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Subject: Why I didn't find Pax Romana to my taste rss

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Josh Luub
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I hate to give a game a bad review after only playing it once, and getting trashed at it. Makes me sound like a poor sport. To be fair, I like lots of games I suck at. So, let's just say this isn't a bad review; just a listing of things I found to be problems with the game that hampered my enjoyment of it. Note that we played a 5-turn game of scenario V, using the advanced rules.

The biggest single problem with this game is the event cards. Now, these event cards are only used in the advanced game, so possibly the game would be lots better by just not using them. Here is the problem with the event cards: you get one for every activation (you get four activations per turn). Some of the cards are basically random events, for example Bounteous Harvests or Famine And Drought. You just roll to see what happens; they do not help or hinder the person who drew them, except randomly depending on the die roll. They are essentially "wasted" card draws. Other cards are rediculously powerful, such as Conquerer, Soldier of Fortune, or Stability And Opportunity. The players who draw these cards have a big advantage over the players who draw the random event cards.

I have to single out a particular card: "Naval Ambush". This card may as well read "Play against another player: if this player has never played this game before, he immediately loses. Otherwise the card has no effect". Seriously. I read the rules and saw no point to the Galleys; except to sink other Galleys (they are NOT needed for naval movement). So I disbanded all my galleys at the beginning of turn 2, rather than pay about a third of my money to maintain them. On my first activation of turn 2, this card was played against me, sinking my elite leader and almost every unit I had on the board. My game was over. If this had been a face-to-face game, I would have had the prospect of about four more hours of play with no chance to come in anything but last. Fortunately this was an e-mail game and it wasn't such a big deal.

Aside from the cards, the next problem is movement. Each activation you get one "major" move and two "minor" moves. Confusingly enough, the "minor" moves are usually not used for movement at all, but for building or repairing towns and cities, or splitting units into garrisons. However, you can move a single unit with a "minor" move. For the "major" moves, where you can move an entire army, your movement points consist of a single die roll, plus the campaign rating of your leader. Yes, this is completely random. If you randomly draw poor leaders, and you randomly roll low for your major moves, you are dead. You simply will not be able to accomplish anything in this game. And there is no way for you to affect this. None whatsoever. This is exacerbated by the fact that you use movement points to engage in combat.

I have some issues with the combat system also. Now, it is possible to give yourself an advantage in combat by bringing an overwhelming force against the enemy and by bringing cavalry to bear. You can also get an advantage by having better leaders; but that is just a matter of luckily drawing better leaders. In the end, though, most important battles are likely to have, say, 3 or 4 shifts at most, which can be easily offset by bad die rolls. If your opponent rolls a 1, you lose 10% of your force. If you have 5 to 10 points in your force, you lose 1. If you have fewer than 5, you lose nothing. That's right, the smaller your force, the harder they are to kill! If your opponent rolls a 6, you lose 60% of your force. I think that's a pretty wide range of results for a single die roll, but basically what it means is that you should NEVER engage in combat in this game unless you have an overwhelming force -- say, at least enough to have 6 or more shifts. Otherwise a bad roll can mean your force is badly damaged and leave you open to counterattack. As an example of why I have trouble with this combat system: if a force of strength 4 fights a force of strength 5, all other things being equal, the force of 4 has the advantage!

This game also has a compound interest problem. The more territory you capture, the more money you get. The more money you get, the more units you can build, and therefore the more territory you can capture. Furthermore, there are event cards (those event cards again) which punish players with low stability (you lose stability by losing territory, so generally the player with the lowest stability will be the losing player; although for some reason this wasn't the case in our game) such as "Stability Check". Also, there's a rule that says that the player who gets the fewest VPs each turn (who, again, will probably be the player with the lowest stability, and the lowest income, meaning the player with the smallest military force), loses a point of stability. Insult, meet injury!

