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TOPIC: Arkham Horror: The Card Game

AH: LCG or How I Stopped Worrying and Went Off the Rail 03 Aug 2016 20:32 #231348

Also, Twilight Imperium has space lions in shrouds and space snapping turtles. Is that really something that needs an extended universe?
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 03 Aug 2016 22:01 #231352

Shellhead wrote:
In this context, I see the RPG angle as more of a loss leader than a graveyard. To make an analogy, comic books should be near death, with cover prices at $4.00 an issue, stories stretched thin so that you need to actually spend $24 to read a story, and continuities that have ballooned into hypercomplex nonsense. And the fanbase is aging out. And yet, comic book movies are still doing major box office, even the bad ones. So the comic books now serve as more of an early stage in the movie development process. Likewise, a game company could turn some creative writers loose to develop an rpg setting in support of a larger product line concept.

Yep. That's totally valid. I've been saying for 20 years that GW should be selling the codices and army books at cost, if not giving them away online as loss leaders, because getting more people to see the cool pics and rules would probably sell more models. RPGs could be used the same way for FFG. And I don't think they're wholly unprofitable. I just think that the margin is low enough that they're better off spending resources elsewhere. But, then, I have no more internal knowledge of their processes, so I'm just speculating.

Fair point about the Rex map, too. Shellhead. It is kind of overdone.

wadenels, I know I'm probably the only one on the site that has some interest in Terrinoth and it's likely driven by the fact that I'm a huge fan of almost all the games they've produced in that setting. I think Runebound is vastly superior to Talisman, especially given the number of ways to play with both large and small expansions. I think Rune Age is the best and more interactive deckbuilder I've ever played. And Battlelore, 2nd Ed. is one of my all-time favorite games. I've never had a bad or even mediocre experience with it and I'm chagrined by the fact that I only have one regular playing partner. So, I'm pretty immersed in the universe because I'm a fan of all of the games attached to it. I probably know more of the backstory little threads as a consequence, so it feels more than "generic fantasy setting" to me. But I get that it certainly doesn't seem to carry its own identity in the way that many other worlds do.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 03 Aug 2016 23:15 #231358

GW's loss leaders are the "boxed games". Like the new Deathmasque thing they announced. It's like $350 worth of figures for $150 retail. Silver Tower has about that much worth as well. The catch is that you don't get to pick and it may lead you to other purchases. You buy Deathmasque, maybe you already have Deathwatch: Overkill and that leads you to buy the new Deathwatch Codex, a Deathwatch drop pod, and maybe some more Eldar to go with that set.

But those sets also forward the story and setting, which is what we are really talking about here. You get a set that has a self-contained storyline that feels rich and complete but leaves you wanting more.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 03 Aug 2016 23:47 #231361

Regardless of the IP for this, they're going to FFG it up in the typical manner:

- It'll be short on content like WHQ ACG.
- For more than 2 players, you'll need 2 core sets, and I'm not so sure just 1 will be sufficient for 1-2 players.
- This will be a $30ish game they'll sell for $45ish and the expansion packs will go for $15 with no guarantee you'll need only 1 expansion pack only.
- The campaign bit will mean they'll do a reset and new campaign after like 6-12 months. So, your old cards may not be usable for the new campaign.
- The first campaign will be sort of meh, but it'll be decent enough to hook you into at least finishing the campaign.

I guess I don't blame them for trying to make an easy buck. I just wish I wasn't so pessimistic about it because I think it might be a decent product with decent value if done right.
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AH: LCG or How I Stopped Worrying and Went Off the Rail 04 Aug 2016 01:29 #231363

wadenels wrote:
Also, Twilight Imperium has space lions in shrouds and space snapping turtles. Is that really something that needs an extended universe?

They made sure to put a "Pleasure District" on the map of Mecatol Rex....don't tell me you don't want to know more about the on-goings of this universe now??!!?
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AH: LCG or How I Stopped Worrying and Went Off the Rail 04 Aug 2016 10:12 #231377

I've been thinking about this for a little bit now, about how well board games can actually perform world-building. One reason so many "experience" games are based on established IP is that if you buy the game, chances are you are already invested. Imperial Assault works well (for me) precisely because I like Star Wars so much. The game itself is solid, and it has to be to succeed, but it doesn't really do the heavy lifting on its own theme. The same is true of Game of Thrones, Battlestar Galactica, Cthulu stuff, Warhammer, any established IP.

But I'm trying to think of any board game title that has actually worked to establish its own world really well, and I'm coming up empty. (Others might disagree, and I'd love to be proven wrong.) The very nature of board games, which have a limited ruleset and require players to be "on board" before they work, means that the world kind of has to be in place in the player's mind before the game really pay off in that regard. It's not just as simple as FFG using their own IP, because as others have noted those IPs almost all exist in a medium that is perhaps not very well-suited to world-building.

RPGs and minis games have it a little differently, since they rely far more on flavor text and background information. They also rely on player choice to give those actions meaning, something that I think is also true of board games. The difference is that RPGs and minis game provide a much bigger space to play there. Watching "Stranger Things" this weekend, I was reminded that for a lot of D&D players the world itself is kind of secondary. It's more what the players can create on their own as they go. Maybe that means that board games have a little more world-building capability in a more sandbox-style format, like Duel of Ages II.

I dunno, I'm rambling a bit here. But my point is, I suspect that established IPs are so effective because board games are not particularly well-suited to world-building.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 04 Aug 2016 10:33 #231385

Divine Right did a nice job with world-building, through a wonderful map, evocative names, and layers of chrome rules and optional rules.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 04 Aug 2016 13:21 #231400

I never liked the Forgotten Realms* setting. It's like the McDonalds of fantasy settings, and there's always this notion that you're playing as low level scrubs in some famous character's background story. You could say the same about Middle Earth, but when I ran MERP it was set in the 4th age, with those legendary people part of history, not current events. Or it may just be that I internalised Middle Earth at an early age in a way that I didn't with settings I found later.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that board games with FR settings are an immediate turn-off for me, while other generic settings may not be.

