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Subject: Really torn on getting this game rss

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Michael F
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I'm having a really difficult time figuring out if this game is going to be a hit with me or not, so I thought I'd come on here and ask the folks who have already played it.

I'm very much interested in the game for two reasons. One, it's cooperative, and cooperative games tend to be really popular with my wife and I.

Secondly, I love historical games that aren't necessarily war games. I love learning about history, and the cards in this game alone almost make me want to take the plunge without looking back. They remind me of other favorite games of mine like Twilight Struggle and 1960 in how an event or person is integrated with an action or event that occurs in game.

Unfortunately, I can't get over how closely this seems to resemble games like Pandemic that are just, in essence, a big puzzle that needs to be solved. I realize that you could break down just about every co-op to a puzzle, but I tend to enjoy games that are better about masking that fact with theme and a lack of open information that is given to the players. Here it almost feels like you're just maneuvering the slave catchers to where they won't be as big a threat. That feels more like you're just getting a feel for their movement and trying to manipulate it as best you can while hoping the dice roll your way. Is it really that cut and dry, or are there more things at work than what I'm seeing?

I'm also concerned about the replay value, as I don't see too many people on here praising it a few months after its release.

So with all this in mind, does this sound like a game I would enjoy?
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Lorri Gums
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I say take a look at this...its a play through of the game....

warning, if you are not already hooked....you may become hooked..(with the person running through the game)Freedom Runthrough
 
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Michael F
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ms_gwyn wrote:
I say take a look at this...its a play through of the game....

warning, if you are not already hooked....you may become hooked..(with the person running through the game)Freedom Runthrough


Yeah, I'm familiar with Rahdo, and his runthrough did nothing but make me even more unsure of this game. I could tell he had played it enough to know the behavior of the slave catchers' movement, but I loved how he emphasized the little bits of historical text here and there. Thanks for the link though
 
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Crazy Adam
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It seems like your largest worry is that Freedom is a "big puzzle that needs to be solved."

Let me tell you now: Freedom is a big puzzle that needs to be solved.

You're right in saying that it seems primarily focused on maneuvering the slave catchers. That is a big part of the game! The "puzzly-ness" is thoughtfully decorated with historical text and the game is also serviced by special power cards (Abolitionist cards) and variable player powers to help take care of the cut-and-dry brain-burn that is pushing cubes around.

I love this game because it is a fascinating puzzle. If the theme was wizards or space aliens, I'd still have picked it up just for this aspect. But the abolitionist theme is handled so masterfully that it raises this game a full point for me. But it is mechanic heavy, and I get the impression it might not be your sort of game. Do try it if you get the chance!

Oh, and replayability? Endless, IMHO. The Abolitionist cards and random die effect for slave catcher movement makes sure of this.
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Holger Doessing
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I have a player in my group, which I suppose you could describe as an alpha player. At least, I'm not keen on playing Pandemic with that player anymore, as I don't get to feel like I personally contributed to beating the game. The puzzle sort of gets 'solved' before me.

Freedom (yelled in the voice of William Wallace) is even more puzzly than Pandemic. At least in Pandemic you have a semi-random card draw each player's turn. Not so in Freedom, where randomness is only introduced once all players have had their turn. Pandemic also uses semi-hidden information, i.e. your hand of cards, while no such thing exists in Freedom.

I have yet to try this game with the aforementioned player, and I am reluctant to do so. I suspect that each round will evolve into a long planning session.

On the other hand, successfully crafting a plan and executing it is quite hard in Freedom. There are just too many steps in a round. Contrast this with Pandemic, where each turn only consists of four actions; a round in Freedom may entail up to five actions (with many actions broken down into effects across the board) per player. So this is a much more complex puzzle than you're used to, and perhaps that might thwart any alpha-ness.

As far as the flavor text on the cards goes, I hardly notice it. That part of the theme doesn't come through at all. I still get the whole 'oh-no-lets-save-these-poor-slave-cubes' feel, though, so in that sense it is still a good gaming experience.
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Osprey
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I'm primarily a wargamer, but I got this game to introduce my girlfriend to the world of boardgames. Not only did she love it but I did too. I recommend it.
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David Bartholomew

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It seems like a puzzle to me too but one that my family thoroughly enjoys - even our 9 year old daughter loves this game! It drips with historical theme, which we really like. As for replayability, it hasn't gotten old for us at all. Each game plays a little different, there are different roles/special abilities you can take, and there are easy/hard options for each number of players. I recommend you try it first - I think you'll like it.
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Mike Szarka
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Honestly I played the game a few times and I do find the game to have a lot of that puzzle-y aspect around the slave catchers. And for some reason I find it more annoying than in Pandemic, perhaps because as pointed out above there is so much randomness in Pandemic and such short turns that you don't get overwhelmed by trying to craft a perfect plan. I mostly play co-ops with my wife and she was only so-so about it. On the other hand, the theme is so beautifully done in Freedom that it hasn't gone on my trade pile, even if I don't have a lot of desire to pull it off the shelf. I'm sort of on the fence too. If more of my friends really liked co-ops it might be different, but I find co-ops are only good if all the players have similar levels of experience, and that means playing the same game repeatedly, which just doesn't happen because my group isn't consistent enough.
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Sean Tompkins
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I think the biggest difference to me playing Freedom over Pandemic, Flash Point, and other co-op games is that in those other games you can have one player who pretty much tells everyone what to do - there's an optimal strategy that's obvious to an experienced player, and (s)he can really play solo using other people as pawns. In Freedom the puzzle is SO complex that we've had big discussions between four players trying to work through options and figure out the best plan for a round. With that it becomes a much more "co-op" type feel - using the wisdom of the group to work through a large complex problem. You don't need hidden information, because the shown information is complex enough that you need to consider too many options to keep info to yourself.

