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Subject: Problem with meteorologist? rss

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Tim P.
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I've played this game and I feel the meteorologist is broken, in a sense. Now, it's been stated that the game's difficulty increases with more players. At the start, with the meteorologist, it seems that the optimal strategy is to use your "draw less storm cards" ability to the max every single time. When the level is at 3 storm cards a turn, it's basically like a game with (n-1) players, except the team gets a single bonus action (your 4th action). Once the level is at 4 storm cards per turn, it's basically like you're not even playing the game. Say, it's easier with 4 players than 5, so the best option is to use your ability to convert a 5P into a 4P (and use the second ability at a strategic time, as well as take actions when it's the perfect timing). The problem is that this makes the meteorologist severely unfun! Even though it's the optimal move, it's basically like you're at the table, but not playing. I feel like broken can be defined as whenever "if players play optimally, it will suck all the fun out of the game." Does this apply to the meteorologist role?
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Chris Brown
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tim_p wrote:
I've played this game and I feel the meteorologist is broken, in a sense. Now, it's been stated that the game's difficulty increases with more players. At the start, with the meteorologist, it seems that the optimal strategy is to use your "draw less storm cards" ability to the max every single time. When the level is at 3 storm cards a turn, it's basically like a game with (n-1) players, except the team gets a single bonus action (your 4th action). Once the level is at 4 storm cards per turn, it's basically like you're not even playing the game. Say, it's easier with 4 players than 5, so the best option is to use your ability to convert a 5P into a 4P (and use the second ability at a strategic time, as well as take actions when it's the perfect timing). The problem is that this makes the meteorologist severely unfun! Even though it's the optimal move, it's basically like you're at the table, but not playing. I feel like broken can be defined as whenever "if players play optimally, it will suck all the fun out of the game." Does this apply to the meteorologist role?


I get what you're saying and it is definitely a legitimate strategy. The problem lies in the sun beating down, the necessity of water will force you to do something. If you manage to find a tunnel early and put the meteorologist there then yes he can be pretty powerful. Just like the water carrier hanging out by a well, it is optimal to chill there and dish out water. Or the navigator, better to give others 2 moves then yourself 1. It is almost always beneficial to use your powers as much and effectively as possible. If you don't like that then play a different power. Some people just don't like support.
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Peter Rabinowitz
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Since it's a coop, you should be part of the discussion and decision making on everyone's turn. The gameplay isn't so much what you do with your character on your turn, but how you contribute to the game as a whole.

Sure, if everyone's keeping quiet and everyone's just moving their own guy however they want, then I can see the Meteorologist being not fun to play. But in my opinion this is playing the game wrong.
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Rafael Ramus
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tim_p wrote:
I've played this game and I feel the meteorologist is broken, in a sense. Now, it's been stated that the game's difficulty increases with more players. At the start, with the meteorologist, it seems that the optimal strategy is to use your "draw less storm cards" ability to the max every single time. When the level is at 3 storm cards a turn, it's basically like a game with (n-1) players, except the team gets a single bonus action (your 4th action). Once the level is at 4 storm cards per turn, it's basically like you're not even playing the game. Say, it's easier with 4 players than 5, so the best option is to use your ability to convert a 5P into a 4P (and use the second ability at a strategic time, as well as take actions when it's the perfect timing). The problem is that this makes the meteorologist severely unfun! Even though it's the optimal move, it's basically like you're at the table, but not playing. I feel like broken can be defined as whenever "if players play optimally, it will suck all the fun out of the game." Does this apply to the meteorologist role?


This is part of the game, I suppose. I think you can set the level to "legendary" and go nuts playing it. Have fun!

killerardvark wrote:
I get what you're saying and it is definitely a legitimate strategy. The problem lies in the sun beating down, the necessity of water will force you to do something. If you manage to find a tunnel early and put the meteorologist there then yes he can be pretty powerful. Just like the water carrier hanging out by a well, it is optimal to chill there and dish out water. Or the navigator, better to give others 2 moves then yourself 1. It is almost always beneficial to use your powers as much and effectively as possible. If you don't like that then play a different power. Some people just don't like support.


Absolutely.