I'm bad at diplomacy. (I'm also bad at the game Diplomacy). The scenario of this game is that you basically have four players in a ring. If you can convince your two neighbors to attack the guy opposite you, you're golden. If your two neighbors decide to attack you, you're sunk. Diplomacy appears to be the major outlet for strategy in this game; since the cards and die rolls will overwhelm any tactical decisions you try to make.

An example of the cards overwhelming strategy, I played Carthage in this game, and basically spent the entire game trying to conquer Hispania. This is done (assuming no one gets in your way) by conquering tribes. The strengths of the tribes are randomly determined and you don't reveal them until you attack them. As I mentioned before, it is difficult to kill a small number of enemies, since you need a high roll to eliminate them. Consistent low rolls meant it took many, many activations to finally eliminate all the tribes. Once I had, one of the other players played the "Tribal Resurgence" card, bringing some of the tribes back.

Obviously a lot of people like this game a lot, so if you like a game in which diplomacy is very important and where there is a healthy dose of luck, you could give this game a try. I would suggest not using the event cards, though! Actually I'd suggest playing Successors instead if you happen to know someone who has a copy!
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William Payne
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squonk wrote:

The biggest single problem with this game is the event cards. Now, these event cards are only used in the advanced game, so possibly the game would be lots better by just not using them. Here is the problem with the event cards: you get one for every activation (you get four activations per turn). Some of the cards are basically random events, for example Bounteous Harvests or Famine And Drought. You just roll to see what happens; they do not help or hinder the person who drew them, except randomly depending on the die roll. They are essentially "wasted" card draws. Other cards are rediculously powerful, such as Conquerer, Soldier of Fortune, or Stability And Opportunity. The players who draw these cards have a big advantage over the players who draw the random event cards.

The Conqueror card is only good if you also have an elite leader. You can only carry one card over to the next turn so holding one until an elite comes out will keep you from holding anything else. Soldier of Fortune can only be moved using your major move so the only advantage here is not caring if you lose them in battle. This saves your own forces wich can lead to a stability hit between turns and thats bad.

squonk wrote:
I have to single out a particular card: "Naval Ambush". This card may as well read "Play against another player: if this player has never played this game before, he immediately loses. Otherwise the card has no effect". Seriously. I read the rules and saw no point to the Galleys; except to sink other Galleys (they are NOT needed for naval movement). So I disbanded all my galleys at the beginning of turn 2, rather than pay about a third of my money to maintain them. On my first activation of turn 2, this card was played against me, sinking my elite leader and almost every unit I had on the board. My game was over. If this had been a face-to-face game, I would have had the prospect of about four more hours of play with no chance to come in anything but last. Fortunately this was an e-mail game and it wasn't such a big deal.

Thats just a newbie mistake. Not a game problem. Experienced players know how important gallies are. In a face to face game they would have told about that card when teaching you to play. At least I would have. The card only works within 3 spaces of one of thier gallies so watch were you move if you have no escort. Losing your whole army hurts but in Pax it hardly takes you out of the game.

squonk wrote:
Aside from the cards, the next problem is movement. Each activation you get one "major" move and two "minor" moves. Confusingly enough, the "minor" moves are usually not used for movement at all, but for building or repairing towns and cities, or splitting units into garrisons. However, you can move a single unit with a "minor" move. For the "major" moves, where you can move an entire army, your movement points consist of a single die roll, plus the campaign rating of your leader. Yes, this is completely random. If you randomly draw poor leaders, and you randomly roll low for your major moves, you are dead. You simply will not be able to accomplish anything in this game. And there is no way for you to affect this. None whatsoever. This is exacerbated by the fact that you use movement points to engage in combat.

