GWJ Conference Call Episode 361

Conference Call

Total War: Rome 2, Rayman Legends, Disney Infinity, Earthbound, Final Fantasy XIV Reborn, 868 Hack, A Reading By Graham Rowat, Your Emails and More!

This week Shawn, Julian and Cory get caught up on some emails and we have a new reading by Graham Rowat!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

Chairman_Mao's Timestamps
00.01.34 Total War: Rome II
00.13.24 Rayman Legends
00.20.03 Disney Infinity
00.29.32 Splinter Cell Black List
00.30.47 868 Hack
00.37.58 FF XIV
00.42.45 Earthbound
00.52.51 Lords of the Waterdeep
00.56.00 Graham Rowat reads Art School Girl by Cory Banks
01.02.57 Your emails!

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Comments

Total War: Rome 2, Rayman Legends, Disney Infinity, Earthbound, Final Fantasy IX Reborn, 868 Hack, A Reading By Graham Rowat, Your Emails and More!

Is that meant to be Final Fantasy XIV Reborn? I haven't listened yet, but I'd assume so.

For a sec there you have me excited about some sort of Final Fantasy IX spin-off/remake.

I was so happy when Julian mentioned Rayman: Legends.

It's great on the X360 too, even if you have to cut the ropes yourself, while jumping and punching your way through the level. It can get a bit hard to control at times, and the 'adventure' mode is the least fun on this platform.

But if you like platformers and enjoyed Rayman: Origins, you would be a fool not to get this. If only for the hilarious and superfun Audiosurf-style end levels.

Question: does the Wii U version not have the daily and weekly challenges? You didn't mention those.

Great podcast this week, loved the big game discussion, particularly with the addition of Earthbound. Thanks, Shoptroll!!!

What I really liked, though, was the reading by Graham Rowat. A great read by Graham and a great piece by Cory!!!! "Videogames aren't art." It's a miracle you didn't dump her on the spot, Cory. ;D

Great plug for the pile threads in the email section. M0nk3yboy's Annual pile management thread and Hemidal's current Monthly Pile Thread have been a huge part of my posting on GWJ.

Conveniently, it looks like someone did the research re: Earthbound's ad campaign:
http://earthboundcentral.com/2009/01...

Woo Earthbound! #lookingforwardtothis

dejanzie wrote:

Question: does the Wii U version not have the daily and weekly challenges? You didn't mention those.

They released a free stand-alone app for the WiiU months ago to lessen the sting of the giant middle finger they gave Nintendo by delaying the WiiU version to a simultaneous release with the other consoles. I assume those are the same challenges?

Alien Love Gardener wrote:

I like Eador. It's a more rpg-heavy Heroes of Might and Magic.

Isn't that also true of the more recent King's Bounty games?

I like Eador. It's a more rpg-heavy Heroes of Might and Magic, but beter than HOMM has been since III.

Alien Love Gardener wrote:
shoptroll wrote:
Alien Love Gardener wrote:

I like Eador. It's a more rpg-heavy Heroes of Might and Magic.

Isn't that also true of the more recent King's Bounty games?

Sure, but Eador doesn't dial back on the strategy and resource management the way the King's Bounty games do.

Oooo. I'm going to have to check this out.

shoptroll wrote:
Alien Love Gardener wrote:

I like Eador. It's a more rpg-heavy Heroes of Might and Magic.

Isn't that also true of the more recent King's Bounty games?

Sure, but Eador doesn't dial back on the strategy and resource management the way the King's Bounty games do. You conquer territories that you have to manage to some extent, you have a home city to build up where you have to som hard decisions about what to build, etc.

dejanzie wrote:

I was so happy when Julian mentioned Rayman: Legends.

Question: does the Wii U version not have the daily and weekly challenges? You didn't mention those.

First time poster, figured I'd debut with some helpful info:

The Wii U version is the original, main version of the game and as such it has everything and more than the other versions. There even was a separate app released in April that let Wii U players already play daily and weekly challenges until the support ended with the game's retail release (it was a "sorry" for the delay and lost exclusivity). In short, yes, they're there.