So, if your main objection to Pandemic is that the puzzle can be "solved" by one person easily, then I recommend this game. If it's the puzzle itself you don't like, then this game is puzzle squared.

Replayability - I think that the different event cards provide enough variance that there's not one tried and true way to win this game. We've played it about five times so far, and actually winning the game is still pretty tough. I haven't brought it to game night in about two months, and have had several people request it lately.
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Kevin Duke
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I think the fact that there are 3 different decks of cards in 3 different periods, and you probably won't see more than 1/2 of them in a period, and the specific order that they show up in is totally variable, pretty much blows away the "puzzle to be solved- once you solve it, you're done" concept. Maybe that is what seanp means by "Puzzle squared."

Since the slave catchers are impacted by at least 3 different methods-- die roll, interaction with moving slaves, special cards-- they have enough variability too.

There is no one-perfect-plan for your Alpha to set up, altho a bad Alpha player can muck up anything involving co-op, teams, or partners. I've seen them even muck up a 2 player game, because they are compelled to tell their opponent what the best moves are from turn to turn. (It's delicious not doing what they say and beating them, but I digress.)

There are always variables available from one player turn to the next for each player within the group and the choices of priorities really do put excellent layers of pressure on each player. You want to 'keep the railroad running' but X causes Y and what about this Opposition card? and we are running out of Conductor tokens so we badly need to buy up Support and move on to the next period and... so it goes. I've only played in four games and demo'd for 5 others, but each has been a different experience and I haven't begun to get any feeling like, "Okay, if we always do A, B, C, we have this nailed."
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Michael F
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seanp wrote:
I think the biggest difference to me playing Freedom over Pandemic, Flash Point, and other co-op games is that in those other games you can have one player who pretty much tells everyone what to do - there's an optimal strategy that's obvious to an experienced player, and (s)he can really play solo using other people as pawns. In Freedom the puzzle is SO complex that we've had big discussions between four players trying to work through options and figure out the best plan for a round. With that it becomes a much more "co-op" type feel - using the wisdom of the group to work through a large complex problem. You don't need hidden information, because the shown information is complex enough that you need to consider too many options to keep info to yourself.

So, if your main objection to Pandemic is that the puzzle can be "solved" by one person easily, then I recommend this game.


kduke wrote:
I think the fact that there are 3 different decks of cards in 3 different periods, and you probably won't see more than 1/2 of them in a period, and the specific order that they show up in is totally variable, pretty much blows away the "puzzle to be solved- once you solve it, you're done" concept.

There is no one-perfect-plan for your Alpha to set up, altho a bad Alpha player can muck up anything involving co-op, teams, or partners. I've seen them even muck up a 2 player game, because they are compelled to tell their opponent what the best moves are from turn to turn. (It's delicious not doing what they say and beating them, but I digress.)

There are always variables available from one player turn to the next for each player within the group and the choices of priorities really do put excellent layers of pressure on each player. You want to 'keep the railroad running' but X causes Y and what about this Opposition card? and we are running out of Conductor tokens so we badly need to buy up Support and move on to the next period and... so it goes. I've only played in four games and demo'd for 5 others, but each has been a different experience and I haven't begun to get any feeling like, "Okay, if we always do A, B, C, we have this nailed."


These are some interesting points, and actually have me leaning towards buying the game. The open information does bother me, but if the puzzle really is that complex to work around, it should negate as many obvious choices. I'm still a little concerned about replayability based on the responses on here, but it sounds like there's just enough from the cards to keep things interesting.

So I guess I'm still on the fence a little bit, but I think this is one I'll be picking up soon. I'm still a little unsure, but I think the historical flavor is going to be what seals the deal. Thanks for all the responses so far!
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Kevin
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Played a lot of Pandemic and no longer enjoy it.

Have played freedom 5 or so times and have really enjoyed it. I don't, at this point, have a feeling that I will stop enjoying it as was the case with Pandemic.
 
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Moe45673
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I have played Freedom 11 times, solitaire. I won after my 8th session and haven't won again. The puzzle is definitely more complex due to its more strategic scope over the tactical one. The dieroll is excellent as the state of the game at any given moment is like a rubiks cube; someone can know how to solve it but if a given colored square switched to a different location after every 10 twists, they'd have to rethink the whole solution. It keeps the puzzle subtly shifting just enough without destroying your hard work, a masterful accomplishment at attempting balance.

Get it, it feels completely different than Pandemic, like a grownup version.
 
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Michael F
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Moe45673 wrote:
I have played Freedom 11 times, solitaire. I won after my 8th session and haven't won again. The puzzle is definitely more complex due to its more strategic scope over the tactical one. The dieroll is excellent as the state of the game at any given moment is like a rubiks cube; someone can know how to solve it but if a given colored square switched to a different location after every 10 twists, they'd have to rethink the whole solution. It keeps the puzzle subtly shifting just enough without destroying your hard work, a masterful accomplishment at attempting balance.

Get it, it feels completely different than Pandemic, like a grownup version.


I did decide to end up ordering it, and should have it by the end of the week meeple Thanks for all the replies and input!
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