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Valley of the Kings: Afterlife» Forums » General

Subject: Has Anyone Played With 5 or 6 players? rss

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Deidre Iannelli
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So I picked up Valley of the Kings and its stand alone expansion, Valley of the Kings: Afterlife because of the increased player count (four player max games do not see much play with my groups). However, when I went about looking up people's thoughts on playing the game at the 5-6 player mark, I found barely anything. Most reviewers either have not tried it or dismissed the idea of even trying it at the higher player counts.

From the impression I got, those reviewers who dismissed the idea did not like that the pyramid would likely have completely different cards by the time it gets back around to your turn. Being someone who often plays 6 player Ascension and enjoys it, this is not really a concern of mine. I am also not very concerned about any perceived increase in downtime from having more players for the same reason.

So yeah, I am interested in hearing if anyone here has tried the game with 5 or 6 players and what they thought of it. Does the 5 & 6 player set up suggestions in the rule book work well? Do you instead just mix both sets together and go no matter the player count? Have you come up with a set up of your own that you really like? Have you even went the extra mile and played a 7 or 8 player game? I'm curious to hear people's experiences.
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Jon David
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I have played this with 5 players... My thoughts were simply confirmed. Deckbuilders without simultaneous actions should probably not play more than 4 players. This game can be enjoyable with 4 players who all have played the game before. A 4 player game with even 1 player that hasn't a clue as to what is going on, is easily distracted, or has any form of AP (mild or otherwise) and you will want to kill yourself.

Right now I would be very hesitant to play it with 5 players who all know and enjoy the game. 6 players I would recommend another game choice or 2 groups of 3.
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Deidre Iannelli
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So you just had a downtime issues, or was there something else? I play 5-6 player deck builders all the time and never have had the time between turns become a problem with my group. But then we're known to play 8-10 player games of Zombicide, so many of us might have the attention spans of gods.
 
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Runcible Spoon
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ScaperDeage wrote:
So you just had a downtime issues, or was there something else? I play 5-6 player deck builders all the time and never have had the time between turns become a problem with my group. But then we're known to play 8-10 player games of Zombicide, so many of us might have the attention spans of gods.


The downtime, especially late in the game, would be awful. Honestly, it could be 10 minutes between turns if you have 6 players. There are other problems besides downtime. With that many players there will be absolutely no forward planning in any meaningful way. This means the downtime is the worst kind of downtime...you can't sit and plan your next move with that much turnover in the pyramid between turns.

So you have a lot of downtime punctuated by decisions that having a minimal planning horizon.

This is not a recipe for fun.

I certainly would turn down a 5-6p game. It is cheap, just get 2 decks and play two 3p games or get three decks and play three 2p games and just rotate opponents.

The game is best with 2p, ok with 3p and I certainly wouldn't want to play with more.
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Deidre Iannelli
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Runcible Spoon wrote:
ScaperDeage wrote:
So you just had a downtime issues, or was there something else? I play 5-6 player deck builders all the time and never have had the time between turns become a problem with my group. But then we're known to play 8-10 player games of Zombicide, so many of us might have the attention spans of gods.


The downtime, especially late in the game, would be awful. Honestly, it could be 10 minutes between turns if you have 6 players. There are other problems besides downtime. With that many players there will be absolutely no forward planning in any meaningful way. This means the downtime is the worst kind of downtime...you can't sit and plan your next move with that much turnover in the pyramid between turns.

So you have a lot of downtime punctuated by decisions that having a minimal planning horizon.

This is not a recipe for fun.

I certainly would turn down a 5-6p game. It is cheap, just get 2 decks and play two 3p games or get three decks and play three 2p games and just rotate opponents.

The game is best with 2p, ok with 3p and I certainly wouldn't want to play with more.


I've heard some of the same arguments against playing 6 player Ascension and I love playing at that player count more than any other. The same has held true for many other games that often get branded as having horrid downtime at higher player numbers. As such, I am always a bit skeptical that such complaints will actually be a problem for myself and my group.

I'm still likely to try a 5-6 player game Valley of the Kings game in the near future and I'll try to remember to report back here on how it went for us. In the meantime, I guess I will continue to hope that someone who has had success playing 5 or 6 player games might stop by this thread and give their input.
 
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Runcible Spoon
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ScaperDeage wrote:
I've heard some of the same arguments against playing 6 player Ascension and I love playing at that player count more than any other.