A thing about Earthbound: in what alternate universe can you find an Earthbound cart for 8 bucks? Has the extreme rarity and price level of carts and boxed copies of the game passed by the entire podcast panel? You'd be lucky if you found a loose cart for under 100 bucks! Boxed (not new, just simply used version with the box and guide) go for north of $200 or $300 depending on the condition and level of completeness. It's one of the most expensive SNES games!

That was a biiig record scratch moment in the latest episode!

Cheers, guys!

Hope this was an okay first-post.

D-e-f- wrote:
dejanzie wrote:

I was so happy when Julian mentioned Rayman: Legends.

Question: does the Wii U version not have the daily and weekly challenges? You didn't mention those.

First time poster, figured I'd debut with some helpful info:

The Wii U version is the original, main version of the game and as such it has everything and more than the other versions. There even was a separate app released in April that let Wii U players already play daily and weekly challenges until the support ended with the game's retail release (it was a "sorry" for the delay and lost exclusivity). In short, yes, they're there.

Welcome! And thanks

Great episode! It flowed along so nicely that I didn't notice the absence of a 'topic'.

Most enjoyed: the short conversation on how other game genre might be (or have been) boiled down a la Divekick. Fun thought experiment!

Most annoyed by: Julian's sweeping assertion regarding the universal suckage of 'big boardgame' expansions, with a few exceptions...really? I agree that your milage may vary, but there are a ton of great expansions out there, and I have enjoyed expanding (and playing) many of the games in my collection. Adding players isn't always a good idea, but sometimes it's the difference between whether or not you can get something to the table with a certain sized group. (I'm excited for the Lords of Waterdeep expansion for just that reason, though am also glad to hear it's interesting on its own right.) Here are some recommendations:

- Expansions that added something (but not too much) -
Pandemic - On the Brink One (hyphenated) word: petri-dishes! Also some nice variations on play. No interest in further expansions.
Smallworld - [any expansion] New combos; maybe a little weirder, but no more complex.
Kingsburg - To Forge a Realm A menu of items to selectively add just a little more variety and depth. (Admittedly too much for a first-timer if you throw it all in.)
Eclipse - Rise of the Ancients More techs and races, and crucial variety of Ancient ships! I'm not just saying 'more=better' here, as it adds spice to an aspect of the base game that was a little bland.
(Not listing Dominion here, as it was designed with expansions in mind.)

- Expansions that are great for experienced players -
7 Wonders - Leaders Adds a fraction to playtime, but a great additional layer of strategy.
Race For the Galaxy - [all 3 expansions] This is a deep game that was built to be expanded and in that sense doesn't really count...I only mention it here as it is a favorite.

- Expansions because sometimes more=more-fun! -
Rune Wars - Banners of War Totally gratuitous extra awesome stuff.
Sid Meier's Civilization (FFG) - Fortune and Glory Just like some DLC! Don't yet have the new one yet...

- Don't ever want to expand -
Shogun (Queen Games) Because it's great just the way it is.
Dungeon Lords Well...I'd love to, but it's just complicated enough already!

That wasn't too ranty was it? You guys are all awesome and always use hyperbole very appropriately (except when you don't) and apparently that hit a nerve...maybe I should go back to lurking.

Well $80 is like $8 to our masters, after all.

McIrishJihad wrote:

What the heck is Shaun smoking when saying "I could spend $8 or $9 on the cart"??

The cheapest cart I'm seeing on eBay is still $82, and going up from there o.0

That was Julian, IIRC

McIrishJihad wrote:

What the heck is Shaun smoking when saying "I could spend $8 or $9 on the cart"??

Loons? Although I don't remember the USD -> CAD conversion being that bad.

Tanglebones wrote:

That was Julian, IIRC

I'm going to have track down that store he mentioned last week. My parents live about an hour away from Western MA. Might have to go shopping next time I'm in the area, 'cause wow that's a good price.

What the heck is Jullian smoking when saying "I could spend $8 or $9 on the cart"??

The cheapest cart I'm seeing on eBay is still $82, and going up from there o.0

Tanglebones wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

What the heck is Jullian smoking when saying "I could spend $8 or $9 on the cart"??

