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Subject: Questions from someone who dislikes co-op games... rss

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wendigo song
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Okay, I've never played Pandemic before, but I have a largely negative opinion of co-op games because of Arkham Horror. As such I was wondering if someone can answer a few questions about the game for me so I can make a more informed judgment so as whether to play it:

1) How similar/dissimilar is this game to Arkham Horror
2) I find with most co-op games there is an issue of one player dominating the game and essentially taking everyone's turn for them. Is that an issue in this game?
3) If it is an issue in this game how do you guys normally combat that?
4) How long do the games run?
5) Is there a lot of down time between turns?
6) How fiddly is the game?
7) Is there a way to end the game early if I am not having fun? Sometimes if I am stuck in a game I do not like I feel an obligation to stick it out to the end and I've gotten to the point where I am no longer willing to do that. That being the case (and especially with coop games) I usually try to find out if there is an in game way to end a game instantly or at least fairly quickly if I am not having a pleasurable experience with the game.
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Matt Hindmarch
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3). Find different people to play with.
4). An hour
5). Not if you don't want there to be
6). I don't think this game is fiddly
7). Flip the table
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Alex Gustafson
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Big fan of both Pandemic and Arkham Horror here!

1) Beyond the concept of co-op I wouldn't compare the two at all. The theme of pandemic is much farther reaching and the mechanics make a lot more sense to "normal" people. Which is easier to understand -- driving around and treat a sickness, or move to the zombie, see if he scares you, fire the tommy gun, oops you got hurt, fire the tommy gun again, oops you're unconcious... no he didn't eat your brain, you're in the hospital. You lost half your stuff because the rules said so. Pandemic is a co-op game for everyone, AH is a co-op game for people that like the Cthulu mythos.

2&3) This is definitely an issue in pandemic (and most co-ops). Best way to avoid it is like with any co-op games. The player who has played the most is in charge of teaching, but once the game has started he/she isn't allowed to give ideas to other players unless directly asked a question.

4) About an hour if everyone knows the rules.

5) No. We've played back-to-back games many times with less than 10 minutes between games.

6) Fiddly? Like unclear? Rarely is it unclear.

7) You can end the game instantly by saying the game wins and putting it away. Honestly most games of Pandemic are really tense. Whenever you look like you're getting killed you probably are also making good strides towards winning.

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Jon Gameson
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1) Never played Arkham horror, but judging off TableTop, it seems a bit more co-ordinated, and less dependant on good dice.

2) Possibly, but it's the current players' choice in the end - there will be lots of discussions.

3) Not really an issue for my games.

4) 45min to an hour, depends on level of debating/table flipping!

5) Not at all - quick setup and re-setup between games.

6) Not fiddly in my opinion.

7) - Die a horrible plague-y death (in game obviously!).
- Table flip.
- Get someone else/the rest of the team to control you character.

Hope this helps a tad
 
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Krawhitham B
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1) This game is nothing like Arkham Horror.
2&3) Alpha players can be a problem, just make an effort to let each other decide.
4) 60 minutes for your first game, after that it should be 30-45 (or less if you fail quickly )
5) Turns should be pretty short
6) The game is pretty straight forward, especially compared to the madness of Arkham Horror. When I said your first game takes 60 minutes, this will include going through the rulebook
7) You can always lose quickly if you are not having fun...

Browse the videos and see if you can watch a play through. There is an episode of Tabletop where they play it, but they do play it on the very hardest setting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytK1zDPPDhw&feature=player_d...
 
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chearns
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1) How similar/dissimilar is this game to Arkham Horror

They are both coöps. And that's where the similarities end. Honestly, it feels like as if someone was asking me how similar Twilight Imperium and Agricola are based off the idea that they are both competitive games.

