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Episode 20 - Verrater, Hellas, Tower of Babel

edited December 2005 in Board Games
In a part of our podcast we mentioned how we felt bad for a friend who bought Tower of Babel since it wasn't a particularly good game. I know I always feel bad when me or someone else spends money on something that doesn't get used. It's sort of the same when you buy someone a gift they don't want. Has it happened to you? How do you deal with it?


  • I bought someone a swift ass kicking once. Got it real cheap, too. Practically free. They really didn't appreciate it as much as I did.
  • I've got a whole shelf (or two) of roleplaying games I've read once, or played once, or rarely, or not at all. Not to mention the Warhammer 40k box set I got for christmas about a decade ago and never played. Or the metric assload of Marvel HeroClix I bought a while ago, although I did play it once, and the ninja-suited Wolverine figure does rawk, so not a total loss.

    But I don't think any of those are 'Tower of Babel' bad, just more like semi-impulse purchases. I tend to avoid buying total crud as a rule. Or giving any gifts over about 20 bucks that will not get used, humorous tequila glasses notwithstanding.
  • Trust me, you're better off having not played 40k. Goddamn game eats your soul.

    *stares at large pile of miniatures*

    I can't really defend Tower of Babel much, even though it was my money that brought its existence to our attention; it's certainly not the WORST game ever, but it's far from good. I've gone through the same thing with a video game, once; really, it's just a learning experience. No matter how glowing the reviews of a particular game, board or otherwise, might be, buying one before playing it is still a risky proposition. Some sort of board game rental store would be a terrific idea, though its execution would be far more complicated than video game rental.

    Generally, when you make a bad purchase, just roll with it. It's just money, after all; no sense in making a big fuss over it. In general, I try to be more discerning with what I buy, but every now and then you might buy something that you wind up never using. Try not to do that with, like, a boat, and you're OK.
  • Yeah, generally things bought on impulse have the highest chance of turning out not-so-good. It goes back to the "How not to suck with money" deal - do some research on the internetwebs, and in the case of games, play it with someone else who has it. I'm sorry Tower of Babel was le suck. :(

    That game rental thing would be neat - or even just convincing a local gaming store to run a test play of new boardgames say, once a month, or however often new games seem to come out.

    I'm sure I've bought tons of stuff I regret, but primarily I remember buying a CD after I heard only one of a band's songs. Stupid yes, but the song was good! They turned out to be some strange 70's revival band..... it's like, uhh, what? This is why p2p is teh_wins.
  • edited December 2005
    Well, in the case of ToB specifically, even intarweb research steered me off course. The reviews I read on boardgamegeek seemed to indicate that the game was fun, if a little dry and mechanical, and, well, we're not the types to shy away from dry mechanical angry German board games.

    The reviews were not necessarily reflective of reality though, and that is the inherent problem with any sort of review: they're biased towards the fundamental taste of the reviewer, which may differ from your own. I really do like the idea of renting board games; it's a shame that doing so is difficult.

    The only purchases I've ever really regretted have been when I bought something after seeing numerous signs that it would be good, and finding out that I had been steered awry. I've made many impulse decisions that turned out to be bad, but you should be fully prepared to have an impulse decision be a terrible idea in retrospect. The ones that suck are the ones that aren't impulse, but suck anyway.

    Anyone have stories along the lines of "I thought it would be good, but it was in fact teh suck" to share?

    EDIT: I used the word "inherently" entirely too much in that.
    Post edited by TheWhaleShark on
  • That stinks. Maybe find some people/reviewers on boardgamegeek who have the same taste/play style as you? Even that would be iffy, I guess. :(

    Yeah, I can see disasters happening with a rental service, even if it's awesome in theory =\ If the game stores would hold test runs/demos of their new merchandise every month (letting people who come in the store play the game while supervised so that they understand the rules and don't, uhh, eat the pieces,) and advertise that they were doing so, then:
    1. They get more people into their store,
    2. People can see what they like and don't like, which prevents customers from being unhappy with their purchases and hence more likely to buy from the store again,
    3. If people like the game, they'll be more likely to buy it right away, before they leave the store - instant sales!,
    4. (Board)gamers around the area can meet, using the store as a meeting place or focal point,
    5. The store gets a reputation for being current in the gaming world and actively participating in the gaming community - which means more sales!

    Teh profits. Of course, there's probably some stupid downside to this that I'm not realizing. But even if the store owner feels there isn't enough interest in (board)games in the area - MAKE interest! It's soooo cheap to think up something persuasive/cool/fun sounding, make a flier in freaking MS Word (or program of choice,) and print out a zillion copies at Kinkos/Staples/etc, and post them where geeks or people interested in games would hang out or go. Form some partnerships with coffee shops and libraries and such so they could set boardgames out for people to play, with some ad for the store inside or on the box. Limitless possibilities!!11
  • To that end, actually, Games Workshop has possibly the most insidious advertising model I've ever known.

    You very rarely see ads for Warhammer or Warhammer 40k outside of GW's own publications; more often than not, the way you get into it is via other players. You walk in to your FLGS and see a bunch of geeks crowded around a table, rolling dice, moving around pretty miniatures, and yelling various obscenities at whatever gods of luck have forsaken them that day. And you're hooked.

    It's actually a very good way to generate business in a store, and an excellent marketing tool; if someone with whom you identify plays it, then it's fairly simple for you to get into the hobby yourself.

    More gaming days would be a good idea, but supervised gaming might not be necessary. Just have the table space available, and the geeks will assemble.

    Anyhow, just to reiterate, if you do buy a game without first playing it or getting a good solid firsthand review, you're taking a risk with your money. Granted, I really won't cry about losing 30 bucks on a bad game, but it's more the principle of the thing than the specific monetary loss.
  • The Ghostbusters kickstarter game basically relied on the idea that people would buy it sight unseen and then never play it again. ;^)
  • Rym said:

    The Ghostbusters kickstarter game basically relied on the idea that people would buy it sight unseen and then never play it again. ;^)

    You be surprised how many other Kickstarter campaigns are exactly this. This is why I stopped following Kickstarter for projects.
  • Coldguy said:

    Rym said:

    The Ghostbusters kickstarter game basically relied on the idea that people would buy it sight unseen and then never play it again. ;^)

    You be surprised how many other Kickstarter campaigns are exactly this. This is why I stopped following Kickstarter for projects.
    As far as Kickstarter games go I've been relatively happy. I think pedigree is important. If someone has a decent track record they're going to put out something worthwhile.

    I've collected a lot of games and RPGs over the years. Most of the unused ones boil down to "Not able to find a group who wants to play". Some of the unused ones that fall into the category of "Will never get played" will end up getting sold off at auction.

    By the way if you know anyone who wants to get into Netrunner on the (relative) cheap, I have 3 core sets and everything right before the data and destiny set. Between X-Wing and Netrunner, I derive more enjoyment from X-Wing at this point.
  • Kickstarter for RPGs is the exact opposite of Kickstarter for board games.
  • I still have Tower of Babel in my game collection.

    I haven't played it again.
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    Hellas Kosmos Video intro
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