.

What I think is odd between the two games, however, is that Claustrophobia has a better thematic feel and flair, despite the fact that Castle Ravenloft is an iconic setting in a game world and system that has had decades of elaboration to it. I "feel" the story through the game more in Claus than in CR, and this is despite my main complaint about Claus is that they didn't finish fleshing out some of the details (such as simply naming the characters to make their lives and deaths more easy to relate to).

Claustrophobia has the advantage of being a competitive game, so there is no delay in the "action" to plan out with allies. Castle Ravenloft seems to lose some of the thematic tension when after each card is drawn, you are immediately engaged in a conversation with the other players for the optimal positioning of the bad guy bearing down on you.

It's a good game, but Claustrophobia has it beat for feeling immersion and theme as well as fluidity of mechanics, in my opinion.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
David Jackman
United States
Indianapolis
Indiana
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
thinwhiteduke wrote:


Claustrophobia has the advantage of being a competitive game, so there is no delay in the "action" to plan out with allies. Castle Ravenloft seems to lose some of the thematic tension when after each card is drawn, you are immediately engaged in a conversation with the other players for the optimal positioning of the bad guy bearing down on you.

This is why I have trouble comparing. I read this, and I get the exact opposite sentiment - I think it is good that there is more discussion, even if it slows down the game a bit. I am there for the social aspect just as much as the game.

But again, apples to oranges. People who want a tactical and rich experience and lots of silent thinking probably dont like CR. Thats okay. :)
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sphere wrote:
jigmelingpa wrote:
Nice review, thanks for sharing. You make some good points. Your biggest gripe with CR seems to be the "monumentally stupid monster AI." While part of the game is using the monster movement to player advantage, you could easily solve this by moving the monsters to their most advantageous placement, rather than vice versa. I'm sure this would make things much more difficult, and perhaps make the game more enjoyable for you.
You're right about my biggest gripe, and that's a good suggestion, but I think the designers saw putting the monsters in bad spots as part of the fun, and balanced the scenarios with the expectation that players would do so.

If you played the monsters to their own best advantage, you'd need compensation to have a chance. For me, playing is fun, and play testing is serious business, so I won't go there (I've actually turned down half a dozen requests to play test games in the last year).
Nowhere in the rules does it state that the player(s) should move the monsters in such a way that is most advantageous to the player(s). Certainly, if you want to make the game easier, you can do so, but to make the game more challenging, realistic, and fun, I would suggest moving the monsters in such a way that benefits the monsters the most (within the boundaries of their tactics, of course).

If this makes the scenarios too difficult, it's a simple matter to add an extra healing surge to the party's collection - the game comes with 5 of them.

I equate moving the monsters to benefit the players to using a cheat code in a video game.. Sure, the designer put it in there, and you can use it when you feel like just testing things out or messing around, but seriously playing the game that way doesn't feel at all fulfilling.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
Sure, the designer put it in there, and you can use it when you feel like just testing things out or messing around, but seriously playing the game that way doesn't feel at all fulfilling.
That's one of the fundamental differences between playing a co-op/solo game and playing a game as both sides; in a co-op/solo game, you never need to decide "what would be intelligent for my opponent to do". The game decides that for you. So when you get to make a choice, you can always pick the choice YOU want. The game is set up that way.

You could make a really complicated set of rules for how monsters move. Then you could add rules for stealth and zones of control to let heroes affect how the monsters move. Then you could add some rules to reduce the oddness from a turn based game. And you'd likely wind up with a more clunky, time consuming and "realistic" ruleset that has about the same effect as "put the monster where you want".
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Max Maloney
United States
Portland
Oregon
flag msg tools
badge
"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dedbob wrote:
Nowhere in the rules does it state that the player(s) should move the monsters in such a way that is most advantageous to the player(s). Certainly, if you want to make the game easier, you can do so, but to make the game more challenging, realistic, and fun, I would suggest moving the monsters in such a way that benefits the monsters the most (within the boundaries of their tactics, of course).
Your version of fine, but is not the typical way coop games are played. Most coop games expect that everything the players control will be done to their advantage. If Castle Ravenloft's designers expected otherwise, at the least they should have conveyed that in the rules text.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kevin Outlaw
United Kingdom
Devizes
Wiltshire
flag msg tools
badge
The Wing Warrior - learn more at www.facebook.com/thelegendriders
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I don't think you can call it a cheat when the game is designed to play that way. The balance of the game is set based on the understanding that the heroes will always place monsters in the way that best suits them.

