The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

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Legibility, Confusion, Prediction and Enjoyment

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As I have mentioned before, I’ve been following the magician Dani DaOrtiz ever since his appearance on Penn and Teller. One of his oft-repeated lines (in lessons) is that “Confusion is not magic.” But there are subtleties. Obviously the audience must be unaware of “the secret.” If you catch the magician secretly palming the card, or if the assistant has a twin then the trick unravels. So the audience must not know certain (key) facts. The effect must be clear, not confusing. The method should not be obvious.

That person was over there, tied up, in a bag. A second later they are over here, untied. Crystal clear.

When talking about Horseless Carriage I called the game state “illegible,” but now I realize that was imprecise. The current state is perfectly legible. A player has a score ($), a factory layout with lines that can produce X cars with certain spec, Y cars with different spec, Z cars (or trucks or sports cars) with another spec. That player has research positions, an order on the focus track, generates so much research/gannt charts per turn.

It may take a few minutes to “read,” but its all there. No cards. Nothing hidden.

The issue with H.C. is that game state changes massively (and simultaneously) during the “Build a factory” phase. You add parts and specs and whatnot and suddenly that player can generate cars with new specs, etc. The “build” step contains zero-to-many substeps of “add something to the factory floor.” What can a player do in that phase? Lots. Improve R&D, or leave it and make much better cars. Perhaps open a new dealership, or improve marketing, or second line. It’s similar to the Bin Packing Problem, and it’s hard.

I worry that there are optimal solutions. I don’t worry that people can find them at the table. But when I called the game “illegible,” I was fumbling around the following idea “When this step starts, it is very difficult to predict where the game will be at the end of this step. You have a wide variety of options and even deciding what you should be optimizing is difficult, much less optimizing it. But even if you optimize it, you may do well or not based on what other people are optimizing, if they are in conflict with you, and the like.”

(Of course, how well you optimize is also a big deal, but let’s skip it).

“And even if you are correct, other players may not see the solution the same way and their choices may greatly benefit/harm you based on their views.”

So …. Horseless Carriage is legible. But it’s not easily predictable.

In some ways, this is the same as a dudes-on-a-map game where the winner may simply be decided by who attacks who. That’s predictable (X is a jerk, everyone attacks him, given a choice, etc), but it’s not necessarily a function of the game rules. This is (sometimes) considered a flaw with the game. Similarly, one game of H.C. was decided by two players fighting Sports Cars, two players fighting for the high end market, and one player left alone in trucks (winner!).

But you want some level of predictability in a game. Chess has lots of predictability …. good players will all look at the same small list of moves in a given position. You still need to do the hard work of calculating to show that a move is good, and spectators delight in surprise moves, but the move is a surprise because of the superior skill. You thought g6 was bad, the grandmaster played g6! What did he see that you didn’t?


If Chess let you move all the pieces each, it would be a less interesting game, partially because predictability would fall (but more because the constraints makes tactics more interesting. This is not a theoretical example, looking at you Fuedal).

I got to thinking about this because of last night’s game of Darwin’s Journey. (Which I didn’t enjoy.) Darwin’s Journey is legible. You can glance at a player’s board (and the board) and see what spots are open to his workers, explorers, position in turn order, etc. It might (again) be difficult to read, but its open. There are some tiles drawn each round that add uncertainty, but OK. It’s much more predictable than Horseless Carriage, because each turn is a “simple” one … place a work and resolve an action. You might still have the same problem of “That player misjudges and takes a space that doesn’t help him, but hurts me,” but that can happen in most games. In fact, Darwin’s Journey is predictable enough that I could often say “I will take this spot, I think A/B/C will do X/Y/Z and then I’ll take that spot.” I could see many ply into the future (which is basically impossible in H.C.).

But I didn’t enjoy the experience. Perhaps because the game state had too much information? When a chess player makes a move you hadn’t considered, it’s exciting! (Not necessarily good for you, but exciting!) Maybe they blundered. Maybe I missed a nuance. But something important happened.

