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Subject: First play - too bad this isn't more fun rss

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Jürgen Duvendack
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So we played it for the first time yesterday. It took far to long and wasn't nearly as fun as expected.

In the end, 3 out of 4 players had 7 esteem and became princesses. We had a Queen, a female knight, a Pop Idol and a daughter of the Demon Lord.

What's good:
- Theme
- Worker+Money-placing mechanism
- Artwork
- personality cards

What's bad:
- Victory Points don't make sense when half the part of getting them is totally random due to personality cards
- too easy to level up (nearly all players had all traits at 6 or 7)
- too few activities to choose from
- far too long (took nearly 3 hours)
- powerful events will probably be triggered by multiple players

What would I change:
- Ditch the VPs! Make it a race for 7 (or any other number) esteem.
- Then esteem shouldn't be upgraded by spending XP, but only by winning or choosing certain activities
- Events can only be triggered by one player (maybe provide Framework, when exactly they have to be triggered)
- Add more random activities and place/exchange them more often
- Half the number of rounds

If this would be a fun 60 minute race to become princess, this could hit our table again, but with more than 2 hours given as it is, it will probably sit on the shelf and gather dust, despite it's cute and original theme and artwork.


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Simon Lundström
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The designer didn't intend this to be a race at all. It's a game where you enjoy seeing what happens during the course of the game. It's a bit weird to grasp, maybe, but there you have it.
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Masoud Tabatabaei
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Zimeon wrote:
The designer didn't intend this to be a race at all. It's a game where you enjoy seeing what happens during the course of the game. It's a bit weird to grasp, maybe, but there you have it.


I have the game but not played it yet. My group don't usually like long games. What could you suggest to reduce the time of the gameplay, without changing much other aspects?
 
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Jürgen Duvendack
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Zimeon wrote:
The designer didn't intend this to be a race at all. It's a game where you enjoy seeing what happens during the course of the game. It's a bit weird to grasp, maybe, but there you have it.


I understand that, I even told the other players to disregard the VPs before the game.

But in the end the development of the daughters was extremely similar with the exception of one player (who became the daughter of the demon king).

For enjoying and just watching what happens, too much of the same happens for my taste. During the first turns there are only 4 activities to choose from. And in our game a lot of events were triggered by 3 players (for instance the event that raises your esteem and gives 3 health). And nearly everbody was able to raise all their traits to 6 or 7.

So for me to just experience what happens there should be more forced difference in the development of the daughters. More random activities, maybe player exclusive events, and don't call the VPs victory points (maybe call them a 3rd Kind of EXP). And make it harder to level up esteem. That seemed much to easy to me.

So our experience was that too few interesting things happened in too long playing time. And the end was too anticlimactic with 3 players becoming princess.


 
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Jürgen Duvendack
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masoudtab wrote:
I have the game but not played it yet. My group don't usually like long games. What could you suggest to reduce the time of the gameplay, without changing much other aspects?


My honest suggestion would be that all players agree beforehand not to think too much about their moves or about winning and try to play fast. My players thought too long about their moves. If every player thinks a minute about his move, that's 48 minutes play time. Add the activity resolving, personality cards choice, triggering of events, tracking of VPs and you will break the 2 hour mark.

This is a clear case for "System Bast". A guy i knew named Bast invented this system during a game of Wallenstein, where he didn't think about choosing what activity to do in which province at all. He would just shuffle his province cards and place them randomly onto his player board. Not enough for winning, but enough for getting 2nd place
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Jürgen Duvendack
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The more I think about it, the more I would suggest to add some more cards (think Arkham Horror). Like a pile for every activity that somehow incorporate the reached Level. These could describe different events that happend during the activity and could have slightly varying effects.
 
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Simon Lundström
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BeardFan wrote:
And the end was too anticlimactic with 3 players becoming princess.


What!?

Three players topping the charts? We must be playing differently; agreed I've only played some three times, and I can't say I have all the full rules in my head, but I've never seen one player becoming princess. Raising both physical and mental to 7 isn't too hard, but getting Esteem to top 7 at the same time is usually very difficult. Even the designer himself became "father's wife". Something must be amiss.
 
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Jürgen Duvendack
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Quote:
What!?

Three players topping the charts? We must be playing differently; agreed I've only played some three times, and I can't say I have all the full rules in my head, but I've never seen one player becoming princess. Raising both physical and mental to 7 isn't too hard, but getting Esteem to top 7 at the same time is usually very difficult. Even the designer himself became "father's wife". Something must be amiss.


