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Subject: On the fence...help me jump off. rss

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Jason Parham
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I just finished watching the playthrough and have some new concerns with variability.

Each faction is obviously extremely asymmetric but there appears to be a very specific way to play each; which, seems like it would tunnel your strategy every game. Plus, I've seen people already talking about optimum starting strategies which is not something I care for in games. Is this a real issue or am I missing something?

The game seems similar to Blood Rage with the power meter acting like the rage meter to spend actions but I didn't feel like their were decision points to increase variability like the drafting of cards in Blood Rage.

Convince me the game play is worth $450 and this is not just a "look at the overly big miniatures" price point.

Side note: I have never played Cthulu Wars.
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Neil Edmonds
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There's a print-and-play option. Here's some files on BGG, although there might be newer ones out there:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/164702/glorantha-gods...

In the interest of full disclosure, some content got cut from this kickstarter for time reasons, so if you're one of those buyers who has to own everything, then there might be a "Wave 2" kickstarter which will bring the final price for everthing closer to Cthulhu Wars' "own everything" price.
 
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Guillaume Andriot
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Goreyok wrote:
I just finished watching the playthrough and have some new concerns with variability.


Ok first thing first. In my opinion the Munchkin Land playtrough does not really do justice to the game. Several rules mistakes are made (as it tend to happen in theses situations), the players are a bit lost on how to play their own factions and just the game in general. Storm was the biggest offender in that regard.

Goreyok wrote:
Each faction is obviously extremely asymmetric but there appears to be a very specific way to play each; which, seems like it would tunnel your strategy every game. Plus, I've seen people already talking about optimum starting strategies which is not something I care for in games. Is this a real issue or am I missing something?


Each faction has obviously a particular playstyle that suit them, but this does not mean they are going to play exactly the same everytime. Things like the number of players, wich faction are present and turn order are going to affect what action each player will take (not to mention elders races and monsters with the expansions). Just like in Cthulhu Wars there is going to be some theorycrafting about the best opening moves for each faction, but as the game go on priorities will change depending on the board situation.

One notable exception I feel I have to mention is Chaos. Chaos as very predictable and effective moves if you let him run unopposed. If you want to see Chaos change his playstyle you have to force him to. I think this is a hard lesson most players will learn on their first game of Gods War. But to some extent this predictable nature of Chaos can turn into a weakness that experienced opponements will be able to exploit.

Goreyok wrote:
The game seems similar to Blood Rage with the power meter acting like the rage meter to spend actions but I didn't feel like their were decision points to increase variability like the drafting of cards in Blood Rage.


I don't know Blood Rage at all. Gods War has runes cards wich you can draw differently depending on wich faction you play. Runes can be played after any action and provide some sort of instant effect that can be very minor or devastatingly effective depending on how well timed they are. I think there are some pretty sick combos of rune + empire ability that can be real game changers.

Goreyok wrote:
Convince me the game play is worth $450 and this is not just a "look at the overly big miniatures" price point.


Well if you add all the gameplay elements from the expansions you buy with the 450$ pledge, you will find plenty on the gameplay side. But the overall quality of the game componements is obviously part of the price, there is no denying it. However don't understimate the effect of that quality on the feel of the game.

I knew the figurines where big when I bought Cthulhu War, but it didn't hit me just how big they where until I had them in hand. It would not be the same game without the huge models I guarantee you. Theses game are trying to depict events of epic proportions and the simple fact of having giant figurines contribute heavily to making the epic feeling real.

Goreyok wrote:
Side note: I have never played Cthulu Wars.


If you get the chance to try it you should, its a great game in itself and should give you an idea of what to expect of Gods War.
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Andrew Couzens
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It has already kind of been mentioned, but the asymmetrical factions are not the only thing that brings variety to the game. You are clearly considering the big $450 pledge, which includes monsters and elder races, which seem to be modular additions that can be included in a play in a variety of combinations. There is a description of some of the monsters in an update on the Kickstarter page, so you can see just how much these will likely affect gameplay, and how many different iterations of the gameplay are therefore possible.
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Olli Juhala
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Goreyok wrote:
I just finished watching the playthrough and have some new concerns with variability.

Each faction is obviously extremely asymmetric but there appears to be a very specific way to play each; which, seems like it would tunnel your strategy every game. Plus, I've seen people already talking about optimum starting strategies which is not something I care for in games. Is this a real issue or am I missing something?

The game seems similar to Blood Rage with the power meter acting like the rage meter to spend actions but I didn't feel like their were decision points to increase variability like the drafting of cards in Blood Rage.

