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Quartermaster General» Forums » General

Subject: Disappointed by this game. rss

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Sam S
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So I've only played twice now, but I simply do not feel inspired to play again, at least the base game anyway. The only interesting decision seemed to be choosing which 7 cards to keep at the beginning. After that, the game seems to play itself with one clearly better card to play each turn, occasionally a choice between two, but very little strategy beyond that initial choice. Both games the Allies have won by a landslide (what can Axis do when Britain draws ability to build in India, Australia, and Canada within the first few rounds, it didn't even matter that they took Britain).

My group didn't enjoy it much either. Is this just us? Are there variants we can try to increase strategic depth, like having access to your whole deck the whole time? Does Air Marshal increase the interesting decisions?
 
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Tom Kassel
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You get to do the whole of WWII in 60 minutes. Strategic depth isn't really on offer. It's more an amusing ride of ups and downs largely determined by card draws. Not everyone's cup of tea but we find it an excellent light laugh in the evening after some heavier gaming throughout the day.
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Michael Wheet
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For the most strategic play, it's best played as a 2 player game. That way each player is totally in control of how the allied powers support each other, and longer term planning is possible.
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Peter Bakija
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TheProdigal wrote:
So I've only played twice now, but I simply do not feel inspired to play again, at least the base game anyway. The only interesting decision seemed to be choosing which 7 cards to keep at the beginning. After that, the game seems to play itself with one clearly better card to play each turn, occasionally a choice between two, but very little strategy beyond that initial choice. Both games the Allies have won by a landslide (what can Axis do when Britain draws ability to build in India, Australia, and Canada within the first few rounds, it didn't even matter that they took Britain).


(The Canada card doesn't allow them to build in Canada, but that is just a minor correction).

Quote:
My group didn't enjoy it much either. Is this just us? Are there variants we can try to increase strategic depth, like having access to your whole deck the whole time? Does Air Marshal increase the interesting decisions?


It is important to realize that this game is a fast one--you can generally play a full, 6 player game in less than an hour, at which point everyone moves a chair to the left and plays again. Which is one of its strengths.

That being said, there are plenty of interesting decisions to be made that are strategic, rather than tactical--i.e. does the US go towards Europe or Asia?; does the UK mess around in India or Australia or go straight for Germany?; does Italy try to maximize point score or prop up Germany with armies and battles?; does Japan go right for China (which often goes badly) or race to Australia/India? These are the questions that make the game interesting, not necessarily "what card do I play from my hand this turn".

The base game is, arguably, tilted towards the Allies. If luck is average, the Allies probably win. If the Allies are lucky, the Allies probably win. If the Axis are lucky, the Axis probably win. Air Marshal makes the game a little more even, and adds more tactical decision making (it adds air forces which make combat a little less 1:1 and bolster cards, which allow you to play more than one card a turn in the appropriate situations).
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Cameron McKenzie
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Further, one of the most important tactical decisions in the game is when to discard your cards (in order to draw more) but this is an option that new players typically neglect.

Every nation has 30 cards or more, and you will typically play fewer than 20 in a game, so understanding which cards are the most important in a given situation is critical.

Regarding the point sources, there are 6 neutral point spaces in the game and it isn't too hard for Axis to control three (China, Western Europe, Ukraine, and maybe India or Australia depending on how UK plays). Axis also have more point scoring cards in their decks. The Allies have only two - and the UK Canada card is generally not worth the huge setup effort.

Finally, is UK gets Australia and India, and has to fight Japan for it, Germany and Italy may be able to take the UK capital and deny their points completely. Alternately, they could pummel Soviet Union (an easier target) and just enjoy those easy supply points.

Things really get hard for the Axis when all three Allies focus on Europe. The game becomes a race between an unchecked Japan acquiring a points lead, and the efforts of the Allies to take German and Italian capitals.
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John Smales
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blackstratguy wrote:
For the most strategic play, it's best played as a 2 player game. That way each player is totally in control of how the allied powers support each other, and longer term planning is possible.


