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SeaFall» Forums » General

Subject: How's the catch-up and balance over the long term? rss

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Joseph Cochran
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Hey folks,

We've just finished game 2 with our 5p crew, and our score spread is 13 points between top and bottom. The person who's in last has had some truly terrible dice rolls for raids (nobody at the table feels his strategy was unsound, but rolling 6 or 7 dice and getting only one success just isn't something you can plan for), and is feeling pretty dejected at this point. Additionally, the same person has won both times (though between the top three it's not THAT big a spread).

So our question comes down to this: how's the catch up over the long term? If you can answer without spoilers that'd be great, but we did open the first box during this game so we know some spoilers, specifically...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
...at the end of this game we changed title cards so we know about the rewards offered to trailing players and the enmity that the leader must pass to the trailing players.


Are the mechanisms good enough to keep the spread close enough for the game to feel competitive over the long run?
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Will
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jsciv wrote:
So our question comes down to this: how's the catch up over the long term? If you can answer without spoilers that'd be great, but we did open the first box during this game so we know some spoilers, specifically...

Are the mechanisms good enough to keep the spread close enough for the game to feel competitive over the long run?

We are through prologue + 7 games of a 3 player game. Current score is 85-80-75. 1 player has been in last for most of the campaign. He just crushed the last game 20-9-8 and jumped into the lead.

But that win wasn't caused by a catch up mechanic. He just played well and got some luck.
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Rob Uccello
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In my experience, the auto-balancing isn't nearly enough. Our game might be severely hampered by a Milestone reward that the winner of 4 of our 6 games got in the first game coupled with his appellation:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
The "Raid the highest location on an island" reward gave him the ability to pull back one Enmity token at the end of each game and he took the title "The Vengeful" so each Winter he can pull back one token. With these combined upgrades, he has never had to deal with any negative effects of raiding.


It's at the point after game 6 that he has a 21 point lead over the last place player, and a 12 point lead over second place, so the rest of us have no real hope of winning overall. Thankfully, the battle for 2-5th place is a good competition, so no one feels like quitting out of the campaign, but it does suck a lot of fun out of the game when there is a huge runaway winner.
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j n
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I've played about as far as you (so I've seen the spoilers you have).

I'm not sure if what we've seen so far is going to keep the total scores competitive in the long run, but it should be enough to make sure everyone gets to do some cool stuff over the campaign. That's probably going to be enough for my group.
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gary g
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Our group is not as competative to care much about leads or catching up. We're thoroughly enjoying the adventure.

Our 4P is currently at 3 games in with scores of 35-35-27-17 and the last place player has been quoted as saying "This may be the only game I don't even care if I'm losing because I'm having such an awesome time with you guys."

Everybody is getting to unlock stuff and do things besides just "waiting to lose".

I just won the last game and have to start the next game with no initial advisor so am pretty bummed so we'll see how I feel about the catch up mechanism next time. LOL
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Matt Random
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Our group is Prologue + 5/6 sessions in, I can't remember and I don't own it so I can't check. The catch-up mechanics seem to be doing their job. Our current scores are 70-67-67-64-61 and the player who is in first was 2nd/3rd every game so far while the people that are 4th/5th have been bouncing between winning and losing. We have also never had someone be in the lead for more than 2 games. You get targetted pretty fast...

That being said, our sessions have been far faster than what other people are reporting, so I don't know if it will be the same for everyone. We have only seen our 3rd year once or twice and every time it has ended on the first round in that year.
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Unfortunately in game eleven I'm finding myself more and more dissatisfied with the game.

Basically, I admit I'm just being a sore loser. Although I'm not that far behind in terms of points -- in fact I haven't yet sunk to last place in overall glory -- I find that my early mistakes have trapped me in a style of gameplay I find very boring. I chose to try and establish an economic base before exploring seriously, with the result that the guy who explored and only explored from the beginning got the important milestones and named all of the islands. All of them.

Meanwhile--
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Meanwhile, my early colonies meant that my economic game -- my only strength -- was crippled by oceanwide enmity, a "gotcha" twist that I had no way of predicting. So I spent a few games recovering from that.

We're now at the point when pretty much everything has been discovered, and raiding is what's required for the next big story points. And, well, I haven't built up my raiding either, since I've been trying (and failing) to catch up in exploration this entire time and it's now too late.

All completely my own fault of course, but that fact doesn't exactly make it more enjoyable. As I said, in terms of campaign points I'm still doing okay, although I've been sinking fast the last few games as I've mostly stopped paying attention. It's just that I'm stuck doing really boring stuff -- with hours and hours of the same to come before the campaign ends.

