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Falling Sky: The Gallic Revolt Against Caesar» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Good Idea but Bad Realization rss

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antonio mori
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I've played this game 2 times within last 2 weeks.

the concept of the game and how my friends explain it make me feel really excited to try this game even with a very log explanation of every possible action/special ability of every faction that takes more or less 1 hour.

I've played only gauls during my games because i have realized, just after the explanation, that romans are much really stronger than other factions and i prefer play weaker tribes.

during the first game we were only 3, so we used a precostruncted bot for the blue tribe and we found one of the first problem of the game: the bot are stupid and random. during the game that bot always tryed to make events, even if they get no advantage from it otherwise they simply use the rally action to gather warbands... no other actions where made by the bot that makes the game a 3 players game. so we all decided to suspend the game after the first winter because of that with the promise to try it again with 4 players.
suggestion: don't use bots, they are really bad, this is not an 1-4 game, is a 4 players game.

unfortunatelly the problem are not completelly solved, germans still remain as a bot during german phase that make that part very annoyng for everyone who get them into their territories without the possibility to predict it or avoid it. that part should have been much more predictable because, after 2 hours of game to achieve the first winter, being attacked from nowhere by 10 germans warband only because a dise roll 1 instead 2-5 is not funny.
the most random part was when germans, in my second game, attacks the only blue territory to kill him and than retreat granting romans a supply line that he didnt had only because a roll of 4 instead 1-3 on the dice.
suggestion: don't use germans phase, or houserule it by insert a 5th player to handle germans or change the germans bot making him more predictable and trash the dices.

during my fist game i was the yellow one and we used a scenario where romans starts all in the middle with poor warbands around. i started with 6 points with the aim to conquer back the belgium from roman forces... how is not clear because who move first will be attacked (the opposite of the real world) and every player tent to recruit/rally and hold position instead moving to the enemy army to crush it. moreover the game is much more unbalanced with factions than we expected making the roman invurnerable to every possible attack because legions are really strong and they start 2-3 points away from winning... while other faction have close impossible win condition. i think a roman never lose unless make big mistakes.
only yellog gauls can hope to win because his win condition is much more easier than other, but having no fort and germans close (who tipically randomly attack him) but have to hope that roman makes the mistake to ignore him.
blue maybe can try to win but green have absolutelly no hope. i guess during games win chance is roman: 80% yellow: 15% blue: 5% green 0%
this idea is confirmed during the second game where i was green and i haven't any way to kill 7 legions from an army with 8 legions and 10-15 warbands because defender can always decide to save the legion and sacrifice a warband to assorb damage... than he counterattack and green dies because every legion makes 2 damage with caesar 8 legions makes 16 damage while 30 warbands (and green have max 35 warbands) make only 15 (but tipically 7 because of forts).

an other problem of this game is strategies. every people are more or less predictable because of their goals, unless mistakes of course. romans have to attack yellow first while green try to devastate their territories and prevent romans to achieve the supply line (which should not be granted by uncontrolled territories).
the second time we played we where 4, but it was like where 3 because blu are so much weak that has been obliterated withing few moves. and the game was identical to the 3 players + bot which the difference that blue didn't help roman selecting event action only to activare a roman event but play much more selfish (rally rally rally suborn if possible and nothing all) even if we used a different scenario. add that i was green with 0 chance of win and you can undertand how frustated i was.
i think i can play this game more times but i will always find the same moves the same strategy and probably bots are the right way to play the game, making a few of human improvement... that makes the game really boring after the first game or when there are player who know the game and knows what to do while you don't.

but we have not talked of the biggest problem of this game yet...

the game turn works with card, you select a card from a deck and on the card is listed the order of the action. this is not really bad because you can predict it because the next turn is shown during the actual one and you can know if you are first or last. the problem is that only 2 faction can act during that card... only 2? why? which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule? but that's not all... the first player can make a full action deciding what to do but the second player have only a limited action that is much more weak than the previous one. that's mean that only one basically can decide what to do, the first. tipically the second player decide to pass maybe hoping next card make him play first... and that because if he decided to act instead pass he cant play during the next card even if he is first! that's completelly absurd in my opinion and most of the players who played with me agree with that. not only i can be always the second making stupid actions being much more weak than other, but i also didnt know if i can act or not! because maybe i have acted with a limited command, next card one of the player pass making only 1 player act and the next card maybe i'm last and can't act at all... and that can happen for 4-5 turn in a row... you can play from a winter to a winter without having the possibility of act if you are unlucky... is this real? yes it is... and it was close to happen in our second game where a player skip 4 turns in a row before have the possibility to act again. a game where a player can make an action and other player cant have their action to react is not funny in mi opinion. i can understand people who like randomness or not having the possibility to decide the turn order, but people MUST have their turn. that's the big mistake of the mechanical of this game.

