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Robinson Crusoe: Adventures on the Cursed Island» Forums » General

Subject: A luck-based euro? rss

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Volker Hirscher
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Hi,

I payed the game twice now, first time we were crushed, 2nd time we won by just one health remaining for each character. So, quite tense, and well balanced game (at least if we got all those fiddly rules right).

But: Am I the only one who thinks this game is 90% based on luck? No matter if it is the event cards, in the weather dice, in the adventure dice etc.

Other games like D-Day Dice or Arkham use dice more heavily, but they almost always provide a way of mitigating the luck. Crusoe does that only partly. You can surely build e.g. an oven to ignore one cloud, but that's it. We had an annoying situation where we finally managed to build a roof, then we were forced by an event to move the camp in the next round and lost it again (half of it). So, luck. Where's the fun in this?

I actually might sell the game soon. But I just wonder if others feel the same? And please, no, I do not want to rant about the game or so. Just wonder a little about the hype. But no offense intended!
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black dog
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Hi.
You'll see here what few BBG users think about the level of luck in this game.
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Kelly B
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Last night played the most frustrating game of Robinson yet. We had the carpenter and explorer. We got no weapons (except the knife) and the event deck kept throwing beasts at us. Despite that, we only got 3 pelts. And we got the red die in the weather space on turn 5. The carpenter was dead by turn 7.

I don't think there is anything we could have done to survive that game. So it was all down to the luck of drawing an unfortunate set of cards.

Note: this was really unusual. First game in about 15 where I've said there was no hope. If I'd been more experienced I might have looked at the inventions and known and just reset then and there. It is an amazing game.
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Volker Hirscher
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Thanks, I did not see this poll! Interesting. And I am not that far away from what most people think, maybe 60 luck to 40 strategy.

Ok, maybe that is simply a bit too much for me, combined with the rules issues I have...
 
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S. R.
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Mavo, the poll is only representing a "feel" of the different players. Yes, there is planning, yes, there is luck, and yes, the amount of each varies regarding the scenario.
For example, I almost always win scenario 2 (lose less than 1 out of 5 games), and almost never win scenario 5 (lose more than 4 out of 5 games.

The thing about this game is this:
You can do EVERYTHING right, and you still lose. And you can have the perfect game, only to lose on the last 5 meters.

Without strategy, you will always lose.
Which is why most people taking part in the poll rated it like they did.

However, regardless of strategy, you can lose, and will more often in the more difficult scenarios.
Which is why I rated the game 90% luck and 10% strategy. Not because of the amount of luck as compared to the amount of strategy, but because how much impact luck ultimately has on the outcome of the game.
I told you above that I almost never lose scenario 2. Well, the next-best result I get with scenarios 1 and 6, and I lose them 50% of the time!


Now, this summary might sound strange from someone like me, who is an avid fan of the game. But there is no denying it - the game is based on luck.

And, really, your title makes no sense. This is NOT an Eurogame. Regarding game mechanisms, you could say that they are taken from standard Eurogames. Regarding card effects, they are purely Ameristyle. Regarding game feel, it is also more Ameristyle than Eurogame, even if you plan and workerplace.
I would rate it 70% Ameritrash, 30% Eurogame, with tendency of higher Ameritrash...


This game is not about building a strategy to win. It is about, literally, WEATHERING the events and effects of the game, trying to find stable places on a shifting ground with erupting volcanoes. It's a game about survival, about what happens to your characters, and how they get to the end (or not).

I am sorry to say it, but if you look for a strategy game, or a Eurogame, or a game like, say, Pandemic, you will have to look elsewhere.


By the way - Arkham Horror does not really mitigate the Luck Factor. It just seems that way. In the end, it is all based on the luck of the draw (i.e. if you need the items you get) and the luck of the many, many, uncounted dierolls. And I am as much (maybe even more) a fan of THAT game than I am of this here...
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Volker Hirscher
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Thanks for your opinion! You see, the title is stated as question, so it was rather something I wondered about. And I also feel that it is more Euro than Ameritrash. MAybe 50%:50%. Anyway, it is definitely more Euro-like than games like Arkham.

