Boardgaming in 2018!


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.


This is an age-old discussion regarding game reviews. A lot of people agree with you. A lot of people, like me, don’t.

I can accept perhaps that you cannot necessarily add a review component based on the price of one game alone, but you can certainly compare game X with other games in its genre/class from a price/value perspective. Last time I said this, I compared it to car reviews, which I think caused several strokes and other cases of fainting and fan waving.

(And no, before it is said, I do not buy that games are art and therefore are not subject to monetary factors in a review. If the components are substandard for a $100 game, for example, I want to know that.)


I have a couple things to say to this.

One is that the one puzzle on the Pharoh we couldn’t solve without a hint did something that is somewhat standard for Exit, but since this was our first three us for a loop. When they say use everything…

As for Unlock, they have improved a lot on their design. In fact they’ve done one thing that’s really smart, they’ve leaned into the app integration. Little audio clues and puzzles that aren’t straight math codes improve the games. It has allowed more interesting usage of their machine mechanic.

And the most recent ones we’ve done have had some really great design on them. The pirate one uses the card backs in a way I really enjoy, it felt appropriately Treasure Island. The Wizard of Oz has characters, and each has a personal quest. So just because you defeated the witch doesn’t mean you’ve won, you still need to help the Cowardly Lion find bravery. It makes it feel like much more of an adventure. Easily their best effort yet.


I feel like it’s a concern that only makes sense if one ignores the actual review and leaps straight to the bare bones conclusion. If you read or watch a review, and one factor doesn’t matter to you then you can, in a well made review (and IMO SU&SD reviews are), ignore that factor and make a decision based on the other things they present that do matter to you.


For me 2009 was the year of Endeavour and Carson City. I am sure there are other good games from then as well but those two in particular struck me as being really well designed and having a great pace and overall length.


I got excited for a moment about all the new posts. I thought something big must be happening in 2018 and a new awesome game or maybe a few, hopefully not only 1-4 players was coming but nope… haha. I don’t look at the years around 2009 as anything good, and I certainly wasn’t in a position to buy anything. I really should go back some day and see what I missed.


There are tons of ways to mitigate the random draw in Cosmic Encounter. That’s an absurd complaint that would only hold up if everyone playing the game didn’t care who won. If your table is letting anyone get to 4 colonies, then yeah it’s going to be random who wins. At 3 colonies, there’s no safe trading and a player needs to somehow get an ally to 4 and then ally with them again to win as a pair, which isn’t a guaranteed play at all since who you face is random (and could end up being the person you allied with).

I’ve played the game in more party-ish settings where we’re not playing competitively and the game is silly-fun, in line with what you’re saying, which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. But if you get people around the table who want to play competitively then Cosmic Encounter definitely holds up to that playstyle and, unless powers dictate otherwise, you’re unlikely to be winning with your opening hand anyways.

I still think this is the best design with take-that elements out there. It depends a lot on the players coming to the table for the same reason, but I think that’s true of any game with heavy take-that style design. Nowadays I only play it a couple times a year, but I don’t think I’ve gone a year without playing it in the last decade. And I’m intending to keep that train rolling.