Boardgaming in 2019!

Oh, absolutely. I agree, it isn’t a good game, from a modern perspective. But it is absolutely fascinating. I’ve heard Western Legends is an open world boardgame with more modern systems, I’d like to try it out one day.

Tedium is being forced to do things that are not interesting or that detract from the goal of the game, and this game has that in spades. The most interesting thing, by far, in UBOOT is the navigation interaction with the app. Cool I am a submarine captain (or navigator, or something). Everything else feels like a way to take your attention away from that in the most annoying manner possible. You’re hunting a merchant – oh wait, the engine room is on fire. Which guys are the ones good at engines? Brown triangle guy I think. Where is he? [Squint around the 3D display to find the one guy that looks like all the other guys but his base is a brown plastic triangle.] Ok, move him back to the engine room. Whoops, shift change. Let’s move everyone around arbitrarily, take off tokens, and don’t forget to move four freaking guys up to the conning tower as observers. Every time we change shifts. I get that this is what happens on real submarines in bygone days, but so does seasickness and smelling people’s body odor, and you’ll forgive me if I don’t have that be part of my game, either. I mean, it’s solely my opinion, but that opinion is that a bad game design is one that introduces what feels like a lot of busywork in between the parts of the game that are naturally much more interesting. I’m lining up a shot on a merchantman, and hey, everyone needs to eat or the ship’s morale goes down, so one guy has to fix breakfast using a breakfast mini-game. No joke, I have to choose the eggs and then the next thing adjacent to but only adjacent to the eggs, but I always have to take the lemon (if there is lemon available) and it makes two-token or three-token breakfast, all while everyone waits. Now back to the (admittedly very interesting) plotting display! I spent much more time in the game wishing I was using the plotting display, thinking about how fun it would be to use the plotting display, and making “phoosh-phoosh!” torpedo noises with my mouth than actually using the plotting display to fire torpedoes and do other warfighty things that were not figuring out if the token for eggs was next to the token for potatoes. If that’s not tedium, then I’m writing a nasty note to Merriam-Webster.

Sorry, that became kind of a rant. Everyone is entitled to like the game. My friend who brought it likes it a lot, and I was glad to play it with him. I even enjoyed his enjoyment of the game, if that makes sense. But from a game design perspective, particularly the one that determines whether or not I happen to like a game, it has a lot of problems.

I know, I know. But I’ve been waiting for this game for 5 years. The rulebook seems ok at a first read, and at least some of the components seem beautiful.

It’s a gamble.

For your perusal.

Let the squawking begin!

“Broom Service?”

Here we go…


Not enough dimensions.


A few on that list I totally don’t get. A few I haven’t played. And a #1 pick that is indisputably correct, come at me bro

I know You like solitaire but that looks tedious and precarious. I can just imagine my pet or even my own clumsiness knocking that over mid game.

This is almost as bad as the IGN boardgame list.
I get some of these games, but I’m very curious what the criteria was to be on this list.

Good lord that list. Intentional click bait picks?

I’d love to see a Best/Disappointing/Surprising/Overrated article for board games.

Disappointing: Every Fantasy Flight game that had promise, but fell victim to their business approach.

Surprising: Cursed Court (competitive Craps meets Texas Hold’em)

Overrated: The Mind, Gloomhaven, Terraforming Mars, Root

I played Warcry yesterday, Games Workshop’s new fantasy skirmish game. Played three matches in a matter of hours, and had some fun. However, my overall impressions were kind of “meh”. It is a perfect example of modern GW game design – shorter games, simpler (more game-y) rules, but with a heavy dose of randomness. The games were almost too short, and it felt like there was not really enough time to make any kind of strategy or even respond to players actions effectively. Kill Team also had this problem, though I feel like a focus on ranger weapons gives the players a bit more flexibility.

I also played some Warlords games recently, including Black Powder and the new Black Seas. Black Powder is a really fun, relatively simple Napoleonic ruleset. However, it turns out that the rules are written for a huge 6’ x 10’ table (much bigger than ours) and so we cut all distances in half. The rules, though streamlined compare to other systems, still take some time to learn, but the game flows really smoothly once you do. Can’t wait to play this more in the upcoming months!

I also played a simple learning game of Black Seas. It’s a tall ship wargaming system that uses 1/600 miniatures. I think the basic rules that we used are a bit too simplistic, and that you need to incorporate some of the advanced rules to really add more fun to the game. Also, the wake marker that you put under the ship to mark it’s sail level is super fiddly, and I think we might track this another way in future games. The components that come with the starter set are also kind of disappointing, especially the card-stock “clips” that mark ship health. That said, I would really like to give this another play, especially once we can get more ships into play, since I think the simple rules will work better with larger fleets.

Some big site (can’t remember now but it may have been IGN) posted a christmas buyers guide and every game was an FFG buisness model game. It was just absurd.

Gift guides are almost always written to maximize Amazon affiliate income and SEO. I rarely take them seriously.

The author (singular) had played the game and liked it.

Well, sadly, it’s not a solitaire game. As for tedious, it depends. Meticulous, to be sure, as Academy Games mainly does wargames. But it’s also wacky with crazy powers and stuff blowing up and cool character abilities and units jumping around in and out of windows and over alleys. It’s also very well paced and chock full of interesting decisions.

As for precarious, I was worried, too. Turns out it’s surprisingly solid. Some really good workmanship in terms of how the multileveled stuff stands firm. The posts screw into the posts beneath them. But to collapse buildings when they explode, you just lift the top floor off, unscrew the posts under it, and put the flipped over floor on its rubble side where the posts were. Voila, collapsing building. Now, urk, roll damage for anyone who was standing there.

However, getting our fat fumblefingers in there was another matter entirely. But the danger of knocking stuff over was negligible.


You can do that? Didn’t that mess anything up? I’m trying to wrap my head around this. You can’t just halve one of the gameplay systems, can you?

It never ceases to disappoint me how many games expect you to play several sessions with gimped rules because they’re worried about scaring people off with too much complexity. Hiding significant parts of your design behind the claim of “advanced rules” is such a cop out.