Pendulum Review - with Tom Vasel - boardgamerblues.com

Pendulum Review – with Tom Vasel

The Dice Tower
Views: 55122
Like: 1042
Tom Vasel takes a look at a real time worker placement game from Stonemaier Games!!

00:00 – Introduction
01:36 – Game overview
10:11 – Final thoughts

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84 Comments

  1. Do gamers say 'elf' in the room instead of 'elephant' in the room?

  2. From Jamey: "I have some new information and good news about the sand timers in Pendulum. The short version is that (a) you may have seen some reviewers mention that at least 1 of their 3 sand timers got stuck a few times and (b) Panda–our manufacturer–fixed the issue at scale before they shipped the first print run to fulfillment centers. So the sand timer problems experienced by the reviewers will not be experienced by the vast majority of people who play Pendulum.

    A longer version:

    When a few reviewers originally contacted me about the issue over a month ago, I told Panda about it, and they informed us that sand timers have a sediment in them that needs a few uses to break down, and then they don't get stuck again. That's the information we've had since mid-June.

    What I didn't know until a few minutes ago was that Panda wanted to ensure that as few as possible of our customers experienced that issue, so they sent all of the timers back to their partner factory and requested a new quality check and replacements. When Panda received the timers back from that factory, Panda also performed a quality check on the timers and found a defective rate of only 0.25% (that's 1/4 of 1%, not 25%). Even those 30 sets of timers may not have issues after a few uses, but if they do, we'll be ready to replace them.

    I'm glad to share this with you, and I want you to know you're in good hands. hope you'll join us for the Pendulum preorder on August 5!"

  3. Tapestry was a dud for me. This looks even worse. Good thing they made wingspan.

  4. It is not only that is "ultimately solitaire" (low interaction)… but as Tom said, I hate games in which there is not opportunity or desire for cross auditing, like when a player does a bunch of mini combo actions in sequence and I have no idea what is going on there, if he is right or wrong, and worse, most times I wont care, because i am probably busy planning my master sequence of mini moves when it is my turn – I hate that style. Hence I disliked so much Monumental and Sierra West for example. This game is a hard pass for me.

  5. It felt like he couldn't just be negative because this is coming from Stonemaier Games. If the publisher was a no name this review probably would go much more negative.

  6. 17k views, dang that is pretty good Tom

  7. Real time is a non starter, i could see the timers getting knocked over well I prefer the social part of gaming; racing to move my meeples isn't that.

  8. I’m sad because it’s clearly my type of game but my group would hate how I’d crush them and never play with me 🙁

  9. Meh. Love Wingspan and love Scythe. Haven’t tried Tapestry but I’m sure it’s good. This one though? I don’t know. Is Stonemair just trying to get a game published in each genre? If so, they could have skipped “real time” games and I would have been ok with that.

  10. I'm not sure if this was said in the comments but Stonemaier has said that the components are plastic because Australia has strict import laws when wood is concerned. That being said this game is really not for me.

  11. Is the board double sided? The board in the Rahdo review is different, and more challenging in my opinion, than the one played here!

  12. I suggest watching the Rahdo runthrough to see how good the turn-based game is.

  13. Tom is gonna get a lot of hate for this review but even when this game was announced I wasn't interested. Id say his opinion on this game will be pretty universal. Im not saying 80% but more than half. A lot of his points are right

  14. Why do some designers feel the urge to complicate things – for no reason at all?

  15. This games triggers my anxiety issues by just watching the review

  16. No mention of the turn-based rules at all?

  17. It doesn’t look like much to me. I am mostly playing two player, with my wife and I, I think this looks like a multi player game. I also think it also does not allow for much interaction, and I like to play games for interaction between each other as we play together. This is just a simple competition for time and space. That is just not my style. The cover art is gorgeous.

  18. I even worry the layout of the board won’t be conducive to fair real-time gameplay.

    As for turn-based gameplay, I still doubt it’ll hold up. It has some decent mechanisms, but nothing that really stands out. The way it handles a rotation of available spaces is kind of neat… and the sort-of tableau stacking is okay… but it doesn’t seem to work together imo and there’s no theme pulling it together.

  19. Interestingly, on the Scythe FAQ page SM uses the Pendulum box art as the background image. Which suggests they know this one is a stinker?

  20. Everyone's got to remember, Tom knocked them over so many times sure, but he was also pointing at absolutely everything, while also moving a camera.