When a player makes a surprising move in Darwin’s Journey, well … it’s a point salad game. They are still going to get a few points, maybe a few more than you thought, maybe a few less. And there is so much going on in the game state, perhaps its a wash.

(“This game lacks focus” was my comment at game night.)

You want some predictability. Not too much. Not too little. Tic-Tac-Toe is predictable (once you are no longer a small child). So it’s boring. Chess is in the sweet spot (for many people). People who play Bridge or Go are self-selecting into an amount of predictability that they want. (Bridge is interesting, because the first part of becoming a good bridge player is learning how to read the game state, which is a non-trivial task in hand evaluation and understanding a bidding system, as well as the card play. For a novice, the game is mostly illegible, and the experience involves ‘learning to read’).

For those games, surprise is exciting, but you need the framework to be legible, so you have enough information to be surprised, and not just bewildered and confused. And as we’ve seen by Go and Bridge, learning to read a game state is often a valid (cherished!) part of the experience. I suspect that most of my irritation at Darwin’s Journey is that the learning to read the game state is complex, but it’s just “kitchen sink” complexity, not organic.

Anyway, I still feel like I’m not quite at the point, but I think I’m moving closer.

And moving back to magic, I see a parallel in the showmanship. Dani talks about “ending on a snapshot” where even if someone just wandered into the last second, they could get a rough idea of what’s going on. “Ah, there’s a pile of cards and a face up card. He must have found the card in the right place” or “He flips up two piles of cards and all the red cards are in one pile, and all the black cards are in another.”

The trick should not be confused. The effect should be simple. You need focus.

Written by taogaming

May 25, 2023 at 9:35 am

Woodcraft — A Crime Against Elegance

Last night (in addition to Stationfall), I had the “pleasure” of learning Woodcraft, the most inelegant game of recent memory. Resources you can gain include immediate Money and VP, recurring Money and VP, three types of cubes (saws, glue and spare lumber), three colors of dice, a variety of tools and cards. A mosaic of tile placement (your ‘attic’) for bonus resources (all types), some ‘first to the post’ bonus VP races.

“VP Multiplier times number of orders fulfilled?” Check!

“Tokens that let you take an extra action or ignore the action on the rondel you selected?” Check! (If one of your resources lets you ignore the core mechanism that differentiates your game, is that a good thing?)

(“A different ‘Bonus action token’ that lets you re-use a once-per-season free-action token?”) Check!

Do any of these mechanisms interact in interesting ways, you ask, already knowing the answer? Pshaw.

This led me to ponder “Why is it so difficult to define elegance?” I suppose we could just say “when there is nothing left to remove, it is elegant.” Or perhaps “When the theme fits the mechanisms,” sort of a “well-ordered” definition. Who knows?

Not me. But I certainly know enough to feel its absence.

Rating Avoid

Written by taogaming

March 9, 2023 at 6:41 pm

Posted in Ramblings, Session Reports

Tagged with

Delight, Stationfall, and a Movie

I had a rough 2020, but I was hardly alone.

During that bleak time, I flitted from intense (borderline obsessive) interest in one random shiny thing to another, usually in a 1-2 month cadence. Stationfall was one of those things. A bizarre Eklund (but not that Eklund) experience game that generated great stories? Yes.

I read as much as I could, backed it, watched some videos (but didn’t play on TTS . . . I don’t play much online). Expensive, but merely backing it likely helped my sanity. For a month or so, I delighted in it. (More so than some games I’ve actually played).

Delight is a tricky thing. I enjoy games, play games. I study them, review them, tinker with them, write about them, think about them, occasionally obsess about them…

But delight? That is dropping rare, like mercy. And — as with anything — delight becomes rarer and harder to find as you gorge yourself on what you have. I’ve long harbored the suspicion that the psychic cost of aging is simply this: you experience longer and longer gaps between delight, as novelty becomes rarer (and more unpleasant experiences become increasingly common).

