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Subject: Acquire Meets Risk, and Not in a Good Way rss

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Chuck Uherske
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My third try with T&E. First game we played, I won, but that was largely because the experienced player handicapped himself by using only five tiles.

Second game was infuriating; I had a game where I drew nothing but blues for the latter half of the game, and had little I could do. I grew frustrated with it and lost interest in playing T&E again.

Today we tried for the third time. It had a been a long while since the last play, so early on I had a positive attitude about getting another crack at the game. But as the game wore on, I soured more and more on it, and by the end my feeling was firmer that this game just isn't one I'm going to enjoy.

Early in the game, I drew very few red tiles. So I kept winding up on the receiving ends of internal conflict attacks, and unable to defend myself, I couldn't get my leaders to stay on the board.

I started to draw occasional strength in black and green. I took a crack at attacking Ben via an external conflict right after he'd depleted his hand of tiles and had to draw up. I had a surplus of one black over his on the board, plus 2 in my hand, meaning he had to have just drawn three black tiles to save himself. I figured the chances were remote that he had just drawn three tiles in the color that I was attacking him, but of course, he had.

Not long after, the exact same thing happened in the green tiles with Ron. He had just refilled his hand, and I came after him with an external conflict. I had an edge of three green tiles on him, and lo, he also just happened to draw three green tiles.

This combination of events -- my initial poor luck in not drawing red tiles, and my bad luck in launching failed attacks in black and green at the most unlucky times -- pretty much wiped me out of competition.

Strange thing was, very late in the game when I was desperate, I had a choice to either go for one certain point, or to take a foolish risk to try to get more. I was so desperate at this point that one point wouldn't do much for me. So I provoked an external conflict when I had no business winning it -- and was incredibly lucky to win it.

By then I was long out of the running, and instead of being pleased by my good luck, I didn't draw any satisfaction from it. I found it difficult to get excited about a game where you can make the sound play and repeatedly lose, but you can take a complete stab in the dark and profit from it.

When Ben was lucky enough to draw the three black tiles to defeat my attack early on, he was naturally pleased and said, "That was awesome!" The experience reminded me of those long-ago games of Risk that I hated; one guy attacks another with overwhelming force, but then has ridiculously bad luck in the dice rolls and suffers a paralyzing defeat, from which it is nigh impossible to recover. You grin and act the good sport about it, but inside you wish you were playing a game that didn't turn on the dice roll.

Ron is a big fan of this game, and he pronounced the bizarre results in the conflicts as one of the things that makes the game great. If that's truly the case -- if the essence of the game is that winning and losing is really a function of who gets the improbable luck -- then I suspect it's not ever going to be for me.

The final scores:
Ron 8
Ben 7
Chuck 6
Rick 4

Ron's 8 came from 13 blues, 9 greens, 7 blues, 6 reds, and three wild ones.
Ben's 7 came from 10 black, 9 green, 7 blue, 6 reds, and two wild ones.
My 6 came from 10 red, 7 blue, 6 green, 5 black, and 1 wild cube.
Rick had 13 green, 9 red, 5 blue, 3 black, and 1 wild cube.

It's a bit frustrating because my instinct had told me that I must be missing something about this game if so many on BGG love it. I don't mind luckfests if they are simple and short, but this is too unwieldy a game to make the luck frustrations excusable. Oh, well. There are plenty of other games out there.


 
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Fredrik Persson
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Chuckles wrote:
It's a bit frustrating because my instinct had told me that I must be missing something about this game if so many on BGG love it. I don't mind luckfests if they are simple and short, but this is too unwieldy a game to make the luck frustrations excusable.


Exactly how I feel about the game. By the way a long game with lots of luck is my definition of a really bad game. I can't understand how anyone ever could rate this game over 6.
 
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Gisli Sigtryggsson
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This guy I play sometimes must be increadibly lucky then as he has won every single game of T&E (Except his first, in which he came second) that I've played with him. With variety of opponents, "good" draw, "bad" draw, it doesn't matter he always wins with a margin and make it look easy. Me and another friend, who is also a fairly good player, have even tried to gang up on him. All it did was make his winning margin a little more reasonable. He has also allowed me to glimpse layers of strategy that I otherwise wouldn't have been wise to, not that it seems to help me much.