Part of the decision making in the game has alot to do with working with what you have. If you move well, a player with more movement cant hurt you. Bide your time and be ready for when you do get a good leader and roll good movement. Then unleash hell.

squonk wrote:
I have some issues with the combat system also. Now, it is possible to give yourself an advantage in combat by bringing an overwhelming force against the enemy and by bringing cavalry to bear. You can also get an advantage by having better leaders; but that is just a matter of luckily drawing better leaders. In the end, though, most important battles are likely to have, say, 3 or 4 shifts at most, which can be easily offset by bad die rolls. If your opponent rolls a 1, you lose 10% of your force. If you have 5 to 10 points in your force, you lose 1. If you have fewer than 5, you lose nothing. That's right, the smaller your force, the harder they are to kill! If your opponent rolls a 6, you lose 60% of your force. I think that's a pretty wide range of results for a single die roll, but basically what it means is that you should NEVER engage in combat in this game unless you have an overwhelming force -- say, at least enough to have 6 or more shifts. Otherwise a bad roll can mean your force is badly damaged and leave you open to counterattack. As an example of why I have trouble with this combat system: if a force of strength 4 fights a force of strength 5, all other things being equal, the force of 4 has the advantage!

Forces of equal power doing battle is a crap shoot in every game. In this game it is possible to have the advantage with less men. When and where to attack is a big part of decision making.




squonk wrote:
An example of the cards overwhelming strategy, I played Carthage in this game, and basically spent the entire game trying to conquer Hispania. This is done (assuming no one gets in your way) by conquering tribes. The strengths of the tribes are randomly determined and you don't reveal them until you attack them. As I mentioned before, it is difficult to kill a small number of enemies, since you need a high roll to eliminate them. Consistent low rolls meant it took many, many activations to finally eliminate all the tribes. Once I had, one of the other players played the "Tribal Resurgence" card, bringing some of the tribes back.

You should have taken 2 CAV with you. Tribes cannot defend against the CAV shift. If you leave garrisons on the right spaces the tribes can be subdued and cannot resurge.

[/q]
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Colin Hunter
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Well your not wrong about a lot of your comments (except naval ambush). If you are not strong at diplomacy and politics you will hate this game. I love them (in fact I studied them ant University before I did music). As I have said before to people in your situation its just a matter of taste. Your review is aptly names. If you really want and are a glutton for punishment try it again. Maybe play scenario 6 as it is slightly less random for the east and try to enjoy the diplomacy of the game. Anyway good luck and while are tastes are not the same I can appreciate you perspective.
Colin
 
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Josh Luub
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Tisander wrote:
The Conqueror card is only good if you also have an elite leader.

Yes, but it is still a million times better than drawing a useless "Bounteous Harvests" card, which has the same effect no matter who draws it.

Tisander wrote:
Soldier of Fortune can only be moved using your major move so the only advantage here is not caring if you lose them in battle. This saves your own forces wich can lead to a stability hit between turns and thats bad.

Using up free guys to kill your enemy instead of guys who cost a lot of money seems like a pretty good deal to me. And I never got anywhere near the limit of HIs you're allowed to have, so that didn't seem like a big deal to me. And, again, drawing SoF is still a million times better than "Bounteous Harvests"

squonk wrote:
I have to single out a particular card: "Naval Ambush".
Tisander wrote:
Thats just a newbie mistake.

Yes, that's exactly what I said. It is a card which only punishes newbies.

Tisander wrote:
Part of the decision making in the game has alot to do with working with what you have. If you move well, a player with more movement cant hurt you. Bide your time and be ready for when you do get a good leader and roll good movement. Then unleash hell.

That could make for a very dull three hours or so waiting to get a good leader and a good roll. And then you 'unleash hell', get a bad combat roll and lose most of your guys anyway. Or get stopped on a transit point. Or your opponents have compound-interested you out of the game by then.

squonk wrote:
As an example of why I have trouble with this combat system: if a force of strength 4 fights a force of strength 5, all other things being equal, the force of 4 has the advantage!
Tisander wrote:
Forces of equal power doing battle is a crap shoot in every game. In this game it is possible to have the advantage with less men. When and where to attack is a big part of decision making.