Are you suggesting that in a game like Ghost Stories I should select the hardest most awkward place to place each ghost? That's just not how these sorts of games work. You try and set the enemies up in a way that you can deal with them.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
RedMonkeyBoy wrote:
I don't think you can call it a cheat when the game is designed to play that way. The balance of the game is set based on the understanding that the heroes will always place monsters in the way that best suits them.

Are you suggesting that in a game like Ghost Stories I should select the hardest most awkward place to place each ghost? That's just not how these sorts of games work. You try and set the enemies up in a way that you can deal with them.
I'm just saying that you can't complain about the monsters being "monumentally stupid" when the player is actively making them so. If you want them to be more intelligent, then move them more intelligently.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jacob Ossar
United States
Massachusetts
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I'm willing to give this game in particular a bit of a pass on thematic grounds for having "monumentally stupid" monsters. Your classic skeleton, wraith, etc. is literally brainless. If there's any class of D&D monsters that clever adventurers could maneuver to their advantage, undead are it. "Vermin" like rats and spiders can be cunning, but aren't really intelligent either. Having smart monsters like, say, mind flayers (or "illithids" or whatever you kids are calling them these days) behaving in a similarly stupid way would bug me more, I think.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Hilton Ruiz - Heroes
badge
Tishomingo Blues - Elmore Leonard
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dormammu wrote:
dedbob wrote:
Nowhere in the rules does it state that the player(s) should move the monsters in such a way that is most advantageous to the player(s). Certainly, if you want to make the game easier, you can do so, but to make the game more challenging, realistic, and fun, I would suggest moving the monsters in such a way that benefits the monsters the most (within the boundaries of their tactics, of course).
Your version of fine, but is not the typical way coop games are played. Most coop games expect that everything the players control will be done to their advantage. If Castle Ravenloft's designers expected otherwise, at the least they should have conveyed that in the rules text.
I don't have time to search for the posts, but I recall reports from people who played with the designers at GenCon, and said they were encouraged to the adjacent placement possibilities. I'm not saying people shouldn't place the monsters in the most favorable way from the monster's own perspective, if that's how they want to play. My natural inclination is to play within the rules, but to play to win. It would have been easy to specify "adjacent" placement priorities in the rules, same tile, shortest path from monster's previous position, whatever. That didn't happen, and my impression is that the choice was left open by design.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Hilton Ruiz - Heroes
badge
Tishomingo Blues - Elmore Leonard
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I confess I have been surprised by the number of posts by people who say they can't understand why I would make such a comparison. It has a Monty Pythonesque quality in my mind, because in the course of making their points, they tell me things I already said in my review. For example:

Saan wrote:
The situation where i want a 1v1 game is entirely different than the one where i want a multiplayer coop.
Sphere wrote:
They have a lot in common, but fill different play requirements, so won't compete for play time at my house.

I get how the games are different, honest. I'm relieved that others understand where I'm coming from, as chaosjenkins described so ably in this post.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Hilton Ruiz - Heroes
badge
Tishomingo Blues - Elmore Leonard
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dedbob wrote:
I'm just saying that you can't complain about the monsters being "monumentally stupid" when the player is actively making them so. If you want them to be more intelligent, then move them more intelligently.
Oh, but I can complain about it. I want to move my own pieces intelligently, and see a strong correlation between how well I accomplish that, and whether I win. I do sometimes play games which weren't designed for solo play in the manner you mention. I'm entirely capable of playing both sides in a 2 player wargame, and attempting to make the best moves for each. But they've put 1-5 players on the Castle Ravenloft box, and provided AI rules for the monsters. If solo play is advertised, I expect to handle my own forces, and have the game handle the opposition.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Joe
United States
Atlanta
Georgia
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Sphere wrote:
Oh, but I can complain about it. I want to move my own pieces intelligently, and see a strong correlation between how well I accomplish that, and whether I win. I do sometimes play games which weren't designed for solo play in the manner you mention. I'm entirely capable of playing both sides in a 2 player wargame, and attempting to make the best moves for each. But they've put 1-5 players on the Castle Ravenloft box, and provided AI rules for the monsters. If solo play is advertised, I expect to handle my own forces, and have the game handle the opposition.

