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Subject: I must have missed something. rss

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Andrew Olimpi
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I played this game with a game group before its release at my FLGS. I did like the mix of mechanics--it is actually a hodge-podge of mechanics I like. I was really excited by the card powers. I though that the card buying via-colored columns was clever and tense. Then. . . the game was over. We added up our points, and then just kind of sat there. But it wasn't stunned silence--we were all underwhelmed. For a while, I could put my finger on what triggered this reaction, but after a few days of reflection, I figured it out.

The first phase of the game is quick and cerebral. What column to sacrifice? Which card to go for? Long term or short term? Do I block, or buy the card I need. When do I go for turn order cards? Etc.

Then, during the card-playing phase, the game just stalls. We wait. We look and double check our cards. We wait some more. Our minds wander. We scan the demo shelf to see what to play next. . . .
Now its my turn. I play some cards while everyone waits some more.

More cards come out. We all pause and look over the cards. One player needs more time to read all the text. We wait.

The second buying round is not so quick. Everyone is now looking at each card, checking, rechecking, etc.

I guess the bottom line is (in my opinion) . . .
1. this game feels dry (and I like dry games--I'm mostly a Euro-game fan)
2. it is far too long for what it is.
3. The card playing phase is too long. Too much time with too little to think about (the players have already done their planning--now they just have to wait as each player optimizes their moves).

Also, none of the players of this particular game really enjoyed it (even the one who played it already and taught us the game). And none of the employees at the store liked. In fact, most were wondering why the store was pushing the game so much.

The game was nothing new. It seems to be one of those games that generates excitement and anticipation simply by its pedigree.

Am I the only one who was underwhelmed? Is this game really the next big thing? What have I missed?
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Richard Dewsbery
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My reaction to the game was "meh". So you're not alone.
 
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François-Marie Arouet
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I'm confused by your reference to a "card playing phase". There is no such thing - Phase 1, which is basically a clean-up/set-up phase. Phase 2 , where you draft cards, is also where you play cards. Phase 3 is where you transfer cards from your Domain to your Elysium.

I suspect you may have had a major rules error, but I'm not sure.
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David Debien
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I actually like the game quite a bit, but I am also bugged by the amount of time lost while people familiarize themselves with all the cards that come out each round. Of course, repeated play and familiarity will somewhat ameliorate this issue.

Aside from that, I think the game is quite snappy and tense as players rush to be the first to complete sets.
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David Debien
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tytrain wrote:
I'm confused by your reference to a "card playing phase". There is no such thing - Phase 1, which is basically a clean-up/set-up phase. Phase 2 , where you draft cards, is also where you play cards. Phase 3 is where you transfer cards from your Domain to your Elysium.

I suspect you may have had a major rules error, but I'm not sure.


I was confused by this as well, but I assumed he meant the transfer phase.
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Francois
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Interesting observations. Although your turn is going to be filled with tense decision making, I think when the others are playing Thiers you will experience some down time. Especially in a 4 player game.

I have read reviewers stating wildly varying game length, one stating one hour as max, more often around 45 min and another going on for an hour and a half to two. That's a sign of an analysis paralysis prone game and AP can certainly break the tempo of a game.

Also, I think some engine builders will be put off by this game, especially among those who like to build that intricate combo and churn the heck out of it. Face it, you'll only have a total of 15 cards (a few more if the right gods are in play) in your domain and you'll probably have to send some to your Elysium every turn if you want to score well. So pulling of that intricate combo may not be the best strategy.

I have just gotten my hands on the game and only played once so, I'll see how I feel after more play.
 
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nikolaos Kamoudis
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each god have its own play style.
remember this and its easy to select cards.
my loved combo is hermes and hades cards ,i get many cards in my elysium and i score high points in the end with many legends.


