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Subject: {Lite Review} The Stars Are Right.... Cthulhu. God bless you. rss

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Steven D
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Background

Chris brought the English version, THE STARS ARE RIGHT, to the Arlington Hts. Meet-up board gaming group last night. This is my review after playing with him and two others...

To start out I know nothing of Cthulhu, the myths, the back story, the characters or anything else like that. But the game was described to me as: "Arrange the stars to summon your evil minions" and how could I say no to a theme like that? As the rules were read to us I immediately said, "Cool, this is my type of game". Little did I know the full extent of what I was in for...

Components

Usually in these Lite Reviews I'll give a breakdown of the components and all for the game. Honestly, the previous review on the game did an amazing job so I'll defer to that wonderfulness. http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/351752

While you are there, check out the rules too. I'll wait right here for you to come back.

Rules

Again, Ben Kirman (Aelf)'s post is very complete in explaining the game. highly recommended if you want to learn the game completely.

I'll try to put it much more simply, after all this is a lite review. The night-time sky is spread out before all the players in the form of a 5 by 5 grid of tiles.



Each tile has an image on the top of the tile and a different image on the flip-side.



Each player has a hand of cards. These cards can be spent to move the tiles in the night sky by flipping a tile, sliding a row, or swapping two tile's positions.



(The version I played was in English)
Once The Stars Are Right (i.e. the layout on the table matches the position shown on the bottom of a card needed to summon a card from your hand) then that card may be placed in front of that player. The card gives the player two things. First they count as victory points needed to win the game. And second they act as a bureau of exchange and are able to change a card in your hand's tile moving abilities to another ability (or abilities).

At the tip of the iceberg, that is what the game is all about.

You don't have to do these things, you could discard and refill your hand if you wanted to... but where is the fun in a tile moving game if you just do that?

Playability

Well, this is double edged sky tile. It is really easy to learn. The rules are simple and rather intuitive. The three of us that were new to the game had it down in no time.

Then came the chaining of the abilities laid out as cards in front of you. And the matching of the star patterns in your hand. And finding the right order to move the sky tiles around. And the... Holy Massive Analysis Paralysis BATMAN!

Now, I'm rather good at finding patterns. I love SET. Again I thought this would be a fun lite game when I sat down... not so. There are an amazing number of combos, moves, flips, and then there are 5 patterns in your hand that you can try to match! Not to mention that the person before me has almost completely re-arranged the constellations so that anything I had planed is long since impossible to recreate. This is like Set on crack!

Many times I made moves after a few minutes (really, minutes) of flipping through the cards in my hand looking at possible moves in the sky. And those moves were to discard and hope for something better to come along (in terms of either sky moving ability or patterns to match) 'cause I gave up looking for something better to do. Other times I'd make a move because I could actually find a pattern... and I'm sure that if I took another 3 or 4 minutes I could find a bigger, badder pattern... but then again I did not want to sit there thinking that hard last night.

So, if you are OK with patterns, OK with playing at a slower pace, and OK with searching through a plethora of possibilities, this is very playable.

Over All Fun Factor

That said, some of us geeks really dig that type of stuff. I had fun, for sure.

It was like a race to put together a 25 piece, two sided puzzle where you are only allowed to place pieces in a limited way and the the other players are constantly messing with your arrangement. In a fun way. kiss


Not only did I enjoy the mechanics I loved the cards as well. The art is playful... for daemons and the such. The names were fun to trip over or make sound like sneezes. There was the decision of going for speed with the little critters or trying to summon the big honking dude. Kinda like going purple or big buildings in San Juan... but with so much more going on.

Like I said, I am not familiar with the story lines behind the game but I'm sure going to look into it now. I had fun playing.

The only drawback is that I think I could have played a filler in between my moves. The AP was sometime so thick... and by my turn the board had changed so much... that the game is a little slow.

Bottom line



Easy game to learn, lots of good decisions, great components, balance, a brain burner, and a fun theme.

I'll play it again... when I'm bright eyed, bushy tailed, and ready to search for patterns.

{Edit for bad typo "differ" should have been defer}
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Christopher Taylor
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SteveD. wrote:
This is like Set on crack!


