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Subject: What do I have to do...? rss

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Tim Woehlke
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What do I have to do to break this game out more regularly? I've owned this for about a year and only played it a half dozen times. Usually the first go round for folks goes poorly, no matter how I explain the rules. I am always really clear "Once you use your cards, you don't get any more until all but one of us has cards again." A first playthrough of Condottiere can be really confusing despite the simplicity of the game. Maybe because the cards lack text. Or maybe because when you redraw cards is an odd mechanic.

But when Condottiere goes well....it goes really well. I've had groups sing this game's praises when all is said and done. It builds to a climax really well with usually some backstabbing a 'la The Resistance come the later rounds. And, basically, when the game is really good it's Risk meets The Resistance. How can you not love that?

But, honestly, getting this game to hit the table is tough. Something else always seems to take precedence. Is it the small box? The components? The theme? Is it because it's an area control game done with cards? I don't know. All I know is Condottiere is a lot of fun and has gobs of strategy in a teeny-tiny package. But for the life of me, I can never seem to get anyone to play it.
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Christopher Hill
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Wilmington
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Tim,

Our group prefers playing with the variant rules. Specifically, instead of waiting until everyone but one has no cards, the players get to draw three new cards into their hand keeping any they had previously at the end of each round. You can't draw past your hand limit which is ten plus any regions you control.

The variant seems to flow better and each round seems to have more decision making angst then the base rules.

I don't know if it will help get it to the table more, but you and your group may want to give it a go.
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kinga1965 wrote:
instead of waiting until everyone but one has no cards, the players get to draw three new cards into their hand keeping any they had previously at the end of each round.
No! Noooooo!!

The Fantasy Flight edition already softened the game by letting the last person with cards keep some; by letting everyone draw up to three cards after each battle, you're encouraging everyone to play three cards in each battle, which I think wrecks the game. Wrecks! The game!

A lot of the tension in this game comes from choosing which battles to commit to, and when to let the players on your left grind themselves down against the players on their left. ("Obviously we can't let him have this one cheaply... so I'm going to let you stop him. Pass.") We often have multiple players passing on early battles without playing a single card, because every card counts, and there's no sense in throwing cards into a fight which everyone's in. If everyone draws cards after every battle, doesn't that mean everyone automatically pitches their three worst cards in every fight?
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Miguel [working on TENNISmind]
France
Caen
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My best-rated game: TETRARCHIA, about the tetrarchy that saved Rome
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My latest game: Big*Bang, a simple abstract about the first minutes of the Universe
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There is one interesting variant I found in a French file, suposed to be suggested by the author, that consists of being allowed to play your card (not a scarecrow) on someone else's battle line. That way you can sacrifice one of your cards in order to stop someone with a huge/great hand to roll over all the other players.

But I have not tried it yet, nor seen anyone having...
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Tim Woehlke
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Again, the problem isn't that people who don't like it. Really, I think it hits the table so rarely due to two factors:

1) They've played once before and were confused as to why the game is great. They play all their cards whenever they can. The view their cards as completely random and thus their decisions have no strategy. And, in all fairness, Condottiere can leave that impression on the first playthrough.

2) They've never played Condottiere but the game looks uninteresting since it's in a small box. At least, that's my assumption. At a glance it just doesn't look interesting.

You get Type #1 and Type #2 in the same room and the game just doesn't see any action.
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Snarly_Yow wrote:
You get Type #1 and Type #2 in the same room and the game just doesn't see any action.
Of course you didn't get the idea here, but if you have a large basement, have you considered serial kidnapping?

"It plays a card to take Modena, or else it gets the hose again-a."
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Tim Woehlke
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So I think I'm going to host a "backstabbers game night" with only games like Condottiere and The Resistance. Stuff that encourages temporary allegiances. I think that might do it.
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Christopher Hill
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kuhrusty wrote:
kinga1965 wrote:
instead of waiting until everyone but one has no cards, the players get to draw three new cards into their hand keeping any they had previously at the end of each round.
No! Noooooo!!

The Fantasy Flight edition already softened the game by letting the last person with cards keep some; by letting everyone draw up to three cards after each battle, you're encouraging everyone to play three cards in each battle, which I think wrecks the game. Wrecks! The game!

A lot of the tension in this game comes from choosing which battles to commit to, and when to let the players on your left grind themselves down against the players on their left. ("Obviously we can't let him have this one cheaply... so I'm going to let you stop him. Pass.") We often have multiple players passing on early battles without playing a single card, because every card counts, and there's no sense in throwing cards into a fight which everyone's in. If everyone draws cards after every battle, doesn't that mean everyone automatically pitches their three worst cards in every fight?

I guess every group has their own preferences. I can't speak for everyone in our group, but I personally don't feel the game is wrecked by playing the draw three variant. I think the game becomes more tactical then strategic with the variant. Thanks for your opinion, nonetheless.
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