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July 30, 2021
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Michael Barnes
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Play Matt: Klask Review

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July 29, 2021
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July 22, 2021
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Fight for the Forest in Root

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11 Jun 2021 08:43 #323887 by Erik Twice
Since Netrunner and L5R were cancelled I've been looking for a replacement, with no luck. I decided to write an article about it, hoping for people to jump in any make some suggestions. What do you think?

My search for a new customizable card game
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11 Jun 2021 09:03 #323891 by charlest
You mention it briefly in your article, but Vampire Rivals from Renegade is pretty good.

I've only played it just a little thus far, but it modernizes some of the concepts in VTES and severely cuts down on playtime. However, I think VTES is the better game and Rivals isn't completely smooth in my opinion.

Not sure if it will ever be distributed in Spanish but that issue, along with an unknown whether a community will form are probably deal breakers.
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11 Jun 2021 09:39 #323897 by Erik Twice

charlest wrote: Not sure if it will ever be distributed in Spanish but that issue, along with an unknown whether a community will form are probably deal breakers.

They are. I just don't think I'll have people to play with, which renders everything else moot.

I read what you said about Rivals and I've also heard positive thoughts elsewhere, but you all agree that VTES is the better game of the two. So far I haven't seen any traction for it and Spain has one of the strongest VTES communities so I don't see it getting very far. I can't even find it in stores and google search for "Comprar Vampire Rivals" gives very few results. I don't see the game gaining any ground here.

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11 Jun 2021 09:54 #323900 by charlest
VTES feels like a very full and weighty experience to me. It's a noteworthy play that's worth reflecting on and chatting about. It has an epic feel to it due to the arc and that length. There's lots of back and forth and interesting dynamics.

You can't really cut that down to 30 minutes and hope the best parts survive.

It would be like cutting TI4 down to 90 minutes. Something is lost there no matter strong of a job you do. Just because you will end up playing the 90 game more often does not make it the better game.

But my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt here, as I've only just discovered VTES this year and played only four games of it.
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11 Jun 2021 18:20 #323921 by Erik Twice
There are many games that promise all the benefits of another in a smaller time frame but so far I've never found any that are worth playing over the original.

I've noticed is that VTES is actually quite focused. It's clunky, sure, but you actually spend very little time doing actions that don't affect other players. Most of the playtime is spent in combat, voting ot blocking and the game is shorter in either turns or actions than it might appear at first glance. It's very hard to streamline it further than that. While it might not be "acceptable", player elimination is such a huge part of the play dynamics that the game doesn't work without it.

Like you say, there's a real arc to the game. How the board starts being developed, how dynamics become entrenched and then subverted. And when a player falls, the game gets into this accelerated spiral that is really unique. I also agree it's a very meaty experience. To me it's unique in that it's one of the few games combining multiplayer combat, diplomacy and development. I can count the number of games that do that successfully in one hand.
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11 Jun 2021 21:59 #323923 by Jackwraith

charlest wrote: You mention it briefly in your article, but Vampire Rivals from Renegade is pretty good.

I've only played it just a little thus far, but it modernizes some of the concepts in VTES and severely cuts down on playtime. However, I think VTES is the better game and Rivals isn't completely smooth in my opinion.


Review copy showed up today and I just finished reading the rules. Wow. They really could have used another couple summary pages for the rulebook just to highlight terminology (Burn, Retainer, etc.) and remind players of some important rules embedded in the lengthy text (Discard X cards for +1 Intel each.) On the one hand, I appreciate that each clan has their own particular focus (titles, schemes, different types of attacks), but I'm wondering just how impaired each of those becomes by either a bad draw or by not facing the right clan. Obviously, Ventrue is focused on titles and those cards give them advantages at no cost; just by existing. But it seems important to have Brujah around to stymie them by attacking a clan that has more titles than reactions/defense. If it's a Ventrue vs Malkavians games, are the latter disadvantaged by not being able to slow down the former as adeptly? Guess I should play a few games and find out.

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16 Jun 2021 13:27 #324020 by charlest
Since the game is intended to be multiplayer (two player was disappointing IMO and didn't fully utilize several of the mechanisms), I think any matchup issues would be minor at best. It doesn't feel like any clan needs one specific opponent to succeed.



