Board 8 > another year of tabletop rankings and writeups

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SeabassDebeste
12/26/19 10:35:41 PM
#1:


So I've done this a few times already. In 2016, I ranked the first 100 tabletop games I felt qualified for a list. In around April 2018, I was a little more discerning, choosing 80 games that I'd played more than once and that I felt were interesting enough from a hobbyist's perspective to rank. This time I'm going to use similar criteria to last year's ranking. That game count is now up to 133, with that increase representing mainly games that I've . The list is a little less coherently ranked this time, having been ranked using this site: https://www.pubmeeple.com/introducing-ranking-engine-2-0/ - since several preferences are kind of hazy, the rankings came out a mess, and I didn't spend quite as much time adjusting the rankings as you might hope.

Preference criteria is roughly judged on:

  • Past experiences/memories - what impression did this game leave on me? Did I have any "aha" moments? What was the best thing that happened while I played this game?
  • Design principles - without playing the game and just looking at its components and ruleset and place in history, how much do I admire/disdain this game?
  • Future outlook - how much is there left to explore? How do I look forward to getting this to the table? Am I still excited to play it, and with which people can I look forward to playing it?


Notably, my gaming habits have shifted this year, which changes #3 greatly. Some games will be largely propped up by #1 as I look forward to playing them less in the future; other games will vary slightly in ranking as my last memory becomes more and more distant.

As usual, game 133 of 133 will be up soon.

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SeabassDebeste
12/26/19 10:50:05 PM
#2:


133. Secret Hitler (2015)

Category: Team vs Team
Genres: Party, social deduction, hidden roles
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 3
Game length: 25-45 minutes
Experience: 12+ plays from 6-10 players; many different groups; 2015-2018
Previous ranks: 50/100 (2016), 80/80 (2018)

Summary - Bad guys (fascists) know who each other are; good guys do not know who one another are. Each round, everyone together elects a president and a chancellor. The goal for good guys (the majority) is to elect tickets without fascists on them. Fascists want to get on tickets or, even better, get Hitler elected. After a certain number of elections, a victor is decided by how many times the fascists got onto tickets.

Experience - I haven't actually had that many bad experiences with Secret HItler and in fact have had some positive memories. I first heard about this game since it's very similar to one of my favorites, and since the rules were available, I mocked it up by hand and played with my group. We largely played social deduction/hidden roles games back then for high player counts.

Design - This is where I really dislike Secret Hitler. It's very clearly based off a far superior game, to the point where almost all of its good mechanics - the hidden roles, the team selection, the election process - are all taken from that game, which it does not acknowledge. The changes SH makes are all for the worse, though - "edgy" fascism, randomness in a policy deck, increased electoral cycles. These are all designed to increase the game's mass-market/Cards Against Humanity-ish appeal, and none of it works for me. It frustrates me that you'd take a near-perfect game and then just adulterate the experience. Now I can understand the principle behind that - my main gaming group now is small and dislikes social deduction games in general, and they find SH to be bearable because it is more adulterated - but it's massively distasteful to me.

Future - No interest in playing it again. Given the superior alternative, it's likely that in my main groups it will come up very infrequently again, but it's not impossible due to the interest of variety. But suffice it to say, this game is not my thing.

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Paratroopa1
12/26/19 11:04:17 PM
#3:


Ugh, Secret Hitler is just so much worse than Resistance/Avalon and I REALLY dislike the theming, it's a major turnoff to be playing a game about Hitler
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SeabassDebeste
12/26/19 11:06:39 PM
#4:


132. Good Cop, Bad Cop (2014)

Category: Team vs Team
Genres: Social deduction, hidden roles, player elimination
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 1
Game length: 25-45 minutes
Experience: 10+ plays with 5-8 players, 2016-2018
Previous ranks: NR (2016), 78/80 (2018)

Summary - You're dealt three allegiance cards that say good or bad on them. Whichever card you have more of is your team. Your goal is to kill the leader of the opposite team, which will be the player dealt the Agent or Kingpin card, depending on team. Play proceeds turn-based, where you can check peoples allegiance, take/fire guns, and play cards to give you special abilities.