And I have to disagree regarding the mitigating of luck: Of course, in Arkham I have to draw randomly. But the encounter and the dice roll can be altered with clues, so I have the feeling that I can decide. Of course, Arkham is still highly based on luck, probably more than Crusoe.

In the end, the problem I have might be a mixture of many problems: I do not really like the luck factor. I see the game is thematic, but for me it does not feel as if it would tell a story. And, maybe worst of all, I have problems with the rules. From my point of view, they are way to fiddly for such a luck-based game. Take Pandemic: Easy and elegant. Don't get me wrong, I also like complex games. But the next problem is that the rules for Crusoe are not only fiddly, but in some parts also unclear and ambigous. Actually, the designer himself said that you should just play so you have fun. This I do not like, because then why spend time on good rules? And last (sorry for that, because you probably did the translation), I find the German rules a little bloated. The English ones are by far shorter (at least those which the designer posted here, I assume they are in the English version).

So you see, it is a mix. But I will still try scenario 2. And I have no problem with loosing - we also lose maybe 80% of Arkham. But it depends how that happens...
 
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S. R.
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While you might find the German rules bloated, you yourself said that the rules you use (the English ones) are ambiguous and unclear in parts.
Well, you can't have your cake and eat it.
The German rules are that big because we tried to make them as clear and as encompassing as possible. And I dare say we succeeded. It takes time and effort to get through them, but only if you want to remember all details, and make no mistakes, already when you start.

That said, AH gives you clue tokens. But clue tokens only give you additional rolls. Any roll with a 1/3 chance of success is, in my book, a big chance. Yes, more dice mean you have more chances to suceed. And statistics say that it is more likely you succeed.
Still, the factor of chance is high, nevertheless.

But, as I said, RC might not be your cup of tea. And if you didn't like scenario 1, and it is not because you lose, then you almost certainly won't like most of the other scenarios. Because they have more special rules, more things to consider, and different approaches each time. In fact, each scenario could very well be a game of its own...
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Kelly B
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Dumon wrote:
Well, you can't have your cake and eat it.


Actually...you can, I did and it was yummy!
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Volker Hirscher
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Ehm... actually I referred to the German rules... I did not read the English ones yet, just saw they are shorter, which is a good thing in my book. I appreciate the attempt to make everything clearer by making it more extensive, but plain text without tables, structure, pics etc. is hard to remember. And I think there is really much text. But aside from that, I think the translation is very good. You cannot make it perfect when you have to translate from something absolutely un-perfect...

Still, there are unclear things (mostly because information is missing, not because of translation problems). I might give you examples next time I play. Anyway, thanks for your input!
 
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S. R.
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I don't know which version you use (there was a German edition by Portal), but the Pegasus version is not a translation. It is a complete rules rewrite, including all details, FAQ, errata etc. up to the date of rules completion (roughly August/September 2013).

I am sorry if things seem unclear to you, but the rules were written so that you can take the text as it is, and don't have to interpret it in any way. There is nothing to be read into, anywhere.

That said, there still can be ambiguities left, or things that seem unclear to you. If I am able to help, I will do so gladly.

The rules were not meant to play along them, to be honest. The game is way to complex to learn it while reading the rules. The way the game is structured, at least the owner has to have understood the rules (at least most of them) when he explains them to others. There is no way around that.
That said, we tried to make this convolut of rules as transpartent as possible, with numerous references to other parts of the rules, by page number, etc.
The rules might not be perfect, but then, I guess that the rules for this game never will be...

Again, if you need help, just ask.
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Mark Bauer
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Dumon wrote:


That said, there still can be ambiguities left, or things that seem unclear to you. If I am able to help, I will do so gladly.


Yes there are still some left^^
At least when I read the Pegasus rules I had a few times a question arise from a section and thought: "okay, but this does not cover the case when THAT happens".
I also can give you examples only later when I look over them again.

What I thought was hard coming from the game design is the number of exceptions. The word "exception" appears alot in the rules, especially in the end. Everytime you think that you understood something there comes this "exceptions for this case is ... "
Really exhausting^^

But I prefer long and clear rulebooks over ambiguous ones that are a few pages shorter.
 
