Boardgame Frustration

Retreater

Legend
So I backed the Altar Quest Kickstarter hoping to find a streamlined, fast-paced dungeon crawler. I got out the game to try to play a sample mission, and - oh boy - is it dense!

For the single player recommended starting quest, there was no less than 9 decks of cards, two sets of dice with different symbols that need translation, stacks of tokens, necessitating in a crowded space that barely fit on my 6 foot long gaming table. Billed as a spiritual successor to Hero Quest, this is hardly a game that can be taken to a friend's house or to introduce a tween to gaming. Setup alone took me about 45 minutes. After taking my hero's first of three activations, I was exhausted. Then my cat ran onto the table, knocked over some stuff, and I decided to put away everything.

When did we as a gaming culture decide we needed all "this." With half the rules and components, tighter gameplay, maybe this could've been that game that would fill the space I couldn't get with Gloomhaven, Descent, Eternal Darkness, etc. At least we seem to be getting a Hero Quest re-release (which I eagerly backed).
 

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ccs

41st lv DM
Lol, I know what you mean.
The group I play boardgames with has an almost joking name for some of these things: "Space games" - as in you need SPACE to even play them....
They even tend to take up considerable storage space due to all the 3d bits & expansions.
Txt: What're you up to Fri?" Want to come over & play one of the space-games?"
Txt: "Sure, wich one?"
Txt: "Bill wants you to bring ______"
Txt: ?? "Will that one even fit on your table? Maybe you guys should come to my place instead."
Who knew that a 4x6 table isn't large enough.... And when it is? Then you can't reach the board for all the stacks of cards & piles of stuff surrounding it. Or see what the face up cards are waaay down at the end of the table.

And some of these things? They're so dense that they give even the most atrocious of my Dads old Avalon Hill games a fair run for the $. (ever try & play the whole of the Napoleonic Wars in 1/2"-1/4" hexes & stacks of cardboard chits? I have. And I don't recommend it.)
At least they don't tend to have a billion tiny cardboard chits....

Seriously though, I backed the (relatively) soon to arrive Anhk game. It looks cool as hell. It sounds really interesting. It has a crap load of really cool minis.
It also looks like it'll take up a great deal of space & time (both to decipher & play).
Oh well, I've got time on my hands thanks to a world wide pandemic.... (I can also set it up in a room & close the door to keep my own cat away).
 

Dioltach

Legend
I think (gut feeling, combined with hanging round on Boardgamegeek) that there are two things going on, both related to Kickstarter.

First, there's the belief that games need to be bigger and flashier than what's gone before to attract attention. So more components, more minis, anything to make backers salivate at the prospect of getting their hands on them (for example, I have Nemesis, plus the Aftermath and Voidseekers expansion - cool, but completely unnecessary given how comprehensive the basic game is).

Second, Kickstarter makes it possible for anyone to make their own game. So there are a lot of "heavy games for heavy gamers" being made, basically along the lines of, "I love such and such a game, but it would be better if it has rules to cover a dozen other situations." These games take an enjoyable game and add several layers of complexity. Essentially it's like going from BECMI to AD&D 2e with all the optional rules and splatbooks.

Those are my thoughts, anyway. I could be completely wrong, and perhaps cynical: more and more, I'm gravitating towards lighter games for just a bit of fun and entertainment.
 

Generally I don't play board games like this. My friend who I haven't seen for a couple of years brought over Gloomhaven a few weeks back. He said to me I haven't played because I didn't have anyone to play with and he still hadn't opened up any of the pieces. As soon as he mentioned that there was a storage tray you could buy for all the pieces I immediately lost interest. Any game you need a special storage tray to hold all the pieces isn't my cup of tea and just seems way too long to play and most likely longer to set up.
 

Retreater

Legend
. (I can also set it up in a room & close the door to keep my own cat away).
My cat is a devious one: she can open the sliding door to the game room. And even if she doesn't get her way, she'll scream until she wakes the house.

Generally I don't play board games like this. My friend who I haven't seen for a couple of years brought over Gloomhaven a few weeks back.
I can agree that Gloomhaven is a big game. I've played it only once for the reasons you mentioned. This game, somehow, manages to be even bigger than that one.
 


I'm gravitating towards lighter games for just a bit of fun and entertainment.
I bought the Ravenloft board game when it came out thinking it'd be relatively easy to pick up and play on the fly if our regular D&D game fell through. One night it did so I pulled the game out and started setting up and reading the rules while we went. We fumbled through it but even that took more to learn than I was expecting, wasnt even that fun either from what I recall.
 

