Voidfall and the Contentification of Board Games



I was told to watch because of that 5 minute side-piece opinion that is unrelated to the review, and he is spot on. “Some people don’t like complicated board games not because they’re too hard or whatever, but because that’s not what they want. They want immediate fun or immediate complexity. They want to get to the decision space faster because - for them - that’s where the meat is”

As much as I see these “Systems upon systems upon systems” games are just very boring to play, it is a niche that people are intentionally looking out for, and arent necessarily a bad thing, indeed.


If we all had the same size group with the same taste in games, we’d all be playing the same game. That we aren’t doesn’t mean those other guys are wrong.


Having played Voidfall twice so far…
I found myself nodding a lot.

Having not played Scythe more than a couple of times on the app, I was surprised at the comparison but as far as I can tell it is not wrong. (Also I have never played either Eclipse or Twilight Imperium so I have no comparison in that direction).

The combat is… intensely boring. In coop/solo mode though you figure out the strength of your fleet and since the automated faction fleets only come in very simple configurations you can more or less memorize how many ships you need (factoring in all the tech you have) to expand to a sector. This is good but I understand how that makes it much worse for competitive scenarios where fleets come in many more configurations and tech opposes other tech.

Nevertheless this review reminded me that coop/solo brings a lot of extra hassle to the table to make play interesting by throwing constraints at the player/s every turn and I am more keen now to try a competitive game.

And I agree also with this:

  • 4 pages of icons in various iterations = bad
  • Glossary = very very good and useful. Been using that a lot.

I am learning the icons now but from the glossary …

I also played another pink/purple SciFi game last night and might post a comparison later :wink:


There’s a problem with icon-heavy games which I’ve never seen mentioned, so I’m curious as to whether other people have it or it’s just me: when I’m reading out the content of a card, how do I pronounce it? Sometimes there’s an obvious mapping to words (e.g. attributes or resource types), but often not.


Yes. Icons are where theme goes to die: “I get 2 green and 3 blue and one of those tentacle thingies”

I don’t mind so much. If the theme dies because I rename a few icons it wasn’t very good anyway. If I know what it does that is more important. “Make a ship ready, produce a ship, retrieve a ship…” That’s not too bad. Of course it could also be “push 2 cubes over here and put one on the board here, then take one back from the board here” … ah well.

Does anyone know what each type of cube is in Sidereal?

We tend to invent words on the fly for whatever we can’t “pronounce” at the moment. It’ll end up being a language mish-mash anyway. When I read English text to Germans, I often read the numbers in German especially years…


I liked Efka’s explanation of where the complexity is in some games: you decide to take an action (say, spend a gold coin) and there’s two choices on how the game handles it:

You can spend the coin very simply, but doing so then affects 10 different things in a way that’s complex
You can do a load of interlocking actions to be able to spend one coin

Giving the actions to you simply (you want to spend it? Okay, done) seems much more fun for anything outside of a Lacerda where the absurd complexity IS the fun.


So what maybe doesn’t come across in the review is this…

Each of the 3 phases is just between 4 and 6 rounds. So each player gets to play less than 20 cards. There are a few things that give you bonus actions so let’s assume for simplicity you have a total of 40 actions in the game that you play in “pairs” on each turn. You have 9 different cards with 3 actions on them of which you get to choose 2.

Now find the best sequence of cards to play for the current era (until your hand resets for the next). Ideally in a way that advances your points, leaves you enough food for upkeep and fulfills the current era’s event condition.

edit: each action in itself is not complicated. Production is just turning one of the wheels. Building guilds is placing a token. Creating ships, readying them and flying them is trivial… but how do you get the right amount of ships to the right sector at the perfect moment and then play an invasion, place defenses and … it is a very thinky puzzle for sure.