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Subject: OBG 72: Elementary My Dear Nicholson rss

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Donald Dennis
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Donald, Scott, and Erik talk about deduction games.

Giles reviews a bunch of Battlelore stuff

Erik and Don go over a stack of games they've been meaning to review

Erik reviews Guards Guards



http://onboardgames.libsyn.com/obg-72-elementary-my-dear-nic...

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Excellent episode! As someone who's never played an 18xx, I've built 18AL, and really don't want to pick up an 18xx game until I play AL (or some other 18xx game) but 1846 sounds pretty good, I'm going to have to look into that game.

I am in the midst of setting up a library gaming program at my local library and I am bringing Simply Catan to a meeting next week as a gift for them. I think it's a fantastic library game decision because it has fewer components to track, and as Scott mentioned, the quick play rules really hit that library game time slot. Catan just feels like a game a library should have, it's popular enough that people who aren't into modern gaming have heard of it or saw it, but maybe they haven't had the chance to play it.

The deduction game round table was fantastic, Letters From Whitechapel being the game that really drug me down the rabbit hole here, I spent a few months exploring different kinds of deduction games until everyone was totally sick of playing them. You hit most of the big ones, on first listen the only one I'm surprised you didn't hit was Black Vienna, but I was surprised to hear you bring up Deduce or die (which I find fantastic).

You did however skip over a whole branch of deduction gaming. Now as I know it there are four main types of deduction games; missing gems, hide and seek, social deduction, and clue hunts.

Missing gems are the most common, they're games like Clue, Sleuth, where you know an amount of information and have to deduce the unknown using what other players know.

Hide and seek are games Like Scotland Yard, Nuns on the Run, even the newly published Escape from the Aliens in Outer Space falls into this category. This is my favourite branch as it pits you against another mind which can make illogical moves, be sneaky, etc.

Social Deduction includes Werewolf, The Resistance, Battlestar Galactica, Shadow Hunters, Oriente, BANG! and many others. These games I find hit or miss, as they really need a good ruleset and have to give me something to work with to appeal to me. For example I LOVE The Resistance, but Wouldn't even play Werewolf as the game doesn't give me enough as a player to work with. Most games in this branch fall in the middle to me.

Clue hunts are probably the least known type of deduction games, I can't really think of any that aren't at least 20+ years old, but they were somewhat popular in the mid-80's. This group includes games like Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, Gumshoe, 221B Baker Street: The Master Detective Game (this game featured several expansions and even a sequel!), and Orient Express. In these games you can either race against the other players to discover clues within the game's rules or work together cooperatively (or play solitaire).

In the Consulting Detective/Gumshoe ilk, you literally search through physical world mugshots, finger prints, newspapers, autopsy reports, maps and phone books to follow intricate lines of leads. These games are pretty intense but if you enjoy this sort of problem solving, FUN! It really makes you feel like a detective when you have a dining table full of paper you're hunting through.

With 221b/Orient Express, you roll and move around a board and depending on where you land you can do different things like search a room, question a bystander, conceal evidence from other players, etc. When you search a room for example you look up in a clue book what happens. Say you're playing case 1 and want to search the apothecary, on a matrix you match up apothecary and case 1 and it will say something like "clue 254", so in the clue book you look up 254 and find out "the killer walks with a limp". Through the game you piece together information, some of which is red herrings to try to solve the case.

As such these clue hunt games can only be played so many times (as the solutions are predetermined) but you can find them cheap enough that that doesn't matter. They're EXCELLENT games to play with 1 or 2 other non-gamers as you can work together in a game that needs very little explanation (assuming they know BASIC logic) and have a fulfilling game experience together, as opposed to say playing pandemic and either bossing them around or having them cause the world to end.

There're a few oddball games which don't really fit into one of these or sort of fit into a couple but not one strongly. There's Heimlich & Co., which is a game where you deduce who wants which pawn to win, Timbuktu, which I haven't played, and What's My Word?, a sort of advanced version of Hangman. There're also the big game versions "How to host a murder", but I know nothing about them as games.

