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Subject: First impression: Good game but needlessly complicated rules rss

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Here is my impression after my first game of Scythe. This my first Stonemaier Games.
Sorry for the approximative English, I am not a native speaker.

Summary: Scythe is a not bad game, it is even a good heavy-core game but I have the feeling that it could have been a good medium-core game without loosing much and it would have allow to have it played more often and with a wider range of players.

Detail:
We played at 5 players and the game was long, too long (3h30 of game precessed by a difficult explanation (while the rules in themselves are pretty strait forward but I will talk about this point further below)).

The game in itself correspond to what I expected reading the rules during the campaign: an important part of ressource producing and management, area control and a just a bit of fight.
It makes me think to Eclipse, you have the same type of atmosphere (quite austere, in Eclipse because everything is dark/grey/brown, and in Scythe with the (amazing) illustrations of a cold north-eastern Europe), and there is the same atmosphere of "cold war" with factions building up their strength without necessarily attacking each others.

The reproach I will make are:

- I don't like the game at 5 players, it is too long, but mainly, as the board is the same for every number of player, it is way too much over-crowded with 5 factions. If you add to this that attacking someone is quite penalized (when attacking you loose popularity, combat cards, power and you then become really vulnerable just to gain a zone, when you defend you just loose your zone and potentially some power (but not if you know you will loose)). This led, in our case, to a very static games with very few room to expand.
I will limit to 4 players I think next time I will play (when I see that we will be able to play with 7 players with the expansion I don't know how this is possible !).

- Rules are too complicated for nothing.
The author created asymmetrical factions but in fact "they are so symmetrical in their asymmetry that it doesn't change anything on the gameplay". Two examples:
One faction produce a mech for 4 metals and build for 3 woods, for another faction it is 3 metal for the mechs and 4 woods for the building.
The pairing of action is also different, one faction can "produce" and then "build" while an other one can "enlist" after "producing" (and the "build" action is paired with the "trade" action).
I understand the wish of the author to bring diversity, and it was really seducing on paper, but in practical, nobody cares, it doesn't change the gameplay between factions at all ! However it makes the rule really more complicated to explain because no other player can easily follow the explication step by step on their personal board. And in game it makes the actions of other players really difficult to follow.
Same thing for the movement, every factions can cross rivers to different lands. Really good idea on paper but in game you always have to refer to the reference card to know where you can move and where your opponents can move. It hugely slow down the game, reduce the visibility of others players possibilities, increase the probability of mistakes. It makes everything clapped out and, in my opinion, doesn't bring lot of additional deepness (or fun) to the game.

In summary, the game is good, base rules are simple, but there are so much small specific features and differences that artificially makes the game too heavy for me to play with my regular group of players (which are not so casual, we play to Dungeon Lords, Archipelago, etc... which are not really light games) and I have got the feeling that these small rules don't really make the game better / more interesting / more fun and will just prevent me to play the game as much as I would like.

Except that, The concept of keeping your ressources on the board is great, I enjoyed the encounters and the diversity of actions.
I've got the Collector Edition and the game components are gorgeous, it is such a pleasure and it had so much to the immersion to play with it. I love them. And the illustrations... my goodness !

I am waiting for playing again, with fewer and more hardcore players.
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Darrell Goodridge
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
I, too, also have only played one game. But I could immediately see that a different action board combined with my faction would have been an entirely different game. I had Saxony, so I started with Oil and Metal tiles. My player board had the largest coin bonuses on Upgrade and Deploy, which required Oil and Metal respectively, and cheap too. Add to that they were paired with Bolster and Produce respectively and it was very favorable to my faction.

Other than that, I do think 3.5 hours might have been on the long side even for 5, but otherwise, I think you'll figure things out with less players and more gamer-y types.
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Jason Miller
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
Uselessly or needlessly?

Either way, I disagree with the sentiment.
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Josh Ward
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
So the different game boards with different pairs of actions serve to make you have to rethink your strategy every time you play, since there are 25 different possible combinations of factions and player mats. The rule explanation shouldn't be too difficult there, since once you know the symbols for the different resources, gold, and cards, you can boil down the card to "put your pawn here, spend what it says in red, and gain what it says in green". You don't need to specify "spend 3 oil, gain 2 gold" or whatever.

