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Subject: El Grande a negative game? rss

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Ed
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I should start of by saying that I absolutely hate negotiation games. The one that leaps to mind is Vampire: Prince of the City. I find the negotiating mechanic creates an unfriendly atmosphere at the table, promotes kingmaking, and encourages players to make suboptimal moves. I don't even like Modern Art, where the mechanic involves trying to gain advantage over your opponents by talking them into paying more for an item than it's really worth. I realize some people would find this "high degree of interaction" as I suppose it would charitably be called appealing, but I find these dynamics distasteful in the extreme.

Based on what I've said about my game tastes, do you think I should I stay away from El Grande? I've heard it described as a "negative game."
 
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Chaddyboy
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In the groups I play with, pretty much every game I play involves trying talk other players into either screwing another player over or doing something stupid! Of course, El Grande is no exception; there's always people urging others to mess with other peoples' provinces.

That having been said, you could of course play El Grande without such talk. El Grande is a great stretegic game, and I wouldn't pass it up just for fear of too much negotation. Of course, if you think Modern Art has too much negotiation, I'm not sure El Grande will be any better. At any rate, give it a whirl.
 
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Philip Thomas
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By negative you mean negotiation?

El Grande is no more negotiation than any other multiplayer eurogame... we played it without any conversation between players, other than counting the score and maybe saying what you were doing. You certainly could negotiate, but that is true of most multiplayer games...
 
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Jorge Montero
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El Grande does not really need any negotiation element. The most I've seen is minor tabletalk. You DO want to predict what other players will do with their actions, and make areas that you have majorities on less enticing than other areas.

El Grande's negativity comes from being able to move your opponent's pieces in some circumstances. Like any other area majority game, when you get the majority in one area, other people will get less points. While this adds more negativity than in Carcassonne or Settlers, at no point in El Grande you think you are taking advantage of other players, like you would in Modern Art, Traders of Genoa, or anything like that.
 
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Kane Klenko
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El Grande is not a negotiation game at all, but as Chad said, any game can be made to involve negotiation or "table talk". I see that you rate Tikal, Power Grid, and Through the Desert highly though, and I would think that if your group doesn't "negotiate" in placement in those games, then there won't be any in El Grande.

I think the rules for Carcassonne say something about allowing negotiation before you place your tile too, but it's not necessary.

So, if you want to negotiate in El Grande, it's certainly possible, but El Grande is by no means a negotiation game.

I see that you just traded for Bohnanza. Good luck with that.
 
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Dane Peacock
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We don't get into negotiation or deal making when we play El Grande. The game really is not about that. It is about maximizing your own area majority, not about convincing other players to make certain moves. I could see how some groups might play it that way, but I think they would be the exception.
 
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Chaddyboy
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Quote:
I see that you just traded for Bohnanza. Good luck with that.


Ha! You should probably trade for I'm the Boss as well!
 
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Houserule Jay
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Like others said not much negotiation in this, it could be played that way but certainly doesn't need to be. It is a top tier strategy game that has some 'screwage' in it however. Looking at what you wrote you may not like this aspect either. You probably wouldn't like Citadels either, in fact lots of great games can be disqualified....E&T, CAYLUS, not that these have negotiation, but they have a certain amount of screwage. Screwage will definitely be seen as a negative to some people, not sure about you.
 
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Eddy Bee
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One of the players in my group was recently exposed to El Grande for the first time. About halfway through his first game, he summarized it like this: "This game is all about setbacks."

He was referring to the fact that on every turn, one or more players are certain to experience setbacks in their positions on the board. This is not due to negotiation, but simply the result of everyone constantly trying to get the upper hand in the territories. Aside from the fleeting presence of the king, there is no way to secure or protect any of your territories, so your opponents are free to move in and usurp your positions - which they constantly do.

That said, this is not the kind of game that typically engenders bad feelings between the players. Dominant positions are constantly in flux on the board, so everyone has their ups and downs. The leader will often get ganged-up on, but that happens in many games.

Personally speaking, I don't dislike El Grande, but I'm not a big fan of the game. I get no sense of accomplishment when I win because the best moves are usually blatantly obvious, but because there is so much chaos resulting from other players' actions, even the best moves often have little impact on the final results.

To be sure, El Grande was innovative and somewhat revolutionary when it was originally released, but nowadays, there are far better games to be played.

Just my 2 cents...
 
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phil v
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Eddy Bee wrote:

To be sure, El Grande was innovative and somewhat revolutionary when it was originally released, but nowadays, there are far better games to be played.


What games in the same vein would you recommend? I've not played EG, but with the positive rating and re-release, it's a purchase I've considered.

P
 
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Ed Browne
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El Grande can certainly be rife with "Kingmaking" however. Someone knows they can't win so they want to screw the person who hurt them.

I like El Grande, personally, but if you get frustrated by having someone make a move just out of spite toward someone else, or because they just want to "screw" the game, you might not like this.

It's one of the better "bidding mechanic" games, in my opinion. If you like those type of games, you'll like this. If not, you won't.

 
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Eddy Bee
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pvgames wrote:
Eddy Bee wrote:

To be sure, El Grande was innovative and somewhat revolutionary when it was originally released, but nowadays, there are far better games to be played.


What games in the same vein would you recommend? I've not played EG, but with the positive rating and re-release, it's a purchase I've considered.

P


First, there is no doubt that a lot of people really like El Grande, as you've noticed by its ratings. It is by no means a bad game, and I wouldn't necessarily want to discourage you from purchasing it. It's just not one of my favorites, and I tend to think it's a bit overrated. But that's just me...

