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Amparo Bertram

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05:30 am: 2014 Kickstarter Game Update: Week 3
Games I Viewed:

Japanese: The Game
Status: Funded

This is a card game that attempts to help players learn to speak and read Japanese by printing vocabulary words and example sentences on each card and coding them with the part of speech so that players can arrange them in the grammatically correct order. I wouldn't need it for myself, but I know a number of people are studying Japanese, and this might be a nice tool to make learning more fun than plain flash cards.


Scoville
Status: 67% funded

In this game, players plant hot peppers (colored cubes) on the board and then place pawns in between the peppers to "cross-breed" them and obtain new hybrid peppers. Various color cube combinations can then be submitted for points. As someone who majored in plant breeding, I'm finding the theme of this game hard to resist. I will probably end up backing it.


Shadowrift: Archfiends
Status: Funded

This expansion for the cooperative deckbuilding game Shadowrift adds boss monsters for the various enemies that must be defeated after the shadowrifts are sealed. The aim is to make the game more challenging for players who are constantly beating the base game. Since I haven't yet beaten the base game, I'm hesitating about backing it. I don't know that I will play Shadowrift often enough for the expansion to be necessary.


Honorable Mention:

The Dice Tower Season 10
Status: Funded

This is a group led by Tom Vasel that is prolific in producing board game review videos. This campaign is to raise money so they don't have to put advertisements in their podcasts. I don't listen to the podcasts, so I'm not particularly interested in the campaign, but I do watch the video reviews quite a bit, so I thought I'd mention them.


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Comments

[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:January 25th, 2014 03:15 pm (UTC)
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The Japanese game looks really fun! I'm definitely tempted, especially since I often have trouble forming grammatically correct sentences (though maybe more at the intermediate than at the basic level). I'm flagging that one to send me a reminder before it ends.
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:January 25th, 2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
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I had supposedly sworn off Kickstarter because it is such a drain on my budget and I am trying to save for the impossible -- 3 trips to Japan in 3 years (I am crazy) -- but I had to pledge for Shadowrift. Not because I want the expansion (this game does not need to be harder), but because I want the base game.

Like Sara, I've flagged Japanese: The Game for a reminder. I know this is a weird thing for me to say, but the sample cards make it look too simple to teach me anything I don't already know, plus I think the backgrounds make the cards too busy for a serene learning experience. It seems to me if you want to teach grammar through a game, it would need to be app-based for flexibility. And then you could conjugate your verbs!

Edited at 2014-01-25 03:48 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 26th, 2014 01:52 am (UTC)
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Not because I want the expansion (this game does not need to be harder), but because I want the base game.

I'm glad they're offering it as an option.

I think the backgrounds make the cards too busy for a serene learning experience.

I doubt "serene" is what they're going for, though I do think they'd benefit from a professional designer.
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:January 26th, 2014 02:05 am (UTC)
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After pledging, I got curious and searched to see if there were any exclusives/stretch goals included with the Shadowrift base game campaign. It looked like that campaign failed miserably? If that's accurate, I'm so pleased to see the success here. I bet the developer has a story to tell!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 26th, 2014 02:11 pm (UTC)
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I bet the developer has a story to tell!

From comments I read on BGG, he seemed rather disappointed by the game's poor sales. In fact, the expansion was originally planned to pit the players against each other (with one player acting as the boss monster) in an attempt to draw in competitive game customers, but apparently that idea proved unworkable during the playtesting stage.
[User Picture]
From:sara_tanaquil
Date:January 26th, 2014 03:19 pm (UTC)
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Is it not possible to buy the base game independently (via the developer website), or did you just want to help support the Kickstarter campaign?

I should flag that one, too... but I also have motivation to be saving money!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 26th, 2014 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Is it not possible to buy the base game independently (via the developer website), or did you just want to help support the Kickstarter campaign?

You can buy it separately, but you have to pay full price (KS backers get a $10 discount). If you're absolutely sure you'll never want the expansion, that's probably the way to go. If you think you'll want the expansion someday, though, getting the combined package is the best deal.
From:mangaroo
Date:January 26th, 2014 07:34 pm (UTC)
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One reply, two comments. I am economical!

the expansion was originally planned to pit the players against each other (with one player acting as the boss monster) in an attempt to draw in competitive game customers, but apparently that idea proved unworkable during the playtesting stage.

Thank heavens for play testing failure! If that was the way they had gone with this, I wouldn't be interested at all.

I hadn't checked the developer's website, but the base was listed for $45 at Amazon and Game Salute. However, other online board game stores don't appear to be stocking it?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 27th, 2014 04:23 am (UTC)
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However, other online board game stores don't appear to be stocking it?

