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Subject: calling all LfW fans for a hearty recommendation rss

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Sam Mason
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I had my eye on this game before but put off buying it, mainly because I was turned off by the lengthy playing time, as well as the need for writing down movements in a piece of paper.

But now, I'm revisiting this game thinking my concerns might have been unfounded. Hence this post.

My main concerns are the long playing time (but more so the down time and fatigue that comes with any long game), as well as the extra work of writing down movements. I may have forgotten some of the rules, but could an honest movement mistake by Jack cause or contribute to his winning the game? I mean, as the detective you would have to go through all of Jack's movements in order to check whether or not all of them were valid, and who wants to do that? Not that you don't trust your opponent, but mistakes can happen. And this game is unlike most others where a wrong move could easily be spotted by all players immediately.
 
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Neal Smith
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The playing time is not as long as any other game really. Twilight Imperium it ain't.

But it varies widly on (1) whether Jack is caught (2) if so, what night (3) if not, how long does he take to get home (4) how long do the police discuss their moves? I've not found there to be a great deal of AP, even up to 3 police so far.

There is little downtime as the Police - they are talking constantly. There is downtime as Jack in theory, but I find the police discussing where they think I am to just be as much fun as anything else.

As for the moves, yes, if Jack wrote down the move wrong then absolutely he could slip through. But honestly, it's quite hard to get it wrong. it's look at a map, pick one of 3 - 5 numbers linked by a line and write it down. Mistakes happen, but then again, they can in any game.

It does suggest the most experienced player playes Jack for this reason, but I would not say that I think a mistake of that kind if likely.

There are just as likely to be the police accidentally call out a number and Jack answer before he has realised that the square is not adjacent.

Get it. It's a great game.
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Rood Bird
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This game is not particularly long. In fact if Jack is caught on the first night it can be over far too quickly. If Jack survives every night and eventually wins it still should take around 90 min. I suppose if the police players spend ages making up their minds what to do it could take longer but each individual policeman only has a few options (move 0, 1 or 2 spaces and then search or attempt an arrest) so there isn't really room for lengthy deliberation.

The Jack player will have downtime but watching the police get closer or moving off on a wild goose chase is all part of the fun. I don't like role playing games but I'm always pleasantly surprised how much my heart rate goes up and down when I'm playing Jack. You do feel like a criminal on the run.

The writing takes seconds since you are just writing one number in a box each turn.

An honest mistake could mean that Jack manages to escape however I think it is difficult to make a mistake. The policeman will call out a number and Jack has to check if he's been there at all that night. If Jack calls out 'No' too quickly he may miss that he was there a few moves before but as Jack you are unlikely to reply without consulting or at least appearing to consult all your movements that evening. Too hasty replies of 'no' will tell the police that they are looking in completely the wrong area.

Sorry, if this answer is a bit too long but I really don't think you have anything to be worried about. If you like the look and sound of LtW then give it a go. You won't be disappointed.
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Neal Smith
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roodbird wrote:
The Jack player will have downtime but watching the police get closer or moving off on a wild goose chase is all part of the fun. I don't like role playing games but I'm always pleasantly surprised how much my heart rate goes up and down when I'm playing Jack. You do feel like a criminal on the run.

The writing takes seconds since you are just writing one number in a box each turn.

An honest mistake could mean that Jack manages to escape however I think it is difficult to make a mistake. The policeman will call out a number and Jack has to check if he's been there at all that night. If Jack calls out 'No' too quickly he may miss that he was there a few moves before but as Jack you are unlikely to reply without consulting or at least appearing to consult all your movements that evening. Too hasty replies of 'no' will tell the police that they are looking in completely the wrong area.

Sorry, if this answer is a bit too long but I really don't think you have anything to be worried about. If you like the look and sound of LtW then give it a go. You won't be disappointed.


Agree with all of this.

Edited - I agreed with all except the first paragraph. I got carried away!
 
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Nico
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But I don’t want to go among mad people
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roodbird wrote:
This game is not particularly long. In fact if Jack is caught on the first night it can be over far too quickly. If Jack survives every night and eventually wins it still should take around 90 min. I suppose if the police players spend ages making up their minds what to do it could take longer but each individual policeman only has a few options (move 0, 1 or 2 spaces and then search or attempt an arrest) so there isn't really room for lengthy deliberation.