The different waterwalking abilities make it less likely that your neighbors will be able to climb into your starting spaces. That's why each faction has different abilities. Yes, you need to read what you can do, but unless your enemies are running across the map to you, you should be fairly confident in your safety inside your little starting zone.
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Greg
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
You seem to be mistaking the player boards for faction boards. The boards with the actions are player boards and not dedicated to any faction. The reason the player boards have different action pairing order and slightly different resource costs for the bottom row actions is to make them all play differently.

The factions are different in their starting positions and resources in starting positions. Also, each faction has a unique ability and 2 unique mech abilities.


The difference in player boards is great in that it gives each faction 5 different player boards to have to work with and offer more replayability of the game.

The player boards are indeed different and make a difference in how you play. If the player boards were all the same, the game wouldn't be very good.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
I completely disagree with this one.

You admit that you have played only once. I presume all four other players were new to the game as well. So yes, 3.5 hours is long--but everyone was new and there is a bit of a learning curve to the rules. Play a few more times, it will speed up.

I don't find the rules complex at all. In fact, they are fairly well streamlined. As I mentioned, there is an initial learning curve during which it seems more complex and fiddly than it actually is. Part of that is you have many different options of what you can do and each is a separate moving part. So, it's a little overwhelming at first. Once you get your feet under you, the specific mechanics fall to the background. Remember learning to ride a bike? Or to drive a car? So many things to try to think about that after some experience become automatic. Same goes for Scythe.

The faction + player board combination is what really makes this game interesting over time. You have 25 different combinations to play with. Don't judge how that works based on one play--there's still a lot of game you have not seen yet. The combinations can radically change how you approach a game session.

The riverwalk isn't all that bad IMHO. It limits who can get into which home areas (note that neighboring factions usually cannot with this). Once that mech is deployed, it's as easy as looking at the boards on the table. IMHO not that big of a deal. It's also only one of three ways to get across those rivers.

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Danwarr
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
Romn wrote:

- Rules are too complicated for nothing.
The author created asymmetrical factions but in fact "they are so symmetrical in their asymmetry that it doesn't change anything on the gameplay". Two examples:
One faction produce a mech for 4 metals and build for 3 woods, for another faction it is 3 metal for the mechs and 4 woods for the building.
The pairing of action is also different, one faction can "produce" and then "build" while an other one can "enlist" after "producing" (and the "build" action is paired with the "trade" action).
I understand the wish of the author to bring diversity, and it was really seducing on paper, but in practical, nobody cares, it doesn't change the gameplay between factions at all!


What Player Mat you have changes the game tremendously for a variety of reasons.

1. The starting bonuses are different. Having 4 coins and 2 popularity at the beginning of the game for a faction like Polania or the Rusviet Union is very different than having 7 coins and 4 popularity.

2. The Recruit bonuses trigger when the players next to you play that Bottom Row action. You can use this to your advantage to makes gains even when it is not your turn by picking a recruit that is tied to a neighbor's "Gain 3 coins" Bottom Row action.

Romn wrote:

However it makes the rule really more complicated to explain because no other player can easily follow the explication step by step on their personal board. And in game it makes the actions of other players really difficult to follow.


Simply read the card from Top to Bottom and execute the actions. For example

"I'm pay 1 coin to trade for 2 metal, then I am going to pay 4 metal to Deploy a mech and giving me 2 coins."

Romn wrote:

Same thing for the movement, every factions can cross rivers to different lands. Really good idea on paper but in game you always have to refer to the reference card to know where you can move and where your opponents can move. It hugely slow down the game, reduce the visibility of others players possibilities, increase the probability of mistakes. It makes everything clapped out and, in my opinion, doesn't bring lot of additional deepness (or fun) to the game.


The Riverwalk limitations were done to prevent factions that are close to one another from going in and dominating territory early with a mech and/or their character. The secondary movement bonuses (Underway, Wayfare, Seaworthy, Township, and Submerge) are almost always better options early than getting Riverwalk. Additionally, you could always build a Mine in your starting territory. In short, Riverwalk isn't necessary to move in the early game and is probably not the best option for your first mech in most cases with certain factions.

