Talking About Games: Felber’s Farewell

Wee Aquinas has some *opinions* about this Felber guy. Fortunately for you, his views are relegated to header alt texts.

Deep breath. Let’s talk about something controversial.

If you’re a hobbyist board gamer, there’s a good chance you’ve heard about Tom Felber’s farewell article, “Tom Stops! 10 (Not Just Nice) Things He Wants to Say at the End.” It’s sparked plenty of angry words, both in support and in repudiation, some defensive and others thoughtful. It probably doesn’t help that the original is in German (Felber is Swiss), which, as those of us who speak the language can tell you, tends to come across more frankly than English, especially in translation.

Foremost among the complaints seems to be that unfortunate dismissal, “Why should I care what this person has to say?” Which, sure, he isn’t part of the US/UK games sphere, so why indeed? Even his credentials as a journalist (but not in English!) and as a Spiel des Jahres jury chairman (but that award isn’t for me!) seem to furrow brows rather than raise them. Perhaps it’s because Felber’s games writing is too accessible for us hobbyists, consisting of list formats that accumulate both clicks and ire.

Personally, though, I’m more interested in talking about Felber’s essay point by point, because while I disagree with some parts, there’s also a kernel of truth that prompts me to wonder about the core of his frustration. No, not merely that he’s an “old man yelling at a cloud.” But rather that he’s a seasoned journalist and games writer who feels that the hobby has undergone some gradual seismic shift that has left him out in the cold. That’s what those shared Simpsons memes seem to miss: he appears to agree that he’s the old man. It’s just that the clouds aren’t worth yelling at anymore.

Okay, so let’s break this down.

Dad?

#1. The Internet is Always Right

“Even if I presented a game ten different times to ten different groups with different preferences and talents, the reported experiences of the oft-euphoric internet failed to materialize. There are only three explanations for this phenomenon: either the others were exaggerating, playing on drugs, or I and many of my teammates are no longer compatible with the world. My competence seems to have fallen out of time.”

Man yells at cloud? He says as much.

I have two thoughts here. The first has to do with how Felber approaches games writing, which has less to do with his own subjective experiences and more with assessing a game’s broad appeal. The Spiel des Jahres, of which Felber was the jury chairman for seven years, is an award that uses very different criteria from those I would use, if only because having thirteen jurors pick a bunch of games and then veto those picks will result in things that appeal to those thirteen jurors. The same goes for my own group of players. If my Best Weeks were written via committee, you could scratch off all the weird stuff, because even when a particularly odd title appeals to nearly everybody I share a table with, there’s a gulf of difference between everybody and nearly everybody. Just picking a single day at random (link!), you can say goodbye to Red Alert (too toy-ish), Moon Base (too arty), Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden (nobody played it), and Era: Medieval Age (it’s a dice game). The best titles of 2019 would have been Ecos: First Continent and Cartographers. Which isn’t a methodology I personally prefer, but if we’re talking about stuff I can introduce to my mother, well, she thinks Cartographers is a hoot.

In that light, Felber’s approach, which is to play a game with multiple groups across different demographics in order to assess its viability for his recommendation, seems entirely appropriate. He isn’t running a personal blog. He’s writing consumer guides that inform hundreds of purchasing decisions. In his words, “I don’t think much of bloggers and influencers who judge games based on a ‘first impression,’ or who play games with only two players that are meant for four or five. Many who publish on the internet about board games always try their games with the same four or five noses, which of course already have their firm preferences.” His argument is that first impressions aren’t sufficient to get a sense for most games not only because of tastes, but also because they might not even be playing correctly.

My second thought is that he isn’t exactly wrong about internet wisdom being somewhat breathless in its delight. He isn’t talking about your favorite critic, review channel, or podcast. In the same way he evaluates games broadly, he’s speaking broadly of games media, about the hundred channels that seem to exist for the sole purpose of boosterism. And I’m not talking about enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is great! Look at me showing my enthusiasm by using exclamation marks! He’s talking about the tendency to play a game once or twice, gush that it’s utterly wonderful and perfect, and then move on to do the same for a dozen other games every month. If he seems exasperated, so am I. So are lots of other people. Because loving everything is mass burnout waiting to happen, for game critics and players alike.