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Andrew Olimpi
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Maybe I will give it another try sometime. I don't think it's a bad game, and most of it is smooth. I guess I'm suspicious of the hype. If this game was released by another company of lesser reputation would anyone care? Personally, the thing keeping me from trying it again at my FLGS is the fact that during the down time I would probably just be asking myself why I wasn't playing Seasons.
 
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Mike Forrey
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aolimpi wrote:
Maybe I will give it another try sometime. I don't think it's a bad game, and most of it is smooth. I guess I'm suspicious of the hype. If this game was released by another company of lesser reputation would anyone care? Personally, the thing keeping me from trying it again at my FLGS is the fact that during the down time I would probably just be asking myself why I wasn't playing Seasons.


Probably because the first dozen or so times you played Seasons you had the same issues. These types of games get better with more familiarity of the cards. There are numerous examples of great games that have tough learning curves and this is just another one.
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Andrew Olimpi
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Well, not exactly true. I loved Seasons the first time I played it Somehow during the down time of that one, I still feel like I'm constantly on my toes, planning, watching my opponents, etc. But to each their own. With games like this, it really must depend on the group. Seasons is great because you can play the Apprentice level, just look at a few cards the first time, get your bearings, then when you are ready gradually add cards. And the card powers are more intuitive and easier to grasp. Honestly, my game of Elysium suffered simply because I got tired of reading every single card, and just tried to make sets with the ones I understood. Everyone else I played with just seemed overwhelmed and exhausted by the game. It should either be a light set collection game or a complicated, MTG-like, complicated card combo game; there is just something very inelegant about the mixture of the two.

Maybe my expectations for this were too high. I suspect my rating may improve with future plays. A few of my current favorite games were very underwhelming the first time I played them. (not Seasons though!)



 
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Michael Denman
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Different strokes. I've played this with two groups now and everyone liked it. The symbols on the cards are really good and we learned what things did pretty quickly. The only thing that ever slowed anyone down was decided which column to retire on their turn.
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François-Marie Arouet
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aolimpi wrote:
If this game was released by another company of lesser reputation would anyone care?


I see where you're coming from, and normally I agree, but I think this game is getting extra (deserved) attention because the design/production values are A+. Think about it - your favorite mid-level publisher's best game gets the production values it deserves - wouldn't that be splendid, even if it didn't "improve" the actual heart of the game?
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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bearn wrote:
Probably because the first dozen or so times you played Seasons you had the same issues. These types of games get better with more familiarity of the cards. There are numerous examples of great games that have tough learning curves and this is just another one.


There is a world of difference between "I don't know what I'm doing in this game, I don't know how the game works, how the scoring works or what distinguishes a good move from a bad one, therefore this is a bad game" and "I don't know what I'm doing in this game, I don't know how the game works, how the scoring works or what distinguishes a good move from a bad one, but I'm really enjoying/not enjoying this game". I know that *I* can tell the difference; I'm not sure that everyone else can.

FWIW, I thrashed the other players in my first game of Elysium (two of whom had played before), by seeing a particular route to victory in the early cards that they hadn't seen and therefore didn't realise what I was up to during the game. But my reaction to the game itself was still "meh" - *I* didn't enjoy the processes involved in the game, the sort of decisions it was asking me to make or the style of interaction that was present.

Then again, I was thrashed in my first game of Kanban, but really wanted to play it again because I *did* like the processes involved in the game, the sort of decisions it was asking me to make and the style of interaction that was present. Despite not having a ruddy clue what I was doing for most of the previous two hours.

There are plenty of games that take a while to "get". But you can often tell if it's the type of game that you like much, much more quickly than that. Then, you can spend your time learning to play a game that you like well; or, if The Internet demands that your opinions are only valid after having spent that time first, you can waste it playing something that you don't like in order to be able to say "I don't like this game" with authority, experience, and having wasted about a day of your life.
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Frank Hamrick
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Richard's experience with Kanban is kind of like my first experience with Terra Mystica for me. I had hardly a clue how the game worked and how to play it well in my first play, (was in a fog for much of the game) but knew almost immediately that this was a game I loved playing! The game play just appealed to me - it was fun to play whether I got trounced or not, or even fully understood the game or not!