Romn wrote:

In summary, the game is good, base rules are simple, but there are so much small specific features and differences that artificially makes the game too heavy for me to play with my regular group of players


The faction asymmetry is honestly what makes the game great. I find it odd that these differences, as well as the different Player Mats, are considered "too heavy", when most people have commented on how streamlined everything is, but different strokes I suppose.
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Brett Smith
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
I think what the OP is trying to say with the asymmetry of the player boards and faction boards are that in the end even though you have slightly different starting resources and action costs/order the game is basically the same for everyone. The asymmetry is very subtle in this game its not the type of asymmetry where each faction plays widely different. Its more of a ok in this game I really need more ore instead of wood early on type of thing. While its different at the end of the day the game is the same you are just chasing different resources early on in the game or doing your order of action selection differently, but at the end of the day everyone is doing the same thing.

If your a player that loves widely different asymmetric powers this game is not for you, if you like tighter smaller asymmetric powers then this game is for you.
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Greg
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
No, each faction isn't totally different in every way. They are different in their abilities and 2 of their mech abilities. But I don't think the game was advertised as being totally different from top to bottom for each faction during the game.

 
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Kevin Garnica
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
Romn wrote:

- Rules are too complicated for nothing.
The author created asymmetrical factions but in fact "they are so symmetrical in their asymmetry that it doesn't change anything on the gameplay".


You know what's gonna happen...if the game were any more asymmetrical there would be just as many complaints that the game is clearly imbalanced, with certain factions playing better than others and winning more of the time, certain player mats being better, yada yada.
 
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chearns
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
Reading these replies to the various negative reviews, I can't help but feel that Stagmaier is the new Sirlin. His followers carefully monitor BGG. Any negative opinions must quickly be shut down and proven wrong with argumentum ad populum. Heck, some of the defences even seem word for word from Sirlin games. Hundreds of hours of playtesting. Incredible balance. Has anyone ever seen Stagmaier and Sirlin in the same room?
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
chearns wrote:
Reading these replies to the various negative reviews, I can't help but feel that Stagmaier is the new Sirlin. His followers carefully monitor BGG. Any negative opinions must quickly be shut down and proven wrong with argumentum ad populum. Heck, some of the defences even seem word for word from Sirlin games. Hundreds of hours of playtesting. Incredible balance. Has anyone ever seen Stagmaier and Sirlin in the same room?
You're not wrong: BGG has always had "designer darlings" whose games are never to be criticized in public, lest you be set upon by the cheerleaders and rabid defenders-of-the-faith.

But Jamey Stegmaier seems like a decent guy, and definitely doesn't come across as obnoxious as David Sirlin.
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Chris Laudermilk
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
I probably come off as one of those you refer to. I'm subscribed to the game, and these pop up on my list. Some I've ignored, but some I'll happily put in my view where I disagree.

I think I did point out that the game has a steep initial learning curve. I remember flailing about in my first couple of plays; I gave Jamey a hard time over the rule book & player mat regarding the actions. It is hard to grasp at first, and I think even after revisions it's still a bit opaque at first. I'm not a good judge of that now since I've been able to wrap my hands around the mechanic. My wife has only played a couple of times so I still see the effects of trying to wrap your brain around all the options available.

Is it a perfect game? No. Is it as bad as all these 1 play and review posts make it seem? No. I've said it in another thread: these 1 play reviews do both the game and the reviewer a disservice.

Hopefully I am not coming across as a blind fanboy or trying to squash any negative comment. That's not my intent.
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Tahsin Shamma
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
That's a fair point-of-view, but also valid are the single plays in my opinion.

There's just too much competition out there for gamer dollars. You could go a whole year playing new games and never really getting a chance to dig deep into a game. Steep learning curve? Fine. If it's frustrating getting to the nirvana of play, can it hold up against other games which deliver their fun quicker?

The designer and the publisher have to take that into account. There will be people who stick with the game long enough to see the game fully, but for me who hasn't bought the game, I'm limited by whether or not my group "gets" it quick enough to want to play again.
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Greg
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
fightcitymayor wrote:
chearns wrote:
Reading these replies to the various negative reviews, I can't help but feel that Stagmaier is the new Sirlin. His followers carefully monitor BGG. Any negative opinions must quickly be shut down and proven wrong with argumentum ad populum. Heck, some of the defences even seem word for word from Sirlin games. Hundreds of hours of playtesting. Incredible balance. Has anyone ever seen Stagmaier and Sirlin in the same room?
You're not wrong: BGG has always had "designer darlings" whose games are never to be criticized in public, lest you be set upon by the cheerleaders and rabid defenders-of-the-faith.

