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Subject: Is it the game, or is it me? rss

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Jon Wood
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Please forgive me, this runs on a bit. If it should be put elsewhere please do so.

I am not entirely new to board games, however I can only to be said to have dabbled in the past. I blame lack of opportunity. Now that I have seen the variety out there, I am really researching this great hobby. I am trying to grow my wishlist, so I can build a solid collection of games. (Money is slow to come in)

Here's where I'm hoping BGG can help. I recently played a session of WoW: Adventure Game. It was slow to start, learning the rules, but near the end things were getting faster. It was just me and my sister. (We are adults) At the end we packed up and I was left with a slightly unsatisfied feeling inside. Trying to examine why, I came up with a few things I felt were missing.

Provisos: I know I've only played once - more plays may change my experience. More players will change it. Different styles of players will change it. I know I am a relative newb to this hobby so perhaps having more experience could mitigate these impressions below:

I never felt challenged. I didn't die even once, the combat didn't feel exciting or suspenseful. (My sister did die several times but I don't know that made it more fun.) Revealing the event cards didn't produce any kind of real hardship. There was almost no strategy to speak of, as everything from monsters to abilities are random. Turns bogged down as we constantly felt like we had to take stock of our situation to make sure we weren't missing anything: abilities, items, etc that we could use.

I also own WoW: Board game and my experiences with it are something similar, though I had more fun playing that game.

I also own Heroquest and played a lot of it as a young adult, I remember having a great time with it.

I also own Advanced Heroquest and didn't play much of it. (Lack of players), I remember having the same play bog as I tried to make sure I wasn't missing a step each turn. I played it solo mostly.

Here's (finally) my question: Is this me? Will more experience with board games let me play through Wow: AG faster, making it more fun? Will familiarity with how the game works let me move towards winning faster, making it not bog down?

Or is it the game? Do other adventure style games flow faster? Do they provide more of a thrill/challenge? Do other adventure/dungeon games lend more to picking up the game basics easier, so we can have fun just playing the game? Do they provide more of a strategic angle?

For further edification, here are the games I have wishlisted so far, all based on reviews/write-ups I have read. They sound fun:
D-day Dice
Last Night on Earth
Battle for Hill 218
Dungeonquest
Descent 2nd ed.
Blood Bowl: TM

I really like dungeon/adventure style games but don't always have time to play them, so quicker games are nice too. BUT I don't want to only ever play quick games. Sometimes it's really nice to dive into a dungeon. BUT I don't want that unsatisfied feeling I had last night. I want to feel challenged. I want to have fun. I want something to happen that makes me go "WHOA! That puts a wrinkle on things, I have to rethink what I'm doing!" Does Dungeonquest or Descent do anything better?

Right now, I'm thinking of selling the two WoW games and going for one of the two dungeon/adventure games on my wishlist, if they are 'better' games.

Your thoughts and advice are most welcome. If games on my wishlist suffer from the same issues WOW: AG does, please let me know. If you can think of ones not on this list I should look at let me know.

Thanks,
Jon
 
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Daniel Kearns
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Dethjonny wrote:

I also own Heroquest and played a lot of it as a young adult, I remember having a great time with it.


It could be both. I believe deep down that I LOVE dungeon crawls.

I am ever searching, and always disappointed, trying to relive the great experiences I had playing Heroquest, Warhammer Quest, Dark Tower etc.

The thing is, they can't package nostalgia, and mechanically the dungeon crawl/adventure games I've played (and bought!) just aren't very good or have deal breaking flaws.

Is the perfect adventure game out there? Did it ever exist in the first place? I mean, honestly, WQ was fun and all but the design was really pretty awful and good god please do not try Dark Tower as an adult.

Maybe Zombicide is as lobotomizingly fun as everyone yells, and Mice and Mystics looks like it has that old school charm missing from most FFG titles...

Godammit, might need to buy a few more dungeony games soon...



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Brook Gentlestream
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I think most adventure / dungeon crawl games are lacking, and its only been fairly recently that we've seen some innovative mechanics in this genre. Most people seem to go through 2 or 3 before they finally settle on one they like.