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Byron Campbell
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My feeling of the game is that there is significantly less luck than Arkham Horror or even Ghost Stories. The event cards can be unlucky, yes, but they usually give you a way to reduce their effect. Every other lucky aspect of the game can be avoided completely. Don't like rolling dice? Use 2 pawns for your actions. Don't want to worry about weather? Build a bigger roof. Scared to go hunting? Build more weapons. The delicious aspect of the game is that you can't win by always being careful (not enough time), but you get to choose exactly what you leave up to chance.
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Anduin, the German Edition already worked on the "exception rate", and actually decreased them (hence: rule changes).
And of course we didn't make the exceptions - we just documented them, and tried to include them into the rulebook (as many as we knew of at the time being).

The other option would have been to exclude most of these exceptions. But then you would be at the stage that the old rulebook was (cf. Zman Edition).

I am not saying that this game is streamlined.
But then, it never was meant to be. We Eurogamers probably are not used to these exception-ridden games, but games with cards that differ from one another in text, effect and application will always create rule ambiguities. Which is basically a feature of traditional Ameristyle games...
 
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I didn't address the rule book with my comment, thats why I specifically called it out on the game design
Didn't know that the original version included even more exceptions
 
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arnaud roussel
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Isn't that a natural feature of coop games ?

Otherwise you'd win everytime after having enough experience. This game feels as if you still have a good amount of very important choice to make and the luck elements don't feel worse than most coop I've played.
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Benjamin Schoenheiter
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mavo wrote:
Ehm... actually I referred to the German rules... I did not read the English ones yet, just saw they are shorter, which is a good thing in my book. I appreciate the attempt to make everything clearer by making it more extensive, but plain text without tables, structure, pics etc. is hard to remember. And I think there is really much text. But aside from that, I think the translation is very good. You cannot make it perfect when you have to translate from something absolutely un-perfect...

Still, there are unclear things (mostly because information is missing, not because of translation problems). I might give you examples next time I play. Anyway, thanks for your input!


Please do!
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Volker Hirscher
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Ok, you wanted it, you'll get it And I was referring to the Pegasus-Edition-rules, so it fits

I'll play again during the next two days, but a few things come to my mind immediately (they were partialy clarified here on the geek, but I am not really willing to do a rules interpretation anymore, I did that in earlier times...)

1) When the health points increase and go down again, do you loose morale again? (Answer is yes)
2) Do starting items give a permanent effect (e.g. weapon strength) or a temporary one? (Answer: permanent, but this is a good example that could just be stated on the cards...)
3) Shortcut (Abkürzung): Can the marker be moved, or is it always stationary until the camp is moved? (Answer: I guess it cannot be moved)
4) If I have to "close" a source "nearest to the camp", what does that mean? On the tile with the camp? On the first adjacent tile?
5) It is very confusing what must be present before actions, and what not. A simple table would have made that clear
6) Giving just one player aid was a bad decision in my book - you could at least publish it on the website...
7) If a "wood +1" marker is on the "build roof" action, and I build with wood - is it discarded or not? The rules seem to say "no", but it could also refer to the sentence with the animal skin (Fell).


Ok, just a few, there are definitely a lot more. Would have been possible do make that clearer. But please, although for this game I am not really happy, be aware that I a a big fan of the Pegasus games! And also of the translations, they are usually very good (let's take Mage Knight as an example, also a complex game, but very concise rules). So I really rather blame the designer than the translators or publishers, but still it could have been done better
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Volker Hirscher
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Quote:
My feeling of the game is that there is significantly less luck than Arkham Horror or even Ghost Stories.


Compared with Arkham: yes
Compared with GS: Certainly not. I win the hardest level more than 50%. The easiest one I win all the time (and therefore no longer play it). The luck in GS is not that high, and in almost all games I lost I could say where I made a sub-optimal decision.
 
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Now, please be assured that I do not want to belittle you, or ridicule you, and I really want to help. I don't want to get into a war about who is right and who is not.
My genuine interest is to
a) help you and
b) make the rules/game even better in the next edition.

