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Subject: Simple Lobotomy review rss

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Ken Savage
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I don't normally post my reviews of games, I just keep them attached as comments to my ratings. However, it seemed a shame that there are currently so few reviews posted (admittedly, it's still very new) - so I'll submit my first BGG review to the forums!


I love a good miniatures game, and there's certainly a lot to love here. I got the Kickstarter, with the big expansion and a few extra characters/enemies too. The box is pretty big, but that's good as you can fit everything (including expansions) inside. That's something I do really appreciate in a game. The box is big and sturdy too. The artwork on the box (and everywhere else) is very good and thematic. The miniatures are, quite simply, superb (last game I opened was Project Elite, this is an amazing difference in quality!). There's a lot of detail on a lot of these creatures and I'm very impressed with the miniature quality. Lots of cardboard tokens, which are decent thickness and come out of the insert just fine. All superb so far.

My first negative is the rulebook. The rule booklet looks nice and has good paper quality. The rules, themselves, aren't all that well written. I appreciate that English is not the native language of the developer, but I think that more could have been done to get some English proof reading done. There are many spelling mistakes, with lots of grammar mistakes too. Rules could have been written better to reference page numbers, if a rule directs you to somewhere else. Other rules just aren't clear enough, which leads to needing house rulings. In short, the Rulebook could use some attention.

I have another negative, regarding the board pieces. I think that the design and art on the board pieces are all top notch. The pieces all fit together very nicely. However, we noticed that the pieces would bend upwards during the game. So, all the corners would rise the longer we played. During setup, I saw a slight bend on some of the pieces. So I made sure to put the "raised corners" down to touch the table - to make it easier to play. However, by the end of the game every board piece had warped itself to have the corners facing up! I'm not sure what to make of this, as the pieces don't look to tend in only one direction. It did take a bit from the game, when our flat board area got warped the longer the game went on. I'm not sure if this is something that affects other people?
*Edit - as per Jorune's explanation below, further plays have shown the board works perfectly.

To gameplay then! Actually no, lets setup first. I normally wouldn't mention this bit, but setup does take quite a while (since everything has to come out of the box to get at the board pieces at the bottom). And space. It's a big board with a lot of things to be placed on it, depending on the initial scenario. We purposely have a big kitchen table, just for games like this, so I don't particularly think of this as a negative. But I know some players who won't enjoy the setup time (if we were to invite people over, it's the kind of game you have setup for them arriving).

Finally to gameplay! The first turns took us a while to figure out how things actually worked. However, once we got moving - we found we could get through turns very quickly. While the game looks very intimidating to start, you find that the monsters don't move very quickly - so it is normally fairly easy for any human player to stay ahead of them if they want to avoid fighting. Combat is, actually, fairly simple once you understand it (roll dice, count hits, remove hits based on defense). The basic monsters (patients, nurses, scavengers) aren't very dangerous and can be dealt with easily by any character when alone. Mini bosses are something different, of course. And the final boss looks particularly tricky - though we've never encountered him yet....

The game is a variation of a dungeon crawl. While that's not particularly new, if you get into the role play of the game then you will see something new in this game. Your character is, literally, crazy. When he sees and attacks a "Scavenger", in reality he's actually attacking another patient, or a doctor, or possibly even a potted plant! That dangerous club he has in his hands, might be nothing more than a tv remote in reality. The adventure is all in the minds of the protagonists! I found that getting into the spirit of the game really allowed me to enjoy it much more.

There are a lot of board pieces in this game, which affect play differently. There are a lot of player characters (even without considering purchasing extras). There are also a lot of mini bosses, with associated scenarios. In other words, there is a lot of replayability in this game. The bad point of having a lot of pieces is that tidying up the game afterwards does take a bit of time. Still, a small cost to bear I think!

Overall, I think this is a very solid game. The theme is really good (I was always a fan of the Silent Hill video games) and well adapted to the gameplay (ie, not just tacked on). The rulebook takes away a little - but I know that fans are offering up rewrites, so a re-released rulebook will surely be somewhere on the horizon. That little niggle aside, this is a game I really hope to get to play quite often.

As a rating, I'd say it's a very solid 8/10 (BGG rating - I do enjoy playing this and will suggest it)
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Judgement Dave
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Rodge wrote:
However, it seemed a shame that there are currently so few reviews posted (admittedly, it's still very new)

I think it's still pretty much just the EU that has got the game (and then only for a couple of weeks except for 10 games that were rushed to Essen). I'm sure things will liven up here once the US gets it.

Good to see that you enjoyed it.
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Thaddeus MacTaggart
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I didn't have time yet to play the game (too many games .. *sigh*) but they just released a new version of the scenario guide. Hope it proves helpful.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/vupuccgupebii1s/Scenarios.pdf?dl=0
 
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reaching out from the in-between spaces...
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The board warping you mention is very common in other boardgames. To get rid of it, you need to lay a heavy book on the board and leave it out a few days. Eventually it will fix the issue.
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Ken Savage
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Jorune wrote:
The board warping you mention is very common in other boardgames. To get rid of it, you need to lay a heavy book on the board and leave it out a few days. Eventually it will fix the issue.

I've did this for card games with a similar issue (dice masters cards, always come horribly bent due to how they're packaged). In this case, the board pieces all arrived perfectly straight - and warped during the game.

However, I will take your advice and leave the board pieces under something heavy for a few days. Hopefully that will fix them all permanently
 
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Rodge wrote:
Jorune wrote:
The board warping you mention is very common in other boardgames. To get rid of it, you need to lay a heavy book on the board and leave it out a few days. Eventually it will fix the issue.

I've did this for card games with a similar issue (dice masters cards, always come horribly bent due to how they're packaged). In this case, the board pieces all arrived perfectly straight - and warped during the game.

However, I will take your advice and leave the board pieces under something heavy for a few days. Hopefully that will fix them all permanently


Yeah, I'm no expert on this type of thing. The explanation given to me is that the board lays flat at whatever the humidity level was where it was printed. Now in a new location with different humidity levels, it needs to acclimate to it so it will lay flat again. After a few days the board should be good to go.

I have this problem with many CMON games and currently my copy of Fire team zero.

No problems though with my copy of Gloomhaven.
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Ken Savage
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Jorune wrote:

Yeah, I'm no expert on this type of thing. The explanation given to me is that the board lays flat at whatever the humidity level was where it was printed. Now in a new location with different humidity levels, it needs to acclimate to it so it will lay flat again. After a few days the board should be good to go.


Further plays have shown that you're right. The first time we played was straight after opening it, where it was well packaged and sealed in plastic. After having some time to "breathe" the Austrian air, the board pieces all behaved completely fine after new playthroughs. Noted this in my review above.

Thanks for informing me about this, it's something I've just never experienced before in my large gaming collection!
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Having played this for the first time last night I agree with most of what you've written. Really loved the theme which was brought out well by the insanity and memory mechanics, miniatures and components are great and the overall gameplay was pretty solid.

The issues our group had were with the rulebook and exactly mirror what you have said. In terms of the game mechanics although they are fundamentally sound they are slightly overdone. We felt there were just to many die rolls for actions / events which didn't need them and the main effect was to slow the pace of the game.

Could learn a bit from Zombicide in terms of streamlining as there are a lot of things to maintain in Lobotomy. Finally the board spaces. Just way, way to small! On several occasions we had 4/5 monsters and a character in a space and these simply spilled out into other spaces due to lack of room, which made tracking placement an issue.

However, overall it was a fun, fresh experience and certainly one of the better games of this genre. I think your review was a very fair assessment of the game for people interested in buying it.

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