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Subject: Thoughts after first play rss

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Chris Salvato
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My group of four veteran board gamers finally got AF to the table this weekend, and I thought I'd address some of the criticisms of this game that I had read about before finally acquiring it:

- Downtime existed, but it was not overwhelming. Only once did we have a player take a longer turn than usual, and he was trying to accomplish a tricky maneuver. That said, we are not a group that typically suffers from AP, so I didn't expect it to be an issue. In fact, the rest of the table would often make suggestions to the player whose turn it was, keeping all of us involved in the discussion.

- AF did not feel especially "mean" or antagonistic. The resource-stealing felt very similar to that in Settlers of Catan - not necessarily vindictive or petty, just sound strategy. Again, we are a long-standing group of friends (20+ years) and so nothing that happens in a game could ever be taken too seriously.

- We used Factions on our first play, and it was just fine. All of us are veterans of worker placement, so having these extra spaces available was easy to digest. I can, however, see how the extra options might be confusing for newer players.

- We also used Agendas, and I'm glad we did. The hidden VP component made the game less deterministic, and encouraged self-improvement rather than opponent-obstruction. I will never play without Agendas. These are easy to learn for players of any skill level, I'd say.

- The scores for our first game were very close - 9-8-8-8 - despite some wild VP disparity early in the game. Everything seemed to smooth out as the game progressed and we all found our groove, and in the end, a slightly different die roll, Tech Card, or Agenda might have sealed victory for any of us.

To sum up, I find the concerns about this game (AP, boring downtime, meanness) to be not a concern of the game itself, but of the players participating. AP-prone players will make downtime interminable, and a vindictive player could ruin the fun for another player.

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Max
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I'm glad you guys enjoyed your first play, here's to many more!
 
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Paul S
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I want to play with you guys
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Jo Bartok
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Meanness? This is no coop game.
Downtime? Happens sometimes, yes.
AP, can't see much happen, its not that complex.

Quote:

- We also used Agendas, and I'm glad we did. The hidden VP component made the game less deterministic, and encouraged self-improvement rather than opponent-obstruction. I will never play without Agendas. These are easy to learn for players of any skill level, I'd say.


Is this in Factions? Cause I have that expansion but sadly did only play the game without it yet.
 
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Aaron Gelb
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Good to hear some of the expansions make it more dynamic.

I loved everything about the base game except the end game itself. I didn't like that everything you did was just to really place the cities on the planet. Too deterministic and too area controlly for such a nice little euro.

I love the idea of hidden VPs in a game like this. I can only assume the factions add some spice.

I traded the game away, I might be inclined to give it another go with the agendas and factions.

thanks for the review!
 
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woosh ito
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You got me curious about the agendas... What are they?
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Przemyslaw Kozlowski
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woosh_ito wrote:
You got me curious about the agendas... What are they?


They are hidden cards that allow you to score extra Victory Points if you fulfill their conditions. Each one has a condition that applies during the game and and alternate condition that only applies at the end of the game.


The in-game conditions can be tricky to fulfill eg. Have 7 ships (all 6 of your own and the special relic ship) during your turn. End-of-game conditions are simpler eg. require you to control Bradbury at the end of game.
 
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Peter Schott
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woosh_ito wrote:
You got me curious about the agendas... What are they?

Part of the Factions expansion. You have agenda cards and they're either kept hidden to score at the end of the game or revealed during play (your choice). It adds another mechanic to keep it from being absolutely known who will win when the endgame is triggered. (or to give you extra points during the game to catch up or give you points you can't get by colonizing)
 
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woosh ito
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That sounds awesome... I was not interested in getting Factions but now it's a must.
 
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Max
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My group doesn't care much for the Factions, though many love it.

We do, however, love the new Outer Belt expansion.
 
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Tim Gaastra
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We recently played a 5 player game with full Factions, Outer Belt, and Agendas.

5 players is too much, and the downtime is appreciable there.

I think Factions can be a bit tricky for some people, mostly in the "remember to use your power" or "remember the option to use their power" part.

Agendas, which I've played with multiple times, is something I consider a "must" part of the game now. It does encourage playing for your strengths but it also encourages you to pay attention to how others are playing as well.

While I've only had a couple of games with the Outer Belt, I think its a great part of the game. It DOES "open" the game up a bit and remove a bit of the resource struggle (the ore mine becomes a bit less of a hot spot) but it becomes a point of contention of its own sometimes as well.
 
