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Subject: Umm, did we do something really...right? rss

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Eric Bridge
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I was so excited when the box arrived. We just got the 2nd Edition, having never played the game before. I was so excited by the reviews I had seen.

Let me say first - I like the game. It's easy to play, and I like the theme.

But, unless we did something really wrong that I missed, we ANNIHILATED this game by beating it in just 7 days.

3 player game - Myself, my 13 year old son, and my wife. Agents Pierce, Kinney (starting on level 1), and my son's agent was the one that can look at the top 2 cards of a deck each turn. (Name escapes me right now.) We chose characters so that we had a good mix of skill at investigating, arresting, and responding to emergencies.

We get 3 cards each, have 16 street punks in play, and start on day 8.

We caught the murderer on day 15, before he was even on the board! The crime track had advanced only 2 spaces!

As to whether or not we just got lucky, I'm not really sure what constitutes "lucky". We coordinated efforts and cards and tried to always be rolling at least 4 dice or looking at 4 cards. My wife did have one lucky draw from the Crime Scene pile where she found 3 evidence cards. We used air support more for looking at evidence than rerolls. One gang formed, which stopped us from getting more police cards, but we took care of them the next day.

It just seemed to us that until there was a huge threat somewhere we could focus on the piles of cards. So in the early game this is exactly what we did, and my son's ability to look at decks every turn helped too. (And yes, we did shuffle piles every time we searched, since none of us had "thorough".) There were never fewer than 3 street punks in the supply, and individual hoods only reached 3 or more punks 3 times.

Both times the tracker advanced were due to Urgent emergencies not being dealt with fast enough.

I've looked at the rules again, and I really don't see anything we missed. (Actually one question came up - Is there a failure penalty on Emergencies?) So what I'm wondering now is - Is this very common? If it keeps being this easy then we will need a greater challenge.

Please advise. Thanks.
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Common Man Games
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Hey E!

I'll cover this in a few parts as follows...



1. DOING SOMETHING WRONG:
From what you said, I would say...
"NO"
You are not.
Though it is impossible to say for sure without me being there and watching everything you do throughout the game.

2. THE RIGHT LEVEL OF DEFAULT DIFFICULTY:
We think the game has it about right. We hear about the same number of concerns voiced saying that it is easier than hoped for, as we hear that it is harder than folks would like. The fact is, what we hear the most is how amazingly well balanced it is and how it comes down to a very exciting ending that could go either way. Our hope is to NOT overwhelm the casual gamer the first time they try it, but to also make it challenging to any gamer. We DO fully expect serious gamers who become experienced with the game to want to add to the difficulty (which is easy to do). Most of the sessions I am involved in come down to the wire.

3. ADDING DIFFICULTY:
It's super easy to do, turn to page 23 of the 2nd Edition rulebook for details. You can try an "Assignment" (pre-set scenario) or "Go Rogue" (make your own recipe for adding difficulty).

In a way it doesn't matter if you are doing something wrong (imho) because as long as you play consistently, then you can simply add difficulty until it's just right for you and your group.

Hope this helps!



Karl
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Barry Miller
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Eric, from my personal (and short) experience with this game, I agree with you. The character you were talking about is Stan Hartley. I always use him in a game if I want to win. Every turn he gets to look at the top two cards of an Investigation Deck. That ability is VERY beneficial toward enabling a win. My last two games using him ended in a victory around round 11-13.

How? I use different colored markers to mark Investigation decks that have been peeked at, either using his ability or some other effect that allows peeking at a deck. This makes it easy to keep track of the decks that have been "peeked at". If there is no find, I place a white marker on the deck. If there IS a find, I place a green marker. Then it's simply a matter of traveling to the decks that have green markers on top.

The only danger with peeking is if there are TWO finds sitting on top. Then one has to be put at the bottom. But if you use an unmarked car and a few Police cards with the Magnifying glass, the Crime Scene and the Autopsy decks can be searched pretty quickly.

So the challenge in the game comes from assessing the risk of letting the Emergencies and Punks slide while you pursue the Investigation decks. One time I had two effects in play which denied drawing any Police cards, so I focused on that. But usually it ends up being: Apply 3 parts effort toward the Investigation and 1 part effort (sometimes 2 parts) toward Emergencies & Punks... if that all makes sense.

EDIT: Karl posted his reply while I was typing this. I forgot to mention that I fully intend to follow his advice to increase the difficulty as described in the back of the Rulebook.

Or try NOT playing with Stan Hartley!


 
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Common Man Games
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I love Harley too!

but...

I love Sears big time!

that ability to move other's vehicles can make such a big difference!!!

and...

Not having to shuffle is HUGE so also love...

Costello, Edwards, and Odell!

And...

Kinney is more balanced now, but he is definitely still great to have!

Not to mention Pierce can make that tough Emergency just disappear...

WOW!

Gotta love that.

I also like Kirkland because he can help with a couple Emergencies w/ those SWAT tokens while kickin' B#@t on the investigation stacks!



Oops...

I guess I love 'em all.

Can't help it.

Sorry!
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Dave Kudzma
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I consider myself to be a very experienced player at this point, so if you don't mind I'd like to weigh in.

The original side of the board, with default settings, seems to lean toward the easy side overall. Indeed, the characters that let you manipulate the top of the event deck and investigation decks do seem to make the game easier.

Of course, one easy change to the game without any other tweaks that will increase difficulty is to flip over to the Unterbelly side. That board is significantly more difficult regardless of character choices. This is the best way to raise difficulty for the first time IMHO. It requires no effort at all.

If you'd prefer to keep on the original side but want to make another easy tweak, you can use the alternate "Hood" series. This makes punks a bigger threat, and tweaks the difficulty up a notch so that character combinations are also not as relevant.

Also, if you are a seasoned gamer I think the decisions are somewhat easier in the default mode. That's no fault of the game IMHO, but just something that more hardcore gamers like myself understand. This is built for a big audience, but the big pile of options and extras Karl and Ole have provided for us easily remedy any concerns.
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Barry Miller
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That's a great response!

I haven't really studied the underside of the board... I thought it was basically the same thing except with the buildings arranged differently. Is that what makes it harder? If not, then what makes the underbelly harder?

 
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Common Man Games
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It's a combination of where things are, the street layout, and the road construction.

meeple
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Dave Kudzma
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bgm1961 wrote:

That's a great response!

I haven't really studied the underside of the board... I thought it was basically the same thing except with the buildings arranged differently. Is that what makes it harder? If not, then what makes the underbelly harder?



The primary thing that raises the difficulty IS that the locations are different and the paths across the board are different.

Because of this rearrangement the emergencies come out in far less convenient locations. Generally I think it simply takes more movement to get there, and seems like it spreads the events and emergencies out a bit more.

I'd also mention that the main artery across the center of the board causes you to lose a movement point when it's entered. On the original side, you can stay next to CPD or the Hotel and you're basically 3 away from anything. Not so with the Unterbelly.

Ole obviously went to great pains to ensure when cards appear that things simply take longer to handle.

So it's much more than just shuffling things up. So far I actually prefer to play the vanilla event deck with Unterbelly just because the difficulty is JUST more difficult enough without them. I've tried it with just the bonus emergencies and the alternate Hood cards and we've always had close games, with more losses than wins.
 
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Common Man Games
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By the way...

Dave would know. He is, I'm sure, in the top 1% in terms of experience with the game.



Dave, aren't you getting close to 50 plays now?

meeple
 
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