Mad Halfling
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What's the "default" difficulty level with 3 players - playing with or without the dog? I ask because the (Z-Man) rules state:-

Quote:
Easier Game
If you think a scenario is too difficult to accomplish, you can adjust the game for your needs in various ways:
a) You can play with the dog. ...... It is especially recommended in 3-player games.


and

Quote:
Harder Game
If you are experienced and believe that a scenario is too easy for you, then you can adjust the game to be more challenging by:
........
c) Playing without the dog (only in a 3-player game)


This seems, to me, to imply that there's only the easier or harder "mode" with 3 players, and no middle ground. We played our first, and only, game with 3 on scenario 1 and got gradually worn down and then froze to death at the end of turn 7, however we weren't doing too terribly and had nearly 4 (IIRC, certainly 3 full) rows of the woodpile complete. Now, whilst we lost, I appreciate the big learning curve on the first (to third?) game and we realised a bunch of things we did badly, so I'm not overly convinced we will need the dog when we try again, but I'm also wary about making the game unnecessarily hard for us, until we really get used to it, but I also don't want to make it too easy.

Which of the above "setting" levels is the "normal" mode for generally competent co-op players in the 3-player mode - with or without the dog - as "with" seems to be "if you are struggling" and without seems to be "if you are finding it too easy" so there doesn't seem to be any implied middle ground?

Cheers
MH
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Juan Crespo
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Mad-Halfling wrote:
What's the "default" difficulty level with 3 players - playing with or without the dog? I ask because the (Z-Man) rules state:-

Quote:
Easier Game
If you think a scenario is too difficult to accomplish, you can adjust the game for your needs in various ways:
a) You can play with the dog. ...... It is especially recommended in 3-player games.


and

Quote:
Harder Game
If you are experienced and believe that a scenario is too easy for you, then you can adjust the game to be more challenging by:
........
c) Playing without the dog (only in a 3-player game)


This seems, to me, to imply that there's only the easier or harder "mode" with 3 players, and no middle ground. We played our first, and only, game with 3 on scenario 1 and got gradually worn down and then froze to death at the end of turn 7, however we weren't doing too terribly and had nearly 4 (IIRC, certainly 3 full) rows of the woodpile complete. Now, whilst we lost, I appreciate the big learning curve on the first (to third?) game and we realised a bunch of things we did badly, so I'm not overly convinced we will need the dog when we try again, but I'm also wary about making the game unnecessarily hard for us, until we really get used to it, but I also don't want to make it too easy.

Which of the above "setting" levels is the "normal" mode for generally competent co-op players in the 3-player mode - with or without the dog - as "with" seems to be "if you are struggling" and without seems to be "if you are finding it too easy" so there doesn't seem to be any implied middle ground?

Cheers
MH


That's why it says "Easier" and "Harder", not easy and hard. Other than choosing your character based on the scenario, there's really no way to tell if you'll have an easier or a harder game, with or without the dog. A lot of it depends on the luck of the draw with the cards...

Many times you'll have an easy game even without the dog, and others it won't matter if you have the dog and Friday in addition to the 3 characters.
 
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Axel
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2 player is with Friday and not the dog.

3 player isn't mentioned in the rule book as a specific rule but it is recommended to play with the dog.


Franklin1742 wrote:
I believe the default difficulties are as follows:

The default for 1 player is with both Friday and the Dog.
The default for 2 players is with the Dog. So removing the Dog makes it harder (as my rulebook suggests).
The default for 3 players is without either (so adding the Dog makes it easier).

I don't see the problem, unless you have a rulebook with a misprint.
 
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Mad Halfling
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Thanks for the responses, as a general reply to all: here is the rulebook I have
http://zmangames.com/rulebooks/Robinson.pdf
from the Z-Man edition - if you look on page 14 and 15 you will see the sections I typed out in the OP.

juanma99 wrote:
That's why it says "Easier" and "Harder", not easy and hard. Other than choosing your character based on the scenario, there's really no way to tell if you'll have an easier or a harder game, with or without the dog. A lot of it depends on the luck of the draw with the cards...

Many times you'll have an easy game even without the dog, and others it won't matter if you have the dog and Friday in addition to the 3 characters.


This is my quandary - as it says
Quote:
If you think that a Scenario is too dicult to accomplish

and
Quote:
If you are experienced players and believe that a Scenario
is too easy for you,

we sort of fall in the middle. I know, looking back at our game, that we did make some bad decisions, and we will need to do some things differently - e.g. make sure our morale is kept up - but as we play lots of different games, I was wondering what the general consensus was with people who have played the game a fair bit with 3 players, so we can make the most of when we play this and don't make it either too easy or too hard for ourselves. This is also, from my point of view, a fairly important selling point for getting people to play it again - I have a large game collection, with some group favourites, and we're fairly democratic on choosing a game, so I don't want any members of the group to be put off playing this because it's too easy, or it's more insanely brutal than it should be (we very much appreciate that it is an evil game, by default, haha), and I know from experience that the wonderful collective BGG wisdom is good at shining light on such issues.

Cheers, MH
 
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Juan Crespo
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Mad-Halfling wrote:
... so I don't want any members of the group to be put off playing this because it's too easy, or it's more insanely brutal than it should be ...

I understand your quandary, my friend; that's is the hardest part. By design, this is a game that requires many plays of the same scenario to reach a consensus on its difficulty. The same scenario can swing wildly in difficulty from one game to the next. There's nothing you can do about that, short of stacking the event deck to your liking.

In terms of the character selection, your chances of success are better if you take the dog, but there's no way to predetermine how much easier it will get, or to guarantee a balanced game.

I love the game, but I can understand why some people might be put off by this and not want to visit it again.

The way that I explain it thematically is that you're stranded in an Island, and there's no way to predict if the gods will smile at you or if they'll doom you!
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Dan C
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The dog is simply a one token support for when you hunt or explore. That's it. It's a pretty simple advantage to quantify since you don't have extra wounds/feeding etc to add.

So a slight incremental advantage to hunting or exploring could make or break you, but isn't as drastic an advantage of Friday for comparison.
 
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Byron S
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This is a general misprint in the rulebook, here's what the official FAQ has to say:

FAQ wrote:
The ideas how to make the game more difficult include the point that you could play without the dog in a 2-player game. However, there's nothing about using the dog in a 2-player game. Isn't the dog only used for solo-play or when you want to decrease the difficulty?

In standard play the dog (along with Friday) is used only in a 1-player game. Friday is used in a 2-player game. So to make the game harder: play without the dog in a 1-player game, or without Friday (but with the dog instead) in a 2-player game.
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Mad Halfling
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As there wasn't really a consensus/official line, I contacted Portal, and (for the record) this is the response I got:-

Quote:
Normally, you don’t use Dog in a 3-player game. You use it only if you think the game is too hard. But we recommend to use it anyway, because some players find it difficult to play without the dog.


So it looks like it's leaning towards using the dog if you find the game too hard.
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