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Thursday, 9 August 2012

BGG Competition, Playing the Games: Game #4 'Midnight Mountain'

Boardgamegeek 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Competition

Game #4: 'Midnight Mountain' by Michael Robertson

Hi folks, and welcome to my next play through. For game #3 I chose a game that appealed to me, in this instalment I decided to do the opposite – choose a game that didn’t.

Looking through the list of games I can across 'Midnight Mountain', a game about rock climbing? So with Sly Stallone 'Cliffhanger' playing in the background, I began to print off 'MM'.



First thoughts – Printing and Initial Look

Once I select a game to play, I read through the rules online and check out all the sheets before printing. Its important I state here that I cut a lot of corners with this game, and doubly important to state its not a reflection on the game!


The game has multiple levels of difficulty, each requiring a different deck of cards. What I wanted was to try the game on a medium level, and enough to get a good feel for the game, so I only printed one set of cards. On a design note there are separate print off’s for the backs of the card, I skipped on these as well as I didn’t see that it would matter much.

Aside from that the game is nice and easy to print and cut.


Reading the Rules and Playing the Game

The format of the rules is one of the best I have seen so far in terms of presentation. I found it very easy to read (one of the reasons I decided to cut corners). The only problem I found, was in the number of triggers or stages. There is a lot, almost to much to keep an eye on and remember to move or change. Even passing (climbing) a stage, had two stages and triggers and potential triggers (experience points, freezing dice, bravado), whilst remembering to reduce Energy and knock down the Assent Timer.




Gameplay

The player begins at the foot of a mountain, once you have generated your climbers stats, rolled for weather, drawn a mountain set up and placed cards face down. I cheated a little here and choose the mountain pattern I wanted to play, one I thought would give a good game.



I made my character 'balanced', with all stats roughly equal, as I didn’t know how much each stat would influence the game. As the game progressed I realised that each stat was roughly the same, or felt roughly the same. That is a card would ask you to test X stat. While the narrative was different, the end result was roll a few dice, score points. I felt that the stats could be reworked, down to something like 'Physical' and 'Mental' and still achieve the same result without effecting the game.



Climbing the Mountain was enjoyable. A player can scout the path and find a route that best suits them, but at the cost of a little time. My only gripe here was that the cards essentially have two tests on them, a 'Risk' test and a 'Climb' test, and while there are differing effects and text, it did feel like I was being asked to roll twice to accomplish the same thing.



Summary

An awkward game requiring you to remember to move counters, and timers and triggers, and will have you feeling like you're doing everything twice to achieve one result, but the climbing is fun!

I feel this game tries to incorporate too much. There are several aspects that while look good, detract from the main purpose of the game – to get up that mountain, which once you start is actually very good. I enjoyed scouting the path, deciding my moves, and once you factor in that I only played a brief version of the game with a set up that I chose, opens up the main game to be a lot of fun. A slim-line version would be great to see.


Thanks for reading.
To check out the BGG competition, please follow this link,
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-print-and-play-contest

To try 'Midnight Mountain' for yourself, use this link. I would also recommend reading through the entire thread as Michael does a great job of responding to feedback and describing his thoughts behind the game,
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/801590/2012-solitaire-pnp-contest-midnight-mountain-s

And my own entry for the competition can be found here,
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/829534/wip-2013-an-apocalyptic-survival-game-for-the-20

Chris

2 comments:

  1. Hi Chris,
    Thanks for taking the time to review my game! A very fair review and I cannot deny that the mechanics are a little bit fiddly at first. If you play the full game then the reason for having so many different things comes out a lot more, and the individual stats then become much more important. That's not to say that the game couldn't be better balanced and also more challening. I will still make some changes post contest and will certainly keep your feedback in mind.

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  2. I figured as much. I didnt need to use Resource, Refocus, or Rest at all during my brief run, however I can see from reading the rest of the cards that I would need them later game! Good game either way.

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