January 7, 2015 at 11:17 am #8273
Yes that new dungeon crawler set in the west with ugly monsters. I just thought now that some people here own it and it is officially in the catalog of the order we might exchange our splendid and critical opinions in this special topic. Come join me, I’d love to hear your voices!
Of course we all know by now that the game boxes are MASSIVE and have a lot of stuff in them, which is great! I backed this on kickstarter at the Outlaw level, so i got both core sets and there’s still a lot of stuff to come (mostly enemies). Nobody knows when, but most likely that will be sometime next fall. Luckily these games seem to offer enough to keep us going for quite some hours.
We enjoy the game greatly! Now let me ramble a bit…this will probably be quite a long post, so bear with me. And i might even forget one or another thing, I’ll just write it down straight from my chest.
The components are very solid. Lots of cards, tokens, big map tiles, dice, plastic. Some of my cards had a misprint and in my City of the Ancients i was missing four loot cards. But Flying Frog sent me replacements quickly, great service!
The miniatures look very nice. I would say they are somewhat less detailed than the usual Fantasy Flight game (like Descent) but totally okay for me. I’m new to building and painting miniatures, so it took me quite some time to get them all together. The fact that you have to assemble them is a bit dissapointing, looking at the quality. I think with a little more time, they could have done more here. The prototypes they showed and showcased at several conventions look way better so it must be the loss of detail in a fast plastic production. Journey, another kickstarted coop-miniature game which is in it’s final stages now (back then it was either SoB or Journey for me) has preassembled and highly detailed miniatures. I don’t know how they do it but they are doing fantastic work. I just had to take this as a comparison. As i said this is almost the first time for me painting miniatures (got the tentacles done so far) but that’ll be another thread.
The first thing about the game i have to get out of the way: This is the perfect solo-board game. I’m not a solo boardgamer at all, but it you are or if you just sometimes feel the need to play a board game and can’t find anyone, this is the game for you.
The reason i just wrote this is the fact that it makes no real difference whether you play alone or up to 6 players. The basic game play doesn’t offer much. There are no meaningful decisions you have to make and discuss with the others, not even little tactical choices in battles or two-edged swords if you should attack now or do something else instead. You roll your dice. Move. Roll your dice again to attack monsters in a very static battle, in which you will never move in most cases once the enemies are in. Roll your dice for skill tests, for events, to hold back the darkness. Keep those D6s rolling! It doesn’t matter who rolls the dice, it’s dice rolled. It doesn’t matter if you go left or right, the next room will be the same either way, since it’s a card you draw. It doesn’t matter who goes in and when, the exploration token decides what will happen and how much of it.
I think you get my point. Everything is so random that it wouldn’t matter who rolls the dice, where you go or what you do. There might be exceptions in some missions we have not yet played). The only thing other players add is that you are all going on an adventure together and can have a laugh or shed a tear. Together. But it will always feel like you are watching an interactive movie.
Before you start to build that pile of wood to lit some fire under my feet shouting “shut up! I love this game!!”… I love this game, too. Every inch of it is dripping in theme and atmosphere. All the randomness makes for an unpredictable story of a group of unlikely heroes which unfolds on your table. The artwork is so, so good and the game is full of it. The basic gameplay which consists of rolling dice is made interesting with all kind of little details and specials. We were enjoying the game so much, we forgot that we were just rolling dice like mad men. We walked into that mine as a group, at one point though our rancher player got a little greedy and while the three others of us were already in the next room, he decided to take a different direction and explore another room. Exploring two rooms at the same time quickly ended in us being all surrounded by an enemy ambush. After our momentary shock I, the preacher, took out my only dynamite and threw it with the blessing of god, right into the enemy bulk between us three and the rancher. Silly me, of course god was not watching over us down here. The dynamite bounced and bounced and bounced again. It landed just one foot away from the rancher and sadly burnt him quite a bit. Well…he had it coming.
We got to the objective and finished the mission without any bigger problems though. But it was still very enjoyable.
Then there’s the Town part of the game. Which is a great idea and i can’t wait to see what they will give us with the “extended town gameplay”-expansion which was a strech goal. As it is, it’s some kind of mini-game everyone plays for himself while at it. It’s always fun and interesting to see what events the others are getting into but thematically it can also be weird if all heroes go into the saloon and everyone has to roll an event for himself; one might get into a bar brawl while the others have their own things and are not affected at all. Of course one good thing about the game is that you can pretty much play everything as you like, so you could just house rule some events to affect the whole group and no more events are rolled (there are some few which affect all already).
At first we spent almost as much time in town as we did in the mines. Because everyone really has to check out every location chart. But as we knew more and more what we can do, it went faster and became a smaller portion (we also wanted to get out quickly to prevent bad events which prepare us for the next mission in an uncomfortable way).
I also have to mention the story and campaign. There is a nice short background story and all the artwork and encounters etc. make for a rich world. You can play each mission on it’s own or play them all as a campaign. The only difference is that your characters level up and go to town. Which is great. And a bit of a let down. There is no story or common thread in the campaign with an ultimate goal to achieve like saving brimstone and the world. Every mission has it’s own little story but that’s it. You have to make up your own story (or let it be made through the game events). Nothing that will push you as a team to work together and get to the end. You level up, so either your goal is to reach level 8 (cap) and get all the loot you can, finish all the missions or just play indefinitely. There is no end to this game. Which is good and bad. It lets you keep going but at some point you wont be getting any better gear and can’t improve anymore. Will it still be interesting then? Will you just start over? So the real thing about it is not the campaign story as a whole but every little adventure you’re having. Leveling up is just a side-effect of pulling that trigger so often.