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Jo Bartok
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I wish there was a way to get all the Promos :/... be it via retail or Kickstarter.
 
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Max
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ionas wrote:
I wish there was a way to get all the Promos :/... be it via retail or Kickstarter.


You can get all but the Space Crane via retail as far as I'm aware.
 
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J J
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xgamerms999 wrote:
ionas wrote:
I wish there was a way to get all the Promos :/... be it via retail or Kickstarter.


You can get all but the Space Crane via retail as far as I'm aware.


And even that was freely available until late last year (a poorly kept secret).
 
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Max
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JasonJ0 wrote:
xgamerms999 wrote:
ionas wrote:
I wish there was a way to get all the Promos :/... be it via retail or Kickstarter.


You can get all but the Space Crane via retail as far as I'm aware.


And even that was freely available until late last year (a poorly kept secret).


Not freely, you had to buy the replacement deck to get it.
 
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J J
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xgamerms999 wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
xgamerms999 wrote:
ionas wrote:
I wish there was a way to get all the Promos :/... be it via retail or Kickstarter.


You can get all but the Space Crane via retail as far as I'm aware.


And even that was freely available until late last year (a poorly kept secret).


Not freely, you had to buy the replacement deck to get it.


Yes, freely. Anyone could purchase it, with no restrictions.

Freely is not the same as free; I would in that case have said "available for free".
 
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pete truss
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Iv played this game once. and even though I quite enjoyed it I did find the last handful of turns really dragged and became a bit of a slog
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Jo Bartok
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JasonJ0 wrote:
xgamerms999 wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
xgamerms999 wrote:
ionas wrote:
I wish there was a way to get all the Promos :/... be it via retail or Kickstarter.


You can get all but the Space Crane via retail as far as I'm aware.


And even that was freely available until late last year (a poorly kept secret).


Not freely, you had to buy the replacement deck to get it.


Yes, freely. Anyone could purchase it, with no restrictions.

Freely is not the same as free; I would in that case have said "available for free".


Where (Germany)?
 
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J J
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ionas wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
xgamerms999 wrote:
JasonJ0 wrote:
xgamerms999 wrote:
ionas wrote:
I wish there was a way to get all the Promos :/... be it via retail or Kickstarter.


You can get all but the Space Crane via retail as far as I'm aware.


And even that was freely available until late last year (a poorly kept secret).


Not freely, you had to buy the replacement deck to get it.


Yes, freely. Anyone could purchase it, with no restrictions.

Freely is not the same as free; I would in that case have said "available for free".


Where (Germany)?


Direct from Game Salute, who took orders from anywhere. But as I said, this was until late last year. They've run out of stock, and I expect they have no intention of reprinting it.
 
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Jo Bartok
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Sad.
 
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Adam P
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Quote:

To sum up, I find the concerns about this game (AP, boring downtime, meanness) to be not a concern of the game itself, but of the players participating. AP-prone players will make downtime interminable, and a vindictive player could ruin the fun for another player.

Funny, I just played this for the first time and saw all three problems: AP, massive downtime, and a lot of "Take-that" which ended up in kingmaking. We played with the base version.

I still liked it. We saw a lot of take-backs, so next time I would disallow take-backs to help with the downtime.
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Max
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The more you play the game, the less you experience all of that, unless of course your players are themselves AP prone.
 
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Patrick C.
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xgamerms999 wrote:
The more you play the game, the less you experience all of that, unless of course your players are themselves AP prone.


Since you said "all of that" I'm curious how that's the case with king making.

I've played the game I think three times. I actually like it, but the king making aspect has always left a major sour taste in my mouth.

As I remember all three games I played, at the end it becomes crystal clear who can win and who can't. In all my games one or two people who are behind decide who of the other two will win. I honestly don't know how more games would change that. You know who's in the lead, you know you can't win, you have the power to decid who of the two point leaders will win. How is that avoided in the base game?

I have a KS copy arriving soon and I've been planning on selling or trading it away when it arrives. Might change my mind if I can be convinced that king making can be avoided in the base game.
 
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Max
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Most of our games are really close, so king making is rarely an issue. I'll also say that the agendas from the Factions expansion might help because there are potentially hidden VPs so no one is 100% sure who is winning.
 
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