Convince me the game play is worth $450 and this is not just a "look at the overly big miniatures" price point.

Side note: I have never played Cthulu Wars.


Frankly, the gameplay itself is unlikely to ever be worth 450$, when competent and good games in the category can retail well under a 100$

Ask yourself:

Are you interested in Glorantha?
Are you capable of investing 450$ dollars on a competent game that is very well (over)produced?

It's pretty much those questions - you are basically investing in incredibly large miniatures and a well put together game, that could have just as easily been cardboard tokens on a smaller map.

I say this not because I think Petersen Games are doing anything wrong, but because the pricetag for ALL-IN pledges is rather high and the theme is not exactly well known in advance.
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Peter Bowie
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Cthulhu Wars and Glorantha are heavily variable, but they do it in the way I love most - by the players. You mentioned Blood Rage; it achieves variability by chance, effectively. Not my favourite.

Where you decided to build buildings, where you move your troops, what troops you summon, the battles you pull, which opposing buildings you choose to destroy, what moves your opponent makes to affect your plans and most importantly - the order you decide to fulfill Heroquests affects your longterm strategy.

I'm ~30 plays in on Cthulhu Wars, and I'm still finding out new tricks, using new strategies - I don't play Cthulhu as much as the other factions, so I'd glossed over the "Dreams" Spellbook for ages. Then I used it and it was amazing! Same deal with Yellow Sign, one game, instead of hopping around and desecrating areas, I started hopping around and picking off people's cultists. And they're probably the easiest factions to play of the lot of them.

Not that I haven't gushed enough already, but bare in mind the playthrough was a first time play. As with most games, it'll take a few plays to discover all the different possible paths and what options you have.

Autoduelist wrote:
In the interest of full disclosure, some content got cut from this kickstarter for time reasons, so if you're one of those buyers who has to own everything, then there might be a "Wave 2" kickstarter which will bring the final price for everthing closer to Cthulhu Wars' "own everything" price.


I wouldn't rely on this though. That's if Glorantha's a huge success; the more backers we get now the more chance a second wave has of happening.

Quote:
Frankly, the gameplay itself is unlikely to ever be worth 450$, when competent and good games in the category can retail well under a 100$


$125 for the base game, $450 for the all-in (which is the equivalent of four games). Considering it's a deluxe game, with huge, well-made components, it's beyond fair. If that's not your thing, it's fine, but don't disparage something you haven't tried. Especially considering there's a free Print n' Play.
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Marko Parviainen
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I bought in on the Cthulhu wars kickstarter (despite the hight price) because of trusting the Sandy Petersen name and liking Lovecrafts stories/mythos background. I also liked the miniatures offered.

I got a great game off it. I don't regret spending all that money on it.

I know next to nothing about the Glorantha setting, so it is not a big draw for me (altough after reading about the factions and other tidbits, the world is growing on me).

So I made the decision to take part on this kickstarter because of Sandy Petersens name (still trust him of writing good rules) and because I liked Cthulhu wars. Getting this game is like getting 8 new factions to Cthulhu wars - plenty more gameplay to try out. And I still like getting more of these big miniatures.

So, to me, this is a no-brainer.

This propably does not help you to decide at all. Sorry!
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Philip Van Krimpen
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I'm currently backing God's War purely based on trust earned from Cthulhu Wars, which is in my opinion, a fantastic game. I've found that each of the 4 factions has multiple viable strategies, and unlike Blood Rage (which I still love) it has no issues with runaway leaders. Reading through the rules and abilities, GW seems to have even more mechanics and abilities to keep things interesting.
I also find that with asymmetric games like this (CW and Chaos in the Old World), you benefit more as your group becomes more experienced, as they can appreciate what the possible moves and limits of their opponents are, and can begin to second guess them. On the other hand, I've not had a newbie be completely overwhelmed by CW (which they have been by Chaos).

You also don't need to go all in at $450. You'll get the most variety from this, sure, but even the base game will give you 4 different factions to master and experiment with. I'm currently on the £240 option as I figure I'll get the most bang for my buck from 7/8 factions, but I may well cave after pay day and go for the £450 option.
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Bruce Mason
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Goreyok wrote:
The game seems similar to Blood Rage with the power meter acting like the rage meter to spend actions but I didn't feel like their were decision points to increase variability like the drafting of cards in Blood Rage.

Convince me the game play is worth $450 and this is not just a "look at the overly big miniatures" price point.


Well I share some of your concerns and I'm kind of on the fence. Not because I'm unsure of the game but because I don't know if I am going to get enough play time for its cost. I've played a fair amount of Blood Rage and a fair amount of Cthulhu Wars. Love them all. So, that in mind.

