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Subject: A Night of Revelry: The Last Banquet(s) - A Review rss

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Jacob Schoberg
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Elkhorn
Wisconsin
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when i get home, i'm so tired. just roll over, please, i'm so tired.
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This is my first review, so apologies if I miss anything.

Intro, components, and rulebook
I recently had a large event and was looking for a game to play with many people. The Last Banquet had caught my eye a while ago, and I thought this would be a good time to give it a shot. Reviews were sparse (which is one of the reasons I'm writing this!), but I took the chance and got it anyway.

Opening the box, I was happy with the quality of the contents. The character cards are large, and the art is great. The information portion of the cards is laid out in a way that is easy to understand, and my group had no problem picking up the mechanics off the cards. Some information could have been more readily available to the other players (more on that later), but overall, very good. It also includes a bunch of lanyards and faction tokens, which everyone wears around your neck, and the king gets a cardboard scepter. Overall, the quality is something you'd expect from a Fantasy Flight game.

I've read other complaints that the rulebook is unclear, or the game is difficult to understand. These are not problems that my game group encountered. The rules are pretty straight-forward, and once you play a round it's very easy to pick up on. My group comprised of 11 people of various levels of 'gamer', and none of us had played it before.


Mechanics
On to the meat and potatoes of the game. Every character has a Basic action (for the newbie rules only) or a set of three actions. I've read complaints that the game is just a bunch of random people moving around with no strategy, and I have a feeling that those people played the game using only the basic rules. With the basic rules, every character gets one action and they are all very 'same-y', i.e. switch places with someone, sit adjacent to someone, etc.

Playing with the other set of actions gives the game a LOT more variety, and it is definitely how I recommend playing it (even for first time players). Every character will have two actions that they can do on their turn, ranging from 'all female characters move to the middle and are assigned places' to 'all commoners get in the middle, dance for five seconds, and rush to a seat'. In addition to these two actions available, everyone also has a 'favor' action that they have to ask the king permission to perform. The king gets a certain number of vetoes that can be used to deny these favors, but otherwise they can be allowed as the king sees fit.

Before the scenario starts, the king is selected and the other players are randomly assigned one of two factions and a character card.. They then go in to different rooms and decide who their assassin is going to be, discuss strategy, etc. They then come back in to the main room, sit anywhere they'd like, and then the king takes a seat and the round starts. The king will greet everyone, and then each player introduces themselves. During the round, the king will pass the scepter, and then the person holding the scepter must perform an action and sit down. This continues until everyone is seated, and then the round is over. At the end of the round, both factions reveal whether or not their assassin is next to the king, and if one of them is, the king is assassinated and the faction wins.

My Experience
Our group was 11 people, and we played the first scenario (The Last Banquet) three times with three different kings and had a blast. The first round was a bit rougher, as everyone was learning the roles and generally how the game played, but overall it was a pretty smooth experience.

I would definitely recommend this with a group of people who are not afraid to ham it up, as the acting and silliness of the game is one of it's strong suits. The more people can get in to the characters assigned to them, the better.

A few minor quibbles-- it's difficult to tell some details about other characters from across the room, so it would have been nice if there were a way to notate this (like the lanyards for factions). Every character has a gender and a social class, both of which come in to play for various player abilities. This could be easily amended by giving players hats or something with the icons on them. That being said, this didn't detract from the fun we had with the game, but merely added a couple questions like 'okay, who are all of the nobles?' to the game.


Conclusion
My group loved this game. The few minor things aside, everyone walked away saying it was a great experience and that they'd definitely play again. I haven't played any of the other scenarios, so I can't comment on those, but the scenario we did play was great. I would not hesitate to pull this out again.

8.5/10
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Dylan Grozdanich

Santa Clara
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Thank you for the review!
I picked this game up awhile ago on a gamble and have not had a chance to pull it out. Been a little afraid too, but this sounds like it might actually be a good easy party game.

Did you play mostly with other board gamers, or was there other people who might not be into the hobby as much? Curious also how the learning curve was for non-boardgamers if you had any was.
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Jacob Schoberg
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Elkhorn
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when i get home, i'm so tired. just roll over, please, i'm so tired.
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My group was all gamer types, but of varying levels.

I don't think you'd have much of a problem explaining the rules to non-gamer types, but I do think that people who aren't really open to acting/role-playing may have a hard time with it.

So I guess I'd be less concerned about how into games the people are and more concerned about whether or not people will be comfortable acting.

Hope this helps!
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Dan Smith
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Would it be possible to play the game by moving proxies around rather than have players move?

I'm asking because for one of my friend, moving around would be an issue.
 
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Jacob Schoberg
United States
Elkhorn
Wisconsin
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when i get home, i'm so tired. just roll over, please, i'm so tired.
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Phaseshifter wrote:
Would it be possible to play the game by moving proxies around rather than have players move?

I'm asking because for one of my friend, moving around would be an issue.


While it might be possible, I don't think I would recommend it. Much of the game is sort of a 'musical chairs' type of thing, where you have to get up and switch seats with someone, cause all of the male characters to dance for 5 seconds and then take a seat, etc.

So unfortunately, no, I don't think it would work.
 
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