That said, I feel as if some of the here-mentioned ambiguities are either mentioned in the rules already, or seem to be based on, let's say, over-inquisitiveness. But let's tackle them all, one after the other.

mavo wrote:

1) When the health points increase and go down again, do you loose morale again? (Answer is yes)

The rules state "Immer, wenn ein Pfeil übersprungen wird" (page 7). I agree that it could be clearer in adding an additional sentence that tackles this specific situation, but the wording is already concise. If you take it at face value (as you should), you already have your answer.

mavo wrote:

2) Do starting items give a permanent effect (e.g. weapon strength) or a temporary one? (Answer: permanent, but this is a good example that could just be stated on the cards...)

It is stated explicitly in the rules that the word "temporary" means temporary (p. 24). The cards in this game are reliable - if this word is missing, the effect is permanent. That is actually the idea of the use of this word. Additionally, ONLY the effects of Weapon Strength CAN be temporary - everything else either has a permanent effect or is in effect as long as the token in question is present.
I agree that there could have been an additional sentence, but if you do not look for what is NOT there, but instead what is there, you would find everything in the rules. This is, in my book, an example of over-inquisitiveness.

mavo wrote:

3) Shortcut (Abkürzung): Can the marker be moved, or is it always stationary until the camp is moved? (Answer: I guess it cannot be moved)

This, in my book, is an example of over-inquisitiveness. The rules do not state that this piece can be moved voluntarily. They don't mention this with a lot of things. You cannot move island tiles (ridiculous, okay), tokens on island tiles (except via card effect), etc. Why should you be able to move the Shortcut?
It is not in the rules, so it does not apply.
I agree that there could have been an extra sentence, too, here. But in my opinion there does not need to be.

mavo wrote:

4) If I have to "close" a source "nearest to the camp", what does that mean? On the tile with the camp? On the first adjacent tile?

This is tackled explicitly on page 23. Yes, the nearest source is always the source on the camp tile (if there is one fitting the situation).

mavo wrote:

5) It is very confusing what must be present before actions, and what not. A simple table would have made that clear

These prerequisites are tackled en detail on pages 10 and 11. Now, it is a lot of information, I give you that. But then, I think the paragraphs make it clear that EVERYTHING you need for actions must be present before you can even PLAN to perform it.

mavo wrote:

6) Giving just one player aid was a bad decision in my book - you could at least publish it on the website...

Well, I don't know. Yes, there COULD be more player aids in the box, but since it is a coop, in my book there do not NEED to be more player aids.

mavo wrote:

7) If a "wood +1" marker is on the "build roof" action, and I build with wood - is it discarded or not? The rules seem to say "no", but it could also refer to the sentence with the animal skin (Fell).

This is tackled explicitly in the rules on page 12. The final paragraph regarding these tokens states "Das Plättchen wird danach NICHT abgelegt."


The thing is - rulebooks have to be as concise as possible. They cost money to produce, and so the idea is to convey all information as concise as possible, while eliminating everything that is redundant due to the information being present in given text, already. That is actually what the editor does, one of his final tasks. Remove information that is redundant.
I agree that the whole shebang could have been made even more watertight. But that would have taken a lot more words, and several more pages. The rulebook already is huge, and would have gotten even more convoluted.
These additional sentences are most often not necessary, if you take what is there (and also what IS NOT there) at face value. It is meant to be this way, written to be read and understood this way.

Now, that does not mean that there could still be things that are not explained. The game is a really complex one, and there is not master rulebook anywhere. We all appreciate such ambiguities brought to light, because they need addressing.

Still, even if I think that questions are explained clearly and concisely in the rules, that does not mean that I won't be here to help, or will ridicule anyone who does not understand something, or needs more clarification. Individual people process information differently. So bring us your ambiguities or unclear situations - we will try to shed light into the darkness.
And if they really are not tackled by the rules, we are really grateful for you to have provided us with the opportunity to plug another hole in the whole thing.
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Volker Hirscher
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Hi, and thanks for the information.