I love this game.



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Michael Howe
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This session report and comments reminds me that I have in the past wondered whether or not T&E could be played as a perfect-information game. No screen. Open scoring. Face-up tiles. Face-up tiles in the pool. Players can pick whatever tiles they want when it's time to draw. Would it work??
 
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B. Huddleston
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It is too bad you don't enjoy this game. I find it among the very best in my collection.
 
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Ylaine Gerardin
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Players who play high-risk strategies will win some conflicts and lose some conflicts, seemingly at random (the nature of risk). Players who play strategically will win the conflicts they need to win, not engage in the conflicts they don't, and win the game.
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David Fuga
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I have played this game many times and because of the number of options that present themselves during play makes this one of the most intriguing games out of my collection, you need to adapt and be versatile. I rate this game a 10, Ive played with a mathmatician and a nuero scientist/inventor, yes of course I lost, but they didn't win either, the girl that one is the same girl that wins each time she plays, so it doesn't seem to rely on the tiles you draw but on the way you place them and weighing up all the options. You would think a mathmatician can beat most of us in this game, but not so. He also struggled to win at Puerto Rico as well, but if you play him at chess he will destroy you, eg(he played a game of chess for two hours, he won, I asked him how he did it, he then replayed the whole game back to me move by move, my point is being T&E has many layers to it, to be good may need thinking outside the square sometimes.)
 
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Tom Hancock
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This review reminds me of those people that say that poker is nothing but pure luck, that the winner of the game is just the person that draws the right cards at the right time. You should give T&E a few more plays, perhaps against some folks that are also just learning the game.
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Stephen Sanders
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I have not shared your experiences in any of my games. I have enjoyed them all. Even if you are low on reds, there are not usually very many internal conflicts in a game where you will be low on temple tiles. You need to try it again. It is not by accident that this game is rated 2nd on the list for so long, even taking back its place from the most recent newcomer - Caylus. This is a great game, and balances out nicely with players of equal experience.
 
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John Paul Sodusta
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hancock.tom wrote:
This review reminds me of those people that say that poker is nothing but pure luck, that the winner of the game is just the person that draws the right cards at the right time. You should give T&E a few more plays, perhaps against some folks that are also just learning the game.


Please. You can only bluff so much before you are bled dry. You still need to get those right cards to set any persona up. And don't even compare poker to boardgames. Poker is a game that spans a life time that you keep personal track of. Each boardgame session is practically limited to that one game.
 
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Ylaine Gerardin
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The poker analogy is neat, but there is more strategy in one game of T&E than there is in one hand of poker. I don't play poker so I'm not going to speak beyond that.
 
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J C Lawrence
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Snapper wrote:
The poker analogy is neat, but there is more strategy in one game of T&E than there is in one hand of poker. I don't play poker so I'm not going to speak beyond that.


I suspect that we have different definitions of Strategy. I find E&T almost entirely tactical (this is one of the reasons I dislike the game): dealing with the tiles in hand, dealing what the new tiles drawn, dealing with the board position as it is revealed every turn -- all tactical. There's no planning that can work across the length of the game. The longest effective planning is no more than a few turns out.

No thanks.
 
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Tom Hancock
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You guys have missed my point entirely, probably because I didn't explain it very well.

I was comparing T&E to poker because both games have a similar learning curve, and if you are on the bottom of that curve looking up, the game looks far more luck-propelled than it acually is.

To folks who don't yet understand poker, they think you have to get the right cards to win. To people that understand poker, they realize that there is much more to it than cards and that an expert can beat a novice even when the novice has vastly superior card luck.

T&E is similarly difficult for people who have just started playing to see all the strategies and ramifications of their actions.

I just started playing T&E myself a couple weeks ago, so I know how the OP feels. My first few games, I didn't really think T&E had as much strategic depth as BGG said it did. Now, my eyes are opening up to this game and how incredibly deep it is.