Game Salute probably took over distribution when they arranged to produce the expansion. (The base game was self-published.) They have a business model in which they do not allow retailers to discount their games, so it's not as if you could get it cheaper elsewhere anyway. (I've heard they claim this is so that online stores don't have an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar stores, but it pisses off gamers who feel entitled to the the 40% discounts at online shops.)
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:January 28th, 2014 10:26 am (UTC)
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I've heard they claim this is so that online stores don't have an unfair advantage over brick-and-mortar stores

Well, it's working. After considerable thought about how I do not need Shadowrift to be harder + I do not wish to wait for October for the base game, I've decided to cancel my pledge for the Archfiends expansion and just buy the base game now.* But I can't find a shipping policy posted on the Game Salute online store, so my choices are Amazon or Games of WIL. If Games of WIL is charging $45 and the box isn't opened or damaged, I'll just get it there.

* Well, now = when the campaign draws to a close. Given that they're at 11x their goal, I don't think they're going to be rolling out any exclusives I actually want, but better safe than whiny.

Edit: Oh, grumblebunnies. They're talking about a playmat. Personally, I think this game needs one. I'll have to see how much it is before I back out of my pledge. (Also, how much do I love that I'm doing all my wavering in your kickstarter thread?)

Edited at 2014-01-29 06:04 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:February 5th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
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...and the playmat is $19. So I can safely un-pledge. While I would like the art of the playmat on a card, I think I would have preferred something more abstract for a playing surface. I don't really enjoy staring at the same people all the time, however striking that female fiend might be. (I hate it when I wake up in the morning and my hair is storm clouds.) Also -- and this was going to be true of any playmat -- using it does take away flexibility re: card location. If you're playing in tight quarters, it's better to be able to place the cards where space allows.
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:February 6th, 2014 02:40 pm (UTC)
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I hate it when I wake up in the morning and my hair is storm clouds.

Hah.

Also -- and this was going to be true of any playmat -- using it does take away flexibility re: card location. If you're playing in tight quarters, it's better to be able to place the cards where space allows.

Yeah, I have yet to see the appeal of playmats for card games. I think they work for board games, where there are often lots of little resource tokens that need to be organized, or stats that have to be tracked, but cards are big enough that they don't really need it. Some people are quite passionate about them, though.
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:January 26th, 2014 07:33 pm (UTC)
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the sample cards make it look too simple to teach me anything I don't already know

Yeah, the game is a really neat idea, but the grammar looks very simple. I see that one of the stretch goals is for a conjugation expansion, but I'm having trouble imagining how that would work.

(The sample video made me laugh a lot, though.)

I think the backgrounds make the cards too busy for a serene learning experience

I thought I read somewhere that the art for the cards would be different for the final game. Like, the nouns would have a picture of the thing?

Edited at 2014-01-26 07:34 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:January 26th, 2014 08:57 pm (UTC)
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the game is a really neat idea, but the grammar looks very simple.

Also, it's not going to help with idiomatic nuances. 猫s probably do 嗅ぐ, but I don't think an 男 取るs an お風呂.

the nouns would have a picture of the thing

I hope that's true! That would help with passive learning while playing.
[User Picture]
From:wednesday_10_00
Date:January 27th, 2014 01:19 am (UTC)
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Good point. (You 入る an お風呂.) They even said in the game play video that sentences don't have to make sense, so it's sort of unhelpful in that way (if funny for people who know why the sentences are nonsensical).
[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:January 26th, 2014 12:51 am (UTC)
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Shadowrift looks really cool! Any chance I could try it with you if it's not too much trouble? Like at a coffee shop that's convenient for you?

If not, no worries! Thanks for reviewing all the games!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:January 26th, 2014 01:55 am (UTC)
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I'm not going out to any game meetups for a while, but you can watch a gameplay run through on Youtube.
[User Picture]
From:jojobruin
Date:January 27th, 2014 05:22 am (UTC)
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Am I supposed to think it's very complicated? It seems to be more involved than Dominion. Still, with some practice, it might be a really fun game! Thanks for the video!

I hope you had a good weekend!
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:February 5th, 2014 06:05 pm (UTC)
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Am I supposed to think it's very complicated?

Definitely. Shadowrift is an imperfect, fussy game, and I find the many phases in each round a little awkward. The second time we played, we tried to smooth over what I perceived as a problem area (players anticipating what to do with their refreshed hands long before reaching phase 6) by not drawing until then, but many of the monster cards interact with the hand (forcing discards, etc.) that it just wasn't practical. But for all its fussiness, I still think it's great fun, particularly if you enjoy cooperative games and fantasy-themed games.

Edit to close tag, oops.

Edited at 2014-02-05 06:05 pm (UTC)
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