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Terra Mystica» Forums » General

Subject: Endgame play rss

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Josh Taylor

Olympia
Washington
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Let me begin by saying I've only played once, and I understand the limitations of one play on a mindset. I'm fully happy to play again as well, I'm just curious to know if my issues with it improve enough with more plays

The first issue is that it can take too long. I get that it's a deep thinking game, but for what it is, more than two and a half hours isn't worth it (first game took 5 plus 1 hour of explanation). That said, if it gets to the table often enough, I have high hopes that that part (and issue #2) will be resolved and I'll actually want to play it often-I did have fun playing.

I also recently played a 5 hour long game of Battlestar Galactica, which was completely worth it and a great experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat, so it's not the LENGTH that's an issue but how I want to spend game time.

2nd issue is bigger for me, and maybe this style of play or game just isn't right for me? I like tight games, but not games where the last play matters so much that one or multiple people thinks on their own for 10 minutes on their turn (min/maxing) just to eke out some extra points. I understand that for some winning is important, but I enjoy actually playing games well and quickly than long and making the "perfect" move every time just to win.

So, question is: Is playtime with 4+ players really possible within 2 1/2 hours, and is the last turn usually brain-burning and slow or is it the group? Thanks for the responses, I really liked the play of the game when it went smoothly
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Robert
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FtF, a 4p game is easily doable in 2.5h. Of course it depends on the players - people with AP can stretch every game to arbitrary pain levels.

Planning your remaining actions until the very end is indeed something you should do if you want to maximize your points. Some players do it towards the end of round 5, but latest in round 6 it's definitely advisable. It will take a few minutes, but that is not a problem, since players can do this in parallel and the risk that your plan completely falls apart after another player's action is low (unless your plan ignores obvious goals of the other players).
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Zack
Poland
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Hey! I have about 5 plays of Terra Mystica and every time we managed to keep it 3 hours or less. First two times we got some rules confused (which ended in wrong person winning the game).

I didn't have your issues you noticed though. Some players in my group (including myself) tend to have analysis paralysis occasionally but 10 minutes planning one player's turn is bizarre (after 2 minutes everyone in my group starts protesting loudly ). Last turn is obviously important - at that time difference between player can be only few victory points, but my impression is that endgame isn't very different from first turn possibility-wise. I mean, it's not like at the end of the game you have tons of resources to spend - in fact, in every turn, I usually have about the same amount as starting resources.

So basically, for me every turn in Terra Mystica plays similar. It's quite well balanced game, it's not possible to outrun other players in single turn, rather you build up victory points all game. And early mistakes can cost you a lost game overall.
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Bojan Brankov
Serbia
Novi Sad
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Hi,
Me and my group played Terra Mystica more than 25 times. Brilliant game. One of two 10s on my list of 120 rated games.

It took first 5 or 6 games to get up to speed and from then on we finish all 5 player games in 2 and a half hours (even less).
We had problems with AP players but we coached them to use the time rationally and if closes to 5 minutes mark that's it, "tough luck guy, make your move now!" and it's all nice and dandy.
Also, we rarely spend too much time in the 6th round. You will know exactly what to do in the end in by round 5 or earlier. Planning early is extremely important and rewording.
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Matt Stokes
United States
North Augusta
South Carolina
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I also believe that you met the King of the Forest, Mei, and meeting him is a sign of good luck.
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The game time estimate of 30 minutes per experienced player and 1 hour per new player has been pretty accurate for the many game I have played face to face. The five player game I had last weekend with two experienced and three new people, lasted about 4 to 4.5 hours. However, a three player game with people that have played before is kept to under 2 hours with setup easy (brother in law is even AP prone too).

If you find that the 2+ hours aren't enjoyable, don't worry, it might just not be your type of game. Pull that Battle star Galatia back out and have a rousing go at finding that traitor.
 
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Steinar Nerhus
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It is possible to play Terra Mystica fast once you have some experience, but obviously the first few games will be a bit longer as you learn the rules and such.

