Dice Tower West – Positives & Negatives

I just recently returned from my first “big” con experience, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about it.

Yes, I’ve gone to SHUX (which is kinda big here in Vancouver), but that didn’t involve travel at all. I’ve also attended some smaller cons here in Vancouver as well as some down in Bellevue, Washington (Dragonflight and OrcaCon) and Bellingham, Washington (CascadeCon), but those are within driving distance.

Dice Tower West is the first con that was a “destination” con (it’s in Las Vegas, which means flying!) and I was really looking forward to going.

I’ve been a fan of the Dice Tower and the people involved for many years, so the idea of meeting some of them, and even gaming with them (!) was a real attraction. This, plus meeting some other people who haven’t gone to the other cons as well.

And I have to say that overall I had a blast!

But there were some negatives as well.

Las Vegas (the Strip, at least) is very glitzy and almost overwhelming. Everything there is designed to separate you from your wallet and I found that a bit off-putting. I’m obviously not the target audience, not being a gambler and not being interested in the shows and stuff for the most part.


But it was pretty.

Let’s go over the positives before I get to the rather large negative, though.

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Asmodee North America New Parts Replacement Policy

Let’s say you buy a game from somewhere. Anywhere, really. A friendly local game store, or Amazon, or even from a friend.

Then you open up the game and…oh my, there’s a piece missing! Or malformed! Or it broke when you tried to punch it out of the cardboard!

What do you do?

Usually, you contact the game company and they’ll just send you the piece or pieces.

Game companies are really good that way.

Well…not any more, at least where Asmodee USA is concerned.


They are implementing a new Parts Replacement Policy that is…shall we say, not as friendly as everybody else.

The basics (in case you can’t read that screen shot, my apologies if you can’t) are that instead of contacting Asmodee and getting the part replaced, you now have to ask the store to request a replacement from Asmodee. Asmodee will then ship them a new copy of it and you can exchange it for the defective copy.

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AEG Adjusts its Views on Expansions

I saw an interesting post on the Smash Up Facebook group the other day. It was a link to a post on the AEG (Alderac Entertainment Group) blog by CEO John Zinser regarding their policy on expansions in 2020 and beyond.

Last year, AEG made the pledge that they were going to publish fewer games and concentrate on quality instead. This was in addition to changing how they went about some of their sales plans: moving some game franchises to Kickstarter, etc.

AEG seemed to fall into the trap where every game was considered to have at least one expansion, even some games before the base game was published.

That’s not always a good thing.

To quote Zinser:

“I also understand that expansions were a big part of AEG’s business plan for many years. CCGs and RPGs are built to be expanded and that is often how the long tail money is made and also how you keep players engaged in those games.  As we transitioned into card games the expansions continued. Thunderstone, Smash-Up, and even Mystic Vale all IMO benefited from expansions.

We also tried to expand some games that did not need it like Fantahzee.”

I’ve never played Fantahzee, but it doesn’t sound like a game that needs an expansion.

Smash Up

I’m a man who loves expansions, though I understand that certain games don’t need one. For me, games like Mystic Vale and Smash Up thrive with a bunch of expansions because the games consist of a bunch of cards. Who wouldn’t mind more cards that do new and innovative things?

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Friday Night Shots – Negativity in Response to Reviews

Welcome to the first in what may be a series (or at least a semi-series) of Friday night posts that are at least partially inspired by Canadian Club whiskey (that we tend to drink on Friday nights).

Tonight’s topic is the idea of negativity in response to reviews.

My good friend (well, I consider us good friends, but I am at least an avid reader if nothing else) Dan Thurot recently tweeted about the extreme response he received to his very lukewarm (if not downright negative) review of Jamey Stegmaier’s Tapestry

He tweeted about a thread on Boardgame Geek about his review and the garbage fire that the thread became very quickly.

I’m not going to go into the details of the review or whether or not I disagree with it (though I don’t, for many of the same reasons my friend (actual friend, not just in my  mind) Katanan  mentioned on the BGG review post).

What I want to get into is why people who enjoy a game have to trash almost any negative review that comes out about that game.

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Why I Won’t be Buying Mobile Terraforming Mars

(Edit 3/28/20): I probably should have said that I did go ahead and buy the game a month or so ago. A little bit of peer pressure (a bunch of my friends wanted to play it) and a little bit of “Asmodee seems to be working to make the game better”

Nothing since then, though, and it could still use a lot of work.

They really need to fix the “have to choose the cards in turn order” thing, though. It’s incredibly annoying! And notifications still aren’t working, so we’ve resorted to a texting group to let people know when it’s their turn.

It’s a fun game but it could be so much better.

(Edit 12/10/19: Asmodee has released a patch on all platforms. 

TM Updates

Still no word on the other issues, especially the weird order of choosing cards, but this is definitely a start!

(Edit 12/6/19: Apparently Asmodee has responded to some negative iTunes reviews by saying they are working to make the asynchronous experience better. If they do, I will certainly report that here and maybe even buy the thing.)

Original post below

When Asmodee Digital announced that they would be producing an app for one of my favourite games, Terraforming Mars, I was ecstatic.

When it came out on Steam, I was reasonably happy but the game had some issues.

When the iOS beta opened up, I eagerly joined it. By this time, some of the issues had been addressed (the initial 15-day timer for online multiplayer games was horrible, but now they had added a 30 and 45-day timer which made asynchronous play a breeze).

I was pretty happy, though acknowledging that there were still issues that needed to be addressed.

Unfortunately, during the beta, developer Lucky Hammers closed their doors and Asmodee had to take over the app. I’m not sure if that’s the reason for the lack of improvements, but nothing major has really changed in the two updates (I think) that happened after Lucky Hammers was gone.

The app released on Wednesday, December 4, and it apparently still has all of these issues.

Terraforming Mars Mobile
It’s good to know what colour you are, but everybody else?

Terraforming Mars mobile is available for $11.99 CDN (I’m not sure what the US price is, but maybe $7.99 or $8.99?) on iOS and Android.

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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.


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)


Designer: Dan Blanchett

Artists: Mikhail Palamarchuk, Tony Sart

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