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Subject: First game, 2.5 hours rss

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Isaac Marx
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Played this for the first time last night. 5 players on the Pyramid, and the full game took 2 1/2 hours from start to finish not including teaching. Granted, this was the first time for everyone and there was some hemming and hawing, but wow the game really dragged. I was very surprised given the 60-75 minute time frame listed on the box and 45 (!) minute playtime listed on BGG. I didn't feel like we were playing so slowly that we could cut the time by at least half during subsequent plays. Did we pick a bad track to learn on? What have other people's experiences been in terms of game time and game pace? Do you have any suggestions to speed up the game (besides "take your turns faster")? I think the game would be much more enjoyable is we could get it down to 1 hour-ish, but at over 2 hours it just feels way too long.
 
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Jason Webster
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imarx wrote:
Played this for the first time last night. 5 players on the Pyramid, and the full game took 2 1/2 hours from start to finish not including teaching. Granted, this was the first time for everyone and there was some hemming and hawing, but wow the game really dragged. I was very surprised given the 60-75 minute time frame listed on the box and 45 (!) minute playtime listed on BGG. I didn't feel like we were playing so slowly that we could cut the time by at least half during subsequent plays. Did we pick a bad track to learn on? What have other people's experiences been in terms of game time and game pace? Do you have any suggestions to speed up the game (besides "take your turns faster")? I think the game would be much more enjoyable is we could get it down to 1 hour-ish, but at over 2 hours it just feels way too long.


Yikes! I was thinking about picking this up. Anyone else experience this??
 
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David Millette
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Some maps are definitely longer than others. The first few games you could just limit the number of laps. Becoming familiar with the cards and processes (pitting, linking, etc.) help speed up the game.
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Francis K. Lalumiere
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The first few games are slow, because some of the movement mechanics are not intuitive at all.
But once you know the cards and how they work, a race goes by pretty quickly. Our current races always end under 90 minutes.
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Ed Sagritalo
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weishaupt wrote:
The first few games are slow, because some of the movement mechanics are not intuitive at all.
But once you know the cards and how they work, a race goes by pretty quickly. Our current races always end under 90 minutes.


This is definitely the experience we had. The first game took almost 3 hours including teaching time. The game moved slowly as people tried to figure out when best to use the different types of movement. Most people couldn't get over the mechanics which seem to help your opponent as much as yourself. Lots of AP.

The second game I played ran a lot better though still took 2 hours. I think that there was still room for improvement. So, I expect that the time will decrease with more plays.

We played with 5 people in both cases. The second game did not include all the same people from the first game.
 
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Mitchell Land
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We played 2 6-player games last Monday in around 3 hours, so roughly 90 minutes each. But that also included kibbitzing. You have to a Marshal appointed how makes sure everyone knows when it's their turn to go. We had an even mix of folks who had played before and those who hadn't. Indeed, I was a playtester and Chad was the developer, so that might've helped, too. :-) Familiarity with the rules/movement types will go a long way towards speeding it up.
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Jeff Horger
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There is a learning curve to the game. Your time frame for game 1 with no teacher sounds in the range of expectation. I have demoed/played the game about a dozen times in the last month but two hours has been my absolute maximum play time (7 players on the Super Speedway where I was not playing but teaching). Admittedly I know the game but often i am the only one at the table that does. If you are concerned about drag on your first game, play 3 laps on the short track.

What I have noticed is that because of the uniqueness of the movement mechanics that often new players will not take advantage of the movement types and essentially try to move all of their cars without affecting the other player's cars ("I don't want to help him"). An example I saw Saturday was that a player with a car in 2nd and with another of his cars at the tail end of a line played a Pursuit movement card but refused to move everyone else's cars (including his car) and instead took the 2nd place car out of line around the car in front and back into the lead. Where one car could have pushed the whole line ahead 5, he ended up moving 1 car ahead 3. That car ended up getting knocked out of line and left about 12 spaces in the rear of the drafting lines. If that happens, and cars get scattered all across the track in small drafting lines, the game is going to take quite a bit longer. In addition the longer a game goes the more wear that accumulates on the cars. More wear requires more pits, further slowing the game.

The game cannot be won on the first turn or the second, yellow flags are too likely to happen. Work together to cover a lot of ground early and save the wear on your cars. The best time to make a move is with about a half a lap to go.

Essentially there are two races going on. Racing to save wear and be in a good position for the last half lap. And the last scramble to cross the finish line.

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Chad Schrieber
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Ditto what Jeff said.

I'd also add that once players figure out the wear marker affects, they seem to start suffering a lot less analysis paralysis. It looks to me like new players fret over the wear markers, but really, they're just a currency in the game, and while it's good to pay attention to them, it isn't necessary to micro-manage them.

