Sunday, September 16, 2007

So how is this Lost Adventures game anyway?

Well, over the course of the last week I've played Lost Adventures 6 times. I tried a few variations on a couple rules to see how they worked, and I've been fervently reporting my findings and opinions to the game's designers Jeff and Steve. Personally, I really like the game. I can't get over the cool theme and the novel concept of looking up clues. I think the game does a few things really, really well - the information gathering, the race against the other players as well as the Nazis, and the Temple Phase endgame is pretty neat too.

The down sides...
(a) the Indiana Jones license is probably unobtainable or prohibitively expensive to actually ever publish the game. Hopefully that's not the case, and it's not really my problem to begin with, but it's certainly an obstacle. Retheming the game would take away much of the appeal, though I'm sure a generic Indiana Jones characterization would work well enough.

(b) There are a lot of intricate little rules that are not very easy to remember. I think before the game could be considered "finished," they're going to have to streamline/simplify the rules so that they're easier to learn/teach/remember. For the most part I think that can probably be done, but it might mean losing little bits of the game that are nicely thematic, but just don't come up often enough to be worth having rules for them. I have had a similar problem with All For One, and I'm having a hard time letting go of certain parts of that game that probably don't need to be there.

(c) The Map phase of the game, where you run around talking top characters to gather information then look up clues is pretty cool, and it's the meat of the game, but the endgame Temple phase is played on a separate board, with slightly different rules, and a different feel. Now it makes sense, the information gathering allows players to prepare for the Temple phase, which is the main point of the game. And exploring the temple really does feel like you're exploring and looking for the grail room. The only problem is that it feels like a different game. I don't know if there's much that can be done about that, but there is a saving grace for players who either don't like that part of the game, don't like the length of the game, or don't want to learn all the little details about the temple phase right off the bat - and that's the possibility of a"short game" or "introductory game" which is in every way the same as the normal game, but without the Temple phase. The game would simply end as soon as the Temple is found (either by a player or the Enemy).

So there you have it... a very cool game, but I think it would benefit from some simplification of the rules and a few other minor details here and there, like what information is in the clues, and exactly when and how many Nazis are added to the board.

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