masaru

Mistborn: House War board game officially announced

51 posts in this topic

I'm actually really interested to see this come out. I am an avid board game player myself and absolutely adore games with lots of depth. Games like Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, and Risk if you will. I am also liking the fact that the players are playing almost against the protagonists of the books. The "House War" side of the original trilogy had a fairly sizable part, so getting to delve into that aspect will be cool. I think it will be a great addition to the ever-growing chest of Brandon Sanderson.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to this. I'm especially looking forward to the cooperative aspect, but I'm not sure how well it'd work since the house war is starting and all. Might be difficult to justify allying with someone who your house would suspect of murdering its members. I really hope it actually involves strategy and not as much luck-of-the-draw :)

I'm actually really interested to see this come out. I am an avid board game player myself and absolutely adore games with lots of depth. Games like Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, and Risk if you will. I am also liking the fact that the players are playing almost against the protagonists of the books. The "House War" side of the original trilogy had a fairly sizable part, so getting to delve into that aspect will be cool. I think it will be a great addition to the ever-growing chest of Brandon Sanderson.

Try the game "Pamdemic", I think you'd like it based on your other favorites Edited by Bugsy6912
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm hoping the game is not inaccessible to those who aren't Cosmere fans. From the older previews, they're name-dropping specific terms from the books - Vin as a major event who signals the end of the game, atium as a resource that only House Venture can produce. I'm concerned that I'll have a hard time explaining it to my gaming group, if the rules of the game are too tied up in the story and setting. (No one I play board games with has read Mistborn.) Which is a shame, because we've had a lot of fun playing Diplomacy, a WWI war game where seven players form "alliances" (mine rarely lasted until the end of the turn they were made), where players are simultaneously working together and at cross-purposes. But in a case like that, you never have to explain what "atium" is, why it's rare, and why only one House can get it.

 

There was another game I recently played that used somewhat similar concepts in a zombie apocalypse, where each player controlled small teams of survivors. You needed to work together to achieve a common goal, but each player had a secret goal as well. (One player's secret goal was sometimes to sabotage the common goal.) It was interesting in concept, but I think it suffered from a couple major flaws. (Lots of cardboard pieces - a long set-up time. Also, anytime one of your survivors did anything, they had a 1/12 chance of being instantly eaten by zombies. My team, of course, lost 6 people in 9 rolls. Dice are not my friends.)

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to this. I'm especially looking forward to the cooperative aspect, but I'm not sure how well it'd work since the house war is starting and all. Might be difficult to justify allying with someone who your house would suspect of murdering its members. I really hope it actually involves strategy and not as much luck-of-the-draw :)

Try the game "Pamdemic", I think you'd like it based on your other favorites

Already own it XD, my family and I love it dearly. A co-operative aspect is a little uncommon to board games so any that might follow that path I am even more so interested in.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I certainly think it's possible to make the game accessible, even while name-dropping atium or kandra or whatnot. We never need much of an explanation as to why mithril is great in LotR, for example.

"This is a metal that gives incredible power to the most powerful magicians, and the location of the mines is kept secret. Only one House is allowed to mine it, to keep that secret from coming out." Or something like that.

Although, it IS a bit weird since everyone knows they mine the atium, if that's supposed to be a secret as well... Who knows though, maybe all the top cheeses in the city knew, but kept the secret amongst themselves.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even a two-line explanation like that gets in the way of explaining the game, in my mind, since you have to get the players to engage with the story behind the game for the gameplay to make sense. You have mechanics that are built off the setting, so for players to understand how the game works, they need to understand the world it's set in. If I'm there to play a game, I don't care about the world; it's unnecessary information that will just get in the way of the gameplay. Like the Vin card - there's an extra connection the players need to make (Vin, she's a powerful rebel, if we don't deal with her she's gonna kill the Lord Ruler, that's where the game ends) that wouldn't be necessary if the card were phrased more generically (Open Revolt, if we don't deal with it that's where the game ends). Mithril, as I've seen it used in games and such, tends to be tacked on to the mechanics to say why an item is more powerful. (This mithril sword is more powerful than that crummy steel sword.) You don't need to know what mithril is to understand the mechanics of how it works; it's a thing that's more powerful than other things, nothing crazy about that. Why atium is a unique resource, or why there are challenges about tons of ash falling from the sky, or why there are shapeshifters running around, will most likely require an explanation of the setting to understand why the rules are the way they are.