Well we're gonna have to agree to disagree on this one. Equal forces being a craphoot, yes. The smaller force having an advantage (even without cavalry or leaders or anything) seems like a mistake.

Tisander wrote:
You should have taken 2 CAV with you. Tribes cannot defend against the CAV shift. If you leave garrisons on the right spaces the tribes can be subdued and cannot resurge.

What happened was that I (luckily!) drew the SoF and used them to clear out most of the tribes. That (along with the fact that I had almost no troops left) was why they were able to resurge (after the SoF disappeared).
 
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William Payne
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I use the SOF the same way, but the draw back is that you cant drop garrisons so it takes minor moves to get them in place. Its also been my experience that the resurgence card will come out soon, so get those garrisons in place asap.

I allways tell my new players to look through the deck and ask questions while im setting up. So there are no real suprises for them.

If you dont play the full game then the stability hit for HI might not happen, thats true.

I guess if every roll you have is low, and every card you draw sucks, then I could see getting frustrated too. But that doesnt seem likly to happen. At least not in my experience.

The only problem I have with the game is having a unit thats not worth buying. I have yet to buy a LI in a game.(unless a house rule was in effect)

Do you think you will play it again? Now you are not really a newbie and can better plan your strategy? I agree with Colin, scenario 6 is the one to play.

BTW, I have never really used much diplomacy in this game. My friends use it alot more than I, in genaral, not just in this game. I just do my thing and stay quiet and if anyone starts messing with me I make threats and then try to live up to them. All the factions have their problems to deal with. Teaming up on someone leaves one player to do as he wishes so ussually wont last long. Thats my experience anyway.
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Josh Luub
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Tisander wrote:
I guess if every roll you have is low, and every card you draw sucks, then I could see getting frustrated too. But that doesnt seem likly to happen. At least not in my experience.

I tried not to get frustrated. I tried to be objective in my review, although admittedly it is mostly pointing out problems with the game and not mentioning any good things about it. It is kinda dumb to write a review (of any game) that says "if you get hosed it sucks" and I hope I haven't done that.

Tisander wrote:
The only problem I have with the game is having a unit thats not worth buying. I have yet to buy a LI in a game.(unless a house rule was in effect)

Actually I did buy some LI in this game, since I couldn't recruit HI in Hispania, and I didn't want to spend extra actions moving new HIs from Carthage. Perhaps a mistake.

Tisander wrote:
Do you think you will play it again? Now you are not really a newbie and can better plan your strategy.

Tough to say. I certainly wouldn't suggest it. I know that there are some people in my face-to-face crowd that want to try it, and if they had decided that they were playing Pax and needed a fourth, I would probably play. My face-to-face gaming time is pretty restricted, however, so this isn't likely to happen. Again, if it were up to me I'd suggest Successors instead.

Tisander wrote:
All the factions have their problems to deal with. Teaming up on someone leaves one player to do as he wishes so ussually wont last long. Thats my experience anyway.

Good point. It's just so difficult to actually execute any tactics to implement those strategic decisions when any single die roll (or card) can immobilize you!
 
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William Payne
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In our last game, Rome lost three early battles to the dreaded 1-6 roll. This hurt indeed. However his overall stategy proved strong because he ended up the winner. He didnt have all bad luck though, not many barbarian invasions came out that game.

I think the shorter the game you are playing, the more a run of bad luck can hurt you, and the more likely a run of bad luck will happen in the first place.

I want to play Successors bad! never have.

In my opinion(I may be the only guy)its better to buy HI and spend a major move getting them in place than to waste much needed talents on LI. You can buy the HI one port away from hispania and even place a leader their to start the turn, that will move them a long way fast, or just boat them from the capital.