Anyway, here are some games that share some similarities with El Grande that I prefer to play. They are not exactly like El Grande, but they possess elements of area control and turn order bidding:

- San Marco
- Capitol
- Tikal
- Lowenherz (or Domaine)
- Vinci
- Web of Power (or China)

And some other great games that are not so similar to El Grande:
- Power Grid
- Mesopotamia
- Through the Desert
- Condottiere
- A Game of Thrones
- Puerto Rico
- Princes of Florence
- Union Pacific
- Giganten

Have fun!
 
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Quote:

What games in the same vein would you recommend? I've not played EG, but with the positive rating and re-release, it's a purchase I've considered.


El Grande is a great game and, in my opinion, is as good as any game being released nowdays. You might want to see this geeklist I created exploring games similar to El Grande:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist.php3?action=view&listi...
 
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Stan Mamula
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pvgames wrote:
What games in the same vein would you recommend? I've not played EG, but with the positive rating and re-release, it's a purchase I've considered.

Despite it's age, I still feel that El Grande is one of the best of it's kind, superior to later games such as San Marco and Web of Power/China. If you've not yet played El Grande, you should give it a spin. It does involve directly affecting your opponents. Some consider that confrontation, but I think that is too strong a word for this game. Also, I agree with what others have already mentioned... negotiation is no more present in El Grande than in any other multi-player game. Trust me. I do not enjoy player negotiation very much and El Grande remains one of my all-time favorites.
 
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Nomadic Gamer
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Anyway, here are some games that share some similarities with El Grande that I prefer to play. They are not exactly like El Grande, but they possess elements of area control and turn order bidding:

- San Marco
- Capitol
- Tikal
- Lowenherz (or Domaine)
- Vinci
- Web of Power (or China)

I disagree...
San Marco is too light to compare to El Grande; also the split card mechanism is bad.
Lowenherz is a more an expansion game.
China is light & playes way different.
Tikal is a role playing board game of Indiana Jones in an ordinary temple. All players have the same resources & actions.
Capitol is the only only I haven't played....
So I say ElGrande is fresh & great....buy it.
 
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Paul King
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I'll throw in my 2p. El Grande is one of the best "Area Majority" games around, and a real classic.

I don't think that it's a "negative" game - I'd describe it more as a "competitive" game. You're competing with the other players for the available points, rather than trying to interfere with the other player's positions for the sake of it.
 
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Chris Shaffer
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davedanger wrote:
Tikal is a role playing board game of Indiana Jones in an ordinary temple. All players have the same resources & actions.


Tikal has an 'exploring the Mayan jungle' theme, but beyond that, it has nothing in common with role playing games. I can't imagine a less apt description of Tikal than "role playing."
 
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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Eddy Bee wrote:
Anyway, here are some games that share some similarities with El Grande that I prefer to play. They are not exactly like El Grande, but they possess elements of area control and turn order bidding:

I would add Conquest of the Empire to that list. I've only played a couple of games of El Grande, but I feel a lot more tense/anxious/engaged when playing COTE2, as you can make longer-range plans which you hope the other players don't see/screw up. El Grande may grow on me with more plays, though.
 
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Sven
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TheCat wrote:
davedanger wrote:
Tikal is a role playing board game of Indiana Jones in an ordinary temple. All players have the same resources & actions.


Tikal has an 'exploring the Mayan jungle' theme, but beyond that, it has nothing in common with role playing games. I can't imagine a less apt description of Tikal than "role playing."


Tikal is the typical german-game, that pastes a paper-thin theme over an abstract mechanism. Not much roleplaing there.
Not that this is necassarily a bad thing, but I never was humming The Raider March while playing Tikal...
 
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If you enjoy games where players are relatively left alone to develop their own strategy and there is a limitation on how much players can undermine each others actions, then El Grande is NOT the game for you, as it is essentially the opposite.

Introverts who enjoy the puzzle-like aspect of games tend to like more strategic, "multiplayer-solitaire" games like Princes of Florence. El Grande is the opposite of this, in that your position on the board is anything but stable and your goal is to be versatile enough to shift your investments that have been undermined to other more productive areas.

This is not the same thing as people openly haggling and trying to persuade each other to do such and such- but it is a game that can easily lend itself to this since you are always involved in messing up other people's situations and therefore if they are the diplomatic type they will continually try to persuade you to rain on someone else's parade. But if everyone in your game group is like you then there should be no problem as the game doesnt have to be played that way.
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Boris Dvorkin
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verandi wrote:
If you enjoy games where players are relatively left alone to develop their own strategy and there is a limitation on how much players can undermine each others actions, then El Grande is NOT the game for you, as it is essentially the opposite.

Introverts who enjoy the puzzle-like aspect of games tend to like more strategic, "multiplayer-solitaire" games like Princes of Florence.


Arguably the most cogent, relevant post on this thread.

To the OP: if you're already set against El Grande, you probably won't like it. Princes of Florence sounds like a winner for you, as the "negative" aspect is limited to the auction phases (which are only 1/3 of the game) and even there I've never seen anything remotely close to the belligerent haggling that routinely dominates games like Settlers, Ra, etc.

Goa, which shares the same auction/action breakdown as PoF, would also be a good bet. In Goa the auctions take up even less time (1/4 of the game as opposed to 1/3), which leaves even less room for wheeling and dealing.

(I just know that some PoF or Goa expert is itching to jump in here and proclaim for the 453rd time that anyone who thinks the auctions are a "side aspect" of the game OBVIOUSLY SUCKS AT THE GAME that the game is WON OR LOST in the auction, so let me preempt them by saying that I'm talking about the time spent in those phases, not the degree to which they influence the final outcome.)
 
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