There is some theory crafting for the opening 2 (maybe 3 turns) of Cthulhu Wars and the same looks to be true here. Because you start with relatively few resources then there are usually 2-3 options you'll take depending on the other players' actions. It's somewhat like chess in that the most effective opening moves are relative to each others' choices. There is no "always optimal" choice. I actually like this element because it gives the game a feel of progression. In this case the Chaos rift also puts a marker on the game state.

In contrast, Blood Rage is more akin to 3 mini games played one after the other with the stakes doubling each time. Your opening moves are derived from your draft and there are a small number of drafting strategies. For the first two or three plays most players are trying to determine each others' strategies. So there's a lot more hidden and random information in Blood Rage. BR and Cthulhu Wars scratch different itches for me. While Cthulhu Wars is straight up monster smash, Gods War has a lot more deal-making incentives baked into it so it looks to me that more of the game comes down to being able to read and play the players. Runes which represent hidden victory points and game-play effects also provide deal-making opportunities along with rabbit out of the hat options.

To me the $240 mark represents the complete game. All being well you should have 8 factions to choose from and enough maps to play 3-8 players. If it's as replayable as Cthulhu Wars and Blood Rage, I reckon you could play it with the same group of players every week for a year and still be discovering new strategies. The Monsters are a bit like the Gods in BR: they randomly change the dynamics of the game. The Elder races seem a bit like mystics in that they add new options. Plastic buildings are plastic.

There's a whole lot of game in Cthulhu Wars: more than it appears from just looking at it. If I had a choice of playing CW every week for a year or Blood Rage, I would choose Cthulhu Wars because it rewards repeat playing as the "meta" (I hate that term) evolves. It looks to me that Gods War will do likewise.

One final thought. One of my slight disappointments with games like Xia is that the game tends to end just as you get out the really cool ships. In Cthulhu Wars and Gods War you get to play with the really cool stuff from a very early point. Same with Blood Rage.

Bear in mind that I'm just a backer still waiting for a chance to try the PnP.

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Graham Robinson
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Goreyok wrote:
Each faction is obviously extremely asymmetric but there appears to be a very specific way to play each; which, seems like it would tunnel your strategy every game. Plus, I've seen people already talking about optimum starting strategies which is not something I care for in games. Is this a real issue or am I missing something?


You are missing something. I've been playing Cthulhu Wars since it landed (so a bit over a year and a half) and haven't even come close to exploring all the combinations of the seven factions there. Each has multiple paths to victory, decisions about who to target, how to earn spellbooks (Gifts in Gods War) and which order to take them in. Simple things like swapping one faction for another changes the game enormously - a game without Chaos feels totally different to one with Chaos.

I haven't played Gods War enough to *know* that this is all the case here, but it looks very much that it is. To be honest, I expect this to be better than Cthulhu Wars. More polished, somehow.

Two other points. Firstly, nearly all the game play stuff is contained in the core box and the empires box. You won't miss much by just getting them. Monsters and Elder Races add rules/obstacles/allies, but they aren't going to shake the game up nearly as much as more Empires.

Secondly, in terms of money per hour, Cthulhu Wars is one of the best investments in my collection. I've got far more value from it than many others, purely because its a game I want to keep playing.

Cheers,
Graham
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Steve Hammatt
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Remember the Print and Play if you want to try out the gameplay without committing to anything. And as others have said, the base game is $125, and that still includes a lot of large plastic figures.
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Peter Bowie
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I actually played Cthulhu Wars again today (it's my favourite game, but my friend probably loves it even more than me). Played Yellow Sign. I usually just summon a bunch of zombies and start hopping around desecrating stuff, but I decided to be cheeky, and used the Zingaya spellbook to transform enemy Cultists on gates into the undead. Right under the Great Old One's noses.

Although I didn't get to use Hastur's GOO-seeking missiles, it did make a friend quickly get this Great Old One the heck out of dodge...
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David Andersson
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therealbuserian wrote:

In terms of money per hour, Cthulhu Wars is one of the best investments in my collection. I've got far more value from it than many others, purely because its a game I want to keep playing.


I definitely agree with this. In spite of its cost, I've definitely gotten more than my money's worth out of Cthulhu Wars. Gods War (from what I've seen) looks like it could be an even deeper game.
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Sandy Petersen
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I just want to point out that you do not in fact need to invest $450 to play Gods War, any more than you have to invest $1000 to get all of the various Arkham Horror stuff in order to play Arkham Horror.

