The Great Ameritrash-Eurogame Debate, Or the Kingdom Death: Monster vs. Gloomhaven Example.

Given that the forum descriptions don't seem to stipulate specifically videogaming, rather just gaming, I figure this seems the appropriate place to discuss my favourite type of gaming and some key (possible problematic) aspects of it, namely the optics of board games.

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Now, board gaming is enjoying its bountiful rebirth for 8 years now. Drawing in shitloads of people once more, figures showing that board gaming is exploding in popularity and liable to double in numbers every three years. Market profitability and evolution of gameplay in the sector increasing in proportion to the money coming in.

Gone are the days of the objectively bad Monopoly, and in comes the objectively wonderful games like Concordia, beautiful takes on traditional dueling games with new evolutionary twists such as Plaid Hat Games' Ashes: Rse of the Phoenixborn, and the marvelous reimagining of Garfield's great Netrunner (also the creator of Magic: The Gathering) by Fantasy Flight Games.

It is a fantastic time to be alive if you're a fellow gamemand of this delightful hobby.

Now naturally, if you belong to this no longer select, secretive club of the mystical gaming arts, you already know of terms like 'Ameritrash' and 'Euro', but if you're one of the many people discovering the hobby yourself I'll quickly give you an outline. 'Eurogames' place their focus on player choice, luck mitigation, involve typically reduced direct (player) conflict, and are often seen as if evolving co-operative and competitive puzzles whereby a player responds to the mutual influenced gamestates and the actions of other players.

'Ameritrash' typically emphasise direct player conflict, low (if any) luck mitigation (Warhammer, etc), quickness of play, and tend to limit total human implementation of individual wit, deception and intellect. As in players can usually often 'luck' themselves out of an otherwise failing gamestate that would trend towards inevitability.

Pulling out the metaphorical 'save or die'. As opposed in a Euro game, you chose that result three turns back. Consciously or not. The definitions are often blurred and used merely as mild descriptors online when discussing games, and I hold no real opinions on either. I mean, I preordered three copies of Legend of the Five Rings reprint (and a themed mat), yet I love Terra Mystica, and so on.

But let's examine some trends, here. Kingdom Death: Monster... the 1.5 reprint considered as one of the most successful Kickstarters of all time. A veritable darling of board gamers across the world, and while outpacing in funding BGG's 4th best boardgame ever, Gloomhaven (a similarly tactical roleplaying miniatures game), albeit not in total volume given Gloomhaven costs roughly one quarter the price.

Now the debate between this game has been fairly fierce over the years, some even point to Gloomhaven as proof BoardGameGeek has a Eurogame bias (it does) and the fact that on the surface they both have vague similarities they couldn't be more alien to eachother. One competes with Warhammer Fantasy and 40k as the Ameritrashiest game of all time... and the other is almost a spiritual successor to Chvatil's phenomenal Mage Knight but for the legacy-lite dungeon crawler genre.

Now between Gloomhaven and KDM, no contest to me. Gloomhaven is mechanically the superior the game. Just not as pretty. KDM is also bullshit levels of lucky. You are constantly at the mercy of dice. No certainties, merely dice mitigation rather than luck mitigation. It's also mechanically clumsy, with a deck a cards that seemingly only ever tells you to then roll on a chart (....why? Surely that's what the deck is there for?...)

But I've been thinking about it after my minor experience with a friend's copy. I have every rightful reason to dislike it as too much Ameritrash. Like an Ameritrash gravity well that has a relative strength per total miniature's materials starting to close in on the likes of Warhammer 40k.

Gloomhaven is not only a better game in all mechanical qualities. But in all possible qualities of a boardgame. Player choice, well balanced classes, total options for actions, luck mitigation allowing proper team-working prospects, suitable difficulty scaling anda less than a quarter of the price with theoretically infinite varied materials and scenarios as people create custom campaigns and so on.

But that doesn't slow the popularity of this game and its number of adherents and defenders.

Originally I wrote them all off as deluded. Common psychological phenomena of people paying way too much money for something that is clearly broken and unworthy of its loyalty or defence. Call it 'Warhammer Addiction'...

But I thought of something when I was replaying Bloodborne NG+14 after a 9 month hiatus. Death is a mechanic.

What if the allure of Kingdom Death: Monster isn't because people are defending a bad purchase at all, but because it's a 4th Gamer Wall Breaking Eurogame? After all, it's not really 'game over' when you die in Soulsborne. Death is a mechanic, as much as a storyline as a universal explanation within the core mystery at the heart of the world...

