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Grand Austria Hotel» Forums » General

Subject: Too Luck Driven? rss

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Aaron Robertson
United States
Texas
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Hi all. Long time lurker, first time poster.

Is anybody else finding GAH to be too dependent on luck? By that I mostly mean dice and guest availability. I'm now 4 games deep after purchase, and 3 of those games were VERY rough. We're overwhelmingly getting 3 total dice split between the two resource spots (wine, coffee, streusel, cake) and feel like we're barely scraping by. Forget coffee and cake--I can't even string a couple streudels together.

And yes, there are a few random guests that give you a single meager resource after you've fed them 3 cake and 2 coffee, but good luck if you see them come out.

You can prepare all the rooms in the world, buy workers until they run out, or advance to the end of the emperor track all you want, but without resources, you're absolutely sunk. I even cheated last night and added two dice to the pool (12 in a two player game) and we had multiple rounds of 4-5 dice on "prepare rooms" or "advance on emperor track." Great, the emperor loves me and my 10 empty rooms!!!!!
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David desJardins
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It's going to be pretty hard to sort the opinions, because the people who like less luck in their games will tend to think GAH has too much luck, and the people who like more luck in their games will tend to think it doesn't.
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Daily Grind
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We've also had a few 2p games with almost no food/drinks in the first few rounds, even with liberal use of both-pass-and-reroll. It made for a more frustrating game, but its hard to say the game is luck-dependent (for a player's success) because both players suffer equally when the resources are sparse. You just have a lower scoring game (and perhaps a less fun experience)...

I was considering adding some extra dice on our next 2p playthrough. Did you find that helped?
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Aaron Robertson
United States
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DaviddesJ wrote:
It's going to be pretty hard to sort the opinions, because the people who like less luck in their games will tend to think GAH has too much luck, and the people who like more luck in their games will tend to think it doesn't.


Good point!

It just seems that this game holds itself out to be a "point salad" style Euro, but there's really only one way to victory (feeding guests and getting them in rooms).

For example, a game like Castles of Burgundy relies heavily on dice rolling, but you're never without an option to get points (or reload for the next round). You go two or three rounds without cake, and it's game over.
 
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Brad Miller
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You can reroll dice, if you aren't happy with them, can you not?
 
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Daily Grind
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Windopaene wrote:
You can reroll dice, if you aren't happy with them, can you not?

You can, but in 2p you have fewer dice, and you lose a dice to the dustbin each re-roll. The last game I played, we had the first 3 turns, which included 3 re-rolls (so 9 total rolls) with never more than a single 1 or 2.

Now perhaps this is statistically rare, but it sure wasn't fun. I'm glad it wasn't our first game.
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Aaron Robertson
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cafin8d wrote:
We've also had a few 2p games with almost no food/drinks in the first few rounds, even with liberal use of both-pass-and-reroll. It made for a more frustrating game, but its hard to say the game is luck-dependent (for a player's success) because both players suffer equally when the resources are sparse. You just have a lower scoring game (and perhaps a less fun experience)...

I was considering adding some extra dice on our next 2p playthrough. Did you find that helped?


Definitely true. Both players suffer equally. It's just kind of a drag. I've heard rumors of people scoring 150+ points in a game, and that seems entirely impossible (especially for two people) from what I've seen so far.

We did try 12 dice in a two player game last night. We had three rounds in a row with 4-5 dice on "emperor track" or "prepare rooms." So we both were maxed out on emperor track and had a bunch of empty rooms open. My wife got a worker that have her four cake (I think) and she was finally able to break out the funk a bit. Still very low scoring game.
 
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Ken Bush
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6's allow other uses too. I've only played 2 player twice, and yes, resources were tight, but so were other things. Money was very sparse in one game and getting rooms open was hard in the other.

There are several ways to add to the dice, Staff, Money, Reroll, 6's, so I'm not sure TOO luck dependent is the phrase I would chose.
 
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Aaron Robertson
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Windopaene wrote:
You can reroll dice, if you aren't happy with them, can you not?


You can try! In a two player game, that usually nets a single streudel or wine (after giving your opponent the advantage of you passing).
 
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Aaron Robertson
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klbush wrote:
6's allow other uses too. I've only played 2 player twice, and yes, resources were tight, but so were other things. Money was very sparse in one game and getting rooms open was hard in the other.

There are several ways to add to the dice, Staff, Money, Reroll, 6's, so I'm not sure TOO luck dependent is the phrase I would chose.


