Articles Analysis The Age of Reprints
 

The Age of Reprints The Age of Reprints Hot

The Age of Reprints

Last fall there was a little dust-up in the gaming world. Stronghold Games announced that they had received the rights from the designer for Merchant of Venus, the classic Avalon Hill title. The reprint was going to be true to the original release, with top-of-the-line components and artwork. Then there was a little wrinkle: Fantasy Flight Games announced that they had received the rights from Hasbro, who now owns Avalon Hill. Essentially, two different companies claimed to have the rights to print the same game.

This is still being resolved somehow, and I'm not here to speculate about when the reprint will come, and from whom. But the dialog that followed the conflicting announcement fascinated me. The fans of the original game exchanged words about who would do a better job of the reprint. This came in equal measures from fans of each company, and a little from people who didn't like one or the other. Stronghold is a newer publisher, but their reprints like Survive and Outpost have been well-received. Both of those releases altered very little about the original titles, and what was altered was made entirely optional. Fantasy Flight, on the other hand, has a reputation for altering the games that they reprint. They don't do it consistently, and when they do it can have mixed results. But they are also responsible for some really great updates to old games. Arkham Horror and Fury of Dracula are both terrific reprints with extensive changes, and in the case of Arkham Horror the game was basically redesigned from the ground up. Words were said, threads were locked, and I can only assume that blood was spilled. In my head, I like to imagine a confrontation involving dancing and switchblades, a la West Side Story.

It begs the question: what makes a good reprint? It's appropriate now, not only because of the Merchant of Venus fracas, but because we are living in an age of reprints. It feels like a month hardly passes when we don't get some announcement regarding an old out-of-print classic that is now getting some kind of super-double-secret-ultra edition. And then the game comes out, and everyone goes over it with a fine-toothed comb to see how it compares to previous editions. In a best case scenario, the game will please both fans of the original and new players alike. This was the case with Cosmic Encounter, which Fantasy Flight has done up very well. Other games like Talisman and Survive have been successful in this regard.

And then you have those games that just land with a dull thud. I think back to Valley Games reprint of Titan, which was much heralded in 2008. But soon after the game was largely in the bargain bin. Titan is an extreme example of course. It's not really the kind of game that gets made at all any more. It's got the two-headed monster that frequently scares off modern gamers: player elimination and a long playtime. Aside from that, it's just a demanding game, and doubtless several people who had heard about the game and looked forward to its release were then disappointed and even repulsed by the old-fashioned nature of the game.

I don't mean to pick on Titan, which from my limited experience I actually enjoy. My understanding is most fans were pleased with the new version. But it does show a real problem that many reprints will face. Sometimes the world just passes by an old game. There are exceptions to this, but game design has changed drastically even in the last 15 years. A game from 1980 faces an uphill climb out the gate. And gamers aren't exactly known for their long memories. The entirety of the Top 10 on Boardgame Geek comes from the past 10 years. Most board gamers are too busy horking down new games to appreciate our roots at all.

In light of that, what's a publisher to do with a reprint? Do you change nothing at all? Some games will be successful just on their own strengths, but a publisher can never be sure of that. So it's understandable that a publisher would make little tweaks here and there. Maybe a little shortening of the game here, a little updated mechanic there. Such changes may infuriate the old guard, but odds are they already own the game anyway. If the game is updated well enough, it could be a big hit. That happened with Arkham Horror to such an extent that barely anyone remembers or even cares about the old Chaosium game from the 1980s.

There seems to be increased scrutiny regarding such changes these days as well. I confess, this mystifies me a little. It feels like it's more because the internet just likes to obsess over stuff than any real interest in the original. Alterations in reprints are nothing new, and several classics have seen many drastic changes come and go over the years. This might create some friendly debate on either side of the aisle, as is the case with Fury of Dracula. But it's rarely a deal-breaker for the company, who has a talked-about game that is successful enough to stay in print regularly.

So what makes an unsuccessful reprint? I don't mean a game that isn't fun, but rather one that fails as a reprint. The one that immediately comes to mind is Fantasy Flight's reprint of DungeonQuest. They recast the game in their proprietary Terrinoth universe and added a completely revamped combat system. The old fans cried foul over the changes, as is understandable. And because the game was positioned alongside much more serious games like Descent and Runewars, fans of those games were a little mystified with the relentlessly goofy DungeonQuest. The game landed with a muffled thud, and has been largely passed by.

Let me be clear: I love FFG's DungeonQuest. It's become one of my favorite fantasy games, actually. But it points to what can make a reprint fail. If you ask me, I don't know if FFG ever really believed in the game that they were printing. It's almost like they printed the game out of obligation rather than affection. Many people (such as myself) liked the new elements, but they did show a lack of basic confidence in the product they were selling. Compare this to their treatment of Talisman, which is now coming up on its seventh expansion. The gameplay there was only updated in small ways, even while modern gamers insisted the game was past it's prime. It seems pretty clear to me: they understood the appeal of Talisman, but never really bought into DungeonQuest. The best reprints come with the full support of the publisher, changes or not. They are given fresh content periodically, and are actively introduced to new gamers.

Reprints are a valuable thing in the hobby. New players want a sense that they are connecting with our shared history as board gamers, and old players want to show to people what it was all about. That can be accomplished whether the original game has been altered or not, but the company needs to be totally committed to the idea that their game has always been great, and will continue to be great in the future.

I got that image from Boardgamegeek.com, user Acid4Blood.



Nate Owens is a frequent contributor to Fortress: Ameritrash. He is also living the glamorous life of a board game essayist through his blog, The Rumpus Room.

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Comments (64)
  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    "What makes a good reprint?"

    Simple: Don't ruin what made the game great before by fiddling with the rules to "modernize" them. Best example of the model for all reprints to follow: Survive! Escape from Atlantis.

  • avatarJonJacob

    I like it best when the original is in tact but they also allow for changes. Nexus Ops, muddy graphics adise, was an ideal re-print. Everything that made it great and some alternate stuff plus the hope for expansions. Not that the game needs them but many players want them and they set up it up so that could be done. That's a great model that lets the company play with the original design and still please the old fans by leaving enough of it alone that it can be played traditionally. Survive and Cosmic got it right too. It's really not that difficult to see what the public wants from these but one thing can make it tricky.

    FFG saw great success with Arkham, the kind of success rarely seen in this industry and every time they get a new game to re-print you can just tell that someone in an office somewhere is saying... "hey, this might be even more successfull if we make it our own and leave the original mechanics out of the game enitrely... look at Arkham" and that inspires them to play with the design and not sell the original game. Fury of Dracula is a smilar situation. So from a companies perspective it's not a done deal. Either system could work and I can see why they thought playing with Dungeon Quest was a good idea, they did it successfully before. Why not this time?

  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    Pete, I see what you're saying and I mostly agree. But almost no reprint passes without some alteration to the original rules. Look at what Mayfair did to Cosmic Encounter, when they said that flares were supposed to be discarded. If that were done today they would be strung up on the nearest forum, but the Mayfair edition has many people who love it because they grew up with it.

    But I also wonder if the Arkham Horror model allows for some really cool stuff to happen. It's one thing to just have a reprint, but I'm fascinated by the full-blown re-imagining that can be done. Almost no one attempts that, but I think it could yield some really compelling results.

    Of course, that depends on whether or not you really buy that games exist as an artistic medium. I think more people believe this than we think, because we basically buy into auteur theory with designers. So a new designer could really impose his vision on an older game and make something special.

  • avatarsgosaric
    Quote:
    If you ask me, I don't know if FFG ever really believed in the game that they were printing.

    This.
    And it's not their last case of this either.

    My greatest gripe, doesn't even have anything to do with the game part of the reprint, but the lack of respect for the original's attitude and graphic design which made it so special which for me translates as the lack of respect to the whole game that was "reprinted" (pimped up literally). I'm talking about a game that's been on top of my wishlist for two years of more, but second hand copies are hard to come by on this side of the pond (and I don't shop online): Nexus Ops. BAHOTH gave me hope, but after I head FFG reprinting, it my heart just fell. It didn't sound good. And after I've seen a result I'm resignated on my worse days and want to come to my FLGS and jump and stomp on its box on my best days. In short: It's ugly. Discoustingly ugly. I'm sure that it's great if you're a 13-16 y.o. male boy with a bad self esteem and want to make an impression (mostly on yourself) that you're cool and awesum and that your testosterone levels are as high as those guys and monsters (s)creaming on the cover. A pity because if FFG went with a style they did for Cosmic Encounter or Wiz Wars I'm sure it would be much more appropriate to the original game. The best guess is exactly: they just didn't care. Both CE and WIZWARS are hugely respected classics and the backlash would be enormous if they'd fucked these up. Nexus Ops (or even Dungeonquest) are a newer classics with less fame and fans to count on, Nexus Ops is even fairly recent design, so there's not a lot to update. You might say they adapted it to newer "radical" "gritty" times, but look at the tile and you'll realise they just didn't care.
    Puberty passes, but minimalism is eternal.