 

I saw something similar with Crafty Games' RPG, as well, with a total info-dump on the players about kandra, Allomancers, Feruchemists, Hemalurgy, ashfalls, nobles, skaa, Terris, all incorporated into the mechanics and essential to understanding the Core Rulebook. It makes it great for those who are already fans, but I know I won't be able to get my friends into it without some serious cutbacks of the setting and magic. I had a hard enough getting some of these guys to do a D&D Dungeon Crawl, even though D&D is designed to be archetypical and accessible, since they were struggling with comprehending all the rules involved. There's no way I would want to dump required info about setting on them, as well; it would just be too much to take in. The Mistborn world is different and unique, and it took Brandon a whole book to set it up adequately. And there isn't really any space to play outside the Final Empire, with its obligators and class structures, so I was working on setting something in an outer Dominance, where we could ignore the social and political structures, and limiting the magic to 8 Misting options or a full Feruchemist with those 8 metals, so it would take a minimum of 'homework' for the new players to get into character. (Alloy of Law expansion is a real game-changer, though; a much more accessible setting, Ferrings and Twinborn which means players will only have to learn one or two magical abilities. A very good move, and I think they should rewrite the Core Rulebook with that setting in mind.)

 

A game, whether a roleplaying system or a board game, should be able to stand on its own mechanically. I've played Star Wars, Firefly, and Wheel of Time RPGs with people who had never watched/read them, and they were able to understand the system and build characters even if they didn't understand the world. (In the Wheel of Time campaign we were playing, my brother played a character who came from an undiscovered group of islands. His character had no idea how the world worked, which was fine because neither did the player. But he was still able to be a major contributor, shooting stuff and lying to people and literally stabbing another player in the back [ruh roh], because he could just skip the section on The One Power and build a character anyways.) The Mistborn RPG is not such a case, and it's not designed to be; despite what the introduction says, it assumes that you know about the world. I think that's a bad business plan, since it limits who will be interested in playing. And if a group in a comic store sees House War on a shelf and tries it, they have to learn about the world it's set in... but if that's what they wanted to do, they would be reading the books instead. They want to play games! It will make the game take longer to learn, and will be less likely to get new players excited about it.

 

Now, if I want to play any Crafty Games Mistborn products with my friends, I could just tell them, "Read this book, and then we'll play a game based on the book." But they're not interested in reading books, they're interested in playing games. I can't force them to want to get into Mistborn. We'll just wind up playing Dominion or Small World or 7 Wonders, where the gameplay stands on its own. I'm concerned Crafty Games is making board games designed for Mistborn readers, not for board game players. It's kind of like all the different Monopoly versions, which don't sell well because they are good games, but because people like Star Wars/Lord of the Rings/Chihuahuas/whatever.

 

Anyways, that's a lot of shade for something for which I've only seen a few pictures of a prototype. It's possible they'll knock it out of the park, and that my friends will love the game and won't have to learn the names. I know there have been some major delays in the development, so maybe they've been addressing issues like this. But if it's a flop, then I may have to reconsider buying Crafty Games products; I was less than impressed with the inconsistent Allomancy dice manufacturing, and I've already expressed my issues with the RPG. They need a big win, and I really hope this is it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm really looking forward to this game and the Kickstarter. However...

 

I was talking with a friend and we both think that the art for the box look really bad. The two women gossiping look ridiculous. I hope that the art on the inside is different from the cover of the box! 

 

I'm also confused about why there are images of Sazed, Vin, and Elend on the box when they really won't be characters in the game. 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm also confused about why there are images of Sazed, Vin, and Elend on the box when they really won't be characters in the game. 

 

Wolverine publicity, most likely, to bring in people who know the books but aren't Sharders and aren't much interested in Scadrial as a whole.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Designed by the guy who did Arkham Horror! That's amazing! (A game which you do not need to understand the intricacies or minutia or anything about Lovecraftian Mythos to enjoy. The enjoyment comes from the intensity of the game. Trying to explain everything from the get go is over thinking it).

I would expect a fairly complex game, though.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Early version of the game was a blast to play at GenCon last year. I played with a few people who hadn't read the books and they picked up the mechanics just as quickly as everyone else and seemed to have just as good of a time playing.