Retreater

Legend
I bought the Ravenloft board game when it came out thinking it'd be relatively easy to pick up and play on the fly if our regular D&D game fell through. One night it did so I pulled the game out and started setting up and reading the rules while we went. We fumbled through it but even that took more to learn than I was expecting, wasnt even that fun either from what I recall.
Yeah. Those Adventure System games were good for the minis, but I didn't enjoy playing them so much.
I think the complexity of these games may come from there not being a GM-player, so you have a lot of AI rules, random decks to determine feature placement and events. Hero Quest and Descent were both simpler games compared to this one, I think partially because of that.
The Altar Quest components are still useful. If I don't end up playing it as written, I might end up house ruling it into something lighter and faster paced.
 

Retreater

Legend
i recommend rangers of shadowdeep and frostgrave for concise rules and both let you use what you already have (miniatures and terrain)
I've played a bit of Frostgrave, was even doing a campaign with a friend before the pandemic.
The drawback is that my choices right now are the game has to have a solo option or be something my wife will play with me. She's a gamer luckily, and handles complex boardgames probably better than I do.
But strangely she doesn't like wargames that require measuring. If they're not on a grid, she thinks they're too imprecise. When we tried Age of Sigmar, when issues came up like "make an agreement between the players or roll a die," she lost all interest.
 

Undrave

Hero
When did we as a gaming culture decide we needed all "this." With half the rules and components, tighter gameplay, maybe this could've been that game that would fill the space I couldn't get with Gloomhaven, Descent, Eternal Darkness, etc. At least we seem to be getting a Hero Quest re-release (which I eagerly backed).
Different games for different gamers. Sometimes one of these heavy games can be fun, but I too would rather have something lighter.

Simplifying your game rules is always a big challenge when coming up with a game. I had this mechanic in mind, for exemple, where monsters you defeat (and some loot) end up, as cards, in a pile that represent your XP that you then use that to fuel your abilities (by 'tapping' if you wish) but I just can't seem to go quite further than this into the design. Hero Quest does need a more modern competitor and it would be fun to see one that isn't too overtly complicated. Just a board where you go in, fight bad guys, get loot and get out.

I think the complexity of these games may come from there not being a GM-player, so you have a lot of AI rules, random decks to determine feature placement and events. Hero Quest and Descent were both simpler games compared to this one, I think partially because of that.

That's a good point.
 

HawaiiSteveO

Blistering Barnacles!
I feel your pain 😆 I wanted a game I could play solo, picked up Gloom Haven Jaws of the Lion.
it is actually reasonable ... except I didn’t know as solo player I play 2 characters, which is the proverbial straw the broke the camels back. Great game though just a bit much to handle.
StI’ll looking for solo game , found a few that look interesting.

guessing you know about this site already ...

Altar Quest
 
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wicked cool

Adventurer
I've played a bit of Frostgrave, was even doing a campaign with a friend before the pandemic.
The drawback is that my choices right now are the game has to have a solo option or be something my wife will play with me. She's a gamer luckily, and handles complex boardgames probably better than I do.
But strangely she doesn't like wargames that require measuring. If they're not on a grid, she thinks they're too imprecise. When we tried Age of Sigmar, when issues came up like "make an agreement between the players or roll a die," she lost all interest.
try rangers-great solo game
 


Zaukrie

New Publisher
I'm trying to find solo games....


but not many replies. I've heard wingspan is good solo, and I own it.....
 

ccs

41st lv DM
I'm trying to find solo games....


but not many replies. I've heard wingspan is good solo, and I own it.....

I think Tapestry has a solo mode.
 

when we got a new table, i joked about going from measuring tables in inches, i now measure them by how big a board game will fit. The biggest board games I have ever seen would have to be A&AE 1940 and A&AP 1940 (combined is 175x80 cm (70" x 32") ) followed by World in Flames.

The biggest board games i personally own are ticket to ride and Twilight Struggle.
 

ccs

41st lv DM
when we got a new table, i joked about going from measuring tables in inches, i now measure them by how big a board game will fit. The biggest board games I have ever seen would have to be A&AE 1940 and A&AP 1940 (combined is 175x80 cm (70" x 32") ) followed by World in Flames.

Too bad this didn't fund: OverBattle: The All War (Canceled)
Says it's 6' long set up & box weighs 20lbs....

I have pics of it from GenCon about somewhere.
 



billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
So when did we decide, as gaming culture, to need all this? Many, many years ago. I still have my full Squad Leader set and much of 1st edition of Advanced Squad Leader (never did get all the AH/MMP historical scenarios and stopped getting supplements before Doomed Battalions). And I won't even get into talking about how people probably could have filled out a whole Napoleonic OOB back in the 1960s in appropriately painted colors.

It all depends on the kinds of games you like. Fortunately, there are much simpler games out there as well as the complex ones.
 

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