The differences are:

* AH is really really long, Pandemic should be over in about 45 minutes.
* AH has a huge footprint and takes forever to setup, the setup of Pandemic should take five minutes.
* AH has a really long complicated rulebook. My first play of Pandemic happened 30 minutes after I opened the box (that's reading the rules, setup and explaining the rules).
* Part of the fun of AH is reading the all the flavour text because mechanically the game is rather shallow. There is no flavour text in Pandemic.
* AH is extremely fiddly, all kinds of pieces that need to be moved all the time in complicated manners. Pandemic's pieces that need moving are simple and quick.
* The base set of AH is broken in terms of there being an optimal strategy. This is not the case with Pandemic.

I'm sure there are more, that's just off the top of my head.

2) I find with most co-op games there is an issue of one player dominating the game and essentially taking everyone's turn for them. Is that an issue in this game?

Totally. If someone wants to do it, there's nothing stopping them. Of course, there isn't anything stopping people from telling me what to do when I play Agricola either. Some people play games like that, always telling others what to do. I don't play with those people. And I don't recommend it either.

3) If it is an issue in this game how do you guys normally combat that?

We don't do it. It's not hard. I let people make their own plans for their pawn, and I make my plans for my pawn. If I need help doing something, I ask the other players if they can help me. If I have a choice between two things that need doing, I might ask if someone can do one of them and then I'll do the other.

4) How long do the games run?

I've played over a hundred times, so I can bang 'em out in thirty minutes, but I think forty-five minutes is more realistic at the beginning.

5) Is there a lot of down time between games?

I'm not sure what that means. You mean the time to return the game to the starting point after the game is done? Should take five minutes.

EDIT: Between turns? Never really noticed. When I play I'm invested in the game. Turns are fairly short. But I don't play with group consensus before anyone takes a turn. That really slows the game down if you do that (but, for a lot of people, that's the appeal of coöps).

6) How fiddly is the game?

Every turn you will have to place cubes on cities for the game. Should take under a minute, should take under thirty seconds really.

7) Is there a way to end the game early if I am not having fun?

Sure, you can say to the people you are with, I'm not having fun, can we play something else? If they want you to have fun (I know my friends want me to have fun), they'll be happy to change games and return to Pandemic sometime when you aren't around.
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Stephen Roney
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OP asked about down time between TURNS, not between games.....

I haven't played AH, and don't care to. With the exception of Hanabi ( which solves #2 ), it is the co-op I am most willing to play. It can have the dominant player problem, but doesn't have to.

Down-time between turns is reduced by discussing what to do, since everyone could be involved, but that may increase the #2 effect.
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Andreas Krüger
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1. Not very. Pandemic feels more like a Euro, I find it less fiddly but also less thematic. The puzzle aspect is more obvious, but actually AH is easier to "solve" when you know its "weaknesses" and an AH game feels more scripted to me than a game of Pandemic.
2. Yes.
3. Play casual and let everybody contribute. Make it a point to win even if the newbie makes mistakes.
4. Yes, I guess an hour is correct.
5. Between games? A few minutes to prepare the card deck. You cannot just shuffle all cards but instead prepare some stacks, shuffle them seperately and pile them up. Between turns? Quite some, but you have to fill it with discussion and coordination. This is what takes the time, the actual turn is very quick). So ideally all players should be involved. But of course, if one is just bossing the others around, the downtime is more or less an eternity.
6. No, not fiddly at all. The turn procedure is printed on the board. You have to follow the setup instructions carefully to prepare the card deck, this is the most fiddly point. Once you know the procedure, this is also quick.
7. You can play suboptimally so you lose faster. Does not make sense, though. You can play more risky and try to find the cure quickly before you get the diseases under control which is almost the same as playing suboptimally. You can drop out of the game and someone else can take your seat or play two roles.
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Jon Gameson
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sroney wrote:
OP asked about down time between TURNS, not between games.....


It was between games when I replied lol

Even with the edit, the reply is the same, hardly any downtime, the good deck and especially bad deck keeps your attention!
 
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Andreas Krüger
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sroney wrote:
OP asked about down time between TURNS, not between games.....


I guess that was the edit of his post...
 