According to the rules, it's even easier to raise esteem than raise the other traits, because you can use both kinds of XP. And there were events that could raise esteem or any trait. And with the event that lets you play an older event these could be used twice.

And if you have the other traits at least 4/3 or 3/4 you always gain one extra XP if you gain XP. And even with four players there should be no problem that each player can at least place on one activity that produces XP. So everbody could raise their traits including esteem almost every turn.

The only source of error I suspect is the timing of events. The rule is not clear about exactly when an event can be played. We played they could be triggered anytime (but still only once per player per round).
 
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Simon Lundström
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I know any cp can be used for Esteem, but usually you're busy doing Physical and Mental since those give you advantage in the competitions.

Levelling costs more and more per level you raise. Levelling from 2 to 3 costs 3 cp, from 3 to 4 costs 4 xp etc. So levelling each turn isn't exactly doable.

Using events requires a hero point, and you didn't have too many of those. Fact is, you start with one and may gain perhaps one more during the game.

Also, the personalities tend to get in your way. All in all, I haven't seen anyone raise Esteem _and_ physical _and_ mental to 7 with no problem, and certainly not three in one game.
 
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Jürgen Duvendack
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I'm really not aware of a rules mistake we made. EDIT: I think we got turn order wrong, making it clockwise from the start player, instead of going strictly be esteem ranking. But I doubt this had a great effect since we decided the start player correctly and it only changed once during the whole game and we weren't playing agressive.

Maybe that's why our game took so long, with everyone thinking about good moves. We used the hero points correct. But the events that were used were almost exlusively the events that raised traits.

And there were items that raised your esteem when you won a tournament. And items that give 3 free XP. Tournaments weren' contested much except for the last round, because I had told the other Players that VPs should not be that important before the game.

And it's was common to get around 5 XPs every turn. One meeple plus copper and silver plus friendship is Level 4. Plus one extra at traits 4/3 makes 5. So in the middle of the game we were raising traits regularly. Maybe because we weren't aggressive with removing Money from taken spots and rather placing on a free activity. Also almost noone was blocking activities with large amounts of gold. And you also could get XP from the random activities we had drawn.

You have 12 rounds to raise 18 traits at an average cost of 4.5 XPs. My princess had esteem 7 strength 7 and wisdom 6. I used 3 events to raise traits. That leaves 14 raises by XP, totalling around 60 XP, which brings me back to my 5 XP average per turn.
 
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Jürgen Duvendack
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Maybe it's because we went in the game with the feeling that VPs don't matter, because the rules kind of suggest this attitude. And the game experience backs this up, because during the last four turns of the game I was almost unable to score VPs due to my daughters personalities while the winning Player kept scoring due to a combination of her being start player and getting VPs if placing on an unoccupied activity from her personality card.

So tournaments weren't considered that important/contested by us and we put our ressources into gaining XPs and leveling our daughters up (all of us having played a lot of PnP RPGs before).
 
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Simon Lundström
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Same here. You'd need 6 or 7 XP to level traits at those final levels, and you need resting and earning money to be able to place silvers and coppers every single turn. Also, on 4 players, there's no way all 4 players can place pawn, silver and copper on the XP-gaining activities every single turn.

Of course, I don't know since I didn't see the exact playout, but the times I've played, everybody's struggled with recovering health (especially for the secondary activities that reduce health with 2) and money, and while it's usual to get both Strength/Wisdom to 6 or even 7, doing that and also levelling Esteem seems to be quite the feat, and three such players in the same 4 player games does seem, from the games I've played, as clearly impossible.

The frequently changing Personalities also get in your way, where you sometimes don't even get to choose where to place. I can't see how you can get 5 XP every single round, especially not as a medium. The first rounds, before you start racking up the bonuses, you'll be happy with 2 or 3. And you certainly does not level that out with getting 8 or 9 per round at the end.

I don't know what's amiss here, but something is very very different from what I've seen from the game.
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Jürgen Duvendack
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Yes, we were substracting health and following the activity order. There were times when meeples were removed due to no health.

There are personalities that let you buy health for money, and I had a personality where the other Players participating didn't lose health. And after a certain Level of STR you gain one health every round.

The personalities stay at least for 4 rounds as new personalities are only drawn at the beginning of the year (uneven rounds).

I really can't find an obvious rules error after rereading the rules.
 
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Jürgen Duvendack
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I plan to try this again next week and see if it turns out different.
 
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