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Evil Baby Orphanage» Forums » Reviews

Subject: It's just not very good. rss

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Barry Figgins
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On the surface, Evil Baby Orphanage is a reasonably well-polished product. The art is strong, with good art design. The iconography is easy to read, consistent, and clear. We didn't run into any major questions about the rules. Everything about the game is very appealing and playable, and the rules can get you playing in just a few minutes.

There's only one problem: the game isn't any good.

In Evil Baby Orphanage, you'll be trying to collect 10 points of mischief, then hold onto those cards. If you have 10 points at the start of your next turn, you win!

Unfortunately, this means that after you play your cards for your turn, every other opponent has their full turn, a hand of cards, and all their babies with which to disrupt your victory. Our game ran for two hours and 15 minutes (a far cry from the 15-45 minutes on the box!) with players getting enough points to win, then losing them before they could claim victory. At one point, I was sitting in front of 24 points of babies, but was down to 8 points by the start of my turn.

There are just so many attacks in this game, and it's easy to drain babies from your opponents. You can force your opponent to give away his babies directly, trigger one of his own cards to force a discard, or play any number of cards that take babies directly. The game has a lot of cancel cards, but ultimately there's not nearly enough you can do to feel like you have any control of your destiny.

As long as you're playing with reasonably competent gamers, who are playing to win and understand how to prevent the other players from winning, Evil Baby Orphanage just drags on, and on, and on.

A few unfortunate cards round out the set, which force every player to shuffle up all their babies and re-deal them around the table. I don't know why designers insist on putting in cards that reset the game state and make the previous hour of play irrelevant, but they keep coming up.

It's simply a failure of the game design math. Evil Baby Orphanage just doesn't work as a game.

Like other cute and quirky games I've seen, Evil Baby Orphanage focuses on a strong theme and engaging turn-by-turn play, but doesn't put any thought into the progression of the game or the endgame. Evil Baby Orphanage does contain a few accelerating elements: babies never go away, and over time players get time machines which allow them to draw more babies, so you end up with lots and lots of babies on the table. However, because each baby has its own special power, this didn't help the situation; it just meant that instead of seeing 2 or 3 babies slip through our fingers from turn to turn, we saw 6 or 7. But we still couldn't hold on to enough to win.

Look through the BoardGameGeek gallery to see the cute pictures, then move on to a different game; Evil Baby Orphanage isn't worth playing.
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tom moughan
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ahh....I love the smell of a stack of sketchily placed animals in the morning!
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I see many games fall victim to this problem...you know: the one that has you saying "has no one played this game to its end before publishing it?"

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Barry Figgins
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I totally agree. It makes me wonder if anyone ever playtested this...but I think they did. It definitely feels like a complete ruleset that's been through a few revisions to work out the kinks. The problem is that even when the kinks have been straightened out, this road still isn't leading anywhere good.

I think it's a rookie designer's mistake: you start with a design which doesn't work, and over time you beat it into a design that's playable and complete, but you never step back and ask whether your original design was the right one.

So you can call me hesitantly optimistic about the next game out of Wyrd Miniatures. They've shown that they can successfully take a game idea, polish it, and implement it; they just need a better game idea.
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Kayla McNab
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I wish I had read this earlier. Until today I didn't know this game existed. I thought maybe it took so long because half of us had never played. I feel like that's two hours of my life I can't get back!
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Matthew Collier
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Any of you want to get rid of your copy with both promo cards?
 
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Eric Ernewein
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beri wrote:
I totally agree. It makes me wonder if anyone ever playtested this...but I think they did. It definitely feels like a complete ruleset that's been through a few revisions to work out the kinks. The problem is that even when the kinks have been straightened out, this road still isn't leading anywhere good.

I think it's a rookie designer's mistake: you start with a design which doesn't work, and over time you beat it into a design that's playable and complete, but you never step back and ask whether your original design was the right one.

So you can call me hesitantly optimistic about the next game out of Wyrd Miniatures. They've shown that they can successfully take a game idea, polish it, and implement it; they just need a better game idea.


The game idea is fine, the rules are fine. It just needs some tweaks to the Nanny cards. Big Red Button is a big no-no first off. (you want the game to accelerate to a saturation point) All the steals are fine as well. It just needs a few cards to -increase- saturation. In fact, the time machines are just that and the game would be better served by having them already in play for each player. (it would help theme the orphanages better)

There's a lot of ways to churn this game into something -more- playable. And a good 2nd Edition/Rules update would go a long ways to doing so.
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Barry Figgins
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There is one time machine that should definitely not be used. I forget the name, but it allows you to adopt a baby from another player's orphanage.

