GeekNights Tuesday - Rise of Tribes (2018)

Tonight on GeekNights, we review Brad Brooks' Rise of Tribes, a well-designed if simple game. In the news, Bowsette is our new queen, Telltale Games lays basically everyone off, a Magic: The Gathering pro drops out of the world championship in protest, and soccer clubs are weirdly angry at esports.

We'll be live at PAX Unplugged 2018, and we hope to see you there! You can also follow the ongoing saga of Rym vs Patreon in Civilization V!

Things of the Day

Episode Links

The Telltale Games layoffs reminds me of a very recent video from Video Game Story Time.

Also, I guess that esports protest is our modern-day Disco Sucks.

I always assumed “disco sucks” was mostly down to racism and homophobia.


I increasingly find that I just can’t engage with games that can be played well with only my most generic heuristics.

This game I played literally using the same decision logic I have used in other games basically without modification. Worse, the only way I see to get better is to memorize the decks. High effort for minimal reward on that one.

I can sympathize with this, I enjoy being a bit lost when I play a game. Simple games are wonderful, too… if you pare down the rules enough you wind up with something simple but opaque. Q.E. and Paris Connection are featherweight, but good luck finding anything to grab on to in a crowded field of players trying to do the same.

From your review I got the impression that Rise of Tribes is a well-oiled machine, built on decades of game design knowledge and technology. It’s a perfectly fine, well-developed game in a world with lots of those. There’s nothing wrong with games like that, but personally I’m looking for more games that I can think about when I’m not playing them, or games that are fussy, strange, or fragile in some way.

I seek games where I am confronted with difficult decisions that can’t be handled automatically by a known heuristic. I seek games that have those sublime moments where I recognize that a choice I am about to make could win/lose the game, but don’t know what I will do with that choice.

Basically, where my directional heuristic is weaker than my positional heuristic. I know something’s important, but might not fully understand why.

A recent title this brings to mind is Founders of Gloomhaven. Timing is crucial in this game. Taking an action a turn early or late can swing a game substantially.

St. Petersburg is the same way. Knowing the exact turn where points become more valuable than money is the primary determiner of victory.

Unless you’re playing the original game, in which case the specific order the orange cards come out is the sole determiner beyond basic competency.

What if we played the exact same game as St. Petersburg. Except instead of putting the cards in a row, we auction them off like Power Grid. Otherwise, same game.

It removes the power of the turn order tokens and radically changes the game.

I want to try it. Maybe whoever holds the token for each type runs the auctions, bids last, breaks ties, or something along those lines.

Mash it up with modern art. Whoever holds the token chooses the type of auction for those cards.

The guy from the Beat Any Escape Room video is the one and only, professor Scott Nicholson, the grandfather of board game media

I have a lot of respect for Scott Nicholson - he was doing the board game video thing before anyone else, and it’s mostly about weird esoteric stuff that no one talks about anymore.

Skybound Games has rescued The Walking Dead from Telltale and will be releasing the final season.

Just the review and none of the other stuff!

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YB Fans: Tickets are too expensive.

YB Soccer Club: Well, we are looking into a new income stream by starting an e-sports league.

YB Fans: You want us to be associated with nerds? NOOOOOOOOooooooo! [Throws their own game controller on the field.]

YB Soccer Club: …

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