No doubt each person has some set point, a natural inclination. Some will be naturally more delighted than others (just as some are naturally more delightful), but it seems (to me at least) that delight has become rarer.

I take comfort in my belief that it will never disappear. It is like twin primes, there are an absurdly high number, and likely infinite. (I had thought this was proven but apparently not…).

Delight never disappears completely. If I were to live to a billion years, I think there would still be delight. But along the way you’d got longer gaps, and the weight would grow.

I’ve had a rough three months. I was hardly alone, but this was not a shared burden. But still I’ve found moments of delight (and thankfully more than during the first year of the pandemic).

And now Stationfall has arrived at my door. Will I delight in playing it? I hope, but even if not it is the rare game that has provided delight, and for that I am grateful. Even reading the character dossiers was wonderful. Full of humor and whimsy.

“Drones, is there anything they can’t do? Yes. Many things. They are mindless automatons.”


In fact in order to help learn/cement the rules I recently watched the Heavy Cardboard Playthrough and it was a blast, even losing players cussing and laughing at their predicament.

This makes reviewing the game difficult, because I’m clearly not objective. And (you know) I haven’t played it yet. But a thought popped into my head the other day. As someone who went to public school in America, this thought naturally took the form of an SAT Analogy question.

Stationfall : Games :: ? : Movies

Feel free to ponder that for a second. I’ve put my answer after the break. (I tried to make this something you have to click on, but I’m done fighting wordpress, so I’ll just make the answer a link to the right answer (and add a bit of space so that my explanation doesn’t spoil it).

My Answer

Characters? Check! It’s got a veritable rogues gallery. So many games (not just recently) have each player as a farmer/merchant/army/empire. Each players has the same goal and a few bells and whistles. Even for most games I love. And most players all have the same victory condition. (Even for games like Cosmic which have wildly different characters, the victory is the same). All movies have characters, but most movies are a bit more “cardboard cut out” than this. A game should naturally have more depth of character than a movie, since every player should be the protagonist in their own story…

Surprising outcomes? Check! The protagonist doesn’t truly win, but he doesn’t really lose. He’s got a “non-traditional” set of victory conditions, if you will. He certainly doesn’t get the girl or stop the bad guys (he inconveniences them, at most).

Setting? Oh my yes! It’s an impending disaster, people (mostly) scrambling to get out while the getting is good. If you ignore the differences between WWII and a Science Fiction station, this is spot on. Everyone has secrets, leverage points, a fear of the authorities (if they aren’t the authorities). This is such a good fit I’ll wager the “Kitchen” in Stationfall has a sign “Rick’s Cafe.”

(Also, I’m pretty sure that the Station Chief character from Stationfall is explicitly modelled on Captain Renault.)

Even if you think the Casablanca is a reach, it certainly fits better than, oh, any Marvel movies. Sure, the super-heroes and -villains all have different powers, but motivations? And do you think they are going to lose (and not have it retconned?). Pshaw. The Marvel Movies are — by comparison — a point salad game with nice chrome. And they are incredibly well done and (obviously) immensely popular. We’ll see if they are still watched in eighty years. (I actually caught Casablanca last year, which is probably why the thought jumped to my mind).

Stationfall may not wind up a classic like Casablanca, but there’s a reason that I played games like Lord of the Sierra Madre and High Frontier as well as things like Chess, Bridge or Agricola. And most of those “experience games” seem much more complex and random than Stationfall, so I have every hope for it.

Rating (unplayed) — Delightful.

Written by taogaming

March 1, 2023 at 1:25 pm

Posted in Ramblings, Stationfall, TV & Media

Tagged with

How long have I been tabletop gaming?

