Summoner Wars 2nd Edition Review - It's a Kind of Magic


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Quinns said in the intro:

I’m not going to go back and watch our original 2011 review because I would die instantly, but if you want to do so then that is a choice that you can make.

Well that old review is the SUSD that I love, through and through!

They’ve gotten so mechanical in describing rules… they used to give you a sense of how it felt to play the game. And yet, while I’d have to watch both of these again to be sure, my initial feeling is that the old review also did a better job of explaining the game (as well as surprising/startling me, and making me genuinely laugh out loud).

I dearly wish that Quinns had gone back and watched the original review. Perhaps he would have noticed all the same things that I did. (Edit: Or maybe he hadn’t actually refrained from revisiting it, and was simply referencing it in an amusing fashion; but I can’t decide whether that’s better or worse.)

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Also: That new art style has to be divisive.

I bought the first edition just before the second edition was announced, and was really annoyed about that right up to the point when I saw the new art.


I think they got enough annoying “you missed this rule” feedback that they are more clinical with their rules explanation now, which in turn made it a bit boring.

I watched the Inis episode a while back and reminded myself why I fell in love with the show.


I really like the new art style. It has a cohesive cartoony style that isn’t too generic, and not so serious. I’m really bored of dour art with scowling men these days, and prefer card art with bold lines and lines over minutely detailed art that looks like someone’s taken a 30cm picture and shrunk it to 3cm. More detailed art can work in a standard card game with cards played in isolation, but when it’s all on the board it needs to be easy to parse.


Yeah, Quinn’s reviews and Ava on the podcast is the only reason I stuck with it. Quinns’ Dune review really reminded me why I love his work. He lit up with that review, and it was clear how much he loved the game regardless of how inaccessible it is as a game.

So often now his reviews seem to be framed around whether an imaginary demographic of ‘non-gamer who searches board game on YouTube and happens to come across SUSD’ would like it, rather than his own genuine thoughts. The earlier videos express his own thoughts so eloquently without all the weight of expectation over him. Saying “This game is great, but I really wouldn’t recommend it!” was a breath of fresh air.

I just want them to be free again :cry:

(I enjoy Matt’s reviews as well, and think his views probably chime most similarly to mine as a gamer and a person [from his work and everything I’ve heard from mutual friends], but I get the impression he’s fed up with the endless review cycle. And that is completely understandable, it’s a slog! I hope he gets the spark back soon.)


I think they’ve become even more mechanical since going to a weekly review format. It’s nice to have more content, but not at the expense of the identity of the show. Tom has injected a bit of the insanity back in to proceedings.


I do wonder how much of that is the weekly format, and how much is just not being able to playtest games in person (or just play games in person at all) has worn down morale. I’m curious to see upcoming reviews after their weekend retreat to see if the spirit and spark come back a bit.


Definitely. Playing online naturally makes games predominantly about mechanisms when you don’t know how it feels to physically play the game. You can’t even tell how elegant or cumbersome a game is when it’s scripted on TTS!


That’s a good point, I hope the mojo returns after the retreat. I still watch most of their videos, I just hope it returns to a standard or style that makes me look forward to them again.