The Daily Worker Placement

Monday, May 20, 2024

Spring Puzzle (and Star Wars: TDG mini review)

by | published Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Yeah, so originally I was gonna write up the new Fantasy Flight Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game but instead I got caught up setting a new boardgame-y cryptic crossword. I did jot down some thoughts on SW:TDB down below if you want my $0.02. But first, the puzzle:

The answer to 26-Across is unclued, but you should be able to figure it out if you solve enough of the Down clues. It’s pretty…relevant 😉

1 Reassemble Lego board game by Eric Lang (5,4)
7 Tetris-y game emerges from Uranium drum (6)
9 Bursars got version of classic Feld game (10)
10 Upchucking messily, tossing gunk–maybe drink some water to cure it? (6)
14 A way to return credit without interest (9)
18 Some grads add tanning solution to scotch? No! (7)
21 Wipe out and polish off (3,2)
25 Donut-shaped mound I climb (at first) (5)
26 See instructions
27 Touch prong with key (5)
28 Deal-maker loses head–what a failure (5)
29 Richer, or, looking back, lower (7)
30 Iron stain ruins Greek-themed abstract (9)
34 Dishonest without his replacement, does not… (5’1)
38 …kid mooning about Cathala tile-building game (10)
40 Two companies follow gold-backed dressmaking game by Cramer and Malz Bros (6)
41 Squeezed out and sent by courier? (9)

2 Fired up rad (3)
3 Love to have role in 60s art movement (2,3)
4 Blur managed to take Ecstacy to Russian capital (5)
5 Gets German car for Spanish architect (5)
6 Necklace made from section of alligator carcass (4)
7 Thug drops to make frustrated sound (3)
8 Heard young wildebeast (3)
9 Molly drawls, “No…yes…maybe…” It’s a classic Days of Wonder production (5,5)
11 Rune is fraying tempers (6)
12 Necrotic shambles are sometimes executed by brass instruments (8)
13 Recently-decolonized tabletop classic thrown to croupier (6,4)
15 Portal research corporation putting energy into eccentric transport! (8)
16 Appreciative diners take $50 from barflies (7)
17 Teuber’s island has aluminum tongue from Spain (7)
19 Crazy cool! (4)
20 I’m inside myself, can only communicate with gestures (4)
22 Like Arkansas and Indiana (4)
23 Agree to make up: here’s a tissue (6)
24 Free to chop head off advocate (4)
31 Connect resident of Green Gables with mystery man (5)
32 Renaissance mnoarch listened to private instructor (5)
33 Tails and traces (5)
35 Yoko rips head off of U2 frontman (3)
36 Put footwear on card dispenser (4)
37 To Boxing King, it’s one way to win a fight (1,1,1)
39 Born back in Aberdeen (3)

There’s no prize for solving, just the thrill of the chase. Enjoy.

OK, Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game. Which I should really subtitle: Why (most) BGG comments are useless.

The game was designed by Caleb Grace, one of the lead designers on Marvel Champions and a whole whack-load of LotR:LCG content–so it really should be no surprise that the game is excellent. But you wouldn’t necessarily know it from browsing the BGG comments.

When I’m at my FLGS or browsing online, I use BGG comments to help decide if I want a game, b/c I don’t have the patience to sit through 20-minute game reviews (except for No Pun Included which everyone should watch). BGG comments are (usually) pithy and to-the-point.

Now obviously we all know that BGG ratings and comments have huge problems–not going to get into that here. But in the case of SW:TDG, it felt like the final straw floating down onto the camel’s back for me.

Here’s one:

I just love how this guy is essentially putting everything down to one component. Granted, the quality of the cardstock isn’t great–but with price-points being what they are (the game already costs almost $40 Canadian) I appreciate that FFG might have wanted to make the game, you know, affordable. (The whole issue of whether this hobby of ours is pricing itself out of reach for all but the upper- and upper-middle-class has been taken up by better writers than me.)

Then we have comments and reviews like this:

Obviously many commenters have never played (let alone read the rules of ) the games they rate and comment–I think we can safely assume this is true here. But Star Wars Destiny? How is a non-collectible deckbuilder a clone of a collectible game with dice as a major mechanic?

Much more common are the comparisons with Star Realms–a game I love and have played innumerable times:

Leaving aside the nitpick that, arguably, Star Realms is itself “just a remake of Ascension” (another game I love), what we have here are people who appear to have never played any deckbuilders other than those two games, so naturally they write off any other deckbuilder as “just like Star Realms“. The tell in the second review is “lack of colour or suit combos” and the minimization of the very elements which distinguish SW:TDG from its brethren: the ability to snipe cards out of the market and the Balance of the Force–both of which are not only excellent innovations in and of themselves but also richly thematic.

In fact, my only criticism of the game from a thematic standpoint is the central mechanic whereby victory goes to the player who destroys a certain number of enemy bases first. Only one base at a time is available for targetting; when one is destroyed, the owning player gets to choose which base becomes the next enemy focus. And since each planet has unique ongoing powers, this allows players to alter their tactics to meet the current situation. Mechanically it’s very clever and flexible–but it makes no sense thematically: “Oh dear you’ve destroyed Endor! I wonder what your next target will be. Will it be…Yavin IV?????” Are all the other bases cloaked? WTF?

Anyway, aside from that one nitpick I would definitely recommend SW:TDB precisely to those people who are looking for a light but immersive introduction to deckbuilding. Or to those looking for a 20-minute knife-fight in a phone-booth (remember phone-booths?) which can be extended or shortened by changing the number of bases needed for victory.

Ignore the idiots on BGG. But then, you probably already do. Why can’t I? 🤣🤣🤣


  • David W.

    David is the Managing Editor of the DWP. He learned chess at the age of five and has been playing tabletop games ever since. His collection currently consists of about 600 games, which take up way too much space. His game "Odd Lots" won the inaugural TABS Game Design Contest in 2008. He is currently Managing Editor of The Daily Worker Placement. All in all he's pretty smug about his knowledge of games and game design.

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