my overal score for this game is 4 over 10 points and i strongly suggest to play different, and better, games.
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A K Vikhagen
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anduria wrote:
which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule?


I marked this review as offensive, and if others agree I suggest they do the same.
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Oliver Ludwig

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tilde72 wrote:
anduria wrote:
which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule?


I marked this review as offensive, and if others agree I suggest they do the same.


I stopped reading after 2 paragraphs.
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Jon Cooper
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This game is a complicated one for someone to jump in off the bat, especially if one has not played this style of game before. When I was going to introduce this game to my friends I lent them my copy so they go through the excellent playbook that detailed not just an example of play, but also the thoughts and strategies behind the actions.

The Romans may appear to be the strongest, but this game is deliberately asymmetrical with different win conditions meaning it is up to the other players to prevent all other players from winning while advancing there own strategies. It is here that the card initiative system shines allowing through the choice of action, the foreshadowing of what the next player may do next. By a player's action (or inaction), players can dictate what actions are available to the next player, mess with turn order, denying an amazing event or secondary action.

The bots issue, I can understand though disagree with. The bots are to be played as to the best interest of the bot player; this is why the flowchart asks questions like Event Ineffective? The bots can be circumvented by a player playing two factions as described in the rule book. The Germans are an unpredictable asset, loosely affiliated to the Belgians that can be (roughly) aimed towards the neighbouring Romans. This is thematic because the wild Germanic tribes may choose you as an easier target rather than the Romans as a richer one.

To Mr Mori, if new to this style of game, ask to borrow the playbook and delve into it more. It is a treasure waiting to be discovered, worthy of anyone's investment.

To Mr Ruhnke, kudos for creating games that generate awareness of both the political and military forces at work in these conflicts, inspiring players to research these conflicts/issues themselves.
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Timothy Bowden
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Argh, so much is wrong with this review I don't know where to begin, or if it is even worth it...

I will say this: I am a dedicated bot lover - my favourite way to play is solo vs three bots, and they regularly kick my butt.

Frankly, there is no way the Aedui would have done nothing but rally (apart from taking events) for an entire game. You were making mistakes - don't blame the design when you are playing it wrong.

And forcing a following player to choose from a narrowed range of options is such a key element of the COIN system...

And... And... Nope, don't have the strength to carry on. Think I'll go do a Seize command instead. Gimme all your corn, you rascally Gauls.
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Didier Renard
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Bad review and bad realization...
I can sure understand this game is not for everyone but this "review" is simply appalling.
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Bart de Groot
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TimothyBowden wrote:
Argh, so much is wrong with this review I don't know where to begin, or if it is even worth it...


My thoughts exactly. I attempted to make a constructive reply, but the OP clearly has not understood the rules clearly, nor the point of the game at all. I guess this is the expected downside with GMT Games games being exposed more and more to non-wargamers, expecting that just because the game looks like a pretty eurogame it must play like Risk.

This stood out most to me:
Quote:
but people MUST have their turn

I am still having trouble finding this in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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anduria wrote:
because maybe i have acted with a limited command, next card one of the player pass making only 1 player act and the next card maybe i'm last and can't act at all... and that can happen for 4-5 turn in a row... you can play from a winter to a winter without having the possibility of act if you are unlucky... is this real? yes it is...


No it's not. You obviously have played this game wrong. This seems to not be the only thing you've played wrong, but this is what you call "the biggest problem".
Nope. This is "your biggest blunder". If a player passes, the next elegible faction may play on that card. Yes, you may go through a couple of cards without getting to act(probably because someone else made a choice that cut you out), but no, you may not
anduria wrote:
play from a winter to a winter without having the possibility of act if you are unlucky...


