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Council of Blackthorn» Forums » Reviews

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Слава Zordok
Russia
Санкт-Петербург
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The game is a thematical variant of "the king died, and who will be the new king way of intrigue." Games on this topic usually have a black humor, backstabbing, the tracks of all sorts of influence and a high level of direct interaction (aggression) among the players. Everything I love. But all tried were below average games. This «King Me!», fun game, but very chaotic and unbalanced; Kremlin, old 80's game about the Soviet political realities. Much closer to the subject (we move ourselves to the authorities, not minions): «Succession: Intrigue in the Royal Court», is most similar to CoB, are the same influence tracks. This old game was very stupid, no hint of balance; The King is Dead - mix of «sloveska» (light talking role-playing game) and board games, on the same subject - by intrigue to achieve the throne, and do not let it to other players.

What is there? There are 4 tracks influence = victory points. There stroke mechanics, the player performs one action from the list (this is the building card or its starting capacity) plays out of hand one card and receives the influence of the suit played cards. Under certain conditions (late in the game always) a card text working, or it can be build for future use. It looks great!

In fact, there is a 50% rotated hand of cards that players lay on the table, and - wham - you stole structure. Or wham - 6 tokens of influence. Or wham - the player has thrown to you a few curses, and it is rare curse 3 points. "Favorite" by many of the Munchkin mechanic «Take That». Now for the cons:

- There is no reason to talk, because only opportunity to bargain, this promise will not touch in his turn another player. Very funny.
- Not understand the leader, because Points on the crystals are hidden, and since they constantly change on a large denomination, even their number is difficult to say who and what.
- On all four tracks players (we played five) are nose to nose. Each player has a 3 tracks very well developed and 1 is abandoned. All of the cards in order to play the text requires the development of a track, rather than their color, so the only hit in a single track does not make sense. A four - wasteful.
- The hand too quickly rotate. 1 played card, 1 discarded. A total of 5 cards. As a result, what you take is what you get.


The game is not broken, because players scored about the same number of points. But it's the appearance that it works. Yes, the game simply does not work. All players something to play, trying to isolate and soak leader, eventually someone lost on penalties with a small gap, and someone (I) won on points with the same small gap. But all the information is hidden about the points and penalties, without tracks. The winner is really someone, even the leader himself does not understand who. This game is about intrigue, but without intrigue, with backstabbing nature, but no reason to do, and without the possibility to discuss it. It resembles very bad American card-type fillers Fishing for Terrorists and some similary.

p.s.
Thanks to to the Google Translate for the fact that it exists.
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Rick
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Google translate is certainly a great tool. Unfortunately it doesn't do a great job all the time. Because of this I'm not sure I understand all of your concerns about the game.

But, I do want to point out a couple of things.

1 - I do think talking is important in the game. When someone plays on a zero it is often helpful to suggest which player you think is winning so they can give their Treason cards to them. Whether they believe you or not is a different thing.

2 - You do not have to discard a card every turn. You CAN discard one in hopes to draw something that better fits your strategy, but it is not necessary.

3 - The hidden victory points are there on purpose. You might think you know who is in the lead, but you do not know with 100% certainty. That's what leads to talking.
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Ben Rubinstein

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Hmm, I will add that the game was pretty silent when I played. That was one of my big criciticims, too.

I'm not really sure how hidden VPs add to table talk.
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Rick
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epilepticemu wrote:
Hmm, I will add that the game was pretty silent when I played. That was one of my big criciticims, too.

I'm not really sure how hidden VPs add to table talk.
If you knew the exact score of all the players at the table, there is no question who you should be targeting for Legion cards or for giving Treason cards to. And therefore no table talk needed. You just look and see. It's the hidden information that is the only reason for table talk. Hidden information means players at the table have to guess who is in the lead (and often guess incorrectly). The players can then suggest who to target. Example:

"Look at his pile of Influence tokens. It's so big!" Even though they might all be 1s while you have a small stack of 5s.
OR
"He's so far ahead on the tracks, clearly he'll win." Even though he hasn't scored much anywhere else.
OR
"His Treason pile is so small, clearly you need to target him." Even though you have a large stack of all Rumors.

And then, once someone has said any of the above. Someone else says,
"You need to target the guy who's talking so much. Clearly he's trying to shift the blame off himself."
OR
The player who is being blamed says, "I have way too many Treason points as it is, I'm going to get beheaded anyway, might as well target that player and not me."

