I founded the Indie Game Reading Club in 2010. I've written and developed RPGs since the mid-90s, now I mostly talk about playing them.
View all posts by Paul Beakley
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15 thoughts on “Tiny Epic Quest”
I need to play it.
Several of the mechanics seem like they’re thematically rich but then dead end in “collect VPs” for doing them, rather than them actually do anything.
Maybe they have expansions planned that fill those gaps in but I hope play isn’t actually the somewhat bland seeming game of whack-a-mole it sounds like from the rules.
It’s looking that way. My brain is full of thoughts about the boardgame quest genre!
Okay, so poking around on the map tiles, there are definitely places where going to do the thing means getting some new capacity, rather than just earning VPs. Since the entirety of the game is a VP race, though, it’s pretty apparent that’s the only thing one really cares about.
It’s another reminder that I want, or want to create, a modernized Magic Realm so so bad.
I played my copy on Wed… It’s decent, and while it is kind of heavy VP race… there is a fair amount of placement strategy and choice limitation.
That is to say during the day, picking the right move to give yourself a benefit while hopefully minimizing you’re opponent(s)’s choices is important. The questing is super important and we didn’t realize until the final Round that you could earn more than one per round, the limit was just 1 per turn.
I am looking forward to playing it again.
I almost backed it because of the meeples but then the game sounded more like a race than an adventure and that made me sad.
I feel like Mage Knight is my modern Magic Realm. Although… I still play Magic Realm, so there’s that.
I adore Mage Knight but the goal is still to kill monsters in cities. There are asymmetrical solutions but the problems are strictly symmetrical.
Vast is a good attempt but there’s no breathing room for coordination and alliances. It’s a very small decision space.
My past few months’ obsession with High Frontier has reawakened my passion for asymmetrical play with emergent narrative inside of huge decision spaces. It’s hardly ever been accomplished and the learning curve is always necessarily brutal.
That’s true, Mage Knight is very symmetrical. I haven’t played High Frontier, although I’d really like to. It looks up my alley. I also haven’t played Vast, but that also looks fun.
What do you think about Xia? It seems like there are asymmetric approaches to victory. And it’s not at the high end of complexity, although it’s not at the low end, either. That said – I’ve only played it once, so I don’t know how many strategies are really valid.
I will say, there are some games, and I put Magic Realm, Civilization, and maybe High Frontier in this space, where players will say, “I need to make the lower complexity version of this game that has the same level of awesome.” But, that’s always struck me as an impossible task.
In the case of Magic Realm and Civilization, there isn’t any cruft. Now, you may not want that amount of complexity, but those games are not badly designed. All the choices have a reason for being there. They’re just… very complex. But, that complexity yields all sorts of amazing emergent narratives and situations that a more streamlined game just can’t provide (IMHO). In the case of Civ it’s also less the complexity and more the social footprint of playing a game that long.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard “finally, the two hour Civ game has been solved!” And then I play it, and, yes, it might be fun, but, no, it’s nothing like the rewarding experience of playing a full blown game of Civ. It just can’t be. Changing that time dial creates a very qualitatively different experience. I imagine changing the complexity dial does the same thing.
Xia is pretty good but, again, no space for collaboration. Not really. And it’s still a vp race, just with many ways to get them.
Maybe I’m misremembering but isn’t a/the killer app of Magic Realm the fact you can tune each character to different earn rates based on what they’re doing? So wizards score more for finding artifacts and warriors score more for defeating monsters? So then, in that space, the wizard and the warrior could find common cause and work together to defeat the giant spider because it wasn’t a zero sum transaction.
Yeah, that’s correct! There is definitely space for that kind of collaboration in Magic Realm. In fact, depending on the number of players, it can be hard to win if you’re not doing that.
High Frontier does something similar, in that you can buy/sell/trade ultra tech fabrications and, really, anything else you want. You can trade your faction bonuses if you want. Everything is fungible. And while everyone is chasing futures scenarios, they’re pretty radically different.
So you are chasing VPs, but the futures VPs are so big they’re hard (but not impossible) to ignore. There are scenarios under which you could win on ventures and…I’ve forgotten, but other qualifying events, rather than futures.
There’s probably something psychic about these games as well, in that they’re so fucking demanding that a nontrivial goal is the accomplishment itself. Over been thinking about that a lot related to ramping up for Torchbearer.
Phil Lewis maybe next year we’ll have a High Frontier day before NewMexicon.
I’m definitely itching to try that game! Which probably means slightly less prep than learning actual rocket science.
It’s a full but fulfilling day.
Similar thoughts over here as I’m eyeing Sophie Lagace and Edmund Metheny’s Gloomhaven playthroughs…