I have some opinions about player count that don't currently jive with the majority on BGG (e.g. I think the majority of card drafting games are best with 2p), so I get it that you enjoy something many others do not, but 5-6p Ascension is pretty bad and I wouldn't waste my own gaming time on VoK with 5-6 (my reasoning in brief is below).

I do think that the player count stats for both Ascension and Valley of Kings are somewhat telling. In general they are best with 2p and are overwhelmingly not recommended for more than 4p (as rated by other BGGers).




ScaperDeage wrote:
The same has held true for many other games that often get branded as having horrid downtime at higher player numbers.


There are two factors at play in downtime:

1. Actual length of downtime (1 turn per 2/3/4/5 minutes etc.)
2. Opportunities for meaningful planning during downtime

Typically #1 increases as you add players, and this is usually bad.
Typically #2 decreases as you add players, and this is usually bad.

This is a case of making a bad problem worse.

The games you have mentioned so far, Ascension and VoK, are both well described by those two factors. I suspect for your group it is really about cramming a lot of friends into a single game and I get that too.

I think this might be one of those 'agree to disagree' cases but I would really consider the downtime factors I describe above.
 
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Dave Roy
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My read of the whole discussion is that:

1) Most, if not all deck-builders get worse as the player count goes up, for a variety of reasons (downtime, card availability, etc)

2) the OP already plays Ascension (and perhaps other deck-builders) at 5-6 players and they enjoy it

So my conclusion would be that, if you already like 5-6 player Ascension (though most of us can't imagine why), then you shouldn't have any trouble with 5-6 player Valley of the Kings.
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Royce Calverley
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I haven't played with more than 4, but I will say with 4 the game already drags. By the time your turn comes around everything has changed so much that it's impossible to really plan your turn.

Certain cards become very powerful with 4 players; others can lead to a kingmaking situation that doesn't occur with 2 and less with 3.

I really can't imagine ever wanting to play with 4 again, let alone 5-6. There are so many games that are better suited to higher number of players.


 
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Deidre Iannelli
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hist wrote:

So my conclusion would be that, if you already like 5-6 player Ascension (though most of us can't imagine why), then you shouldn't have any trouble with 5-6 player Valley of the Kings.


That's where I am at currently. The more I research the game, the more I think it will work out fine for us.

If I would have to guess, I think downtime issues have never really been a thing with my group because nearly all of us come from a tabletop RPG background where long waits between doing something can be a very common occurrence.
 
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Tom Cleaver
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Deidre et al:

When I designed Valley of the Kings: Afterlife, I added features that would allow the game to be played with 5-6 players. Naturally, I conducted playtests with 6 players. This worked. The players had fun. If your (Deidre's) group likes 5-6 player games, please go for it, and then let us know how it turned out.

Of course, 5-6 player VotK isn't for everyone. The comments several of you have made about down time and difficulty in planning are perfectly valid. Many player's think the 2-player version is the best. I will add that the strategy in 2 player (vs. 3- or 4- player) is quite different, so VotK can be played at many levels.

Thanks for all your comments on my game. If you get to Origins or Gen Con, please look me up at the AEG booth.

Tom Cleaver
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Deidre Iannelli
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systomx wrote:
Deidre et al:

When I designed Valley of the Kings: Afterlife, I added features that would allow the game to be played with 5-6 players. Naturally, I conducted playtests with 6 players. This worked. The players had fun. If your (Deidre's) group likes 5-6 player games, please go for it, and then let us know how it turned out.

Tom Cleaver


So I have at last managed to get a full 6 player game of this played from start to finish and it went over very well. Things were a little slow at first since a few people were completely new to the game, but the pace picked up very quickly by the time we hit the age III cards.

A good number of my friends are known for hate buying in Ascension, and that general habit came out big time in Valley of the Kings in the form of a heavy usage of sacrifice/discard card powers. By the end I think the Sacrifice pile seemed larger than all our tombs combined.

Our final scores ended up a bit low (winner was 32) because of this and because most of us probably should have given up on trying to obtain a card on our turns and just to entombed something we already had instead. I expect next time most of us play we will have some higher scores, but it will likely be as cut throat.

As for time wise, I think it took us maybe an hour and a half or so to finish the game, but it didn't feel like it, especially after everyone got accustomed to the game and became better at planning out their turns before their turn began.

Overall, I really enjoy Valley of the Kings as a 6 player game. It is also probably one of the most player interactive deck builders I have played. Kudos to you Tom for designing such a fun game.
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