Theme is a strange thing, my friends, a fickle mistress. Sometimes all it needs to do is get out the damn way, but sometimes it can really enhance the underlying mechanisms of the game. Of course, most games in the market that “drip with theme” (much as I dislike that phrase) do so with copious flavor text that actually turn out feeling very generic–but that’s for another game.
This one actually manages to do something interesting with a retheme. Please enjoy.
[EDIT] Note that this marks my first references to both Pride & Prejudice, and the Church of Sleeves. I can assure you they won’t be the last.
It’s strange–I never would have expected the crude (often deliberately so!) adventure/dungeon crawl game to show so much evolution and interesting design decisions, but here we are. We truly have an embarrassment of riches in the past few years, and looking at what designers have decided to prune or emphasize is fascinating for me.
Having been given an inch and now seeking a mile, let’s see how much patience the viewing public really has for my ramblings.
I felt that the issue was sufficiently weighty so as to deserve the extra time, so this one’s rather a bit longer. That said, I did try to condense it considerably–an earlier draft was almost 40 minutes, which I knew to be unacceptable. I figure 25 is acceptable, or at least I hope it is.
Given unlimited time, I probably would have addressed The Resistance: Avalon, Coup, more time for Cards Against Humanity, etc. etc. Fodder for future reviews, I suppose.
At any rate, here is the review. As ever, feedback is most welcome, and I hope you enjoy it.
The kind of reviews that I look for as a consumer often don’t exist. If you’re looking for a reviewer to go over the rules in exhaustive (but not comprehensive!) detail, and then issue a couple final words to the effect that they found the game enjoyable, the internet has got you covered by many excellent offerings. So very, very covered.
What I want is a review that is helpful to both someone who has read the rules or not. One that focuses on criticism and analysis instead of unboxing shots and descriptions of the phase structure. Most importantly, I’m looking for reviews that recognize games don’t exist in a vacuum, and will draw explicit comparisons to similar games and how a reviewed game stacks up.
I don’t know if there’s an audience for such reviews, much less if I’m at all equipped to deliver them. But I have resolved to try, and welcome your feedback.
The first review is for Jamey Stegmaier’s Scythe. I hope you enjoy!