I agree there hasn't been a great push forward with this mechanism in gaming. I think the last advancements were in the mid 80's from Consulting Detective, Werewolf and Scotland Yard. It's odd that the genre basically matured from clue within a couple of years and then totally stopped evolving. Perhaps it hit a real creative wall.

One direction that I don't think deduction has gone is GM v. players, not in the Scotland Yard vein of player vs. players, but in a human really facilitating the story of the game, say you search a room at 8pm and maybe get a different finding than searching the room at 1am. Maybe such an Idea is bordering too much on a role playing game though.

Sorry to ramble, as I said, excellent episode! Looking forward to the followup!
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Wojtek Olejniczak
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I would drop two games that jumped to my head and have not been mentioned and still are not a social deduction type. One is Mr. Jack, 2-player simple deduction game where one player is the murderer, and the other is a police inspector. It is as simple as it gets, because there is only one way to narrow of who Jack The Ripper really is, but one player tries to limit the number of suspects that can be eliminated within the turn to gain time and possibly escape, while the other works the opposite way. It combines the basic deduction with movement of characters and some special abilities. Very light one, basically a filler, but still really enjoyable and a little bit different from the ones mentioned on the show.
The second one is Timbuktu. I don't think this was mentioned, but I may missed this one if it was, because I had to search for the name of the game. Scott did an BGWS episode on this one long time ago (episode 28), so I won't be going into details.
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Esteban Fernandez
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I like deduction games, as an idea, because after I play them I always find some problem that makes me don't want to play

Code 777 after O bought it, a friend told me that the game is flawed, because the order that the questions came, predetermin what player has to win, if none of the players makes a mistake.

Also I find that deduction games like Clue have the problem of the players, when they know how to play they always ask fake questions, with the objects they already have, so they can misguided the other players, and that makes the game not fun after a few plays.

Queen's Ransom also mix deduction with memory, not a bad game, but my memory is not that good, also the more complex games like Black Vienna and such depends on the player doing it right.

I only played once to Intrigo (whatever is called the game with the Venecian guy that looks like a nun) and one player ruins the game for the rest, when I realized he was my secret partner and I pass him the information card, he picks right away the screen to check what was the mission, blowing away the game.

I think more can be done with something like Space Alert, with the help of some kind of computer/tablet thing that keeps the "mistery" hidden from players, and doing each game different. No idea of the how-to but someone will discover that, I think is the only way to do something with deduction that is replayable and fun.
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Guy Granger
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I just wanted to mention one of my personal favourite deduction games -
Confusion: Espionage and Deception in the Cold War. Another beautiful remake from Stronghold Games.

I don't know what category of deduction games it falls into (suggestions?). In confusion, you need to work out what each of your 13 pieces can do before you can determine a strategy for a Chess like game.

Deduction is further complicated by a 'double agent' piece that your opponent uses to both confuse and slow down your deduction as well as hurting any strategy designed to win the game.

One of the big tricks to the game is to determine when you think you have enough information on some or more of your pieces to attack before your opponent learns enough about their pieces to defend

While I suspect that Confusion might have been previously discussed about by the guys before, I am only just starting to listen to the podcast now so thought I would mention it just in case. If the game hasn't come up yet, it would be worth slotting in.

While i think this is my favourite Letters from Whitechapel comes in at a close second...
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Justus
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An interesting deduction game that is pretty good is i9n with a punchcard gimmick/mechanism. I like it quite a bit, but it is a tad unpolished around the edges...but it certainly is unique!

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Peter Finlayson
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I enjoyed Giles's segment on BattleLore. I had coincidentally decided to buy the game on the morning I listened to the podcast, so it was great to hear all the options.

Giles described all the options clearly and evenly, but if I had one criticism to make, it would be he was too even-handed I would have liked to hear a bit more opinion in all the fact, some more subjective judgment on the worth of all the options.

