I’m an avid gamer and in the last 5 years I’ve become a big tabletop gamer. As many who play tabletop games know you search out reviews and information on games before making a purchase. (Of course there are times where I impulse buy.) However, I try to be the most educated about a game before sinking money into. My husband and I have a collection of over 100 games and living in a two bedroom apartment means we have to be picky about what games to buy and stick on our shelf that has little to no room left on it.
One of the biggest reviewers out there is Tom Vasel. I watch many of his reviews to check out game mechanics and also to see his opinions of the game. I don’t always agree with his opinions but nevertheless I enjoy listening to him. However, he had a review that got under my skin the other day. It was for 1A Game’s Cross Hares: Testing Grounds. I’ve played this game multiple times and while I know it isn’t perfect it didn’t deserve the brutal beating that Vasel gave it.
To me it felt like Vasel didn’t do his research. He complained about it being a roll and move game and alluded to the fact that modern games don’t really do this as much. However, if he had looked at their Kickstarter for the game he would have seen it advertised as a “classic game with a modern twist.” This tells me that there will be an old school element (such as roll and move) with an added modern twist. The modern twist is the special abilities and equipment your characters pick up in the game. He mentioned it being more like a kid’s game mechanically but that the theme was too dark for children. Perhaps it’s dark for some over protective parent’s kids but I can tell you it wouldn’t have been dark for me growing up. I used to love watching Beetlejuice and other dark shows. My 3 year old niece loves Nightmare Before Christmas!
Now is Cross Hares the best game I’ve ever played? Honestly, it is not. But do I have fun playing it? Absolutely! The mechanics are simple, the characters add depth, and the random adventures you can go on are a unique twist. My biggest complaint is the game takes longer then what is printed on the box. I played a four player game where we all got stuck in this one corner for about an hour. That was frustrating but once we got out it was back to a race to beat the factory.
I will continue to watch Tom Vasel and I appreciate him playing tons of games and taking the time out to review them. You would think that playing games for a living is easy but it’s not. I reviewed games as side job for a while and while it was fun to play the great games, the mediocre games that I was forced to play sucked the fun out of my hobby. I respect Tom Vasel’s opinion and I even met him once during a Gen Con. He is a really nice guy but I felt that his review of Cross Hares missed its mark.