Again, note that I’m not saying any one person is singularly responsible. The default position is positivity. For one thing, it’s nicer. Although nicer to whom? To publishers and game designers rather than game players, even though the latter is where I would argue a reviewer’s responsibility lies. But apart from that, positivity is easier to share, to promote, to upvote, to slap onto a Kickstarter page. Positivity keeps the review copies and preview contracts rolling in. The entire game as we’re playing it is weighted in favor of those who are willing to share the positive and keep quiet about the negative. Not because any one person or outlet is taking advantage of our enthusiasm, but because as an aggregate that highlights certain takes while diminishing others, enthusiasm is the utter default.

Holy crap, there are nine more of these.

Seems like a nice guy.

#2. Farewell to Engineering

Felber argues, “In the heyday of German game designers, great importance was attached to the fact that the games were mathematically balanced.” This directly birthed the Eurogame phenomenon. Unfortunately, modern games, even complex games, have been hijacked by “the theme, the graphics, and the material.” Also, they aren’t balanced.

As before, it’s useful to narrow the window of Felber’s argument, which he explicitly identifies as German-style design. And I wonder how many would really disagree with the sentiment that many modern Euros are a bit Frankensteinian, a mishmash of parts that don’t necessarily cohere with the simple elegance evident in ’80s and ’90s German designs. Again, not all, but many. To me, this is connected to the withdrawal of players from the game’s competition space. With the rise of so-called “multiplayer solitaire” — which I’m not deploying pejoratively — the complexity that was once presented by rival human minds must now be duplicated by the game itself.

Strangely, my best example is actually a video game. I don’t enjoy multiplayer shooters. Probably something to do with teabagging, aimbots, and fourteen-year-old fascists. Still, the arena holds certain undeniable thrills. That’s why the recent Doom Eternal, which trades the exploration of the original Doom for arena-style combat, has hooked me. In Doom Eternal, with its chainsaw and acrobatic movements and deadly but not too deadly enemies, I’m the guy at the top of the leaderboard. I’m a living god, and the peons I’m tearing through are the low-ping server population that usually includes me. The system has successfully replicated the highs of a multiplayer shooter without requiring the lows of enduring crummy human beings.

Two thoughts. One, this isn’t a bad thing, just as multiplayer solitaire isn’t a bad thing. Two, solo games excluded, board games are about sitting down with other people. The system, being manually operated rather than backed with the processing power of a computer, can only accomplish so much when I have ready-made opponents right there. That’s an essay in its own right.

Still, some of my ambivalence to Felber’s point can be expressed as a difference of values. Unless the game in question hinges upon balance — a dueling game, say, or one that hands an enormous advantage to one player — I’m more interested in social balance than mathematical balance. In that regard, Ameritrash as a gaming phylum is as obsolete as German-style Eurogames. But that can be a good thing! More and more designers are embracing hybrid designers rather than sticking to a single lane.

Uh oh

#3. Games Often Require a Certain Intelligence

…and that scares some folks away. The point here isn’t that non-game-players are dumb, but rather that there’s a particular set of skills that lends itself well to many games. I think this again intersects with what Felber values: mathematical precision, balance, and a well-regulated (but not over-regulated) contest between individuals. Even beyond the necessary head for arithmetic, variable investments, and pattern recognition, some people find games frivolous, and those of us who champion games as a pleasant hobby or even as a useful social tool need to acknowledge that.

I’ve written in the past that abstract games can be unappealing not only for their lack of a setting but also because they’re more plain-faced about revealing their players’ (perceived) level of intelligence, so fair enough. Then, as though to illustrate the particularity of this necessary brand of intelligence, Felber continues with his next point.

#4. The Integrative Nature of Board Games

Also known as, “Some people are stinkers, both literally and figuratively.” To quote Felber more directly, “If I’m honest, nowhere in my life have I met as many annoying people as at the gaming table.”

This is probably the one that’s spurred some of the reactions I’ve seen, with people criticizing Felber’s choice of table-mates or saying he ought to find a better group. Never mind that this isn’t always possible, in particular for a games journalist. How many tables has he shared with strangers? How many lines has he stood in? How many inappropriate conversations has he been privy to by the trappings of a game’s two-hour playtime? This goes double for Felber’s chosen method of evaluation, in which he plays with multiple diverse groups on purpose in order to assess a game’s broad appeal.

Let me share two brief stories.