But Jamey Stegmaier seems like a decent guy, and definitely doesn't come across as obnoxious as David Sirlin.


Is it fine for people to make counterpoints in positive reviews but not negative reviews?

Do you guys want negative review threads to be nothing more than a "pile on" by all commenters about how horrible the game is?

If a reviewer plays a game one time and makes broad generalizations about balance or play time or whatever, how does that serve a reader of the review? But I think the same about glowing reviews after one game. I think it's fine for counterpoints being made within each thread in order to give readers more information. Some people may only look at a couple reviews, and not search the positive only threads or the negative only threads.

Everyone has a right to like or dislike games, or parts of the games. But shouldn't there be some discussion allowed in threads? I've seen plenty of people say negative things too, nobody is stopping them or telling them they shouldn't comment unless they have something good to say.

Never heard of David Sirlin.
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
Hahma wrote:
Is it fine for people to make counterpoints in positive reviews but not negative reviews?

...
I'm glad you brought this up, because it's worth explaining:

Anyone can have a positive opinion of a game, that's totally cool.
Anyone can have a negative opinion of a game, that's totally cool.
Where this website has always wobbled is when you get people (singular or in groups) who instead of giving their opinion of the game instead decide to give their opinion of another's person's sincerely held opinion. When we get to this place, it's time to close the browser window, shut down the laptop, and find a nice hobby to occupy your time. I hear boardgaming is nice.


But seriously, fanboyism falls into that cesspool of "opinions of opinions" which drags the whole site down and makes it less useful. By all means have an honest opinion of a game, but if one finds one's self leaning more into territory of "I'm just here to bolster/destroy other peoples' opinions" that is when you need to re-examine just why you are here.

(Not you specifically, Greg, just talking about those who prefer personal jousting over actual game criticism & analysis.)
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
chearns wrote:
Reading these replies to the various negative reviews, I can't help but feel that Stagmaier is the new Sirlin. His followers carefully monitor BGG. Any negative opinions must quickly be shut down and proven wrong with argumentum ad populum. Heck, some of the defences even seem word for word from Sirlin games. Hundreds of hours of playtesting. Incredible balance. Has anyone ever seen Stagmaier and Sirlin in the same room?


This.
 
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Danwarr
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
fightcitymayor wrote:
who instead of giving their opinion of the game instead decide to give their opinion of another's person's sincerely held opinion.


Can you really call a first impression a sincerely held opinion though? That's what the OP states in the thread title.

fightcitymayor wrote:

But seriously, fanboyism falls into that cesspool of "opinions of opinions" which drags the whole site down and makes it less useful. By all means have an honest opinion of a game, but if one finds one's self leaning more into territory of "I'm just here to bolster/destroy other peoples' opinions" that is when you need to re-examine just why you are here.


Providing information from differing viewpoints is perfectly legitimate as is providing context for things like design decisions. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but that does not mean that opinion cannot be malformed. The root of argumentation is in showing a person why they or something they believe is wrong.

I agree with you though that people simply going "you don't like x game that I like, so you must be a bad person" is stupid.
 
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Greg
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
fightcitymayor wrote:
Hahma wrote:
Is it fine for people to make counterpoints in positive reviews but not nenogative reviews?

...
I'm glad you brought this up, because it's worth explaining:

Anyone can have a positive opinion of a game, that's totally cool.
Anyone can have a negative opinion of a game, that's totally cool.
Where this website has always wobbled is when you get people (singular or in groups) who instead of giving their opinion of the game instead decide to give their opinion of another's person's sincerely held opinion. When we get to this place, it's time to close the browser window, shut down the laptop, and find a nice hobby to occupy your time. I hear boardgaming is nice.


But seriously, fanboyism falls into that cesspool of "opinions of opinions" which drags the whole site down and makes it less useful. By all means have an honest opinion of a game, but if one finds one's self leaning more into territory of "I'm just here to bolster/destroy other peoples' opinions" that is when you need to re-examine just why you are here.

(Not you specifically, Greg, just talking about those who prefer personal jousting over actual game criticism & analysis.)