Luckily the designer has proven to the rest of the gaming community that he does not have a mental illness(except from making awesome games) by having made a very successful game series.
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Joel Petersen
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bdegroot wrote:

expecting that just because the game looks like a pretty eurogame it must play like Risk.


Uhhh what? 'Expecting that just because the game looks like a pretty auction game, it must play like Squad Leader'
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Adam Parker
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Great game design makes the complex simple, replayability maximum, and abstraction credible.
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I've played this game 2 times within last 2 weeks.


You’ve really only played one game, but I’m unsure because you didn’t tell us the end victory scores for the full game I assume you played.

Quote:
suggestion: don't use bots, they are really bad, this is not an 1-4 game, is a 4 players game.


You may be right, I can’t say as I’ve only played 4 factions solo.

Quote:
unfortunatelly the problem are not completelly solved, germans still remain as a bot during german phase that make that part very annoyng for everyone who get them into their territories without the possibility to predict it or avoid it.


The frustration is historical. The Germans were unpredictable raiders.

Quote:
after 2 hours of game to achieve the first winter,


It took you 2 hours to play at the most, 11 cards?

Quote:
being attacked from nowhere by 10 germans warband only because a dise roll 1 instead 2-5 is not funny.


I don’t know what die roll you’re talking about here. Btw if ever you get to play the 54BC campaign, there’s no German Phase in the 1st Winter.


Quote:
the most random part was when germans, in my second game, attacks the only blue territory to kill him and than retreat granting romans a supply line that he didnt had only because a roll of 4 instead 1-3 on the dice.


There’s no retreat from an Ambush. The Germans always Ambush.

Quote:
suggestion: don't use germans phase.


Ignore this suggestion.

Quote:
moreover the game is much more unbalanced with factions than we expected making the roman invurnerable to every possible attack because legions are really strong and they start 2-3 points away from winning... while other faction have close impossible win condition. i think a roman never lose unless make big mistakes.


Well, no. In two of my games every Roman Legion was destroyed at some stage. But the asymmetry of the Factions is particularly why Falling Sky is such a superior design IMO in the COIN series.

Quote:
only yellog gauls can hope to win because his win condition is much more easier than other, but having no fort and germans close (who tipically randomly attack him) but have to hope that roman makes the mistake to ignore him.


The German won’t attack the Belgae if they position themselves away from the German border looking for victory elsewhere – and they can minimize the German’s punch by Enlisting them and marching them away from their forces.

Quote:
i guess during games win chance is roman: 80% yellow: 15% blue: 5% green 0%


With just 1 game (possibly) played to the end you have no data for this.

Quote:
this idea is confirmed during the second game where i was green and i haven't any way to kill 7 legions from an army with 8 legions and 10-15 warbands because defender can always decide to save the legion and sacrifice a warband to assorb damage... than he counterattack and green dies because every legion makes 2 damage.


That’s where your tactical skill comes into play. Once the Roman Auxilliaries are gone, you then have the Legions all alone. Averni’s biggest benefit is it’s ability to add 1 Warband to each Rally on top of everything else. A big dose of resilience there.

Quote:
an other problem of this game is strategies. every people are more or less predictable because of their goals, unless mistakes of course.


Absolutely wrong. Every game plays differently due to the card deck, the way it unfolds and the cards left out from each game session’s build. The victory conditions require no set behaviors at all.

Quote:
that makes the game really boring after the first game or when there are player who know the game and knows what to do while you don't.


Cool, that’s up to you.

Quote:
but we have not talked of the biggest problem of this game yet... the game turn works with card, you select a card from a deck and on the card is listed the order of the action. this is not really bad because you can predict it because the next turn is shown during the actual one and you can know if you are first or last. the problem is that only 2 faction can act during that card... only 2? why? which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule? but that's not all... the first player can make a full action deciding what to do but the second player have only a limited action that is much more weak […] maybe i'm last and can't act at all... and that can happen for 4-5 turn in a row...


If you pass repeatedly you will be obliterated. Limited Commands are totally powerful. They are merely limited to full actions in one Region.

By the way: If the 1st Faction due plays an Event, guess what? The 2nd Faction gets a Full Command plus Special Action. You knew this of course?

Now ...

