Boardgaming in 2018!


It’s not a Talisman type game at all, but one of the games I played in those days that absolutely holds up for me is Wiz War. A multi player game that is actually good.


There are no Talisman-style games that are good, because the basic formula of “roll a die, then draw a card to see what happens to you” is dumb. Hundreds of games have been made on this formula, and they’re all unplayable dreck. (p.s. I played it a lot in the 80s because I had no idea how terrible it was).

The only good fantasy-adventure boardgame is Magic Realm, which unfortunately is completely unplayable because the rulebook is 300 pages long.


I maintain that Magic Realm isn’t really that complicated. I learned it when it came out, and I was around 12, and the rules were incomplete…how hard is it, really? Teaching it to a casual gaming group is impossible, though, I will agree to that extent.


You maintain correctly.


Tabletop Simulator has a great mod/version of Magic Realm.


I’m mostly with @JoshL in that I think roll-and-move is almost always a lousy gameplay mechanic. I can think of a couple of exceptions, and they all involve giving the player more control over the rolling and moving. Gremlins, Inc is a great example (it’s a videogame boardgame, but still). Another is Culdcept (again, a videogame boardgame, but still). My favorite recent iteration of roll-and-move is this little jewel by Shadi Torby:

I really like how you roll three dice and make difficult decisions about how to use each of them. Only one of them will actually move you.

Fair question. The answer is because Settlers of Catan is so insufferably godawful as a game. It clearly pre-dated the invention of good boardgame design. Which is what I’m talking about here. Good design, not a boom in popularity.

But, yeah, Catan is certainly a milestone in terms of getting us where we are today. But I cringe at the thought of actually playing it. Speaking of, I’ll give you a sheep for two wood.



How about the new Sword & Sorcery Ancient Chronicles set


Oh god yes. SU&SD has been on such an awful opinion streak that they warped back around to being useful reviewers in that I go by the opposite of what they recommend. To this day they’re the only opinion I’ve read saying Terra Mystica is way better than Gaia Project.

(that’s not even their biggest lapse in sanity where they give the thumbs down to Blood Rage & Scythe saying to play Battlelore and Forbidden Stars instead…wut???)


I’ve only tried two Unlock games, but every single Exit entry has been vastly superior. You don’t even have to destroy the Exit games with just a little bit of scanner+printer effort.

The best Exist experiences were Murder on the Orient Express and Forgotten Cabin. The bottom has been the Island one, and Sunken Treasure (which is crazy simplistic and linear). Although special mention has to be made for The Pharoah’s Tomb, which contains the single most bullshit puzzle in the entire series (everyone who’s played it immediately knows which one).


Yeah the beginning of the board game revolution happened around the mid 00s, but anything made before 2008 isn’t really worth playing anymore. Tom is underselling Dune though. It continues to be a great asymmetric game and when they did try to give it a modern makeover it was the broken mess named Rex (wow did they screw the balance pooch on that).

Holy crap though I can’t believe people are still playing Catan and base Pandemic. I see people playing it every single week at a local meetup. I don’t get it. Pandemic isn’t even the most accessible group co-op anymore; it’s ridiculously difficult to grasp a winning strategy if you haven’t played before, and it quickly becomes a rote conclusion once you do.

Catan is just misery. It is a worse game than Monopoly. Both are “luck of the dice quickly determines who is locked out of winning”, but Monopoly has the decency to put you out of your misery. Catan forces everyone to play to the very end. The only winning strategy in Catan is to give away all your stuff to the leader so the game ends faster.


I used to like SUSD but there was a point, I think when they transitioned to just videos, that I stopped paying attention.

And I feel they maybe got a bit big headed.

I feel No Pun Included, although less professional or slick looking, are more genuine and honest and have more heart.

I am totally biased because I went to university with Elaine and we lived in the same flat for 2 years.


My high school game club thought Stratego Legends was so great we had a whole grand tournament with it. Boy that time period really wasn’t anything like the embarrassment of riches we have now.


2008 is an interesting start date for the revolution, except Agricola was already out for a year already and we all knew the Revolution Was Here and In Full Swing by then. Not to mention St Pete, Dominion, Race For the Galaxy/San Juan, TTR, Caylus, Imperial, Thurn & Taxis, Through the Ages, Tribune etc,etc.

2003 would be a safer choice - after Puerto Rico showed the gameplay, right before San Juan and Saint Petersburg introduced the streamlining and elegance we now expect in modern games (both are still frequently played around here).


They’ve never done that. There’s still regular text articles, including a (usually) weekly news roundup, reviews, lists, etc. Also a podcast. They apparently get way more traffic from videos though.

I agree, but let’s not assume that Talisman-like games have to be roll-and-moves just because that’s Talisman’s biggest flaw. Prophecy is very clearly inspired by Talisman but that’s one of the mechanics it drops, to excellent effect.


Oh, I love Dune. I just think one of the things that got invented with good boardgaming was an awareness about pacing, and a big part of that is game length. The asymmetry of Dune is still amazing, especially for how smartly it evokes actual Dune-ness. But you can probably teach and play three games of Chaos in the Old World in the time it would take to teach and play one game of Dune. Probably my favorite part of the invention of good boardgame design is that it’s careful about how it uses its most precious resource: my and my friends’ time.

Don’t get me started on Agricola. I have a lot of respect for Rosenberg and it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling seeing his name on a box. But it seems he’s got one foot stuck in the Time Before We Invented Good Boardgame Design. Agricola has three strikes against it: dry mathy points salad, punishing difficulty, and outdated worker placement. The only meaningful interaction is cock-blocking. Frankly, I think Le Havre, which is more or less concurrent with Agricola, is far and away a better design. Also, I don’t really know anything about A Feast for Odin, but I keep meaning to look into it.

What’s Prophecy? Lemme Google that… Oh, look, a super old game from the guy who did Mage Knight. Pass!




I agree. I’ve only played Prophecy once, but it struck me as a great “move around a map and have adventures”-game.



I don’t think any of your complaints about Mage Knight would apply to Prophecy. I have no idea if Talisman-but-a-lot-better is a design space that would do anything for you, though.


I really dislike how SU&SD will enjoy a game, but not recommend it because they don’t think its worth the money. Everyone’s money value judgement is different depending on their financial situation. I guess I’d rather them focus on reviewing the actual game than giving consumer advice.



Just curious how is it a broken mess? I’ve only played it 3 times and it was very reminiscent of our Dune games but under 4 hours


Weird, I thought you find Pandemic just as insufferable?

Catan is not by any means a bad game and certainly not as bad as Monopoly (which is basically a bad game). I can agree with you that I don’t have much interest in playing Catan and still say it is fundamentally well-designed. To wit:

  • Open trade is an invigorating and simple form of player interaction.
  • Playing on the intersections of tiles makes for pretty rich choices of placement.
  • The map is incredibly readable in a strategic sense, while also being colorful and fairly evocative.
  • The bad: I think the armies mechanic is dull.