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Subject: An Unsatisfactory Session rss

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Eoin Corrigan
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Recently, three friends and I played a four player long game.

At least, it was supposed to be a long game. I figured 2-3 hours and plenty of time to establish an economic engine, perform a lot of market manipulation, get a few cities going etc., contend with an aggressive rebel movement etc.

All of us had played before, so I quickly ran through a rules refresh. We performed Turn Zero and lingered on the meaning and interplay of the Hidden VC cards to ensure that everybody knew what they were doing and were alert to the possible presence of the seperatist / benefactor.

Play began. The trend card was population. My hidden VC card was progress cards. During the first turn a lot of exploration occurred partially driven by another Hidden VC card which required exploration discs. Even with some big hiring actions (one player hired four workers in the first turn) the surplus worker track was in the high teens at the end of the first turn.

I bought a progress card and we collectively weathered a few crises. The rebel marker was at 2, way below our population level, after the next Balance of the Archipelago phase.

During Turn 2 I built a church, to add to the port built in the previous turn.

Then, midway through the T2 Action Phase we hit 22 surplus workers and the Yellow Player reveals his Hidden VC card - the Benefactor which ends the game at 22 surplus workers.

Somewhat deflated, we counted up the Victory Points. I won, largely because I had just built the only church, which was the Hidden VC of the green player. An accidental victory.

This was my first disappointing game of Archipelago. I've noticed before that some of the medium and long game game-end conditions are poorly calibrated, but to have a long game end mid way through the second turn of a four player game is a little ridiculous. I like Archipelago a lot, but the game has its imperfections.

We considered a second game of Archipelago but opted for Lords of Waterdeep.
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Ben
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That is a bit of a bummer. Unsatisfying sessions happen from time to time. With more experienced players, they happen less frequently (because people know the end game triggers and attempt to control them). But sometimes a confluence of events dictates an unavoidably bad session.

The worst in those cases is the accidental VP boost for being the only player to pursue someone else's objective. The Pacifist player was probably wise to end the game when he did, but just got unlucky.
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Eoin Corrigan
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Ben,

Absolutely - had I not just built a church, the benefactor would have won by a solid margin.
 
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Chaddyboy
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Did you not know that this was a possible endgame condition going into the game, or did you know about it and just pump the surplus workers anyways?

Knowing this is a possibility, it seems like it would change the group think a little bit about letting surplus workers getting out of hand.
 
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Eoin Corrigan
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We usually play the medium game, so we're not super familiar with the Long Game end conditions.

That said, I don't think the surplus workers were pumpe At least two big hires occurred, which reduced the surplus workers.

Certainly, in future we'll be more aware of the potential for an early conc;lusion, but I do think selecting the Long Game Hidden VCs should deliver a long game. I've had Medium length games which have lasted three times as long.
 
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Ben
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Eoin Corrigan wrote:
That said, I don't think the surplus workers were pumpe At least two big hires occurred, which reduced the surplus workers.


Some of it is just group dynamics. In ~15 games, I've never seen surplus workers that high. So, for my group, that would be an approrpiate long game objective.
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Fabrice Wiels
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Eoin Corrigan wrote:
We usually play the medium game, so we're not super familiar with the Long Game end conditions.

That said, I don't think the surplus workers were pumpe At least two big hires occurred, which reduced the surplus workers.

Certainly, in future we'll be more aware of the potential for an early conc;lusion, but I do think selecting the Long Game Hidden VCs should deliver a long game. I've had Medium length games which have lasted three times as long.


In the playtests, we never achieved the surplus workers condition, so I would say that either this session was peculiar or that your group has a tendency to explore a lot, leaving hexes behind without consolidating their territory (or worse, use reproduction instead of hiring)...

Don't worry : next session will last longer. Most our long games with 5 players last 4 hours at least...
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