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Near and Far» Forums » General

Subject: New to Red Raven, please advise on whether N&F is for me rss

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K S
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So last week I heard about Eight-Minute Empire: Legends and it seemed to hit quite a few of my buttons, so I put it on my wishlist. And then just this morning, I heard about Near and Far and its storytelling mechanic, which was instantly appealing. Then I learned that it was a sequel to Above and Below, and that all three were made by the same company. I've never played any of these games, and was hoping that some folks may be able to answer a few questions for me before I decide whether or not to back this game.

1. How menchanically similar to A&B should I expect N&F to be? I've never played A&B, but its weight rating on BGG looks about right for my playgroup, and it would be a big plus if N&F isn't going to be more complicated.

2. By comparison with A&B, how realistic should I expect the "90 minute" playtime to be? My group tends to prefer games an hour or less, but are willing to go longer for storytelling games such as Tales of the Arabian Nights.

3. Speaking of TotAN, some reviews of A&B suggested that the storytelling seemed a bit "tacked on" on top of a Euro, but some N&F previews suggest that the two should be better integrated. Should I expect that to be true?

4. After searching online for A&B this morning, it seems to be out of stock a lot of places. Does Red Raven tend to reprint their games? Or should I expect difficulty finding N&F at retail if I don't grab it now?

5. If I like N&F, should I expect to also enjoy A&B, or do you expect N&F to be a "strictly better" improvement over A&B?

6. Do you think the extra A&B add-ons offered on the N&F KS are worth picking up because I'll want them eventually anyway?

7. If anybody has backed previous Red Raven games, how realistic should I expect that "May 2017" delivery date to be?

8. Finally, if I back N&F and it turns out not to be right for my group, is there a secondary market for these games? Should I expect to be able to easily sell/trade it?

Thanks to anybody willing to offer me any feedback on any of this. Sorry for so many questions, but I only have 60 hours to decide and the clock is ticking
 
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Peter Schott
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Generally speaking, there are similarities w/ the two - story-telling, choices to make, how to use your people, but Near & Far is more of a campaign - levels, going through scenarios, etc. It has the random deck for one-off adventures and some character-driven stories, but it's still designed as a campaign game. There are some playthrough videos from Red Raven and Rahdo that I'd recommend watching, though be aware that Rahdo tends to miss some things along the way due to the really short amount of time he has to learn the rules and shoot the video. Ryan addressed one of Rahdo's concerns in that he seemed to spend way too much time in town as opposed to adventuring.

Above and Below is being reprinted - it's just not currently available. It will be available again soon and the only parts that weren't included in the retail release were the extra stories. I think they even got all of the bits to go w/ the stories, just not the stories themselves. As for whether or not you'd like that enough to get the extras, I'd again watch some videos - there are quite a few for Above and Below now. If it seems like your type of game, get the add-ons for it. I'd also note that the storytelling doesn't always make sense - that's one thing Near & Far is supposed to address. The stories in A&B can be a little disjointed and don't really have a good "close" to them. Still entertaining, though.

The "May 2017" date will be pretty close, but as with anything related to KS, expect some delays. If you absolutely need this in June 2017, you may want to find something else as a backup. However, Ryan's campaigns have generally delivered around the expected time. The delay is more around the usual "unforeseen events" that can come up - like a union strike preventing games from getting into the US as a random example.

As for the secondary market - there is one. You are generally able to sell/trade without too much trouble, though as always that will be better the closer it is to release date or once it's in that "waiting for reprint" grey area.
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K S
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Thanks so much, Peter! Your responses really help a lot. Do you know of any official announcement on when to expect an A&B reprint? And I see that you have it in your collection, how accurate do you feel the 90 minute playtime and 2.6 weight rating are for A&B? I also see that you have TotAN, do you think that a group which enjoys Tales would also likely enjoy A&B/N&F?
 
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Peter Schott
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90 minute playtime seems relatively accurate - the game is set to end, not go on and on and there aren't a whole lot of really agonizing decisions for the most part. Some have actually complained that they found the game too short if you look at the session reports.

No idea about the A&B timeframe for a reprint. I think it's been mentioned, but don't recall the details. It's coming, but not in a way that lets Red Raven offer it as an add-on.