The only way I would buy a LI(hasnt happened yet)is if I was Carth or the East and there was no possible threat to my home(not likely to ever see no possible threat to anywhere in this game)and all I wanted to do was break them down to garrisons and build towns without ever leaving home. At that point you may as well call them settlers. LOL





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Michael @mgouker
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Almost none of the cards in Pax are per se "good" cards. A lot of them are like knives with two edges that can cut you as much as your opponent. Still, you can make lemonade out of lemons, like Paul did when he pulled the Barbarian Invasion (in turn 3 or 4). Thus, you have to adapt to the situation. I think one reason that Paul did so well is because he was able to pull off turn after turn a new strategy that worked, if only for that moment. In every case, though, it was long enough and then he would change strategies. He played a very good game and the victory is to his credit.

The real return on a game like this are the friendships that build as we play. It was a great experience and a lot of things happened. Andrew's married. Josh is a father. My son (who helped playtest with me) is in college now. Hell, I flew back and forth to Switzerland twice. Paul was in England for a couple weeks. What I'm saying is that the game held strong throughout and that's a testament to all of us. Anyway, I really enjoyed the game and I want to thank all the players for setting such a great example. If the other games turn out this well, I will be very pleased!

My main concern at this point is that Josh's Pax luck seems to have drifted over to BGG HIS02 where he is my ally the Hapsburgs and I am the Papacy. I have been in dead last place since turn 2 or 3 and I have to admit that I rather enjoy losing and still being a stone in everyone's shoe. It looks like Paul may beat us there too though and it will be very hard for the Papacy to lose to France. In any case, Josh's Hapsburgs and England just fought in Antwerp. If I told you how badly the Hapsburgs lost the battle, you wouldn't believe me. On the bright side, I did burn an English debater, so I have some ashes in my urn.

All the best!

Michael

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Mark Buetow
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I have only just started playing Pax but I have enjoyed it.

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but it seems to me that the main gripes you have against the game are gripes against the vicissitudes of real history. All sorts of "random" things happened and factors conspired to make one empire great and another empire return to dust. The critiques you give seem are, to my mind, the reason why the game is really good: it allows players to feel the highs and lows of being a leader of a large Empire.

Again, not attacking your opinion; just disagreeing.
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Neil Randall
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Thanks for the comments. I thought I'd just reply to a few points:

Quote:
I have to single out a particular card: "Naval Ambush". This card may as well read "Play against another player: if this player has never played this game before, he immediately loses. Otherwise the card has no effect".


But after the first play of the game, you know about it and plan accordingly. I don't see that as an issue at all, to be honest.

Quote:
I read the rules and saw no point to the Galleys; except to sink other Galleys (they are NOT needed for naval movement).


Galleys, as one discovers after one game, are the core of the game for at least two powers and possibly three - and all four have to pay strict attention to them. They control enemy movement in numerous ways, and they provide you with mobility you don't have in any other way.

Quote:
On my first activation of turn 2, this card was played against me, sinking my elite leader and almost every unit I had on the board. My game was over. If this had been a face-to-face game, I would have had the prospect of about four more hours of play with no chance to come in anything but last.


Honestly, that's just not true. The possibility of recovery was a major of of development in the game. Playtesting and post-publication games have seen players come back from the brink of nothing. Happens quite a lot.

Quote:
If you randomly draw poor leaders, and you randomly roll low for your major moves, you are dead. You simply will not be able to accomplish anything in this game.


Again, not so, as has been proven many times. You might spend a turn working more locally than you would otherwise, shoring up your defenses, but that's the way it's supposed to be. You plan for poor leaders and hope you get good ones.

Quote:
That's right, the smaller your force, the harder they are to kill!


If you want to take out a small force, overwhelm it - and that's quite easy to do. But actually, one problem I see with most of your comments has to do with the game scale. Small forces aren't just individual armies; they also represent easily reinforced concentrations of strength. If you send in a small force to take it out, they survive because they can react far better - the game system shows what happens over time, not at the instant of combat.

Quote:
what it means is that you should NEVER engage in combat in this game unless you have an overwhelming force -- say, at least enough to have 6 or more shifts.