    ------------------------------------------------
    Now I've vented, I can comment on the topic as well.

    In essence I again want to repeat the point: if you do a reprint or redesign, care about it. Respect it. And don't throw away unique parts of the game just because your fanbase doesn't get them. Ok, I need to vent some more: with FFG I really feel their company's model is not the best one to attempt doping reprints: they seem like a enclosed circle with inhouse designers and their recent releases show a lack of second opinion or an outside judgement (especially in the graphic design department). What you want to do with a reprint of a classic is open to the community and let them be a part of it. (Having original designer on board does some of this as well).

    Ideally in the best of worlds a reprint would allow for playing the game as originally intended, with a separate variant to play a new improved version. The biggest question of doing a redesign is how do you know that your intended changes speak more about your habits and prejudice than the problems in the original design? If the design is counter intuitive to today's gamers, a good graphic design can also solve a lot of readability problems (FFG's CE is good example of this - they included the phases of the game on each artifact and alien, making it a player's aid as well).

    And the question is also: is a good reprint the one that sells? Should it sell? I'm not sure how much Faulkner sells these days, but I see no problem with a classic like Titan sitting on shelf, waiting for the right kind of gamer to pick it up and appreciate it for what it is.

  • avatarwadenels

    I just wish FFG would quit shoehorning things into their Terrinoth universe. It's an alright fantasy setting, but there isn't anything particularly endearing about it. I think their best reprints are the ones that have nothing to do with Terrinoth, e.g. Warrior Knights. On the other hand I really like the original The Fury of Dracula and would argue that FFG's new version is a very different game just as much as the new Arkham Horror is different from the old.

    The article touches on the key point for reprinting old games: Is the old game really that good? When people get excited about reprints of old games they usually fall into two camps: The Nostalgic and The Inexperienced. The number of people who truly enjoy playing the old game but haven't managed to acquire it tends to be small. The Nostalgic have played the game, maybe even have it languishing on a shelf, and think it's great. Maybe it was at the time. However neither playing their old copy nor playing the reprint is guaranteed to let them relive the enjoyment they found playing the game all those years ago, but that won't stop them from singing it's praises. It's like remembering your first car: the car itself probably wasn't anything special, but the experience the car provided was. The Inexperienced haven't actually played the game, but feel that they MUST own it because The Nostalgic are so vocal about the game's praises. Some of them believe that it's some great travesty that they haven't experienced the glory of the ghosts of gaming's past, or some crap like that.

    Die Macher is a good example. It was out of print, expensive, and one of the best Euros ever (supposedly). Then Valley Games reprinted it, sold a few copies, and started bargain-binning the rest. I've played Die Macher, and it is an excellent game if you're interested in a very long Euro with player interaction that seriously affects the game state. But it isn't such a great game in today's market. The hardcore Euro camp that would play a game of this length doesn't want my crabby ass to force them into an alliance to damage their position for my own benefit. They don't want to bid on cards without having even the slightest idea of what the effects of it may be. Die Macher didn't sell as well as it was supposed to. But now Die Macher is out of print, getting more expensive, and one of the best Euros ever (supposedly), again. Rumours of another reprint in 2013.

  • avatarEgg Shen

    I don't think we will be seeing any reprints that are like Arkham Horror or Fury of Dracula any longer. The boardgame hobby was in a much different place back then...things have changed and their is a much more vocal presence online waiting to dissect every decision a company makes. Hell, FFG has become a much different company since then. They've since grown into one of the biggest boardgame companies in the hobby. They were probably under a lot less scrutiny back then.

    I think since Dungeon Quest reprints of popular games will stick more to the original game. Wiz War and Nexus Ops are prime examples of how reprints can be handled properly. If you're gonna tweak the game, give players the option of playing with the original rules. That way you can appease both purists, and those they want to see updated designs. Besides, if the game does well you can tinker with it in the expansion. DQ should have shipped with a generic fantasy setting and the original combat system. Then during one of the first expansions they could have introduced the card based combat mechanic. Gamers wouldn't be as hurt by something like that.

    I come from a different perspective as there hasn't yet been a reprint of game that was near and dear to me from my youth. Most of the time, I'm just happy to be able to own a copy of these hard to find games. Sometimes that makes it much easier to swallow changes to these games, because for me I don't have any personal nostalgia attached to them.

    Honestly, the only game that could be reprinted that would cause an outcry from me would be HeroQuest. I loved the game as a kid and its still one of my favorites. I'd like to see it back in print, but I could see myself being jaded towards any major rule changes. I would certainly get it and be open to stuff that might make it better, but it would be hard to change my mind.

  • avatarsgosaric  - re:
    wadenels wrote:
    1. I just wish FFG would quit shoehorning things into their Terrinoth universe.
    /.../
    2. The article touches on the key point for reprinting old games: Is the old game really that good? When people get excited about reprints of old games they usually fall into two camps: The Nostalgic and The Inexperienced.
    /.../
    3. Die Macher is a good example. It was out of print, expensive, and one of the best Euros ever (supposedly).

    1. Heh. If you change the setting, do something original with it. As far as I can tell both Terrinoth and TI settings are fairly generic. In the lack of a better ideas or a hugely popular franchise just set it in the ancient Rome or Greece. The French have been doing it for years and itworked OK for them.

    2. The key to a reprint would be - how to find a way to guide the inexperienced towards the strong and unique points of original game, without butchering the original to fit their inexperience. Clean up rules, write them well, do a clean graphic design and so on. Secondary challenge: if some things really were not the best, can you change them without annoying the nostalgics (and of course ruining what the game does). In short: analyse the game you're reprinting. See what makes it unique and preserve that at all costs. Find a way for other people to appreciate it as well (by making it accessible).

    3. But it sold out? What's the problem then? There is a zillion of cultural artifacts that are not hugely popular, but they will constantly sell because they are classics. It's not a failure, it just follows a different logic and publisher should adapt their expectations accordingly. Maybe print on demand would work best with those, once applicable to boargames.

  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    As far as Die Macher, the Valley Games reprint was pretty homely. The graphics were actually less usable than the German version, and that's no good. VG has gotten really good at reprint graphics, but Die Macher looked ugly.

    But I'd get a reprint of that. It's a great game.

  • avatarSagrilarus  - re:
    sgosaric wrote:
    but I see no problem with a classic like Titan sitting on shelf, waiting for the right kind of gamer to pick it up and appreciate it for what it is.

    That's a problem to someone that has a $35,000 investment sitting in a warehouse that they pay $2500 a month to rent.

    Published board games need to address the needs of every person in the chain of ownership: printer, shipper, publisher, wholesaler, retailer, consumer. Like it or not the game needs to move in a short period of time. It's just part of the reality of the business.

    S.

  • avatarsgosaric  - re:
    JonJacob wrote:
    1. Nexus Ops, muddy graphics adise, was an ideal re-print.

    2. FFG saw great success with Arkham, the kind of success rarely seen in this industry and every time they get a new game to re-print you can just tell that someone in an office somewhere is saying... "hey, this might be even more successfull if we make it our own and leave the original mechanics out of the game enitrely... look at Arkham" and that inspires them to play with the design and not sell the original game. Fury of Dracula is a smilar situation. So from a companies perspective it's not a done deal. Either system could work and I can see why they thought playing with Dungeon Quest was a good idea, they did it successfully before. Why not this time?

    1. I envy your tolerance to bad graphic design. I struggle each time when I see the box not to throw it on the floor and destroy it to pieces. (I'll stop now). Coming to terms with the situation, I'll try to make my self a PnP redesign (Paleolitic Ops by kwanchei)

    2. It's a problem of companies where somebody in charge has too much success and feels like they don't need a second opinion or it's just too closed a circle and they forget they'd need a second opinion. In short: if the reprint is more about the company reprinting it than the game itself, there's something wrong. Also: there are fans out there - talk to them.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    I guess I should've qualified my statement:

    Either leave it alone, don't modernize it, or COMPLETELY rehash it a la Arkham.

    The Terrinothizing of things is a lame idea, and furthermore, trying to fit more modern, complex combat mechanics into a Games Workshop game like Dungeon Quest, that was meant to be fast and simple, was just a stupid move.

    But cleaning house isn't alaways a bad thing. Bad tile quality aside, Wizards did well with the Betrayal reprint by refining it. Axis and Allies is a whole new creature now that it's been "theater-ized" instead of the old global map from the GameMaster days, although I partially feel that's just one big money grab. But it made it more playable and more viable by people that don't have 16 hours to re-fight World War 2.

  • avatarDukeofChutney

    But is Stronghold games Outpost a good reprint? I haven't played it, and probably wont, but it's been panned by the critics and sits in piles in my local store because its a long 80s math game.

    Im generally in favour of rules updates, but with the option to play either the original game, or as close as possible with the components available.