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Scott Douglass
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For a longer game I'd go with Mage Knight. It's way more engaging than other adventure games I've tried, with a good amount of trying to puzzle out how to use your cards.

D-Day Dice is a cooperative dice game, which I wouldn't characterize as an adventure game. That said, it's excellent.

I didn't care for LNoE; it felt too random and my choices were too constrained.

I'm also not a fan of Descent 2nd ed; the tactical choices felt obvious, and the outcome depends far more on who rolls better than it does on player decisions. I've only played one game, so it might become better once you add in more abilities, but that's my 2 cents.

I can't comment on the rest, as I've never played them.
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Jon Wood
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Sorry I should have mentioned that my wishlist so far contains more than just dungeony games. The two obvious ones - Dungeonquest and Descent - are what I'm wondering about. Do they scratch that fun itch, or do they bog down in time-consuming details?

I agree that nostalgia could be a huge factor. Trying to recapture my youth, etc.

The systems at play could be the biggest factor. I remember enjoying the feeling of exploration when moving through a map in HQ, but I'm probably forgetting the time it took to set up each room reveal. I had loads of free time as a kid, why would I care about that? Nowadays I might be annoyed.

Wow: BG has some fun times battling monsters, with all the dice involved, but that means players have a lot of downtime between turns which can kill the fun.

I guess I'll have to see if I can find ways to try these games out, no way am I spending the coin on them if I end up not liking them.

And thank you for the recommend on D-Day Dice, I have heard great things about it and it looks like a lot of fun.
 
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Brook Gentlestream
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As strange as this might sound, Flash Point: Fire Rescue might appeal to you. You've got a team of specialized heroes running around, fighting a fire, rescuing civilians, managing vehicles, and the players are working together to coordinate their efforts.

It's a good game that's kind of dungeon-like.

If the theme is more important to you than the mechanics of moving around in a maze then perhaps Thunderstone Advance: Towers of Ruin maybe something to consider for that heroic dungeoneering feeling without the actual dungeon board.

Otherwise, I've heard the best "adventure" games are:
Arkham Horror
Claustrophobia (2 player only)
Descent: Journeys in the Dark (Second Edition) (requires an Antagonist player against the group)
Space Hulk (third edition)
Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game (requires at least one Antagonist player)
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Rich Charters
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If you are new to the hobby, I would recommend getting a can't miss classic like Ticket to Ride. Then decide where to branch out from there.

I enjoyed Heroquest with my kids, but I think it's more of a draw for a kid than an adult. But I would defer to those with more experiences in dungeon crawlers than I have.

I agree that Flash Point: Fire Rescue would be a good game to get as well. It's an engaging co-op that is thick with theme.
 
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Jon Wood
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I had never read about Claustrophobia, nicely done.

The most popular review paints in quite a good light and even highlights a few of the gripes I have with rule/item heavy games. (I'm not opposed to those games, it can just get overwhelming)

I will definitely keep an eye out for it, the price seems very reasonable too.

I'm a big fan of WH40K, so Space Hulk hits me in a soft spot. Price alone will probably keep me from ever playing it but it sounds fun.

Thanks for the suggestions everyone, keep them coming.

Edit: I've only read about Fire Rescue once but it sounded like a good concept. I have never played any co-op games, so this sounds like fun. (D-Day Dice is another I am ready to try for the same reason)
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Daniel Kearns
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Oh yeah, Claustrophobia is really amazing.

For an off-the-beaten-path multiplayer option consider: Lost Valley.



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Brook Gentlestream
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Dethjonny wrote:
I'm a big fan of WH40K, so Space Hulk hits me in a soft spot. Price alone will probably keep me from ever playing it but it sounds fun.


Same here, but we can at least play Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game.
 
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Jon Wood
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Oh I saw that in store today, I looked at it but didn't know much about it.

I hemmed and hawed at Dungeonquest on the shelf.

D-Day Dice is coming in tomorrow.

There can be only one...
 
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Dave C.
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This?