Hopefully now you understand the point I was trying to make with the poker analogy.

Anyhow, my point was that when starting a deep game like T&E, you sometimes can't see the forest because of all the trees. Just give it time.
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Dave Shapiro
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What is so frustrating about E&T is that the random factor (drawing the tiles) has a much greater affect on the game than the die rolling in Risk. In a game of Risk, a player generally rolls a sufficient number of dice to expect the 'bad rolls' to be off set by the 'good rolls'. Unfortunately there are simply too few tiles drawn during E&T to expect a 'statitical' average. This situation is exasperated by the fact that the color a player is low in is likely to be the color that his opponent's are doing well at which indicates that these tiles have already been drawn and the probability that a given player may draw the proper tile declines significantly. A 'lucky draw' in E&T has a much greater affect on the game than a lucky roll in Risk. (Note: the statistical analysis of E&T was completed by a fellow mathematician and presented to me a few years ago while I was preparing an article on random generators.)

I found it amazing that for several years some gamers touted E&T as the game while often bashing Risk as something forced on gamers by Diabolo himself. I wonder if the reception to E&T would have been the same if the Hasbro (or WotC) logo had been plastered on the side of the box.

I guess the commercial is accurate: "Perception is everything".

 
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Houserule Jay
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Snapper wrote:
Players who play high-risk strategies will win some conflicts and lose some conflicts, seemingly at random (the nature of risk). Players who play strategically will win the conflicts they need to win, not engage in the conflicts they don't, and win the game.


This is well said and sums up how I feel after reading this thread.

Also, no one has mentioned that at anytime you can chuck your bad draw of tiles away and refill your hand, this is an option you HAVE to utilize at times, like it or not.


clearclaw wrote:
The longest effective planning is no more than a few turns out.


A few turns ahead is plenty for any Euro, nothing compared to Chess or Go to be sure but fine for a Euro. You can plan further than this also but your plans do need to remain quite flexible, just like in Knizia'a other strategic masterpiece, Taj Mahal. J

p.s. Chuck, I know how you feel and felt the same but 3 plays is just the beginning for a game like this (Taj is the same in this way). Also, the game plays very well with only 2 or 3 at the table and offers more control at these numbers. Just my 2 cents.
 
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Chuck Uherske
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jayjonbeach wrote:
Snapper wrote:
Players who play high-risk strategies will win some conflicts and lose some conflicts, seemingly at random (the nature of risk). Players who play strategically will win the conflicts they need to win, not engage in the conflicts they don't, and win the game.


This is well said and sums up how I feel after reading this thread.

Also, no one has mentioned that at anytime you can chuck your bad draw of tiles away and refill your hand, this is an option you HAVE to utilize at times, like it or not.


Unfortunately, you can also have an experience like I did, in which I played conservatively and only engaged in low-risk conflicts -- and still lost them. Then you're screwed completely.

(That is, until my desperation play at the end, which, bizarrely, I won.)

I didn't have a particular reason to chuck my tiles. They seemed to afford other good opportunities. But this is a game where you can take advantage of the opportunities your tiles offer, and still get whacked if someone else just happens to have the tiles that upend yours.

Also, with six tiles, you can't defend, within your hand, against every possible attack you might get. So it's also purely luck from your perspective as to whether someone else just happens to attack you in the manner to which you're vulnerable. As in early in our game, when I happened to be short of red tiles. I could have gotten away with it if others had been attacked, or if the attacks on me had been of a different character. But they happened to require me to have red tiles, unfortunately.
 
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Thijs Smitskamp
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qrux wrote:
This situation is exasperated by the fact that the color a player is low in is likely to be the color that his opponent's are doing well at which indicates that these tiles have already been drawn and the probability that a given player may draw the proper tile declines significantly.


So...
my chances to draw the color I need are small because the other player(s) are doing well in this color and have already drawn these tiles. Meaning I will likely draw the tiles of the colour i'm already strong in?
And the other players' chances to draw the colour they need are small because that's the colour I'm strong in and I have already drawn these tiles. Meaning they will likely draw the colour they are strong in?

at the same time?