    I look forward to MoV when it ships. I haven't played the original, but ive heard it's a rather unbalanced game (knowledge from the fort would be useful here), so part of me hopes it is updated in its design.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    I don't know how Merchant of Venus (original AH version) can be "unbalanced" when all players start with the same capabilities and materials and all opportunities are equally available. You do have the ability to pull away from the other players and some of that can be based on a lucky break or two, but I see that falling in the personal-preferences category.

    S.

  • avatarJeff White

    Whether I like the settings or not, I don't think FFG pushing their in-house IPs is a bad idea. It only strikes a sour chord when it's an older game that is re-branded.

    For DQ, I think the suggestion to add card combat and other bells and whistles in the expansions would have been the way to go. I've cooled on my dislike for the re-branding of DQ, with my main disappointment being that Phyll Madaxe was no longer the dwarf's name. Had they kept DQ more generic, they could have included Talisman character cards in the game instead of Terrinoth games (I guess they still could have). Keeping DQ and Talisman in the same stable would have been a nice nod to their heritage.

  • avatarJonJacob

    I don't mind the Terrinoth thing either. The only place it's incongruous is in Dungeon Quest and the original characters and setting are not so great that I would care. For the most part I think it's a good thing that FFG is creating a recognizable brand (generic or not) and sticking to their vision of what that brand should be. It's not what I would choose but then again why should it be? It's clearly popular but mostly I like the cross polinization. I was tempted to buy DQ after playing the new edition and part of that was the temptaion to get the hero cards for Runewars, so it's working. I like that pieces of one game can be used in a different game. Kind of like the GIPF series but for big trashy games. It's a cool idea and having a unique (cough, sort of) universe to call their own and bring properties to is something more companies should be looking into. That kind of cross polinization really helps bring the game world alive and give it a kind of depth and history that simply isn't possible in a stand alone title without a ton of expansions. But this allows you to do it across totally different games, which is much more interesting.

    It's unfortunate that here on F:AT people mostly just bitch about FFG branding and the Terrinoth world and so very rarely admit that it is a cool idea that no one else seems to be doing for boardgames right now. Not since GW have we seen this dedication to in game mythology... generic or not.

    ... and on that generic point. I really, really don't give a shit because the characters and setting in this universe are so generic that all of what defines Terrinoth is the games we've had there. The background story is a sketchy little bit of history at best, most of the events and character traits we've created ourselves. A generic template allows and encourages us to make the game our own.

  • NathanKC  - evolution not revolution

    To me a game should be allowed to get better over the course of more plays. Just like playing a song, the more you use it, the more it evolves to fit better with what your style is. In other words, consider play beyond publication more play testing.

    Therefore, making the assumption that a game is perfect the way it was originally published is somewhat wrong-headed.

    It really comes down to, what are the things that make a game what it is? Is it the original artwork? Is it the rules? Is it a specific mechanic? As long as that essential core for that particular game is intact the reprinting company should be allowed to finesse the rest, based on play testing. If they are doing their homework there, the end result should only be a better, more streamlined version of what they were originally working with.

    If you get too far away from the games core, call the new version what it is.. a revamp. Even further from the mark? a spin-off.

  • avatarubarose

    The original Arkham Horror wasn't a particularly great game, and by the time the new one came out, it had faded into relative obscurity. It was a kind of cheesy roll, move and avoid monsters. The primary strategy was have enough money to use the taxi. The only way they could have thrown the baby out with the bath water was to change the theme, setting or make it not be cooperative.

  • avatarJackwraith

    "Therefore, making the assumption that a game is perfect the way it was originally published is somewhat wrong-headed."

    This is absolutely correct. I think nostalgia plays too much of a role in people's assessment of reprints. While MBs frequent point about Rex/Dune is that the nostalgia for said game is part and parcel of its existence, I think there is a place to cut that loose and appreciate design changes for what they are.

    Talisman is a case in point. We had multiple house rules for our 2nd Ed. copy because there were too many instances where it either wasn't fun or was broken without them. The Chaos Warrior was banned because he was too powerful. The Prophetess was banned because she churned through the deck too quickly. We let people gain Craft in the same way as Strength because it was suicide for some characters to not gain in that fashion (especially with the Demon Lord as a potential ending.) We awarded a Talisman to anyone making it through the Dungeon because it was otherwise pointless to enter the place. All of these made the game better. None of them are "official". All of them could be an aspect of the new version (I haven't played it), which I think benefits from the changes that I know they've made (Fate) to a game so heavily reliant on dice.

    I think the issue with DQ is that the game itself is, in all honesty, not very good. It takes a particular mindset to play and is not something that I could throw down in front of my Euro-favoring friends like I could (and have) Chaos in the Old World and expect them to enjoy it. At all. You have to enjoy the concept of being killed at random and eliminated from the game. I think it's safe to say that that is likely a minority perspective among the boardgame community these days. GW had a lot of games like that. A lot of them were sloppily-designed, heavily randomized, and appealed to a particular audience. For all of the criticism leveled at FFG for their "closed circle" design approach, that's precisely what GW was for most of its existence. Only within the last 5 or 6 years have they bothered to listen to the fanbase on design issues and that's because they're now faced with stiff competition in their primary business. I don't think FFG is half so cloistered as GW was, since their response to the outcry over DQ was to reproduce the original combat rules in a free download, for example. GW would never have done such a thing until very recently.

    So, DQ is nostalgia writ large. I appreciate the very random nature of it and I'm willing to play. But I can understand why the vast majority of my two different groups do not or would not. In that respect, I don't really think that it's a valid representation of design updates. As for the Terrinoth setting: I love Runebound, generic or not. I think having the opportunity to get new characters for Descent, Runebound, and Runewars every time an expansion for DQ comes out (or vice-versa) is a FANTASTIC thing. And it's certainly a shrewd marketing move, as fans of one will naturally drift to the other.

  • avatarclockwirk

    The problem with reprinting a game is that you never really have a good idea what the market is for a reprint, especially if it's an older game. Game design has obviously changed a lot over the years and the publishers know this. Shorter and lighter games like Survive and Wiz-War are probably easier bets, but doing something like Die Macher or Titan seem much more risky to me. Sure, you've got a contingent of gamers who are really excited that it's coming out, but is it really a big enough market to support the time and money spent? How many gamers new to the hobby are going to be able to see past the archaic design to appreciate what the game is? They don't have nostalgia working for them in this case. Could be one of the reasons why Valley Games imploded, along with their moldy components/customer service/Graphic Design snafus. A lot of the die hard fans of the old games probably already have the old version, which means that you have to add to or change the game in some way to give them an incentive to buy it. Enter the Titan miniatures or the Generals for Hannibal, which might have worked better had VG not fucked it all up.

    I don't know how MoV will land in all of this. It does seem more accessible than something like Titan or Die Macher, but it is still a long game. My guess is that if Stronghold gets it, it will be more of a direct reprint but won't do as well as they hope. If FFG gets it, they'll AT LEAST add a bunch of stuff to it to try to push the sales. Hopefully they'll allow you to play the original game at least.

  • avatarSagrilarus
    Quote:
    The problem with reprinting a game is that you never really have a good idea what the market is for a reprint

    . . . and not changing the game in any way puts it in direct competition with the original printing in the community. By revising the game it puts existing fans and owners back into the potential sales market and obsolesces the original product for new buyers. This assumes you publish a better version of course.

    S.

  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    I've only played Merchant of Venus once, and I really liked it. But it did have those little 1980's touches will make it a hard sell to modern audiences, even though I find them charming. I don't think that it's untouchable by any stretch, so I would actually look forward to FFG's reprint more.

    I also feel this way about Kremlin, though that game doesn't have any apparent reprint in the works.

  • avatarubarose

    Not official, but I heard FFG has Merchant of Venus all sewn up, but Stronghold got Magic Realm.

  • avatardragonstout
    Quote:
    I don't know how Merchant of Venus (original AH version) can be "unbalanced" when all players start with the same capabilities and materials and all opportunities are equally available.

    "Balance" doesn't just refer to "each player has an equal chance to win", and in fact I think the conflating of the two has caused a lot of stupid disagreements over the years. Bad balance in this case refers to the balance between the options a player has, specifically that one ship is supposedly vastly superior to the rest, to the point where you can't win if you pick a different type of ship (supposedly, I haven't played the game). To my mind, that kind of in-game option imbalance is actually significantly less fun that pre-game player imbalance, so I think it's a reasonable complaint.

    Quote:
    As far as Die Macher, the Valley Games reprint was pretty homely. The graphics were actually less usable than the German version, and that's no good.

    Abso-fucking-lutely. To re-iterate: the version in a DIFFERENT LANGUAGE is easier for English-language speakers to play with. I traded my German Die Macher for Up Front + Banzai, which was a hell of a deal so I can't really complain, but if there's another reprint (with better graphics) I'd be up for buying it again.

    Quote:
    In a best case scenario, the game will please both fans of the original and new players alike. This was the case with Cosmic Encounter, which Fantasy Flight has done up very well.