Also, while "opening moves" are absolutely a part of Gods War, they are also a part of many other games (Chess, for instance), and don't necessarily diminish the range of possibilities. And of course there are multiple starting moves for Gods War, plus your moves have to react to what the enemy is doing or might do, and pretty soon your game has veered into uncharted territory.

One final note is that most people are using just the PnP which has just the 4 starting factions, and only one variation on the 4-player map (it has two). I suspect even just flipping the map around will change things up significantly. No more Teleos?!

Gods War is if anything more asymmetric and with strategies as deep as Cthulhu Wars (some feel it's deeper, though I don't make that claim myself). If you just do a passing glance at the Cthulhu Wars forums you can see that over the course of the last year or so nothing has been determined about the "right" strategy for Cthulhu Wars, and I assure you this will be the case for Gods War.
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Ray
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Goreyok wrote:
I just finished watching the playthrough and have some new concerns with variability.

Each faction is obviously extremely asymmetric but there appears to be a very specific way to play each; which, seems like it would tunnel your strategy every game. Plus, I've seen people already talking about optimum starting strategies which is not something I care for in games. Is this a real issue or am I missing something?

My own experience has shown that there may be an optimal strategy or two when allowed to work in isolation (because other players are fighting one another and leaving you alone) but that your strategy changes differently as you are involved with each different opponent. That may occur because they are attacking you or because they are winning and you need to attack them. Its a very complex dance and still feels fresh more games in than I routinely give other games.

Goreyok wrote:
The game seems similar to Blood Rage with the power meter acting like the rage meter to spend actions but I didn't feel like their were decision points to increase variability like the drafting of cards in Blood Rage.

I have given the different between the Blood Rage style games and the Cthulhu Wars style games great thought and agree that the biggest difference is with what you describe. In Blood Rage I find my strategy isn't chosen fully but dealt to me (as the best cards come in to select). I have begun to call such trendy and often imiitated games 'deal me a strategy' games. On the plus side play is forced to be more varied, but on the minus side it takes away my fun to design a strategy and play it repeatedly to finely tune and to see how the counter strategies of my opponents evolve and force me to change my strategy in turn. I personally find the later more rewarding as the chaos of multiplayer battle is enough to make strategies vary and conversely find the deal me a strategy elements at best overkill and at worst a tool of poor designers to hide imbalanced choices under a random draw.

Goreyok wrote:
Convince me the game play is worth $450 and this is not just a "look at the overly big miniatures" price point.

Side note: I have never played Cthulu Wars.

It takes a master designer level of playtesting to have competitive strategic choices work without the drawn strategy randomness to hide behind and this IMHO is what Sandy Petersen brings with his decades of world class computer game experience as a level designer. IMHO these games are on par with the best of Splotter (another high price boutique designer). Add the minis and their worth is made.

PS. and to remind everyone that most other games of this family might have big minis at 3 inches tall, the largest minis in GTGW are 9 inches tall or 3 times the length, width, and height. That's 3*3*3=27 times the volume in plastic per mini than the others largest units!!!

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Chris Lemens
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I think I've played Gods War about 35 times. I lost count a long time ago, since I help playtest it.

I understand your concern about each faction's abilities directing the opening moves. The reality is that, for most factions, the first turn is spent placing buildings, because you need power for turn 2. By the time all those buildings are places, the players are starting to eyeball rivals who are encroaching their desired territories. I haven't noticed any particular pattern here, other than that Sea usually goes for ocean spaces ... surprise!

One of our play testers thinks about opening moves like formulas. He's particularly effective at this in Cthulhu Wars. He doesn't seem to win Gods War more than I do, so I don;t see any advantage to thinking it through as a formula. I certainly don't. I approach every game as different based on the factions in the game, which map is in use, how many players and -- critically -- which players are at the table. The players' gaming personality seems to matter more than anything, especially in how their own personality interacts with the faction they chose.

For example, I'm usually an aggressively territorial player. I'll fort up and then go fight tactically, usually starting trouble more often than not. Unless I play earth. When I play earth, I usually initiate no more than one fight, and that's only if I can get my big combat monsters all in one place.

So, from experience, opening strategies aren't really much of a thing. There are certainly some things you probably want to achieve for your faction in the early game, but you always have more to achieve than you can achieve, so you have to choose. And then you have to adapt when the other players screw that one up.

Finally, don't overlook the effect of runes in the game. You can earn runes doing things that are different from faction to faction. These can end up being incredibly powerful in determining the winner, since the margin of victory in most games is 1-3 victory points. These are drawn from a shuffled deck, and many of them are best used under circumstances that you can influence through play. I usually get around 5 victory points from runes (so if one of my opponents has a stack of unused runes, I start to worry).