Or will we all be drawing colours nobody needs because the board is so flooded with them that it's easy to pick up a few points?

sorry, I don't get it
 
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Michael Sosa
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T&E has a myriad of tactical possibilities no matter how what color tiles you have. Here is a quick example:

Let's say you are weak on farming points and your hand is made up of King and Commerce tiles. You don't even have religious tiles that would allow you to try for an internal conflict. Well, you still have options, here are a few I can think of:

Examine the board for farming temples. Force an external battle between your opponents that will cause a farming leader with strong religious support to bounce, then occupy his space. Even having no red tiles, your opponent is forced to have some red tiles to win the internal conflict if his blue leader was in a weaker position.

Go somewhere away from others and build a farm temple, use disaster tiles to delay approaches.

Get rid of your hand of tiles, watch for opportunities to strike internally, usually right after someone has used a lot of red tiles, such as after attacking or defending internally. Try to position your leader so that he has 2-3 red tiles around, perhaps even placing one down first. This is important in defending your position later.

Use disaster tiles to break kingdoms and take over a farm temple.

Make a move on treasures which will help you increase your weaker score.

T&E is an amazing game. You can say you don't like it, but hopefully that opinion is based on an understanding of the many tactical opportunities.

I will add that I don't like T&E much two player, I'd rather just play chess then!
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Stephen Glenn
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Slin wrote:
I can't understand how anyone ever could rate this game over 6.


And I can't understand how anyone ever could rate this game under an 8.

Thank goodness there's room for both of us on BGG.
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J C Lawrence
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jayjonbeach wrote:
clearclaw wrote:
The longest effective planning is no more than a few turns out.


A few turns ahead is plenty for any Euro, nothing compared to Chess or Go to be sure but fine for a Euro. You can plan further than this also but your plans do need to remain quite flexible, just like in Knizia'a other strategic masterpiece, Taj Mahal.


I tend to not like games which restrict forward planning to just a few turns. I prefer games in which I can form a valid and viable strategy before the first turn has started and then attempt to execute that strategy over the course of the game (with minor adaptions to the changed situation). Tactics at that level becomes the continual question of, "How do I execute the plan, NOW?"

Belisarius88 wrote:
T&E has a myriad of tactical possibilities no matter how what color tiles you have.


Tactics are nice but rather unfulfilling. They lead to games determined by which player's decisions maintained a higher marginal average rate of return than the other players. That's...uninteresting.

Stephen Glenn wrote:
Slin wrote:
I can't understand how anyone ever could rate this game over 6.


And I can't understand how anyone ever could rate this game under an 8.


IIRC I rate E&T a 4. "Just under 4" would be more accurate. Then again I consider Reef Encounter in many ways to be E&T done right (ie the bits I like from E&T plus the ability for effective long term planning). Where Reef Encounter suffer is that planning can really only extend for about the next third of the game.





 
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Rex Moore
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Chuckles wrote:

Unfortunately, you can also have an experience like I did, in which I played conservatively and only engaged in low-risk conflicts -- and still lost them. Then you're screwed completely.


Not so, actually. Attacking someone when you're "3 up" is not at all conservative or low-risk. I generally consider the odds are against me when I'm 2 up, somewhere around even (perhaps a tad better?) when 3 up, and the odds are with me when I'm 4 up. Attacking 5 up would be "low risk," but still loseable.

This certainly is a tactical game, with some luck flying around, but it is not luck-driven. Good players assess what they have and adjust accordingly. And it will take more than 3 games to get a sense of what you can do to make the best of your situation, and far more than 3 games to begin to understand some of the nuances.

If you're really interested in "getting it," I suggest joining a bunch of 3- and 4-player games here on BGG and paying attention to how the good players do things. Even after several dozen games, I'm still learning new things!