I don't agree with that. Yes, every policeman has only a limited number of moves but if you want to be successfull as the police you have to think about all the possible ways Jack could take. Especially with 5 or 6 players this discussion will take a lot of time. I don't think we ever finished in under 2 hours (ok, one time when Jack was caught in the first night).
 
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An "honest mistake" by Jack is extremely unlikely- I've played well over 100 times and never seen it happen (well, once by a first time player who misunderstood a rule, but that's not really what you're talking about). So I'd say no worries there.

Game length though is another issue. It can be variable, since the game ends immediately if Jack is caught, but usually the game will last 3+ hours. Anyone who is finishing the full 4 nights in 90 minutes is playing at a very casual level. A clever Jack will easily beat a group of investigators that aren't analyzing, discussing and coordinating their moves. That being said, if time is an issue, you can easily record the board position and come back to the game later. Many times I have split a game into two sessions like this.
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Rood Bird
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I am genuinely surprised that people are regularly having sessions of 3+ hours with this game. I honestly don't think it takes that long to play. I really don't think I've ever played a game that has lasted longer than 2 hours and most are actually far less.

Does this make me a 'casual' player? I don't really know what you mean.

The act of actually moving your policeman or writing down where Jack goes takes seconds. The process of asking which spaces Jack is on and getting responses also takes a matter of seconds. Therefore the length of the game all depends on how long it takes to discuss/decide what to do.

In my experience the opening few turns on all but the very last night require little discussion. Once the murder location has been revealed it will be clear which of the policemen will be in the best positions to pick up Jack's trail. The remaining coppers (usually 3 or 4) will need
to spend a few turns getting into useful positions - either to help pick up the trail or to get to areas that Jack may run towards to escape the detectives closing in on him.

There is no need to spend the first few turns trying to work out all the possible locations Jack could have reached. There are simply too many. The overwhelming majority of which no policeman could reach anyway. Given that each detective can move a maximum of 2 spaces any discussion is usually limited to deciding who is going to head in which general direction. As the trail starts to appear each of the policemen then usually only has a few choices to make. Can I get close to where Jack may be now? Can I with the help of another work out exactly which way he turned after a particular spot? If I'm too far away to help right now should I position myself ready for a double back or should I try and find more clues from his movements earlier on that night? All these decisions can be made quite quickly and with limited discussion between players.

The first night and quite often the second night tend to be about working out the rough area of Jack's hideout. To put another way it is as much about working out where Jack isn't or couldn't possibly have been than where he is. For this reason in games I've played I've found most discussion takes place once the night is over. The policemen have (hopefully) a nicotine coloured trail of dots across the board and a record of all moves by coach or alleyway. A strategy is usually then agreed upon and the first few moves of the following night take place with little discussion.

In some ways the last nights are even quicker. Hopefully the detectives know roughly where the hideout is and discussions tend to revolve around how best to create the cordon that will either trap Jack or prevent him getting to his hideout.

I'm not saying that every game is always the same or that an alpha gamer just tells everyone what to do. (Although I can see that this game could easily suffer from the alpha problem). What I am saying is that in my experience the policemen do not spend ages discussing the rights and wrongs of each and every move. Each person has limited choices each turn and so once strategy is agreed the game moves along quite nicely.
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Sam Mason
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Thanks for the replies. Excellent points by Rood Bird. Now I'm beginning to wonder myself why this game takes a long time to play. I bet if we play it 2 players we could get it down to an hour, after we get familiar with the rules of course.
 
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Simon Brownsword
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roodbird wrote:
I am genuinely surprised that people are regularly having sessions of 3+ hours with this game. I honestly don't think it takes that long to play. I really don't think I've ever played a game that has lasted longer than 2 hours and most are actually far less.


My first session was an hour and a half and ended on the first night.

Jack made his hideout in the lower half of the city then attempted to skirt around the top of the map on the first night to draw us off the scent and realised too late he had no resources left to get past the copper blocking the only route he could take to his hideout in time, the copper moved, he dived through and the copper moved back and arrested him.
 
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Ryan King
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Its a 2 hour game for us, most of that is us talking though, which is good fun.
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