Much in the way of Soulsborne, KDM's campaign continues, the setting survives even if the settlement is 'destroyed', and in the face of your deaths the settlement continues to (hopefully) expand. The only real test being your persistence and intelligent character actions that span possible generations inbetween deaths.

What if Kingdom Death: Monster is not not crap because it's Ameritrash to the max, but people love it solely because it couldn't possibly be any other way to drive its ludonarrative? What if making it less 'Ameritrashy' you would violate all aspects that make it also transcend it?

I should point out, still had fun with it. Aesthetic is a bit cringe-y in that 'stupid fantasy fashion' department. As in no real clothes is the new black.

Anyways, the question is this ... can you blame KDM in the same way as one can Warhammer despite having almost equivalent degrees of near total dependency on luck if that is the only way to drive the essence of the storytelling that happens throughout all those lantern years? What if making something mechanically better alters the focus away from what is the lasting achievement, the settlement, as opposed to the near-certainly doomed souls that are merely there to decide what directions to take your settlement and future generations that you all put resources towards as individual players?

Looked up Kindom Death. First impressions on the website were, in order:

That's a titty
Am I sure I'm in the right place?
Maybe these people would die so often if they had some goddamned clothes. I usually say "armor", but at this point canvas and soft leather would give these idiots loads of extra survivability.

It was very light on useful info.

Gripping about aesthetics aside, it really depends on what you're looking for. Seems KD:M is a game where you and your buddies are finding out the story of a settlement and how its very stupid inhabitants died. In that particular case, heavy RNG is a bonus.

In something more Euro, like Pandemic: Legacy, losing isn't telling a story that isn't told by losing a regular game of Pandemic, i.e. loads of people die. (Although I heartily recommend Pandemic:Legacy. The story was unexpectedly exciting)

altnameJag:

Gripping about aesthetics aside, it really depends on what you're looking for. Seems KD:M is a game where you and your buddies are finding out the story of a settlement and how its very stupid inhabitants died. In that particular case, heavy RNG is a bonus.

In something more Euro, like Pandemic: Legacy, losing isn't telling a story that isn't told by losing a regular game of Pandemic, i.e. loads of people die. (Although I heartily recommend Pandemic:Legacy. The story was unexpectedly exciting)

For what I have heard, Euro games get their gameplay designed first and the narrative is added afterwards; while in the others is narrative first and gameplay afterwards (both approaches having various degrees of success). In that sense you could arguable refine the gameplay of the later, while keeping its main intended appeal intact (i.e. compare Arkham Horror with Eldritch Horror).

altnameJag:
Looked up Kindom Death. First impressions on the website were, in order:

That's a titty
Am I sure I'm in the right place?
Maybe these people would die so often if they had some goddamned clothes. I usually say "armor", but at this point canvas and soft leather would give these idiots loads of extra survivability.

It was very light on useful info.

Gripping about aesthetics aside, it really depends on what you're looking for. Seems KD:M is a game where you and your buddies are finding out the story of a settlement and how its very stupid inhabitants died. In that particular case, heavy RNG is a bonus.

In something more Euro, like Pandemic: Legacy, losing isn't telling a story that isn't told by losing a regular game of Pandemic, i.e. loads of people die. (Although I heartily recommend Pandemic:Legacy. The story was unexpectedly exciting)

Yep, it's a grnre that Paul Dean of SU&SD put so eloquently.

"Tits and death."

Maybe if they wore something less 'leather strap bras' and more 'stitched hide robe', supported by basic, carved laminated wood inserts and guards... they might actually resemble post apocalyptic-neolithic cultures who have to routinely deal with big beasts.

CaitSeith:

For what I have heard, Euro games get their gameplay designed first and the narrative is added afterwards; while in the others is narrative first and gameplay afterwards (both approaches having various degrees of success). In that sense you could arguable refine the gameplay of the later, while keeping its main intended appeal intact (i.e. compare Arkham Horror with Eldritch Horror).

That's one definition, yeah. But Euro is bigger than that. Not specifically that Gloomhaven is Euro, but there is a reason why everyone calls it 'Euro-lite' or 'Euro-inspired'.

Which is fair because bot are ostensibly miniatures games, taken from both ends of a hypothetical Ameritrash-Euro spectrum chart.

