Deciding on Buying a Game – Crystal Palace

One of the things about us gamers are that, yes I know it may sound strange to you, we all like to buy games.

Some much more than others!  But even those who are successful in curbing their game buying (or acquiring them in some other manner) still like to buy them. I’m sure they do get at least a little bit of a thrill when they pick up a new game, undo the shrinkwrap, open it (and sniff that new game freshness!!!!), and start punching counters.

I’ve gone through long periods where I’ve successfully fought that urge, and then some periods like recently where I totally succumbed.

Something I’ve never really thought deeply about, though, is how we make these game-buying decisions. It’s not always just a basic “oh, that game looks cool” or “I’ve played this before and want it in my collection” thought process.

Sometimes it’s back and forth like a point in a Bianca Andreescu tennis match (and welcome to all of you who came here after Googling her name! Stay for the boardgame content, please! We have cookies.)

I recently received a newsletter email from Capstone Games, and in it was mentioned a new game coming out in November called Crystal Palace.

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It’s a game designed by Carsten Lauber about the World’s Fair in 1851 London.

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Birthday Post – 4 Games I’m Looking Forward To

It’s my birthday!

Yes, I’m turning the big 49 today, and in celebration, I’m going to tell you the 49 games I’m really anticipating over the next few months.

Ok, no. I’m not that much of a masochist.

Instead, the number 4 is part of 49, so here are four games that I really can’t wait to get to the table this Fall.

1) Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein (Plaid Hat Games)

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Designer: Dan Blanchett

Artists: Mikhail Palamarchuk, Tony Sart

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Preview Playthroughs Harming a Game?

Ok, it’s Friday night and I’ve had a bit to drink, so I thought I would opine on something that I’ve seen over the last couple of days (hopefully in a non-offensive manner).

I watched the Dice Tower “Testing Tuesday” playthrough of Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein by Plaid Hat Games (designed by Dan Blanchett with art by Mikhail Palamarchuk and Tony Sart).

I’ve been anxiously awaiting this game since I saw the awesome “how to play” from Girls Game Shelf and all of the accolades on Twitter from people like Meeple Lady (an awesome follow on Twitter if you aren’t already). It’s sitting in a pre-order right now, and apparently Plaid Hat has said that there’s been a production delay and it may be a month or longer before it’s available via retail (NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Anyway, Tom, Sam, and Zee played the game, and it’s clear that this is not their type of game. It’s too macabre, and it is longer than the box says that it is (numerous complaints have been made about that, so much so that Plaid Hat has said they may be releasing a variant that will quicken play soon).

While Tom kept on insisting that he did like the game, but it’s just too long (as the game play time rose to 3+ hours and then to 4), it was clear that they weren’t having that much fun with it.

Since I haven’t played it, I obviously can’t comment on the play time and whether it harms the game. And I can’t comment on whether the game is fun, though it does look great from what I’ve seen.

However, to me this video gave a disservice to the game that I’m not sure is warranted. They were playing slow as it was (cracking jokes, making fun of things in the game like you are wont to do if you aren’t necessarily enjoying it) and I could see why it was dragging to the 4 hour mark.

Others have been raving about the game, and it’s very possible that a review from the Dice Tower (I don’t know who would do it) would be a positive review but talking about some of the faults that they found in the game during the playthrough.

What bothered me was that there were people in the chat talking about how they had been looking forward to the game, but watching this video had shown them that the game was too long and boring to actually get.

How many sales did this cost Plaid Hat?

I don’t know, but I do know that the general feeling about the game in chat was negative.

The video didn’t turn me off of the game. In fact (and maybe this is the alcohol talking right now), it made me determined to show that the game is good despite their experience in the game.

But it brought to mind something that I hadn’t really thought about.

Are these types of videos detrimental to games?

I’m not talking about playthroughs in general.

The Heavy Cardboard stream of Planet Steam was amazing to watch. They seemed to be enjoying it but at the end, the general feeling about the game was “eh.”

And that’s fine! It’s an older game for one (so maybe it wasn’t as bad), but the playthrough itself was entertaining and they saved the negative opinions about the game until they were actually done.

I just think some of these videos that come out prior to an actual review can be unfairly detrimental to a game when really there could be any number of reasons for the bad experience. Maybe they got rules wrong? I can’t say that’s what happened this time, but it’s possible for this or future videos.

I think they played a couple of rules wrong, but this was also just a first play of the game.  They had to consult the rulebook at some point, which also slows things down.

There’s no way to know whether it would grow on them or not (their feelings about the theme in general makes me think that it won’t change in this particular case).