I am, of course, ignoring the very real possibility that he truly does love each and every BattleLore expansion
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Donald Dennis
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We are recording the SOCIAL DEDUCTION Round Table this evening, so now is the last chance you have to ask questions or berate us for forgetting your favorite deduction game. At least until the next episode.
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Esteban Fernandez
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I have one question for the social deduction games, ¿Don't you think that on the both sides of the game skill you have game is broken?

I mean, if you are new to a Social deduction game, you don't know what to do, or what can be considered suspicious, and if you play really good, you know what actions are not to be perform, so you don't get caught.
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Michael Denman
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frnknstn wrote:
Giles described all the options clearly...


Heh. I think Giles had said "controversy" at least three times before I knew what he was saying.
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Roi espino
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Great show. Waiting for what you have to say in the next.

Put me on the list of people who dislikes "Fury of dracula". The game its not bad but that teleport card, its one of the worst designs solution I have ever seen. Its practically reboots the game and make it one hour longer.

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Kai Liang Teo
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i loved Name of the ROse boardgame. The deduction aspect is so different and refreshing.
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Giles Pritchard
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frnknstn wrote:
I enjoyed Giles's segment on BattleLore. I had coincidentally decided to buy the game on the morning I listened to the podcast, so it was great to hear all the options.

Giles described all the options clearly and evenly, but if I had one criticism to make, it would be he was too even-handed I would have liked to hear a bit more opinion in all the fact, some more subjective judgment on the worth of all the options.

I am, of course, ignoring the very real possibility that he truly does love each and every BattleLore expansion


Sorry for the late reply! I've been away with family on and off.

I really do enjoy all the Battlelore expansions - though I also think some are better than others.

I think it's also important to think of how they generally add to the game.

There are two main expansions which add to the whole game experience - Call to Arms and Epic. These are very good if you want a way of randomly creating balanced games - Call to Arms is especially good when you have all the cards from the latest FFG expansions as well - as it allows you to use all units from all the expansions.

Epic adds a new way to play the game that really changes the emphasis required on some units - ranged units are more useful when coordinated well. Terrain is very important, and fast moving units are also valuable. Epic is a more strategic game, and you feel, as you play two cards per turn, that you have a little more control.

Heroes also sort of falls under this category, and while it's a fun expansion to play with, I think it could have been implemented better. I really do recommend the Battleback rules that come in heroes, as I think they have a very positive effect on game play.


Then there are the fantasy creatures expansions - Creatures, Dragons and Troll & Country. All add fun elements to the game, though best bought if you can find them on special I think.

All the other expansions really fall under the category of being troop expansions. They add new units to the game. Some of these new units are a lot of fun to play with - they are also good if you want more goblins, dwarves and so on. If you have Call to Arms I think the three FFG troop expansions (Horrific Horde, Bearded Brave and Code of Chivalry) are the best - as the CtA cards they add can be combined with CtA really well. Next would be the Hundred years War expansion, after that the various others.

Battlelore is one of my favourite games, so I'm naturally biased to spout more positive things about the various expansions than someone coming to the game cold. They all add something in their own ways - it just depends on what you want as to what will be more or less enjoyable for you.

I do have some issues - I think FFG could manage their expansions better, there are some issues with errata in heroes and others (mainly the scenarios), and this shouldn't be an issue. I also think FFG could be better with FAQ than they are (well - they haven't done anything in this regard). But when all is said and done I think Battlelore is a great game that's a lot of fun to play. One of the things the die hard fans all agree on is that the game has huge potential - there are a lot of cool things that could be a part of the game experience that aren't (yet). Whether FFG pursues this or not is another thing!

Hope you enjoyed the segment!

Cheers,

Giles.
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Giles Pritchard
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Trump wrote:
frnknstn wrote:
Giles described all the options clearly...


Heh. I think Giles had said "controversy" at least three times before I knew what he was saying.


Ha! Well Battlelore has seen it's share of these so I felt obliged to throw the word in at least a couple of times!
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Donald Dennis
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celacanto wrote:
Great show. Waiting for what you have to say in the next.