Experience - As with most party games, it's not impossible to find fun experiences in GCBC - I've laughed a few times during it. But overall, playing it has been a bore. It typically keeps very little of my attention and is solely played on other people's behalf.

Design -.I will say that GCBC is very accessible, and that the principle of allegiance cards is very cool. But it suffers from two major flaws. First, being turn-based is a major issue with higher player counts - you simply do not want to wait 7 turns for it to be yours again, and making it worse, there are cards that can reverse turn order, making it possible for you to wait 13 turns before you play again. This is tied intimately with the second issue, which is that the game is far too swingy and random for one that takes this long. Given that it can last over 40 minutes (admittedly, perhaps this is due to annoyingly slow players) and has player elimination, it really sucks that players can severely lack agency - you're at the whim of some very "take that"-ish cards; there can often be nothing you can do to prevent getting shot; the act of shooting someone takes 2 whole turns, which as we know, can mean sitting around for 20ish player-turns before you get to fire the gun. (And of course, there are all the swingy cards that remove the gun from your hand, further depriving you of agency.) It's just poor design, most of which could be ameliorated with shortening the game or making it play simultaneously - which we will see in many other games later.

Future - There is a copy in my group, but I have seen that member rather less frequently, so it's likely it won't come out again in a long time - and I'm very happy for that.

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Grand Kirby
12/26/19 11:09:00 PM
#5:


As someone who has been playing a lot of tabletop games recently I really look forward to this.

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SeabassDebeste
12/26/19 11:14:57 PM
#6:


Paratroopa1 posted...
Ugh, Secret Hitler is just so much worse than Resistance/Avalon and I REALLY dislike the theming, it's a major turnoff to be playing a game about Hitler
glad you agree! many feel the opposite which i guess is okay for them.

Grand Kirby posted...
As someone who has been playing a lot of tabletop games recently I really look forward to this.
also glad to hear! more to come tomorrow.

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GANON1025
12/26/19 11:22:17 PM
#7:


Tag! I've also gotten way more into tabletop games this year. I can only assume Gloomhaven is the undisputed #1 ranked game

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TomNook
12/26/19 11:31:16 PM
#8:


Tag. Always looking for new tabletops.

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Naye745
12/27/19 12:21:58 AM
#9:


i havent been quite as on top of new games this year, but there's one that i absolutely love that i think is light years ahead of anything else i've played in 2019 lol

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Naye745
12/27/19 12:23:28 AM
#10:


also while i prefer resistance/avalon and think it's undoubtedly the superior game, there is something to secret hitler actually giving you actions to do (picking out policies) because it gives new players something to discuss and argue over. the more abstracted missions of resistance/avalon seem to be hard for a big group of new players to get a handle on, in some games i've had

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ChichiriMuyo
12/27/19 12:25:28 AM
#11:


tag

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NBIceman
12/27/19 12:28:59 AM
#12:


I wish my circle of friends was amenable to Secret Hitler alternatives, but they seem to really love calling people fascists for whatever reason. Oh well.

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KommunistKoala
12/27/19 1:37:35 AM
#13:


tag

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Anagram
12/27/19 1:42:27 AM
#14:


Have you played Chameleon? Will it be on a list?

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banananor
12/27/19 1:52:48 AM
#15:


Tagging for later

Our two main game owners moved to another state, so we're trying to figure out what games to replenish our stockpile with

I'll be keeping an eye on this!

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ChaosTonyV4
12/27/19 2:11:02 AM
#16:


Tag, my board game collection exploded this year even though I have barely anyone to play games with lol

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Great_Paul
12/27/19 2:22:11 AM
#17:


I guess Ive got the unpopular opinion where I like Secret Hitler better than Resistance.