There was one time where one of my friends needed to catch a train, it was leaving in 2.5h. We found a chess-clock for four players (an iPad-app) and set the timer to 25 minutes each. I think we all finished with a bit less than 5 minutes left on the clock, and a total game-time of about 1:40 (including setup and such). It felt like we had enough time at our hands, and it did not feel rushed. You just have to accept that you cant analyze everything, and just go by the gut. I think this is a good way to teach players to decide, and not worry too much.

The game can go faster if you sort your resources by what you want to do as you play. Make two piles of one worker and two coins each for the two dwellings you want, and so on. You can fiddle with these piles as other players take their turn.

Some decisions can be taken while other players take their turn, unless the next player will be effected. Example: When you build a Temple the other players can take turns while you figure out what favor you want. If someone gives you leech you can think about it while the next player to something. Once you get more experienced you will know ahead of time which favour you want, and how much leech you are willing to accept, and in those cases you just execute instantly, finishing your turn in seconds.
 
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Matthias Reitberger
Germany
Nürnberg
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dukelander wrote:

Also, we rarely spend too much time in the 6th round. You will know exactly what to do in the end in by round 5 or earlier. Planning early is extremely important and rewording.


End of round 5 is very crucial for success against good opponents.
Often the last BON you get is essential for winning. Its not at all clear what to do. Optimize your moves in round 5 or pass early to get a certain bon and an essential power action beginning round 6 or squeeze out additional moves to be able to pass after someone holding a BON you want.
Round 6 is also crucial, because it's much more about messing with you main opponent(s) than previous rounds.
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xorsyst xorsyst
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I would say 3 hours with setup and tidy up is a reasonable expectation. If you need to speed things along, I'd suggest looking at a multiplayer chess clock - apps are available for smart phones or you can buy a physical one.

Give each player 30 or 40 minutes on the clock, minus 1 point for each minute over. It will add to the tension and speed people up a bit without ruining the game.
 
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From my experience, a playtime of somewhere between two and three hours is reasonable for a four player game. I'd plan for three including setup and choice of/bidding for races.

As others have pointed out, TM is a game where planning well ahead makes a big difference. Placing the first building in a wrong spot can make a bigger difference in VPs than coming in first or second on a cult track at the end. Hence, with experienced players, the last turn doesn't take any longer than the earlier turns - quite the opposite, actually, since the last round is merely about cashing in VPs rather than planning for prospective developments.
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Arthur Lacerda
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I've played more than 30 times and it never took 3 hours. Generally in 5 player games it takes 2h30min,
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Frank Hamrick
United States
Rocky Mount
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We generally play in under 2 hours - but we're all experienced, AND while everyone else is taking their turn, we are planning ours. I generally know what I'm going to do next, immediately after taking an action. I set aside the workers/priests/coins I will need for the next terraform & build/upgrade/PowerAction/priest and cult action. When it's my turn again, I move in about 10 seconds or less and then set aside my next set of workers/priests/coins for the next turn. Thus, turns can fly by.

However, one single AP or a person who surfs the internet between turns while the rest of you are playing, can really slow things down - because when it's his turn, he starts thinking about what to do! This can kill a game and its enjoyment.

But once you know the game, the first turn or two might be slow as you determine where to start, and where everyone else is going to build. But after that, turns should really move fast. BUT - I have 22 plays of TM - so that helps.
 
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Josh Taylor

Olympia
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This is how I felt too. Everything I needed to have happen in my final round was decided in the penultimate, so my actions were basically laid out for me. The order was important so I didn't get blocked, but that was pretty easy to figure. The guy usually isn't too AP prone, just very mathy on rare occasions, which I don't like. That said, I think it might have even been the final scoring tile we drew. Thanks for all the responses! I'm definitely thinking I'll be really happy with the next games we play.

To EVERYONE: Thanks so much for all the info, I'm definitely looking forward to playing again. I really did like the gameplay, and from what you've all told me, I'll greatly enjoy future games. It's interesting but I doubt it would fly with my group to use a timer
 
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