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Bombs Away! by William Kull

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Bombs Away! by William Kull

Ok, my computer is working well... or at least functionally, with the Internet once again, and I'm back at this after a somewhat lengthy absence. Lets take a peak at Bomb's Away!

Theme: (10 points) Bomb's Away! is a tale of two cities and a bunch of Aliens that would prefer that said cities, and the civilizations they represent, no longer exist. as we are talking genocide of the city's inhabitants, doomed is an appropriate term. As these cities in the game represent entire cultures, civilization is also an appropriate synonym.
I'm calling that ten of ten for Theme.
(10 points)

Originality: (10 points) Wow, this is going to sound a bit harsh... As we played the game, I couldn't help feeling that I was playing the board game version of "Space Invaders". In fairness, Bombs Away! has vastly differentiated bomb types, and the defenders may actually escape the playing surface, an ability not found in Space Invaders... but the similarities persist. Mechanics are based on a 2d6 die roll and then a consultation of one of two charts, as well as a second phase/dimensional mechanic of card playing which involves slightly greater strategy. I am sorry to say that this was the least original of all of the entries our group has played to date, although on the bright side, its a fairly stiff field (in that regard) to compete against.
(2 points)

Cohesiveness: (15 points) This is the game's strongest point, and I will say that it is fairly well balanced, and that the aspired to goals stated for the players are well-mimiced by the mechanics of the game (game mechanics mirror game activities). Playing time for our first game was about two hours, our second was about an hour and fifteen minutes... so again, there are no apparent 'holes' in the mechanics. In addition, you're never quite sure who is winning until it is over, which leaves the player's interest level at the same point throughout the process (unlike Monopoly, for instance, where a player can easily see that they have no chance, often by mid-game). I am going to penalize a few points for the fact that, as an 'only three player game', its simpler to MAKE this game cohesive than one that has a variable number of players... but I'm only penalizing a little for that aspect.
(12 points)

Components (5 points): The game components for BA are both extensive and a bit bland, but then this IS a prototype, and not necessarily the vision that the author has for the commercial (or at least final) version of this product. The gameboard is a hex grid in three colors, with no definitive features beyond those that designate the 'areas of control' granted to the various players. Don't get me wrong, its not terrible... although I was left a bit wanting in terms of the aesthetics of the game. I have done worse myself when developing a prototype, however...
(2 points)

Fun (25 points): When I asked the gang how much fun it was, the response I got, almost universally, was, "Well, its not bad." I frankly found the game to be over-simplified, and was probably influenced to some degree (again) by its resemblance to Space Invaders. Strategy is only two-level, and player options are to some extent limited. On the other side of that coin, there are some tertiary strategies (decoys and the choice of bomb type by the players) that add a bit of spice back into the mix. I also subtracted a few points as the game is only playable by three players (two might be possible but not in the ruleset I reviewed). Its not often that three friends get together for a game... four, yes... but three? What I was really looking for was strategies that might cover at least a three-dimensional decision-making matrix. For example 1) benefits all player 2)benefits only human players 3) benefits just the individual player - that sort of thing, although not limited to... and that simply isn't there. BA did bring back fond memories of Atari though, and the days of my youth.
(8 points)

Side Note: There were some typos which were minor, and some hard-to-understand sentence constructions that were less minor. The balance of the game causes me to believe it has been played/play-tested quite a bit, but the presentation is a bit sub-par... For all of my bad-wrapping, however, this is a better game than the stuff I first cranked out, so here's hoping that this is but a first attempt by an aspiring, and soon to be rank-and-file-professional game writer.

Personal Prediction: This is one that will get played on Holidays at the Kull household... and thats about all.

Total score: 34 points

Bombs Away! by William Kull

Hi ,

Thank you for the review-but not necessarily the final "score" outcome. Two players can ply the game, this is parlayed by alternatinh the alien's die roll(there is no stragedy in being the alien anyway, its moves are always chart dictated).
This game was first developed as a prototype. I do think it 's playability appeal has lessoned because of the computer jpeg orientation,but that is OK too. My playtesting made the average length of gameplay just under One hour-But then again, I was there to assist in any major questions.Overall, I like how it has turned out. Everything was based on the contest theme- it's not like I had this in the works ahead of time. It is unfortunate that the result phase has taken an extented amount of time, but I am thrilled to have been a part of the whole process.


Bombs Away! by William Kull

The biggest reason that your score wasn't higher is that there is some pretty stiff competition in this contest. Remeber (and I think you do) that this IS only my opinion, which when combined with a quarter might just get you a cup of coffee :-).

If it helps, I think Gods of Denial would have scored in the mid-30s... which is one of the reasons we pulled it out of production. In other words... I personally have designed worse, so be not too hard on yourself as to the scoring... and do your best to forgive me :-)

Keep writing those games, one and all!

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