Defenders of the Realm

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Sicaria Occaeco
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Gears of War: The Board Game is a good one that might interest you.
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Tim
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My recommendation, in all honesty would be to try to get an RPG group going. I sort of went through this myself. All of the dungeon crawl board games ultimately come up short because they only tell part of the story. I tried Descent v2 this week. There wasn't anything *wrong* with the game, but it didn't tell me a story. I moved, rolled dice, and hoped that I rolled more hits than my opposition rolled shields. There were some special abilities you could trigger at key points to turn the tide of a battle, but I never really envisioned my hero on any sort of epic quest. I don't even remember his name. He was "Red tank guy". There's some static text that the overlord/dungeon master/whatever reads before and after the adventure. Yawn. That doesn't seem to be the kind of deep-seeded adventure experience you're hoping to find. Not to knock around a beloved game, but at that point I'm just not sure why you wouldn't play D&D 4th Edition.

DungeonQuest, for my money is the best of the breed for fun, light, quick dungeon crawl, but it is ENTIRELY random and completely unforgiving. Even the way you place the tiles is dictated to you, so it is quite common to enter a room and be stuck there for multiple turns trying to find a secret door because you can not return the way you came. A swinging axe blade can end your game in the blink of an eye. If you can laugh about that and enjoy the experience, then it's some of the most fun in gaming. If you would be infuriated by having pretty much no control over the game, and just watching the adventure unfold, then stay as far away from DungeonQuest as possible.

I only played Claustrophobia once, but I would have to say that it was one of the better designs. A nice tradeoff between complexity and theme. You feel constrained, but not completely at the mercy of the game.

There are some solitaire adventure games that follow a bit of a more free-form choose your own adventure format where your character can move around the world, explore, and the game tells you a narrative while still giving you the feeling of control... but these are solitaire. That might not interest you. If they do, Barbarian Prince, Star Smuggler, Doctor Who: Solitaire Story Game, and Tales of the Arabian Nights all spring to mind (note that Tales of the Arabian Nights doesn't give you much more control than DungeonQuest, but it tells one heckuva adventure. After a game of Arabian Nights, you have a real story to talk about every time you see someone playing the game... "I remember the time...").
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Shane Larsen
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Dethjonny wrote:
The two obvious ones - Dungeonquest and Descent - are what I'm wondering about. Do they scratch that fun itch, or do they bog down in time-consuming details?


I've played them both and I have incredibly differing opinions of the two games. Here you have them:

DungeonQuest - Hated it. You move, you have something happen to you, you either die or you do not. That's it. There are really no meaningful decisions in this game. The first time I played it, I made it three turns. On my third turn, I decided to look at something liying in the corner of the room. The card said something to this effect: "A really bad thing happens. You must roll a 5 or a 6 or you die." Well, I rolled a 2. I died. Game over for me. Turn three.

Stupid. I-M-O.

Descent: 2E - Loving it. Last weekend I taught my sister and her kids how to play it in 20 minutes. We finished 1.5 scenarios in 2 hours. We're thrilled to get together asap to continue through the campaign. We spent very little time debating about rules. Did we get a few rules wrong? Sure, a couple. Did it make a huge impact on the game? No, very little. Did we care much even if it did? No, not at all. The rules in D:2E are supposed to be fluent. So far, it's been just that for me.

--

FWIW, I think you should have a good look at my other favorite dungeon-delving game, Gears of War: The Board Game. Okay, so it's not a dungeon-exploring game, but it feels pretty much exactly the same. Also, it's purely co-op. So you either play as a group, or you can play solo, which I find really nice.

I hope this helps. Good luck. Have fun storming the castle.
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TS S. Fulk
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Get Claustrophobia. It's always a blast and will make you cry. 45 tense minutes of the humans thinking they have a chance only to see everyone get mangled in the end.

Ghost Stories has a cooler theme than Flash Point. It's a tough co-op with gorgeous art.

Most of the other dungeon-crawl-esque games are lacking. You'll always get a better experience playing a real RPG.

