Golem is an Alright Game


It goes different to the normal mid review turnaround!

I thought that was some really intelligent, articulate commentary from Tom.

Golem does look like “move your worker meeples +1 spaces” instead of interacting with its actual theme much.


This is why the term JASE came about: Just Another Soulless Euro.

I’m gonna copy+paste this:

They pretty much nailed the “problem” with modern Euros. They are just boring and there’s loads of them and will only work for you if you like these Euro remixes. There’s the expectation with the theme, but the game end up being lifeless. I thought it’s because they have mechanisms upon mechanisms, but I enjoyed my plays of Lacerda’s games. I thought it’s because Euro games lack theme, but I love Tzolkin with its wheel and how incredibly streamline it is. I thought maybe Euros take themselves too seriously. But I really love Terra Mystica and how deep it is. Ah. It turns out it’s not because I don’t like Euros. I just hate shit Euros. And a lot of them are just shit.


Yeah, a lot of euros focus too much on balance and maths to make a functional game, but forget that games are supposed to be fun. And when there are so many games focused on fairly similar ‘turn economy’ (focus on resource and passive/active abilities early, pivot to VP late), there’s little reason to play anything but the very best. Or at least the ones with the quirks that appeal to your own personal sensibilities.

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I’m much more of a theme guy; a Euro can lure me in by having an interesting puzzle (e.g. Seasons, Earth) but I don’t particularly enjoy complication in itself. I suspect if I hammered hard on one game until I’d thoroughly understood it, then went on to the next, I might gradually work my way up the complexity scale until I enjoyed Lacerda games; but I always have to suppress that urge to say “yes, but what does swapping three X tokens for two Y tokens actually represent in this world”.

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I’m somewhere in the middle. Sometimes theme really pulls me in, but after a few plays I’m all about the mechanics. There needs to be some interplay in the mechanics so it isn’t just transparent maths and moving up tracks. Teotihuacan and Ark Nova really grabbed me for some reason. And I’m not entirely sure why.

First time we played ark nova we practically played with open hands because we were all so excited with the animal cards we had. But now it’s pretty cut throat with the optimised strategies.


I find with theme I do lose sight of it very quickly in many games. The rules and the mathing just leaves little room for it in the moment. When we were playing Archeos society or when we played Century Golem the sort of layer of fun outside of mechanics actually comes from within us. We’d make a stupid song about a type of move or give a piece a funny name or something like this.

With this I think the inspiration seems kind of interesting - the golems you create become out of control which is, I guess, the inspiration here for the little golem characters.

I sort of wish this was old SUSD where they’d have given some historian or similar some say about the story instead we just sort of have to rely on trust that the ideas of the story are lost in mechanics. I also think it’d be cool if there was some more about the story itself so we can feel it’s richness (if it’s there) next to the alleged flattening conveyed a bit more intuitively. It’s more of a tease than anything - the words are appealing to hear just because it is criticism with a downwards tone but with not enough content imo.


Okay, actually watched the video now. Agree with all of @mistercrayon 's points. Seems like a response to the r/boardgames comment section. Not sure a fully produced review is appropriate for ‘making a point’.

Appreciate there is discussion to be had on these subjects, but making a review video to explain you didn’t actually care to review the game, but wanted to say something else is… odd? Especially when the point is to explain their editorial strategy.

As an aside, SUSD has always trodden a strange line between “We’re a professional media business” and “we’re a couple of guys making stuff we love!”. Yes, they can be both, but describing their editorial judgement as a somewhat laissez fais “we don’t wanna do that, it’s not fun/interesting” rather than the clearly thought out “We have a business plan and a target audience” highlights that blurriness. The use of videos and patreon always seems to necessitate that overly familiar approach compared to, say, magazines. Obfuscating the details with matey-ness and being a lot more responsive to the comment section.

Seeing some of the hurtful stuff said in the subreddit makes me think they’re a lot better ignoring that entirely. Just say what you think and let the videos stand on their own. No need to respond to the “why didn’t you review X?” comments - I’m not sure what that level of interaction achieves.


Agreed. At 6:25 they have a big pile of “fine” euros on screen, and I think it might have been better if the video had been titled “Review of …” followed by about 20 titles, and rather than concentrating on Golem they’d just done the entire video in the context of this big pile of games they felt fell short of the mark, and the things they’d rather play.


Looking at reddit comments, I see suggestions that non_Euros have also entered something of a period of stagnation in the last year or two - certainly the Kickstarter game, lots of minis and expansions, you fight stuff and you explore in between the rights, seems to have become a very standard thing post Gloomhaven.

Agreed. Ive become disinterested in the new boardgame space since the pandemic. I thought it was a me thing (getting into TCGs as a lifestyle has really dampened game acquisition syndrome and my approach to gaming in general), but maybe it is the slow down of the entire industry.

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Which subreddit are you talking about? Shut Up & Sit Down seems to get about one post a month, with nothing for the past couple.

R/boardgames. Every time their video is shared there are some quite personal things said on there. Starts off as typical “I liked old SUSD better” and then descends down a dark path. They do respond to those with explanations, but it just stokes fires. Matt catches the brunt of it unfortunately.

Also involves people linking to SUSD’s publicly available business paperwork (including tax bills and expenses), which is a new level of intrusiveness.


Bloody hell. Well, maybe I won’t follow that community then…

It is a minority of users, but they tend to respond to a bunch of comments so that a lot of comment threads go down a similar path.

That subreddit is just eye-rolling cringe. I’m glad the boardgamecirclejerk subreddit makes fun of their cringe stuff.

Haha I was on it for a bit, but I hate how impersonal it all is. Here I know the familiar names enough to put comments in the context of their other comments, and structured conversations can be had, but on subreddit its all just strangers shouting into the abyss. Great, some anonymous person doesn’t like this game, but I know nothing about the things they do like!


I think the remark about the amount of euros and their muchness is well made. I think perhaps a damning illustration of this is perhaps the rise of the phrase “it’s the next one in the T series of games” said with ridiculous ease through the face from a reviewer who knows you’ve bought the thing before you’ve even heard the full name. This isn’t just to criticise that particular series but more that such a series can exist amongst others (the next Lacerda…) that will sell simply on the basis of nothing more than existing as part of some set.


That’s exactly how I feel about the “X of the [direction] Y” series from Garphill Games. It feels like the MCU of board games - just completely interchangeable, “you know what you’re getting and it will all be roughly the same quality” type of thing. It’s like, how could you possibly want to own more than one?

Not that I’ve played any of them so maybe there are some that are amazing and unique. :stuck_out_tongue:

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