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Rex: Final Days of an Empire» Forums » Sessions

Subject: The First of the Final Days of an Empire rss

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Patrick Brophy
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Playing a game for the first time is an interesting experience. In our group, invariably, it means one person has read the rules, and has a vague understanding of the mechanics. That person has to explain the game to the others, hopefully in such a way that leads to a smooth, enjoyable game experience. Of course, it’s never perfect, and sometimes it feels like the first game is just a learning experience for the group as a whole, a warm up for the full game which will follow in the weeks or months after.

Our first play through of Rex: Final Days of an Empire felt like this. Published by Fantasy Flight Games, known for their richly themed games, dripping with story and the character of the universe their set in, Rex is a re-implementation of a classic game called Dune.

I was the one who had to teach Rex, which is fair, considering I bought it. I had read the full rulebook three times, listened to a “How to Play” podcast and thought myself prepared. The core of the game seemed simple enough, especially considering my fellow players are pretty experienced gamers. I think they did get the hang of the core mechanics pretty quick.

The core mechanics were quite simple, quite straightforward and I think everyone grasped them easy enough. But the abilities of the six unique races and how they interact is where the spice and complexity of the game come in. As alliances were formed and broken, we could see the potential synergies between races. But knowing the mechanics isn’t the same as knowing how to play. I think I was the first one to attack with an army of 10, and it was wildly successful. After that, most people were going around with large armies. So when the first traitor card was drawn and destroyed an army of 10 it was a huge shock. Plenty of people lost lots of troops early in the game, and with limited resources, it was nearly impossible for those troops to get into play. It felt a bit like we were all drunken brawlers, throwing haymakers at each other, hoping to knock out the opponent before we knocked ourselves out through our own lack of coordination.

The traitor cards were controversial. As the Letnev, I had 4 traitor cards, and I let them influence how I would play: I had two traitors for Sol, and two for Lazax, so I wasn’t going to ally with them. Also, it helped me pick my battles, and let my numerically inferior force defeat a superior force. However, some people thought it made the game a bit swingy, and reduced the tactical depth of the game. But I think this would be mitigated by using smaller armies, which would also make it easier to get troops back onto the board.

After a later than expected start, 3 hours and 5 out of 8 turns into the game, we decided to call it quits. The Hacan player, who gains money when someone deploys troops, had a huge cash advantage, and had lost no troops to combat, was clearly the winner, even though he was in an alliance. We left it there, but as there was plenty of discussion around the game that night and the next day, so I think it will be pulled out again.

Our first play of Rex went well. We learned the mechanics, and I think, we learned how to play. The players seemed eager to sit back down, some with the same factions, and see what they would do differently the second time round. While the first game may not have been the epic of diplomacy, betrayal and warfare the box promises, it certainly seems the next time it will be.

P.S. I'm trying my hand at these session reports, and more writing about board games in general. Any feedback on my writing would also be much appreciated.
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Just Another User
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PaddyB wrote:
...where the spice and complexity of the game come in...
I see what you did there!

Nice review. I personally did not enjoy my only play of Rex, but I agree that additional plays would probably result in a different (and better) experience.
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Luke
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Thanks for your writeup Patrick. I love to hear people experiences with one of the few games I would always want to play.
It's my understanding you where playing the full 6-players experience, weren't you?
 
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Patrick Brophy
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oldfan wrote:
Nice review. I personally did not enjoy my only play of Rex, but I agree that additional plays would probably result in a different (and better) experience.
Thanks! I don't think I could write off a game after one play, but I will admit, I REALLY want to enjoy Rex. So I'm very forgiving of my first play. It'll be interesting to see how the second play turns out.

Soul_Guile wrote:
Thanks for your writeup Patrick. I love to hear people experiences with one of the few games I would always want to play.
It's my understanding you where playing the full 6-players experience, weren't you?
No problem, I'm glad you enjoyed it. We did play with the full 6 players. If we didn't have 6 I would have cancelled the game until another time to make sure we got 6!!
 
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King in Green
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It's all about the group with this one. With the right group dynamic it's great.
 
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