Arkham Horror is a fun adventure game, but maybe it will run too long and have too many rules for you.
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tofarley wrote:
My recommendation, in all honesty would be to try to get an RPG group going. I sort of went through this myself. All of the dungeon crawl board games ultimately come up short because they only tell part of the story. I tried Descent v2 this week. There wasn't anything *wrong* with the game, but it didn't tell me a story. I moved, rolled dice, and hoped that I rolled more hits than my opposition rolled shields. There were some special abilities you could trigger at key points to turn the tide of a battle, but I never really envisioned my hero on any sort of epic quest. I don't even remember his name. He was "Red tank guy". There's some static text that the overlord/dungeon master/whatever reads before and after the adventure. Yawn. That doesn't seem to be the kind of deep-seeded adventure experience you're hoping to find. Not to knock around a beloved game, but at that point I'm just not sure why you wouldn't play D&D 4th Edition.

DungeonQuest, for my money is the best of the breed for fun, light, quick dungeon crawl, but it is ENTIRELY random and completely unforgiving. Even the way you place the tiles is dictated to you, so it is quite common to enter a room and be stuck there for multiple turns trying to find a secret door because you can not return the way you came. A swinging axe blade can end your game in the blink of an eye. If you can laugh about that and enjoy the experience, then it's some of the most fun in gaming. If you would be infuriated by having pretty much no control over the game, and just watching the adventure unfold, then stay as far away from DungeonQuest as possible.

I only played Claustrophobia once, but I would have to say that it was one of the better designs. A nice tradeoff between complexity and theme. You feel constrained, but not completely at the mercy of the game.

There are some solitaire adventure games that follow a bit of a more free-form choose your own adventure format where your character can move around the world, explore, and the game tells you a narrative while still giving you the feeling of control... but these are solitaire. That might not interest you. If they do, Barbarian Prince, Star Smuggler, Doctor Who: Solitaire Story Game, and Tales of the Arabian Nights all spring to mind (note that Tales of the Arabian Nights doesn't give you much more control than DungeonQuest, but it tells one heckuva adventure. After a game of Arabian Nights, you have a real story to talk about every time you see someone playing the game... "I remember the time...").


you know in RPG you have to tell the story, so why dont you make story for descent to? You are not bound by whats in the box, only by your imagination! You can make RPG from descent 2ed!
 
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Ryan Hendricks
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tofarley wrote:
My recommendation, in all honesty would be to try to get an RPG group going......


+1. I loved the dungeon crawler board games when I was young, growing up on Dragon Quest and The Classic Dungeon. However, as I grew up, I began to find them lacking in story potential (i.e., "so I dash down this hallway killing things and taking their stuff...and that's about it"). I've tried them as an adult, and as others said, they can't package nostalgia (or story).

In high school I moved onto the real Dungeons and Dragons and eventually other RPGs in college. Now that I'm out and working, I've taken it a step further and prefer RPGs that are light on creativity-limiting rules, preferring story-telling and indie RPGs.

The story-telling games ToFarley listed are all good or I've read about them and they sound really good

EDIT: I just noticed you listed some WWII games so I'll offer two game recommendations for more modern war.

Patton's Best is basically a solitaire "dungeon crawler" with you as a Sherman tank commander. This one actually scratched the dungeon crawler w/story itch for me. You name the members of your tank crew, watch them level up, yell at them when their die rolls fail horribly, and watch as they die in the burning wreckage of your Sherman.

I'm playing the campaign and managed to survive 4 days of heavy fighting until a Panzer caused an ammo explosion. 1 of them died in the explosion, another is expected to be in the hospital for 2 months, but the other 3 have a new Sherman and 2 raw recruits to keep the 4th Army rolling forward.

The other is for any of the DVG "Leader" games (Hornet, Phantom, Corsair, Thunderbolt, etc.). They're more tactical, but get that great feel of risking tough odds to get in, complete the mission, get your pilots safely out. Over time they'll level up and sometimes they'll die. Great games.
 
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Tim
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bendercz wrote:

you know in RPG you have to tell the story, so why dont you make story for descent to? You are not bound by whats in the box, only by your imagination! You can make RPG from descent 2ed!


If I'm going to put that much time and effort into it, then there's no reason to not play D&D or Pathfinder. They are infinitely more customizable, and characters have more control over their destiny.
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