    I know that Cosmic is largely considered the big reprint success for FFG, and relative to everything else I'd agree: in fact, it *might* even be the best Cosmic yet. But I've become increasingly disillusioned with the idea of it being the ultimate Cosmic edition, or even clearly the best. Shockingly, I think it has to do with this:

    Quote:
    If you ask me, I don't know if FFG ever really believed in the game that they were printing.

    I think Kevin Wilson very very much has some things that he loves about Cosmic, and other things that he doesn't like at all, and I think his big mistake is believing that because *he* doesn't like something, that that thing is unappealing to Cosmic's whole audience. Specifically: Kevin Wilson does not like the wildness of Cosmic. He thinks he likes it, and his Cosmic is still wild, but it is not WILD like the Eon version was. Look at the remaining aliens from Eon that have yet to be reprinted; notice a pattern? Look CLOSELY at the flare changes: by including "classic" versions of flares, he's convinced people that the flares have remained intact, but there are LOTS of flares with crazy abilities that were COMPLETELY dropped. Mark Rosewater, the lead Magic designer, acknowledges that people play Magic for many many different reasons, and some things people hate other people will love, and that he has to make cards that he himself doesn't like because parts of the audience will LOVE them. It would be *so damn easy* for FFG to include extra copies of the drastically changed parts, like they already do with one classic flare per box, for players who want to use them to have that option. He's gone on record as hating the Laser power; okay, that's fine. But that's no reason to completely withhold the Laser power, to me one of the key nostalgic powers, from ever being available.

    The new Cosmic is very much "Kevin Wilson's Cosmic Encounter", when some extra components with no playtesting required would allow BOTH Kevin Wilson's Cosmic and Future Pastimes' Cosmic to be in the box. The only reason not to do that is because he wants to have more control over what Cosmic you play, which is antithetical to the entire idea of Cosmic.

    Similarly, including a double-sided map in Fury of Dracula along with maybe 20 extra cards, and you could have played the original as a variant (this would have of course increased the price a bit).

    The FFG Cosmic is awesome because it is Cosmic, and that is the best board game of all time. But it could easily be much much better if Kevin would loosen up a bit on his control over your games.

  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    Andy, I wish that was on a forum post because I kept looking for a "thank you" button. Not so much because I agree with your assessment of Cosmic (it's the only version I know), but that you bring up such a great point that people loved old games for different reasons.

    Part of me wants to treat old games like old movies, which I mostly believe should only be updated for the sake of preservation. But the fact is, these are games. They are participatory. And sometimes updates NEED to be made.

    The problem is, everyone has different updates they want to make. Kevin Wilson has done a great job with Cosmic, but you're right that he's toned down some of the looney out of the original. His prerogative, and I think that the focus does the game well. It can't please everyone, so it might as well please him.

  • avatarEgg Shen

    I'll come out and say that I don't mind the Terrinoth setting. I like that FFG has their own Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Cyber-punk settings. While they aren't all that original or anything they help with the brand. You can look at a game see the name Rune-something, look at the artwork and know that it is a FFG product.

    I wish they didn't re-use the same artwork so much, but that has little to do with the actual setting. Also the cross promotional characters was a cool idea. It's a nice perk to those that own many of the FFG's other offerings. I don't get what the uproar was about. Then again, I'm not the type of person that would buy DQ just to get Descent/Runewars/Runebound characters.

    My problem with DQ being set in Terrinoth is that the vibe doesn't mesh well with the setting. DQ should have been closer to Wiz War in terms of theme, artwork and feel. The terrinoth games tend to be serious fantasy affairs and DQ is clearly not in that same spectrum. I still really enjoy the DQ reprint and I'm glad to have it, but things probably should have gone differently in development. That being said, the game is still a blast that I love playing. There isn't anything on the market like it. So for all its flaws and warts, the DQ reprint was an overall success for me.

  • avatarclockwirk

    Wow. Magic Realm. Falls into that same 'risky' category for me. I know it's a grail game and I'd be glad to have access to it at a decent price & with updated components, but I just don't think the new-player market is there.

  • avatarVonTush

    So...Reading this and then the "Reboot" thread in the forums makes me wonder...What's the difference between a Reboot and a Reprint? It is just the number months/years of unavailability?

    In either case though, I think the reason why Reboots or Reprints are so popular is because of the old salesman adage of "It costs ten times more to create a new customer than it is to keep and existing customer."

    This I think rings true here as well. The key to a "successful" reprint is that the publisher needs to identify, capture and maintain the original spirit of the game so the original fanbase doesn't feel alienated, yet update it to modern game design standards in order to create something different enough to resell the core base as well as bring in other gamers who are attracted to its updated design that fits inline with what else is on the market. Those I think have been the most successful reprints.

  • avatardragonstout  - re:
    San Il Defanso wrote:
    Kevin Wilson has done a great job with Cosmic, but you're right that he's toned down some of the looney out of the original. His prerogative, and I think that the focus does the game well. It can't please everyone, so it might as well please him.

    See, but I feel like he *could* please everyone, by including just a few more components in the box. The main way to play would still be his way to play, but the people who like a crazier Cosmic game could also play their way. Laser might arguably be a lame alien (I disagree, but I can see the arguments against him), so then people can just take him out of their mix. One of the classic strengths of Cosmic always used to be that you have a lot of flexibility in allowing you to play the way you want to; they have done this in part with all the variants (personally, I like my Cosmic straight, no lucre/moons/tech/rewards-deck garbage).

    They've only got one non-fan-expansion left to sort that all out, here's hoping it's a doozy.

  • avatarJackwraith  - re: re:
    dragonstout wrote:
    One of the classic strengths of Cosmic always used to be that you have a lot of flexibility in allowing you to play the way you want to; they have done this in part with all the variants (personally, I like my Cosmic straight, no lucre/moons/tech/rewards-deck garbage).

    But you're using the nostalgia argument here. It may have nothing to do with Kevin's design approach. You say that he's restricting how you want to play the game and then immediately say that you play 'straight', without all of the crazy options that both previous editions and FFG's have included for people to play as "crazily" as they want. I don't see restriction in the non-printing of Laser (a one-dimensional power only really useful in the early game) or the exclusion of things like the classic Filch flare. I see a design principle that emphasizes reduction of conflict external to the game at the table. I mean, seriously, do we really need a player performing an action completely external to the game (stealing from the deck)? And, of course, the ultimate manifestation of Kevin's desire to control your games is the fact that FFG printed the classic flare anyway!

    This is what I mean by trying to differentiate between how you remember the game playing as a kid and how it plays now. This is kind of a corollary to Clockwirk's argument: game audiences are different now, especially among the niche group that we're all a part of (aka the people that know that sites like this and BGG even exist.) You can't have goofy shit be an essential part of your design unless that's an essential part of the game. CE has randomness and wackiness, but goofy starts when you require a player to play by cheating, as the Filch flare does.

  • avatardragonstout  - re: re: re:
    Jackwraith wrote:
    But you're using the nostalgia argument here. It may have nothing to do with Kevin's design approach. You say that he's restricting how you want to play the game and then immediately say that you play 'straight', without all of the crazy options that both previous editions and FFG's have included for people to play as "crazily" as they want. I don't see restriction in the non-printing of Laser (a one-dimensional power only really useful in the early game) or the exclusion of things like the classic Filch flare. I see a design principle that emphasizes reduction of conflict external to the game at the table. I mean, seriously, do we really need a player performing an action completely external to the game (stealing from the deck)? And, of course, the ultimate manifestation of Kevin's desire to control your games is the fact that FFG printed the classic flare anyway!

    First of all and most importantly, including the classic Filch flare (which I absolutely play with) is an example of what they've done RIGHT with the reprint. However, people tend to assume that they've done this for every classic flare, but they HAVEN'T. For the most egregious examples: take a look at FFG's Chronos flare and Eon's Chronos flare (all of these examples are visible at http://redamedia.com/warp/anypower.php3), Dictator flare, Loser flare, Machine flare, Mind flare, Miser flare, Mutant flare, Pacifist flare, Reincarnator flare, Warpish flare, and there are more. Seriously, go ahead and look at them! Some of those were changed because I guess Kevin decided that the effects were too chaotic (like chaos in Cosmic is a bad thing); much worse, some of those effects appear to have been changed because they involved the players negotiating with each other, god forbid we have that. The list isn't more than like 15 cards; why not include alternate versions for those 15 cards?

    Second of all: it's complete nonsense that you don't see restriction in the non-printing of Laser, by any definition of the word it's a restriction. Yes, it's also a design principle, but it's Kevin's design principle, not Olotka's, not Kittredge's and, most importantly, not necessarily OURS: people like to modify Cosmic to THEIR tastes, so why not let them? Cosmic is the people's game.

    About nostalgia: my point is that many people buy these games in part because of nostalgia. If you can easily include the version that will trigger those nostalgia-receptors ALONG WITH the version that you, the publisher/redesigner, prefer, then you should include both, because you are not the only one who will be buying the game.