That actually brings up a good question:

Can I pay TWO dollars to: 1) use the sixes as a "wild" and 2) pretend there's an extra six to get additional resources?

Example:

I desperately need three wine, but that dice action is not available. However, there are two sixes. Can I pay one dollar to add an additional six to the pool, and then pay another dollar to take three wine?
 
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Peter S.
United States
Sacramento
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Just to stimulate discussion, what would folks' responses be if we flipped the question to "Are the mechanics to mitigate luck too weak?" It sounds like there are mechanisms in place, but that they may not adequately address the circumstance of a short on a specific resource.
 
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Phil Hendrickson
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I think the game offers some ways to mitigate the luck of the dice. Some employees give resources. Some guests also give resources, if I remember correctly. Spending the extra dollar to get an additional resource can help. A tactical player looks for ways to work around the shortfalls and challenges the game presents. It's not always obvious, and one game will play differently from the next. I think this is the challenge of dice allocation games.

Not everyone likes every type of game, however, which is why we have so many. If you don't care for this one, move on to another. It's okay to not like it.


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Lawrence
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After maybe 12+ games of 2p, I can tell you that there's always an option. If you're not getting any decent rolls for resources, the dice are going somewhere. In those games, I'll focus more on hiring new employees and getting up the emperor track. There are plenty of ways to mitigate bad rolls with options to use [6] and the option to spend extra Krone for more powerful actions.

As others have said, it's not really luck driven since everyone is screwed equally. Our average scores tend to be around 110 - 120, but we've also had games where nobody scores over 60. For us, that's the beauty of GAH. Some games are full of resources and opportunity, allowing us to score massive amounts of points and satisfy all 3 bonuses. In other games, it's a narrow race where we're literally struggling to stay afloat despite horrible emperor penalties. We enjoy the tension that the second type of game brings, much like in Agricola or Dungeon Lords.

From what I can tell, it sounds like you might be thinking of GAH as a strategic game when, in fact, it is a tactical one. While you can attempt to outline a basic strategy based on your starting board and the presented goals, you really need to make more tactical decisions based on the throw of the dice and draw of guests. You must adapt. If you're looking for something a little more open and sandboxy, this might not be the game for you.
 
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Super Turtle
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After 11 plays I have concluded that luck plays a major role in this game. There are 2 main problems*.

The first is guest and dice destribution. This may not be a big deal when playing with the evening boards, however with the morning ones, where each hotel is diffent, the distribution will benefit some boards more.

The second is the stuff cards. Not in which cards you will get at the start, given that you use the draft rule, but the fact that many of the cards are a kind of gamble. Playba card that upgrade a dice action. If many dice of that number role, you will be a king, else you will have wasted an important resource.

*in case you like low-luck games
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Nathan Clegg
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Yes, you can pay $2 to both use a six and add one strength to it. Use sixes liberally.

Look for staff that assist you in getting food/drink.

Re-roll when you have to.

Try with 3 or 4 players for more options.

This is not point salad.

How about a nice game of chess?
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Alex Kendrick
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cafin8d wrote:
I was considering adding some extra dice on our next 2p playthrough. Did you find that helped?


I played some 2 player games with extra dice and found it's overall more fun for me and less frustrating. I will have to play it a few more times according to the actual rules (less dice depending on player count) to see if I can toughen up and play through the pain, but so far it was more fun with some extra dice while still retaining some challenge and competition.
 
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Ken Bush
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Admrob118 wrote:
klbush wrote:
6's allow other uses too. I've only played 2 player twice, and yes, resources were tight, but so were other things. Money was very sparse in one game and getting rooms open was hard in the other.

There are several ways to add to the dice, Staff, Money, Reroll, 6's, so I'm not sure TOO luck dependent is the phrase I would chose.


That actually brings up a good question:

Can I pay TWO dollars to: 1) use the sixes as a "wild" and 2) pretend there's an extra six to get additional resources?

Example:

I desperately need three wine, but that dice action is not available. However, there are two sixes. Can I pay one dollar to add an additional six to the pool, and then pay another dollar to take three wine?


Yes, you can.
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Scott Douglass
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If any aspect of the game needs improvement, it's the balance of the staff cards, not the dice mechanics.