I know I played Tales w/ my wife and the absolute complete random aspect drove her nuts. I know it's more an experience than a game, but that means it's not for everyone. A&B has win conditions that are more attainable and measurable w/ some actual control over most of the aspects. You control goods placement, which characters you "invite", how many people to send on an expedition, etc. If you don't want to think that much, A&B might not be for you, but it's definitely more of a game than Tales is.
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Brennan Sheremeto
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paschott wrote:

Above and Below is being reprinted - it's just not currently available. It will be available again soon and the only parts that weren't included in the retail release were the extra stories. I think they even got all of the bits to go w/ the stories, just not the stories themselves. As for whether or not you'd like that enough to get the extras, I'd again watch some videos - there are quite a few for Above and Below now. If it seems like your type of game, get the add-ons for it. I'd also note that the storytelling doesn't always make sense - that's one thing Near & Far is supposed to address. The stories in A&B can be a little disjointed and don't really have a good "close" to them. Still entertaining, though.


Retail A&B did not get any of the extras from kickstarter, no stories or bits.
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Matthew Gabbert
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wamsp wrote:
7. If anybody has backed previous Red Raven games, how realistic should I expect that "May 2017" delivery date to be?

Near and Far is the 8th Red Raven Games KS project that I've backed. Of the previous seven projects, I received:
- The Ancient World exactly on time.
- Eight-Minute Empire:Legends, Eight-Minute Empire:Lost Lands Expansion, Artifacts Inc., and Islebound one month early.
- Above and Below two months early.
- Dingo's Dreams three months early.

I've enjoyed all of these games, some more than others certainly, but the one thing I never worry about with RRG is their delivery date.

That being said, Near and Far has been RRG's most successful project to date by a long way, and it has blown through more stretch goals than any other. It's also the first with metal coins which could present new challenges. But their strong track record gives me the confidence that they've planned well and that they haven't added any stretch goals that would put their delivery schedule at risk (an all too common KS problem).
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Peter Schott
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amish_rabbi wrote:
paschott wrote:

Above and Below is being reprinted - it's just not currently available. It will be available again soon and the only parts that weren't included in the retail release were the extra stories. I think they even got all of the bits to go w/ the stories, just not the stories themselves. As for whether or not you'd like that enough to get the extras, I'd again watch some videos - there are quite a few for Above and Below now. If it seems like your type of game, get the add-ons for it. I'd also note that the storytelling doesn't always make sense - that's one thing Near & Far is supposed to address. The stories in A&B can be a little disjointed and don't really have a good "close" to them. Still entertaining, though.


Retail A&B did not get any of the extras from kickstarter, no stories or bits.

Thanks. I wasn't completely sure about that - must have been thinking of a different game where people got the bits, but not everything needed to use them.
 
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Steve Cohn
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wamsp wrote:
1. How mechanically similar to A&B should I expect N&F to be? I've never played A&B, but its weight rating on BGG looks about right for my playgroup, and it would be a big plus if N&F isn't going to be more complicated.


Mechanically somewhat different. Above and Below you send your villagers exploring or out to work to get some resources. Near and Far you will also explore and get resources, but at different times for different reasons. In A&B, you build your personal village/town. In N&F you will send your characters to a town to get needed resources. Both games have "team building" also, where you obtain/hire/find/rescue villagers/adventurers who then help you and your team for the rest of the game. Writing this out took a lot longer to explain than the actual action, in practice it's very simple!

wamsp wrote:
2. By comparison with A&B, how realistic should I expect the "90 minute" playtime to be? My group tends to prefer games an hour or less, but are willing to go longer for storytelling games such as Tales of the Arabian Nights.


Above and Below clocks in around 90 minutes for 4 players with some experience. Your first game might take a bit longer as you learn the ropes. By the end of your second game you will come to realize you actually don't have enough time to do all the things you want to do!
A two player game of Above and Below is usually right around an hour.

wamsp wrote:
3. Speaking of TotAN, some reviews of A&B suggested that the storytelling seemed a bit "tacked on" on top of a Euro, but some N&F previews suggest that the two should be better integrated. Should I expect that to be true?