Once I began to grasp how things worked, and how to play well, my enjoyment only improved.

So I do think you can know whether or not you like a game in your first play or two, whether you fully understand it or not. (BTW - Five Tribes was another game with a similar 'history' for me).

RDewsbery wrote:
bearn wrote:
Probably because the first dozen or so times you played Seasons you had the same issues. These types of games get better with more familiarity of the cards. There are numerous examples of great games that have tough learning curves and this is just another one.


There is a world of difference between "I don't know what I'm doing in this game, I don't know how the game works, how the scoring works or what distinguishes a good move from a bad one, therefore this is a bad game" and "I don't know what I'm doing in this game, I don't know how the game works, how the scoring works or what distinguishes a good move from a bad one, but I'm really enjoying/not enjoying this game". I know that *I* can tell the difference; I'm not sure that everyone else can.

FWIW, I thrashed the other players in my first game of Elysium (two of whom had played before), by seeing a particular route to victory in the early cards that they hadn't seen and therefore didn't realise what I was up to during the game. But my reaction to the game itself was still "meh" - *I* didn't enjoy the processes involved in the game, the sort of decisions it was asking me to make or the style of interaction that was present.

Then again, I was thrashed in my first game of Kanban, but really wanted to play it again because I *did* like the processes involved in the game, the sort of decisions it was asking me to make and the style of interaction that was present. Despite not having a ruddy clue what I was doing for most of the previous two hours.

There are plenty of games that take a while to "get". But you can often tell if it's the type of game that you like much, much more quickly than that. Then, you can spend your time learning to play a game that you like well; or, if The Internet demands that your opinions are only valid after having spent that time first, you can waste it playing something that you don't like in order to be able to say "I don't like this game" with authority, experience, and having wasted about a day of your life.
 
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Michal Starek
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I, for one, consider this to be in my top 5. There's something very elegant in that simplicity.
I certainly hope for more Gods families in expansions, but the game is brilliant as is.
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Mike Forrey
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RDewsbery wrote:
bearn wrote:
Probably because the first dozen or so times you played Seasons you had the same issues. These types of games get better with more familiarity of the cards. There are numerous examples of great games that have tough learning curves and this is just another one.


There is a world of difference between "I don't know what I'm doing in this game, I don't know how the game works, how the scoring works or what distinguishes a good move from a bad one, therefore this is a bad game" and "I don't know what I'm doing in this game, I don't know how the game works, how the scoring works or what distinguishes a good move from a bad one, but I'm really enjoying/not enjoying this game". I know that *I* can tell the difference; I'm not sure that everyone else can.

FWIW, I thrashed the other players in my first game of Elysium (two of whom had played before), by seeing a particular route to victory in the early cards that they hadn't seen and therefore didn't realise what I was up to during the game. But my reaction to the game itself was still "meh" - *I* didn't enjoy the processes involved in the game, the sort of decisions it was asking me to make or the style of interaction that was present.

Then again, I was thrashed in my first game of Kanban, but really wanted to play it again because I *did* like the processes involved in the game, the sort of decisions it was asking me to make and the style of interaction that was present. Despite not having a ruddy clue what I was doing for most of the previous two hours.

There are plenty of games that take a while to "get". But you can often tell if it's the type of game that you like much, much more quickly than that. Then, you can spend your time learning to play a game that you like well; or, if The Internet demands that your opinions are only valid after having spent that time first, you can waste it playing something that you don't like in order to be able to say "I don't like this game" with authority, experience, and having wasted about a day of your life.


I can totally respect that and I see what you are saying. I guess it's just one of those games where there's something in there you will either like or won't. You certainly have good taste in games though. Race and Roll for the galaxy are superb games.
 
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