Aldie posted this question on the geek, and I thought I’d answer here. I remember typical kids board games from an early age and playing “Adult” boardgames (which meant Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit at that time) from 10 or so on. I have flashes of memories like standing in the “Asian” store in the mall as a child, looking at a Go set, wondering. (I eventually bought it as a teenager). At some point I discovered Games magazine and got some games I saw in it, including a nearly full set of Supremacy. (One of my high school friends swallowed a pink piece, because he thought they looked like Skittles). During H.S. I also played a lot of tournament Chess, but in college I switched to Bridge and some board games (discovering the classics of Cosmic Encounter, Kremlin, Wiz War and Illuminati), but it was in Grad School and the CMU game club that it really took off. (That the site is still there — despite not having been touched in a decade — is impressive. I learned HTML writing pages for that site).

My introduction to Euros was via R.G.B and an order or two with Adam Spielt (which apparently closed in 2015).

Written by taogaming

January 8, 2023 at 10:45 pm

Posted in Misc, Open Thread

So, what’s new besides the year?

Another year, another open thread on any recent media obsessions you have.

  • Treason (the Netflix miniseries with Charlie Cox). — It’s ok, but ever since Rick and Morty murdered the idea of a prologue where you then go “X days/weeks earlier” I’ve been annoyed with that trope. Which was I think the writer’s point.
  • I did finish Cyberpunk Edgerunners and it was pretty good.
  • I have been obsessed with Dani DaOrtiz ever since his appearance on Penn and Teller’s Fool Us in November. Honestly, if you haven’t seen it and have any interest in magic, its amazing. (See for example, having a spectator find a card in a washed deck). If you want to follow me down the rabbit hole, he’s got a number of videos on his channel (some in Spanish). See also this article (the ‘Cien por Cien’ full show is on youtube).

How about you?

Written by taogaming

January 1, 2023 at 9:42 pm

Posted in Open Thread, TV & Media

Tagged with

Switching Mediums Is a Red Flag: Slay the Spire and Ozymandias.

Whenever I start up Slay the Spire (via Steam) I’m reminded that there is a Slay the Spire boardgame on Kickstarter. I see posts for it on r/slaythespire. I’ve played 4,000 hours of Slay the Spire, it’s fair to say I like it. I own ~200 boardgames (and have bought and sold ~5x that). So, automatic pledge, right?


Apart from my natural reticence with Kickstarter, or the fact that tie-in games are usually bad, there is the simple fact that this game crosses mediums (which, come to think of it, tie-in games automatically do). I think I’ve danced around this issue before, but I’ve also been playing a bunch of Ozymandias (alternating that and StS), and it cemented some of my thoughts on this, so I felt like it might be interesting to discuss.

Lets assume, arguendo, that the Slay the Spire board game developers are honest, competent, hard working and have a ton of board game experience. (For all I know this is true, but that is certainly not the case on many Kickstarter projects). It doesn’t really matter: My goals with StS and boardgames are different.

Slay the Spire is a small exercise in optimization and risk management. Certainly many Eurogames (particularly J.A.S.E. games) exemplify that. So let’s even grant that they can turn this into a decent board game. But when I’m playing Slay the Spire (in steam), I’m getting a fundamentally solitaire experience at my own pace. I normally don’t play too carefully, and many average ~20 minutes (playing at A20, Act I is ~10 minutes, Act II is ~20 and III/IV is ~30-40). I can play slower to improve my win rate, but StS is essentially “Television” for me. Its a (mostly) mindless few hours instead of watching netflix. It’s not a competitive experience, and its not a particularly social experience.

Board games are primarily competitive and social, for me. They are relaxing, but not in the same category of “Television/Netflix.” I have different motiviations between boardgames and computer games, so even a perfect replica of Slay the Spire in board game format might bomb for me.

But what is lost in the board game format of StS (I’m assuming, not having followed it closely):

First, All the computer moderation. Slay the Spire is a deckbuilder (to be sure) but also a roguelike, and part of the joy is having 10+ modifications (via relics). But I don’t have to do anything, I can just click and play, and its handled. In a boardgame, these get overwhelming. In a competitive board game, losing because I forgot Player B has Relic Q (when each of my opponents has ~5 relics)? Ugh. (I now see that the Slay the Spire is a co-op, but it would be the same thing if we lost because we lost track of some modifier….)