The cheapest cart I'm seeing on eBay is still $82, and going up from there o.0

That was Julian, IIRC

Nothing to see here... (I get the voices in my head confused...all the time)

To pile on PewPewRobo's comments about Pandemic - On The Brink: the LATEST expansion, In The Lab, adds small plastic vials/jars for each disease, which you flip over when they get sunsetted.

I've only played LoW with the Skullport expansion, with 5 players (we started with 6, but one had to drop out at the top of round 2). We only had two players go hard after corruption, but those 3 extra locations adds just enough to trigger some AP with one of our players and so the game dragged on for 3 hours.

I have a feeling if we were to replay, at 5 players, it would be closer to the 90 min/120min mark.

shoptroll wrote:

I'll definitely second PewPewRobo's list of good expansions (at least for the games I've played/owned). I think all their examples work because the games in that list, like Waterdeep, have explicit turn counters which prevent the expansion from causing longer games.

(Thanks!) Excellent point about the turn counter limit; I totally missed that common thread. I think it can still be true that when faced with a bunch of mini-expansion options it's often a good idea to not go overboard (i.e., necessarily use them all at once) at the risk of presenting players with too many decisions and Analysis Paralysis, which will drag a game way out, turn-limit or no.

McIrishJihad wrote:

I've only played LoW with the Skullport expansion, with 5 players (we started with 6, but one had to drop out at the top of round 2). We only had two players go hard after corruption, but those 3 extra locations adds just enough to trigger some AP with one of our players and so the game dragged on for 3 hours.

In our 2 Player game I think we barely touched those extra locations, but will have to keep this in mind since we have an AP-prone player/Munchkin in our semi-regular game crew.

PewPewRobo wrote:

(Thanks!) Excellent point about the turn counter limit; I totally missed that common thread. I think it can still be true that when faced with a bunch of mini-expansion options it's often a good idea to not go overboard (i.e., necessarily use them all at once) at the risk of presenting players with too many decisions and Analysis Paralysis, which will drag a game way out, turn-limit or no.

My stepmom likes to play Carcassonne with me when I visit home, but she prefers to do a setup where we use all the tiles from the expansions they have (the first 5? I think) but only use the Inns/Cathedrals and Traders/Builders rules/mechanics. Which is great on paper but turns into a massive 2 hour slog

Thanks for playing and talking about Earthbound, and I'm glad you enjoyed giving it a spin. It put a nice smile on my face at work today listening to Shawn, Julian, and Cory talk about it. I really hope one of you stick with it (but I'm not offended if you don't) since the combat strategy does pick up a little more once you obtain the second party member, but it's definitely on the shallower sides of the JRPG battle systems. Also, Secret of Mana predates Earthbound by a year or two (Earthbound was a '95 release while Mana was '93). And thank you for not talking about how indecisive my original request was

Oh and I completely agree that you never outgrow Pokemon, but if you want something that combines the monster collection aspect with more mature themes I cannot recommend the Shin Megami Tensei (which predates Pokemon by almost a decade) franchise enough. Really surprised the fourth game (which came out not that long ago) hasn't been discussed on the podcast. It's got elements of dungeon crawling, monster collecting, and ethical quandaries all wrapped up in a distinctly Japanese flavor, but without overly relying on the spiky hair, giant swords, and anime tropes people tend to associate with the genre.

Good to hear Scoundrels of Skullport came up in discussion too. Haven't tried the powercreep module (Undermountain?) yet, but the corruption module (Skullport?) added a really nice strategic layer to game without extending the duration of the game as Julian said. And Julian? My girlfriend is one of those people who wanted to get it just so she could play as gray :p

I'll second PewPewRobo's list of good expansions (at least for the games I've played/owned). I think all their examples work because the games in that list, like Waterdeep, have explicit turn counters which prevent the expansions from causing longer games.

I didn't expect to hear my email question on the show either! I figured it would've been skipped because you covered my game suggestion this episode. Thanks for the response and I'm now interested in Scrolls knowing that you pay an upfront cost. Does anyone know if Card Hunter works the same way?

By the way, Cory, I'm still waiting on that green tea (no sugar) I requested. Please deliver it to my office pronto.

