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Subject: Terrible First Play rss

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Rick Baptist
United States
Highland
California
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Folks --

What is going on with this one? After setting it up and looking so great I was expecting a fun time at least, but this turned out to be a disaster. We played five players, and after we collected some gems it just seemed like a constant struggle to get back to shore. Four out of the five players just felt like we were wading in the water for the entire game, of which lasted almost an hour, of which we ended up shutting down before finishing. I never want to do that, but we were all pretty much fed up with it.

Has anyone else experienced this in your plays? I really expected something more from this one. I'm going to try it again with three players before it gets traded.
 
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Darin Stephenson
United States
Holland
Michigan
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I do not run and hide... I strategically maneuver.
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Sadly, that was my feeling about this one, too. Once folks caught on to trying to stop others from getting back to shore, it was a real struggle to do anything and lasted way too long.
 
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Rolf
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For fun, don't forget to force everyone to make sound-effects when going over the falls!

You need to use small numbers to go down the river and large ones to get back up. So don't use your 5 and 6 unless you've got a plan on how to cope with the remaining turns until you get them back. This means possibly leaving one or both canoes on land for a couple of turns.

A typical start might be
2 (or 1 or cloud if you want to mess with the other players),
3 (now both boats are in the water, one with a gem),
5/6 (now one is hopefully back on land),
6/5 (if that lets you get the other one back to land with a gem but then keep the one on land dry) or 1 (that will move the one in the water upstream and should make it safe as the river won't move more than 3, the other one goes back in and moves further down by the current) or cloud (provided your boat in the water is safe),
cloud (if both on land or safe) or 1/4,
etc

After the first seven turns, hopefully you have at least 2 gems on land and at least one canoe loaded which can make it back to land on the next turn.

You may also note that it is in fact quite safe to use up small numbers (but not the cloud) near the waterfall since the river there flows half as quickly. This takes some nerves however.

If you watch the other players you can guess when they are playing small numbers (1/2). You can then play medium numbers (3/4) to move upstream and keep the large ones (5/6) in reserve.

If it still drags on too much, use sand-timers to force players into a quick decision.
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Dan C
United States
Florida
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Quote:
You need to use small numbers to go down the river and large ones to get back up.


The key to the whole game. Jump off the beach with a 1, 2 or 3 (not 5 or 6, save them for the trip home.). I usually save the 1 for a steal if I can.

Also, a rules check... you are just moving the river by the lowest number showing right?
 
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James Cheevers
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Liverpool
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I find that most new players almost always go from largest number to smallest and then leaving their cloud tile until last. This is then followed by a large jump by everyone when the reshuffle happens.

I always try and let people know to not burn their largest numbers straight away and let the current carry them downstream.
 
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Rick Baptist
United States
Highland
California
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Thanks guys, will definitely do so the next game. Yeah, we were doing the river right. That would have been interesting.
 
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Steven Kimball
United States
Shoreview
Minnesota
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Just FYI, the expansion is what really makes the game better, IMO. I know, you shouldn't HAVE TO purchase an expansion that "fixes" the game, but the expansion allows for another player as well as introducing a few small tweaks, which add some more planning, strategy, and fun.

Give it another shot with the previous suggestions and, if you find that it was better but want to realize its full potential, pick up The Spirits of Niagara to really make the game shine.
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Steve Russell
United States
Milford
Ohio
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Just got this one this week and had bought the expansion in order to play six (which has been our number the last two months).

We played six player with original rules (no beaver/whirlpool/mooose) and original tile numbers.

The first game we played, everyone used the big tiles first and it then dawned on us that doing so was not a good idea. The game dragged on a bit, some due to starting with big numbers, some due to new game syndrome. The first shuffle of tiles resulted in everyone playing the opposite way and the game moved forward nicely. My wife won the first game which took about an hour.

We then played the second game and everyone went with the low number first routine. Game went very quickly, some canoes went over, and I won. Game took 27 minutes to play. We would have played again had it not been for DST happening this morning. Wife wanted to leave because of losing an hour.

Overall, everyone liked the game and seemed eager to play again.
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George Leach
United Kingdom
Godalming
Surrey
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Niagara has really suffered from this problem, it's an abstract game where you win by playing against the groupthink. It's highly strategic for a "family game", and it plays really well once everyone has had a few pointers and the take that elements are set just about right.

I find so few gamers are able to take to this even though it's got a great deal of strategy involved. For me this is highly underrated in certain sections of the BGG community and it causes some issues for the family boardgamers due to the problems stated above.
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Alan Kwan
Hong Kong
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Why, don't they teach this kind of math problem in grade schools?

In a certain video game, your boat has engine power to go 10 m/s. The course is a two-way trip for 100 m either way. So it takes 20s to complete.

Now suppose there is downstream current at 5 m/s. Downstream trip now goes at 15 m/s, takes 6.67s. Upstream trip goes at 5 m/s, takes 20s. Now it takes total 26.67s to complete both ways.

Now assume you have one use of "turbo" which boosts your engine power to 20 m/s for 4s. (This is a video game, after all. )

If you use the turbo downstream, you finish downsteam in 4s, so total time is 24s.

If you use the turbo upstream, you travel at 15 m/s for 4s covering 60m, and go across the remaining 40m in 8s. So total time is 18.67s.

Conclusion: use your turbo during the upstream trip.
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