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SeabassDebeste
12/27/19 7:01:33 AM
#18:


Anagram posted...
Have you played Chameleon? Will it be on a list?
I haven't. Assuming it's this game (https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/227072/chameleon), it sounds a lot like Spyfall, which I have played, but which I omitted on this list because I've played it almost exclusively on an app.

Great_Paul posted...
I guess Ive got the unpopular opinion where I like Secret Hitler better than Resistance.
Seems like most people ITT disagree, but tend to recognize that it has a lot of appeal in society. See these posts:

Naye745 posted...
also while i prefer resistance/avalon and think it's undoubtedly the superior game, there is something to secret hitler actually giving you actions to do (picking out policies) because it gives new players something to discuss and argue over. the more abstracted missions of resistance/avalon seem to be hard for a big group of new players to get a handle on, in some games i've had

NBIceman posted...
I wish my circle of friends was amenable to Secret Hitler alternatives, but they seem to really love calling people fascists for whatever reason. Oh well.
The fascist theme and the policy deck clearly make the game worse to me; however, they do appear to widen the mass market appeal of SH. I guess in the interest of explaining the game's popularity (and since I'm a bit more awake now), we could do a survey of its design decisions.

  • The components give it a fairly clean aesthetic. (To me, this is WORSE because it costs 2x-3x as much as its predecessor, and the Role/Affiliation cards are a pain to separate. However, the President/Chancellor title plates are nice.)
  • The fascism theme, which I hugely dislike, is really popular. People like calling each other Hitler/a fascist and love flipping the JA/NEIN cards, and sometimes saying it aloud. I find this annoying in general.
  • The occasional win of killing or electing Hitler also provides a lot of high fives, though since HItler's best strategy is to play like a Liberal, I find this arbitrary and annoying too. One of the better SH memories I have is of HItler being President three separate times and mucking a Liberal policy every time.
  • Teams of two are worse for depth of play, but easier to manage for new players.


The Policy Deck affects a whole multitude of how the game plays as well:
  • The Chancellor's decision early on becomes trivial, making each election essentially a one-man team. There's so little benefit to discarding blue when you see both blue and red in an early round because the stakes are so low, and because
  • There's a strong rubber-banding effect if a bunch of Liberal policies get passed a lot at first - it just becomes that much harder to draw Liberal policies afterward. The deck can therefore cause a ton of swinginess.
  • Depth of argument can come down to two things: "I think you're a facist" or "It was the policy deck." This simplifies the decision space, making it less game-y but, again, easier to grasp.


Now I legitimately do think that the player powers granted to the President in case of fascist policies being enacted are pretty cool in theory - but in practice, I haven't seen it play out in particularly interesting ways.

Virtually every one of these decisions widens the game's appeal to those who would otherwise not be as into reading people, analyzing voting patterns, trying to search for social tics when people aren't featured, lobbying hard on who should be on the ticket and who shouldn't be. These are the things I tended to enjoy in social deduction games, so obviously SH feels gross to me.

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SeabassDebeste
12/27/19 7:15:26 AM
#19:


131. Survive! Escape from Atlantis

Category: Player vs Player
Genres: Dudes on a map, take-that
Rules complexity (0 to 7):
Game length: 30-45 minutes
Experience: 2 plays with 3-4 players (2016, 2019)
Previous ranks: NR (2016), NR (2018)

Summary - An island of hexes is sinking in a specific order. You want to rescue your survivors, represented by face-down tiles, of varying value. Each turn you can move a survivor toward the safety of the edge of the map through the water away from the island, but people can draw the sea monster cards as well, which may impede your progress or eat your refugees.

Design -.Thing about Survive is, it's just not very good. It's not intuitive for such a lightweight game; I remember forgetting multiple times in a single game the timing of drawing a card and playing the card. It can be kind of mean and random, though that is obviously one of the draws of the game (and it's too long for that).