A super-fiddly game is made better by an automated moderator that plays the fiddle.

Even Ozymandias (which is basically a board game) takes full advantage of the computer to handle persnickety math, shows you numerical differences in your choices and smooths things out. Calculating and resolving all the battles in 5 seconds instead of minutes of dice rolling, with no mistakes. (It could be done faster, but the computer gives time to see it).

Second, downtime. In the computer games, I take as long or as little time as I want. I get a 100% return on my time. In Slay the Spire or (theoretical) Ozymandias board game, I have downtime. Even if they aren’t fixed fun games (where the fun is divided up between players) strictly speaking, there’s some loss. Ozymandias would take a huge hit unless it managed to do a simultaneous selection.

None of that is to say that these games might not work, but the switching between mediums might mean they work in a way that is very different than what made them addictive as a computer game. (The same way the Sandman, for example, had to rework the 24/7 episode (the one in the diner) because what works in a 20 page comic you can read in 5 minutes does not work as an hour of television).

I suspect the most likely result of the Slay the Spire boardgame will be something like Thunderstone … not a bad game, but one of those games you play a few times and move on from. (Again, that’s not a knock. In the past if I got 5 plays from a board game, I considered that a reasonable purchase, but my standards are higher now).

Of course, it is certainly possible that the mold the developers are aiming for is more Gloomhaven campaign, or an epic four hour adventure. All those would be fine; but again a big change from a pringles like solitaire where I just play after dinner until I’m bored or tired.

I would certainly play the Slay the Spire Boardgame … it might be that what they end up with is satisfying as a board game. But if that is the case, it will scratch a very different itch than the computer game. And given how many board games I have, that’s not an itch I need felt the need to back.

Update — If you are new here from r/slaythespire, I have a number of StS related posts.

Written by taogaming

November 25, 2022 at 2:58 pm

Thoughts about Awards and the 20th Century Project

I have been known — from time to time — to ever so gently push back against the Game of the Year awards. It’s fun, drives traffic to blogs and magazines (pre-internet blogs for you kids), and some gatekeepers make good coin from them. But as anyone who glances at a list of Oscar Winning films knows, the test of time takes time….

So rather than do a game of the year or decade award, I was thinking, what were the best games of the 20th century. We’re nearly a quarter century past, so there has been time. And it is fun.

I think all genres of games could be included (perhaps excluding arcade video games and only allowing videogames that were played at home) …. what should the criteria be? Well, fun and importance seem good. Sometimes the first game that defines a genre is eclipsed by the second game in that genre, so a combined award might be possible. If a game is still being played that is a good sign (video games will suffer from the problem that hardware is so much better now, but games that invented genres will likely still be recognizable). I don’t think we need to define it much. Obviously as a board gamer, I’m going to prioritize those (its my project!) but let’s be open minded, but I may end up only doing boardgames.

For now we’ll say we’re aiming for the Top 100 Games (for 100 years, that seems right).

So, let’s start brainstorming the nominees. Perhaps I may run a vote.

Games I definitely think should be in (in alphabetical order):

  1. 1829/1830
  2. Acquire
  3. Axis and Allies
  4. Battle Cry
  5. Bridge
  6. Civilization (combined award for board and videogame)
  7. Clue
  8. Cosmic Encounter
  9. Diplomacy
  10. Dungeons and Dragons
  11. Empire Builder
  12. Magic the Gathering
  13. Monopoly
  14. Risk
  15. Rogue/Nethack
  16. Scrabble
  17. Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective (I’ve never played, but it seems important?)
  18. Settlers of Catan
  19. Squad Leader/ASL
  20. Warhammer 40K
  21. We the People (Perhaps a combined award with PoG or something)
  22. Werewolf/Mafia
  23. Yahtzee
  24. Zork

