The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Miskatonic School For Girls

In Miskatonic School for Girls, players suffer intensely while slogging through an interminable schedule. The “winner” merely kept their sanity longer than the others.

That’s also the theme.

This. Was. Terrible. Perhaps something can be salvaged if future designers view this as a cautionary tale. To be fair, MS4G reveals how many good decisions Donald X. made on Dominion, based on the sheer number of things gotten wrong.

  • Cards give you friendship and nightmare points. And cards give two types of defense points (multiple currencies). But you only use the first two when you draw cards, and you use the latter two when you flip for combat. So draw a 4 friendship and flip a 2 defense, pretty good. But if those cards were randomly reversed, you get no friendship and no defense (because a card good in one thing is often terrible at another).
  • So that means that the core feature of a deckbuilder is broken, because you randomly skip some cards each time for combat.  (It’s actually worse than that, because some cards have special abilities that only happen if they are drawn or flipped randomly).
  • Like Ascension, cards are randomly available to purchase. That turn I got 0 friendship and 7 nightmare points? The best nightmare card cost 3. The turn I get 4 nightmare points, the worst nightmare card costs 5.
  • But don’t feel sorry for me, because it’s so random I almost won.
  • Wait, that meant I had to play on to the very last turn, instead of embracing defeat’s sweet release.
  • The game wasn’t even funny. Even Munchkin was funny the first time or two through the deck. This had bad naming puns and one semi-funny card I noticed.
  • It clocked in at nearly two hours. Excruciating.

This is exhibit A-F in the argument against kickstarter.

Rating — Avoid.


Written by taogaming

March 26, 2012 at 11:29 pm

Posted in Rant, Reviews

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14 Responses

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  1. Kickstarter works very well for all involved when the creator has a track record and people know what they’re getting. Webcomics-into-new-media are the most obvious success story.

    Overall I would say that 5-10% of the projects are quite good.

    Half get funded.

    Frederic Bush

    March 27, 2012 at 2:38 am

    • Yes, I think comics and other projects where kickstarter acts as a convenient way for established, known producers to make a product are different.

      I was talking about games.

      Similarly, kickstarter is different than the GMT P500 (which is not a uniform bed of roses) in that GMT’s name has value that keeps them from releasing any piece of drek (although some get through)


      March 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm

  2. > Overall I would say that 5-10% of the projects are quite good.

    If you say so. In boardgames, so far the best I’ve seen has been slightly worse than mediocre.

    Again, I’m not anti-Kickstarter. But all the boardgame projects funded there so far have been pretty dire. That can’t continue indefinitely. At least, I sincerely hope not.

    Chris Farrell

    March 27, 2012 at 2:57 am

    • Alien Frontiers and Flash Point: Fire Rescue are good games. The Glory to Rome reprint with nice bits was also a great idea. I’m sure there are more examples out there that I don’t have personal experience with.

      Frederic Bush

      March 27, 2012 at 7:56 am

      • Alien Frontiers? Seriously? Flash Point: Fire Rescue I agree was the best of the lot, but when my game group had half a dozen obvious improvements to the game after one play, that’s not so great. It had the potential to be good, but it was just below average.

        The Glory to Rome reprint is in a different category, I think. The art is not an improvement from a usability or design perspective, but I realize people had a lot of trouble with the original art for some reason (I found it thematic and with a refreshingly functional design). So in terms of giving people what they want, that did work out pretty well.

        Chris Farrell

        March 27, 2012 at 11:23 am

      • I don’t know what your issue is with Alien Frontiers but it’s top 100 on BGG, which seems like a success to me.

        GMT’s P500 games are also using a very similar model to Kickstarter. Won’t be too long before other companies start doing the same thing but actually using Kickstarter.

        Frederic Bush

        March 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm

      • I thought Flash Point could use some tweaks and development, personally. In particular the roles seem to railroad the players .I haven’t been interested enough to try Alien Frontiers.

        It’s not that this is unique to kickstarter, though. Compare Flash Point to Panic Station. It looks positively clean by comparison.


        March 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm

      • I am reasonably anti-Kickstarter, but I enjoyed Alien Frontiers the one time I played it. Not something I’m gonna rush out and buy, but a game I’d happily play a few more times.


        March 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm

      • Alien Frontiers was okay, barely. It worked, but the chaos/playing time ratio was way off.


        March 28, 2012 at 2:41 pm

  3. Wasn’t the Road to Canterbury a kickstarter? That’s a decent game. I agree, however, that it is a good thing that there is at least a small barrier to publication. Sturgeon was a huge optimist, but he wasn’t exposed to unmoderated user-submitted content.


    March 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

    • Yes, but behind that was a publisher. I think its a difference between a publisher kickstarter campaign or a “selfpublish” campaign. I dont say the latter are bad per se (there were some decent people self-publishing withput kickstarter -think Bambusspiele, 2F and the like, so there is no reason there shouldnt be decent kickstarter games) but you have to be more careful.


      March 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm

  4. I’d be happy to support a game via Kickstarter. For example, I’d be happy to support a commercial scale publication of 1846 if Tom wanted to do one (I have no reason to think he would). But I haven’t seen anything yet for which the reputation ofmthe backers and my interest in the game are both high enough to make me commit.

    The problem isn’t Kickstarter per se; it’s people supporting things they turn out not to enjoy, when there was no good evidence they would enjoy them.


    March 27, 2012 at 12:15 pm

  5. That was me, but for some reason I show up as “Anonymous” (perhaps related to e-mail glitches I was experiencing today.)

    Eric Brosius

    March 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm

  6. […] I was suffering through Miskatonic, my latest deckbuilder was en route. Core World arrived just after my prior game day (of course), […]

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