Could you have a legacy-lite dungeon crawler with a campaign story be totally Euro, in all its aspects... for instance? I imagine a totally Euro legacy-lite dungeon crawler to be 3D chess like, with time travel aspects that deals with metaphysical questions as to causality when leaving instructions of player actions through written entries you write in different time periods, and mailing yourself in the future.

I think it's fair to use them as examples of two different games that deal with miniatures placement, various ideas of resource management, etc... but are incredibly alien. Moreover it's divisive for the same reasons both are incredibly popular, but for different reasons, and the two games have become incredibly polarising around those reasons.

I suppose the question at the heart of my argument is game mechanics and the "heart" of what you're trying to accomplish married do extensively? In the end, was my initial responses to KDM unfair not simply because I don't like too much Ameritrash... but that the game itself would suffer if you aimed for trying to ascend Ameritrash solely through mechanics? I can think of a handful of improvements that would make it more streamline, less luck ontop of luck, more concise. But would doing so ultimately undermine its ludonarrative and is gameplay and vision so intimately married that KDM couldn't be or deliver itself in any other way?

(Edit) Taking your comparison of Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror (LCG?)... to me I love AH:LCG. Dislike EH. Really do.

But I wouldn't say one is more Euro than the other. I wouldn't call AH:LCG more Euro than even, say, Ashes: Rise of the Phoenixborn which is direct player conflict and has dicebuilding aspects. There's a lot less variance with Ashes. You choose your starting hand, you know when rounds end, you can plan for them, set yourself up to have effectively two turns in a row, or deciding whether you can't gamble taking that long and deciding to act sooner and go for that killer blow even if you risk multiple turns where all you can do is pass. There's less variable gamestates in between player actions than in AH: LCG. No mythos deck surprises and player deck drawing. You don't change hands much, and Ashes has far more cautious and concise ideas of resource management.

Not only having less individual actions per turn, but more permanent gamestates of exhaustion, using up cards, and dice pool assets.

But both are definitely not Euro or even approaching Euro in relation as if Euro was a goal. Both are just simply wonderful aspects of Ameritrash and should be celebrated for it.

That being said ... Ashes >>>>>>>>>>>> Magic.

Second only to Netrunner for me, but partly only for the fact that I can find an easy game of Netrunner compared to Ashes.

It's been a while, but isn't a part of Kingdom Death's charm that it is an incredibly bloated and complex game that just not simulates combat but the entire thing in between, including rules for having sex and making babies?
As I recall, it also got quite a bit of boost from the controversy surrounding its' aesthetic and the creator's seeming obsession with both ridiculous amounts of gore and body horror and having women be as scantily clad and photo model like as possible (unless they are a body horror monster, in which case you can expect a dozen vaginas on their torso).

It seems to me like it is a game that manages to find a niche market for gameplay that most games never touch; the long form narrative miniature game, which it couples with an art style that will attract a very specific sort of people (the same kind that watch the human centipede probably).

Addendum_Forthcoming:
Taking your comparison of Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror (LCG?)... to me I love AH:LCG. Dislike EH. Really do.

He's referring to the forerunner to Eldritch Horror, the boardgame Arkham Horror that was re-released in 2005. Whether you like Eldritch Horror or not, it is a rather smooth play experience, the flow is easy to follow and the rules all operate on the same framework. Even the symbols on the mythos cards can be quickly understood.

Arkham Horror? Not so much. It is a game with lots and lots of rules, where you have to keep track of every single monster on the boards movement pattern which is color-coded and tied into the color of the border on the mythos card. Arkham Horror sessions routinely run for 6-10 hours and a lot of that time is simply spent working out how to resolve the mythos cards because it is convoluted as fuck. Eldritch Horror was FFGs attempt at streamlining the system in AH, while keeping the narrative feeling of racing against the clock and facing ever increasing odds. Something EH does admirably and is the reason I will never play AH again, because between the two EH has much better gameplay.

Gethsemani:

Addendum_Forthcoming:
Taking your comparison of Eldritch Horror and Arkham Horror (LCG?)... to me I love AH:LCG. Dislike EH. Really do.

He's referring to the forerunner to Eldritch Horror, the boardgame Arkham Horror that was re-released in 2005. Whether you like Eldritch Horror or not, it is a rather smooth play experience, the flow is easy to follow and the rules all operate on the same framework. Even the symbols on the mythos cards can be quickly understood.