Once that machine was in play, every player's turn included using a Grabby baby to take the time machine, then using the time machine to adopt the currently-winning opponent's most powerful baby. This had the effect both of preventing the end of the game, and of halting the flow of new babies.
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Jamie Vantries
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It's not that the game is bad, it just takes too long for what it is. If the expansions fix it, I'll be happy.
 
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Looks like they addressed the game length issue in a kickstarter update:

"We had to do another print run to fill our orders to brick and mortar stores and there were some slight changes, so I want to let you know about those. First, the version of EBO sold in stores will have an additional option to play to 8 points instead of 10. So, if you would like a shorter game, please feel free to play to 8 points! Second, the cards Big Red Button (one copy) and Arts and Crafts (two copies) will not be in the second print run. Removal of these cards shortens game length and, if you want the same play experience as those buying the game now, you may easily remove those cards before playing."

So, play to 8 points instead of 10, remove the big red button and two bad toys. Seems like that will reasonably reduce game length to an acceptable level and, apparently that's the version going to stores.
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Garrett Garrett
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The cards will be on display in the game room but the game will never be played again due to the reasons you stated...
 
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Barry Figgins
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DarkKami wrote:
Looks like they addressed the game length issue in a kickstarter update:

"We had to do another print run to fill our orders to brick and mortar stores and there were some slight changes, so I want to let you know about those. First, the version of EBO sold in stores will have an additional option to play to 8 points instead of 10. So, if you would like a shorter game, please feel free to play to 8 points! Second, the cards Big Red Button (one copy) and Arts and Crafts (two copies) will not be in the second print run. Removal of these cards shortens game length and, if you want the same play experience as those buying the game now, you may easily remove those cards before playing."

So, play to 8 points instead of 10, remove the big red button and two bad toys. Seems like that will reasonably reduce game length to an acceptable level and, apparently that's the version going to stores.


I don't remember what Arts and Crafts does. The other changes are positive, but I really do think that there's a fundamental problem with the game design here that no amount of 'patch' rules can fix.
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Yoki Erdtman
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Handsome devil huh?
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DarkKami wrote:
So, play to 8 points instead of 10, remove the big red button and two bad toys. Seems like that will reasonably reduce game length to an acceptable level and, apparently that's the version going to stores.

The problem is that this game is over in about 3 turns and is plain dull. I also think the whole check if won at the start of your turn is so damn anti-climatic, it is much more fun to try to reach a victory by end of your turn, than sitting around hoping that nobody can knock you off before your turn comes around again. I'm very disappointed in this game.

I hope that the expansions will fix some of its flaws, because the theme and looks of Evil Baby Orphanage are both pure gold.
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Michael Ptak
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What does moving the game end-check to the end of the turn do for the game?

My girlfriend just picked this up, being a fan of the Vlog Brothers where the theme originated.

Gotham city has a similar mechanic of checking victory at the turn start, giving opponents plenty of chances to stop one player from advancing to the next level. I don't think this mechanic works very well, since it prolongs playtime by giving an entire round of play a chance to sabotage other opponents, and draw out play-time.
 
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Barry Figgins
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If victory were checked at the end of the turn, I'd expect the game to end in 2-3 rounds. There are many ways to obtain new babies or take babies from your opponents.
 
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Bryce Nielsen
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I agree with this review. The babies get moved from orphanage to orphanage way too much, and whoever's turn it is can wind up with most of the cards in front of him, every turn. Just moving the cards around every turn doesn't feel like a game. I love the theme, the art, and the evil babies though. I just didn't enjoy playing the game.
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Kai Barnard
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Wow

Maybe it changed a lot from initial -> retail

My group are mostly pretty good players, normally we're playing 4 or 5 players

And by turn 3 it becomes 'stop the next guy winning' co-op kinda game - but's fun frantic, and never been a bad game since we teaked one thing and banned a card

45 mins seems a top end....

The only card we banned was the one that allowed you to hijack an adoption at the end of a players turn and redirect it to your orphanage

Surprised to see the amount of dislike

....
so just wow
 
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