I simply disagree, but I realize that many new players feel this way. You should fight whenever you feel you can knock the other guy down a bit - even a little can change his plans. Even if you lose big, you can usually recover - that, too, was a major focus in development.

I highly recommend that you play the game again, because to be honest you've missed a lot of major points. During development, we expected that to happen, as we developed it, and we knew that Pax ran the risk of being shunned by people who played it only once. I've played hundreds of wargames over the years, and I honestly can't think of a single one that so clearly requires that you give it several playings to learn it - not the rules, which aren't that hard, but what to do with them.

I'm glad you posted, because otherwise I wouldn't have been able to suggest this to you. I hope you give it another go.
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Severus Snape
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Josh,

Have you noted this tendency on BGG when it comes to game reviews:

When you criticise a popular, but not polarizing, game:

1) You will find few who agree with you.

2) You will find much less in the way of supportive "thumbs."

3) You are much more likely to get flamed.

4) Flamed or not, there is a general sense that you would love the game if you played it more, that your opinion is wrong, and that you are not among the "enlightened," and that your criticisms are mostly imaginary because you have not played it enough.

5) And if the designer weighs in . . ., well, this could either be the kiss of death or a genuine effort to help the "unenlightened see the error of his or her ways and come to the light."

6) See the house of criticism that you have built upon sand be washed away in the flood of paronizing responses.

To the credit of the Pax crowd, many deal with criticisms and questions without falling into most of the above. goo

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Aaron Lewicki
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bentlarsen wrote:
To the credit of the Pax crowd, many deal with criticisms and questions without falling into most of the above.


That's because his criticisms are all valid. When I play-tested the game, I made a lot of the same comments. Too much randomness in movement, combat, leader draws. And the cards, to me, still feel like a tacked-on addition to the game, with half of them not adding anything interesting and the other half providing totally random, game-changing events.

The point of all this is that these were designer decisions. To me, Pax isn't really a wargame so much as it is a simulation. You don't play so much to win the game, as you do to see what will happen (and to whom). There are all kinds of elements of skill (and my only criticism with this review is that it downplays the way skill can off-set some of the luck), but the Roman player still has an advantage and nobody is immune to blind luck wiping them out.

This just comes down to whether a player likes playing games where luck plays such a huge role in the outcome (perhaps more than skill in some games). I tend to prefer games where luck has a very limited impact...so it's a testament to how well-developed this game is that I still like it so much.
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Severus Snape
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Pascal said, "The eternal silence of these infinite spaces terrifies me."
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Quote:
That's because his criticisms are all valid.


His criticisms are subjective opinion; they are "valid" only for those who happen to share his perspective on Pax. But valid or not, when did the "truth" about anything ever stop anyone from ever being flamed? goo
 
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Michael Sosa
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bentlarsen wrote:
Josh,

Have you noted this tendency on BGG when it comes to game reviews:

When you criticise a popular, but not polarizing, game:



How do you suggest players who like a game respond to someone who take the time to criticize a game, in the game's forum were other players of the game will read it, and these players don't agree with him? Should we ignore his comments so that potentail new players take it for the truth? Or should we respond with our contrary subjective opinions?
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Severus Snape
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Belisarius88 wrote:
bentlarsen wrote:
Josh,

Have you noted this tendency on BGG when it comes to game reviews:

When you criticise a popular, but not polarizing, game:



How do you suggest players who like a game respond to someone who take the time to criticize a game, in the game's forum were other players of the game will read it, and these players don't agree with him? Should we ignore his comments so that potentail new players take it for the truth? Or should we respond with our contrary subjective opinions?


If anyone takes my comments for the "truth," I have some of that proverbial "swampland in Florida" just waiting to be sold. I mean, really, those intelligent enough to play these games (and doesn't that mean everybody on BGG?) should be intelligent enough to separate "truth" from "opinion." No crusades in defence of any particular games need apply.