Arkham Horror? Not so much. It is a game with lots and lots of rules, where you have to keep track of every single monster on the boards movement pattern which is color-coded and tied into the color of the border on the mythos card. Arkham Horror sessions routinely run for 6-10 hours and a lot of that time is simply spent working out how to resolve the mythos cards because it is convoluted as fuck. Eldritch Horror was FFGs attempt at streamlining the system in AH, while keeping the narrative feeling of racing against the clock and facing ever increasing odds. Something EH does admirably and is the reason I will never play AH again, because between the two EH has much better gameplay.

Then I don't really get the comparison. I kind of dislike both. But I really dig the AH:LCG. Which is an entire departure aways from either. I was more so addressing the idea that Euro is kind of bigger than merely a fixation on mechanical harmony and abstraction of thematic 'gears' for which the players influence that gamestate.

To me, both Arkham Horror, and Eldritch Horror were broken. I don't like playing either. I kind og like my games to have some form of consistency of approach. I found to which the high degree of inane randomness and yet strange character focus modification made character choice an after thought.

I think Fantasy Flight, for all meritable criticism, has addressed this issue of thematic stability and player centric integration ever since the LotR LCG. With creating thematic observances, pacing, and a "degree of the known" that came with the various expansions and cycles. It wasn't just random stuff happening at you, it was semi-random stuff happening to you, with a deck that you constructed to either cover up shortcomings proactively, create unique means to deal with them, or perhaps forgo adaptability in favour of succeeding where you want to definitely succeed, and how or when those situations arise.

You kind of get a sense soonething big id going to happen in AH: LCG whrn you spend thr clues you collected to advance the Act deck. When you spend those clues is up to you though. How you get them is up to you. What ways they can be got is relatively up to you.

You couldn't do that with AH or EH.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
Then I don't really get the comparison. I kind of dislike both. But I really dig the AH:LCG. Which is an entire departure aways from either. I was more so addressing the idea that Euro is kind of bigger than merely a fixation on mechanical harmony and abstraction of thematic 'gears' for which the players influence that gamestate.

His point, I believe, was that AH and EH are examples of how "Ameritrash" design can keep their narrative focus with progressive iterations of the gameplay to make it more solid.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
To me, both Arkham Horror, and Eldritch Horror were broken. I don't like playing either. I kind og like my games to have some form of consistency of approach. I found to which the high degree of inane randomness and yet strange character focus modification made character choice an after thought.
[...]You couldn't do that with AH or EH.

Which just puts you outside of the intended audience for AH/EH. Both games are meant to evoke a sense of dread, the end being near and things going pear shaped fast. Some times you can do something to prevent it, sometimes you can't. The entire idea of the Horror games is that failure is always a distinct possibility and that the best the players can do is try to skew the odds in their favor. Since they are narrative centered games, the entire deal is that as a player you enjoy the narrative of trying to stop Cthulhu. You accept that the odds are not on your side and that the game can, and will, fuck you over and render itself unwinnable, because that's totally in line with Lovecrafts writing.

Gethsemani:

His point, I believe, was that AH and EH are examples of how "Ameritrash" design can keep their narrative focus with progressive iterations of the gameplay to make it more solid.

Ahhh. Noted. Good point then.

Which just puts you outside of the intended audience for AH/EH. Both games are meant to evoke a sense of dread, the end being near and things going pear shaped fast. Some times you can do something to prevent it, sometimes you can't. The entire idea of the Horror games is that failure is always a distinct possibility and that the best the players can do is try to skew the odds in their favor. Since they are narrative centered games, the entire deal is that as a player you enjoy the narrative of trying to stop Cthulhu. You accept that the odds are not on your side and that the game can, and will, fuck you over and render itself unwinnable, because that's totally in line with Lovecrafts writing.

Well... not really. Because that makes the assumption that Lovecraft wrote like that. Yes the world id doomed and Earth is like a placid island miraculously (for now) spared the nightmarish, perpetual tempests just beyond the horizon. But then again, it was never "Do this or world gets fucked." Mountains of Madness, the only solution is to bury the knowledge of what was found there. Never go back. Don't probe too deep.

In the end, Lovecraft tales were about impotence, not the necessity to overcome. Death and insanity (and worse) are the automatic outcomes of such things, and humans are never truly so gifted as to keep such things from hsppening.

