Boardgaming in 2019!

Did anyone else back Sleeping Gods? I did, but I’m having second thoughts.

Why’s that?

I backed because the designer seemed well regarded here, I don’t have any of his games, and I like exploration and discovery. Plus it’s solo.

I’m considering it but I like one off strategy type games and never enjoyed any legacy games, including Gloomhaven, Charterstone, any of them…but, I usually try most everything so I might be backing this.

I like the game (Struggle of Empires) a lot. Probably one of my favorite Wallace designs.

  • The alliance system thing is genius - calling it a tiny part of the game strikes me as weird from someone who’s played the game any significant number of times. Knowing who to ally with and who to ally against and when to spend big to achieve that goal (as well as when to betray your purported allies), is literally the difference between victory and defeat in this game.
  • The engine building/economy is brilliant. The interaction of gold, population and unrest is one of the most elegant and compelling abstractions of a complex historical economic systems I’ve yet seen in a war/control game and that includes computer games - EU/Victoria should look at this and weep. Although the alliance system is the heart of the game, this is by far my favorite aspect of the game. It also doesn’t sweep unsavory history under the carpet.
  • I like the combat system - it’s simple and does the job. I never had a problem with the luck element involved, but that’s a matter of taste. Other than combat/movement, the game is a brain-burner, so I get that not everyone enjoys having their plans destroyed by an unlucky die roll (though it’s easy to fix with variant rules - which, as I can see, are now included officially into the game).
  • Every action counts. That’s the case in every great game, but SoE combines that with giving you a vast number of potential actions that you can do every turn. This is great… but also one of its problems.

That’s not to say that the criticism is entirely unfounded. I don’t agree that there is “not enough there” - IMO, it’s a very deep game, but it is one of those games that take a long time if any of the players are new, even if the game flows quickly. The play time difference between an experienced group and one with any new players can easily be several hours. It is really hard for new players, because - as mentioned - you have such a huge array of possible actions at any one time (especially in the beginning) and the tactical situation keeps changing. This is a dangerous game to play for anyone prone to analysis-paralysis. And this can be a problem, because a game for 5-7 (I prefer 5 players as the optimum) tends to always include one or two newbies unless you have a very stable game group…

The original rules - although only 4 pages - were also bad. Presumably the new edition uses the improved rules written by a fan. Judging by the KS; it seems the new rules will fix most of the gripes people have with the old rules.

Didn’t know this was getting a new edition - definitely considering getting it, even though I don’t have many opportunities to bring it to the table.

A friend has the original version, and we pkay it every couple of years. I enjoy a lot of the mechanics, but in our experience it is one of the games where a third of the players will be out of the running after the game is one third over, and still have to duke it out.

Just wanted to say “thanks!” to all the people here who recommended Concordia as a game for me to introduce to some guests staying for the weekend. It didn’t get pulled out during that gathering, but it did last weekend when two other friends came to visit. It’s surprisingly interesting for a game with four pages of rules and pretty conventional mechanics. I called it a worker placement game, only to have @tomchick have a minor conniption and be all like “just because you pick up and PLACE WORKERS doesn’t make the game WORKER PLACEMENT! Ooooh, I am SO MAD!! Arrrgh!! I’m RAGING right now!!!” So I amended my classification to “point salad” and everything was all right. Our friend @Erik won by doing a bunch of stuff right and then also collecting exactly the right combination of cards at the end to maximize his multipliers. I really liked it, even though it is probably the very definition of “Euro.” It even kind of takes place in Euro. Crazy, huh? Anyway, thanks to @Nightgaunt, @porousnapkin, and @Jorn_Weines for firsting, seconding, and thirding this game. I honestly would never have bought this on my own, but three separate recommendations did the trick. You guys know of what you speak!

We three also played Champions of Midgard, which I quite enjoyed, and Tom and I got in a game of Brass: Birmingham, which I had played before but really liked as well. You know what I’m not sure is such a good game? Champions of Hara, simply because I’m not sure it’s balanced for what it is supposed to do. Although you might say, “Bruce, you can’t balance things that actually happened, because that wouldn’t be historically accurate!” To which I would say, I think someone needs to do more research on what really happened in the world of Champions of Hara.

P.S. Going back to the first gathering where I linked the podcast, we recorded part 2 where we just talked about Pericles. I don’t know when it is going to be posted because I’m not in charge.

I liked Concordia a lot, but it’s one of those games where a mandatory part of the learning process is soldiering through that first game with no idea what you’re doing, only to have a series of “a-ha!” moments as you go. I might end up having to get my own copy of it. I can see why it’s so highly rated.

It depends on what you mean by “what it’s supposed to do”. We played a single character each, without any of the Corrupted, in what was supposed to be a team scenario. So if you feel Champions of Hara is supposed to be a 1v1 arena game, I’d agree it might not be balanced for that. But I don’t think that’s really what the game’s design is getting at.

Also, it’s your own fault that my character just beat up your character instead of trying to win by the scenario goals. You stole my Dreamstone! What was I supposed to do?


You mean we were supposed to use this thing? I just thought it was a Christmas tree ornament!

On another topic, has anyone seen this boardgame art for sale? Some of it is actually … not bad.

If there were a Mage Knight poster available, I would ironically put it up in my office.


Splitting this into the board game thread. Have you ever tried 7 Ages?

This board game basically does that. It is sort of a mess, and has a lot of rough edges. And it is it is meaty, fiddly, chaotic, and frustrating. They were working on a digital version, but decided to abandon it.

Not sure it is a game I would recommend in general, but it is definitively an experience that is fun to subject oneself to every couple of years.

I have not! My boardgaming is very much curtailed these days…

Somewhat related, board game designer Cole Wehrle recently posted a Twitter thread reflecting on how games represent the sweep of history. (This post is from the middle of the thread – click through for the whole thing.)

Thanks for the link. As a historian, I am quite interested in how games use history, so that is right up my alley.

A few other games use this mechanic as well: Small World (previous Vinci), History of the World. I’ll have to look into 7 days.

This is one of my pet peeves: people talking about what games are like without ever having played them; and equating “gameplay” with “first time playing the game.”

From the recent BoardGameCo marketing email:

If you’re playing Twilight Struggle for 4 hours you’re doing something extremely wrong (or suffer from intense analysis paralysis).

Also, there is always the honourable thing to do in every board game, and that is to forfeit. No need to drag stuff out.

Sorry for self promotion, but if anyone is interested I managed to get 10 copies of Set A Watch Deluxe (kickstarter edition) if anyone needs one. Carry on.

If someone is clearly winning Twiligh Struggle, guess what? They win. When it starts to look that bad for one side usually a knockout isn’t too far off. Otherwise I’ve seen some dramatic turnarounds. It’s called Twilight Struggle not Twilight let’s both have fun doing our own thing and compare notes at the end.

I don’t really mean to sound that angry but even with the randomness of the card draws skill really seems to matter there and a strong player will definately move towards a victory pretty quickly against a much weaker one. Luck will only get you so far.

I’ve had games go 6-8 hours.


I hope it was due to excessive drinking.