Games That Had to Go

Today I’ve decided to get rid of three games of which I’ve written mostly positive reviews, and one expansion that I was on the fence about from the beginning. For different reasons I can’t see myself ever playing these again. It mostly has to do with fierce competition from other games, but in some cases I’ve just lost interest in the game itself. I’ve written four brief supplements to the reviews in question in an attempt to summarize why they didn’t make the cut.

One Deck Dungeon

One Deck Dungeon (ODD) was the first game I reviewed. The review was definitely positive. I’ve since gone back and played it many times and my initial interest has gradually diminished, to the point where whichever heroine I play, whichever variant I play, whether or not I add the expansion, it just feels like repetitious work. Most decisions are too simple and there’s too much component manipulation.

The strongest competitor when it comes to lighthearted dungeon crawling is currently Runebound (second edition). Sure, you’re not entering any dungeons, but apart from the location your hero explores, Runebound offers a similar min-maxing and questing challenge but with tougher decisions, less fiddly dice-mechanisms and a stronger narrative. It has a beautiful map to roam around on too. On the downside Runebound has ridiculous iron bikini ladies for heroines. In that department ODD does way better. Anyway, when playing Runebound I always pick the hero with a ferret on his back.

The big Runebound (second edition) box sitting on top of the small One Deck Dungeon box.

To be fair, the games are not that similar. It’s just that I’ve realized that I’d rather play Runebound for an hour than ODD for 35 minutes when I feel like a fantasy min-maxing adventure. ODD overstays its welcome by 15 minutes. My only complaint about Runebound, apart from the stupid depiction of women, is that the included solo variant is too short.

Palm Island

Palm Island is a niche game for sure. Its greatest strength is also its greatest weaknesses; at the cost of holding it in your hand while playing you can play it almost anywhere. It’s a very innovative game that feels bigger that the 17 cards would have you believe. In the end, though, I’ve only played this game when out and about. At home there are about 70 other games to chose from and a table to play on too.

I enjoyed Palm Island for what it was. It is an impressive design. But whenever I’ve felt like bringing a game on the train I’ve put together a Maiden’s Quest deck. It has a theme that I enjoy, it’s more challenging and way more varied.

So! Nothing wrong with Palm Island. I just don’t play it.

The Rise and Fall of Anvalor

In the case of this game nothing else that I play is comparable, really. Warhammer: Age of Sigmar – The Rise and Fall of Anvalor is pretty unique as far as I can tell. But the solo variant of this tile-laying tower defense game is just way too simple for me, even on the tougher levels of difficulty. Most decisions are way too obvious.

I wouldn’t be surprised if this game was better as a competitive game, however, and apart from the simplicity and a rule book that lacks some details, there’s a lot to like about it.

Roll Player: Monsters & Minions

This expansion actually got a pretty lukewarm review that ended with these words: “[T]his is definitely not a must-have expansion, and in all honesty I might not have bought it if I’d had the chance to try before buying. As it is now, it’s already here, I’ve already spent the money, it’s integrated with the base game and the hassle of sorting it out, packing it up and selling it isn’t worth the effort . . . [It] makes Roll Player a little bit more fun for sure, but it costs almost as much as the base game.”

Then a friend came over for an epic gaming weekend. Since he was interested in trying Roll Player and we agreed that he should try just the base game the first time, I sorted out the expansion and put it back in its box. We played and had a blast. When I soloed it later I definitely didn’t miss the expansion, and I’m not even sure, now, that it makes the base game any more fun. If it does, it also makes the design less pure and more fiddly and detracts from the brilliant theme of character creation.

Thanks for reading!

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