The best combo I can think of is Navigator + Archeologist, just as I do in Forbidden Island with the Navigator + Engineer (better still if there is a Messenger in the group). In Forbidden Desert, you can have both of them, a Water Carrier and a Metereologist, and still have a hard time winning the game.

I'm pretty damn good at both games, and sometimes we still lose - in Forbidden Island it depends on the Island (Atol of Decisions, anyone?), in Forbidden Desert it is up to that freaking storm. I've had a game where we had a 3 up, 3 down, 2 right, 3 left. No a single one of them missed, 2 players got pinned under sand. Next round we had 2 sun beating down and 2 storm picks up. Take that!).
 
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David Coil

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I still don't get it. As long at the storm level starts at 4 or less, there won't be any sun beats down, and the storm will never advance because the meterologist can prevent the *entire phase every turn*. It's a guaranteed win, regardless of the number of players if the meterologist is drawn. Or am I missing something?
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Peter Rabinowitz
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The storm cards happen after every player's turn. There is only one Meteorologist.
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David Coil

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Ahh... see I *am* missing something. Thanks!
 
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Jed Mihalisin
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I disagree with your assertion that using the "Draw Fewer Storm Cards" should be the action of choice.

Seeing which Storm Cards are coming is often a huge advantage. Being able to move one to the back of the deck can make a big difference both in terms of "Sun Beats Down" occurrences and the path of the storm. (Plus more than one can be moved, if more actions are taken.)
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Grarrrg Grarrrgowski
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JedM wrote:
I disagree with your assertion that using the "Draw Fewer Storm Cards" should be the action of choice.


Draw Fewer Storm cards can be very handy in the first few turns, and the fewer players the better.
As long as the storm counter is at 2 that still 2 free actions every once around the table.

In a 2 player game you could spend 2 actions to 'cancel' the storm on your turn, then 2 actions of your choice. Getting 6 actions for every 2 Storm cards is pretty sweet.
Spending ALL of your actions to benefit the other player though means you may as well just be playing Solo to start with.

Once the storm track goes to 3 though this becomes a less stellar option, as there isn't a whole lot you can do with just 1 action per turn.

And more players make this less useful as well, as unless you are camped out on a Tunnel you will still be hit by a good number of storm cards.


As for "Storm Counter 4 > Spend all actions to do absolutely nothing" this accomplishes absolutely nothing.

JedM wrote:
Seeing which Storm Cards are coming is often a huge advantage. Being able to move one to the back of the deck can make a big difference both in terms of "Sun Beats Down" occurrences and the path of the storm. (Plus more than one can be moved, if more actions are taken.)


And this is what you do once the storm counter gets bumped up a notch or two.
It's fairly pointless to 'predict' when the counter is at only 2, because you only get to peek at 2 cards, and moving one to the bottom means you only know for certain one of the cards coming up next.
But if the storm counter is at 4 or more, then you get a much better idea of what's going to hit, and better odds of finding a card worth moving to the bottom.

The main problem with the predict ability is that you can NEVER 'see' past your own turn.
Sure you can move a Sun Beats Down to the bottom of the deck, but you'll then draw every card you just looked at, so the next player's turn is a complete mystery.



The Meteorologist is really the only character whose strategy changes during the game.
It also matters how many are in the game.
With only 2 or 3 people, you have decent control of the deck, getting good 'free turns' early on (ratio: 3 actions for 1 storm card), and reasonable control of the storm deck for later turns.
With 4+ players however, the 'free turns' are overshadowed by all the storm cards drawn by the other players (ratio: 7 actions per 3 storm, or 9 per 4 storm), and controlling the deck means little, as 3+ other people are going to be digging through it between when you can mess with it.

Meteorologist really is best in games with fewer players.
 
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Tim P.
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grarrrg wrote:
As for "Storm Counter 4 > Spend all actions to do absolutely nothing" this accomplishes absolutely nothing.



Isn't it true, I've been told, that the game is easier with less players, and harder with more players?

So if you are playing as a Meteorologist, if you could use your actions to essentially "take yourself out of the game," then it would make the group more likely to succeed. Making nothing happen on your turn would be the same as not adding another player, which for the other players in the game, would be the optimal strategic outcome.