Aside from a components list and number of pages of the rulebook, and a rundown of game play, reviews are mostly opinions. I don't think people should tell someone that their opinion is wrong, but rather direct it to the game and giving a counter opinion about a criticized part of the game.

It doesn't serve well to tell someone their opinion is invalid. Though if someone has played a game once, while I don't think it's cool to say that they aren't qualified to have an opinion, I don't have a problem if someone says that with more plays, certain things may be discovered in the game that make it better. Then again, some people will come off as superior in their own right and say that one play is all it takes for them to know everything about a game. So then it seems that gets the responses to become more personal.

If I make a negative comment about a game or write a negative review, I am certainly prepared and expect people to disagree. If someone tells me I'm wrong, I'll simply ask then if they like every game they have played. If they dont, then I can ask if they feel wrong about not liking certain games.
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but uselessly complicated rules
Ouch, that escalated quickly. :)

First precision (I will put as a summary in my review): I never said that Scythe is a bad game. I said that Scythe is a good heavy-core game and I have the feeling that it could have been a good medium-core game without loosing much and it would have allow to have it played more often and with a wider range of players.

You can put back the pitchforks and torches in the closet. :D

laserjudas wrote:
Uselessly or needlessly?

Needlessly is probably more adapted indeed.

About asymmetry:
Hahma wrote:
You seem to be mistaking the player boards for faction boards.

I am not. I just simplify and called "faction" in my review the ensemble of "faction mat + action mat" which give the asymmetry in one game (and the fact that you can change this matching introduce variability between games but it is not relevant here).

Hahma wrote:
The reason the player boards have different action pairing order and slightly different resource costs for the bottom row actions is to make them all play differently.

The factions are different in their starting positions and resources in starting positions. Also, each faction has a unique ability and 2 unique mech abilities.

I disagree, again, after just one play, I don't have enough step back to definitely judge, but I don't feel as a real difference.
Two of my favourite games ever are: Starcraft: Boardgame and Chaos In The Old World, two really asymmetric games where you really feel a difference in gameplay between factions.
Here, paying 3 or 4 metals to build a mech doesn't really make me feel a huge difference in gameplay and story telling.

Hahma wrote:

The player boards are indeed different and make a difference in how you play. If the player boards were all the same, the game wouldn't be very good.

I would have taken a game a bit less good but easier to be played. But is really a personal feeling.

About the complexity of rules:

Danwarr wrote:

The Riverwalk limitations were done to prevent factions that are close to one another from going in and dominating territory early with a mech and/or their character. The secondary movement bonuses (Underway, Wayfare, Seaworthy, Township, and Submerge) are almost always better options early than getting Riverwalk. Additionally, you could always build a Mine in your starting territory. In short, Riverwalk isn't necessary to move in the early game and is probably not the best option for your first mech in most cases with certain factions.

I understand the idea behind riverwalk limitations (to delay the interaction between neighbours), but I think it may have been done on another way, maybe simpler to read and remember. Specially with the mine already giving you lot of movement as you say.


Many of you point that the rules are not complex. And, as you, when reading them I found them quite straightforwards and the iconography is incredibly clear.
But, keep in mind that:
- firstly: most of you (and me) are hardcore/geek/passionate players, a bit more use to understand rules.
- secondly: the rules are not complex, but each point introduce a bit of confusion, which is totally manageable by itself, but added to all the other points it starts to make a lot of confusion making things complex.

Example:
(Initialisation Confusion += 0)
" Me- You choose one of the first area of your player board and you can do (or not) the top row action. You pay the red cost and you earn the green reward. For example you can do the "trade" action, you pay one coin and receive two ressources of your choice.
Player- Wait, I don't have the move action on my board... Oh, never mind, sorry it is here, at a different location. Go on. (Confusion += just a bit but that's alright)
Me- After you can choose, to do (or not) the bottom row action. For example, you can build a mech spending metal and gaining a mech and coin.
Player1- Wait, I don't have the deploy action under the trade action like you. Ah, ok, it somewhere else, nevermind. (Confusion += just a wee bit)
Player2- Wait. Should I pay two metal or four metal? There are two square which are bit different in the red cost. (normal question, that's alright, we will address the "upgrade" action soon).
Player3 - Wait, my is just three. So the price is not the same? (Confusion += just a wee bit and mostly distraction because now every one wants to check that there is really differences and what are they)
Player4- Wait, why did you say we earn coin, I don't have any coin written on my board. (Confusion += again a little bit + distraction).
[etc,...]
"

Each point is easy to address, with clear icons, but at the end when you add all the confusion induced each time it begins to be quite a lot.
Now add the same thing with the difference in crossing rivers, and the game jump from an "accessible" category to an "heavy category" which is not justified by the return in "playing pleasure" induced by these rules.

