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Friday, September 09, 2005

WOTR ~ Another Perspective

This discussion sure sounds like what I read on BGG. WOTR does create a fissure in gaming circles. I'm somewhat with Ynnen on this game. I've tried it three times and it left me wanting less, not more. My personal tastes in games are such that WOTR seemed destined to be on my playlist regularly. It's not about length, it's not about set-up time, it's not even about the klutzy mechanics... shifting from card effects to dice rolling and such. I could even get past the fact that the miniatures are hard to distinguish, tend to fall over and are a nuisance to keep track of.

What I can't seem to get past is how difficult it is for me to wrap my limited mental resources around what I'm supposed to do next. On top of the bull-in-a-china-shop feel I get from the miniatures spread everywhere is the annoyance of the small print on the cards. Do I really need to buy one of those Owl magnifiers they sell on TV in order to play a game?

Having read detailed reviews that praise WOTR I can understand why some people tout this one as the best. But to me nothing seems to flow about the game. Since I internally relate games to other interests, such as cars and motorcycles, I get the same feel about WOTR as I do about the SUV that Porshe makes... the Cayenne. Great label, great engine, great features, great finish, great, great, great! But a family SUV? Made by Porsche?

Why?

If you can afford a Cayenne then I'm guessing you can buy a real Porsche and a Dodge Caravan. Why muddy the waters with something that tries to be two things and ends up being neither? That's WOTR to me. A top quality game, obviuosly crafted by skilled designers and based on a popular theme. But it's not a game that in my thinking has a distinct genre... it doesn't stand out as a TYPE of game. WOTR is more like art that is cliquey, if you have to ask what's so great about it then you'll probably never understand.

FWIW, I also played the LOTR Risk game three times... the Trilogy Edition. It's definitely NOT as well done a product as WOTR, I'll concede that. But it plays faster, makes more sense and left me feeling like I had played a game rather than wrassled with an angry bear.