Moreover it's kind of inaccurate. In thr AH:LCG... characters csn be killed, and games can actually be failed. And ehen they do fsil, it's not merely game over.... buy those failures tally up at the end. Alter the results of your adventure. Change what happens. It helps save a pathetic handful of additional lives, it helps you put a crinkle in something's plans, but not so meaningful beyond that.

AH:LCG mskes failure part of the narrative, and your choices permanent things that will hang over your character for the whole cycle.

Characters are permanently psychologically and physically traumatized. Meaning they become unplayable in the long run. They can easily die, and RAW a character that dies/driven insane can never be played again that chronicle.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

In the end, Lovecraft tales were about impotence, not the necessity to overcome. Death and insanity (and worse) are the automatic outcomes of such things, and humans are never truly so gifted as to keep such things from hsppening.

Except in tales like The Call of Cthulhu and the Horror of Dunwich, to name the two most prominent examples of Lovecraft stories were the protagonists actually succeed in combating the cosmic horror. Never mind that this particular critique can be levied just as much against the LCG, because a game without a clear win state tends to be dreadfully boring to play.

They are two different beasts altogether, which makes the board games hard to compare to the LCG. The LCG is meant to be played as a campaign over time, whereas each go of EH or AH is a self-contained event. That you like the LCG is all fine, but your criticism of the board games just shows that you weren't part of the core audience. Mechanically they are fine, their mechanics are designed with huge degrees of chance in them to reinforce the narrative theme of not having control (impotence as you call it) and fighting against something that a bunch of humans has very little chance of actually resisting. EH/AH are about reacting to the randomness of the board, AH:LCG is about minimizing the randomness as much as possible (as most card games tend to be). These are intrinsically different approaches to game design, but neither is inherently or 'objectively' better, as which you prefer comes down to personal preference. Or, in my case, which mood I am in at the moment.

Gethsemani:

Except in tales like The Call of Cthulhu and the Horror of Dunwich, to name the two most prominent examples of Lovecraft stories were the protagonists actually succeed in combating the cosmic horror.

Only except it's not, Johansen's entire crew dies not even putting a dent in the beast (thst they themselves accidentally released) despite ramming it with an armoured ship, and Thurston realizes he'll never be safe as a target of ire, and left with the knowledge that all their actions were a bandaid on a problem that will never simply cease. No one comes out of TCoC with a sense that things will be okay... assuming, unlike 90% of the people who did something proactive in the tale, that they at all lived with their actions to begin with.

Never mind that this particular critique can be levied just as much against the LCG, because a game without a clear win state tends to be dreadfully boring to play.

Roleplaying games in general have ambiguity. Roleplaying requires it. What are you even talking about? There is more preferable resolutions, naturally, but there's also less obvious ones. But not all information will be made known. You can't exactly tell what "leads to the best result" .... you can guesstimate, but you can't tell.

Why would that be boring? To me a game railroading me pretending like I have choices rather than simply playing enough to realize odds and merely play to them is the height of tedium.

For instance, in the introductory games that come with the core after the first mission, the future prospects of the games can change drastically. You can die, which means a certain creature is still alive when you bring in new characters, you can flee... ditto, but you might not need new characters. You kill it and choose one of two different options. One of which will leave permanent changes on one character's stats and deck.

Essentially it's survival. You spend experience getting new cards, or swapping out unevolved cards for upgraded ones. But on the flipside of that, you've suffered mental and physical trauma to go with it. Towards the end of a whole bunch of investigations you'll often be buying cards to offset permanent trauma.

Eventually that character mught be unplayable not because you died or simply failed too much, but because the damages you've accrued or the lack of experience to compensate with more powerful cards leaves you incapacitated as challenges mount. Essentially, it becomes impossible to continue on with that character and retiring them might make more sense than sticking it out till the end. Which seems pretty inherently Lovecraft to me. Plenty of characters end up broken, damaged, seemingly cursed to ill health and an unnatural end or suspiciously early end. Some character having a fleeting glimpse of something that torments them forever is enough for them to call it quits and warn others to do the same.

EH/AH are about reacting to the randomness of the board, AH:LCG is about minimizing the randomness as much as possible (as most card games tend to be). These are intrinsically different approaches to game design, but neither is inherently or 'objectively' better, as which you prefer comes down to personal preference. Or, in my case, which mood I am in at the moment.

Which is theoretically correct until you realise Yahtzee and Monopoly is garbage. As much as we can pretend, simply rolling dice might make a game, it doesn't make an interesting game. And this has analogues elsewhere such as RNG in Hearthstone (and videogames in general), for instance. People obviously love it... but I don't like it. Precisely because videogame devs have more problems than most when it comes to gaming balance (given the current reliance on patching, etc) ... and on top of that, RNG.