This is really a personal appreciation, and everyone will have a different perception of the heaviness of a game.
What I know is that I will not be able to play this game with my regular players, I will only be able to play it with my more occasional hardcore group, and I am sad about it because I feel nothing justify this. Or more adequately: the designer made these choice to bring the game in an heavier category, that's totally fine, it is its game. But I am totally entitled in my review to say that I don't appreciate these choices.
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Brett Miller
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but needlessly complicated rules
I will throw in my two cents (which are probably worth about half a cent)

I have no issue with you posting a negative review, in fact I often find that negative reviews are more helpful to me than positive ones, both in telling me which games I will and won't like. For instance, if someone says there is too much luck, I will take note, I hate too much luck. But if someone complains it's too complex, I usually ignore it.

But, I must respectably (edit: respectfully?) disagree with some fundamental aspects of your assessments. I do not find scythe to be heavy-weight. In fact I think a better criticism would be to say it is too light!

The differences in the boards is not trivial at all! It's an absolute must to the design of the game. In my experience and opinion, success in this game is all about planning to make as many top/bottom row actions as possible. The different boards make that an interesting challenge.

However, I will agree that the subtle differences between boards is one of the more confusing aspects about learning that game, and it still trips be up when an action does/doesn't give me gold since this is constantly changing.

I also do not find that the amount of players changes play time all that much. Actions are so fast that at lower player counts I find players need a little time on their turn before they decide and at higher player counts people are ready by the time it is there turn and the result is basically a wash.

However, if someone in your group suffers from analysis paralysis they alone could easily double or triple the length of the game. laugh
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but needlessly complicated rules
Romn wrote:

About asymmetry:
Hahma wrote:
You seem to be mistaking the player boards for faction boards.

I am not. I just simplify and called "faction" in my review the ensemble of "faction mat + action mat" which give the asymmetry in one game (and the fact that you can change this matching introduce variability between games but it is not relevant here).


Well, we can only go by what you wrote, and not knowing what you meant.
Romn wrote:

Hahma wrote:
The reason the player boards have different action pairing order and slightly different resource costs for the bottom row actions is to make them all play differently.

The factions are different in their starting positions and resources in starting positions. Also, each faction has a unique ability and 2 unique mech abilities.

I disagree, again, after just one play, I don't have enough step back to definitely judge, but I don't feel as a real difference.
Two of my favourite games ever are: Starcraft: Boardgame and Chaos In The Old World, two really asymmetric games where you really feel a difference in gameplay between factions.
Here, paying 3 or 4 metals to build a mech doesn't really make me feel a huge difference in gameplay and story telling.


This would have been good to bring up in the first post, as it makes it easier to understand what other games you are comparing it to as far as asymmetry between the factions. No, they are not 100% different, but there is some difference and the different player boards will affect each faction differently as they can make it easier or harder to do bottom row actions, depending on the easily available resources in territories close to home.

When players get Submerge for Polonia +Speed, then they will have a neat difference than Crimea and Wayfare + Speed. etc. But no, it's not like Orcs vs. Dwarves, vs. Elves, vs. Humans difference.

Romn wrote:

Hahma wrote:

The player boards are indeed different and make a difference in how you play. If the player boards were all the same, the game wouldn't be very good.

I would have taken a game a bit less good but easier to be played. But is really a personal feeling.


That may work for the first couple games, but then everything would seem the same from game to game because all the actions would be in the same place as each other and have the same costs. Also, it would make even less difference between the factions, as each one would play exactly the same as it did the game before because they will have the exact same options available.

Romn wrote:

About the complexity of rules:

Danwarr wrote:

The Riverwalk limitations were done to prevent factions that are close to one another from going in and dominating territory early with a mech and/or their character. The secondary movement bonuses (Underway, Wayfare, Seaworthy, Township, and Submerge) are almost always better options early than getting Riverwalk. Additionally, you could always build a Mine in your starting territory. In short, Riverwalk isn't necessary to move in the early game and is probably not the best option for your first mech in most cases with certain factions.