I'll be backing it as hard as I can.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fingers crossed that this game won't be bad. Like Page said, it might be tied into the world. Or, it could just be another Monopoly game, where the mechanics are entirely standalone and it's painted with the skin of Mistborn; replace atium with mithril and Vin with Frodo and it's a Lord of the Rings game. I'm not especially enthused. I am aware that I'm a sucker for Sanderson properties, so I will kickstart the game at however much I need to get a copy of it, but I do so on the assumption that I will end cashing in some favors to get a few friends to try it out with me, then sticking it in the back of my closet and crying.

 

I am hoping that one of the stretch goals is "new cover art." Seriously, though, the fact that they picked this as cover art upsets me greatly. It makes them sound ham-fisted and tone deaf. Hopefully the actual game design is not like that, but according to the blurb, you don't play as the main characters, and the magic powers have little impact on the game. So of course 75% of the cover is 3 main characters and a battle between two of the most powerful magic users. And the rest is simply terrible art.

 

It feels like they're deliberately pulling a bait-and-switch. They made the conscious decision to populate the cover with the most popular characters, so someone seeing this on a shelf might think, oh hey, a Mistborn game! Wow, can't wait to play as Vin! ... Wait, you mean she's only in the game on a technicality? That's a cheap way to try to drum up sales from customers who don't do research. I'm hoping the philosophy around the rest of development had nothing to do with the team that decided what the cover art should look like, because the philosophy apparent from the choices they made in the cover design actually make me a little upset. Simply bad cover art is one thing, I can admit not everyone is aesthetically pleased by the same thing. This looks like a conscious decision to trick unsuspecting customers.

 

And to be honest, I've played the Mistborn Adventure Game quite a bit, and I'm really not in love with the mechanics. The game is impossibly unbalanced, and the philosophy seems to be, here's a loose framework, it's not intended to be a self-sustaining, functional game, you the players are just gonna have to make it work. Again, I'm holding out hope that the developers of the actual game itself were somehow entirely insulated from all related aspects. But as wonderful as hope is, the fact remains that literally almost every sign points to this being a poor game.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looks like the Kickstarter will be up on June 15th. Just a little bit later than anticipated...

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm always hesitant when a board game comes out based on an established IP. Just like video games that do the same thing, more than half the time, the game is either badly designed and/or rushed and relying on fans of the IP to get it anyway, or the game is theme-weak with the IP thrown on top in ways that make no sense for the IP. In my personal opinion, board games should be decent games regardless of whether or not they are using an established IP as a theme, and games with IPs as themes should be heavily themed games where the gameplay (not the art/names/flavor) evokes the same atmosphere as the IP.

 

A perfect example, to me, of a board game based on an established IP is the Battlestar Galactica board game. I'll put a brief explanation of the game behind a spoiler since it's a little long:

If you are unfamiliar with the game, it is a "cooperative" game with a traitor mechanic. 2/5ths or so of the players are secretly trying to sabotage the other players and win if the players lose. But, those people may not even know that they're traitors at the start of the game. Everyone starts with one loyalty card and, halfway through the game, everyone is dealt a second loyalty card. Two of them (or however many based on the number of players) are traitor cards, and if either of your cards is a traitor card, you're a traitor. This is what the game centers around - finding out who the traitors are. The traitor mechanic evokes major thematic elements of the show. Not only are some people traitors, anyone could be a sleeper agent who doesn't themselves know they're a traitor.

 

But, even apart from the thematically appropriate traitor mechanic, the rest of the gameplay also evokes other thematic elements of the show, from throwing suspected traitors in the brig (where they can escape, be pardoned by the president (one of the players), or, if they ARE a traitor, kill themselves to resurrect as an outed traitor, all of which happen in the show) to making constant jumps to clear the board of hostile ships (and sometimes jumping early and losing population to do it).

 

Other examples of board games that thematically work with their IP would be Dune, the classic from the 70s that contained some Risk elements, but a storm would slowly and constantly sweep through the game wiping out anyone it touched not in a fortification, and everyone had a weird alternate win condition and faction-defining special power, and in any battle you chose how many of your people would die before the battle started (if you lost, you'd lose everyone. If you won, you'd only lose the people you "bet"), and you had leaders (who were the named characters from the IP and such) who could boost your armies and duel each other (and if they died, they could be resurrected). That one definitely evoked the themes of the IP.

 

The Game of Thrones board game wasn't perfect in this regard, but it wasn't bad. It was a game with heavy Diplomacy elements (as is appropriate) where you'd want to randomly stab your allies in the back. Different factions had different advantages that suited the houses in the IP, including some having positional advantages that were the same as ones held in the IP.

