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Subject: AGOT and Mare Nostrum -- how long do they take? rss

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Boris Dvorkin
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I'm the president of the board game club at my university (Case Western), and the time has come to start thinking about what games to purchase next semester. A lot of people in the club adore Twilight Imperium, but it takes 4+ hours to play by the most optimistic estimates, and 6+ hours for sure if you've got newbies. Thus, as you might imagine, it doesn't get played often at our 3-hour meetings.

I'd like to scratch that same itch if I can, and A Game of Thrones+Expansion and Mare Nostrum+Expansion seem like good candidates. I have researched both games and have only one concern at this point: playing time.

1) How long does AGoT take to play with the Clash of Kings expansion and six players who have never played before?

2) How long does does it take to play Mare Nostrum with the Mythology expansion and six players who have never played before?
 
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Blue Jackal
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AGoT probably won't fly.

I've had 2.5 hour games, I've had 4-5 hour games. The upside with new players is... it's more likely a mistake will be made, so the game will end sooner. But if you've got to teach them the rules, I'd say 3 hours would be cutting it awful close. If you don't have to, then you can probably do it, though it depends on how long people take. A timer for order placement might help, and making sure everyone looks at their opponent's house cards before it's their turn to march/initiate combat is a definite must.

I'd also suggest using only the Ports and 6th player from A Clash of Kings initially... maybe adding a few other elements later on. I also suggest making Decks 1 and 2 have two symmetrical subdecks each... it helps prevent crazy things from happening with the decks... everyone I play with agrees it's better that way. And it's approved by the online masses!
 
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Jeff King
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Depending on how long it takes everyone to catch on, I would say the AGOT game will take 2+ hours. The game has a set ending (first to control so many strongholds, or 10 rounds) so it is not like it will go on forever. But it is usually the secret orders that are placed for armies that will lengthen this game.

Once people catch on the game starts to move quicker.

Of course if you have players that like to analyze and re-analyze before placing orders, you will need to tack on some time.

I have never played the other game so I cannot be of assistance there, sorry.
 
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Robert Martin
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AGOT will take 4 hours easy, maybe more. Mare Nostrum +Exp will take anywhere from 1hr - 3.5hrs with 2 hrs being very typical.
 
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Greg Hinkle
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Do you guys know about the Boardgame group in Cleveland? There's a meeting at the Arabica on Case's campus tomorrow night at 8pm.

http://boardgames.meetup.com/38/
 
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David
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Yup Skeletor has it, AGOT is only really a super long (ie - 3+ hours) game if you've got some AP types or the like.

It's why I've also come to the opinion that a taser is an essential part of any boardgaming group.
 
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Matthew McCormick
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AGOT: you can always just play as many turns as you have time for and the scoring system still works. This has happened several times among my friends. Also, experience should speed things up in subsequent plays. Time limits on order placement essential!
 
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Boris Dvorkin
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The consensus seems to be that neither of these will work. I think the risks are too high for a $60 down payment.

Oh well, it was worth a try...
 
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Blue Jackal
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Just out of curiousity, why is your meeting only 3 hours?

At my university, ours last 7 hours (we have the entire second floor of a building), and they typically let us stay past 12. I'm sure there are reasons, but just 3 hours is mind boggling.
 
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Boris Dvorkin
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The founder of the club set it up to meet from 3 to 6 on Saturdays, and when I took over as president it didn't even occur to me to change it. I suppose I could run it by the other members and see what they think, though I'm not sure I'd be able to get a room reserved every week for such a large block of time.
 
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Devon Harmon
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Damn, when I was going to Case and living in Cleveland I don't remember either a boardgame club on campus or at Arabica. That was five years ago though.

Do you meet at Thwing? Or perhaps at the library? YOu could become Guerilla Gamers and just set up in a vacant room in one of the many buildings.

Back to the initial question: In my experience, AGoT takes longer, but not by much. I think you should be able to get them done in close to 3 hours, however set-up, take down, and rules explanation will easily push you over 3 hours.

Have you considered Antike? Or perhaps Dune?
 
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Boris Dvorkin
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The board game club got started in 2003, so it may have been after your time. Even if you were here, it's not a very well-advertised club -- okay, we don't advertise at all -- so unless you see us at the freshman activities fair or happen to look in Wade Fireside on Saturday afternoon, you'll never find us.

The "Guerilla Gamers" idea is interesting -- we've done it before -- but it's not a good permanent solution when you've got 15 people showing up.

I haven't looked at Antike, but Dune is out of print, and I'd rather not spend club money on a used copy from Ebay. Thanks for the tip!
 
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Eddy Bee
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You might want to look into Vinci or Antike as viable alternatives. While not exactly like AGoT or Mare Nostrum, they both feature territorial conflict and some interesting mechanics.

Both will accommodate 6 players, and can be finished within 3 hours. Although you may need to prod people every now and then.

Good luck!
 
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