I haven’t watched any of the other “Playtest Tuesday” videos, so I don’t know if it’s an ongoing problem with them or not.

But this one stuck in my craw.

Who knows? When I finally get the game, maybe my opinion will be similar to theirs.

But to me, it’s sad that so many people’s opinions were seemingly shaped by what might be a subpar gameplay experience by three prominent personalities in the games industry.

I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

What do you think?

Let me know in the comments.

Lorenzo Il Magnifico Digital on Kickstarter Now

One of the popular games in the last couple of years has been Lorenzo Il Magnifico, a game about, well, an Italian guy named Lorenzo in Renaissance Italy. (Amazing how that works).

The game, designed by Flaminia Brasini, Virginio Gigli, and Simone Luciani, came out in 2016 and was published by Cranio Creations (published in North America by CMON, I think?).

And now it’s coming to digital (Steam, at least) with a Kickstarter that opened a few days ago and has already funded 10 times over. The Steam version has been developed by Cranio Creations (so they’re keeping it in-house).

Having never played the board game (though I’m hoping to rectify that soon), let’s blurb this thing!

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From the Kickstarter page

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An Open Letter to Stronghold Games

(Edit: A resolution has been reached!)

(Original post below)


It’s all over.

For now.

Yesterday, Stronghold Games pulled the Kickstarter for the new Aftershock game after it had fully funded.

According to company president Stephen Buonocore, this was because:

“the Deluxe Edition upgrades (and their associated costs) weren’t resonating with as many people as we had hoped.”

No mention of the naming controversy at all, though I do know at least a few of the original commenters who had pulled their pledges did so after hearing about it.

I’m sure he’s right, though, that the response to the deluxe items and such was very muted as well.

I’d like to post an open letter to Stronghold Games that I hope somebody will forward to them (since I’m still blocked on Twitter). I’d like to get back to the Stronghold Games that we all know and love.

I’m addressing it to Mr. Buonocore as well as Stronghold staff because we really don’t know where the “block” directive came from (though it’s likely, I’m being open-minded)

Here we go.


Continue reading “An Open Letter to Stronghold Games”

Stronghold Games Continuing Aftershock Twitter Tantrum

(Edit: The Aftershock Kickstarter campaign has been cancelled. Apparently due to the quiet response to some of the “deluxe” things they were offering. Nothing about this controversy, but I thought I would update you on that part at least.)

(2nd Edit: I’ve since posted an open letter to Stronghold Games suggesting that they do the right thing and end the Twitter silencing, as well as address the naming controversy.)

(3rd edit, in case you find this post first. A resolution has been reached!)

(Original post below)

I love Stronghold Games. I really do. (Look, I even still linked to their site).

I have nothing against them. In fact, I love many of their games (two have already appeared on my Top 25 Games Played ever, and there will be more, and sorry the Top 15 hasn’t shown up yet, but I’ve been sick).

From everything I’ve heard, and from people who I also like and respect, Stephen Buonocore is a great guy. One of these days, I’d love to go to a con and get a pic of him kissing me on the cheek like he has so many others.

Which is why I am completely mystified at what they’ve been doing on Twitter over the last few days.

Stronghold Games Block

What could have justified this?

Let’s tell a story.

Continue reading “Stronghold Games Continuing Aftershock Twitter Tantrum”

Boardgame Apps – Asynchronous Play Revisited

I’m a big fan of boardgame apps, either on mobile or on Steam. I love being able to play Ascension with buddies from all over the country and the world.

For the most part, to do that requires asynchronous online multiplayer because it is almost impossible to coordinate schedules with friends when time zones are involved. This is especially true with longer, more complicated games. (For those of you who don’t know, “asynchronous multiplayer” basically means that you log into the game, take your turn, and then leave again. Your opponent(s) can take their turn at their convenience, though most of the time there are timers involved to make sure they don’t disappear).

While my stance hasn’t changed on that requirement in a good boardgame app, it has become a bit more nuanced.

Morels - Night mushroom

I recently reviewed the great new card game app Morels by Mossbark Games and complimented them on including async multiplayer in the game.

After that, Dave over at the illustrious Stately Play site posted his review. (ha! First!)

In it, he said the following:

“I find that the game is far less rewarding when playing asynchronously than in real time. The short turns combined with long waits deadens a bit of the joy, but if you can manage to both log on together (with a friend at, I don’t know, your kid’s holiday concert) and play in real time, I guarantee you won’t only play once.”

A minor discussion ensued on the discussion board, and it made me think.

Should I adjust my thinking on asynchronous play?

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