+1
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Marc Nelson Jr.
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TheProdigal wrote:
(what can Axis do when Britain draws ability to build in India, Australia, and Canada within the first few rounds, it didn't even matter that they took Britain).


If a country's home space is occupied, it skips the Victory step - so the UK wouldn't score for India, Australia, or Canada. Taking Britain definitely matters.
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Jim F
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It maybe that this game is not for you but to say that the choices are obvious is, I'd respectfully suggest, just your inexperience talking. Your comment about losing Britain seems to reinforce this.

Knowing the full power of each cards and how they can be combined or used to maximum effect takes time.
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Dave Peters
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On the "Allies always win" front, I fear it may simply be a case of too little data.

My first three plays were all Allies landslide wins. And I, too, was tempted to wonder whether that was the inevitable pattern of the game. But my last two plays were both solid Axis victories - so I have evidence that both are possible. I'd imagine, were you to continue playing, that'd you'd increasingly perceive a balance that wasn't apparent in the first few plays.
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Barry Miller
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TheProdigal wrote:
My group didn't enjoy it much either.

I'll add a different perspective to consider. Your comment which I quoted above, stood out for me.

Bottom Line: The game shouldn't be blamed. Why?

It's been my experience that if an entire group shares the same feeling about a game, there's a pattern at work. Here are a few possible reasons for a particular group pattern to emerge:
- Likely in most cases when a game isn't received well, perhaps it really is a poor game?
- Perhaps the group's poor opinion of what others consider to be a good game, is due simply to groupthink?
- Or more specifically, perhaps it's groupthink which is heavily influenced by the "alpha personality"... whatever he/she thinks is the way the group will go. Especially if it's late at night and people just want to go home.
- Perhaps the game wasn't played correctly, leading to a false conclusion?
- Perhaps the group went into the game with a different expectation than what the game was designed to provide?
- Perhaps the game doesn't fit the group's play style?


I'd wager one of the above reasons is to explain for the entire group not liking Quatermaster General. To narrow down which reason it may be, the first step is to objectively quantify the merit of the game. (I.e., is it really a good game or a poor game)? Luckily we have the BGG Geek Ratings and User Ratings to helps us out here...

QMG has a User Rating of 7.55. "So what?", you say! After all, there are hundreds of games on BGG rated "10" yet no one has ever heard of. Fair point.

So this is where the number of ratings, the shape of the bell curve, and the BGG Geek Rating come into play. Any ratings count above 400 (just my own gut feeling) indicates a solid, statistical base. If you look at the ratings graph, the bell curve has a sharp spike at the "8" rating. This indicates that the 7.55 isn't largely affected by ratings lower than "7". (This assumes that any game rated above "7" is a good game).

And finally, let's look at the BGG Geek Rating. Yes, it's not lost on me that the Geek Rating system is maligned and misunderstood. But still, it's the most "scientific" rating we have to look at, and for the purpose of this discussion, the most meaningful. For instance, what about those one-off games I mentioned above that have a user rating of "10"? Well, that "10" rating is shot down with a Geek Rating of "N/A", or perhaps "5.2".

You'll notice, that the closer the Geek Rating is to the User Rating, the more valid the User Rating is. Quatermaster General has a Geek Rating of 6.55. When compared to other games with a user rating in the "7" range, a Geek Rating of 6.55 is high. For instance, a lot of games with a user rating above "7" really aren't very good games, but are rated highly by a small fan base. In this case, you would likely seek a Geek Rating of something like "5.9", or maybe "6.0". Thusly, in such case, the Geek Rating does not validate the average user rating.

So it can be concluded that QMG's user rating of 7.55 is validated. And thusly, it's an objective assessment that the community considers Quartermaster General to be a good game.

Where am I going with this? Well, if QMG is objectively considered a good game, then it rules out the first reason for why the group didn't like the game. I.e., it isn't a poor game. Thusly if the group nonetheless considers it to be a poor game, then one of the other reasons is likely at play. Conclusion: the game shouldn't be blamed.