Etc., etc., etc.

Any game (not just Council of Blackthorn) played in silence isn't going to be as fun.
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Ben Rubinstein

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the influence you gain isn't random, like the treason cards are. It's fully trackable. Your example does work well with the Treason cards, but not the influence.

I agree that games played in silence aren't as much fun.
 
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Rick
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True it is trackable. But usually in a 4 or 5 player game it gets difficult.
 
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Justin Baumgartner
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I'm going to take a stab at responding, with attempted translations in bold:
- There is no reason to talk, because only opportunity to bargain, this promise will not touch in his turn another player. Very funny.
There aren't reasons to bargain because there are no mechanics that force agreements to be honored - If bargaining was a selling point of the game, this would be a fair criticism. I guess because there aren't any actual "resources" to bargain with I don't think that it matters.

- Not understand the leader, because Points on the crystals are hidden, and since they constantly change on a large denomination, even their number is difficult to say who and what.
Hidden points and hidden Treason values make it difficult to determine the leader, preventing people from making optimal choices - I think that the purpose of the hidden values is to add a level of uncertainty to the game, to open up the game to table talk and banter. It's been noted that the VP totals are able to be tracked, and I agree that if people are tracking VPs then the game loses a fair amount of it's value.

- On all four tracks players (we played five) are nose to nose. Each player has a 3 tracks very well developed and 1 is abandoned. All of the cards in order to play the text requires the development of a track, rather than their color, so the only hit in a single track does not make sense. A four - wasteful.
Players who are focusing on a track are generally pretty close to each other on that track, and a dominant strategy of advance three tracks and abandon one exists. Also because cards trigger off of other tracks and not their color you can't just focus one track - I'd be surprised if that strategy actually was dominant, but even still which tracks you focus will largely be determined with how you want to play out your hand. If you play on a 0 you get to automatically trigger the text so the OP might be playing the game wrong. I disagree with the OP on this point entirely.

- The hand too quickly rotate. 1 played card, 1 discarded. A total of 5 cards. As a result, what you take is what you get.
Seeing 2/5 of your cards change every turn is too much change - As noted already, discarding a card is optional. I've found myself not discarding roughly 50% of the time because I see a pretty good sequence of plays available to me.

I do think that if you are looking for a political game, Council of Blackthorn probably won't hit the spot. The various political elements are more representative of those functions than actual mediums for political dealings to take place.
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Ben Rubinstein

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Micanthropyre wrote:
I do think that if you are looking for a political game, Council of Blackthorn probably won't hit the spot. The various political elements are more representative of those functions than actual mediums for political dealings to take place.


I think that's the biggest issue. The game seemed to be presented as a highly political game, largely mirroring them workings of the Small Council from Game of Thrones.
 
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Justin Baumgartner
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epilepticemu wrote:
I think that's the biggest issue. The game seemed to be presented as a highly political game, largely mirroring them workings of the Small Council from Game of Thrones.


I backed the Kickstarter and wasn't really under the impression that it was a primarily political game outside trying to convince people that player X should be getting the Treason cards.

Its certainly possible that people were expecting a deeper, heavier game based on the title and some of the descriptive words. The strengths of Council lie primarily with it's mechanical balance and ease of play while carrying a fitting theme on top of it.

Here is the Kickstarter page, I've looked it over and I don't think the game was misrepresented.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1044523500/council-of-b...
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Ben Rubinstein

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Micanthropyre wrote:
epilepticemu wrote:
I think that's the biggest issue. The game seemed to be presented as a highly political game, largely mirroring them workings of the Small Council from Game of Thrones.


I backed the Kickstarter and wasn't really under the impression that it was a primarily political game outside trying to convince people that player X should be getting the Treason cards.

Its certainly possible that people were expecting a deeper, heavier game based on the title and some of the descriptive words. The strengths of Council lie primarily with it's mechanical balance and ease of play while carrying a fitting theme on top of it.

Here is the Kickstarter page, I've looked it over and I don't think the game was misrepresented.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1044523500/council-of-b...


Yeah, this was probably my fault. I guess I assumed that a game that tried to mimicker GoT's Small Council would have political gameplay elements as opposed to the politics being limited to the theme.
 
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