That squashed any desire I have to play this game. I may still pick it up, because I love Goomi's artwork. Playing Set drove me nuts; I don't think I need to have Cthulhu drive me stark, raving mad! ^_^
 
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Steven D
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Well... the major difference between this and SET is that you have the pattern that you are looking for right in front of you, on a card. Honestly, that did not make it any easier to find it because unlike Set some of the patterns are in fixed formations.

This game is not for everyone... and I'd guess that if Set was not for you The Start Are Right might not be one you'd want to buy until you've played it.
 
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Guest Starring...
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Nice review. :thumbsup:

Have to disagree with the conclusion, though: this game is simply awful.

Aside from being an easy winner of the Most Jarring Combination of Mechanics and Theme Contest, the gameplay isn't just multiplayer solitaire, it's multiplayer solitaire with other people randomly shuffling your cards between moves.

This is a game where I've seen demo staffs say, "Yeah, that one's pretty bad - but aren't these other games cool?" That's never a good sign.

Thank goodness for different tastes, though. The most interesting reviews are always the ones with a different opinion. Cheers!
 
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Will Schoonover
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Thanks for the review Steve, & Sorry you didn't like it Decker.

The biggest hurdle in the game is getting the pattern recognition to click in your head. Most of the people I've demoed it for have started to get their brain around it by about halfway through the game.
 
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Klaus Westerhoff
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E Decker wrote:

Aside from being an easy winner of the Most Jarring Combination of Mechanics and Theme Contest [...]

This is not the first time I hear people alleging that the theme was chosen arbitrarily, and I always wonder why... the title *is* a direct quote from Lovecraft after all and was the initial inspiration (http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/432981).


E Decker wrote:

This is a game where I've seen demo staffs say, "Yeah, that one's pretty bad - but aren't these other games cool?" That's never a good sign.

Now that's just bad style. If you are a supporter for a game publisher, you don't talk badly about their products, period. Have a fellow demo monkey who actually likes the game explain it, then.
And I'd be amazed if Pegasus' (the original german publisher) supporters ever maligned the company's games, let alone SJG's MIBs.
 
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Paul Chapman
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E Decker wrote:
This is a game where I've seen demo staffs say, "Yeah, that one's pretty bad - but aren't these other games cool?" That's never a good sign.


Don't want to dogpile on your excellent post, but I'm shocked a demo person would say something like that! However, maybe I'm misunderstanding the nature of "demo staff" -- were they volunteers at a convention, or employees at a game store?
 
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Johnathan W
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My only complaint is that it can be rather hard to keep track of multiply changed moves, such as turning 3 flips into 2 flips, 3 pushes and 1 switch. I made up a card with the 3 movement symbols and a blank space under them, and use d6s to keep track of the different numbers of moves. I'm planning on getting a bag of game stones to replace the dice (it's easier and should the die get bumped, then remembering what number was indicated might lead to mistakes). I've found that this helps everyone keep track of the plays to help avoid confusion and/or a lack of accusations of dishonesty among the players.
 
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Paul Chapman
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argouru wrote:
My only complaint is that it can be rather hard to keep track of multiply changed moves, such as turning 3 flips into 2 flips, 3 pushes and 1 switch.


I encountered this as well. We're working on a print-n-cut PDF to make some tokens available. Should see it next week.
 
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Yu-Tung Lin
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nice write up.

It makes me want to pick up a cope of the game :laugh:
 
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Steven Kreft
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argouru wrote:
My only complaint is that it can be rather hard to keep track of multiply changed moves,


The way we handled it is we turned over any single use card when used and we turned the card tap style in a right hand direction for each use.
 
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Steve Duff
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Eye Poker wrote:
The way we handled it is we turned over any single use card when used and we turned the card tap style in a right hand direction for each use.


Not sure why you're handling them differently, as all cards are single use. Even if a card gives you multiple actions (like 1 push turns into 2 swaps), at the moment you use the card, the push is gone, you now own 2 swaps, and the card can't be used any more.
 
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Freelance Police
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Thanks for the "Lite" review! I only wish more reviews were "Lite"!

Only vaguely reminds me of Set -- there's certainly no competition to spot a pattern first, and you have to *make* the pattern by manipulating the board. In a way, it's like Master Labyrinth or a puzzle game on severe steroids.

Perhaps a demo game should be done open handed, or with teams.
 
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