Thursday, 13 September 2007

Hello Kitty, Please Come Back...

Yeah, I actually like CARCASSONNE...the funny thing is, I thought it was just a silly puzzle game until the expansions made it a very nasty silly puzzle game. I thought it might make for a good article to let the Xbox Live CARCASSONNE adopters in on what we've had available for years now. Next week, I'm doing the same thing with SETTLERS.

So y'all line up now to take a shot at me for championing the game that launched a million unbelievably lame t-shirts, pictures, icons, coffee in the world a hobby that used to rally around Avalon Hill succumbed to the cult of cute is beyond's like Hello Kitty worship for paunchy, middle-aged folks.

Anyway, have at it. Special Guest Star- Christopher Lee.


Ken B. said...

New T-Shirt:


the*mad*gamer said...

I have mixed feelings about the computer versions of these boardgames. I'm not really sure if these online versions of boardgames are helping the hobby.

It is kind of like an online casino vs a real casino. I guess both can be a good experience but there is no comparison to playing craps in a real live casino with cigar smoke, a grumpy pitboss and a glass of Jack Daniels.

My guess would be that people that bought the online version of Carcassonne, already had the boardgame. I'm not sure if a video gamer that found Carcassonne on X-box live and liked it would go buy the boardgame version. Doesn't seem likely.

Has anybody heard if carcassonne or Settlers will be available on the Wii?

Speaking of the Wii, i am playing Metroid Corruption now, it is GREAT!!!

bill abner said...

These XBL versions are *great* for playing with buddies who live in other states, countries, whatever. They're also great in that they come with CPU AI. It's 11:30 at night and I can unwind a bit by playing Settlers against the computer before crashing. No muss no fuss.

Now, I love me some Settlers, and one of my best friends does, too and he lives in another state. Sure, it cannot compare to me laying the smackdown to him on the same table, but it's not a bad alternative.

As to your point about helping the hobby...ANYTHING that clues people into the fact that these games even exist is a good thing. It certainly cannot hurt.

I know I'd love to see more games on XBL. There are so many games that would translate extremely well to that format.

Ken B. said...

I think that XBLA versions of these games can help the boardgame hobby, but not much. Steve is right--who downloads Carc for the Xbox? Boardgamers do. Most other gamers will pass it right by on the way to downloading the [i]Heavenly Sword[/i] demo or something.

However, free press is good press--there is the possibility that someone will see Carc, say, "Wait, this is based on an actual boardgame? What's this all about?" and investigate further. Still, the primary value in Carc, Settlers, and other XBLA boardgaming titles is to allow you to get in boardgame time with others when your own game group isn't immediately available.

But I can't fathom having the opportunity to play a boardgame with my friends but instead choosing to go hit up XBox Live. Totally different situation and given the two opportunities I'm guessing "real" boardgaming will win every time. Leaving these XBLA versions to be mild evangilizing tools mixed with 'substitution for real game group' syndrome.

Michael Barnes said...

Steve, it's good to hear from you again...guess that gig opening for the Britney Spears 2007 World Tour didn't pan out?

Agh...wanna play METROID: CORRUPTION...but I've vowed not to until I finish PRIME and I'm working on NEVERWINTER NIGHTS and RESIDENT EVIL 4...I'm _way_ behind, guys.

Ken- I'm sure that no Meeple fan would have the word "Shit" on their's say SH(meeple)T.

I think Bill's right...any exposure is good exposure when we're talking about an industry that's too god damned lazy to bother with professional marketing or appealing to anyone other than an established customer base. But I do agree with Steve too, the experience isn't really the same.

But you know, CARCASSONNE is really kind of ideal for an electronic medium...I can see folks who get into BEJEWELED, TETRIS, and those kinds of things really getting into it. If they did mobile and PC versions (properly marketed by a company like PopCap or the like, not some leftfield German firm)of it I wouldn't be surprised to see it really catch on with people outside the hobby.

the*mad*gamer said...

"ANYTHING that clues people into the fact that these games even exist is a good thing. It certainly cannot hurt. "

This is certainly the popular marketing theory of the day. Any press is good press. Brittany Spears built her career on this didn't she?

Putting a boardgame in an inferior format will help promote it? I'm not so sure. What about putting a cut out version of Carcassonne of the back of a box of Apple Jacks>? Would this help promote the game?

Maybe. But you are not presenting the product in its best light.

Jack Hill said...

Prime is great, Echoes is actually kind of painful. It is worth playing about halfway, then ignoring.

Corruption is a little freaky, as you are playing an FPS with a fishing minigame tossed into the middle of combat. The control is sublime, though.

As to Carcassonne....the game itself is so transparently obvious. And the expansions mostly just make it more complex. I was pretty much done with it after 2-3 plays.

Settlers on the other hand.....

Shryke said...

I'd say Carcassonne is a great game for an "X-Box Live" type medium. It doesn't rely on alot of wheeling and dealing like Settlers, which I don't think plays very well without people right there with you to yell/swear/beg/etc at.

And I gotta disagree with you on the standalone version like Hunters and Gatherers and The Ark of the Covenant. If you just a basic, all in one Settlers without the Princess and Dragon or Tower expansion, I'd recommend those over the original. They play much better then original Carcassonne on it's own, and they make the farm scoring rules actually sensible instead of time consuming, difficult, weird and non-sensical like in the original.

Ken B. said...

Whoa, Echoes bashing.

Echoes is a great friggin' game. Not quite as good as the first but that's due to the innovation system. My only complaint with Echoes is that the pacing isn't as tight, and the difficulty fluctuates wildly at times (sometimes from room to room).

It played exactly the same, had some beautiful level design, presented a nice challenge (Quadraxis, I hate you), and even did a better job trying to capture a narrative. In fact, I think the attempts at delivering narrative may have been something that impacted the pacing of the game.

the*mad*gamer said...

Yes, Michael I was upset about not getting to tour with Britney but NOT as upset as this Euro Game player was!

Jack Hill said...

Echoes war on:

Echoes had some great things adding nice twists to the game. The problem came in with backtracking. That first time through the areas was the usual bliss. The third time---not so much.

And Metroid has always had a fair amount of backtracking, but Echoes did seem excessive.

Admittedly, the worst game for backtracking is Silent Hill 4. First half is amazing. Second half is an extended escort mission through the same levels.

Even Sandi quoted MST3k on that one: ""

Ken B. said...

There's only one instance of backtracking in Echoes that felt egregious...I can't remember what item it was, but you had to go deep down that pit area (after long since being "through" with it) to get an item. I was literally stuck and had to turn the hint system back on. Once I saw where I was supposed to go next, I was floored. "All the way back THERE?!"

Other than that, it was no worse than Prime 1. Maybe it seemed worse because there was twice the real estate (light + dark worlds). But Metroid isn't Metroid without areas that you just...can't anything in yet...but come back when you get Item X, yo

Anonymous said...

Really great writing. Clear, but not dumbed down.

Barnes has really improved his writing through this series.

Mr Skeletor said...

I think I rate Carc higher than Settlers. It was one of the first Euros I enjoyed.

J. said...

Nice to have Barnes churn out bits for other websites, but it's getting kinda quiet here. Postings have dropped by half since the start and some contributors haven't contributed in quite some time.

I'd hate to see FAT die an ignomous death, since it was a sharp, inspiring place. Also, it would imply that apart from distancing itself from euros it hasn't much substantial to add. I can't believe that's true.

Ken B. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

out favorite thing to do with produce counters is bribe other players while they are placing tiles.