    (and finally, my argument for why *I* want Laser and all those flares isn't nostalgia, it's because many of them I think are objectively good or interesting; do you REALLY think Laser is a less interesting power than Pygmy or Locust, incredibly boring-ass powers? But he includes Pygmy because he invented that one, but does not see a need to include Laser because he didn't invent it himself)

  • avatarSan Il Defanso
    Quote:
    About nostalgia: my point is that many people buy these games in part because of nostalgia. If you can easily include the version that will trigger those nostalgia-receptors ALONG WITH the version that you, the publisher/redesigner, prefer, then you should include both, because you are not the only one who will be buying the game.

    This is a really good point, Andy. I have pretty much zero problems with Cosmic Encounter as published, but as I've said it's the only version I really know. To include more of the original content would have been a good move, just like it would have been a good move to include the classic combat in the reprint of DungeonQuest.

    I'm torn in a couple directions. On one hand I want the publisher to do something bold with a reprint, although maybe what I'm thinking of there is more of a re-imagining. Still, I almost wish I could see two spins on the same idea, like they did with Conquest of the Empire. That's an unrealistic expectation, but there it is.

    On the other hand, I'm not connecting with our boardgaming heritage (and we do have a shared heritage) if the game has been totally rejiggered. That's a big part of the appeal of this kind of thing. I guess in a perfect world, the originals here never would have gone out of print in the first place, and modern publishers could focus on pulling inspiration from more than the past 18 months.

  • avatarjohnnyspys

    I think there is a gaming bubble...people want what they can't get and games on BGG seam to get god like status just because they are out of print. Nexus Ops is a perfect example of a game where I paid $5 because game stores couldn't give it away. Fun game but it is definitely not a holy grail game title. Titan at one point was going for upwards of $300 and Hannibal was up there. Tammany hall is a game that is getting a reprint and yet a copy on ebay the other day when for over $100.

    The reality is the reprint is great for us that miss a game...for example Ogre, but I think these reprints are going to move to kickstarter so companies can truly gauge interest.

  • avatarSevej

    I'm in the camp of improving older games, but being Indonesian (and slightly younger than most of you guys), I don't have any baggage from the original printings.

    About Dungeon Quest, I just feel that FFG got over-enthusiastic.

    Also, I don't think Magic Realm will survive modern market without a makeover a la Arkham Horror.

    Talisman is, for me, the perfect re-print. I don't get it when people say it's using "out-dated/not modern" mechanism. Yes, it's old, but to me, very modern in that it gets straight to the point. Adventure games tend to be hard to make because they have to feel "adventurous". Many, many adventure games busy themselves with mechanics instead of going directly for the adventure/atmosphere. They use funky mechanics to add "game". For example: The D adventure series, movement dice in Runebound, Mage Knight, etc. I'm not saying that these are bad games, but Talisman is way more straightforward. Also it's one of the games cycle so fast in OLGS.

  • avatarJackwraith  - re: re: re: re:
    dragonstout wrote:
    Some of those were changed because I guess Kevin decided that the effects were too chaotic (like chaos in Cosmic is a bad thing);

    First off, we're speculating about intent here. Neither of us is Kevin Wilson nor know him personally. You keep talking about him like he has some personal grudge against you and everyone who loved the Eon version. I'm trying to approach it from a perspective of design principle. Yes, he might have wanted to reduce what you call 'chaos' and I call 'stupid' in the game. Requiring that someone cheat by stealing from the deck is 'stupid'. Putting even more negotiation in a game that already has negotiation in its basic ruleset threatens to bog it down. Do you want to play a game or do you want to argue every time you have an encounter? (cue the fools who say that arguments over how powers in CE and spells in Wiz-War work are "part of the game"...)

    dragonstout wrote:
    The list isn't more than like 15 cards; why not include alternate versions for those 15 cards?

    There are production limits to all things. 15 more cards is 15 more cards, plus clarifications in rules booklets and on and on. It's just more detail that's not necessary; not least because, if you want to play with someone trying to steal from the deck and negotiating every time someone drops a flare, the Eon version is still available on Ebay. More on this later.

    dragonstout wrote:
    Second of all: it's complete nonsense that you don't see restriction in the non-printing of Laser, by any definition of the word it's a restriction.

    I think it's complete nonsense that you're putting words (and thoughts) in Kevin's mouth and claiming that he has an overarching intent behind those thoughts; that being: restricting you from playing the game the way you'd like. If you like the Laser, there's absolutely nothing preventing you from using a copy from an older version or printing one from the Web. BGG is rife with examples of people doing exactly that with their favorites from CE Online.

    dragonstout wrote:
    people like to modify Cosmic to THEIR tastes, so why not let them? Cosmic is the people's game.

    Again, what exactly is preventing you from doing precisely that? Why is it incumbent upon Wilson to know your particular tastes and desires? He's already included plenty of options (most of which you apparently don't use, whether classic designs or FFG.) It's your copy of the game. He's "letting" you do whatever you want. It may just be a matter of his design vision that has let Laser sit on the sidelines for this long. And I can't believe I just read the phrase "Cosmic is the people's game." Seriously? We're not talking labor politics here. It's a game.

    dragonstout wrote:
    About nostalgia: my point is that many people buy these games in part because of nostalgia. If you can easily include the version that will trigger those nostalgia-receptors ALONG WITH the version that you, the publisher/redesigner, prefer, then you should include both, because you are not the only one who will be buying the game.

    Except that some stuff is notorious (the Filch flare) and other stuff is not (Laser.) If you're trying to appeal to both an old audience and a new audience and you still have production budgets in place, then you include the notorious stuff and let the other stuff fall by the wayside. Other versions of CE have had their own set of aliens, as well, as different designers felt differently about what they would add to the game, if anything.

    dragonstout wrote:
    But he includes Pygmy because he invented that one, but does not see a need to include Laser because he didn't invent it himself)

    Again, you're including personal motives for a person you don't know and haven't spoken to about this topic. And, again, it's obvious that it's a personal issue for you because your sense of nostalgia has been violated by something that may be as innocuous as Wilson thinking that the type of power that Laser represents is already sufficiently present in the aliens that they have. But that's not his problem or FFG's problem, quite honestly. And it most certainly is not incumbent upon FFG to satisfy everyone. If they tried, nothing would ever leave development and their already high prices would skyrocket. You're talking about Wilson's effort and FFG's efforts as if they've willfully failed to meet some high standard; like they've violated a moral boundary. All they've done is provide the best version of the game printed since the early 70s. If it doesn't meet your precise specifications (e.g. it doesn't ring all your nostalgia bells), it's incumbent upon you to change it, using the vast resources now available to people with Web access. It's not like they've redesigned the way the game functions, as they did with Fury of Dracula, so that you can't just print off a few cards and have at it. It's still the same game it was from Eon and you can modify it however you like.

  • avatarJeff White

    I'm not going to lie, I'm loving this new era of reprints. Not because I think the new games are better (some are - Talisman), but because the older games tend to drop in price and I usually prefer the older aesthetics.

    In the past three months I've bought AH Titan (NiS), AH Nexus Ops(NiS), Ogre: Deluxe Edition (unpunched) for $25 each. GW DQ can also be had for about the same amount. A far cry from the $300 I sold my copy for.

    Granted there can be many reasons why the prices have dropped. Maybe new players finally played the 'grail games' with the new editions, found they actually didn't like them, and demand plummeted (Titan, DQ). Perhaps they want to get in on the new and/or be a 'backer' while letting perfectly good copies float by (Ogre, NO).

    It's all good from where I sit.

  • avatardragonstout

    Hey, I'll admit that I'm partly just nerd-raging because I've realized that the Eon Cosmic Encounter is superior to the FFG Cosmic in every way but component quality but that the Eon edition is way way way too damn expensive. Of course they don't have to cater to me, or even to all the other people who'd prefer the old Eon edition if they compared them side-by-side, *especially* since we'll probably buy it anyway for the components and since many of the new aliens are good. And of course I can't read Kevin's mind, but by looking at the changes made, there is a clear pattern that makes it not too hard to see why certain decisions were made. I'm just bummed, is all, as the awesome promise of the incredible base set (unequivocally the best CE base set of all time) has given way to disappointment.

    This was all triggered, btw, by Rex's release, which was what really made me realize that modern design philosophy (no paper/pencil, shorter is better, etc.) is not necessarily the best design philosophy, and which triggered my looking more carefully into all the changes FFG made to Cosmic that are pretty much never talked about.

  • Mr Skeletor

    "It's unfortunate that here on F:AT people mostly just bitch about FFG branding and the Terrinoth world and so very rarely admit that it is a cool idea that no one else seems to be doing for boardgames right now. Not since GW have we seen this dedication to in game mythology... generic or not. "

    It's just a dumb meme at this point. I mean they have done it to ONE game - a game which had been branded with another world already.
    The terrinoth tie in just meant they could give you cool bonuses for the other games. If they didn't brand it with terrinoth what exactly changes? Fucked if I know, a picture of an orc instead of a golem? It's a lot of crying over nothing.

