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Guilds of London» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Our first go at GoL rss

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Dave Moser
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If FedEx Tracking is to be believed, my copy of GoL is sitting on my doorstep as I type. Fortunately, another gent in the area got his delivered a bit earlier, and brought it to the table last night, so I didn't have to wait another week to try it out. There were four of us - neither I nor the owner of the game had played before but we were pretty familiar with the rules from reading them here. The other two players were completely new to GoL but were keen to give it a try.

Setup went smoothly, and rules explanation took much less time than I expected (or maybe my expectations are a just bit warped after teaching Scythe multiple times in the past month.) The guy who brought the game had very considerately made some copies of the icon guides so that everyone had quick access to them during the game.

The full game took around 2 1/2 hours, but we all agreed that this would likely come down a lot with experience. Final scores were remarkably close - two players tied for 2nd, 1 point behind the winner, and the fourth player about 8 points back IIRC. General consensus ranged from "Loved It" to "Interesting, definitely willing to try it again." (I was in the "Loved It" camp. meeple )

Some observations:

* It's not an engine builder. No reason why I should have thought it would be, but I guess I've just gotten so used to that type of game that I started to think it's what all games do. But no, in GoL, your last turn is a lot like your first. Maybe your hand size is 8 instead of 7, maybe there are a few more card abilities you can use because you have some masters in place, etc., but in general there's not much ramp up in what you can do on a given turn the way there is in some other games. That's not good or bad, just something that occurred to me toward the end.

* And speaking of expectations... Neutral liverymen did not get used as often as I expected. It's entirely possible that this is due to our inexperience. I took advantage of some early cards to grab 3 of the little buggers on my first turn, and they sat there with their feet up drinking my beer for nearly the whole game. I just wasn't sure when to use them to best advantage, so I kept them in reserve. Not that they didn't affect game play, as there was definitely awareness on everyone's part of who had how many NL, and players were taking that into consideration while playing. The mechanic works brilliantly; it's just that in this first session the NLs acted as deterrents more often than actually being used.

* And speaking of neutral liverymen... we got one minor rule wrong. We thought that they could only be played by players in contention for a guild. I checked the forum this morning and saw that, in fact, anyone can use their neutrals during negotiation. I don't think it would have affected the game last night, but it's got me pondering how it might be a useful tactic in the future, to ensure a tie on a guild that I want to get in on in a later turn, or just as a way to slow down the leader.

* And speaking of the leader... we had lots of turn order changes during the game, so I think everyone spent at least a few rounds going first, last, and somewhere in between, and the critical effect of turn order on planning your move really started to register. It's a brilliant design, and encourages "drafting" the way a cyclist would - stay in the back, but as close to the pack as possible.

* And speaking of staying in the back... As I thought more about the game later, I glimpsed a strategic connection that I hadn't considered before. The importance of turn order gives the Mayoral Reward cards more importance than I originally thought. Certainly, end game scoring is an important part of the game, but maximizing your anticipated haul from the MR cards means you can be less concerned about VPs during the game, and can hang back and take advantage of late turn order as much as possible.

* And speaking of strategy.... What a great game experience! It seems certain that every play will present novel and intriguing situations to puzzle out, and I can't wait to get it to the table more and see what happens.

Thanks, Tony! - 10 years well spent!

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Rob Duncan
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Nice write up!

Though I contest the idea that we were tied for second since I had the 'win all ties' guild.

The learning curve for some of the game was steep and I actually got a little AP which is rare for me.

In particular for the learning curve was the expansive amount of cards, some of which just weren't expressed on the cheat sheet provided in the game (we matched symbols and intelligently guessed). It was cool to see such an enormous amount of variability come together nicely that felt condensed instead of diluted.

Overall I enjoyed playing this game and I really suspect that a second play-through will greatly change our strategies and the lackadaisical use of neutral liverymen.
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Steve Valladolid
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Rob, your ability to grasp the game as quickly as you did coming in at the tail end of the rules explanation was very impressive.

I'm still wrapping my head around the experience. The first few turns were a little rough, given the iconography and my general unfamiliarity of any strategy, so I just started poking things and seeing what happened. After a few turns, I started to understand some of the hidden gears of the game and how everything meshed together. By late game, I was cooking with gas.

My overall impression was favorable, and I'm eager to try again to apply what I learned in this first play.
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Rob Duncan
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svalladolid wrote:
Rob, your ability to grasp the game as quickly as you did coming in at the tail end of the rules explanation was very impressive.

I make up for my quick grasp of concepts with a sizable lack of deep strategic planning

svalladolid wrote:
My overall impression was favorable, and I'm eager to try again to apply what I learned in this first play.


I request you bring this to EsCon so we can play again.
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bort
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dmoser22 wrote:
it's just that in this first session the NLs acted as deterrents more often than actually being used.


I had a 2 player game the other day, and we ended up 2 NL pawns each, and they stayed unused - as you say, a deterrent (or at least something else to consider)
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Steve Valladolid
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asketes wrote:


I request you bring this to EsCon so we can play again.


You got it.
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Daniel King
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Some great analysis here. You might have been using the neutral liverymen fine. I think them being a threat is almost as valuable as actually using them. I also think that you bring up a great point about the last player advantage, and going last makes your neutral liverymen even more valuable.
 
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