I do find it frustrating that there seem to be "right" choices in terms of overall approach at each stage of the game: Explore early. Let others get the colonies and piss off the islanders. Then get your colonies. Around game 8, start building up your raid so you're ready for the two big conquests that are needed. If you chose the "wrong" playstyle early on: oops, you're stuck.
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David desJardins
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Hexprone wrote:
Basically, I admit I'm just being a sore loser.


I don't think so. In my campaign, I'm on the plus side of the developments you're on the minus side of, but I still find them unsatisfactory. I don't feel much better for "guessing right" which things to emphasize from the beginning than you feel about guessing wrong.
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Matt Random
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Hexprone wrote:

Meanwhile--
Spoiler (click to reveal)

Meanwhile, my early colonies meant that my economic game -- my only strength -- was crippled by oceanwide enmity, a "gotcha" twist that I had no way of predicting. So I spent a few games recovering from that.



Spoiler (click to reveal)
You guys realized that you only have oceanwide enmity until the ancient city is conquered and its very easy to do? Our raider conquered it the first turn it was available with ease. Its easy enough that even someone not tuned to raid can just use an advisor and do it. I suppose if your group is purposefully leaving it up it would be frustrating, but our group has higher than usual enmity (every island has at least 4, most have 6) and we didn't find it too bad.
 
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j n
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@Hexprone,

Really wish more of that post was in spoiler tags.
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Matt Random
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lactamaeon wrote:
@Hexprone,

Really wish more of that post was in spoiler tags.


Yeah he really should put a lot more of it in spoiler tags =\ hopefully not too many people read it... @Hexprone. That part of the game was great fun to reveal! At least you don't know too much!
 
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Sorry, I couldn't really tell what part was too spoiler-y, so I just tagged the whole thing.
 
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j n
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Hexprone wrote:
Sorry, I couldn't really tell what part was too spoiler-y, so I just tagged the whole thing.


Thanks. The part where you were getting into advice on what to do in which order seemed a bit much to me.

I've heard arguments that the game might be more fun if people knew more about what was coming and could plan for it, but at least let us decide that for ourselves :)
 
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David desJardins
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SomeoneRandom wrote:
Spoiler (click to reveal)
You guys realized that you only have oceanwide enmity until the ancient city is conquered and its very easy to do? Our raider conquered it the first turn it was available with ease. Its easy enough that even someone not tuned to raid can just use an advisor and do it. I suppose if your group is purposefully leaving it up it would be frustrating, but our group has higher than usual enmity (every island has at least 4, most have 6) and we didn't find it too bad.


Spoiler (click to reveal)
I think you must be doing something wrong. The ancient city has 6 defense, you need to take no damage to conquer it, you need to roll 9 dice to have more than a 50% chance of getting 6 successes. It's also got 3 garrison, so if you've got 4 enmity that means you need to have a Raid value of 16 before losing 7 dice for garrison and enmity.

If I give you a flagship with Raid 4, a support ship for Raid +1, upgrades for Raid +2, and an adviser for Raid +3, you're still 6 short!!
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Joseph Cochran
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Hexprone wrote:
Sorry, I couldn't really tell what part was too spoiler-y, so I just tagged the whole thing.


Thanks. As the OP I can say that anything beyond the first box is A Spoiler Too Far for me. I stopped reading your post once I realized that you were saying things I didn't want to read, and I SHOULD be able to forget what I read, but yeah any spoiler protection would be good so that anyone else with this question who might not yet have started can get an idea of the answer.
 
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Atras wrote:
It's at the point after game 6 that he has a 21 point lead over the last place player, and a 12 point lead over second place, so the rest of us have no real hope of winning overall.


I don't know about that. To go in the other direction, I was three points behind the leader after game six, and I'm 28 points behind him now, after game eleven (yeah, things are going well for me).

Meanwhile the guy in fourth place who has had a truly miserable glory total the entire campaign has surged in the past couple of games due to....

Spoiler (click to reveal)
being our only dedicated raider and conquering both Tortosa and Ker


He's still ten points behind me, but may genuinely be in with a chance at this point.

So, things can shift -- remember that each game represents a greater potential glory score than the one before.
 
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Rob Uccello
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My fingers are crossed that you're right. The game is still fun, but so far the run away leader aspect is a huge anchor.
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Jason Pisani
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We've played three games. Whoever is in first place doesn't like being in first place. The options are limited on your first turn. And giving up enmity is rough.
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iamthepisani wrote:
We've played three games. Whoever is in first place doesn't like being in first place.