Games that merit consideration:

  1. 6 nimmt!
  2. Ace of Aces! (And the other book combat series?)
  3. Ambush!
  4. Apples to Apples
  5. Battleship
  6. Blood Bowl
  7. Boggle / Big Boggle
  8. Bohnanza
  9. Car Wars
  10. Can’t Stop
  11. Dark Tower
  12. Doom
  13. DungeonQuest
  14. El Grande
  15. East Front
  16. Euphrat und Tigris
  17. For Sale
  18. Formula De’
  19. GURPS
  20. Hare and Tortoise
  21. History of the World
  22. Hoax
  23. Hoity Toity / Adel Verpflichtect
  24. Illuminati!
  25. Legend of Zelda
  26. Lord of the Rings (Knizia Co-op, but its 2000 and I think I’m defining this as 1900-99, but maybe I’ll let 2000 in)
  27. Lost Cities
  28. Magic Realm
  29. Merchant of Venus
  30. Netrunner
  31. Nuclear War
  32. Ra
  33. Rail Baron
  34. RoboRally
  35. Rommel in the Desert
  36. Rummikub
  37. Scotland Yard
  38. Strat-O-Matic Baseball
  39. Paths of Glory
  40. Sim City
  41. Sorry!
  42. Star Fleet Battles
  43. Stratego
  44. Subbuteo
  45. Super Mario Bros
  46. Taboo
  47. Tetris
  48. Tichu
  49. Time’s Up / Celebrities
  50. Talisman (sigh)
  51. Titan
  52. Trivial Pursuit (On the one hand it was huge, but trivia games have always been around)
  53. UNO (I can’t bring myself to put it on the top list, but it probably belongs there)
  54. Um Reifenbreite
  55. Up Front
  56. World in Flames

Things I’m likely missing:

Miniature Wargame Systems, Important wargames, (because while I may narrow this focus down to board games only, wargames are certainly in the mix). Possibly more RPGs and CCGs?

There are lots of 90s Euros I’m tempted to put on the list, but that’s because they are the most recent things allowed. To be sure there was a Cambrian explosion at the time, so that makes sense, but I also wonder if I’m biasing it because that’s when I got started.

So, what do you think I forgot?

Update — I’ll put new games I added after the original posting below (either because of a comment or because I thought of it later), so that people can just check here. I’ll put the ones from the comments with my thoughts below. Most of the suggestions that I missed are simply oversights, or games I thought of but suspected it was just that I liked the game. A few I had considered and rejected, but maybe I’m wrong. (A few I explain in more detail)

  1. United (PBM/PBEM soccer). Some other PBM games deserve to be on the list. 50 Years of Text Adventures mentioned a few, but the only game I’m aware of is United and that 3 Muskeeters game that the Brits run.

Games from the comments below

  1. Tales of the Arabian Knights (Just forgot about this)
  2. B-17
  3. Battletech
  4. Breaking Away (I debated this, but though it was pretty obscure … was it that influential?)
  5. Canasta (Surprised to find this was invented in the ’30s)
  6. Die Macher (Has Die Macher really been that influential? Played past the 90s?)
  7. Dune (Thought about this then forgot to add it).
  8. Final Fantasy (Agreed, never played it, but clearly)
  9. Junta (I think this was a flash in the pan, admittedly one that I played. Not sure I see it).
  10. Kingmaker
  11. Loopin Louie (I was wondering if this was just a local flavor)
  12. Mu and More (I disagree with this one. It had no staying power).
  13. OGRE/GEV
  14. Once Upon a Time
  15. Outpost (Love it, not sure at all it belongs)
  16. Over the Reich (this may be on of those niches that is too nichey, but sure, it certainly has a dedicated following. More if you include The Speed of Heat, etc for different eras. The genre is a reasonable nominee.)
  17. Pit
  18. Piktionary
  19. Pokemon
  20. Pitch-car
  21. Set (ditto)
  22. Slapshot (popular in the Sumo crowd, but I don’t see it. Never considered it).
  23. Take it Easy (an Oversight, but seems like a reach, but maybe the simultaneous play)
  24. Texas Hold ‘Em (I was debating if this really counted, as Poker predates the century and has hundreds of variants, but it probably counts).
  25. Third Reich (and A3R)
  26. Ultima Series (possibly Wizardry Series, but Ultima was much bigger, I think).
  27. Wise and Otherwise (Hm. Now that you say that, I think Balderdash is the precursor, but I haven’t researched it).