Disagree. TotAN is *all* about story-telling, true, it's less of a "game" and more of an experience. A&B has both a full game as well as the story-telling experience--though I don't see it as tacked on. You choose whether or not to explore, and when, and how. Or not! You can totally build your village and play the resource game, too, skipping the adventures, though many might think you are missing the fun aspect of the exploration option. You choose what resources to obtain, and when--for the most part--some adventures provide additional resources, some you may not have foreseen!

wamsp wrote:
4. After searching online for A&B this morning, it seems to be out of stock a lot of places. Does Red Raven tend to reprint their games? Or should I expect difficulty finding N&F at retail if I don't grab it now?


As noted, a new printing is on the way.

wamsp wrote:
5. If I like N&F, should I expect to also enjoy A&B, or do you expect N&F to be a "strictly better" improvement over A&B?


I expect these games to be quite different. Near and Far is continuation of the exploration done in Above and Below, but still different experiences, different games. I would expect fans of A&B will be fans of N&F. But as N&F offers some new experiences/features, even those who did not enjoy A&B much may really enjoy N&F.

wamsp wrote:
6. Do you think the extra A&B add-ons offered on the N&F KS are worth picking up because I'll want them eventually anyway?


Yes. Do not hesitate for this. If you choose to back Near and Far, get the Above and Below add-ons and story book. If it turns out you are not fan, post the Extended Edition on the Marketplace here on BGG, it will not last long. People who want this game want this game.

wamsp wrote:
7. If anybody has backed previous Red Raven games, how realistic should I expect that "May 2017" delivery date to be?


I'll give you two examples I was personally following (but did not back at the time, and kicked myself for having missed them later):
Islebound was estimated for August 2016. It started to arrive to backers at the end of July 2016. Above and Below was estimated for December 2015 arrival. Backers started receiving in November 2015. There are a very small handful of Kickstarters that could boast that. (disclaimer: US deliveries, specifically. International gamers may have different experiences/opinions, sometimes games arrive to them early, sometimes not.)

wamsp wrote:
8. Finally, if I back N&F and it turns out not to be right for my group, is there a secondary market for these games? Should I expect to be able to easily sell/trade it?


In a word, yes. Above and Below (retail) was commonly selling in the $40 range until the Near and Far KS campaign. At that point it actually went up in price on many sites, including Amazon, and still sold out. Islebound is also proving to be very popular, I picked up the KS version here on BGG in the marketplace for a little more than the KS cost, and considered myself blessed to be able to do so--the KS version has proven to be somewhat elusive for some who were unable to back at the time of the KS. The retail versions of the Red Raven Games games are complete, enjoyable games that don't "need" the extra fancy bits, but they are enjoyed and appreciated. Even a "used" RRG title will generally fetch a pretty good price on the marketplace.

wamsp wrote:
Thanks to anybody willing to offer me any feedback on any of this. Sorry for so many questions, but I only have 60 hours to decide and the clock is ticking


The clock is indeed ticking! An update about the stretch goals and possibly more news is supposed to come out today now that the crew of RRG is back from Gen Con.

Cheers!
~Steve
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Marty McFly
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FYI - Red Raven has said that the A&B reprint is expected to hit retail in September. Here's a link to a KS comment from Red Raven stating that (among other things)...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/953146955/near-and-far-...
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Brennan Sheremeto
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paschott wrote:
amish_rabbi wrote:
paschott wrote:

Above and Below is being reprinted - it's just not currently available. It will be available again soon and the only parts that weren't included in the retail release were the extra stories. I think they even got all of the bits to go w/ the stories, just not the stories themselves. As for whether or not you'd like that enough to get the extras, I'd again watch some videos - there are quite a few for Above and Below now. If it seems like your type of game, get the add-ons for it. I'd also note that the storytelling doesn't always make sense - that's one thing Near & Far is supposed to address. The stories in A&B can be a little disjointed and don't really have a good "close" to them. Still entertaining, though.


Retail A&B did not get any of the extras from kickstarter, no stories or bits.

Thanks. I wasn't completely sure about that - must have been thinking of a different game where people got the bits, but not everything needed to use them.

The kickstarter version got the bits and a PDF of the stories but not a printed extra book, so that is probably what you were thinking of.
 
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ParisianDreams
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All my Red Raven games have been delivered on time or early. I've backed Above and Below, Islebound, City of Iron and now Near and Far. Even though I have the KS edition of A&B, I still backed at the level to get the printed storybook as I never got around to printing the PDF. Plus I wanted it nicely printed like the first A&B book.
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