 

I'm trying to come up with other examples, but I'm coming up a little short. There just aren't many good games based on established IPs. Most good games don't need to use an IP, and most IPs don't lend themselves to unique gameplay tied to the IP itself. Most of the LotR board games I've played really didn't have to be LotR. I guess the coop one (Lord of the Rings) wasn't bad where you had to pass the ring around to avoid getting too corrupted, but it was a pretty abstract game and only the corruption mechanic really felt like it was tied to the IP. The one with the minis (I can't remember the title) just felt like the theme was tacked on though. The Starcraft board game is just Civilization except with randomly super complex rules. There are tons of 4x games out there, and nothing about it felt like the theme was a key part of the game.

 

 

I'd love to see a Mistborn boardgame that integrated the gameplay with the IP rather than just using it as a skin. Not be a similar game to any of the examples above, obviously, but be a game that evokes the IP without it just being a generic game with the IP pasted on top for flavor, or a terrible/unfinished game that name-drops for fan sales. What would be a game that evokes the thematic elements of Mistborn (specifically, Mistborn: The Final Empire, which appears to be the book this game is based on)? Really, the only thing that comes to mind would be a game about stealing stuff (or fomenting anarchy/rebellion) as a thieving crew with special powers. A game about the houses could be any game about noble houses competing with each other. That's not what Mistborn was about, and using the IP for a game about noble house politics is a really odd choice to me.

 

 

If I was making a board game based on Mistborn: The Final Empire, I'd make one where the players are competing thieving crews. The various houses are potential targets. The players recruit various characters that give special abilities, building a crew of ordinary ruffians, mistings, mistborn, and kandra, with the more powerful costing more resources to employ. Focus on the special abilities of the various characters, have a secret planning mechanic, have a mechanic where you can trigger inquisitors coming after you if you mess up in some way, and so on. I'm picturing something structurally similar to Dungeon Lords in a couple ways, though I'd go with a bidding mechanic for recruitment rather than worker placement. I likely wouldn't name-drop specific characters from the book, leaving the characters you recruit as generics, though I would use the house names and such. I feel that flavor shouldn't overshadow gameplay and themes should arise from gameplay first and art second.

 

 

Looking at the rules for Mistborn: House War, the game contains many elements that I consider bad. For one, absolutely nothing in the game's gameplay has anything to do with the Mistborn IP. Removing the flavor from the cards, this could be a Game of Thrones boardgame, or a Dune boardgame, or a boardgame about medieval Europe. It's about as generic as you get. All of the theme is in the card flavor text, which is what I meant by "theme pasted on."

 

For me, the worst part of House War, from what I can tell from the rules (and the reason I would never play it) is that it allows trading between players and directly taking resources from other, specifically chosen players. This sort of mechanic devolves any game into the same game, the social game of manipulating your friends into thinking you're losing and someone else is winning, so they should help you and hurt her. Sure, that sort of thing is appropriate for the theme, but it turns every game into Settlers of Catan or, as a better example, Bohnanza. So, if that's the game you want to play, why play something with this much complexity/time commitment when you could instead be happily planting beans? If the answer is, "because I'm really into Mistborn/Sanderson," well, you can finish your game of bean farming and read a couple chapters of a Sanderson novel before a group playing House War will finish their game. That certainly sounds like more fun to me. Except I hate Bohnanza and all social manipulation games that pretend to be something else, so I'd never play either, I'd just sit there reading the Sanderson novel while waiting for the rest of the gaming group to move on to a eurogame, preferably something by Vlaada Chvátil :P

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Firefly has a good board game. The slogan says it all. Get a crew. Get a job. Keep flying. It's the only game I've ever seen people totally willing to play as "day in the life". I once played it with some friends and we were ninety minutes in, enjoying every minute of it, before someone looked up and said, "Oh, right, victory conditions, we should be trying to win." (Note: Games don't have to take that long, we literally just lost ourselves in the enjoyment of completing jobs and building up our crews and didn't notice how long we'd spent.)

 

It's not perfect. There's almost no interaction between players. But it goes quickly, you spend the other players' turns figuring out what you plan to do, then rapidly execute it on your turn.