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Witch Lord
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While I agree that your strategy can be strongly influenced by the cards in your hand, I definitely don't think that the game "plays itself".

Sometimes games are so tight, one missed tempo by any one of the players can result in their faction's defeat. I must have played way over 100 games by now (and I'm still one of the noobs around here mind you) and no two ever played out the same way.

Of course, if all players on one side draw cards that don't really work well together while the others all get very strong hands, it may be impossible for them to win. I think this is a common problem with any card game though. I do agree that the Allies have an advantage (even more so in the expansion) but that didn't put me off playing this. I tried to figure out a house rule that would lead to more balanced outcomes for my group and I think I've been able to work out something that works for us. Everybody's mileage may of course differ.

TL;DR: Everybody's got different tastes so it's only natural that some people won't like this. I hope you can either figure out a way to play this game that is satisfying for you, or find another game that you enjoy more.
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Nicholas Avallone
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Just to be sure you guys got the rules right:

You mentioned the overwhelming power of UK, but you know those Status cards only grant the ability to build in India & Australia, right? They don't place any armies; they just let you build there on another turn without the need to trace supply to the UK. (The Canada card does require supply, so it's even more time-consuming.)

Also, if the Axis took Britain (UK's home space), then Britain wouldn't be scoring any points anywhere. (Rulebook p. 18)

Mis-playing either of those rules would have devastating effects on game balance!

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Sam S
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Thanks for the responses everyone. I wont trade the game away yet, we'll need to play it a few more times with the right rules:

Smolin wrote:
Just to be sure you guys got the rules right:

You mentioned the overwhelming power of UK, but you know those Status cards only grant the ability to build in India & Australia, right? They don't place any armies; they just let you build there on another turn without the need to trace supply to the UK. (The Canada card does require supply, so it's even more time-consuming.)

Also, if the Axis took Britain (UK's home space), then Britain wouldn't be scoring any points anywhere. (Rulebook p. 18)

Mis-playing either of those rules would have devastating effects on game balance!



Okay, we definitely goofed on the importance of having control of your capital! As far as Canada goes, we double goofed as we didn't realize the supply marker only counted for Britain, and just had the US occupy it. So the main thing I am still confused on: If a player's capital is occupied by the enemy, where are they allowed to build? It was our understanding that they could still build in Supply Star countries they or their ally occuplies?
 
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Witch Lord
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TheProdigal wrote:
If a player's capital is occupied by the enemy, where are they allowed to build? It was our understanding that they could still build in Supply Star countries they or their ally occuplies?


The general rule is:

You may only build an Army next to one of your own supplied pieces.
You may only build a Navy next to one of your own supplied pieces, and only if there is also a friendly supplied Army next to it.

As a special case, you are also allowed to Build Armies into your own Home Space (unless it is occupied by the enemy).

No other exceptions apply (unless granted by Status cards and the like).

Sounds to me like you played a very different game indeed (as we did the first time we tried it. The concept of supply can be hard to grasp at times)
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Nicholas Avallone
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Hey Prodigal: Glad to help. That Canada error would certainly swing the balance in favor of the Allies, and make that card much more powerful!

As for the capital: if your capital is occupied by the enemy...well, you're pretty well screwed. You skip the Victory Step on your turn, meaning you don't score for any other supply spaces you occupy, or for any cards that give you VP bonuses during the Victory step.

You can get back into things with the right cards -- Soviets have a few good ones, like Shvernik's Evacuation Council or General Winter. If the space is unoccupied on your turn, you can play a Build Army card to build back in.

And just to be clear on the India & Australia status cards. Playing one of those cards is all that happens on your turn. You'd need to play a Build Army card on a subsequent turn to put an army there, and thus start gaining VP for it. Those Status cards only allow you to build -- they don't actually do the building.
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Barry Miller
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And just to add to the above replies, if your home space is occupied, and you don't have the right cards that will allow you to regain control on your own, then it's up to your allies to regain it for you.



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bgm1961 wrote:

And just to add to the above replies, if your home space is occupied, and you don't have the right cards that will allow you to regain control on your own, then it's up to your allies to regain it for you.





