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Subject: Maybe I just don't get it... rss

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Justin Egan
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Playing through Land of Enin, I found it completely arbitrary. Everything and I do mean everything is driven by a dice roll. Taking away any of the random elements to the game immediately breaks it.

Here's a breakdown of the game play:

Setup
Roll dice to randomly determine your starting HP and Luck.
Roll another die to randomly determine your starting location.

Play
Play is broken down into two sections Travelling and Questing.

Travelling: To travel, you roll a dice to randomly determine where you go. This is immediately frustrating as all of the quests need to be done in order. To make up for this, the designer tossed in what he's dubbed "The Map of Enin. This takes out the random travel element which as I stated above, breaks the game.

Questing: Questing has us rolling a dice to randomly determine what we will attempt to do once we arrive at our randomly selected location. Once we have our random task, we will once again roll dice to randomly check for success or failure conditions. About half the time, you'll come across a monster to fight. Which monster you encounter will be determined (wait for it) randomly by a dice roll. The monsters have a solid attack rating though. This comes into play when determining whether or not you defeat the monster. Determining whether or not you defeat a monster is done randomly by yet another dice roll. If you defeat the monster you are treated to a randomly chosen treasure and some experience points the ammount of experience you gain will usuall be randomly dertimined. These points are accumulated until you get 20XP at which point your random combat results become slightly less so and your random quest objectives become easier to achieve. This happens again at 40 XP. If you fail to defeat the monster, you are punished by the loss of some of your randomly generated HP. At this point you get to make a choice (one of the precious few in the game). You may attempt once again to defeat the monster using the method above or you may attempt to flee. The player must randomly determine if s/he may flee by a die roll.

Once you have managed to complete all the quests in order, the game ends in victory.

There is one mitigating factor to all this randomness which is called (ironically) luck. You get a random amount of luck at the beginning of the game which can be used to effectively fudge any die roll in the questing phase (but only once per roll). This is handy if you want to, say, have a dragon put you out of your misery by turning a 10 into a 1 during combat.

Here's an example of play in respect to everything I've said thus far:

The player randomly determines everything to start then randomly walks around pounding on monsters until s/he gains 25+ gold. At this point the player waits until s/he randomly shows up in an area called The Nigh Towns. Now The Nigh Towns is a very important element to have when breaking this game. Not only can you eliminate that pesky random travel here by buying a map, but the area contains a quest that has no penalty for failure and a shop which does not require you to buy anything if you stop here.

So now that you have the map, you can bounce between whichever area you find easiest to deal with and The Nigh Towns until you have successfully stolen your first quest item from the old men that live there (not very sporting, mind you).

Now the game is truly broken. You are now bouncing between whatever area you need to fulfil quest requirements at and The Nigh Towns. this effectively means that you no longer have to travel to a new location each turn. The designer has pointed out that traveling to a new locale is manditory if holding the map, but if one of the locations I'm travelling to holds no repercussions whatsoever, Do I really need to bother with this?

Everytime you collect 10 gold, you can heal a point of damage until you're maxed out on HP by buying a health potion in The Nigh Towns. After that, you can buy luck points for 15 gold each at the same location. I mention this because you need to do something with those gangs of randomly determined treasures while you wait for your quests to randomly resolve.

From here, you'll eventually accomplish your goals and win the game. I actually found it rather hard to lose. I had to use up all my luck points to fudge bad rolls so I could die purposely.

The game almost plays itself. The player is only needed because the nine cards making up the game don't have opposable thumbs and cannot roll dice for themselves. You could save yourself 20 minutes per game and simply flip a coin to see wether you'll win or not.

On the plus side, this a beautifully crafted game. It is also very easy to assemble. A good solution for if you really want to play a game, but are at the same time unable to devote mental resources to doing so.

It is customary to include a rating for a game in a review. In the spirit of Land of Enin, I have decided to determine my rating for this game randomly by rolling 1d10.
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  • 115709. jegan22280
  • 1d10 =
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  • Thu Mar 15, 2012 2:54 pm
Dimitri Gia
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jegan22280 wrote:
In the spirit of Land of Enin, I have decided to determine my rating for this game randomly by rolling 1d10.