Once, at Gen Con, I found myself standing in the line for Fantasy Flight Games. For two hours. Directly adjacent to a very pleasant and very talkative Frenchman. With utterly awful tooth-rot that projected approximately four feet in every direction. I fought hard to ignore the miasma even as it threatened to batter my constitution into submission. Yes, standing so long in that line was my bad decision — but hey, I was keen to get my hands on something specific. Yes, I could have left at any time — but that’s an exercise in sunk cost, and, honestly, our entire species is terrible at recognizing fallacies so I’m giving myself a pass. The point is, I was courteous because that’s how I was raised. But my new friend was not similarly courteous with his hygiene.

Another time, I was asked to teach A Study in Emerald at a convention. We had five players lined up, but one dropped at the last minute. Desperate to fill out our numbers, because A Study in Emerald is best played with a full complement, we placed a Gamers Wanted sign on the table. Moments later a fresh-faced young man appeared and volunteered to play. For the next two hours, he groused and bullied, complaining of the game’s imbalances and everybody else’s methods of play. He did not win. Nor, upon not winning, did he leave the table. Instead, he continued to grouse about how bad the game had been, and how badly I should feel for bringing it to a convention.

I wish these examples were more isolated than they really are. Our hobby may require a certain intelligence, but it unfortunately doesn’t always encourage other graces. On this point, Felber and I are in agreement.

But where his previous points were apt, the remainder make me wonder if perhaps Felber is one of those people who might also require some courtesy at the gaming table. Nearly every other point is a complaint about some trait or another that he doesn’t appreciate. Let’s blitz through them.

a metaphor

#5. Together Alone

In which introverts have seized control of means of production with multiplayer solitaire. And, look, I would rather share not only a table but also a game with my friends. The thing is, though, that there are plenty of titles built to satisfy that need. Does Switzerland not have Root?

#6. The Alleged Lightness of the Game

Even though we often say they’re light and creative, games are serious business. It’s an observation that sparks a few talking points, in particular about how games function best when we wholly invest in the social contract we call the “magic circle” — and how, sometimes, that isn’t possible. I have a pair of friends, married and competitive, who cannot oppose each other in a game lest they put on a show. Their solution? They now play as one person. Some people’s egos are crushing and cannot brook violation. My solution? I avoid playing games with those people.

#7. Our Dear Teammates

In which Felber feels like a social worker because his game nights are overcomplicated. And I sympathize. My personal policy is that I play a game at least three times before I cover it. Sometimes this is difficult. Sometimes the wrong people show up to game night, so we play something lighter or less competitive. To me, however, ensuring that a game gets played thrice is a useful solution to the inherent sociality of board games, and how the group around the table can make or break the experience. By playing multiple times, I’m not only coming to grips with the game — I’m coming to grips with me.

That said, playing with so many people that we could be running a pharmaceutical trial, complete with blind study and control group, strikes me as a smidge too much effort.

#8. The Explanatory Bear Problem

Too many people don’t pay attention when the teacher explains the game’s rules.

#9. Eating or Playing?

Too many people eat greasy food while playing.

#10. Always These Misunderstandings

Too many people don’t understand irony.

From the article itself, stolen shamelessly.

This is already rather long, so I won’t spend much time pointing out that the back half of this list is really one extended complaint. Nor am I being flippant in lumping them together; discourteous people are aggravating, largely in part because they often flourish on the courtesy of others. It’s all too easy to come across as abrupt when we tell someone at the gaming table that they’re being rude. Or worse, that they need a shower. By not drawing clear social lines, we tolerate those who regularly cross where those lines should have been drawn. For that reason alone, I don’t think Felber is wrong in pointing out that some folks aren’t pleasant to share a table with. We might reply with, “Oh, let’s be nice” when somebody raises a fuss about bad behavior, but don’t we also release an internal sigh of relief? I know I do.

What I find more interesting, though, is that Felber’s removal from the hobby is two-pronged. There’s the social side, but also the side that deals with games that are breathlessly promoted but turn out to lack substance. As I wrote earlier, this is more complicated than any one channel behaving in bad faith. It’s also more complicated than competing methods of evaluating games. To me, it speaks to the current timbre of the entire hobby’s clamor. There are too many games being spoken about too positively. Even the curators cannot keep pace. A while back, somebody asked if I intended to write about a particular game. When I replied that I doubted it, the response was, “Why, snobbery?” No, friendly person who illustrates so many of Tom Felber’s points. The reason is time. When I read Felber’s article, I don’t only see a man who’s grown crabby toward certain behaviors, just as I don’t only see a man who has dismissive opinions about the best way to gauge a game’s quality. I see a man who’s been swept away by a tidal wave of game releases. I see a man whose preferred method of play isn’t keeping up — and before you go thinking that’s a condemnation of his method, nobody can keep up.

