Boardgaming 2022: the year of "point salad really isn't very filling"

I’m a bit frustrated with the direction Heavy Cardboard is going in. They toned down all the editorial stuff like the podcast and the Golden Elephant in favor of complete play throughs. At that point you might as well play the game. On top of that a lot the streams are now sponsored so there is no more room for opinions on the game.

“You might as well play the game” assumes you own the game (and have people to play it with consistently) or have access to it in some context where you could try it out. A lot of what they (and other playthrough videos) cover is either before release or shortly thereafter which means most people won’t have the game. And while you are free to differ, I find seeing the game in play much more informative than someone passing brief impressions through a filter of their wants and needs which frequently have little to do with mine.

But even beyond that utility, I enjoy watching people play games I like and it can feed some of that craving if I’ve been having trouble getting them to table, or perhaps have been having a boardgaming dry spell (I’ve only managed to get in two games in the last five weeks, and they were Wednesday and Thursday of the same week). Or for example, I’ll sometimes watch campaigns of games I’m moderately interested in but aren’t something I personally need in my collection (e.g. Asassin’s Creed, too many minis and too high a price tag, plus I missed the KS, but it’s been fun seeing other people tackle it. Though now they’re talking about a retail version that will have no minis (or maybe just player minis) and be under $100…so who knows.)

Just the perspective of someone who almost exclusively watches playthroughs, when it comes to boardgaming videos. (I do watch SU&SD reviews but mostly because they do jokes, not because I care about half the games they’re reviewing or agree with their feelings on half the stuff I am interested in, c.f. their burncycle, Etherfields and Sentinels of the Multiverse reviews.)

Interesting perspective. For me watching people play a game doesn’t always relate the experience of playing that game. Even if it does - it is doing so in a very inefficient way. I prefer a format that does more reflection and also presents itself in a more condensed way.

It’s certainly not quite the same experience (which is another reason why “you might as well just play the game” doesn’t really hold), but you get to see the rules in motion and the flow of the game, and reviews just don’t do that. If there were a reviewer that I felt consistently shared my tastes I’d maybe find that helpful but as it is condensed usually means “could easily have left out or glossed over something that would hugely matter to my experience” and the actual opinion is only interesting to me if I actually know the reviewer, personally, in the same way that I’m interested to know what my friends think of anything I’m either considering or have already experienced and want to talk about with them.

So my friend and I tried In Too Deep today, 2 player, on Tabletop Sim and found it both thematically and mechanically lacking. Not terrible, but not a game either of us will be buying or playing.

Mechanically, it relies on far too much hidden information and memorization for my tastes and lacks ways for the player to tweak the probabilities. For example, drawing the right mission cards is huge but there are no options for cycling or enhanced draw, or searching/scouting that I could see. If you don’t like your card you can discard it at the end of the turn and draw a new one, but that’s it, and that essentially “costs a turn” b/c cranking out missions is key.

Thematically, I just didn’t feel any connection between the game mechanics and the theme - they had a cybernetic “hooking” mechanic that just didn’t yield any connection with the characters or plot, and the evidence gathering/filing stuff just felt abstract. Also, the stuff about going “in too deep” and balancing corruption felt vastly overhyped.

Eh, that sounds a bit harsher than intended. It wasn’t terrible but it was disappointing. I had high hopes going in.

Marvel Dice Throne will be here this week, pretty excited

Dissenting opinion: my wife and I find In Too Deep very good in person.

The components are nice, which helps with the setting and immersion. I’m sure it also helps when you don’t have to deal with the clunkiness of a VTT and have for all the components and markers on the table.

The game is short and light enough that we didn’t have an issue with the luck aspect. It’s there, but not overbearing. After all, you have varied criminals with different powers to complete your story missions and side crimes. Using their ability once you are hooked on deep enough is crucial. You can also draw more side crimes to help you get more rewards and complete more missions through boost tiles.

For us, the joy is in creating those combos with the criminals letting us complete more than one objective a turn.

And having played several games, the aspect of going in to deep and what it means for your play style is definitely a strategic consideration.

It’s a pick up and deliver puzzle game. We feel it does the genre justice. But I can understand it’s not for everyone. Different tastes and all that, obviously.

oh snap, keep us posted!

I don’t mind a good play through when I can see what is being done. That said HC used to be my go to, but lately…
Same with Rahdo. I’ll chalk a lot of it to diverging game tastes, I need to find a new reviewer I like.

I also like In Too Deep. It’s quick pick up deliver game which never happens and I like the apsect of do I play it straight or go full corrupt.

Not an especially busy week.

After having mixed feelings about Pipeline (and negative feelings about Curious Cargo), Trailblazers has become my favorite Ryan Courtney game. Mostly because it focuses on the pipe-building instead of all the unnecessary clutter that marked the previous two games. There are a few extra considerations, but they’re folded into the routes and loops more fluidly than before. Or maybe I just enjoy putting together puzzles.

Turncoats is the handmade game in the top middle. Its designer was inspired by Pax Pamir, and it shows in the design, although it goes in some interesting directions on its own. Very tight decision spaces; everybody begins with eight pieces, and wants to end the game with 2-4 of them; at the same time, every action requires you to spend a piece. So there isn’t any room for wasted moves. I’m smitten.

The main thing I’ve learned from Chaos Order, since I haven’t had a chance to actually play it yet, is that assembling tuckboxes is fun. More games should come with tuckboxes.

I can already tell that I should devote serious time to figuring out how to teach it before I bring it to game night. Seems like a pretty hefty meal even before you get to the faction-specific rules.

Galaxy Trucker and Study in Emerald 1e are among my favorite games. I should try to get my friend Tyler to bring the latter out to game night tomorrow

Yes! I loved putting together those tuckboxes. And I’m notoriously all thumbs for that sort of thing. I love how precisely everything fits in them. More tuckboxes, fewer baggies.

Mine too! We’ve been playing a lot of ASiE 2e lately — because it’s so easy to table and we’ve had a number of irregular players lately — so we decided to play 1e a few weeks in a row with the regulars. I’d like to do at least three plays while it’s fresh.

Was this the new Galaxy Trucker edition? Have any opinions of it? Is there any reason to upgrade?

Sadly, no. We have an original edition with all the expansions. They’re so jumbled together that I have no idea if they could be peeled apart. We break it out once a year or so.

Summit: the Board Game just went live on GameFound for their expansion.

This is a game I’ve had my eye on for awhile, so was considering backing to get everything… but it is $185 to get EVERYTHING.

Has anyone played this and the expansions? If so, how critical are the Yeti and Teams expansions?

Ha, yeah, mine’s in the same state. Just the first big expansion, though. Still, when I teach new people to play I wish I could teach them just the original, but I end up teaching them the expansion pieces just because that seems easier and more interesting than picking out all those pieces (and missing some and having them confuse a new player).