That's why I think the metereologist is broken. And I define broken as, "When you play optimal strategies, it takes all the fun out of the game." Which describes this, since you don't actually get to do anything on your turns when the Storm Counter is 4 (occasionally it'll make sense to predict, but only occasionally).
 
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Peter Rabinowitz
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I disagree with the premise "doing nothing". The way my group plays, we're all discussing everything all the time so no one is "doing nothing". True, we've had a character hide in a tunnel for most of the game - Navigator iirc - but he was using his skills to make the other characters more effective. The player still contributed to every discussion.

If I said to a player, "sit there and don't say anything and just keep storm cards from flipping"... well then I'm a terrible player and shouldn't be surprised if people don't want to play with me anymore.
 
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Jed Mihalisin
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Chris Brown alluded to this above but you aren't fully turning the game into the equivalent of a fewer player game by having the meteorologist skip storm cards. Unless in a tunnel, the meteorologist's potential death from thirst is a huge liability. Even if they are in a tunnel, they need to be transported to the launch pad to win the game.

Moreover, even if a game with fewer players is easier, that doesn't mean that optimal play necessarily is to make the game like that. You might have stronger plays available. (If there weren't, the above liabilities would make the Meteorologist a huge negative unless you are starting on the Novice setting.)

Like Peter R. has said, focusing on what is possible for the group rather than what your individual character is doing keeps it more interesting. Despite that, I do agree that if the optimal play each time was for the Meteorologist to use all their actions to block Storm Cards -- e.g. to effectively say "Skip Me" when four storm cards are forthcoming -- then it would be a broken character. However, I don't think this is the optimal play much of the time.

Grarrrg G. makes good points that the Meteorologist seems to be a stronger character for games with fewer players and for games starting at easier settings.
 
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Dan F
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I too have always thought the meteorologist to be the weakest character. From my point of view, it seems like all it adds is the power to delay the inevitable.
 
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Kevin B. Smith
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grarrrg wrote:
Meteorologist really is best in games with fewer players.

But the total cost of a Sun Beats Down is higher with more players (since each player might lose one). Thus, each one that you avoid is more valuable, at least somewhat offsetting the reasons that it is more powerful with fewer players.

I'm no expert, but I was in one 5p game where the Meteorologist was one of the star performers.
 
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Magnus Carlsson
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I see that this is an old thread but I played this game yesterday and after two rounds came to the conclusion that meteorologist was seriously boring to play.

Four players, starting at normal (3 storm cards/player)

A regular player with 4 actions can dig 4 sand/turn without moving/excavating. It seems like the meteorologist can easily do better then that without drawing any cards... And because of the hydration it benefits to stay in cover not spending movement points.

As stated above the game centers on using your special ability as much as you can, but in the meteorologist case you can always use it all the time...

A change to somethings like: "Always draw one less storm card" would be much funnier.
 
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J Valnor
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The meteorologist's power comes from the second ability. The first is rather boring and underwhelming and should only be used after the player has peeked.

Being able to concentrate certain cards is important, as well as forcing the storm to head in a certain direction. The meteorologist can also concentrate storm beats down/sun beats down to create 'null' board states. Or players can prepare for the sun beating down.

If the player is able to just tuck two 2+ cards of a certain direction it will most likely lead to less sand being placed. Forcing the eye into a corner on the re-shuffle increases the probability it will stay cornered.
 
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Magnus Carlsson
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sumsnu wrote:
The meteorologist's power comes from the second ability. The first is rather boring and underwhelming and should only be used after the player has peeked.

Being able to concentrate certain cards is important, as well as forcing the storm to head in a certain direction. The meteorologist can also concentrate storm beats down/sun beats down to create 'null' board states. Or players can prepare for the sun beating down.

If the player is able to just tuck two 2+ cards of a certain direction it will most likely lead to less sand being placed. Forcing the eye into a corner on the re-shuffle increases the probability it will stay cornered.


But you are not allowed to change the storm card order... The only thing you can do is tuck one of the cards in the bottom of the draw pile. Well, if you consistently do that all the time then, yes you can possibly build a series of cards at the bottom of the pile the flows in the same direction.

Ok, so now the meteorologist should do first the second ability to try and sort out one type of cards to Null the effect of that and then for the rest use the first ability to not draw any cards to increase the effect of the second ability.
 
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