Joshua Davis
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And oh man is it awesome.

The mash up was (in the order they were eliminated) Maeoni, Jessa, Noah, and Coal. I was Noah.
We all played pre-constructed decks. I used regular d6 to represent the ceremony dice for Noah (as Coal, Jessa, and Noah all use those). I was the only one who had played before.

But I don't want to give a session report, but would rather like to describe how it plays in comparison to a 2-player game.

The four player game is a lot of fun. For a while I've been looking for a 2-player fighting game that scales up well. This one does a better job than most other games of this nature at being multi player, and the rules for play modes are still a work in progress, so we very well may get other play modes as expansions are released. This is very exciting.

But, I will almost completely play this game with two players. While it is very fun and tense, it is also quite long. Granted I was the only experienced player, but there were not many rules questions. I can do a 2-player match in 30 minutes, 45 max. This 4-player game lasted 2:30-3 hours.

There are a few reasons that this version lasted so long. First, there is a lot of negotiation, table talk, and bluffing. Yet, it actually felt really awesome here. But that feels awesome here. I first I was wary that multi player is free for all because in other games that means that everyone will gang up on one player. The fact that the multi player was free for all actually is what made this version fun. You cannot just gang up on someone because that will allow another player to get a huge advantage. For example, the first few rounds everyone focused on Maeoni's snakes and Coal Hammer Knights, meanwhile I was building a real nasty hand and developed a really tough spell board and Jessa got a really tough wall of living dolls. So everyone had to circle back to equalize things. In fact I ultimately lost because I ended up spending too many resources on Jessa and Maeoni, that I was left open to Coal. I loved being able to change people's minds (Noah is tied for my favorite phoenixborn after all). So, even tho the table talk makes this game longer, it was my favorite thing about a multi player game.

Second, the multi player game had a lot less big actions. I liken a two player game of Ashes to a game of chicken. You will spend the beginning of most rounds simply sizing up your opponent, waiting a chance that will let you strike without leaving yourself vulnerable. In multi player Ashes, there are a lot more small actions and passing as you wait to see what other people can do. It takes the game of chicken to the next level. Because you have to watch everyone. You can't just throw everything in one attack. Maybe you misstep trying to take care of the that Rhino, leave yourself open and forget that Noah can summon those wolves. The need to watch everyone is amazing, but ultimately I think this will stop from playing this game all the time because it is stressful.

Third, you have to wait for everyone to pass. That can take a while. This can be frustrating for players who pass early, but I didn't think it was too big a problem. But to be fair, I was Noah who generally is the last to pass. This is a potential con for the multi player game.

I will also say that all phoenixborn seemed slightly weaker in multi player Ashes. It seemed balanced but the weak points of all phoenixborn seemed more pronounced with more targets. I think this adds to the feeling of tightness in a multi player game. Some people won't like it. I don't mind it, but I'm sure that it is a big reason why I'll most play two player games of Ashes.

Also note that three phoenixborn were eliminated in the same round. I can't see an eliminated player waiting around more than a round which is really awesome for a game with player elimination. This is because towards the end everyone is exhausted. The last round my deck was empty and everyone else's was almost empty. You get desperate and meditate your spellboard. You have less traps and surprises. All this means that once one falls, others will soon follow.

You could argue there is kingmaking in multi player Ashes. To be fair Jessa and Noah last because we focused on each other, but I think if you fall that way it means you negotiated poorly. So, if kingmaking is a problem (I don't think it is), it certainly isn't a big problem.

All in all, multi player Ashes is a lot of fun and is really stressful, but it is not something to take lightly.
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Dreadknot Knotdread
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Thank you for posting your experience with multiplayer. I'm shocked that it lasted 2.5 hours or more but I guess it makes sense. I have yet to play but it looks like we'll be playing 2 1v1 games simultaneously on our lunch hour at work, rather than a 4 player game.
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Muhammad Akmal
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"Yet, it actually felt really awesome here. But that feels awesome here."

The amount of awesome is over 9000!!
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Simon
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For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.
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dreadknot69 wrote:
Thank you for posting your experience with multiplayer. I'm shocked that it lasted 2.5 hours or more but I guess it makes sense. I have yet to play but it looks like we'll be playing 2 1v1 games simultaneously on our lunch hour at work, rather than a 4 player game.


Everyone besides him was a beginner. That's alot of card reading and "what did that do again?". I did a 6-man the first game night: It took around 3 hours (and I definitely don't recommend it with the prebuilds).
 
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Joshua Davis
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DoubleH wrote:
dreadknot69 wrote:
Thank you for posting your experience with multiplayer. I'm shocked that it lasted 2.5 hours or more but I guess it makes sense. I have yet to play but it looks like we'll be playing 2 1v1 games simultaneously on our lunch hour at work, rather than a 4 player game.


Everyone besides him was a beginner. That's alot of card reading and "what did that do again?". I did a 6-man the first game night: It took around 3 hours (and I definitely don't recommend it with the prebuilds).


There really wasn't that much. With that group I can't see it going much under two hours. The main thing clogging up time was the negotiation. So definitely play it with that lunch group outside of work before you try it at work. Some groups may negotiate less and be able to squeeze it in. For others it will never be a possibility.
 
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Joshua Davis
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gustave154 wrote:
"Yet, it actually felt really awesome here. But that feels awesome here."

The amount of awesome is over 9000!!


my vocabulary plummets when I'm excited.
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