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Mr Punter
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First ever true session report so bear with me!

Played my first game of 4 player Vast with the 4 original roles, Knight, Goblins, Dragon and Cave. I had played twice before in 2p games KvD and KvG. Everyone else was new to the game.

Any Vast session report with new players also requires discussion about the rules teaching. Thankfully, I had 3 good students and the teaching went pretty smoothly. I did a very quick over-view for each character so they all got the general gist, then started a more detailed explanation with the Knight before moving round the table. I held on to the character sheets until after explaining, as much by accident as by design, which I think worked in terms of attention.

I tried to focus on the key aspects for each character. The Knight is driven by encounters and needs to make sure she controls her action points and encounter usage to keep her turn rolling. For the Goblins, population control is their key with movement and attacking easy to explain once the player understands the growth and scatter. The Dragon needs to understand their cards and how they will be using these constantly to do anything, their task of waking is reasonably easy to convey. As the Cave, I explained how my grubby, stalactite fingers will be seen lots during the game, shaping and prodding each individual role to attempt to keep things even.

All in - I think I got the rules explanation done in less than 30 mins, which I felt was good and we got rolling.

The Knight of course started, taking her first tentative steps around the Cave, discovering their first event (Cave got omens) and just testing the water. The Goblins organised themselves a little and a couple of tribes appeared from their hiding spots. The Dragon also appeared and nibbled on a Goblin tribe. The Cave - wasn't sure how to deal with its size issues and started to expand.

A couple of turns in and the Knight and started to explore, she'd discovered some treasures, completed a sidequest and was gaining grit. However, she'd not yet attempted to damage the Dragon.

The Goblins, had been able to attack the Knight in one turn with 2 tribes, but then kept getting eaten by the Dragon .

The Dragon, had started to get it's gems on the board and was waking up quickly.

The Cave had finally sprouted and was trying it's best to pick on the Dragon but couldn't quite get the tiles to hurt it yet.

Next the poor Knight was picked on by both the Goblins and Dragon , getting her health and grit damaged, losing an action cube or two in the process. Despite having treasure the Knight was looking a little worse for wear.

Good News, now the Cave was of a reasonable size with some good hiding spots. The benevolent Cave ordered it's bats to fly the Knight into one of these to help her and hid her behind a rock-fall. The Knight also stumbled across a helpful event or two, allowing her to regain her health. The Goblins got frustrated - all their work was for naught so far.

Bad News, now the Cave was of a reasonable size with some good hiding spots and the Dragon was in one of these with some distance between it and the Knight. The Cave realised the folly its charity too late, and begun to question how to stop that almost awake Dragon. The best it could do was rock-falls and some cavern changing as it aimed to slow the Dragons escape. By design or luck, the Dragon had a crystal right there for the taking too.

A late, futile attempt was made by the Goblins to trap the Dragon behind a cave-in. This didn't quite work as the collapse was imminent, but not quite in progress so the gaps were plugged by dark tiles.

The writing was on the Caves wall, the Dragon shook the last of it's slumber off thanks to a nearby event, smashed the crystal, revealed the dark tiles and flew over the walls in place to escape.

Some thoughts:
The Knight was adventurous but not aggressive, leaving the Dragon to wake up unchecked. She is the key to slowing down the Dragon.

The Goblins were frustrated by the Caves decisions to assist the Knight, this un-did all their work. Unfortunately one of the missed bits of the rules was the removal of completed events, this may have unduly helped the Knight.

The Dragon, had a fairly easy game, finding Goblins where-ever it went to snack on, and with no bombs being rained down on it was able to quickly wakeup.

The Cave tried to prod and assist in the right places and was close to collapse, but struggled with it's lack of ability to stem the Dragons rise.
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Tom Hill
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Great report, sounded like a good game and a good analysis of each roll.

How long did the game play take after you finished the explanation?
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Mr Punter
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I think all in we had the game done in around 1hr 45, including explanation.

I was itching for game 2 with everyone switching roles, but didn't quite come to pass.
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Tom Hill
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Sounds like the preparation is the key to getting a good first game wrapped up. Looking forward to the arrival some time this week!
 
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Michael Peterson
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One of the original play-testers here. I've probably played 100+ games of Vast. Stopping the dragon can be really tricky, particularly when they get going early. One of the subtler things you can do as a cave to slow them down is with your treasure placement. You want to keep them away from the dragon (obviously), but sometimes you can benefit by putting treasure close to the Knight to make the dragon have to decide whether they allow the Knight to strengthen, or try to get the treasure themselves (and then need to spend time getting away).

Soporific Spores are also your friend. As the cave player, just go ahead and plan on budgeting a spores or two for the dragon. Sometimes an early spore that knocks down their card draw can slow down their growth curve substantially.

Last thing -- if you can help it (and sometimes you can't) -- when placing your first crystal tile, try not to put it so that there's a direct path to the cave entrance. Lots of walls and not orthogonal is ideal. That way, when the dragon surfaces, they may have to take two turns to get out.
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Mr Punter
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Thanks for the tips - I hadn't appreciated the walls usage until too late. I was also stuck without the right Omens to do Spores, you need 2 if I recall correctly. I was able to pull off one Spores use but that was all.

It's a tricky balancing act all round as the Cave. As much of the balancing is in the meta-game and trying to prod each role into what you want to happen, without the overt control. Really want to try again!

In terms of teaching, I said 30 mins, but I think it was less. It definitely helped having played with or against 3 of the roles. I then had a good idea on what to focus on when teaching and knew I could pick up other detail stuff (secrets cards, event cards etc) as the game progressed. Think I spent at most 5 mins on each role and a few mins on general over-view.
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Michael Peterson
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Hobbess wrote:
It's a tricky balancing act all round as the Cave. As much of the balancing is in the meta-game and trying to prod each role into what you want to happen, without the overt control. Really want to try again!


Absolutely. So much of the game is out of your hands as the cave and you've got to be the one mobilizing the other players to use their abilities to slow down the leader. It shouldn't be that hard to do, since it's usually in a players best interest to slow the game down (so long as your assessment is correct).

Of course, as Patrick is fond of saying, you really shouldn't trust a malevolent cave ...
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