  21. Always feel like I can count on Tom for an honest review of games. I appreciate what you do. Keep up the great work!

  22. Ouch. Another dud. I used to play-test for Jamey and learned some important things. He did not take criticism well; in fact I was encouraged to not give honest criticism but to only answer his specific questions that were designed to get certain responses from us play-testers. Production, hype and brand image always superseded design. His games always seem to be taking a theme, mechanic or art and shoving them into a box of his imagination or desire regardless of whether or not the theme, mechanic or art actually fit in that box. Inorganic and mechanical are the words de jour to describe SM games.

  23. Sounds like you hated it but don’t want to piss off the publisher.

  24. I must say I agree on the art… that is textbook generic.

  25. My game group includes players who typically take take longer turns than others, typically at a factor of 2x. To be honest I am guilty of this at times as well. I'm looking forward to leveling that aspect of the playing field and seeing what it's like. Even chess has time management… it's a bit surprising that most board games seem to just ignore this when for some players a big negative to enjoying board games can be waiting for others to take their turn, especially in interactive games where your turn is highly dependent on the previous turns of others. I'll say I'm not stoked on the plastic components. Jamey noted in response to feedback on Pendulum's components "My primary reason for choosing plastic for Pendulum is that a few years ago, I heard some stories about games exported from China being turned away at port in Australia because the wood wasn't fumigated." and also noted that costs for wood vs. plastic are comparable, so there's that for what it's worth. I know people get upset/start claiming unsavory business practices when they can't get the game they want when they want it (Wingspan), so pick your poison.

  26. rahdo said there was a turn based variant option in there too, you didnt mention that at all, was it not in your copy ?

  27. Wow, this sounds like all work and no play. I ask myself "Why am I doing any of this?" The theme is completely nonexistent. Thanks for the honest review, Tom!

  28. Tom doesn't like it? It's probably a great game and I'll love it.

  29. I havent played the game but here is my analysis so far:
    + I love the asymmetrical track and combined with the different timers. First time I saw them I was impressed.
    + The tucking of card/bonuses underneath the player boards and the way you can rotate them for different bonuses are really cool as well.
    – I think the main problem here is Theme. The theme and the mechanism isn't working at all. Yeah pendulum is swinging and timer flips. That's all. What kind of world or reality is this simulating anyway? Some fantastic land where people run around to do their work with each swing of a giant pendulum in the city square? It reminds me of a nightmare. The theming is too…. Surreal. It's like Salvador Dali made the theme for this game. They could've just made it into an abstract game and it would not affect the game play at all, in fact it might even help it.
    – The layout is not good at all. I think the layout artist also did not like or understand the theme.
    – 'Grande' meeple. Really? It sounds like the biggest size of beer or french fries. Speaking of french fries, they should have just used a cooking theme for this game: Different timers: Different food cooking at different times: Everyone bustling around the different stations in the kitchen in a race to serve a dish. This theme could work better. I really think so. Better than this surreal theme.

  30. Ok…. Bunch of stuck-up board gaming jerks as usual that follow DT. I keep trying to give you guys a chance and always come back to…. This. Oi…

  31. How did the non real time version play for you?

  32. So many great games out there to choose from and this ain’t going to be one of them.

  33. I'm guessing this is the last time Jamie sends a game to DT for review.

  34. I wont be bothering with this. Looks awful.

  35. I wish there were more competitive real-time games, but this one looks… bad.

  36. I hate not being able to keep other players accountable. I don't think anyone intentionally cheats but it's so easy to slip up. Me included. I like when players can keep eachother honest

  37. Played it tonight! It was incredible, ive not played another game like it. I see alot of negativity from people who haven't played it, which is a pretty common thing now it seems with games in general both table and video. Its a great game! If you like fast paced thinking strategy games and u have a group you can trust to play with its amazing.

  38. I think Stonemaier are slipping. Wingspan was phenominal. Tapestry was so confusing and honestly made me feel like “meh”.

  39. Thanks for the review, I seen the Stonemaier logo and was immediately interested but your video affirmed it's not for me.

  40. I like real-time, I don't like euro, I don't care about components if readability is at the forefront, which in real time is important.
    Still mixed on the game, just wanted to maybe comment that "in a real time game being able to know what something does at a glance is more important than it being pretty."
    Edit: Okay the timers need upgrading, that's something that should work.

  41. The thing about games from this developer, they are mainly soloed games. You play by yourself while the other players play by themselves, then one wins. There really is no me vs the other players and the one who finishes first wins. Some like that, some dont.

  42. This game mechanic would work better if you had to wait till everyone takes a turn just so you know no one cheats

  43. Sorry, Tom, I got lost and fell asleep 4 minutes in. How about this game instead: each player is a hedge fund manager and center of the board contains New York Stock Exchange, mercantile exchange, and foreign exchange?

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