 

I concur that this game will not be good, but I've explained my reasoning already, not a lot of point in going in to it again. In short, their marketing is flagrantly wolverine marketing. Between that and the incredibly steep price, this strikes me as a game they know no one but superfans will buy just because it has Vin on the cover, so they're just trying to make as much off it as possible before the horrible reviews roll in.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to have to disagree with you on how well the board game integrates the IP of Mistborn with the game itself. It draws heavily from the Final Empire... except, you're playing as the antagonists, trying to deal with the problems of the uprising. The gameplay is drawn from the glimpses of Noble culture seen in the books: imagine every Deal-making session takes place at a ball, as the heads of houses discuss how to keep their Empire from falling apart. In the books, we see informants, Inquisitors, Allomancers, and hazekillers dispatched against the heroes; those are just various tools in the players' arsenals. The heroes spent a lot of time starting riots, sabotaging equipment, and stealing goods; their accomplishments become the player's Problems.

 

House War is not a game based on the book, it's a game set in the world of the book. First impressions remind me of the Portal board game, another licensed game I think should be on the list of good ones. It got a lot of bad reviews, saying 'it's not like the video game at all,' but it's a great game nonetheless that shares the tone and feel of the games. Same with Final Empire - it shares the hopeless, overbearing setting of Mistborn (you're not building the Final Empire, you're just trying to get yourself ahead when it collapses, if you're not actively trying to collapse yourself), an aspect of the series which sold me on Brandon being chosen to finish the Wheel of Time. Sure, the game isn't what you personally might envision a Mistborn board game to be, but you're comparing the game to a hypothetical, nonexistent game and saying it doesn't measure up.

 

I think part of why you think it feels 'generic' is because Allomancy is not unique mechanistically; in this game, Allomancer cards reflect the results of the magic, none of the specific detail-based Allomancy that the books are full of. Again, I'd refer to the point of view of the game: we're not playing as the heroes, we're playing as the heads of noble houses, many of whom are not Allomancers. The players aren't supposed to be running off and using Allomancy, they're coordinating groups of Allomancers to fit into larger plans. So, I think they made a good decision with how to treat Allomancy, and really push it to the sidelines to highlight the deception and social interaction. If you want to be play around with the magic of Mistborn, you buy their other product, the RPG.

 

But, even without Allomancy, I'd say that it looks like the game draws from the setting of Mistborn, rather than the plot or story, possibly to a fault. I don't see how being able to de-skin a game means it's not a good integration of the IP; I'd actually view it as a positive. I've struggled in getting the Mistborn RPG to gain traction in my gaming group, simply because it cannot be taught without an understanding of the Mistborn world, in a way that hasn't been a problem for us for D&D, Star Wars RPG, WoT RPG, or a number of other RPG systems I've played. I can see that to some degree with House War, as well; Personality cards named after Mistings aren't going to mean anything to the uninitiated player, so they are going to be functionally nameless, an extra piece of flavor text on the top. If they were more like Event cards, with names that were evocative of what they did, that would allow Mistborn fans and non-Mistborn fans to pick up on it.

 

Lastly... the optimal social interaction level of games is a personal preference, of course, so I can't say you're wrong. But to dismiss any game with politics is a bit extreme. Social interaction in a board game is not an unfortunate bug, it's a feature, and it's a big reason people play board games in person instead of just Magic Online. Yes, this is all about the politics, but there are many very successful games (Diplomancy, which you mentioned above, Small World, Munchkin) that do the same. It's okay if you do not want to play them, but saying they're all essentially Bohnanza is like saying, "If you don't want that element of social interaction, why don't you just play Solitaire over and over?" Social manipulation is a part of the game, but it is not the only component or necessarily even the major component, just like every game with random elements (like dice) isn't War.

5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While I agree (or agree to disagree) with many of your points, I do feel the need to point out that you're oversimplifying what I'm saying about social interaction. I love social interaction in games. That's the entire point of games. What I had said was games that allow for unlimited and unbounded trading or direct attacks suffer from a phenomenon I despise - any player can determine who wins by throwing the game in favor of that person, and the game becomes more about exploiting the players who are worse at the game by making extremely one-sided trades.

 

There are many, many ways to include interaction in games that is mechanically bounded. "Players may trade anything they want" immediately invalidates a game for me, personally. I play games for strategy and tactics. If one player can throw the game to make another player win, then the game isn't about strategy or tactics, it's about social engineering. What I'm most objecting to here is including a social engineering mechanic in a component-heavy strategy game where the mechanic is not central to the game.

