Tales From the Loop: The Board Game Review with Tom Vasel - cutlassboardgame.com

Tales From the Loop: The Board Game Review with Tom Vasel

The Dice Tower
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Tom Vasel takes a look at Tales From the Loop!

Intro 0:00
Overview 1:34
Final Thoughts 9:27

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23 Comments

  1. This is such a shame. I love the world and I love co-op games so this game is kinda designed for me. Thanks for the review Tom!

  2. Thanks for the honest review, Tom. Saved me from spending my hard earned money, and frustration 🙄

  3. I participated in late playtesting of this. That was after the kickstarted fullfilled and it was still nowere near a complete game. It felt like the publisher hadn't bother to contract a real board game designer for the adaptation of the ttrpg.

  4. It's based on the rpg and it's in Sweden—-

  5. Wow – I thought the TV show is phenomenal. I'd quite like to analyse it with my high school English classes.

    Having said that, the game has standees, so that's a pass.

  6. My first experience with Tales from the Loop was the TTRPG and acting out those mundane things was far more entertaining especially if you add in the weird scifi setting. Plus you can speed things along at your own pace. Being an RPG. The d6 system sounds like it was borrowed heavily from the RPG. But failing a test in an RPG isn't like a pass fail thing in a board game. It just changes the story. Not good for a board game.

    Also I found the TV show boring as well. My groups RPGs were exciting and fun. Like sneaking into the Loop compound. Strange wild robots taking over the school. Gremlins from another reality stealing christmas. The setting and art is cool but I think the RPG was the only thing I've seen that works for me.

  7. It seems like they tried to shove as many of the TTRPG mechanisms into the board game with minimal modification. All of the things that Tom is describing works great in a Table Top RPG. Failures in RPGs are almost more exciting as successes. A good GM will take that failure and and do cool things with it. In board games failure generally sucks. In the TTRPG roleplaying the interactions with adults and the obligations like swimming lessons is a lot of fun. My board game group has played the TTRPG and loved it. I'd recommend that over this any day. I think there's even a starter set. There's definitely a core book and one adventure book. It's very rules light when compared to something like DnD. If you are an 80 / 90s kid like me, love stranger things, or kids save the day type movies you'll probably enjoy the RPG.

  8. I love Simon Stålenhags art and have his art books so it was kind of mandatory for me to back this game, I havn't played it because I'm mainly a hoarder of board games it seems… A shame it seems boring, oh well, I'll give it a shot some day anyway. I'm swedish and I live close to Stockholm so much of the look of this is really familiar to me and tickles me because of that (this game is set on a couple of isles just west of Stockholm in the lake Mälaren).

  9. Ouch! We just bought this and all the expansions, because we like the RPG. 🙁

  10. I have to disagree with a lot of this review and highlight some aspects that were missed. Tales from the Loops biggest streghts and drawbacks comes from the same source, namely the fact that it's made by a TTRPG company. While I agree that the dice system is a somewhat poorly ported version of the TTRPG, you also need to look at the (substantial) well ported RPG elements in the game.

    Tales from the Loop is dripping in theme. Every single mechanic ties in to the theme and make sense. To call the game boring due to the school phase, chore cards and parent relations is missing the point. The game delivers a really solid TTRPG experience in board game format, I would even call it unique in that regard. You get really drawn in to the lives of your characters and it's very easy to roleplay; we have had some really funny and powerful moments emerge from a combination of the right character, the rights rumor card, at the right location at the right time. Nothing was scripted, and it emerged naturally from the mechanics.

    While the story telling and roleplay is by far the best part of the game, my main drawbacks (beyond the already mentioned randomness of tests) comes from the sometimes abrupt pacing of some scenarios. It's sometimes hard to tell how far you've progressed, and then you suddenly win without substantial build up.
    For first time players, I'd recommend the scenarios Electric Bully, The Passenger and Light Fandango. Those scenarios have nice pacing and you really feel like you are progressing the story with a climax at the end.

  11. Simon Stålenhag's art created an intriguing retro scifi world which led me to watching the TV series. I found the series to be at times rather depressing and overall rather plodding and dreary. I did see it through because there was always a sense of mystery as to what might be behind the curtain and the science fiction aspects were interesting — it did have a few bright spots. But in the end, there was really nothing behind the curtain which made me feel like the creators weren't sure themselves what was going on.

    So, from Tom's review, it appears that this game might be another "house rules design kit" to include among other things: streamlining the encounters and give them more player agency with more interesting outcomes and maybe abstract the homework/chores to create some limited time tension? Still, I'm hoping that this game works out better for me than it did for Tom. If nothing else this looks like it might provide some good props for the RPG.

  12. I backed this on Kickstarter, after being a big fan of the world of the Loop. I own two art books and the RPG, so backed this and was hopeful.

    The first play was a horrible experience due to the terrible rulebook, which misses out fundamental things like what to do if you fail a rumour card (you discard it – potentially game breaking if you get that wrong).

    I played it three times after that hoping that I’d enjoy it but I just wasn’t able to.

    I think Tom’s right, I found this game to be a big let down.

  13. I almost backed this, sounds like I dodged a bullet.

  14. You should check out the art books this is based off of. They are gorgeous and the stories are well told. It’s a real bummer Simon’s art isn’t very prominent in this game.

  15. I bought the TTRPG book a few years ago just for the art. I never played the game, and never intend to! 😀 I'll pass on this, too. I didn't mind the TV series though, as long as you're in the mood for the TV equivalent of "Sounds of the Rain Forest" music rather than radio play music. Except it's sci-fi mood and atmosphere instead of the rain forest, of course!

  16. I can definitely see that I would not enjoy the board game. However I really enjoyed the TV show. Its slow pacing was actually a plus for me: it felt both meditative and melancholic. I like shows about loss, grief, and the passage of time so it did the right things for me. Some of the episodes were a little more uneven than others but I especially enjoyed "The Loop," "Echo Sphere," and "Home." The last episode, "Home," was especially affecting… the last scene of the show was perfect.

  17. I really enjoyed the TV series. I tend to like sad, yet interesting stories where I feel for the characters and can put myself in their shoes and sympathize with them. This game doesn't interest me in the slightest though.

  18. I am with you on this one. I played it right when it came from KS and was really bored. The story wasn't interesting at all and each turn you have to do so many things just not to get punished (and if you do, you'll have even less time to do something interesting next turn), and when you finaly do the action that seemed cool, you just fail a test and get beaten again. But the funny part is… we felt like failing the whole game, but won the scenarily easily, which was odd.

  19. The main thing I remember from my one session is how frustrating it was simply to get to a place, let alone then have the ability to do what I needed to do there. I feel like it could have maintained the difficulty simply by having the school you start at all the time be in the dead centre of the map or something like that. Maybe not workable… but yeah, we spent at least an hour doing the first round because of having to constantly check rules and so on, it was very dispiriting.

  20. The game also has a punishing feed back loop when you start getting bad status effects. You get one and before you know it you have several more that reduces you to hardly any actions at all and it takes days to climb out of that hole meaning you are not being useful for a huge swathe of the game. And by the time you've managed to come back to be useful someone else is in the same hole!

    And once rumours start appearing on the island the sheer amount of actions it takes to get there, let alone do anything is ridiculous.

  21. Boring Eldritch Horror, was my first thought. And then you basically said that

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