That said, my main issue with Survive, which crystallized more after playing it a few months ago, is that the drama of the game is frontloaded. Early on in the game, there are the fewest hindrances and sea monsters, and the most boats, and the island's edge is closest to the sea. Therefore, it is easiest at the beginning of the game to send your guys off to safety. Why is this an issue? Because you get to choose which of your refugees to place in advantageous positions to get to the end, and you have full control of which of your refugees to move each turn. And these refugees vary drastically in point value, from 1-pointers to a 6-pointer. That essentially means that within the first ten minutes of the game, you'll have scored (or lost) up to 80% of your final score. The remaining 20-30 minutes might be spent squabbling over a matter of 20% of the score. If you lost your best dudes during that first mad rush, you're just playing out the string with zero chance of comeback.

There are some fun mechanics to Survive, but the dramatic arc of it makes no sense. Adding some additional rubber-band-y stakes at the end might actually increase its drama. There's just a little too long spent on the hidden potential of 1-pointers that are likely to be eaten anyway at the end of the game.

Experience - Nothing remarkable happened with my games of Survive. I lost the first time pretty badly and did decent at the second game, so I think the losing bias isn't massive here. Also played with fairly pleasant company

Future - No real desire to play this again, though with fast players I could seem myself persuaded.

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Paratroopa1
12/27/19 7:18:41 AM
#20:


The one time I played Secret Hitler there was one guy at the table who would NOT stop making jokes about nazis (like, "I did not see that coming"-tier) and it made me want to throw up in my mouth. I find almost everything funny to joke about except this, i'm not fucking 8chan
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Great_Paul
12/27/19 11:06:44 AM
#21:


Paratroopa1 posted...
The one time I played Secret Hitler there was one guy at the table who would NOT stop making jokes about nazis (like, "I did not see that coming"-tier) and it made me want to throw up in my mouth. I find almost everything funny to joke about except this, i'm not fucking 8chan

There was one time I played this random guy voted no on every single vote just because he thought it was funny to say nein, even when he was President. It got really annoying.

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SeabassDebeste
12/28/19 1:48:56 PM
#22:


SH doesn't explicitly tell you to act like a huge asshole while playing it, but it certainly does nothing to stop assholes from playing it...

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SeabassDebeste
12/28/19 2:06:45 PM
#23:


130. Sheriff of Nottingham (2014)

Category: Player vs Player
Genres: Bluffing, set collection
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 1
Game length: 30 to 60 minutes
Experience: 2 plays (2015, 2016-17) with 4-5 players
Previous ranks: 49/100 (2016), 78/80 (2018)

Summary - The nominal goal of Sheriff of Nottingham is Set Collection. You draw cards and attempt to convert them into scoring opportunities by putting them in front of the Sheriff. The Sheriff - and each player gets to be Sheriff twice - is essentially the arbiter of what goods you're allowed to send through. You can tell the truth and send a paltry sum of cards through, or you can lie to the Sheriff and send through contraband - but the Sheriff can choose to inspect the bag as well, either owing or collecting depending on whether they correctly call your bluff.

Experience - My first play of SoN came when I was green as a gamer and highly preferred social games with light rulesets. I played with a group of four which would become the defining gaming group of my initiation. It was delightfully light, and I enjoyed having the Sheriffs inspect my bag incorrectly - you get paid if you're honest and you do get inspected.

Then my second game was in a group of five with people I'm lukewarm on in a meetup, and it sucked. The game lasted forever, I had no money, and people didn't want to honor deals we struck (which I never even tried in the first game). One of the more negative experiences of my life. There is space for a meta to develop if you play with the same people, but like many social games, it's very group-sensitive.

Design -.Why is SoN so sensitive to the group you play with? Well, it's a bluffing game and very confrontational. So if you get ego mixed up in it, it can be pretty unpleasant. There's very little else to the game. That said, there are a few annoying features to it. One is that the set collection mechanic is what drives the need to bluff, and that's mostly done through random draw. If everyone draws well when you're Sheriff, well, you're just fucked, because honesty will be incredibly powerful for them, and you can't do shit about an honest player.