The only thing you have correct in this review is when you say:

Quote:
i started with 6 points with the aim to conquer back the belgium from roman forces... how is not clear because who move first will be attacked (the opposite of the real world) and every player tent to recruit/rally and hold position instead moving to the enemy army to crush it.


You are totally right here. And this is a massive source of operational frustration for me too. He who waits for the enemy gets first blood in Falling Sky. There’s no move and attack. Why this is so, I likely put to the era. But it makes for some tense stand-offs.

But you know what?

In Falling Sky, someone has to eventually blink.

So...

I strongly suggest you learn the game, play a couple of full sessions – maybe of the 54BC scenario and then offer a better informed opinion of the game.

Welcome to BGG too.
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Dave Turcan
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Please stop trying to have this guys review hidden and removed and all that. The counters to his points that everyone else is bringing up is actually really useful and have made me see some rules I've overlooked.

Also Sorry or Monopoly may be more your style bro.
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Oerjan Ariander
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Adam Parker wrote:
There’s no move and attack.

...there is, actually. Romans can Scout+Battle, moving their Auxilia into position before fighting the Battle. (Thank Zeus that they can't move the Legions that way!)

The Gauls can't Battle in the same Command as they move pieces, but the Arverni and Aedui can combine their March Commands with Special Abilities that allow them to remove enemies or place friendly pieces (Entreat/Devastate and Suborn, respectively).

Also, if you Marched as the 2nd Eligible Faction immediately after your intended target was 1st Eligible, you have a 50% chance to go first next time you're both Eligible again. How much do you dare to gamble?

***
As a side note, when I teach COIN games to new players I expect a play time of ~15 minutes per Event card, so anduria's 2 hours to reach the first Winter sounds pretty quick to me. Game speed increases rapidly as the players gain experience with the COIN system, of course.

Regards,
Oerjan
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Adam Parker
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Great game design makes the complex simple, replayability maximum, and abstraction credible.
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Oerjan wrote:
Adam Parker wrote:
There’s no move and attack.

...there is, actually. Romans can Scout+Battle, moving their Auxilia into position before fighting the Battle. (Thank Zeus that they can't move the Legions that way!)


LOL. That is so subtle, I absolutely missed it. Thanks for the tip Oerjan!
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trevor

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People can't take a joke ......
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Siegfried Steurer
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tilde72 wrote:
anduria wrote:
which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule?


I marked this review as offensive, and if others agree I suggest they do the same.


Cant - it said "Item is below your threshold" in the first place.
 
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Yours Truly,
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There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
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Gibmaatsuki wrote:
tilde72 wrote:
anduria wrote:
which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule?


I marked this review as offensive, and if others agree I suggest they do the same.


Cant - it said "Item is below your threshold" in the first place.


Just click the Show link right next to where it says Hidden.
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Oerjan Ariander
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Guys,

A friendly reminder to some of you who have replied in this thread: That someone who has obviously badly misunderstood several important rules expresses frustration with the game by being severely offensive, is not reason to be offensive back.

Pointing out and correcting the various mistakes (as others in this thread have done - kudos to you!) might be less emotionally satisfying than just writing that the OP is stupid, but it is much better both for the game and for this forum.

Thank you,
Oerjan
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Warren Davis
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Minor pick, Oh, Oerjan the Most Excellent: it's Jupiter, not Zeus. Keep making those great games! & bots are like being a poor boy; if I didn't have bots, I'd have nobody to play with...
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Ian Noonan
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Muramasa84 wrote:
tilde72 wrote:
anduria wrote:
which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule?


I marked this review as offensive, and if others agree I suggest they do the same.


I stopped reading after 2 paragraphs.


Your patience is legendary. The grammar got to me by the 1st...
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Doug DeMoss
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tilde72 wrote:
anduria wrote:
which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule?


I marked this review as offensive, and if others agree I suggest they do the same.


Disagree. I think it's just borderline at most (referring to designer and mental illness), and is easily responded to. I don't think anyone will read this thread and come away with the wrong view of the game.
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Oerjan Ariander
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hermeticmage wrote:
Minor pick, Oh, Oerjan the Most Excellent: it's Jupiter, not Zeus.

