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Subject: Two Rooms and a Boom is a bomb. rss

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Jeff
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Let me preface this by saying I like social deduction games. Having said that, I dislike Two Rooms and a Boom.

Like so many other games in this genre, the game begins with players getting a role card. Players are divided randomly into two teams - red and blue. The teams are mixed with some of each going into one of two adjacent rooms. Then the game starts in earnest.

Players start sharing (or not) information about themselves with each other. This can be either which colour team they are on, or even showing each other their entire role card. This is done over four rounds of decreasing duration. At the end of each round some players are exchanged between the rooms. The blue team has a president role, and the red team has a bomb role. If the two are in the same room by the end of the fourth round the president is assassinated, and the red team wins. If not, the president survives, and the blue team wins.

This sounds good in theory, but it falls flat in reality. That's partly because there is a reluctance on behalf of players to share too much information. Other problems arise out of the exchanging of players between rooms. It's very possible that you get stuck in one room with little to do but wait out the game. Another thing that tends to happen is that teams clump together. So, you get most, or all, reds in one room, and most, or all, blues in the other with players doing nothing. In this way the games is either too confusing, because there is too little information to go on, or just boring because there is nothing to do.

I found the whole experience to be lackluster. There are lots of good social deduction games. Play any of them instead.
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brian
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Quote:
Two Rooms and a Boom is DA bomb.


ftfy

It isn't for everyone. But our group has played this a lot and on a massive scale (we use an indoor soccer field and our 2 rooms are each goal).

It needs the right type of people to ask questions. Yes, you tend to clump because that is what you want so you can control the room. But it is more than just identifying your teammates - it is confirming the president and the bomber and then manipulating the votes and bluffs to get them in the same room or different room based on your goal.

We always always play with the Spies which really keeps you on your toes and an clumping is bad because there is a spy there most likely. We also usually play with a couple other roles to mess things up. Ambassadors are good for floating back and forth regardless of who gets sent.

We've been playing this since the early print in play days and think it among the best of the social deduction games out there.

But to each their own.
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Geoff Conn
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Sounds to me like someone had a bad play session or missed what happened during the game or simply didn't have the right types or numbers of people to make the game.

I demo this regularly at cons and not everyone "gets it" but myself and the majority have a great time.
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David Fox
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Maximuss wrote:
I like social deduction games. I dislike Two Rooms and a Boom. I found the whole experience to be lacklustre. There are lots of good social deduction games. Play any of them instead.


Agree on all five statements.

I've played (coincidentally) five games of Two Rooms and a Boom: five duds. I guess I can see that more experience with the game and its roles may make for more fun, but I have no desire to try.
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Grant
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Maximuss wrote:
...there is a reluctance on behalf of players to share too much information.
...It's very possible that you get stuck in one room with little to do but wait out the game.
...Another thing that tends to happen is that teams clump together.

These three statements tell me you weren't playing with the right mix of roles for your group. These can definitely be problems, but the game gives you ways to fix them.

Were you playing this at a convention, by chance? Perhaps GenCon?
 
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Mike Beiter
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It may not have been for your group, but how many people were playing? You didn't give much detail into how it went wrong. There may have been play errors, or you used a less than ideal set of roles.

Rarely should you just be standing there with nothing to do. It makes me think you had very few players.
Personally I like to play with 9+ people per room. So theres always someone to talk to and new info to gain. The rounds are over so quickly that we find our players rarely have enough time to accomplish all they need.

I think the reluctance in your group to reveal much was also a bit out of the ordinary.
Some people do get nervous on game 1, but once they understand the strategy, people are far more willing to show.
Paranoia and mistrust should not be an overwhelmingly dominating mood in this game.

When you first start playing, try and have very few special roles to allow people to get comfortable and grasp the basic strategies for finding their team mates and how to avoid the spy. Once you get one or two people you trust 100% it gets easier and easier to find your teammates.

Also when teaching it. Don't just read the rules and throw people to the wolves.
Get a volunteer to stand up with you and roleplay some possible situations to show color sharing and card sharing.
Get a 3rd volunteer to demonstrate jow talking to one person and then a next alllows info to be spread.

I feel that if you utilize some of these tips, it will make for a much better play experience.
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Fed Aykin

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Maximuss wrote:
If the two are in the same room by the end of the fourth round the president is assassinated, and the red team wins. If not, the president survives, and the blue team wins.


I agree with some of your criticisms, but this incorrect rules explanation makes me wonder if your group needs to re-read the rules.
 
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Leonard Smith
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There are so many roles included in this game and you can add/remove them to address any situations you're having.

If people aren't sharing there's quite an easy fix... add Doctor and Engineer. (President dies if they don't see the Doctor's role and Bomber doesn't explode if they don't see the engineer)

Also, I think a big mistake is not adding enough neutral cards. (Try playing with at least 25% neutral roles.)
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Clyde W
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Talonz wrote:
Sounds to me like someone had a bad play session or missed what happened during the game or simply didn't have the right types or numbers of people to make the game.