    Also Nexus Ops is the most boring reprint of all time. FFG reprinted a game which as has been pointed out was a flop. All they did was add some very minor optional rules - talk about disapointing. I would have prefered different factions and a bit more meat in the rules. As it stands I see no reason why anyone would upgrade. I wont be surprised if it's in next years FFG sale.
    Fortress America looks like it's getting the same bland reprint treatment.

    Classics such as wiz war and Cosmic and Talisman have been redesigned throughout their life - that's what makes em classics. Sticking like glue to the original is not always the best idea.

  • avatarmads b.

    FFG's Dungeonquest was the victim of internet cry babies who couldn't stop whining about how the game they used to play when they were 12 was sooooo much better.

    1. The new components are vastly superior to the orginal (I'm talking about the real original - not the GW-version).

    2. While adding just a little length the new combat system actually gives you a sense of control in an otherwise almost completely random game.

    3. Terrinoth and especially the backstory about the dragon making a trap for heroes is a perfect fit for the game. Seriously, it is. And while Terrinoth in many ways is extremely generic, it actually has a lot of unique monsters and a - somewhat - different take on dragons and magic.

    4. If you play the new DQ with a 10 year old s/he will have a blast - just as I had when I was 10 and played it with my parents. No whining about it being destroyed in the reprint process will change this.

    But about reprints in general: I would love to see more AH style reprints. That is, make a new game with the same basic idea and story. But the problem is that almost all attempts at this would be met with nerdrage from fans of the original. So I'm not sure it's worth it.

  • avatarMattDP  - re:

    I'm also going to defend the DQ reprint, and I'm a big fan of the original. The "issue" with it was very simply that adding in a longer, strategic version of combat didn't sit brilliantly in a fast-playing game where you could die instantly at the whim of the god of randomness. Should FFG have included the original combat from the off? Definitely. Did the fact they didn't ruin the game? Certainly not. There's a lot to like about the FFG version and in some respects the combat is better. Issues over the Terrinoth rebranding are laughable - it's not like the GW original had a magically rich and exciting world that was communicated through the game play.

    Mr Skeletor wrote:
    Classics such as wiz war and Cosmic and Talisman have been redesigned throughout their life - that's what makes em classics. Sticking like glue to the original is not always the best idea.

    No. But the trouble is that knowing when it's good to stick and when it's right to change is extremely difficult. I think FFG are doing the right thing at the moment in games like Wiz-War where there are important changes that can be backed out through variants for those as want to: you get the best of both worlds that way.

  • avatarwice

    I can only repeat what others said above: complaining about that FFG replaced the generic fantasy setting of DQ with the generic fantasy setting of Terrinoth, is beyond crazy. And although at first I felt that the new combat is a bit too long for this kind of game, after reading about the original combat system I really don't see the issue. The new combat is not much more complicated than the original, it just adds counterattack and deathblow, and these can even speed up the combat. With the original combat system there's a good chance that the combat could take 15-20 rounds (the monster killing the hero one life point at a time), while counterattack and deathblow can take more life points at once, without taking more time. So, the new combat system only makes combat a bit more interesting, not to mention that power cards give the heroes and the monsters more personality.

  • avatarJeff White

    Not harping on the FFG DQ, but weren't there other changes besides just combat? I understand the new game tossed out a lot of the random mechanics of the GW version. Things like guessing a number (or was it odds or evens?) and rolling a d6 to re-light the torch. The GW game had a lot of totally different and un-related ways which cards/rooms were resolved. Is this the case in the new game?

    I did kinda like the way of the GW game. Sure it was everywhere, but it mixed up the game and made it felt like an exploration. You never knew what you had to do next to proceed onward. If it's all the same now, it seems some of the unknown would be gone.

  • avatarsgosaric
    Jackwraith wrote:
    I'm trying to approach it from a perspective of design principle. Yes, he might have wanted to reduce what you call 'chaos' and I call 'stupid' in the game. Requiring that someone cheat by stealing from the deck is 'stupid'. Putting even more negotiation in a game that already has negotiation in its basic ruleset threatens to bog it down. Do you want to play a game or do you want to argue every time you have an encounter?


    What if Cosmic is (or should be) about arguing every time you want to have an encounter? What if 'stupid' feels right in the context of this game? It might be different than what players are used to nowadays and very different in the way people they manage their playing time nowadays, though.
    This is the part of recognizing the uniquness of the game and trying to find a way how to present it to today's gamers with different gaming habits. Sure euro-isation is one way to go and after reading the difference between the flares, it seems to me, they (he?) went in this direction. But. What's wrong with »advance« (or wacky/zany/whathaveyou) game in which you would use another set of flares? Like CITOW expansion. Ha ve the same framework, but give the game a different feel.

    Jackwraith wrote:
    There are production limits to all things. 15 more cards is 15 more cards, plus clarifications in rules booklets and on and on. It's just more detail that's not necessary;


    3 words: print on demand.
    They do it for Space Hulk Death Angel, why not for this?
    Reasons – they are the publisher they should do support, meaning: it would be nice to get these flares playtested. Some of them I see no problem with ("players have to vote" (negotiation), "you can win with one less base" (bluffing and paranoia)), but some as you noticed stop the game and take a lot of time and might be more suited as a techonology one time per game effect (make your hand from a draw deck) or as an artifact ( block a player from having second encounter)

    Jackwraith wrote:
    Except that some stuff is notorious (the Filch flare) and other stuff is not (Laser.) If you're trying to appeal to both an old audience and a new audience and you still have production budgets in place, then you include the notorious stuff and let the other stuff fall by the wayside.


    Heh. But there is no »new audience« before you make a redisign and then whoever plays it, is the new audience. The game shapes its audience. All this logic of appealing »new audience« probably makes sense if you're a publisher, but I'd just dismiss it – it's about the game. What it does, how it does it and how can we make this experience be apreciated be people not being exposed to it before.
    Again all this argument about nostalgia players and new players forgets the crucial thing – the game. Problem of (any) redesign is having prejudice based on your gaming preference and experience (as one has when reading old books). Of course some things have become fairly standard these days – downtime is bad, player aids are good, but with some things like luck and randomness and player elimination it just depends who you ask. There is not a »new audience« but »new audiences«. We've talked before on game which includes several variants in the box (and CE does), so each group can customise their experience. This would be a good policy when dealing with redesigns/reprints.

  • avatarsgosaric
    NathanKC wrote:
    It really comes down to, what are the things that make a game what it is? Is it the original artwork? Is it the rules? Is it a specific mechanic? As long as that essential core for that particular game is intact the reprinting company should be allowed to finesse the rest, based on play testing. If they are doing their homework there, the end result should only be a better, more streamlined version of what they were originally working with.


    The Nexus Ops issue might have something to do with a prevalent opinion that game design and graphic design are two separate things, hence reprint is about "the game" being reprinted (meaning: rules, or variant thereof), but forgetting about the experience part where graphics also play a big part. In short: I don't know wheter anybody thinks of graphic design as something that could or should be preserved in reprint (apart from using original design just to cut costs).
    And another thing - why should all games from a certain company have the similar graphic design? While there's nothing that wrong with this decision and you can adapt the style to work for different game, it's really a problem if it's about a game that was originally publisher by somebody else and is not part of this publisher's legacy.

  • avatarSan Il Defanso  - re:
    wice wrote:
    I can only repeat what others said above: complaining about that FFG replaced the generic fantasy setting of DQ with the generic fantasy setting of Terrinoth, is beyond crazy. And although at first I felt that the new combat is a bit too long for this kind of game, after reading about the original combat system I really don't see the issue. The new combat is not much more complicated than the original, it just adds counterattack and deathblow, and these can even speed up the combat. With the original combat system there's a good chance that the combat could take 15-20 rounds (the monster killing the hero one life point at a time), while counterattack and deathblow can take more life points at once, without taking more time. So, the new combat system only makes combat a bit more interesting, not to mention that power cards give the heroes and the monsters more personality.

    For my own part, I have zero personal issue with the movement to Terrinoth. But I do think it might have set up the game to fail a little. Terrinoth is a fairly serious fantasy setting, and Runebound, Descent, and Runewars are very different in tone and scope from DungeonQuest. I still think the game could have been released with the new combat and everything, and just gotten a more silly art direction and been more widely accepted. It needed to look closer to Wiz-War, I think.

    But yeah, after a certain point complaining about the combat is just silly. Geez, they provided a ton of other combat options for people who want them. I actually think I like the solo dice combat the best, just because it moves so fast.

  • avatarwice  - re: re:
    San Il Defanso wrote:
    For my own part, I have zero personal issue with the movement to Terrinoth. But I do think it might have set up the game to fail a little. Terrinoth is a fairly serious fantasy setting, and Runebound, Descent, and Runewars are very different in tone and scope from DungeonQuest.

