Ralph T
United States
Signal Hill
California
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That's pretty cheap for full sized game. 75% off their discounted price. However, the reviews and buzz has been pretty negative. Has anyone come up with house rules or a variant that make the game worth owning and playing multiple times?
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
Netherlands
Zaandam
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ralpher wrote:
That's pretty cheap for full sized game. 75% off their discounted price. However, the reviews and buzz has been pretty negative. Has anyone come up with house rules or a variant that make the game worth owning and playing multiple times?

Well, one reviewer isn't fond of abstracts; another in my opinion doesn't realise how important the Dark Angel is in reigning in the players, especially at lower player numbers; the third may have a point with the turn order scheme, but provides little practical evidence to back up his hypothesis. That isn't much to go on.

My point is that no review mentions what is needed, in my opinion, to make the game tick: conscious perception of the various Nash equilibria, so the need for players to cooperate because the alternative is worse. Or rather, one reviewer mentions it but cynically notes that no player will 'sacrifice himself' in order to help matters along. Not doing that for a while is what makes the game work. Unfortunately players in my experience indeed strongly tend to play for themselves because such cooperation is not exactly second nature. Designs relying on this fact to make them work are almost never well-received.

That all said, I think the simplest fix is to increase the number of resources per player. Right now they've been capped at 4 per type per player, causing a decidedly strained economy. With more resources players have more freedom to ignore the others and to obtain sufficient points to not worry too much about the Dark Angel. But whether or not the game would still be as interesting is a big question. Hard as it is with the rules in written form, I think the above suggestion does not result in a more agreeable game.

If there is anything which should be fixed, it's the unergonomic essence track. Angels are obscuring the icons all the time, which is bloody annoying. Another thing is that I fear that swapping places with other angels is too costly.
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Peter Hansson
Sweden
Arlöv
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cymric wrote:
My point is that no review mentions what is needed, in my opinion, to make the game tick: conscious perception of the various Nash equilibria, so the need for players to cooperate because the alternative is worse.


If we get to do it (depending on the good faith of our distributor) we have created a set of cards that enhances the gameplay. It's classical "rules breaking" cards, but they add enough value to let the game become a little bit unpredictable but very much more fun. Every player starts with a card and when you are the first to do a days work on a day you get an additional card. We hope to have them as give-aways someday, but also include them in a second print run, should there ever be one.

If anyone is interested I could send you a PDF of the cards and you can try them out yourself. Send me an email and ask.

cymric wrote:
If there is anything which should be fixed, it's the unergonomic essence track. Angels are obscuring the icons all the time, which is bloody annoying.


So true. We have already redesigned the board so that the essense cube info is separated from the placement of the angels. Also we have swapped the color of the yellow angel and the green cubes so that there will be yellow cubes and a green angel instead. See image below for a sample. Again, this will be in a second print run...

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