*I liked Greyhawk, and my AD&D was loosely arranged around that.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 04 Aug 2016 18:50 #231418

I don't particularly need or want a board game to have a big fictional world I have to learn. I'd rather have broad stereotypes that serve to illuminate the rules and make them easier to parse. I.e. if my army has guys who get mad and hit hard, you might as well call them berserkers because I'll remember that way easier than whatever custom fantasy dork name your line editor wants to call them.

Same with RPGs actually, although in that hobby it's more of a recognized problem -- usually referred to as "game designer as frustrated novelist" or something similar.

And Forgotten Realms is terrible.
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AH: LCG or How I Stopped Worrying and Went Off the Rail 05 Aug 2016 01:10 #231435

wadenels wrote:
It's great that FFG is leveraging the IPs that it has access to. We've had better Star Wars and Old World games from FFG than we've probably ever had. They don't need an in-house universe to be legit. But it they go the in-house IP route they best do better than Terrinoth.

It's funny. I think making a movie for your RPG is a great way to immerse folks into your background and lore. People will buy into it more because the format allows some suspension of disbelief..

But if your writers suck, then you have a very expensive lesson.

Enter Midnight. An expensive lesson indeed.


Then they made Terrinoth, which is arguably worse than the Midnight setting. Even for generic fantasy, it just gets a resounding yawn.
Im glad they seemed to have stopped trying and instead have just used other peoples successful IP.
Android has promise though. Its a genre that hasnt been beaten to death like the others.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 05 Aug 2016 01:30 #231437

dysjunct wrote:
And Forgotten Realms is terrible.

Ive thought about this a lot for the last 20+ years, and I think I figured out why if its disliked, that a setting like greyhawk is seen in a better light by those that dislike it..

Greyhawk gave you just enough for you to make it yours. Greyhawk put you in control with some gentle prodding to inspire you.

Forgotten realms rams their shit down your throat about how important and unique it is, even though it's the syfy channel version of greyhawk.
"We have drow! We Have temple of elemental evil (now with less elemental evil)! We have all this resource material to tell you precisely what stuff looks like and sounds like! We stole everything from greyhawk, and added a a harness and collar for you to wear while you ingest the pure "product" feeling of this product.

Ive never like FR, despite some laudable traits such as waterdeep and the Undermountain campaign. The setting as a whole is a creative misfire because they took the generic, and tried to make it into their own specific and "unique" brand (see all these unpronouncable names? Copyright, bishes!). Just like terrinoth.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 05 Aug 2016 09:11 #231443

First edition AD&D had the best dungeons, but second edition AD&D offered several distinctive and interesting campaign settings, like Ravenloft and Dark Sun. Unfortunately, their default setting was Forgotten Realms, and it was vanilla and forgettable. I agree that Greyhawk was just enough, plus it had that huge, gorgeous hex map.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 05 Aug 2016 12:07 #231463

Huh. That's weird. I played D&D from 1980 until the mid-90s, so I was there for the original Basic/Expert/Advanced stuff and the original release of Greyhawk and the Forgotten Realms. The latter was, by far, more interesting simply because it had depth. People dismissing FR as "vanilla" in favor of Greyhawk is like a mirror image thing to me. Greyhawk was a list of names with no depth. There was the Great Kingdom and the Iron Society and Iuz and Perrenland and so on and those had vague trappings of a fantasy world but then there was Keoland. What was that place? It didn't do anything. And no one really explained why the Duchy, County, and Priincipality of Ulek were ruled by dwarves, elves, and gnomes but all shared the same name. Or what made Furyondy a culture of its own with, y'know, history. Or who the Horned Society even was and why they hadn't been taken over by the literal demigod to the east. It was just a bunch of place names with even more generic geographical names attached ("Dreadwood"; yo, Mirkwood's already done it and they even changed a vowel for style points.)

The Realms, OTOH, had a fair amount of depth and history attached to its place names and had relatable motivations for many of its nations. The world-spanning evil organization was evil not because they were into death and torture but because they were into money. The Zhentarim spent most of their efforts trying to secure caravan routes. Amn was in a trade war with Waterdeep, not only from a natural rivalry, but because the thieves' guild had been expelled and taken root somewhere else. The Realms always struck me as far less Standard Encounter* than Greyhawk. People are decrying it for being "vanilla" but this was 1985. There weren't that many fantasy worlds out there that weren't Tolkien or Moorcock. Unless you wanted something with an unusual flavor like Dark Sun, this was the setting for your fantasy campaigns. It's like someone watching Casablanca now and complaining about how it's filled with cliches.

*"You enter a room. It has an ogre and a treasure chest."
"Nothing else?"
"... No."
"No evidence that the ogre, for some reason, lives here in this 16x16 room with a treasure chest?"
"No."
"Or maybe why he'd choose to live way out here in a haunted castle that no one, especially no prey, ever comes to?"
"It's the next encounter, OK?"
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 05 Aug 2016 12:30 #231467

To be clear about my point of view, I never used any AD&D official settings except as resources, and Greyhawk resources were generic enough to drop in to what I wanted to do.

And you know, fuck Elminster and fuck Drizzt.
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Arkham Horror: The Card Game 05 Aug 2016 14:29 #231482

I just watched the Team Covenant GenCon demo and the game looks amazing. Looks to be more fun than the LotR LCG. Can't wait to get my 2 core sets.
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