I can usually get food, even if not as much as I want of a particular type, but that's partially because I value staff cards that make getting food easier quite highly in order to reduce the impact of food shortages. I find that the games where it is very difficult to get rooms because of a lack of 3's and 6's are a lot more challenging to deal with, particularly if an opponent has the staff card that lets them prepare a room when they take a 1 or a 2. In one notable case, there are almost no 3's for the first 4 rounds, and then almost no 1' or 2's for the last 3 rounds. That was a bit brutal, but it hit everyone.

3 and 4 player tends to be less punishing in terms of the dice, since there are simply more dice. Similarly, since there are more people grabbing guests, you don't have to worry much if none of the current guests are very good for you. With 2 you can sometimes really struggle to get the dice or guests you need, which can make the game very difficult, but this usually affects both players similarly.
 
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Ken Bush
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sdougla2 wrote:

3 and 4 player tends to be less punishing in terms of the dice, since there are simply more dice. Similarly, since there are more people grabbing guests, you don't have to worry much if none of the current guests are very good for you. With 2 you can sometimes really struggle to get the dice or guests you need, which can make the game very difficult, but this usually affects both players similarly.


I have been using the variant where the first card in the guest row is discarded if no-one has taken a card for an entire round (1 turn per player). We found that with 2 players the card row stagnation was a huge problem. One game the other player simply could not take a guest as all guests were yellow and his yellow rooms were all occupied.
 
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David desJardins
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The game is entertaining, but the decisions just don't seem that deep or complex, so, by definition, most of the outcome has to be determined by luck. Because skill + luck = 100%, so luck = 100% - skill.
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Gerritjan Roubos
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The game is set in another era.
May be those days it was hard to get luxury goods as strudel and cake?
At least that's what I tend to think when I'm in such a situation.
And it helps
 
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Apple Brains
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I've played this game 25 times, at all player counts, and I don't think it's luck dependant. I will always win against a new player, and against players who are learning, unless they have a knack at understanding what's really going on in this game, strategically and tactically, really quickly. New players will almost always end up with multiple guests with multiple black and white (coffee and cake) cube requirements that they are just eternally struggling to fulfill. Each roll of the dice is a huge expectation for multiple 1's and 2's and a huge disapointment when they don't appear. This is the biggest mistake I see with newbies with this game, stuck in a resource rut and putting all there hopes on the luck of the roll. It's HARD to fulfill orders needing blacks and whites, or 4 of any resource. loading up your cafe with these guests, at the wrong time, can lead to disaster and becoming stuck and feeling angst for the lack of 1's and 2's.

However, this is avoidable, and a strong player will avoid it, no matter what the dice rolls, and be able to play a strong game that gets guests into rooms and accomplishes alot. I'm not going to list strategies, it's fun to find those out on your own, but I just want to voice that getting stuck desperate for resources is a very real pitfall that in 9 out of 10 games is totally avoidable. Don't give up! Keep playing...... Just like marco polo and tzolkin, two other games by the same designer that people at first play feel are too restrictive to get what you want done but open up if you play repeatedly.... just keeeep playing..... Its a GREAT game!
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David desJardins
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derftymutt wrote:
I've played this game 25 times, at all player counts, and I don't think it's luck dependant. I will always win against a new player, and against players who are learning, unless they have a knack at understanding what's really going on in this game, strategically and tactically, really quickly.


Pretty much any strategy game the person who's played 25 times is going to beat the player who hasn't played before. But, if you played against someone else with 25 plays at all player counts, who would win? It seems to me that:

Quote:
I'm not going to list strategies, it's fun to find those out on your own, but I just want to voice that getting stuck desperate for resources is a very real pitfall that in 9 out of 10 games is totally avoidable.


And therefore everyone will avoid it and the game will be determined by who has the best luck.
 
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Bartosz Popow
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DaviddesJ wrote:
And therefore everyone will avoid it and the game will be determined by who has the best luck.

...or by the person who has greater skills. Why do you keep on saying it's luck-dependent if players have comparable experience?
 
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David desJardins
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BartP wrote:
DaviddesJ wrote:
And therefore everyone will avoid it and the game will be determined by who has the best luck.

...or by the person who has greater skills. Why do you keep on saying it's luck-dependent if players have comparable experience?


Because there don't seem to be many complex or difficult decisions. "Apple Brains" implies the same thing when he states that there are traps or bad situations you can get into, but they are almost always avoidable. There are certainly times when one choice seems about as good as another, but generally I think that happens when one choice IS about as good as another, and so the impact of such choices on who wins isn't very much, compared to luck.
 
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