 

 

And yes, the designers are using the setting of the books, not the theme or feel, but why? You wouldn't buy a Game of Thrones game and expect it to be a worker placement game, or a Battlestar Galactica game and expect it to be a 4x game. Why would you buy a Mistborn game and expect it to be an economic/resource management game? Those aren't things that have anything to do with the story. It feels like they had a game prototyped and it wasn't doing very well, so they pasted a Mistborn theme on top of it to exploit the popularity of the IP. I'm not even quite sure why they chose Mistborn - the Stormlight Archive would fit the mechanics far better given that story IS about economics and resource management.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had the opportunity to help playtest the game so hopefully I can provide some useful insight here :)

 

I will say this straight up: If you don't like games that have a significant deal-making component this may not be the game for you.

 

With that said, I think the game is really good. The design is solid and highly enjoyable.

 

If you consider the conflict and competition between the houses an integral part of the mistborn era 1 setting then it fits the setting well. (I do think it is, but that's one of the main pillars of my MAG campaign so I may feel it's more significant than others would.) In any case you really don't need to be familiar with the setting to play the game. The setting is more than just a skin, but it doesn't require knowledge of the world to enjoy.

 

It's also sufficiently different from other games my family, friends and I already own (which is an almost embarrassingly large number :P) which is definitely a plus. It doesn't feel like a different version of an existing game.

Edited by lord Claincy Ffnord
6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nyali, you clearly play a lot of games and have a lot of experience with board games. Citing BSG and Dune as perfectly thematic games based on IPs is very insightful. You aren't alone in wishing the Mistborn game was focused less on the houses and more on the crew. 

 

However, when I read the rules, I was immediately intrigued by the House interaction. Collectively contribute resources to overcome a city wide problem then gain a portion of the favor. I like that. It lets it be very open and interactive, not guided by precise rules. I don't think the "anything goes" examples in the rule book will actually happen during actual game play, as most players will be focused on the game. But it's probably up to the game group. My group may have a little fun with it, but otherwise will be looking to overcome problems by straighter means.

 

What Pagerunner says about how niche the RPG is makes a lot of sense in how they developed this game. It's developed so you don't need a deep knowledge of the world (like BSG or Dune, actually) to make sense of how to play the game. 

 

For me, personally, the biggest problem with this game is that by playing as the Houses, you are playing as slave owners and using slaves as resources. That doesn't exactly seem "fun." I probably would have left out skaa as a resource. It will be very curious to see what happens when the game KS launches and comments start rolling in from a wider fandom/customer base.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What Pagerunner says about how niche the RPG is makes a lot of sense in how they developed this game. It's developed so you don't need a deep knowledge of the world (like BSG or Dune, actually) to make sense of how to play the game.

 

I've actually never played a board game that required knowledge of the IP it was based on in order to make sense of how to play the game. Sure, some rules may seem weird without knowledge of the IP. Like, in BSG, rules like "executed traitors teleport to a special area of the board where they can be openly antagonistic, but weaker" or "this character's disadvantage is that she dies if Morale gets too low" or "the ship's captain can't use the ability of the room 'the captain's quarters' (which throws someone in the brig)" seem odd (especially that last one) if you don't know the IP, but they're perfectly sensible as far as rules go. And like, every character has special abilities that relate directly to the show, but you don't need to know the reason why from the story to understand what they do in the game. "This engineering character can, once per game, spend her action to execute someone in the same room as her automatically and with no consequences" - you don't need to know why to know exactly what that means and what it does.

 

Same with Dune, you may not know why your leaders come back to life when killed, or why whenever you pay for moving your troops a specific player gets the money, or why one of the players wins instead if, at the start of the game, they correctly predicted the turn that the game would end. None of those rules require you to know the IP to make sense of them.

 

I've played BSG (for example) plenty of times with people who had never seen the show. It does have spoilers in the flavor text (and some of the rules), but that's not a big deal (as long as you tell players beforehand). The thing is though, those people DO get a sense for what the show is like from playing the game, because the feel of the game is the same as the feel of the show - paranoia about who to trust, constantly running away from superior forces before they blow up your ship or the ships you're protecting, using cheesy maneuvers to steal the President title, needing to trick people you suspect of being traitors into helping you to maintain their cover, having just barely enough resources to win the game, the population resource slowly declining as the game goes on and never going up, the Morale resource being extremely volatile, etc.