If Jupiter had gotten things his way, the Romans would have been able to move Legions with a Scout SA. Fortunately his other personae didn't agree... those split-personality deities can be tricky at times

/Oerjan
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bdegroot wrote:
...I guess this is the expected downside with GMT Games games being exposed more and more to non-wargamers...

Honestly, I've read this rant/review with a smile*, and thought exactly the same.
*(...same moves same strategies...mental illness...)

This looks like a person expecting the sun, while it's night and there's the moon up there, cicadas chirping; so he's sobbing "jeez why my dermal 7-Dehydrocholesterol isn't converting into Vitamin D with the sunlights? I'm expecting that now!"

My very humble and friendly suggestions to the OP, step-by-step:

1. stop looking at this game with preconceptions; be open-minded;

2. reset everything; open the PLAYBOOK, page 2; COIN's tutorials are mind-blowing good, really; follow them carefully;

3. go slowly one period at time, understand why the examples are unfolding that way: how the markers work, how the operations work, the turn structure; no game is 100% perfect but most of us believe that COIN system is a marvel - we aren't all crazy;

If it doesn't click for you, that's a pity, but the world is full of wonderful games - both euros and wargames; but since you've registered yesterday (08/13) and you immediately rushed to post this review, without showing us your interests and other games you like/dislike in your profile, it's a bit hard to put your review exactly into contest (are you mostly an eurogamer? a hex-and-counters wargamer? an ameritrash lover...?)

Thanks anyway for the time spent to share your impressions with us; maybe you and your group are going to try again and explore others simpler COINs, like Cuba Libre?
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Michal K
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Oerjan wrote:
Guys,

A friendly reminder to some of you who have replied in this thread: That someone who has obviously badly misunderstood several important rules expresses frustration with the game by being severely offensive, is not reason to be offensive back.

Pointing out and correcting the various mistakes (as others in this thread have done - kudos to you!) might be less emotionally satisfying than just writing that the OP is stupid, but it is much better both for the game and for this forum.

Thank you,
Oerjan


Fully agree.

The thing which is problematic for me here is not that rules were misinterpreted, game is not what Mr Mori thought, his group finds the rules strange, but the language and attitude presented in the post.

To differ is a good thing - all progress is base don this - even in boardgames field. To be offensive, rude - that is actually crossing the border. Of course, you cannot lower yourselves to the level of your interlocutor, but you need to clearly show him where he crossed the line and say clearly, nicely, politely: STOP!

And this is what I am doing, Mr Mori, please stop your offensive, rude and uncivilized behavior - that you do not like the game, rules, etc. does not mean you have to offend others. Find a way for constructive, open discussion. But first, get somebody familiar with COIN system who can help you go through the rules and how the game is supposed to be played. This is wholehearted suggestion, not any kind of mocking.
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Michael Wohlwend
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anduria wrote:

which mental illness the author of the game had when he decided to make that rule?


Stopped reading after this.
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Quote:
germans still remain as a bot during german phase that make that part very annoyng for everyone who get them into their territories without the possibility to predict it or avoid it.


The German actions are one of the more predictable things in the game. They follow a strict flowchart.

Quote:
i think a roman never lose unless make big mistakes.


I find this to be true. I also find that the Roman player is usually offered a choice of two big mistakes, and has to make one of them.

Quote:
an other problem of this game is strategies. every people are more or less predictable because of their goals,


This is sort of how strategy games go. I know what you're trying to accomplish, so I will try to stop you while also achieving my goal, which, of course, you know and are trying to prevent.

If this isn't happening, it's not a stratigy game, but Munchkin.

You're having a lot of trouble with the cards. I can't put together a scenario where you would miss more than two turn in a row, (one turn being the standard "ineligible" phase) unless you choose to pass on the turn after you were skipped.

Worst case I can imagine, card comes up R, B, Y, G. Red goes, Blue is ineligible, Yellow passes, and Green is ineligible. Next turn, Y, B, R, G. Yellow goes, Blue is ineligible, and Red goes. Green gets left out, missing a second turn. Third turn, we're back to two eligible, and two ineligible, so Green will get to go.

Yes, you can sometimes get several turns in a row of limited commands. it's unfortunate, but it also means that other people aren't taking Events, and are probably burning through their resources quickly.

In your example, one player passes 5 turns in a row? If he wants to slit his own throat, then it's no skin off your back.
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