    Well, maybe, but personally I don't see any evidence, that anyone who has issues with FFG's DQ expected anything serious, and that their problem would be that it's too random. I bet that the majority of people, who bought DQ, already knew what they are getting, they knew (or knew of) the original, and the main complaints are about the changes.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT  - re: re:
    wice wrote:
    I can only repeat what others said above: complaining about that FFG replaced the generic fantasy setting of DQ with the generic fantasy setting of Terrinoth, is beyond crazy. And although at first I felt that the new combat is a bit too long for this kind of game, after reading about the original combat system I really don't see the issue. The new combat is not much more complicated than the original, it just adds counterattack and deathblow, and these can even speed up the combat. With the original combat system there's a good chance that the combat could take 15-20 rounds (the monster killing the hero one life point at a time), while counterattack and deathblow can take more life points at once, without taking more time. So, the new combat system only makes combat a bit more interesting, not to mention that power cards give the heroes and the monsters more personality.


    The original combat wasn't one-point-at-a-time. It had what amounted to a CRT where damage could be inflicted at greater levels.

    San Il Defanso wrote:

    For my own part, I have zero personal issue with the movement to Terrinoth.


    I'm OK with it. I abhor the Rakis to Rex manoeuver, even though I understand why it had to be done. But Terrinoth is at least something with a history. I just liked the original monsters.

    Quote:
    But yeah, after a certain point complaining about the combat is just silly. Geez, they provided a ton of other combat options for people who want them. I actually think I like the solo dice combat the best, just because it moves so fast.

    It's that they're trouncing on someone else's design so they can "make it their own" that makes it egregious. The new combat method sucked, IMO, and the original, for what it was, was fun and a neat little R-P-S "Yomi" exercise. It didn't need "reworking" and FFG just can't seem to leave things alone. Rex is a pristine example of them mucking about with what was as close to a "grail" design and muddying it up. They could've left the mechanics wholly intact, come up with new races that could've been spun off into a new TI3 expansion, and it would've been fine. But as usual, they can't leave well enough alone.

  • avatarwice  - re: re: re:
    SuperflyTNT wrote:
    The original combat wasn't one-point-at-a-time. It had what amounted to a CRT where damage could be inflicted at greater levels.

    There is exactly one case (out of nine), where the hero inflicts two wounds. In eight out of nine cases only one wound is inflicted, either on one combatant, or both. There's no case where more than one wound is inflicted on the hero per round. As heroes have about 15-20 health, it's quite possible for the combat to take 15-20 rounds (if the monster is winning).

  • avatarmads b.

    Also I'm pretty sure the idea for a new combat system came from the original designer. And I don't know abou the GW version, but the original was quite serious and not at all goofy.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT  - re: re: re: re:
    wice wrote:
    SuperflyTNT wrote:
    The original combat wasn't one-point-at-a-time. It had what amounted to a CRT where damage could be inflicted at greater levels.


    There is exactly one case (out of nine), where the hero inflicts two wounds. In eight out of nine cases only one wound is inflicted, either on one combatant, or both. There's no case where more than one wound is inflicted on the hero per round. As heroes have about 15-20 health, it's quite possible for the combat to take 15-20 rounds (if the monster is winning).


    Oh, I see what you're getting at. My bad.

    I guess its possible for a Hero to continually lose the battles over and over ad nauseum. I guess I just discounted it since I've played the game probably 100 times and it's never happened. But THEORETICALLY battles could indeed take hours. It's never happened, but it could. Possibly. In an alternate universe. :)

  • avatarwice  - re: re: re:
    SuperflyTNT wrote:
    It's that they're trouncing on someone else's design so they can "make it their own" that makes it egregious. The new combat method sucked, IMO, and the original, for what it was, was fun and a neat little R-P-S "Yomi" exercise. It didn't need "reworking" and FFG just can't seem to leave things alone. Rex is a pristine example of them mucking about with what was as close to a "grail" design and muddying it up. They could've left the mechanics wholly intact, come up with new races that could've been spun off into a new TI3 expansion, and it would've been fine. But as usual, they can't leave well enough alone.

    I'm sorry, but it's an incredibly stupid myth (popularized first and foremost by Michael Barnes), that FFG change games "to make it their own" or "to mark their territory". It's would be fucking silly of them to change things just for those reasons, when the only people who noticed it (i.e. grumpy old/smug/nostalgic F:ATties) would be pissed by the changes.

    They don't publish games to prove a point or to show off their skills; they do it to make money. And they don't publish games for the audience of the 70's or 80's; they publish them for today's audience. So, if they change something, you can bet your left ball, that they do it because they think it will make today's audience happy. Those people, who are fans of the original, and get angry because of the changes, more than likely already own a copy of the original game, so they won't buy the new edition anyway.

  • avatarmikoyan

    One reprint I would like to see is Rail Baron. I know there are many people that are sour on it but I like it.

  • avatarInfinityMax

    Wice, you're like the absolute, reigning, undisputed world champion of hyperbole.

    I don't really have an opinion on this one, just noticing that there's no gray area. Either someone agrees with what you're saying, or they are incredibly stupid or beyond crazy.

    Is there any chance that someone could disagree with you without being either insane or mentally deficient? Or are you just that right? And do you realize how much that makes a lot of people want to disagree with you, just because you get your back up before there's even a fight?

  • avatarcraniac

    I am approaching the point where I'm almost willing to spend the $80 for some of the professionally-crafted print and play remixes, like Dune an a few others. I'm pretty sure there are blackmarket rebuilds of Aliens that can be had too.

  • avatarwice  - re:
    InfinityMax wrote:
    Wice, you're like the absolute, reigning, undisputed world champion of hyperbole.

    I don't really have an opinion on this one, just noticing that there's no gray area. Either someone agrees with what you're saying, or they are incredibly stupid or beyond crazy.

    Is there any chance that someone could disagree with you without being either insane or mentally deficient? Or are you just that right? And do you realize how much that makes a lot of people want to disagree with you, just because you get your back up before there's even a fight?

    Yeah, you are right, I'm definitely the only one here, who ever speaks in absolutes. My bad. :/

    (BTW, I never, ever said that someone is incredibly stupid or beyond crazy, just because they don't agree with me. I was talking about opinions, not people. "That is stupid" =/= "You are stupid".)

  • avatardragonstout  - re:
    sgosaric wrote:
    each group can customise their experience.

    To me that is the key.

    Sgosaric, thank you very much for checking out the link and noticing that the Cosmic flares have been Euro-ized. It bums me out that this is completely untalked-about; none of the flares I referenced are "silly" like the Empath flare or Filch flare, they're just viewed as too old-school, I guess. Your idea of doing a print-on-demand expansion with the original flares is abso-freaking-lutely genius. Never occurred to me before because FFG's POD stuff has been for games I don't care about, but yeah, I'd buy a POD original flares expansion in a heartbeat, and it seems like there'd be extremely little risk in doing so.

    craniac wrote:
    I am approaching the point where I'm almost willing to spend the $80 for some of the professionally-crafted print and play remixes, like Dune an a few others. I'm pretty sure there are blackmarket rebuilds of Aliens that can be had too.

    And after the next and final non-fan Cosmic expansion is done, I'd also very very happily spend a chunk of cash for professionally-printing of all the remaining aliens that were "too weird/unbalanced" for FFG's Cosmic.

    Skeletor wrote:
    Classics such as wiz war and Cosmic and Talisman have been redesigned throughout their life - that's what makes em classics. Sticking like glue to the original is not always the best idea.

    The Mayfair and Avalon Hill redesigns of Cosmic were widely construed as disasters, Talisman 3e is disliked by most of the big Talisman fans, and I didn't think Wiz-War was ever redesigned, so I call bullshit on the above claim. The new versions of all those have been redesigned, true, but get more praise specifically because of how much they've stayed true to the originals and because of the upgrades in components, rather than because of their changes.

  • avatarSan Il Defanso

    Interesting side-note: one guy I play Cosmic with original decried the FFG version because you kept the flares. He was experienced with the Mayfair version (was even a playtester), and to him flares will always be discarded.

    I like the POD idea too, but I know that it'd be hard to make those cards match the rest of the set. So far it's a model that's been used to add components that don't need to be shuffled in with old ones. In theory it'd work, but in practice I doubt it'd pan out.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    I'd buy the PnP Dune copy from that 120MMHowitzer dude before I buy REX. It's a matter that the art is so evocative, and it's really a great production. Sure it's expensive, but if people are paying a Franklin for a reprint of Ogre for shinypretties then what's wrong with buying a handcrafted copy of Dune for the same reasons instead of buying a cheap imitation version that's been bastardized?