Another issue with SoN is that the game length scales quadratically with number of players, instead of linearly. Each round naturally lasts longer since a Sheriff makes a decision on each other player's bag - but because of the everyone-is-Sheriff-twice rule, the number of rounds also scales up with number of players. It can be very easy to fall behind in SoN with no catchup mechanism (in fact, the more desperately you try to catch up, the more obvious it'll be that you're bluffing.) One aspect I think really improves game experience is if it can be fun to play while losing. My second play of SoN felt like shit while losing, and in a game of this weight, "git gud" isn't a good response.

Future - The game requires an emergent metagame to become replayable, but since it's so delicate on initial play and is so shallow, it doesn't necessarily merit that type of repeated play. I do know many groups greatly enjoy SoN. I think that with the right group that was willing to play very quickly and jump through 30-40 minutes games, I'd be down to play it a few times in a session. But I'm leery.

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Raka_Putra
12/28/19 2:29:34 PM
#24:


Tag!

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Great_Paul
12/28/19 2:34:49 PM
#25:


Sheriff was one of the earliest games I got and when I first started playing it I liked it a lot. Nobody in the game group I ended up joining likes it though so I haven't played it in years. One person I know declares it as his least favourite game of all time. Since my tastes in games have changed, it's likely I wouldn't like it as much as I used to anyway.

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HanOfTheNekos
12/28/19 3:24:19 PM
#26:


Is Survive a sister game to Escape?

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SeabassDebeste
12/28/19 7:25:29 PM
#27:


HanOfTheNekos posted...
Is Survive a sister game to Escape?
nope, assuming by escape you mean the real-time, cooperative dice chucker. survive is every-man-for-himself and involves almost purely take-that mechanics.

Great_Paul posted...
Sheriff was one of the earliest games I got and when I first started playing it I liked it a lot. Nobody in the game group I ended up joining likes it though so I haven't played it in years. One person I know declares it as his least favourite game of all time. Since my tastes in games have changed, it's likely I wouldn't like it as much as I used to anyway.
how have your tastes trended?

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ChaosTonyV4
12/28/19 7:35:22 PM
#28:


Wow, Shut Up & Sit Down gave me the impression that Sheriff was great, but nothing about it that's been described so far sounds fun at all.

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Paratroopa1
12/28/19 7:36:37 PM
#29:


Sheriff of Nottingham feels prisoner dilemma-ish which I'm never a very big fan of
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TomNook
12/28/19 7:56:32 PM
#30:


SeabassDebeste posted...
Previous ranks: 49/100 (2016), 78/80 (2018)
It's amazing how much a playgroup can change opinions. I've never played Sheriff, but I don't think it's for me anyway, because it seems like you are bluffing entirely RNG, with no skill? But anyway, I see this all the time with other games I love, and it always makes me feel bad that people just didn't get a good group, and reading their horror stories is very feel bad.

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SeabassDebeste
12/28/19 8:35:25 PM
#31:


129. Dead of Winter (2014)

Category: One vs Many
Genres: Ameritrash, pickup-and-deliver, hidden roles
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 4
Game length: 60-120 minutes
Experience: 3-4 games over 2 sessions (2016-2017) with 5 players
Previous ranks: NR (2016), 76/80 (2018)

Summary - Everyone is working together to achieve personal secret missions in a zombie apocalypse. But one of those hidden objectives may be a traitorous one that involves screwing everyone else over! Throughout the game you visit different locations (and thus risk exposure to zombies), affect the morale of the survivors' colony, recruit new survivors (via "crossroads cards"), and collect/search for items.