But due to their simplicity, the AI rules are not so explicit as to resolve monster movement to a single spot - there is a need for player interpretation and decision making. So whether it's to your own advantage or not, you will have to partially handle the thought process of the opposition.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Hilton Ruiz - Heroes
badge
Tishomingo Blues - Elmore Leonard
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
dedbob wrote:
But due to their simplicity, the AI rules are not so explicit as to resolve monster movement to a single spot - there is a need for player interpretation and decision making. So whether it's to your own advantage or not, you will have to partially handle the thought process of the opposition.
Yes, and that is part of my problem with the game. I don't have to do that when I play Defenders of the Realm or Ghost Stories, and they are cooperative games of similar complexity. I said at the outset that I understand the difference between fact and opinion, and this is clearly the latter. You may like having to "partially handle the thought process of the opposition", but I do not. It irritates me, and detracts from my enjoyment when I play.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Kurt
United States
Kirkland
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I believe you have saved me a good deal of money. I was considering either CR or the upcoming Wrath. I already own Claustrophobia and have been really enjoying it.

The more I read about CR the more I think it isn't right for me. The points you bring up against CR, while minor for some, are important to me and what I want to get out of a game.

Thanks for the review!
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Quote:
I don't have to do that when I play Defenders of the Realm or Ghost Stories...
Except you often do in Ghost Stories since each ghost can go in one of three places

Here's a simple fix.

When a monster would move adjacent to a hero, move it by the most direct path, moving in a straight line if possible and in a clockwise direction if not.
After placing the monster, the hero may make one Combat Maneuver:

Force Back: Move the monster 1-2 squares. It must stay adjacent to you and must remain on the tile it is currently on.

Footwork Lure: Move the monster to any space adjacent to you on your tile.

Stealth Trap: Move the monster to any space adjacent to you that is also adjacent to another hero.

When a monster would move to a tile but not adjacent to a hero, place it on the bone pile on that tile or a random adjacent square if the bone pile is full. The active hero may leave it there or may choose one option:

Threaten: You unnerve the monster and it moves cautiously. Move it up to three squares, but it must remain on the same tile and may not end farther away from tile it originally moved from.

Taunt: The monster rushes as you taunt it or feint to appear vulnerable. Move it up to 3 squares, but it must remain on the same tile and may not move toward the tile it originally came from.

Would that make you feel better?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Hilton Ruiz - Heroes
badge
Tishomingo Blues - Elmore Leonard
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
StormKnight wrote:
Quote:
I don't have to do that when I play Defenders of the Realm or Ghost Stories...
Except you often do in Ghost Stories since each ghost can go in one of three places
You're absolutely right, mea culpa. I guess I didn't think of it because I've never found it bothersome in Ghost Stories, as I do in Castle Ravenloft, perhaps because I can't put a Ghost in a spot where its Haunter won't advance, which is more or less the analogy to putting a monster 'around the corner' in Ravenloft. (I truly don't have to do it in DotR.)

StormKnight wrote:

Here's a simple fix.
...
Would that make you feel better?
Not really. It isn't that I couldn't make house rules or adopt somebody else's. (A remarkable number of posts in the CR forums go something like "this game is so close to being really good, if only someone will make the necessary changes".) Good rules need thorough play testing, and that is the developer's chore, not mine. I review what the game is, not what it might be.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
You can in Ghost Stories put a ghost on a buddha where it instantly is banished. Dumb ghost

I find the 'around the corner' situations to almost never come up in CR; its something that can theoretically happen, but in practice its fairly rare.

Incidentally, I can absolutely, completely, with 100% certainty assure you that the rules I posted will work just fine and will not in any way interfere with playing the game as the developers intended.

Read 'em. Think about it. Really.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Hilton Ruiz - Heroes
badge
Tishomingo Blues - Elmore Leonard
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
StormKnight wrote:
You can in Ghost Stories put a ghost on a buddha where it instantly is banished. Dumb ghost
No, it's more like powerful Buddha. You had to spend your actions to acquire the Buddha, and place it, and eliminiating the Ghost is the payoff for your efforts.

StormKnight wrote:
I find the 'around the corner' situations to almost never come up in CR; its something that can theoretically happen, but in practice its fairly rare.
I see them constantly. Skeletons, Ghouls, Wraiths, Zombies and Wolves comprise 50% of the monster deck, and are all subject to it. If you're playing to the best advantage of the adventurers, you'll do it a lot.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Brian M
United States
Thornton
Colorado
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How are you actually seeing this situation come up? I'm really not envisioning how this happens.

Edit: And wolves attack from 2 tiles away...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Was George Orwell an Optimist?
United States
Corvallis
Oregon
flag msg tools
Hilton Ruiz - Heroes
badge
Tishomingo Blues - Elmore Leonard
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Not ignorning you, Brian, but I'm in football mode...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Prev «  1 , 2 , 3 , 4  Next »   |