Alternative Titles/Edition History:
Series consists of: Quad Deluxe Board Set 1, Quad Deluxe Board Set 2, Quad Deluxe Board Set 3. Quad Deluxe Board Set 4. Quad Deluxe Board Set 5. Quad Deluxe Board Set 6
Critical Hit (2019)
Country of Origin:
Quad Deluxe Board Set 1: 4 nonstandard unmounted geoboards (d1-d4) each consisting of 4 glossy 12" x 18" heavy paper/light cardstock map panels (16 map panels total).
Quad Deluxe Board Set 2: 4 nonstandard unmounted geoboards (d5-d8) each consisting of 4 glossy 12" x 18" heavy paper/light cardstock map panels (16 map panels total).
Quad Deluxe Board Set 3: 4 nonstandard unmounted geoboards (d9-d12) each consisting of 4 glossy 12" x 18" heavy paper/light cardstock map panels (16 map panels total).
Quad Deluxe Board Set 4: 4 nonstandard unmounted geoboards (d13-d16) each consisting of 4 glossy 12" x 18" heavy paper/light cardstock map panels (16 map panels total).
Quad Deluxe Board Set 5: 4 nonstandard unmounted geoboards (d17-d20) each consisting of 4 glossy 12" x 18" heavy paper/light cardstock map panels (16 map panels total).
Quad Deluxe Board Set 6: 4 nonstandard unmounted geoboards (d21-d24) each consisting of 4 glossy 12" x 18" heavy paper/light cardstock map panels (16 map panels total).Commentary:
Do you feel like spending $59.95 on a bad idea, poorly executed? Well, have we got a product for you.
Welcome to the Quad Deluxe Board Set series from Critical Hit, a set of 6 (so far) map packs that seem to be an attempt to take advantage of what is probably print-on-demand technology acquired by Critical Hit and to appeal to that (small?) subset of ASL gamers who like playing with really big hexes.
So here’s the story of this product. Back in 2013, Critical Hit released several products that basically took Avalon Hill’s official early geoboards and ripped them off, creating “alternative” versions of these geoboards that were very similar but not identical to the original geoboards. The first such product was the Sweet 16 Geo Board & Scenario Collection; others followed. Not only was the idea for the product pretty cheesy, but the execution was even worse, because the boards themselves had to be cut by hand and the graphics–especially the buildings–were really bad. Desperation Morale actually gave the product a Consumer Alert for its bad quality.
Now, in 2019, Critical Hit has started taking those same boards and–get this–making them bigger. Each Quad Deluxe Board Set contains four of their original “variant” geoboards transformed into large-hex versions of themselves. Each board is formed by assembling 4 glossy 12″ x 18″ heavy paper/light cardstock map panels. Critical Hit claims that each of these large boards, when assembled, is 18″ by 48.”
The use of the word “Deluxe” in the title might make some ASLers think that these are DASL-compatible boards or at least that the hexes are DASL-sized hexes. Neither is true. The hexes of the boards of this series are quite large, at 1.75″ across (for comparison, standard ASL hexes are .81″ across, Red Barricades-style hexes are 1″ across, and DASL hexes are 2.2″ across), but they are not nearly as large as DASL hexes. They are not even as large as the 1.81″ hexes of Critical Hit’s Hot Stove Pack series (about which more later). We should note that each of these packs shows a sample hex on the back of the product, but the sample hex is nearly 3″ across, far larger than the actual hex sizes in these products.
But if you like big hexes, this still might be a product you’d be interested in, right? Well, not so fast.
One problem with these packs is that Critical Hit did not simply use the map designs of their Sweet 16 variant boards–they seem to have imported the artwork directly, and simply enlarged it. As a result, the artwork for the Quad Deluxe packs is less attractive than the artwork for the Hot Stove Packs. The base green for 0-level hexes is a dull olive-green rather than the lighter and brighter green of official ASL products as well as of the Hot Stove Pack boards. Similarly, the Hot Stove Pack boards contain better orchard artwork than the Quad Deluxe boards.
But the Quad Deluxe Boards do share one thing with the Hot Stove Packs and that is that the rendition of building artwork is particularly crappy.
Desperation Morale does not know what software Critical Hit uses to create its maps, but much of the map artwork seems to be done using vector graphics, which canor scale up or down with ease (they are designed to do that). However, for buildings, Critical Hit seems to use bitmap or raster graphics, or captured images of bitmap raster graphics. The problem with bitmaps is that they do not scale upwards. When enlarged beyond their native resolution, they pixelate. Or if an image of a bitmap is captured and scaled in some other format, it may become blurry.
But you may be able to imagine what happens to such buildings when they are scaled up in size to bit hexes nearly 2″ across. They look bad. Their edges are pixelated and their interiors are quite blurry. In short, they are ugly and greatly detract from any visual appeal that these boards might offer.
The other terrain all seems to be fine. Woods, hedges, roads, etc., all have no issue. But those buildings–ugh. A number of the Quad Deluxe buildings are even more poorly rendered than the Hot Stove Pack buildings. It’s hard to imagine anyone wanting to play on boards with such big, ugly pixelated and/or blurry buildings.
Some of the boards may have other graphics issues, as well. For example, one of the boards of the first Quad Deluxe set (the individual map panels, by the way, are not identified, so purchasers have to perform a sort of mate-and-match routine to determine which map panels make up which boards), there is a brownish blob in hex AA9. It’s clearly a different hue than the Level 1 hill hexes also on the board, but it is also clearly not a grain hex. What is it? Don’t know.
Finally, we should note that the hexgrids do not extend all the way to the panel edges along the long edges of the geoboards, which will make it irritating to have to mate up two such boards next to each other.
None of the Quad Deluxe Board Sets come with any scenarios, only the map panels, so another question is what use players can even get out of these products. The only scenarios that go with these maps are the ones that came in products like the Sweet 16 Geo Board & Scenario Collection, but 1) there aren’t many of those and 2) those scenarios were merely previously published scenarios hastily revised to work on the new boards (but seemingly not re-playtested). Critical Hit would probably say that you could take any scenarios that use official geoboards 1-24 and substitute the variant geoboards 1-24 for them. But that’s not going to work in the majority of cases because the boards are similar, not identical, so there are likely to be setup issues, victory condition issues, and the like. Essentially these boards are for DYO scenarios, which is something ASLers rarely do. It is unlikely Critical Hit will come out with future scenarios that use these boards (Critical Hit doesn’t have a history of doing that with these sorts of products).
There is really very little reason to purchase any of the products in this series.
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