-The Boss

P.S. - Did you forward Shawn my memo requesting more readings by Mr. Rowat ?

EDIT:

McIrishJihad wrote:

(I get the voices in my head confused...all the time)

Julian is the one who can't pronounce Mario :p

Cory, listen to me.

You are playing the bad Total War games. Medieval 2 and Empire were a bloated mess, and it sounds like Rome II is worse. You were instructed to play original Rome. That's fine, Rome is a classic, and the first expansion is fun as well (second one, mixed). But you've probably played Rome I to death already?

It's time to accept your birthright and play the best Total War game, Shogun 2. Somehow Creative Assembly managed to put out a fine, fine game between those others. You said you like the strategic map more than the tactical map; Shogun 2 is all about the strategic map! They have a really good city-expansion-economic model based on not starving your people. The factions have slight differences and play styles but not crazy bizzare differences like someother Total Wars. The AI can actually play the strategic map adequately well; the map of Japan is much less complicated than Europe + western Asia + northern Africa, after all. There's also a reportedly really fun multiplayer system, but I've not tried it. Shogun 2 has two quite good expansions. It's also far more stable than other Creative Assembly games. Samurai and guns. Win, win.

To me, Shogun 2 is the proper sequel to original Rome. The releases between were buggy and suffered from feature creep. Rome I will always be great, but a bit antiquated after playing Shogun 2 awhile.

- - - -

PewPewRobo, you forgot Battlestar Galactica! The first expansion, Pegasus, was okay, but was a bit unbalanced, but the second, Exodus, is incredible, and a third, Daybreak, was just released and I'm only hearing good.

(Note: have only listened to part of the episode, so if this was mentioned, doh.)

shoptroll wrote:
McIrishJihad wrote:

I've only played LoW with the Skullport expansion, with 5 players (we started with 6, but one had to drop out at the top of round 2). We only had two players go hard after corruption, but those 3 extra locations adds just enough to trigger some AP with one of our players and so the game dragged on for 3 hours.

In our 2 Player game I think we barely touched those extra locations, but will have to keep this in mind since we have an AP-prone player/Munchkin in our semi-regular game crew.

In a two player game, you're never going to touch those locations unless you have the lord that ignores a few points of corruption, or you have some starting quests/intrigue that let you easily burn off corruption.

But in a five player game, the board gets really crowded when it comes to placing your second agent on round 1 and 2. They're either the first touched (hey, let me pour on the gas to get resources) or the last to be touched (well, all the other locations have been used, so might as well...).

Best part was one of the last sentences in the podcast....playdate TF2!!!

Another great ep, as usual.

For those of you who, like me, love Graham's readings, I'll just leave this here:

http://mobile.audible.com/search.htm...

I don't know any of those books myself, but increasingly I am picking audiobooks by narrator as well as author.

I would like to propose the classic title Samurai Showdown for NeoGeo as a fighter that simplified and did not rely on combos. Most battles were won by a single strike and determined by the best of 3 system. You did have some items like smoke bombs and chickens you could use but combat had no combos and focused on the style of weapon.

Keithustus wrote:

PewPewRobo, you forgot Battlestar Galactica! The first expansion, Pegasus, was okay, but was a bit unbalanced, but the second, Exodus, is incredible, and a third, Daybreak, was just released and I'm only hearing good.

We are a Shadows Over Camelot (w/ Merlin Expansion!) house, though I have often felt we should have gone the BSG route...and by no means was my list meant to be exclusive; excellent addition.

On earthbound: I clearly was looking at something else when I was googling, and hang my head in shame. Recreating what I was looking at I think that might have been the price for a strategy guide. Head slap. I was just looking casually as I was planning in trying it VC. In reading more about it now ... Crazy pants.

On expansions: we can just disagree. Most of the ones you listed I don't care for. The small world expansions are really the only ones ill use, and I have most of the others you listed.

Ill also mention Agricola as that's been very well expanded.

No worries rabbit, I was just wondering if there's a hole somewhere in Western MA that leads to an alternative dimension where I would be buying a used Earthbound cart

I have the best wife, she knows Earthbound is one of my favorite SNES games, and bought it on VC for me the day it dropped.