I demo this regularly at cons and not everyone "gets it" but myself and the majority have a great time.
I agree. This "review" sounds like the reviewer played it once and didn't explore the system at all. There are in-box "fixes" for all of the issues he has, he just never went looking for them.
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Rick Fuss
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I also felt the game was lackluster after multiple plays in an hour long event at Gen Con (roughly 30 players in the event). I think the problem lies in the fact that in those early matches, if you're not a room leader or have one of the special role cards, the game is kind of boring. The roles are what make this game interesting, and when introducing/teaching the game to new players, new roles are slowly rolled out during each subsequent match. If you get stuck being just a red or blue team member for 2-3 matches, the game is just not very interesting, as you really don't have anything meaningful to do.
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Greg Wilson
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Fedaykin98 wrote:
Maximuss wrote:
If the two are in the same room by the end of the fourth round the president is assassinated, and the red team wins. If not, the president survives, and the blue team wins.


I agree with some of your criticisms, but this incorrect rules explanation makes me wonder if your group needs to re-read the rules.


It's three or five, right? So on average, four is correct.
 
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Mike Beiter
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rickfuss wrote:
I also felt the game was lackluster after multiple plays in an hour long event at Gen Con (roughly 30 players in the event). I think the problem lies in the fact that in those early matches, if you're not a room leader or have one of the special role cards, the game is kind of boring. The roles are what make this game interesting, and when introducing/teaching the game to new players, new roles are slowly rolled out during each subsequent match. If you get stuck being just a red or blue team member for 2-3 matches, the game is just not very interesting, as you really don't have anything meaningful to do.


I agree with statement to a point, but I disagree that having a normal role means you have nothing to do or arent important.

I find being the President can be very boring as once your team fibds you, you just sit back in the shadows.

So going back to the normal roles, here is where bluffing comes into play.
One game I was a normal blue agent, and I spent the whole game tricking the red team into thinking I was the red spy.
It made for a very interesting and engaging match.

Sometimes the normal role takes ownership and directs all the momentum of the room.

So in summary, the excitement and involvement in the game is not about the role you get, but about what you do with it.
If the card won't make me special, I will have to make me special.
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Geoff Conn
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Ditto.

Normal roles give you the most freedom to be wild and creative, because after all, you are 'just' a normal team member, with little to lose.

You can be very aggresive in information gathering and leading your team via communication and hostage/leader choices (Should your team control the room). You can pretend to be the principal role and stand back. You can pretend to be other critical roles like the doctor/engineer, or spy.

Remember, this is a team game. It requires all players regardless of role to get into it and quickly, due to its time limit! Also the other team is watching, so opportunities for subterfuge are there even and especially for regular team members too.
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Rick Fuss
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MajaiofDreams wrote:

I agree with statement to a point, but I disagree that having a normal role means you have nothing to do or arent important.


This may very well be the case, but in the games I played at Gen Con, I personally did not feel that my actions (as just a red or blue team member) contributed to my team's goal or the game as a whole. In general, all of my games at Gen Con went something like this:

Round 1: Get sorted into either a red or blue group within the room. Maybe vote on a new team leader. Maybe get sent over as part of the exchange.
Round 2: Room leader announces he/she has everything figured out. Wait around until the round ends.
Round 3: Room leader still has everything figured out. Wait around until the round/game ends.

Basically, it was play the game for one round, then wait for the next two rounds to finish. As a new player playing in introductory games with limited roles in play, I just didn't find it a particularly compelling gaming experience. It was high on my list of games to demo at Gen Con as I've heard great things about it, but as it stands, I can take it or leave it.

Would I play it again? Sure. Would I pay to play it as a ticketed Gen Con event again? Absolutely not.

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Greg Wilson
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I think it's one of those games, like Werewolf, where having special roles in play means there are more interesting things for vanilla roles to do. I'm not a great fan of the game from my limited experience, but I wouldn't want to play a heavily-vanilla game.
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Mike Beiter
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That can happen, but it is rare in my experience. It is possible to begin in a room that is heavily dominated by your team, and both president, and bomber are there.

Then it is true that you just have to keep them both there, wait out the clock and then send the appropriate person away at the final round.

But in about 2 dozen plays of the game, I saw this happen once.
Every other game required effort on all fronts.

I feel the doctor and engineer are musts for this game as it gives you two people to find.
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Geoff Conn
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Just demoed this again at Dragonflight. Had up to 26 people playing at one point. Led the game nonstop from 930pmish to nearly 1 am. Alot of happy people, no complaints.
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Burger Jones
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I've really wanted to try this game but I just worry too much that people just won't get it, especially non-gamers. There are quite a few rules to explain and I have a hard time seeing what interesting interactions can come through with just the base roles. Do you guys have any tips about teaching this game or having a good first experience? Are the spies and/or doc/engi too much for the first game?
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Geoff Conn
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Here's my spiel more or less.

There's a red team and a blue team (show generic roles). On the blue team is a president, on the red team a bomber (Show both). Players are randomly given roles and split between rooms. At the end of each time round, a leader selects hostages to move between rooms until end of game, at which, if the bomber is in the same room as the president, red wins, if not, blue wins.

You need to find out who is what. To do this ask someone to colour or card share. Agreements to share must be followed through. Colour is just that, the colour portion of the card, card is full card. Demonstrate this with another player.

Do the same with reveals, public and private. Demonstrate.

One leader per room, selected at random to start (Show the leader card or lanyard you are using, I find lanyards with printed leader cards useful). Explain how to vote in a new leader.

Set up timer, shuffle roles. Divide into 2 and hand a stack with leader card on top to a random player and tell them to take X players with them to the designated 'room' and make someone a leader. Do this again for the other room.

Once they have a vanilla game under their belt, then start adding spies, shy guys, engineero/doctor, etc. Also explain when necesary how grey roles have their own win conditions and how they can be information power brokers.

Have fun!
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