Oh yeah, leveling up. Of course i love leveling up. Give me those xp and all the loot i can grab! Sadly though you will only be choosing few of all the abilities you could get. And only one of the last ones of the four skill trees. Also the stats upgrade is random, too, so you might level up and almost stay the poor weak David that you are while some others get the greates Goliath boosts. But that’s fine with me. Since there is no end of the game, it doesn’t really matter anyway and stays enjoyable even if you get so messed up through events (that permanent sanity loss…makes you wish you’d visit church more often) that you hardly can put up a fight. And also, there is already enough things to keep track of during the game. At first we used the empty sheets in the book to keep track but now we use bigger sheets by a user of bgg. You can find them here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/107940/klutzs-full-art-character-sheets they are especially practical to keep track of everything you buy in stores (since you have to write that down).
One thing that comes with the campaign game is that it makes it very difficult to play with other players than your usual group or just with a different hero posse for a change since you want to keep all the gear of each hero together and don’t want to shuffle it back into the decks.
We are only playing Swamps of Death so far. Once we finished all the missions or don’t want to go on, we will switch to City of the Ancients. Start fresh with the other four heroes and enjoy the City. When we’re done with that (which will take a while since we don’t find the time to get together for such a long game too often; and then it’s not always SoB) hopefully wave 2 will arrive and together with all that we will put everything together and go into some crazy brimstone overload, again with new heroes and start all over. We are not mixing it because of the no-end i just talked about before. Mixing everything, we could go on and on until we want to try new heroes. And once we do try the other heroes all the rest would be the same massive amount of stuff, which bears the risk that we’ve already seen much of it. In short, we want to have everything new and fresh once we start over. Of course we hope it stays enjoyable after hours and hours of play once we get to City of the Ancients.
All in all we like the game (or should i say interactive story creator) a lot. It remains to be seen if it’s still enjoyable enough once you’ve seen everything (for example there are not that many artifacts actually). Because discovery and exploration is what makes this game interesting, not challenging gameplay or competing with others(as many other games with endless replayability).
So. There are a lot of RPG elements in this game but actually, it’s not a deep full role playing game, it’s a fun hack’n’slay action RPG. Anyone else thinks this is as close as a boardgame can get to be Diablo?January 7, 2015 at 3:07 pm #8276
Mate, that was a fantastic read, thanks a million for going to the trouble of posting it. In fact it’s so good I’m going to link to it when I put up the SoB page here on the EOG (almost finished the summary!)
For some reason I didn’t even think of the fact that it would be so good for solo play – I’m going to give that a go asap.
I agree with you that they should have linked the adventures together into a campaign. There’s a few paragraphs in the Adventure Book suggesting a sequence to play them in, followed by the very lazy sentence “the narrative possibilities are endless”. “Well, if they’re so endless Flying Frog, why didn’t come up with some?” was my reaction to that. 🙂
I also agree with you about the figures. I backed Journey and the figures are looking just stunning, which shows it can be done with the requisite level of care and effort. Still, Flying Frog aren’t known for their figures, and unfortunately they didn’t decide to take the leap to the next level with this one.
But all in all, thanks for getting me hyped up about playing this game! Great stuff.
BTW, when you solo, how many characters do you use?January 7, 2015 at 10:22 pm #8277
Just played my first game, solo, this evening and it was a hoot. After fighting off some stranglers and a night terror on the first tile, I got the second clue in the second map tile I placed, and was swamped by a horde of void spiders, stranglers and night terrors. They soon took my marshall and bandido out, though I would have had a fighting chance if I didn’t roll so badly for damage when I threw the dyanamite!
Tell me, if you have 3 night terrors on your tile (as I did), does that mean you take SIX horror hits at the start of each of your activations? You’d go insane in no time …January 8, 2015 at 12:34 am #8278
Glad you liked it 😀
I only played solo once yet and did that with one hero to have the real solo experience of a lonely hero. Didn’t go well! While i think 4 might be a bit much to keep your eyes on, that’s the best number of heroes i think. If you try anything else, let me know how it goes! As i understand it you went with two and right away got into the demon’s lair! Oops!
Yes you do take six whooping horror hits, all monsters of a type add together. Remember that you can still prevent them with your willpower. It’s usually good to take these monsters out first if possible. And i hope you packed your revive tokens which you get with less than 4 heroes. I think for two heroes it’s one token.January 8, 2015 at 8:09 am #8281
Whoops, forgot to use the revive token. Oh well, it only would have staved off the inevitable for one turn.January 10, 2015 at 12:05 am #8301
OMG, how did you guys get your copies so early? I’m checking my kickstarter now to make sure I haven’t missed out on anything with the shipping etc.January 10, 2015 at 9:52 am #8304
Where are you? If you’re in Australia, unfortunately they get to you last.January 10, 2015 at 10:55 am #8306
Yes, Australia. Sad, sad Australia where everything is 10x more expensive and comes out 6 months after the fact…January 10, 2015 at 2:07 pm #8308
Well, while I’m Australian, I live in New Zealand, and I can assure you that apart from this one very rare instance (NZ was classed as Rest of World so Flying Frog sent them direct), everything here is about 12x more expensive and comes out 8 months after the fact… 🙂
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