Then again it's not merely a problem with RNG. Because as above I love Ashes. That has dicebuilding mechanics which is st best selective RNG. So the thing is it's not merely the presence of a thing, but the mechanics that don't use it as a crutch.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Which is theoretically correct until you realise Yahtzee and Monopoly is garbage. As much as we can pretend, simply rolling dice might make a game, it doesn't make an interesting game.

Except neither AH nor EH are on the same level of random as either of Yahtzee or Monopoly. In the Horror games you absolutely require strategy to even stand a chance and you are given ample of opportunity to tilt the chance in your favor. The fact that you decide where to move alone makes it less random then Monopoly (where the only choice you really have is to buy/not buy available tiles you land on). On top of that there are decisions made based on the mythos cards, the ability to ignore on-going effects and quests on mythos cards, there are actions to perform and a degree of predictability to the locations (Tokyo lets you hurt monsters, New Orleans gives you spells etc.) and ways to increase the rate of success. Comparing it to Monopoly is silly because EH has much less chance. As I said, it is a game about reacting to what the game throws at you, instead of preparing for what the game might throw at you.

Once again, your dislike for games with high chance and low risk mitigation is your personal preference, not an objective marker on the quality of the game mechanics.

Gethsemani:

Except neither AH nor EH are on the same level of random as either of Yahtzee or Monopoly. In the Horror games you absolutely require strategy to even stand a chance and you are given ample of opportunity to tilt the chance in your favor. The fact that you decide where to move alone makes it less random then Monopoly (where the only choice you really have is to buy/not buy available tiles you land on). On top of that there are decisions made based on the mythos cards, the ability to ignore on-going effects and quests on mythos cards, there are actions to perform and a degree of predictability to the locations (Tokyo lets you hurt monsters, New Orleans gives you spells etc.) and ways to increase the rate of success. Comparing it to Monopoly is silly because EH has much less chance. As I said, it is a game about reacting to what the game throws at you, instead of preparing for what the game might throw at you.

Once again, your dislike for games with high chance and low risk mitigation is your personal preference, not an objective marker on the quality of the game mechanics.

You're right. AH/EH is not like Monopoly. Of course it's not. But in the same way (and I addressed this in my OP how I was being unfair on these grounds) that one can say I am being unfair for my criticisms, and I am, it's also not entirely incorrect to say; "Well, AH isn't like Monopoly *for a reason*" ... As I was saying before, I don't like it... but then again I couldn't imagine an AH/EH being less randomized challenges without simply making it like a game I already have. And how much of my criticisms of something like KDM can truly be boiled down to; "Well how else would you derive what ludonarrative it's trying to create?"

The LCG has a ludonarrative that fits well with its campaign driven gameplay and ideas of character permadeath/permainjury mechanics. I would find it a more tedious game if I had to make a new deck, with 0 xp, plaaying a random dungeon everytime.

I would even make the argument I would prefer EH. Because I would, it's clearly a superior game for that. You can't say that about Monopoly, because its mechanics and player 'choice' is not merely determined by dice but predetermined.

(Edit) As I was saying above (though in an edit) as for further clarification, I like Ashes and that has deckbuilding and dice building. And the dice are stock standard, albeit repurposed d6 variables with different magic symbols depending onthe types of dice you build that die pool with and that determines magic power each round, andwhat type of magic power you have access to. That's RNG, but once again the central conceit of what you can do, and being able to build your own starting hand, and the individual dice can be used for its own inherent powers depending on its type.

It also has to correlate to cards you want to play in your hand, and the basic magic symbol on every one of them is universal so even if you roll poorly you can use them for many other things. That and they determine the firstround play order, player with the most basic symbols as a consolation prize ...and there's ways ingame to alter your die pool in round.

There is an idea of randomness as a crutch, and randomness that forces adaptive gameplay or makes a game uniquely something it couldn't be without.

AH: LCG is no different, I love the Chaos Bag. And even that changes as games go on, often as a result of your actions in the campaign or simply because you want to experiment with more of one type of token. Which I think is genius. As if you're actively contributing to the rest of the gamers' fortunes directly and permanently.

Yet I don't find that problematic one iota. The game would be lesser without that bag. Nor would it be the same if it were dice.

 

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