I understand the idea behind riverwalk limitations (to delay the interaction between neighbours), but I think it may have been done on another way, maybe simpler to read and remember. Specially with the mine already giving you lot of movement as you say.


Many of you point that the rules are not complex. And, as you, when reading them I found them quite straightforwards and the iconography is incredibly clear.
But, keep in mind that:
- firstly: most of you (and me) are hardcore/geek/passionate players, a bit more use to understand rules.
- secondly: the rules are not complex, but each point introduce a bit of confusion, which is totally manageable by itself, but added to all the other points it starts to make a lot of confusion making things complex.

Example:
(Initialisation Confusion += 0)
" Me- You choose one of the first area of your player board and you can do (or not) the top row action. You pay the red cost and you earn the green reward. For example you can do the "trade" action, you pay one coin and receive two ressources of your choice.
Player- Wait, I don't have the move action on my board... Oh, never mind, sorry it is here, at a different location. Go on. (Confusion += just a bit but that's alright)
Me- After you can choose, to do (or not) the bottom row action. For example, you can build a mech spending metal and gaining a mech and coin.
Player1- Wait, I don't have the deploy action under the trade action like you. Ah, ok, it somewhere else, nevermind. (Confusion += just a wee bit)
Player2- Wait. Should I pay two metal or four metal? There are two square which are bit different in the red cost. (normal question, that's alright, we will address the "upgrade" action soon).
Player3 - Wait, my is just three. So the price is not the same? (Confusion += just a wee bit and mostly distraction because now every one wants to check that there is really differences and what are they)
Player4- Wait, why did you say we earn coin, I don't have any coin written on my board. (Confusion += again a little bit + distraction).
[etc,...]
"

Each point is easy to address, with clear icons, but at the end when you add all the confusion induced each time it begins to be quite a lot.
Now add the same thing with the difference in crossing rivers, and the game jump from an "accessible" category to an "heavy category" which is not justified by the return in "playing pleasure" induced by these rules.

This is really a personal appreciation, and everyone will have a different perception of the heaviness of a game.
What I know is that I will not be able to play this game with my regular players, I will only be able to play it with my more occasional hardcore group, and I am sad about it because I feel nothing justify this. Or more adequately: the designer made these choice to bring the game in an heavier category, that's totally fine, it is its game. But I am totally entitled in my review to say that I don't appreciate these choices.



Of course you are entitled to not like the design choices. I don't like Space Alert, Galaxy Trucker or Camel Up, despite the fact that others in my group like those games.

It's understandable that some people won't want to give the game another chance if they didn't get a good feeling from it in their first game. I played a 5 player game of Isle of the Skye last night for the first time and while 4 of us liked it, one player didn't like it. So it's understandable that no matter how popular a game is or whether or not it's won awards, not every game is for every person.

 
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but needlessly complicated rules
I agree on the time, the fact that you can easily plan your action in advance and that is quite straightforward, and I am sure that our 3h30 can really go done (even if I have some players suffering from analysis paralysis but it is my problem, not the game one).
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but needlessly complicated rules
Romn wrote:
I agree on the time, the fact that you can easily plan your action in advance and that is quite straightforward, and I am sure that our 3h30 can really go done (even if I have some players suffering from analysis paralysis but it is my problem, not the game one).

Yours is not the only review that complained about game length. Considering the pattern, it seems to be a very reasonable complaint.
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Re: First impression: Excellent game but needlessly complicated rules
I thought the review wasn't actually bad at all. I don't agree with all of it because I think having the somewhat complicated player mats is a key part of the design. But it does make it a little harder to learn how things work and so makes your first play a bit longer. Is it worth the extra complication? I think so but, you know, YMMV.

I also wanted to point out how many different player and faction mat combinations there are, since a couple of posts mentioned 25. If there's five players then there's 5 choices for what player mat that person gets and 4 choices left for the next person, then 3, then 2, then 1. So 5*4*3*2*1=120 different combinations. Similarly, with 4 players there's 5*4*3*2=120; 3 players makes 5*4*3=60; 2 players makes 5*4=20; and 1 player makes just 5 combinations.

I think these numbers are right but maybe someone can double check.
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