Put me on the list of people who dislikes "Fury of dracula". The game its not bad but that teleport card, its one of the worst designs solution I have ever seen. Its practically reboots the game and make it one hour longer.



Preach it!

If I wanted to play the game twice, I'd play it twice.
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Eric Hansen
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Walsfeo wrote:
celacanto wrote:
Great show. Waiting for what you have to say in the next.

Put me on the list of people who dislikes "Fury of dracula". The game its not bad but that teleport card, its one of the worst designs solution I have ever seen. Its practically reboots the game and make it one hour longer.



Preach it!

If I wanted to play the game twice, I'd play it twice.

If that's the beef, does it break the game to remove the card? On the other hand, would that make it better?

Good show. I prefer deduction games where deduction is part of the game, rather than the point of the game. Mastermind, Clue and all their offshoots don't interest me in the least. I'd much rather do those Penny Press matrix-style logic puzzles by myself than play those. With more players, a game has to have something else to it than just being first to figure something out with logic and deductive reasoning.
 
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Donald Dennis
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I'm not really sure Dracula can win with out that card. But then I'm not sure.
 
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Scott G

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Another little known deduction game that I know of.. but have not played since I was a youngen.. is Murder, She Wrote

I believe it was roll and move (80's after all).. with several locations, with each location containing a character from "the story." One player is the murderer and tries to kill the various characters, while everyone else tries to discover which player is the murderer.

The mechanism is that at game start, the murderer is able to secretly kill some predefined number of characters (I feel like it was maybe two of the possible ten characters?). Over course of game, all players are visiting each location.. and checking if the character in that location is alive or dead. (chits in each location have "alive" or "dead" faced down). You must place the chit facedown in the box. If you are just investigating (not murderer), you are required to return back another token from the box with same alive/dead value. If you are the murderer, you have option to kill them, replacing the alive chit with a dead chit.

Investigators must call out the murderer for they kill so many people and escape (I remember a boat.. perhaps it was all on an island?).

The deduction comes into play with this colored disk. Each player is a colored token to move around the map (again.. the 80's)... but they also have a set of colored token-rings. Each time you visit a location, you are required to place one of your colored rings on the board in that location. This keeps a record of everyone's visit. The tokens are ordered by visitor.. so you can see all other previous visitors.

The ideal plan is to visit a character early on... confirm them are alive.. and then later re-visit a character.. after others have visited.. and they are now dead. You therefore know they were murdered by a recent visit.. with rings helping to keep track. (The initial (pre-game start) murders help to give some misdirection).

It certainly wasn't award winning.. but it was a "different way" to run a deduction game.
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Good show, as usual.

This thread is full of interesting suggestions. I wouldn't have thought to include Confusion and My Word.

As long as Scotland Yard and Fury of Dracula are getting mention, I'll add Pyramid. It's an inverted version where one player hunts the rest. The deductive element is reduced, but it's a very good family game. The vertical board design is clever.
 
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Suddenly a shot rang out! A door slammed. The maid screamed. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon! While millions of people were starving, the king lived in luxury. Meanwhile, on a small farm in Kansas, a boy was growing up.
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Wow... I can't believe nobody called y'all out on looking past Zendo, a generalized application of Eleusis [which I did hear briefly mentioned in this week's podcast] with less overhead and more open play. It's played traditionally with the Icehouse pieces but can actually [unlike Eleusis] be played without rules adaptation with literally any set of physical objects. It's an absolutely fantastic inductive-reasoning game, and I consider it one of the top five human game inventions of all time. I also can't believe that none of y'all have ever played it [or apparently even been exposed to it], being the seasoned / well-traveled players you are.
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Donald Dennis
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On Board Games » Forums » News
Re: OBG 72: Elementary My Dear Nicholson
NateStraight wrote:
It's played traditionally with the Icehouse pieces but can actually [unlike Eleusis] be played without rules adaptation with literally any set of physical objects. It's an absolutely fantastic inductive-reasoning game, and I consider it one of the top five human game inventions of all time.


Wow! That's high praise indeed.
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