Quote:
That said, I feel as if some of the here-mentioned ambiguities are either mentioned in the rules already, or seem to be based on, let's say, over-inquisitiveness.


You are right. But if you look at the rules threads here at the geek, that's how most gamers behave. So, e.g this morale-arrow thing is a question that comes to mind directly after reading. Easy to address.

And regarding your point with the concise rulebooks - agreed, but on the other hand many points are repeated over and over again... But I think we have a common understanding anyway, and I really appreciate your help. And I also agree that rules translations/rewrites are not easy. I did that (partly) for the collector's edition of "War of the Ring", and that one also leaves enough open issues (actually the first edition of WotR was one of the worst rules I ever read, directly after "Stronghold")

 
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Clive Bixby
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Dumon wrote:

Well, I don't know. Yes, there COULD be more player aids in the box, but since it is a coop, in my book there do not NEED to be more player aids.


I'm just glad that there is one. In many games the Publisher doesn't add a single one to the base game...



Moreover, I think the rules of the Pegasus-Edition are great. Sure, they are rather extensive but if you take them literally I don't think that there are a lot of ambiguities.

 
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Mark Bauer
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Clive_Bixby wrote:
[q="Dumon"]
I'm just glad that there is one. In many games the Publisher doesn't add a single one to the base game...


The US version of this game does not have a player aid, right? This is something added by Pegasus iirc.

Okay Dumon, if you want to shed some more light onto 2 things I didn't get on the first run through the rulebook:

1. (This is something I think players are just confused about, because intuitively you would think otherwise) How many resources do you gather when you gather resources?
The rules state on page 18: "Wenn ein Charakter erfolgreich Ressourcen sammelt, nimmt sein Spieler 1 Ressource der entsprechenden Sorte (Nahrung oder Holz) ..."
Now this seems to me that you have to decide if you want to gather wood or food. But if the island tile offers both, the "or" could also be interpreted as an including-or. And thematically: If someone accompanies me on a gathering resources action, why shouldn't I be able to take the yummy berries, and the other guy gets some wood. I mean, both resources are available in this terrain.
And if you have to decide: Do you decide somehow when you "plan" the action or when you execute it?

2. On page 22, the rules state under "Exklusivität von Plättchen und Markern" that only 1 token of every type is allowed on the same space. Now what is the "Type" of a token? In the next sentence it is even referred to as "Sorte" while in the previous sentence the word "Typ" is used. And which token have the same meaning ("Bedeutung")?
The question arose specifically: Does the token "+1 food" and "+1 wood" have the same type? The same meaning? Or can you place one of each on a single island tile? Should we refer to page 2 and 3 in order to find out what type a specific component is?

Thanks in advance
 
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Volker Hirscher
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The first part also confused me... But I am 99% sure that you put your stone on ONE source. Let's leave it to Dumon to give a final answer.

Btw, I really like your badges - especially the "read rules before I go to bed" one
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mavo wrote:

Btw, I really like your badges - especially the "read rules before I go to bed" one


- true story ^^
But thank you very much
 
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Anduin wrote:
1. (This is something I think players are just confused about, because intuitively you would think otherwise) How many resources do you gather when you gather resources?
The rules state on page 18: "Wenn ein Charakter erfolgreich Ressourcen sammelt, nimmt sein Spieler 1 Ressource der entsprechenden Sorte (Nahrung oder Holz) ..."
Now this seems to me that you have to decide if you want to gather wood or food. But if the island tile offers both, the "or" could also be interpreted as an including-or. And thematically: If someone accompanies me on a gathering resources action, why shouldn't I be able to take the yummy berries, and the other guy gets some wood. I mean, both resources are available in this terrain.
And if you have to decide: Do you decide somehow when you "plan" the action or when you execute it?


It is very clear in my opinion:
BEFORE you assign the pawns to the actions, you have to decide who is doing which action. So you decide which resource you want to gather. If you want to gather both resources from an island-tile, you have to take risky actions (1 pawn and dice-rolling, or see that you have enough pawns to do both actions secure - almost impossible in a solo).
You always decide while you PLAN the action. You cannot switch decisions during gameplay.
 
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