 

If someone played Mistborn: House War without being familiar with Mistborn, their idea of what the books are probably like will be nowhere near correct. And, to me, that's a huge shame. TFE is a story about a bank heist set in a fantasy dystopian world. MAG, from what I understand of it (and I could be wrong), is a tabletop system that centers around a unique magic system. The House War board game is about politics and resource management, neither of which are central to the books, and I don't think either are central to the MAG inherently (but I could be wrong, I haven't played it). Sure, you can have a campaign in the MAG about those things, but that can be said about any setting and any tabletop system.

 

I'd have these same complaints if the board game had another inappropriate IP for the mechanics. Like, say, if it was Shadowrun themed, which I feel is a good comparison. Both are dystopian worlds where criminals with magic powers are fighting the establishment by raiding them. Just make the substitutions: Thieves/Mistings/Mistborn = Shadowrunners, Houses = Corporations, Skaa = Corporate Employees, the Obligators/the Steel Ministry = The Corporate Court, Inquisitors = Archangels from the G.O.D., Kandra = AIs, Terris Keeper = Otaku/Adept, The Lord Ruler = President Dunkelzahn, etc, and you'd have a Shadowrun game with the same mechanics, and it would be just as counter-IP to play the people in power and not the people raiding the people in power.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Except TFE isn't actually a heist novel. The team is built from a thieving crew, sure, but they don't actually steal anything. They recruit an army, disrupt trade, sow discontent among the workers, start riots, and overthrow the government. It's a very political novel; once she's recruited by Kelsier, the only thing Vin steals is food from the kitchen. Well of Ascension is all about rebuilding that government, keeping it going when there are a multitude of problems assailing from all directions and the heroes can't be sure if they trust their allies.

 

EDIT: Also, this game has seemed oddly familiar for a while. I finally found what I was thinking of: http://wiki.decktet.com/game:chancellors. The way of solving problems is different, and M:HW has new effects when problems erupt, but some parts are very reminiscent of this decktet game.

Edited by Pagerunner
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Except TFE isn't actually a heist novel. The team is built from a thieving crew, sure, but they don't actually steal anything. They recruit an army, disrupt trade, sow discontent among the workers, start riots, and overthrow the government. It's a very political novel; once she's recruited by Kelsier, the only thing Vin steals is food from the kitchen. Well of Ascension is all about rebuilding that government, keeping it going when there are a multitude of problems assailing from all directions and the heroes can't be sure if they trust their allies.

 

EDIT: Also, this game has seemed oddly familiar for a while. I finally found what I was thinking of: http://wiki.decktet.com/game:chancellors. The way of solving problems is different, and M:HW has new effects when problems erupt, but some parts are very reminiscent of this decktet game.

Actually the whole premise of the novel is to steal the Lord Ruler's atium. The army and riots are meant to be a distraction so they can get to the atium, as well as get paid for doing it by the rebels. Only later on does that change. Also Brandon has specifically stated in his mind it was a heist novel. 

 

edit: now of course we could discuss what were Kelsier's true motivations, but the theft of the atium is the premise of the novel. 

Edited by Pathfinder
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WoBs if you need them:

INTERVIEW: Sep 12th, 2010
Postmodernism in Fantasy: An Essay by Brandon Sanderson (Verbatim)
[...]

There are a lot of very good postmodern stories out there, and I love the Mistborn books. But my heart wasn't in doing that again. In order to write Mistborn the way I did, I also had to rely on the archetypes. My characters, for example, were very archetypal: The street urchin. The clever rogue who robs to do good. The idealistic young nobleman who wants to change the world. My plots were very archetypal as well: a heist story for the first book, a siege narrative for the second. I believe that a good book can use archetypes in new ways without being clichéd. (The Name of the Wind is an excellent example.)

 

--------------------

INTERVIEW: Aug 1st, 2011
SciFi Bulgaria Interview (Verbatim)
 
SCIFI BULGARIA
What inspired you to become an author and what is your muse?
 
BRANDON SANDERSON
[...]

My ideas come from many different places, and all of my books combine ideas I came up with at different times. For example, I once ran into a fog bank while driving, and thought how it would be interesting to have a book set in a world of constant mist. But Mistborn didn't come together until at a different time I thought about a metal-based magic system, and another time was considering how I'd like to see a heist movie like Ocean's Eleven done as a fantasy novel. I also picture cinematic images like a Mistborn flying through the mist with mistcloak tassels fluttering in the air. Eventually these ideas bouncing around in my head coalesce into interesting combinations, and I start writing.