    And Wice, I'm sure that you have a great point. Somewhere. But seriously, it's no myth. They change shit because they think it needs to be changed. Just like CP thought it would be a good idea to make a Midnight movie. Just like CP thought it would be a good idea to make a reprint of Venus without actually knowing who owned the rights. Just like CP decided to make Mutant Chronicles in 150MM figures or whatever. Just like CP decided to get in a public pissing match with Barnes, here. Just like he got into a public pissing match with the Ares guys.

    In other words, their judgement isn't exactly sound. There's a litany of stupidity over there in Minnetonka or wherever, and while they've done some really amazing things, they also seem to have this concept of wanting to create an "FFG legacy" where they take other people's shit and make it their own. If you think that's bullshit, hey, more power to you, but the evidence is pretty concrete in my eyes.

    I'm too sick and too tired to get into a pissing match. You can have your opinion, I have mine. If you want to pick up PeeWee's guide to internet bullying and play the role, go with God. Just saying that it's pretty clear to me, and when you look at the reprints they've done, and you look at the preponderance of evidence, it points to the conclusion that their leadership is short-sighted and very, very keen on making everything theirs. I'm no prosecutor, but I'm saying guilty.

  • avatarwice

    *sigh*

    (I wonder if Drake will call you out on basically calling me a bully, "just because I disagree with you.)

    Listen man, it's not a pissing match, and I'm not bullying you. You voiced a strong opinion, I strongly disagreed with you. That's all. You have the right to think that FFG changes shit just to show who's the boss, I have the right to call it bullshit. The only fact is, that they sometimes (very occasionally) irrevocably change shit, sometimes they just add optional shit, and sometimes they don't even change anything. And, with the exception of DQ, I don't really recall any serious complaints about their republished games. I don't see a pattern here, but YMMV, and all that jazz.

  • avatarInfinityMax  - re: re:
    wice wrote:
    InfinityMax wrote:
    Wice, you're like the absolute, reigning, undisputed world champion of hyperbole.

    I don't really have an opinion on this one, just noticing that there's no gray area. Either someone agrees with what you're saying, or they are incredibly stupid or beyond crazy.

    Is there any chance that someone could disagree with you without being either insane or mentally deficient? Or are you just that right? And do you realize how much that makes a lot of people want to disagree with you, just because you get your back up before there's even a fight?


    Yeah, you are right, I'm definitely the only one here, who ever speaks in absolutes. My bad. :/

    (BTW, I never, ever said that someone is incredibly stupid or beyond crazy, just because they don't agree with me. I was talking about opinions, not people. "That is stupid" =/= "You are stupid".)


    No, see, I started off with an absolute on purpose. I thought I laid it on thick enough that it would be obvious. It was like a combination of satire, self-effacing humor, and ludicrous hypocrisy.

    And it wasn't calling you out so much as observing. Opinions worded this strongly are polarizing, and while they may be amusing, they are not useful for much besides just saying, 'I'm right and you're wrong.' And yeah, Pete does it all the time, too. So do I. That was kind of the point of the opening line. It's fun, but it doesn't leave you anywhere to go, or give other people the chance to disagree amiably. Semantics aside, calling an opinion crazy stupid does not leave much opening for conversational dissent.

  • Mr Skeletor

    Pete, when did you meet and have lunch with Christian Peterson?
    I'm assuming you have since you have all of the insite into how he thinks.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    Do I need to go to lunch with you to know you love Masters of the Universe, Frank? (If it means I get to go down under, I'm absolutely happy to...) It's just what I observe, brother. The guy gets online and has a pissing match with both Ares and Barnes on the same website. I mean, seriously? That stuff shows poor judgement. Then the Mutant Chronicles debacle (I know a guy who was on the dev team there, as does Drake...) and that was an epic failure in marketing and game design. The list goes on.

    I don't need to have lunch with a guy to know what he thinks, I can observe his actions and infer with a high degree of certainty.

    Wice: I'm sure glad you're on another continent because it appears you enjoy stuffing my mouth with things. I never said they change things "to show who's the boss". That would imply that it's arbitrary and ego-driven. I said, and I doth quote from the Gospel of Pedro: "so they can make it their own". Not to show who's boss, but to take ownership of the project rather than simply make a reprint a'la McMulti or Survive! or any reprint that was left basically the same.

    REX is a reprint of Dune. Sorry. Reimagining. There's been complaints. That's 1.
    Mutant Chronicles. Reimagining. It was what can only be described as an EPIC FAIL. That's 2.
    Nexus Ops. Reprint. Added some stuff, changed some stuff. Mixed reviews, mostly positive but many said they liked the original better. That's 3.
    DungeonQuest. Duh - complaints abounded. So much so they went back and added back the original rules as optional. That's 4.
    I guess we can talk about Descent 2.0 being a moneygrab and a way to get people who have all the old descent stuff to have to buy a conversion kit, but maybe that's going too far. But that's 5, if we count it.
    Arguable that RuneWars is Warrior Knights with a Terrinoth theme painted on and the good stuff stripped out, as one person here noted once and I thought was quite a clever line of thinking, but that's going a bit far.

    I don't want to get into Fortress America. Really. I might cry a little.

    Either way, it's not just ONE game. There's a history of them doing things "their way" to make it their own, to take ownership of an IP, and it works less often than not. Arkham, Cosmic, Fury...all great reprint/reimaginings. So it's not all bad news. But still, in the last several years, it's been a steady downhill roll, IMO.

  • avatarBearn

    I really don't think the Nexus Ops reprint is a bad design and it looks about as good as the original IMO. It obviously gave the game more accesibility to the masses that wanted it. I've played it and it's the same game as the base game just missing the tower, which kinda sucks. All the extra rules are OPTIONAL, which means you don't have to play with them? So where exactly is this game a bad design if you liked the original? Now as for Nexus Ops being a grand game that can be debated but it's a good entry level war/conflict game. Hell even my wife thought it was a bit simplistic but tried it out, she still prefers to play WoTR.

    The magic Realm reprint will actually do quite well if you look at how high the demand is for Mage Knight. I actually learned about Magic Realm from the Mage Knight forums after i picked it up. I went and tracked down a copy and got through the rules after some time and found it was actually a better game than MK. Now MK sits on my shelf and i play MR with my wife and friends regularly. I'm not the only person who has discovered this and actually people are trying to now cross MR into MK to add some hybrid rules and additional VP's. The only thing they will need to do with a reprint is higher a GOOD editor and have the rules written out more clerly like the unofficial 3rd edition ones are for MR.

    The terrinoth retheming for DQ i would bet anything had to do with GW's Warhammer IP. GW is fanatical about protecting and licensing their Warhammer and 40K IP's. I imagine they either wanted a ton of cash for the WH theme or for the warhammer characters contained in the original DQ. It's why you will never see FFG reprinting any of GW's BG's that included to scale GW miniatures within them. GW will NOt license those sculpts to anyone and even if they did the price would be out of this world. That leaves just GW to reprint the games and we all know their stance on that.

  • avatarwice

    Pete: Sorry, I probably misunderstood you, I thought you were talking about "making it their own" as in "marking their territory" (á la Barnes).

    Anyway, I don't think it would make any sense to change thinks in a republished game, with the sole purpose of being able to say, that now it's "their" game, since no one gives a shit about that. There can be other, more realistic explanations, like 1. trying to fix some well known and much debated issues in the original (e.g.: balance problems, dragging), or 2. trying to make the gameplay more compelling for the modern audience (e.g.: game length, speed, downtime, "dated" or "uninteresting" mechanics). Of course, there's a risk in every change, and I think it's a generally good idea to always include the option of playing by the original rules (unless it's a complete rework of a not so classic game, like Arkham Horror or Warrior Knights).

    For your theory to work, I think we should see completely arbitrary and gratuitous changes in all FFG re-releases (so that the only reason for the change is to make it different from the original), and there's no such consistent pattern. Cosmic Encounter, Talisman, Nexus Ops, Wiz-War, LOTR:Confrontation: no changes to the original mechanics (+ some optional additions), or (in the case of Wiz-War) justifiable changes + optional original variant out of the box. Arkham Horror, Warrior Knights: only "influenced by" the originals, arguably completely new games. Fury of Dracula: justifiable changes (even if some hardcore fans of the original may disagree). Rex: it was doomed the moment they couldn't get the Dune license anyway + justifiable changes, if you consider the needs of the younger generation of gamers (faster gameplay, less downtime, less frustration, etc). DungeonQuest: the changes to the combat system were suggested by the original designer, and I would say they are justifiable (in the sense that they make the combat more interesting), even if you, and many others prefer the original, since there are at least that many (if not more) people who prefer the new one. I agree that including the original combat as an option would have been a good idea, of course.

    So, I guess, what I'm trying to say is, that your perception of FFG's motives is, at the very least, subjective. For me, their changes seem understandable from a gameplay point of view, and there are many games they didn't even change.

    BTW, are there any known rule changes in Fortress America? I haven't heard about any. And I'm sure that while Merchant of Venus will contain some new mechanics (again, probably justifiable changes), they will include the option of playing it with the original rules, if they have learned anything from the case of DQ.

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