Food for thought. I don’t have any answers to this one. I don’t even think there are answers, beyond the usual. Promote good games criticism, consider supporting the people you find helpful, and maybe take part in the process with input and insight. Either way, when someone like Tom Felber steps away from writing about games, it’s a loss. We’re saying goodbye to one of the few voices who sometimes says what we don’t want to hear. Even when it’s an old man hollering at a cotton ball of cumulus.

Next time, I’ll be talking about how Cole Wehrle’s Pax Pamir makes three distinct arguments about colonialism across two editions, one expansion, and two authors, and what that teaches us about framing arguments in board games. If you support my Patreon, you can read it right now!

 

(If what I’m doing at Space-Biff! is valuable to you in some way, please consider dropping by my Patreon campaign or Ko-fi.)

Posted on May 29, 2020, in Board Game and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 28 Comments.

  1. “There are too many games being spoken about too positively.”

    This is the biggest takeaway I have of the hobby. The side-effect of the renaissance the board game industry has felt (over the past decade or more) is that it has much more attention as it’s consumer base grows. There are many ‘good games’ being designed, developed and released; but as time goes on, they are more likely to get lost in the sea of other titles (regardless of if they are better or not).

    There are many voices working in the industry to provide the ‘awareness’ needed to help a title to stand out, but a key aspect I personally look for is identifying the longevity of a game in my collection. A reviewer you trust saying they enjoy a title doesn’t necessarily mean they would choose to play it again on the regular, as they might be done with it after creating the review. There is an onus on us as consumers to find the voices we respect and make our own conclusions on top of that of the reviewer’s opinion.

    Anyway this is the first I’d heard of this article, so thank you for the breakdown and your own thoughts, Dan.

    • Happy to provide! I wrote this largely because much of the response to Felber’s article in the English-speaking side of the hobby was “Oh, this guy is a gatekeeper, how dare he criticize x and y.” Felber is the furthest thing from a gatekeeper.

      I’m happy that some publishers are taking steps to better emphasize their own games, like AEG deciding to release fewer (presumably more polished) titles every year. We’ll see if that approach works for them; I’m hopeful.

  2. Thanks for this response article. Not having my thumb on the pulse of the hobby, I hadn’t heard of Felber or his farewell. I think you were fair in your synopses of his points. By the way, his suggestion that game designers add the rule, “Anyone who has showered at least once within the last three days will receive an additional 17 victory points” made me so thankful for my gaming group. Anyway, there’s a lot to talk about in response to Felber’s farewell. I’ll just tackle one thing.

    I used to love Computer Gaming World magazine, and one of the main reasons was that it had reviews by people who had played fully released games through to their conclusion, usually multiple times. The downside to their approach was that, especially given the requirements of magazine publishing, you might not see a game get reviewed until many months after the game’s release. But I didn’t mind, and I scoffed at the “house organ” magazines that rise in the console wars era, where it seemed like a major game’s preview and hype wordcount prior to its release would outweigh its review wordcount after release by at least an order of magnitude. Sure, CGW had some previews too, but they weren’t its raison d’être.

    But while a person may prefer thoughtful reviews, PEOPLE prefer previews and first impressions. The proof is plain as day. Magazines and sites like CGW tried to adjust to the times but eventually folded. And in our hobby, for every thoughtful, difficult-to-write and -edit board game review and retrospective it seems like there are dozens of breathless first looks. And I don’t blame the people who produce those first looks and mini-reviews at all–they are only giving us what we want! We have proven it through multiple generations of gamers now. We’re the problem. Or perhaps more accurately, since I’m in the minority: if there even is a problem, it’s mine. 🙂

    Note that I’m deliberately avoiding the pay-to-play review and preview ecosystem, including the “well, if I don’t really like the game that much I’ll just keep my mouth shut; don’t want to anger Publisher X’s marketing person” factor. That’s a whole other topic, and one that also seems to come down to human nature and ultimately to what we, the content consumers, reward with our clicks.

    • I hope you aren’t right! But I suspect you are! And have suspected as much for a very long time!

      What I’d like to see, I think, is more of a window for the thoughtful. In adjacent hobby spaces, there are always the mass consumer sites, but there’s also room for places that do critical analysis of their subject matter. At the moment, I’m not sure I’d say the same about board games. Does the deficiency lie with the consumers themselves, or with the paucity or insufficiency of thoughtful critics? I can’t do much about the first problem other than talk about it, but hopefully I can improve my own behaviors and methods of critique to make a dent in the second.