Design - Dead of Winter has some really cool ideas. The post-apocalyptic setting, the one guy secretly trying to tank you, the crossroads cards, people needing to cooperate but also accomplish their own goals, the atmosphere of betrayal... the problem is, I have yet (and to be fair, I've only played twice) to find it come together right. Most of the mechanics just don't feel very good. There are a lot of rules and a lot of moving pieces and things to track, but as far as I've seen, you mostly just spend time rolling annoying dice, making trivial decisions, and digging through decks, fairly isolated of other players. The game provides a nominal resistance, but it's enough that a win from the traitor can feel very much like "oh, okay, that happened" instead of actually feeling like they... well, did anything.

Experience - Love playing a lot of euro-type games with my group, but thematic or roleplay or hidden role stuff doesn't take well with the people I played with, and that probably is the big difference here. That said, all the design choices I mentioned still hold. It just doesn't feel very good.

Future - Maybe certain scenarios are better, and the ideal, thematically immersed, whatever group will come along. But I think that while DoW was a hot topic in '15 and '16, time has kind of passed it by at this point.

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SeabassDebeste
12/28/19 9:21:45 PM
#32:


ChaosTonyV4 posted...
Wow, Shut Up & Sit Down gave me the impression that Sheriff was great, but nothing about it that's been described so far sounds fun at all.
I don't watch SUSD, but the impression I get is that they love getting rowdy and finger-point-y and OMG about things. There's space for that in Sheriff you enjoy baiting people into calling your bluff or whatever, but the decision space is pretty shallow. You need the right meta to enjoy it.

TomNook posted...
It's amazing how much a playgroup can change opinions. I've never played Sheriff, but I don't think it's for me anyway, because it seems like you are bluffing entirely RNG, with no skill? But anyway, I see this all the time with other games I love, and it always makes me feel bad that people just didn't get a good group, and reading their horror stories is very feel bad.
You have agency over your bluffs. Essentially you legally can ship one type of good and cannot lie about the number of cards you're shipping. There are also some goods that simply aren't legal to ship regardless, but are worth more nominal points. If you draw a lot of cards of the same type, then you're good and basically roll. If you don't, you can either play passively and ship single goods, or you can lie and ship contraband. The problem is, the most fun you can have as a shipper is getting inspected when you're telling the truth, because you both get the goods you shipped AND the penalty. But it's very hard to get called telling the truth if you're only shipping one good. And the only way to come back is by shipping contraband, realistically.

But yeah, group dependency is real. A lot of games higher up on the list rose after better experiences.

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ChaosTonyV4
12/28/19 9:36:43 PM
#33:


What the whaaaaT? I love Dead of Winter!

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Great_Paul
12/28/19 9:41:38 PM
#34:


SeabassDebeste posted...
how have your tastes trended?

I think it's mostly some games that are only good with the right group of people I've noticed haven't been as good much later. I used to really like Spyfall for example, but now I try my best to avoid it.


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NBIceman
12/28/19 10:01:15 PM
#35:


One of my friends loves Dead of Winter but it's not a particular favorite of mine, either. Feels like there's too much going on for how simple a game it really is. Feels like a chore sometimes.

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Great_Paul
12/28/19 10:02:12 PM
#36:


I really like Dead of Winter and hope to eventually try the Warring Colonies expansion.

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HanOfTheNekos
12/28/19 10:06:24 PM
#37:


I like Sheriff! But the problem is usually being lucky and getting lots of legal goods is the winning move.

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Naye745
12/29/19 12:53:57 AM
#38:


sheriff of nottingham is pretty enjoyable, but i do wonder if i were pickier about bluffing games that its problems (too long for what it is, too dependent on playgroup and metagame as you said) would really kill it for me. there are undoubtedly better bluffing games out there

dead of winter on the other hand never did anything for me. it's not really a great game and relies on its narrative and setting to sell itself, which is good enough for some people! i found it either really formulaic or boring or both.