 

--------------------

INTERVIEW: Nov 8th, 2011
Alloy of Law Midnight Release (Verbatim)
 
QUESTION
How did you come up with the Mistborn idea?
 
BRANDON SANDERSON
Boy, there’s so many different places this came from. The plot came from me wanting to tell a story about a world where the hero failed. You know, the Hero’s Journey a thousand years later, the sort of “What if Frodo had kept the ring?” or “What if Voldemort had killed Harry Potter?” That was one of my big concepts for it. Another big foundational concept was the desire to do a heist story, because I really love those, and I want to do one in the fantasy world.
 
--------------------
INTERVIEW: Jul 29th, 2006
Mistborn: The Final Empire Annotations (Verbatim)
 
BRANDON SANDERSON
In MISTBORN PRIME, there were no such thing as Mistings. Allomancy's practitioners were called Mistborn, and they could use all of the various abilities, depending on which metal they ingested.
 
When I started work on this incarnation of the book, however, I felt that I wanted to involve a specialized team of Allomancers. That meant including people who were really good at one specific thing, but who couldn't do other things. It's a staple of the heist genre—you want specialists. So, I split up Allomancy, allowing lesser Allomancers to exist. These people, who only could do one of the many Allomantic powers, would be very good at the one thing they do. And, since Mistborn were so rare, you couldn't really make an entire team of them. You'd be lucky to even get one. (Though Kelsier's team just got a second one.)
 
Soon, you'll get to meet the rest of the crew, and will be able to see how I split up Allomancy. One thing of interest, however, is that there was no emotional Allomancy in MISTBORN PRIME. I added Soothing and Rioting—the ability to make people less or more emotional—into this book because I felt I needed something that would be more. . .sneaky. These are skills that don't relate to fighting, and I think they'd be very helpful for the sort of political intrigue I want to do in this book.
Edited by Nyali
1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I mean... it's hard to argue with the big man himself on how the novel is classified. Maybe he's approaching it more from a characterization aspect, where they're building a team of specialists to accomplish a specific goal. But the team's goal is never to steal the atium:

 

All eyes slowly turned to Kelsier, who leaned back against the bar again. "The skaa rebellion, courtesy of its leader, Yeden, has hired us for something very specific."

 

"What?" Ham asked. "Robbery? Assassination?"

 

"A little of both," Kelsier said, "and, at the same time, neither one. Gentlemen, this isn't going to be a regular job. It's going to be different from anything any crew has ever tried to pull. We're going to help Yeden overthrow the Final Empire."

 

...

 

"Yeden has hired us to supply him with an army, then provide him with a favorable opportunity to seize control of the city."

 

...

 

"Well..." Kelsier said, "There might be a little bit more in it for us...." ... "Once he takes the palace, he'll capture the treasury and use its funds to secure power." ... "Our agreement with Yeden promises us half of the atium reserves we find in the palace, no matter how vast they may be."

 

Their stated goal was to overthrow the Empire. They could loot the remains of it once they did so to get atium, but they were not pulling a 'heist' to get the atium.

 

But, anyways, this is all going to say, what kind of a board game would be the best reflection of the feel of the novels? Competing thieving gangs wouldn't be any closer to the actual story than playing as the Noble Houses on the other side of the conflict. So, what would it be, then? A cooperative game, like Pandemic? Definitely no traitor mechanic - that doesn't happen until Book 2, and he winds not being that great of a traitor anyways. In the books, no one is working at cross-purposes, but they do have their own separate goals and objectives. Worker placement sounds like it might work... you have assign crew members to certain tasks, and they pull in resources (intel, troops, equipment, etc). Ooh, maybe like Betrayal at the House on the Hill, there's a secret objective that no one knows until the final turns of the game (we're actually starting a new religion to overthrow TLR), so you need to preserve enough flexibility. But it's very tricky to balance player-vs-the-game situations (Fantasy Flight had some serious delays with their Star Wars TCG, since they couldn't balance it), so that might have driven the game designers to find an appropriate venue for the players to work against each other - the Noble Houses.

 

I'm getting distracted. What were we talking about? Whether or not this is a faithful adaptation of Mistborn? I don't think it's necessary for the game to replicate the exact experience of the book. Just like books need to be adapted to fit in films, with characters cut and plotlines streamlined, the book needs to be adapted to fit into a board game, as well, and I feel that playing the 'other side' is a perfectly valid way to fit the world of Mistborn into a board game environment.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.