      • You are providing just that kind of window, so thanks!

        I think that while we’re seeing a combination of effects that can be laid at the feet of consumers and critics alike, ultimately the consumers themselves have far more power to affect the hobby as a whole. I’m sure you’re right that there is always room for improvement as a critic though, as with any endeavor.

        By the way, I hope I haven’t come across as being too dismissive of the first-lookers of the hobby. As long as they are competent, fair, and consistent, these passionate fans can give first impressions and mini-overviews that serve a very valuable purpose, especially in the “gold rush” era that the hobby is experiencing. When I talk to people at a convention or store about a game, I can only hope to do the same thing!

      • Oh, I don’t think you came across as dismissive at all. No worries on my end, at least!

  3. Jeremy Ellis

    Likewise, I was not aware of this development and article, but I appreciate the thoughtful breakdown here, Dan.

  4. Thank you for the fantastic analysis.

    I had no knowledge of Felber’s article, but am keen to read it after perusing yours.

    Perhaps I’m misguided in this thought, but it seems as though several of Felber’s complaints point to sky-high expectations for his fellow gamers, or that he perceives a crippling lack of self-awareness from many of his fellow gamers, one that has been tolerated for far too long.

    Keep up the magnificent work!

    -Chuck

  5. There are a bunch of things in that blog post, but a lot of them havent changed over the decades. Why do critics critique? Whatever the reasons are, I guess something has changed such that the critic isnt getting that any more, or the undercurrent of negative has outweighed it.

    • That’s true, Steve. People have always been discourteous. I wonder if the more relevant change is the glut of new releases, many of which Felber apparently doesn’t appreciate?

  6. I think its probably more that people dont appreciate him not appreciating the games. We all want our work to be valued.

  7. This is great stuff, Dan. As is your article on Pax Pamir and framing, which I think might set a new standard in board game criticism (and side note, anyone interested in what Dan is doing really should support his Patreon to take a look). Do you think your perspective on Felber’s exit reflects on your own frustrations with the board game industry? I know a while back you wrote about how two events caused you to consider quitting altogether.

    • At times. I agree more with his first few points than his later, more nitpicky ones. Really, his article could have been five points without losing much. I’ve already argued for a more critical, um, critical apparatus in this hobby, and my feelings on that matter haven’t dulled.

  8. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the seismic shift in the hobby, as exemplified by the rise of the class of influencers and content creators, is that we’ve gone from being excited about games to being excited about being excited about games.

    Re: group balance: sure, but the issue seems to be with some MPS games that there isn’t enough player interaction to provide the balance that asymmetric games of the past like Diplomacy, Dune, or Cosmic achieved.

  9. I read Felber’s second point differently, and not at all related to your main response to it, which focuses on multiplayer solitaire

    I think he’s saying that many modern games are less developed, and trying to compensate for that with high production values, which is what players seem to care about more.
    Even a pure solitaire game requires “balance” – it’s not about the competition with other players, and it doesn’t need to have “simple elegance” either.

    • The reason I draw that parallel is because that seems to be the direction the Eurogame design ethic has progressed. Imbalances in multiplayer solitaire games tend to be highly noticeable compared to imbalances in more competitive games, since you don’t have players smoothing over the gaps.

  10. Hi Dan,

    I tried to read the google translate, hoping I could see what other people I trust had seen and complained about (I trust NPI/Efka a lot). But after reading it, I couldn’t quite see it. Like you, his message is more “mixed” than what other people have though; so I’m glad u wrote this piece.

    • Happy to do it, Gabby! I was also surprised by Efka’s perception of Felber’s article. Calling him a “gatekeeper” is exactly the opposite of the role he has played in this hobby for many years.

  11. herodotos484

    No doubt that you have an unique and very serious approach to board game criticism, entangled in so many ways to other aspects of human behavior and thinking. It astonish me how you manage to keep this approach to a wide range of games. Your writing has greatly impacted what board games I’ve bought in later years, which made me think about how that relates to this article.

    What I see is a great rift between a group you represent, people who actually visit events, conventions and play with random folks, and me and others who have a great interest in board games, without ever feeling the need or want to go further than family and friends. I’ll never be able to even find time to play as many games as some of you obviously do. Why do I describe this as a rift?

