StevenE Smooth Sailing...
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Lakoda wrote:

The Bad:
d10-1 The tiles are not engraved but made from a mold, these obviously came with a requirement of how far lines had to be from the edge. To keep the tiles the same size, the icon grid is smaller and harder to read as a result.
d10-2 Not compatible with the Duke's theme packs (and possibly not with siege engines). Not really a big deal, but worth mentioning.

The Ugly:
d10-1 The dark tiles have grey speckles in them and it makes them all but impossible to read.
d10-2 The rules are not any better - more on that later.
d10-3 You will almost always not notice the command icons on these tiles, the icon is so tiny and obscure. This is a big problem because there is a lot more defense/shield and command is the only way through it (and with the limited movement, going around it takes too long). There slightly less command then the Duke tiles have, making it more painful.


I've been waiting for Jarl and have almost pulled the trigger on buying it... But now I am not sure I can get over the bad and ugly... I am disappointed about the readability of all grid icons and the white flecks in the black material.

Scanning the production pieces they are more difficult to read than the smaller PnP set I made while waiting.



(sigh...)

[edit]
I forgot to thank you for writing this review... Much appreciated. I am hoping to see the game in person at today's game convention in Los Angeles
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Alexandre Limoges
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Montreal
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To those in whom the will has turned and has denied itself, this our world, which is so real, with all its suns and milky-ways — is nothing. [A.Schopenhauer]
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I don't think you should hold on buying Jarl because of the tiles. The only real issue is with the Command on the black tiles, and only a few tiles (Warlord, Vala,etc.) even have that power. It takes about 2-3 games to know where their Commands are. It's really only a problem with new players.

I'm interested in reading more about the experiences of those who played both Jarl and The Duke, like the OP. I have played Jarl, but not Duke...
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Richard A. Edwards
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Lacey
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Thanks for the review.

I agree about the tile weight being nice, as is the feel.

I won't rehash my opinion of the notches and trying to read the black tiles and icons.

It does feel more...combative.

As to play, I also find that a game takes longer to play than the Duke. With more Defense and Shield Defense and no slides, it takes more pieces and more time.

And, I think (I haven't run the numbers yet) that there are more icons per tile in the Jarl, so you have more symbols to consider on every piece, yours and your opponents, so it just takes more time to plan good moves.

I like the "more thematically like combat" feel too, to a degree, but I wonder if the increase in playing time will be worth the struggle.

Too early to tell. Play more games!
 
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Richard A. Edwards
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Lakoda wrote:
If you get a chance to see it, I'd appreciate hearing what another set of eyes thought of the grids and the dark tiles.


I hadn't noticed the grid was smaller, but I wonder if that contributed to our problems with the black tiles.

My usual Duke opponent is in his 60s and after trying to take a turn or two with black, he had me switch tiles because he couldn't tell the white flecks in the marbling from the small icons (specifically the non-capturing jump and move).

What threw me most with the black tiles when I played them is that the symbols are negatives of what I'm used to. So on black, a move is a white circle and a jump is black?!

I found this really hard to get my head around, especially when looking at my opponents tiles and trying to figure out all the possible options. Having to translate back and forth from white to black symbols meaning the same thing really made me double check things a lot and slowed the game down.
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Richard A. Edwards
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Or, even worse in my opinion, they knew it was bad but decided it looked cool and went with form over function. I've worked on too many games that were really good but were damaged when the graphics folks decided it looked better in ways that harmed the playing experience. All too often marketing is the main consideration and a cool looking game sells.
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Richard A. Edwards
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Lakoda wrote:
I've had a number of conversations (well, really me confronting their staff) to get FAQ on the Duke and I really didn't get that impression. Though I definitely got the excuse of never looking at it.

Well, that's too bad. So they're pleading not caring enough to actually proof it rather than poor design decisions? I'm not sure now which is worse.
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Joshua Martin
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"You will almost always not notice the command icons on these tiles"

This was what turned me off to the game. All of my command tiles were gone by the time I realized I was not noticing them. It is three tiles, Warlord Seer and one other so it wouldn't be an issue after a few plays. I just wish they had made the corners encroach upon the circle.
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