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SeabassDebeste
12/29/19 11:53:35 PM
#39:


128. Imperial Settlers (2014)

Category: Player vs Player
Genres: Civilization-building, tableau-building, card-drafting
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 4
Game length: 45-90 min
Experience: 2 plays (2015, 2018), 2-3 players
Previous ranks: 71/100 (2016), /80 (2018)

Summary - You're playing as one of four or five ancient civilizations. Rounds are split between drafting and playing. Cards can be either played or discarded.

Experience - My two plays of Imperial Settlers happened three years apart, but they were mostly the same - drafting is a little difficult; the game doesn't go quite long enough to build an engine; and the decisions don't "feel" particularly good.

Design -.Imperial Settlers is harmless enough: it's of a reasonable length, with reasonably nice art, with reasonable card effects, a reasonable drafting mechanic. But there's no singularly unique feature beyond possibly choosing which cards to build, and it bizarrely has this feel-bad "razing" mechanism, by which you can take down someone else's building.

Future - The relative freshness and possible promise of some depth/playing different factions makes playing it seem reasonably palatable. Would play possibly at 2 or 3, almost never at 4, but would look hard for other options.

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yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable - they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness
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SeabassDebeste
12/29/19 11:56:15 PM
#40:


ChaosTonyV4 posted...
What the whaaaaT? I love Dead of Winter!

Great_Paul posted...
I really like Dead of Winter and hope to eventually try the Warring Colonies expansion.
What part do you guys like most about it?

NBIceman posted...
One of my friends loves Dead of Winter but it's not a particular favorite of mine, either. Feels like there's too much going on for how simple a game it really is. Feels like a chore sometimes.
That's how I felt. There's a lot of cool stuff conceptually, but in execution it comes down to digging through decks of cards and dice rolls?

HanOfTheNekos posted...
I like Sheriff! But the problem is usually being lucky and getting lots of legal goods is the winning move.

Naye745 posted...
sheriff of nottingham is pretty enjoyable, but i do wonder if i were pickier about bluffing games that its problems (too long for what it is, too dependent on playgroup and metagame as you said) would really kill it for me. there are undoubtedly better bluffing games out there

dead of winter on the other hand never did anything for me. it's not really a great game and relies on its narrative and setting to sell itself, which is good enough for some people! i found it either really formulaic or boring or both.
Yeah, I assume honesty isn't a dominant strategy, if you've got enough repeated plays with the same people to the point where you can reasonably make gambles and not be called immediately. Or if you get into the negotiation aspect. It's just yet to happen for me.

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yet all sailors of all sorts are more or less capricious and unreliable - they live in the varying outer weather, and they inhale its fickleness
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SeabassDebeste
12/30/19 12:07:24 AM
#41:


127. But Wait, There's More! (2011)

Category: Player vs Player
Genres: Party game, improvisation, acting, judging
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 0
Game length: 10-20 minutes
Experience: 3-4 plays/rounds, 2017-18
Previous ranks: NR (2016), NR (2018)

Summary - You have a card that describes some ridiculous product like a vacuum for ears or something, and you're supposed to come up with a pitch to sell it. After 30 seconds of talking, though, you draw a card with a ridiculous feature it has - like a detachable arm or something - and you're supposed to incorporate it into your sell. Then someone draws a card to ask about some logistical issue, followed by you explaining why "That's the best part!" Everyone does stuff like this, and then people vote on who had the best pitch.

Design -.As far as improv games go, BWTM does some things well. First, the cards are ridiculous and kind of funny. Secondly, it gives a formula that's inherently crazy and forces people to say silly stuff that they did not expect to say ("But what if it makes me sick?" / "That's the best part!") The problem for me is that the very genre of the game kind of prevents it from being an interesting type of game - not only is it extremely group-dependent, but it's also judge-dependent. This is the only game I included on the list that has a judge mechanic, because I really dislike the "people pick which _____ they found funniest." Not ranked on this list are Apples to Apples, Cards Against Humanity, or Joking Hazard - they just don't feel game-y to me. I included BWTM because... eh. It's a little different.