I had put off writing my top games of 2020 list for awhile. Mostly because there were a couple I needed to catchup on before proceeding (notably Dwellings of Eldervale and Dune: Imperium). I published my list today: playerelimination.com/2021/06/16/theels-feels-a-2020-top-10/
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21 Jun 2021 10:04 - 21 Jun 2021 10:05 #324122 by charlest
I feel like discussing it subverts the performative aspect, but my first article on Oath is up: playerelimination.com/2021/06/21/the-oat...-entry-23-story-now/

I was very conflicted with how to write about this game. How do you write about something when Dan Thurot has already covered it twice in the way Dan does, Andi Lennon has written something more beautiful than you could achieve, and Gary Sax has delved deeper than you could ever hope to.

I half convinced myself that I shouldn't write about it. The very act, and repeating what others had already observed, felt superfluous and mechanical. The very opposite of Oath's spirit.

I finally settled on an experimental format I was pleased enough with I suppose. Since I strongly believe the chronicle aspect of Oath is its soul, I figured my writings on Oath would be contained in a chronicle format. But if I'm going to write thousands and thousands of words on this game - a game deserving it by any sensible measure - I needed to break it up into chronicle entries.

So I plan more of these. Various observations, judgments, and quips presented as pages falling out of a larger work. A touch of stream of consciousness and a touch mad. I'm not reviewing Oath in a traditional sense, but others have done that. I've always enjoyed writing in more experimental ways and this is just a continuation of that.
Last edit: 21 Jun 2021 10:05 by charlest.
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22 Jun 2021 21:43 #324160 by Andi Lennon
I really enjoyed your Oath piece, it was a great angle well executed! My favourite articles to read are always the ones that stray from the usual review template and you nailed it.

There's been tonnes of games I've been afraid to touch for the same reasons. Pax Pamir 2nd is a great example. There's been so many great examinations of it (yours included) that any contribution I could make felt superfluous. You might have inspired me to take a crack at enunciating the appeal of Pax Viking though (spoiler: it's ace).
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22 Jun 2021 22:06 #324161 by Andi Lennon
I've made a bit of a rod for my own back with the titles I've been investing in lately. Blackbeard, Imperial Struggle, Paths of Glory and Cuba Libre don't lend themselves to a casual games night or pithy conversational piece. I'm probably looking at Pax Viking or Destinies for my next review, once I have a few more games under my belt. Possibly Spire's End? Floating World? I'm really intrigued by some of the forthcoming titles from Catastrophe Games such as Stonewall and Lonely Cairn. We'll see what comes of that. I'm looking forward to Pax Renaissance 2nd edition and there's probably quite the piece in that regarding the problems inherent in separation of art and artist given the wearisome Eklund factor.

There's also a swathe of RPG stuff I just don't have time to get to- I think being in the midst of putting out my own game has drained any blood from my desire to DM of late.

I should probably just stop procrastinating.
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23 Jun 2021 09:29 #324174 by charlest
Destinies is interesting and I plan on writing about it eventually. Really struggling to get more plays beyond the two I've had though, mainly due to the player count not going above three. Curious what your thoughts are on it.

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23 Jun 2021 19:16 #324191 by Andi Lennon
I've only played it once but it didn't wow me. All the QR code scanning made me feel like I was registering for contact tracing :) I plan on diving back into the campaign with a different group as I think (like most narrative adventure games) it's dependent on a more theatrical gathering. Even that couldn't save 'Forgotten Waters' though. I know you love it- that's why I bought it you swine! But I couldn't find a game in the box.

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23 Jun 2021 19:57 #324195 by charlest
Still love Forgotten Waters.

It's funny because Chronicles of Crime was a big miss for me because of the excessive QR scanning. Destinies reduces it somewhat by placing more emphasis on moving around and skill checks. This was very noticeable to me and it feels like the mixture is much better IMO.

I had one strong play of it and one much weaker.
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23 Jun 2021 23:06 #324200 by Andi Lennon
I definitely intend to give it another shake. We can debate the merits of Forgotten Waters another time :) Pax Viking review is up on my site now too.
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26 Jul 2021 15:22 #324939 by Erik Twice
Today I wrote a reply to Steigmaier's article on whether is it "unethical to pay the media" or not. In it, I not only explain the ethical requirements of game criticism but how those requirements are being broken today.

I feel this is the most important article I've written in a very long time. It represents a point of no-return for me. Hope you find it insightful:

Stegmaier asks "Is it unethical to pay the media?"
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