(Of course, this coming from the guy who had 2 of three cars knocked out in his last race due to events targeting specific types of wear.... )
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Isaac Marx
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Jeff Horger wrote:
There is a learning curve to the game. Your time frame for game 1 with no teacher sounds in the range of expectation. I have demoed/played the game about a dozen times in the last month but two hours has been my absolute maximum play time (7 players on the Super Speedway where I was not playing but teaching). Admittedly I know the game but often i am the only one at the table that does. If you are concerned about drag on your first game, play 3 laps on the short track.

What I have noticed is that because of the uniqueness of the movement mechanics that often new players will not take advantage of the movement types and essentially try to move all of their cars without affecting the other player's cars ("I don't want to help him"). An example I saw Saturday was that a player with a car in 2nd and with another of his cars at the tail end of a line played a Pursuit movement card but refused to move everyone else's cars (including his car) and instead took the 2nd place car out of line around the car in front and back into the lead. Where one car could have pushed the whole line ahead 5, he ended up moving 1 car ahead 3. That car ended up getting knocked out of line and left about 12 spaces in the rear of the drafting lines. If that happens, and cars get scattered all across the track in small drafting lines, the game is going to take quite a bit longer. In addition the longer a game goes the more wear that accumulates on the cars. More wear requires more pits, further slowing the game.

The game cannot be won on the first turn or the second, yellow flags are too likely to happen. Work together to cover a lot of ground early and save the wear on your cars. The best time to make a move is with about a half a lap to go.

Essentially there are two races going on. Racing to save wear and be in a good position for the last half lap. And the last scramble to cross the finish line.


Yes, I definitely think people were trying to avoid helping other people from the very beginning of the race. About 2/3 of the way through the game one player had all three cars out in front with a significant lead and the general consensus was that he couldn't be stopped. I made the suggestion, "if the rest of us link our cars together we can catch up to him much more quickly," and it was like a thunderclap - people just had not considered that before. Even after that though I felt like people were hesitant to make moves that helped other people out, though at that point in the game it might have been too late.

There was also a lot of scattering in the game as well, as people would make moves like playing Pursuit movements with a middle car of a draft line in order to leave the back of the line behind. I don't have a good enough sense of the game, but is that generally not a good move to make? Are you sacrificing a quicker draft line in order to strand a few of your opponents' cars? I feel like that would only work if other people were working together with you to push the draft along.

In general I'm wondering how you encourage good board play without saying, "this is how you should be playing"? I'm afraid the unintuitiveness of the gameplay is a hindrance to first time players enjoying the game, but I really don't want to be dictating strategy to the new players and unfortunately given the vast number of game options in my group a bad first impression can make it hard to get repeat plays of a game. I'll probably be able to give it at least one more shot though so I'll be sure to incorporate everyone's advice.
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Kevin Shaw
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We played our first game yesterday on the Yunta track because it looked the simplest. It took 2 and half hours but most of us really enjoyed it. One player even said it was the best racing game he had played. Time may have dragged a little because one player really didn't want to help anyone else when moving his cars. The same player had previously won a game of Arctic Scavengers (that we were also playing for the first time) by deliberating long and hard about each decision he made. That game lasted way too long, something like two hours. With both games though I had a great time despite things taking longer than expected.

Edit: this was a five player game.

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Jeff Horger
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The Pursuit cars were designed to drop people off the pace.

I agree that the game can have a first impression bias and trust me we did everything we could to cut out the most severe of these cases, but in the end it is quite possible for everyone to play it like a traditional racing game and miss the experience.

What I find is that the first time someone makes the big line move and laves cars scattered around, everyone at the table's eyes get a bit bigger and I hear a lot of , "oh that's how that works." And then its on. I love to watch a person get three cars linked up only to realize that the whole table is now working together to chase them down.

Unfortunately there is no way to tell someone how to play a game once it leaves the depot. Some games will never mesh with some players style of play. It is just that in my experience that most people, once they see the lines move, begin to understand how working together and trying to set something clever up in the end is a rewarding experience.

But that is the beauty of gaming today. I have the same first game biases. I have a decent game collection (@150), though I have at various times owned over 1000 different games. But the options are so varied that 1 bad game will also make me wary and 2 bad experiences is a guaranteed sell/trade.

Hopefully game 2 is more rewarding.
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Agent J
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We played 2 games, Super Speedway and Road Course, in less than 4 hours, including break between to figure out who was playing, and rules explanation. Road course plays fastest in my experience.
 