Can't say anything about this game but loved reading this review and chuckled with the quoted sentence above. Brilliant! For that, a small shiny thing and a thingie pointing upwards.
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Nathan James
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It is subtitled "A Mini-Game of Dice and Quests."

Thanks for the review, I think I'll check it out a little more.
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Justin Egan
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echdareez wrote:
Can't say anything about this game but loved reading this review and chuckled with the quoted sentence above. Brilliant! For that, a small shiny thing and a thingie pointing upwards.


My thanks to you, sir. I sure do like those pointy thingies.

NJames wrote:
It is subtitled "A Mini-Game of Dice and Quests."


That is true. At he same time though, the word 'Quests' here is a bit of a misnomer. A quest denotes a problem that needs to be solved. Normally, we can use resources (whatever they may be) to solve the problem. Hanging around till problems solve themselves is not the norm, and it feels like I'm doing a lot of that with this game.

Now don't get me wrong here. I'm not decrying all random elements in games, I just expect to be able to make more decisions in a game (especially a solitaire one). Excellent examples of this mix of random elements and decision making are Delve: The Dice Game and Utopia Engine.

To be fair, I'm sure this one has it's audience. I figure if you like Talisman, you might like this. I wasn't a big fan of Talisman either (thus my distaste for this one).
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todd sanders
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thanks for trying it out though.
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Justin Egan
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No problem. I love Aether Captains BTW.
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Chris Schenck
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I think your rating of 7 was a little off.
Here's what I give it...

1d10 = (8) = 8

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  • Fri Mar 16, 2012 4:31 pm
Brendan McGuire
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jegan22280 wrote:
...I wasn't a big fan of Talisman either...


The whole time I was reading your review, I was thinking "I bet this guy doesn't like Talisman". Hahaha!

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Marco Arnaudo
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thank you for the review, but from your write up I still can't tell whether the game has random in it or not...
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Tim Seitz
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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I don't understand where the OP is coming from. I mean really, did you even play the game? It's clearly a Rating 1d10 = (2) = 2
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  • 116577. out4blood
  • 1d10 =
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  • Rating
  • Mon Mar 19, 2012 2:51 pm
Justin Egan
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out4blood wrote:
I don't understand where the OP is coming from. I mean really, did you even play the game? It's clearly a out4blood previously rolled 1d10 = (2) = 2 (Rating)


I just did exactly as I said I would there. Your roll is closer to my personal feelings though.
 
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Tim Seitz
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Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Sam 14:14
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jegan22280 wrote:
out4blood wrote:
I don't understand where the OP is coming from. I mean really, did you even play the game? It's clearly a out4blood previously rolled 1d10 = (2) = 2 (Rating)


I just did exactly as I said I would there. Your roll is closer to my personal feelings though.

Come now, bro... don't get defensive. I am just running with your theme.
 
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Justin Egan
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out4blood wrote:
jegan22280 wrote:
out4blood wrote:
I don't understand where the OP is coming from. I mean really, did you even play the game? It's clearly a out4blood previously rolled 1d10 = (2) = 2 (Rating)


I just did exactly as I said I would there. Your roll is closer to my personal feelings though.

Come now, bro... don't get defensive. I am just running with your theme.

What I'd like to see is a positive review, and some suggestions to improve this one. I can't seem to place a personal rule that doesn't break this game. I tried some of the mechanics from Utopia Engine, but it's hard for me to do this without effectively re-skinning an existing game.
 
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yeah? well… y’know, that’s just like, uh… your opinion, man…
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Justin, I'd like to see your review of Chainsaw Warrior, which gave me similar feelings - maybe Land of Enin is some kind of re-theme...
 
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Justin Egan
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woodoo03 wrote:
Justin, I'd like to see your review of Chainsaw Warrior, which gave me similar feelings - maybe Land of Enin is some kind of re-theme...


Looks like it's tricky to get a hold of a copy of Chainsaw Warrior. If I ever get a copy, I'll review it.
 
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todd sanders
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i can safely say this is not a re-theme of chainsaw warrior. never even heard of the game before
 
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Justin Egan
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Yeah, so can I. Chainsaw Warrior looks way complicated compared to this. Despite its faults, Land of Enin is elegant and yet still small. Chainsaw Warrior seems (for lack of a better term) fiddly.
 
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