Psh.

That's because whoever is in first place is a freaking whiner.

The penalties for winning a game are temporary.

The compensations for losing a game are temporary.

The benefits of winning a game are permanent.

Our guy who has been in the lead forever and a day bitches up a storm at the end of every single game: "Oh no, I don't get to keep my favorite adviser! You're all being so mean to me!"

And yet looked at dispassionately, winning is to a player's advantage even in the medium term.

Those three or six (or even nine or twelve) extra gold that the guy in second place gets one time do not quite compare with the two gold every winter forever that the winner can choose.

Or, those one or two extra reputation? Not really the same as an extra reputation every game forever.

The enmity and rank systems serve a useful purpose, but they also have the irritating consequence of giving the guy who has been crushing everybody for weeks something to complain about.
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David desJardins
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Hexprone wrote:
The penalties for winning a game are temporary.

The compensations for losing a game are temporary.

The benefits of winning a game are permanent.


He's talking about being in first place for total campaign glory, which gives you the highest rank. That doesn't have much to do with winning an individual game. You don't get any permanent advantages for having the highest campaign glory. The person who's ahead in total glory hasn't necessarily won the most games or gotten the most permanent advantages.
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Garth Tams
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Hexprone wrote:
iamthepisani wrote:
We've played three games. Whoever is in first place doesn't like being in first place.


Psh.

That's because whoever is in first place is a freaking whiner.

The penalties for winning a game are temporary.

The compensations for losing a game are temporary.

The benefits of winning a game are permanent.

Our guy who has been in the lead forever and a day bitches up a storm at the end of every single game: "Oh no, I don't get to keep my favorite adviser! You're all being so mean to me!"

And yet looked at dispassionately, winning is to a player's advantage even in the medium term.

Those three or six (or even nine or twelve) extra gold that the guy in second place gets one time do not quite compare with the two gold every winter forever that the winner can choose.

Or, those one or two extra reputation? Not really the same as an extra reputation every game forever.

The enmity and rank systems serve a useful purpose, but they also have the irritating consequence of giving the guy who has been crushing everybody for weeks something to complain about.


I am only one full game in after the prologue. I won the game, and I feel like I have a tough position to come out of that game. Yes I have one permanent upgrade,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
but I also start game 2 with only 5 enmity tokens. I think as the games go on, the penalty will not feel as stiff, but after the first game, it does feel very restrictive. I took the garrison upgrade because I did not want to put a target on my back. The only downside with that is the Garrison does not immediately help me either.
 
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j n
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Mabuchi wrote:


I am only one full game in after the prologue. I won the game, and I feel like I have a tough position to come out of that game. Yes I have one permanent upgrade, but I also
Spoiler (click to reveal)
start game 2 with only 5 enmity tokens. I think as the games go on, the penalty will not feel as stiff, but after the first game, it does feel very restrictive. I took the garrison upgrade because I did not want to put a target on my back. The only downside with that is the Garrison does not immediately help me either.


Careful!
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lactamaeon wrote:
Mabuchi wrote:


I am only one full game in after the prologue. I won the game, and I feel like I have a tough position to come out of that game. Yes I have one permanent upgrade, but I also
Spoiler (click to reveal)
start game 2 with only 5 enmity tokens.
I think as the games go on, the penalty will not feel as stiff, but after the first game, it does feel very restrictive. I took the garrison upgrade because I did not want to put a target on my back. The only downside with that is the Garrison does not immediately help me either.


Careful!


I thought I put my spoiler tags in there, but obviously I did not. Many apologies.
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DaviddesJ wrote:
The person who's ahead in total glory hasn't necessarily won the most games or gotten the most permanent advantages.


Sure -- I've been on both sides of that myself.

But it would be a very strange campaign where this state of affairs persisted for more than a couple of games as advantage shifted. To continue as Prince in the long term without winning games you'd have to be coming in a close second to a different winner every time.

(Plus, the benefits of low rank are also temporary - at best you get a sticker that lasts until removed with an easy die roll)
 
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David desJardins
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Hexprone wrote:
To continue as Prince in the long term without winning games you'd have to be coming in a close second to a different winner every time.


You might just win a couple of games by a large margin.

I can see the advantage of winning games, but honestly I think I'd rather win by a smaller margin than by a larger margin. Which is sort of a design issue if true.
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