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Liam
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harlemsushi wrote:


1) How similar/dissimilar is this game to Arkham Horror
2) I find with most co-op games there is an issue of one player dominating the game and essentially taking everyone's turn for them. Is that an issue in this game?
3) If it is an issue in this game how do you guys normally combat that?
4) How long do the games run?
5) Is there a lot of down time between turns?
6) How fiddly is the game?
7) Is there a way to end the game early if I am not having fun? Sometimes if I am stuck in a game I do not like I feel an obligation to stick it out to the end and I've gotten to the point where I am no longer willing to do that. That being the case (and especially with coop games) I usually try to find out if there is an in game way to end a game instantly or at least fairly quickly if I am not having a pleasurable experience with the game.


1. IMO, Pandemic is an elegant and tight, great game, Arkham horror is none of these things. Arkham Horror is one of my most disliked games - I love Pandemic. Arkham Horror is a horrific comparison. Short of both being cooperatives then, Arkham Horror is almost the antithesis of Pandemic.
2. This is a player issue not a game issue. Cooperatives are about cooperating not one player determining play. Not Everyone will enjoy cooperative games.
3. I talk to that player directly. I know other groups have a rule on when/to what degree 'advise' may be given. As often the most experienced player at the table I work hard to facilitate play rather than dictate it, and ensure others do the same.
4. 45 - 60 mins. Arkham Horror 3+ hours.
5. No
6. It's not really fiddly at all. You have to put cubes on and off the board. Rule wise the game can be summed up in a tiny rule booklet and players decisions fit on one card. Arkham Horror has a huge rule book with extra rules written on the board.
7. It's not Arkham Horror. You're unlikely to get bored. This said gaming is a social contract and ending a game early because you're bored doesn't sound particularly compatible with cooperative play.
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Kevin Hadley

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harlemsushi wrote:
Okay, I've never played Pandemic before, but I have a largely negative opinion of co-op games because of Arkham Horror. As such I was wondering if someone can answer a few questions about the game for me so I can make a more informed judgment so as whether to play it:

1) How similar/dissimilar is this game to Arkham Horror
2) I find with most co-op games there is an issue of one player dominating the game and essentially taking everyone's turn for them. Is that an issue in this game?
3) If it is an issue in this game how do you guys normally combat that?
4) How long do the games run?
5) Is there a lot of down time between turns?
6) How fiddly is the game?
7) Is there a way to end the game early if I am not having fun? Sometimes if I am stuck in a game I do not like I feel an obligation to stick it out to the end and I've gotten to the point where I am no longer willing to do that. That being the case (and especially with coop games) I usually try to find out if there is an in game way to end a game instantly or at least fairly quickly if I am not having a pleasurable experience with the game.


I did not read other people's responses, but as a fellow co-op non-fan, I thought I'd answer your questions.

1)Pandemic is quicker, simpler, and has NO competition elements
2) If you let them. You have to be more willing to stand your ground (or create interference between other players who are being quarterbacked). I don't know any co-op game where this isn't a problem though.
3) Either don't play with that group (if at a random board game event) or have everyone on the same page regarding contribution. Work as a team, not individuals and not dictated by one dominant player.
4) about 45 min (unless you have analysis paralysis, maybe 60 min in that case)
5)typically no. Even if it is not your turn, if you are working as a team, you are providing insight into EVERYONE"s turn, not just your own. If you are not playing that way, the turns are still pretty quick.
6)not sure what you mean, but the rules are straightforward
7) with a 45 minute time limit, I don't see that being a problem, but I would just say, "this isn't fun guys" and just declare the game a failure.

You have to really like the theme of AH to like AH (in my opinion).

If you want to get a taste of how Pandemic plays, there is also Forbidden Island or Forbidden Desert. Both from the same designer as Pandemic, but has a lighter feel.
 
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Dan Roe
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Everyone's covered pretty much everything I'd say, except that in answer to 3) I'd point out that everyone having closed hands of city cards (which should be the case past your first game or two) makes it more difficult for one person to parse all the options in play and dominate proceedings. Pandemic's certainly no more prone to someone electing themselves the table captain than most other co-ops.
 
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