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Chad Schrieber
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I did 2 laps with my 10 year old daughter who doesn't know much about racing on the shorttrack last night in 35 minutes. We did 12 cars total--she won. (She had some help on some decisions.... )
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Cameron Chien
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When players are inexperienced, they tend to stay in packs less often, which means cars are moving fewer spaces overall each full round.

On top of that, more players always means more time.

Finally, the Pyramid is the longest full race out of the four tracks at 132 spaces. By contrast, the large track that is only two laps is the shortest at 96 spaces. (The others come in at 100 and 112 spaces).

Cameron
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Agent J
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He's looking real sharp in his 1940's fedora. He's got nerves of steel, an iron will, and several other metal-themed attributes. His fur is water tight and he's always up for a fight.
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Zeede wrote:
When players are inexperienced, they tend to stay in packs less often, which means cars are moving fewer spaces overall each full round.

On top of that, more players always means more time.

Finally, the Pyramid is the longest full race out of the four tracks at 132 spaces. By contrast, the large track that is only two laps is the shortest at 96 spaces. (The others come in at 100 and 112 spaces).

Cameron


That's important but also consider that there is a lot of wider spacing on the superspeedway and lanes don't change often, making it easier to shove someone completely out of the line, while in, say, the road course, it's difficult to get out of line completely most of the time with only 2 lanes through a lot of the track.
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Oh you seekers of the new who run terrified from history into the clutches of an eternal life where no electric shaver can be built to last.
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    My most recent game we had a mass-Pit with about six cars coming off the track that were off the lead. I made it a point to tell the players in the Pits that they needed to reform into a line and work together, or they were going to get left behind. It's tough to do when you're coming onto the track with two or three points, but it's gotta get done or you're toast.

    Those stragglers didn't cover much ground at first, but once they formed up they buzzed halfway around the track in one turn. That keeps the race moving.

    My first games ran 2-3 hours, but this isn't a game you play once and move on. So don't sweat the first play. Enjoy the learning experience instead, because in my opinion it's not so much a slow-play issue as a need-more-turns issue. Cars that don't work together simply drive more slowly, requiring more turns.

    One well-timed yellow flag can make a big difference in play time as well by the way.

             S.


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Kirk Lugar
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One thing I really enjoy about this game versus other racing games is that the players not the game sets the race pace. Our first game was quiet slow as nobody wanted to work together and the pacing was slow. Race two on the same track took us 45 minutes less as 2 of the five players teamed up early and forced the rest of us to do the same. Awesome experience in both races.
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Agent J
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When I have a good line going, I'll often have one car pit and then get back into the line that turn, thus taking off with the pack it was with. It's nice when the pit doesn't really lose much ground.
 
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    The last time I tried that the line left without me. Came off the front with the intention to jump on the back but it was out of reach before my turn came up. You takes your chances.

              S.

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Chad Schrieber
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imarx wrote:
Played this for the first time last night. 5 players on the Pyramid, and the full game took 2 1/2 hours from start to finish not including teaching. Granted, this was the first time for everyone and there was some hemming and hawing, but wow the game really dragged. I was very surprised given the 60-75 minute time frame listed on the box and 45 (!) minute playtime listed on BGG. I didn't feel like we were playing so slowly that we could cut the time by at least half during subsequent plays. Did we pick a bad track to learn on? What have other people's experiences been in terms of game time and game pace? Do you have any suggestions to speed up the game (besides "take your turns faster")? I think the game would be much more enjoyable is we could get it down to 1 hour-ish, but at over 2 hours it just feels way too long.


We had 5 players play on the Road Course last night. It was 5 of the same 7 we had a week ago. We finished the race in 65 minutes.

On a separate note, we've decided that we'll play the Road Course as a 3 lapper (at least) from now on.
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Chris Van Auken
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Getting ready to play first game and thinking about introducing a timer for player turns. Are there any suggestions on what type of penalty would be best if players exceed their time limit? Based on reading of rules it seems like passing might be a beneficial option so simply forcing a pass might not be a penalty.

I really want to avoid AP and like the idea of forcing people to make quick(relatively) decisions like a driver would have to.

Appreciate feedback. Thanks.
 
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Daniel B-G
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The advice I give to all players during rules explanation is "Don't overthink it, because you are just wasting effort. Make the optimal move right now and see what the board looks like on your next turn".

If you play fast enough, the game is enjoyable so that you can take your learnings into the next game, which you might be able to play straight afterwards.

To answer your question though. If you want a penalty, I would suggest alcohol and plenty of it. That way they get into the right mindset to play the game.
 
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Don't use a timer. First game is for learning, and this is a game where you learn from other peoples' turns. The timer will just mess that up.

S.

 
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