I am interested into why people do or do not like games which interest me ("interest" does not mean that I like them, per se). It matters not to me whether people like what I like in regards to games. goo
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Michael Sosa
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A lie only needs to be repeated often enough to become believeable. Thus a subjective opinion of a game, if repeated by enough players, carries weight. It is not a crusade to offer a different opinion or to disagree with someone who criticizes a particular game.. and to point out why. No one is claiming absolute truth here, it is understood to be subjective.
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Davis Stringer
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Tisander wrote:
I use the SOF the same way, but the draw back is that you cant drop garrisons so it takes minor moves to get them in place. Its also been my experience that the resurgence card will come out soon, so get those garrisons in place asap.

I allways tell my new players to look through the deck and ask questions while im setting up. So there are no real suprises for them.

If you dont play the full game then the stability hit for HI might not happen, thats true.

I guess if every roll you have is low, and every card you draw sucks, then I could see getting frustrated too. But that doesnt seem likly to happen. At least not in my experience.

The only problem I have with the game is having a unit thats not worth buying. I have yet to buy a LI in a game.(unless a house rule was in effect)

Do you think you will play it again? Now you are not really a newbie and can better plan your strategy? I agree with Colin, scenario 6 is the one to play.

BTW, I have never really used much diplomacy in this game. My friends use it alot more than I, in genaral, not just in this game. I just do my thing and stay quiet and if anyone starts messing with me I make threats and then try to live up to them. All the factions have their problems to deal with. Teaming up on someone leaves one player to do as he wishes so ussually wont last long. Thats my experience anyway.


At first I kind of thought the same thing about LI. After playing two games however, it emerged that it was good to take a couple along on an expidition to soak up the odd loss instead of precious cavalry (though "precious" might only apply if you are Greek or Roman) or having to reduce an HI/LG to satisfy one BP loss. Let's look at it economically. If it's near the end of the turn reduction of the HI/LG may not be such a big deal because rebuilding the HI/LG costs the same (1T) as rebuilding an LI. But, if you are anticipating another battle, whether continuing conquest or defending it, before the end of the turn, you may want to reduce your overall strenght by one (LI) rather than two (HI/LG). Cavalry cost 2T and the loss of it reduces what may be much needed Cavalry points if you anticipate another battle or cannot recruit Cavalry directly into the army next turn. Sometimes comments I read on here make me wonder if some people forget the a unit can only move once per activation. You can't move your Cavalry up to the front with a minor move and then move it with the army with the major move. The real economics though boil down to vital garrisons which I like to leave all over the place (HATE tribal resurgence):

2T = 1 HI/LG = 3 garrisons

or

2T = 2 LI = 4 garrisons

Too really see the difference, think in bigger terms over the course of a game:

40T = 20 HI/LG = 60 garrisons

or

40T = 40 LI = 80 garrisons



For my 60T over the course of the game, I get the same number of garrisons as you do (90) plus an extra 7 HI/LG and an elephant that I'm kicking your butt with. Compound Interest anyone?
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Michael @mgouker
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Excellent analysis. I also agree that dropping garrisons on tribal spaces is a great strategy. It's amazing how many times I find players mass forces together to go after a tribe and then move on only to see someone play Tribal Resurgence soon thereafter.
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P. Al Williams
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I've only played the full advanced rules version, four player, of the longest scenario (VI) - twice. It was an absolute blast. We played it back to back (roughly five consecutive six hour sessions for each play) because there are too many times a big game like this is tackled and shelved. In that process, the freshness of the strategy goes away.

I would guess some of the issues you raise have to do with the shorter game you played.

More importantly, I think it's important to realize that this game can be approached in a number of ways. Building an economic force is a roadmap as effective as war. In fact, war in general can be ugly and needs to be calculated both in terms of your own odds and the effect such an engagement has on the larger game state of those not involved. This is an exceptional game, and poor major move rolls can be mitigated. Is there luck? Yes. But there are also four very distinct styles, ups and downs, and experiences that the various powers encounter.
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