Experience - Only played this at the meetup and never really with people I really want to game with. For a group-dependent game, probably fair to say I haven't given it its "full" go.

Future - Can't really see any of my friends getting this, or particularly having a good time trying to do this. Not the improve types in general.

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Eddv
12/30/19 12:55:25 AM
#42:


This list is so far filled with games I decided not to play and buy so feeling good!

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Great_Paul
12/30/19 1:02:00 AM
#43:


First game on your list that I havent played.

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Bear Bro
So, confirmed Santa's #1 helper is a squirrel.
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VintageGin
12/30/19 1:52:50 AM
#44:


Dead of Winter does kinda suck. My impressions of it are much like yours-- lots of interesting ideas but in the end it's primarily just a bunch of die rolling.

I feel like there's a way to make it work, but the final product did not do that.

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Naye745
12/30/19 2:12:16 AM
#45:


for a game that gets praise for being thematically strong, i actually really struggled with the theme in dead of winter, precisely because its mechanics seemed so at odds with the setting it's trying to portray - that you are some nameless leader commanding a changing horde of survivors...who might actually be evil? and the gimmick of getting you to hide information (the secret personal goals) feels like an awkwardly forced way to make the hidden traitor mechanism work. it's just done so much better in other (better) games.

also that last game sounds like an inferior version of the invention/presentation game (whose name i forget) from jackbox 5.

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TomNook
12/30/19 3:22:41 AM
#46:


Seven entries, and there has yet to be a 5+ complexity rating show up yet! I take it those are more your type of game. Guess we'll see!

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Raka_Putra
12/30/19 9:06:42 AM
#47:


Oh man that last game sounds really fun to play with my theater friends.

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The Mana Sword
12/30/19 9:10:05 AM
#48:


more like dud of winter am I right

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Tom Bombadil
12/30/19 11:51:01 AM
#49:


social games ewwwwww

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Radiant wings as the skies rejoice, arise, and illuminate the morn.
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SeabassDebeste
12/30/19 11:52:55 AM
#50:


126. Word on the Street (2009)

Category: Team vs Team
Genres: Party game, word game, spelling
Rules complexity (0 to 7): 0
Game length: 25-35 minutes
Experience: 4-8 plays with 5-8 players (2017-2018)
Previous ranks: NR (2016), 75/80 (2018)

Summary - Most of the letters of the alphabet are laid out in a row (street). When its your teams turn, you draw a card with a category (a profession) and then you (as a team) try to think of a word with a bunch of letters. Each use of a letter moves the corresponding letter on the street more toward your side. Move the letter enough spaces over and it becomes yours, no longer in contention.

Experience - I love team games, party games, and word games. I didnt play WotS with a particularly bad group (in fact, am friends with them, though perhaps not my favorite to game with). And yeah, we managed to laugh a few times playing it. But well, lets just get right into the problems with the design.

Design - Word on the Street fails for a few obvious reasons to me. The first is its genre. It falls under a bunch of categories I love, but the core mechanic of it is a vocabulary/spelling game. And that means that despite being a team game, it suffers from the the single best idea will win issue. Another is that, like Scrabble (not ranked, but that I dont enjoy), the funnest/cleverest word rarely is the best answer. The objectively best answers are the ones that muse the target letter(s) multiple times, and if possible, remove them in one go. There might be a little novelty in thinking these up the first time, but I just dont find it particularly fun or clever.

And worse, the game can come down to a final few letters, where it becomes truly zero-sum - theres no theroetical upper bound on game length; you could just keep exchange words with 1 or 2 Ks or Vs in them for perpetuity. Its one of those games that gets considerably less fun as it goes on, which is a death knell for a party game.

Future - This game seems to have been purged from the rotation so it wont come up more. I could stomach maybe one or two rounds a year, but the replay value is particularly low on this one, IMO.

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