Not necessarily. Assume Moscow is occupied by, say, an Italian Army, but the Soviets still have an Army in Ukraine. The Soviets could Land Battle from Ukraine and clear Moscow on one turn, then Build into Moscow on the next.

So, it's not like you automatically stop playing if your home space is occupied, as long as you were wise enough to travel to another base of operations, so to speak (for the Soviets for instance, India is also often a good spot. It's fairly easy to get there via Ukraine and Middle East for example). It just sucks that you don't score.

If you lose all your supply spaces then yes, you're wiped out of the board and need rescuing.
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Barry Miller
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Witch Lord wrote:
So, it's not like you automatically stop playing if your home space is occupied,...

Very true.

 
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Sam S
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Smolin wrote:


You can get back into things with the right cards -- Soviets have a few good ones, like Shvernik's Evacuation Council or General Winter. If the space is unoccupied on your turn, you can play a Build Army card to build back in.

And just to be clear on the India & Australia status cards. Playing one of those cards is all that happens on your turn. You'd need to play a Build Army card on a subsequent turn to put an army there, and thus start gaining VP for it. Those Status cards only allow you to build -- they don't actually do the building.


Yes we did play the Australia and India status cards right, I do have a question on the "Increased Commonwealth Support" event card though: I know recruit means you can place it without being in supply, and since India and Australia are supply spaces once an army is recruited there they are automatically in supply (even without the status cards), right?

Also, as far as getting back into things if your capital is taken, can't you continue to build armies as normal so long as you occupy a different Supply Star country (so UK could continue to build out of India if they had a tank there?). That is what I gather from:

bgm1961 wrote:


If you lose all your supply spaces then yes, you're wiped out of the board and need rescuing.


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Nicholas Avallone
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Yes, you can continue to build armies from any other supply spaces you occupy. But you score no VP for any of them until your home space ceases to be occupied by the enemy.

And correct about Recruiting into supply spaces: if you can do it, it's yours!
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Witch Lord wrote:
TheProdigal wrote:
If a player's capital is occupied by the enemy, where are they allowed to build? It was our understanding that they could still build in Supply Star countries they or their ally occuplies?


The general rule is:

You may only build an Army next to one of your own supplied pieces.
You may only build a Navy next to one of your own supplied pieces, and only if there is also a friendly supplied Army next to it.


No the friendly army piece may be unsupplied.
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Pierre Philippe Goyer
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TheProdigal wrote:
[q="Smolin"]

You can get back into things with the right cards -- Soviets have a few good ones, like Shvernik's Evacuation Council or General Winter. If the space is unoccupied on your turn, you can play a Build Army card to build back in.

Yes we did play the Australia and India status cards right, I do have a question on the "Increased Commonwealth Support" event card though: I know recruit means you can place it without being in supply, and since India and Australia are supply spaces once an army is recruited there they are automatically in supply (even without the status cards), right?

[q="bgm1961"]



No, recruiting an army in India before the card that allows you to place a supply base is played, will be unsupplied on the same turn unless supplied by another supply base. Thus recruiting is only valuable after the placement of the supply base.
 
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owll wrote:


No, recruiting an army in India before the card that allows you to place a supply base is played, will be unsupplied on the same turn unless supplied by another supply base. Thus recruiting is only valuable after the placement of the supply base.


India and Australia come with permanent supply markers from the start.


owll wrote:
No the friendly army piece may be unsupplied.


Good catch! I stand corrected.
 
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Pierre Philippe Goyer
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Witch Lord wrote:
owll wrote:


No, recruiting an army in India before the card that allows you to place a supply base is played, will be unsupplied on the same turn unless supplied by another supply base. Thus recruiting is only valuable after the placement of the supply base.


India and Australia come with permanent supply markers from the start.

.



Hhaha! I stand corrected myself also.
What was I thinking...I had in my mind the territories that have no at start supply bases like Canada, Singapore or East Duth indies.

 
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We found it took a few plays to get the rules correct, but then it opens out into a great, great game!
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