The not-very-miniature miniatures are great, and I know we'll use them in other games. They certainly give a great feel for the game. When a Storm Brother comes charging in, it's a great visual. But the game play is the gem here.

In short, I'd pay much more than $450 for this game.
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Jason Parham
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Okay, so I'm going to put together the print-and-play for a gaming session this weekend. I think that will really help me decide if I'm going to pledge for the game, but I do have a few more questions:

How is gameplay altered by the monsters and elder races expansions? The video described them like the mystics and gods expansions in Blood Rage, is that fairly accurate?
 
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Peter Bowie
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The Elder Races are recruitable monsters that give you access to different strategies. The Monsters are AIs that hop around the map attacking players, and reward a bonus when killed.
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Shelby Babb
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Goreyok wrote:

Convince me the game play is worth $450 and this is not just a "look at the overly big miniatures" price point.

Side note: I have never played Cthulu Wars.


Here's the deal:

For $450 you're buying into not just a board game, but an entire world. I mean, you're getting all those PDFs, game expansions, and so on at that price point.

And for me... it's not worth it.

I'm not saying it's not a wonderfully made game or anything, but:

*) I'm not a fan of Glorantha. "Swords and sandals" gaming in a world of low tech and (seemingly) low magic just doesn't appeal to me.
*) For every miniature sculpt that wows me (and there are some absolutely gorgeous sculpts here!), there are three that I find bland (and that elf is -horrid-. Like a bad sculpt from 30 years ago).
*) The gameplay interests me, but it strikes me as a variant of Cthulhu Wars, and I'm already so invested in CW that "Cthulhu Wars variant #1" is hard to buy into.

But that's why -I'm- not buying into it.

If you like Glorantha and you like the minis, you should -totally- get this game! Sandy Peterson knows how to design stuff, and he more than delivers on his Kickstarters! It's a lot of money, yes, but you really are getting a lot of game to go with it.
 
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Graham Robinson
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Just a couple of points, for anyone reading this, rather than trying to change minds:

Quote:

*) I'm not a fan of Glorantha. "Swords and sandals" gaming in a world of low tech and (seemingly) low magic just doesn't appeal to me.


The description of Glorantha as "low magic" is wildly off base. Glorantha is a world of immanent magic, where everyone has access to magic, religions are real, and HeroQuesting allows one to become a god.

Quote:
*) The gameplay interests me, but it strikes me as a variant of Cthulhu Wars


While factually true, the differences are far more notable in play than the similarities. This doesn't *feel* like a Cthulhu Wars variant. A useful parallel might be between Contract Bridge and what I know as Damn & Blast, but BGG has listed as Oh Hell. Both are trick taking games, but... Even then, GW and CW may be more different.

Cheers,
Graham
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Yeah, the thing that surprised me most about TGW was that if you try and play it like it's Cthulhu Wars, you'll do very poorly. Your focus throughout the game is very different, all the way from good openings, up to the final push. The fact that you don't need all (or even any) of your Gifts to qualify for victory is a big change, and means that if you're falling behind in their acquisition, you can shift your strategy to compensate.

They really are different games.
 
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I find GW inspires much more role playing while playing than CW. When you have to pick another player to help, you just can't help slipping into character for negotiations and diplomacy -- and while you could certainly play the game without such heavy diplomacy leanings I know many negotiations loving players who are dying for a game that creates mindsets as well as its been done here. Add the Elder races with actions to try and align them to you or your enemies and the bar for diplomatic feel in the game gets raised even higher.

*Leave the ducks alone they are mine!* angry
 
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Chris Lemens
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I agree that the game play for GW and CW is completely different, despite the fact that they share many core mechanisms. One of the huge differences is how the game is divided into three phases, where the boundaries are the destruction of the spike and the closing of the chaos rift. In phase 1, every non-chaos player gets +1 power each turn. In phase 2, we get the once-per-turn attempt to close the chaos right, until it is done. This pits the chaos player against the others in a bidding war. In phase 3, we get the great compromise, where everyone wants to be first player.

There's nothing like the ritual in CW that generates victory points. Instead, it is mostly controlling buildings and finishing gifts. In GW, you get runes that often give you victory points, a little like elder signs in CW, but they also have other effects that make them very different. In CW,. they are just a big reveal at the end; in GW, they do some of that, but also can be a big reveal in the middle, when someone suddenly pulls a rabbit from their hat.

Overall, it feels like a very, very different game.
 
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