    As an example I can mention a review of Root Shut Up & Sit Down did, not because it differs from your or my opinion, but because it illustrates one aspect of this rift. Their conclusion was based on arguments of how they perceived the game after a whole lot of plays in a short time span. I cannot and will probably never be able to relate to that, since it will take me years to play it as many times. It will probably not even have an impact of how I feel about the game after some years, because pauses between games will change how it’s perceived.

    The same can be noted about how some ideas and mechanics are refined, improved, twisted and you hence get the message about that “old” game being surpassed by these new fresh games. Ignoring whether improvements are real or a matter of taste, it still becomes difficult to digest. I get the feeling that there are so many games filling the market that I’ll choose to be left in the dust when the bandwagon races down the road.

    I think that’s also one of the reasons I have a lot of so called war games, and more precisely only based on real historical events. They don’t age the same way, because to a large extent such a game is interesting beyond game play and it’s probably fairly good for solo play, which probably correlates pretty well to your comments about # 2.

    While not mentioning the game, which would be annoying for you Dan, I’ve come to realize that my high regards of it, might be a result of it still being one of the games my friends like the most, which is odd as many seem to view it as unforgiving and brutal. Maybe this is my take on # 1. I of course choose which games I buy, but their longevity and popularity will to quite a degree be decided by my playing mates.

    As it stands, new additions to my game collection will probably be blamed on you Dan or the site The Player’s Aid. I’ve kind of settled down, realizing that however much I like board games I’ll never be on par with the hobby. So a couple of sources will do. Some games in my collection might become unplayable, for how likely is it that I’ll keep on having friends wherever I live who already have invested enough time in Android Netrunner to make it enjoyable? So that might also become a reason to look for something different, to start over on common grounds.

    In conclusion, while this being an interesting matter it mostly made me recognize how far this is from my own reality.

    • Thank you for your thoughts, Herodotus.

      The disconnect between my game-playing habits and those of my audience is something I always endeavor to keep in mind. In Felber’s case, that manifested as a fastidious approach to “testing” games: playing them with randomized groups in order to assess their broad appeal. For me, I play each game at least three times and then revisit my favorites a year later to see how they’ve held up. There will always be a gap — of volume, if not expertise — between critics and regular consumers of a medium. Hopefully, though, we can bridge that gap to some degree. But only if we’re conscious that it exists and continually work to step across it now and then.

  12. I’ve been following your site for a while but have never commented. This comment has nothing to do with your article, but the mere mention of Doom Eternal compels me to pipe in.

    At first I was miffed by its departure from the somewhat more serious tone and aesthetic from Doom 2016, but have gradually come to realize it’s perhaps the greatest game ever created from a pure gameplay perspective. The combat loop is pure heroin. For me, it harkens back to the day when video games were focused on delivering excellent gameplay, power fantasy escapism, and challenge over the bloated cliche narratives, open worlds with repetitive, grindy tasks, and near complete lack of difficulty. Seriously, some games these days feel like actual work or like an interactive movie (usually a poorly done one). Hell (pun intended), even the cheesy heavy metal aesthetic grew on me. It’s the kind of thing my 6 year old self would have gone crazy over. The skulls and such in Cultist Base, actually the entire level, gave me an old school Contra vibe. I sincerely hope games moving forward emulate it as much as possible.

    Anyways, your writing and critiques are on point. Keep up the good work. Maybe consider reviewing video games as well.

    P.S. original Doom is not about exploration, at lest not primarily. It’s about memorizing level lay out for traps, which were cheap and lame. Glad they’ve largely jettisoned it for the new ones. And then strafing. Always strafing. Constant movement is a must on harder difficulties which is why this new generation of Doom games captures the feel of the originals so well…..you stop moving and you die. Finding secrets certainly helps keep one alive though, another aspect these new Dooms have taken to the next level. Good luck beating Eternal on UV or Nightmare without finding the secrets.

    • Thanks for your perspective, Scott. Doom Eternal’s gameplay is revelatory. I also hope other FPS designers take note.

      I’ve considered writing about video games more often, especially card/board-style games like Monster Train, XCOM: Chimera Squad, and Gears: Tactics. The only problem is that I’m already swamped with articles to write. Maybe I should take the leap anyway.

      • I’m sure the reviews will be excellent if you decide to take the plunge. Interesting list. If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to play XCOM: Enemy Within and XCOM2. Some of the best and most underrated games of this gen.

      • Those are among my favorites! The reason I list Chimera Squad and Gears: Tactics is because they released basically the same week, so they made for some interesting comparisons.

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