As for the none-game comments (or what should be included or adjacent, I’m still pondering those).

Another update — Playing “Downforce” made me remember Daytona 500, which is certainly worth considering.

Written by taogaming

November 12, 2022 at 9:46 am

Metascaling in Roguelike games

(Further thoughts on Across the Obelisk that weren’t in my review).

Is it literally impossible to win Across the Obelisk on your first play? (Or, more realistically, can an experienced player start a new campaign with no XP and win?) I suspect a great player could, but apart from not having unlocked various cards, the characters are literally weaker. After each (failed) run I’ve got XP that I can spend to boost characters. More damage, more HP, more resistances. An extra mana on the first turn (and mana is saved). And I just unlocked a new equipment type (pets).

Hades really leaned on this, but in Hades it made sense. When you “died”, you were simple returned to the Hell you were trying to escape. You were still you. You retained your knowledge and skills! Slay the Spire doesn’t really have meta-scaling. You have your knowledge (and the in game events do imply you are being reincarnated with some of it), but you start each run with the same deck and one random gift. It’s like Nethack in that the only scaling is that you’ve gotten better at the game.

Old school arcade games were difficult because the designer didn’t want people to play too long on a quarter, but didn’t want game over to be a few seconds. Perhaps the new dynamic is “I want people to feel like they are getting better, even if they aren’t.”

Just a thought.

Written by taogaming

August 21, 2022 at 8:42 am

Withdraw while the Iron is Cold

Well, I’ve taken the TaoLing back to college. Among other things, that means that my prior description of Space Station Phoenix as an “auto-buy” is rescinded. There’s already a local copy, my opponent is gone, what’s the point? I still haven’t even seen a copy for sale in a local store. If I still want a copy when he gets back from college in four months, perhaps it will be available or I can trade for one…

I pre-ordered GMT’s Mr. President six years ago, but when I noticed it was getting close to the printers, I decided to cancel. Six years is a plenty enough to get cold feet (and between Churchill and Versailles 1919 I’m warier than I used to be).

Would I cancel Stationfall if that were an option (after a year of delays?) It’s borderline no, but I might feel differently if it were an option, if only to express my displeasure at the delays.

No particular point, although I guess this is the downside (for game companies) of FOMO. Games that I have no particular time frame attached to (like Horseless Carriage) are much less likely to give me second thoughts. (And kudos to Splotter for letting me cancel my accidental second copy, after I forgot I’d pre-ordered it last year and ordered again…)

Open Thread — Is this just the flipside of FOMO? More curmudgeonry? A peeve turned into a beef?

Written by taogaming

August 15, 2022 at 6:53 pm

Posted in Open Thread

Ark Nova Open Thread

There are times when my resistance to playing a game means that I am greatly hampered during game night, and Ark Nova has become the latest. It is in constant play. From my (brief glimpses) Ark Nova seems cast from the same flawed mold as Terraforming Mars (another hamperer):

  • Fiddly and long…
  • Containing a massive deck of cards…
  • of which you only see a small fraction of (each game)…

So, in my mind, a 2.5 hour single hand of poker (perhaps a few hands).

Am I wrong? Open thread thoughts on Ark Nova.

Written by taogaming

May 18, 2022 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Open Thread

Tagged with