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Jamie Pollock
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Personally I really like the idea that sometimes one can pull off those unlikely conflicts, usurping an opponent in what appeared to be an impenetrable kingdom, or getting ousted when trying a coup that was thought to be fail-safe. My last game, right at the start, I got thrown back by a player needing to have 4 reds in his hand. Yes, there's an element of luck and yes conflicts can be hard to predict, but these very factors can lead to fun and variable gameplay.

At the same time, T&E is a game, and one I like to play with all types of players (hopefully). Games that are high strategy and low on luck, e.g. Caylus, can be a bit elitist and unrewarding to newcomers. Caylus is a good, brain-busting game, but I've found it can be a bit formulaic for experienced players. Strategies are set out at the start, are usually long-term, and the rest of the game is about how these play out. The better, more experienced player, nearly always wins. I prefer games in which the better players can be beaten. It's keeps the experience fresh for all involved, and stops the game becoming too formulaic. These games will always see more play in my household.
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Marshall P.
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Chuck, you might check out Actorios's excellent geeklist: Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Tigris & Euphrates.

Particularly relevent is his estimation of the probabilities of winning a conflict given your apparent tile advantage.

Quote:
Chance of winning a conflict as an attacker increase with the attacking tile advantage you have.
With +1 tile (hand + board) vs. opponent on board, your chance of winning are of 34% (they represent 5% of conflicts)
With +2 tiles (hand + board) vs. opponent on board, your chance of winning are of 60% (they represent 12% of conflicts)
With +3 tiles (hand + board) vs. opponent on board, your chance of winning are of 77% (they represent 24% of conflicts)
With +4 tiles (hand + board) vs. opponent on board, your chance of winning are of 94% (they represent 23% of conflicts)
52% of conflicts are engaged with an attacking tile advantage of +4 tiles or more

It is surprising to see that a 2 tiles advantage is sufficient to win most conflicts. Obviously, it depends on the situation. If those conflicts were launched, it already means that the attacker expected to have decent chances of winning (obviously, this is only valid when the attacker is the one initiating the conflict).

Chance of winning a conflict according to the attacking tile advantage also depends on the color it is played.
With +1 tile, your chance of winning are of 35% in red / 29% in green / 46% in blue / 29% in black
With +2 tiles, your chance of winning are of 51% in red / 69% in green / 58% in blue / 70% in black
With +3 tiles, your chance of winning are of 69% in red / 92% in green / 87% in blue / 81% in black
With +4 tiles, your chance of winning are of 92% in red / 97% in green / 88% in blue / 98% in black

The 50% threeshold is met for every color at +2 tiles advantage.


If you have some stamina then you might check out my session report: The Annotated Game. Where I try to give a behind the scenes peak at my typical thought process during a game of T&E.
 
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Kevin Beckey
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Slin wrote:
Chuckles wrote:
It's a bit frustrating because my instinct had told me that I must be missing something about this game if so many on BGG love it. I don't mind luckfests if they are simple and short, but this is too unwieldy a game to make the luck frustrations excusable.


Exactly how I feel about the game. By the way a long game with lots of luck is my definition of a really bad game. I can't understand how anyone ever could rate this game over 6.



I compare Tigris to Scrabble. A lot of the time I find myself with nothing but Blue tiles. I decide to dump my hand of 5 Blue and 1 Black, hoping for Red, but instead I randomly draw 4 Blue and 2 Black. This has happened to me a lot! The same thing happens in Scrabble. You dump your hand of vowels and end up with nothing but vowels.

Anyway, I find that Tigris enthusiasts largely dismiss the results of luck. Although I mostly agree that experienced players will more likely win in Tigris or Scrabble, I also agree with the OP that some sessions are just horrible luckfests. For example, I played a 4-player game of Tigris against the best Tigris player that I know amongst my gaming group of 100+ members. Basically, the other players and I kept killing off his leaders from the board so that his actions were "Place a Leader" 50% of the time. His score was super low, something like 2 compared to my 13. I easily won the game, but felt no satisfaction from winning whatsoever.

At the moment I rate Tigris a 7.
 
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Corin A. Friesen
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All this is why I can't rate Tigris a 10. It is a super game, but the luck factor has bothered me a lot.
 
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