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Germania Magna: Border in Flames» Forums » General

Subject: luck-driven mean game? rss

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Ottevaere Wouter
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OK - I've read the rules and it appears to my humble opinion that this game is too luck-driven so it won't become a popular game on my game table (especially with Spelhamels). This verdict is based on the following:

The goal of the game is collecting glory points (GPs) by defeating the Romans: you need the cooperation of other players for creating a Germanic army which has a bigger force (military strenght) then the Roman force (Province + possible reinforcements). But after a victory in battle the VPs are distributed among the participants in the battle based on their commitment: the bigger your share in the Germanic force, the larger your GPs will be.

So you need the other players' help to defeat the Romans (to obtain GPs), but you're trying to be the biggest one within the Germanic army (to obtain the most GPs). Therefor you'll be playing 'mean' cards to contain the military forces of other players and you'll trying to collect and play heavy cards of your own. I like that concept: needing others to obtain GPs but trying to get the most GPs on your own.

But... the gameplay in this cardgame makes it - in my humble opinion - too luck-driven. I'll explain.
(1) You draw a Chieftain card - so you get what you get, no choice, you're stuck with your draw. And that Chieftain card determines the Initiative and determines which special Abilities you get...
(2) In the Supply Phase you can draw Tribal Cards (and/or money =Loot tokens). Again: you get what you get, no choice, you're stuck with your draw. And the Tribal Cards come in four types: Tribal Units (=military units, the ones you want to receive and you want to deploy in battle for getting VPs), Attachments, Strategies and Tactics. So if you get no Tribal Units or the lesser ones, you can't even get the higher VPs in a battle...
(3) Playing a Tribal Unit for a battle doesn't mean that this unit will last for the battle itself. Because other players can play Tactic and Strategy Cards and those cards influence the Tribal Units by overtaking them (the Unit changes between players) or by discarding them (the Unit goes out of the game round to the discard pile). And no one knows if and which Strategy or Tactic Card the other players have - so you never know if your good card (heavy military strenght) will be spared by other players...

Maybe it was the goal of the game designers that this card game can become a little bit mean (backstabbing?) and surprising game with lucky card draws.
But then it's not a card game for my game table. I would like to see more possibilities for choices - some examples/proposals:
- Chieftains: for a first round, get a set of 3 and choose one. For later rounds, get a set (more than number of players) and draft a card, starting with the player with the least amount of points (going up to the player who's leading in points). This gives at least a choice and maybe a balance between the players;
- Supply Phase: instead of drawing unknown cards from a face-down card deck, one could make a pool of face-up cards of which one can choose. So players have a choice of collecting specific cards and the other players could (try to) remember which player took which cards.

But again: if it was the goal of the designers to get such a luck-driven and mean game, then it will find player groups who will like this way. But unfortunately it won't be my player group...
By the way: the artwork in this game is beautiful! (to give at least one positive note at the and... blush)


Any comments or thoughts about my vision/opinion upon this game? Maybe I'm wrong in my verdict?
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Geert Vanbellinghen
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If it's lucky, maybe you can play it with kids?
If it's also mean...play with someone else's kids?whistle

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Wim Leenaerts
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Funny: after reading your opinion I'm suddenly more intersted in the game. I had skipped the game based on it's historical theme.
The coöperation does sound fun and it looks very nice indeed.
Wouldn't the chieftain powers be balanced with their playing order? First chieftain a lesser power than the 8th chieftain?

I have to say that drafting is always more interesting than blind draws but the combination of strength and special power + the need for loot might make every card valuable in it's own way and force you to play tactically instead of strategically (and I prefer the first).
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Ottevaere Wouter
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schampavie wrote:
If it's lucky, maybe you can play it with kids?
If it's also mean...play with someone else's kids?whistle


Haha...


No - seriously: I like games with a bit of luck, but when the luck overrules a certain minimum of control (by the players), then it's not my cup-of-tea.
Except for those luck-driven where you know that's the whole concept or where the luck is evenly distributed between the players. But here you get a sense of control or planning - but that's wiped away by the lucky draws...
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Ottevaere Wouter
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The Iced One wrote:
Funny: after reading your opinion I'm suddenly more intersted in the game.


I recommand reading the rules (you'll find them here: https://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/135631/germania-magna...) and especially the extended gameplay example.


And don't be confused about the text concerning own decks vs common deck. That's an item which is not yet cleared out (it appears to be a Kickstarter special): one could create his own drawing deck with a personal choice of the cards within it instead of drawing cards from one single common deck.
 
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Michał Ozon
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Wout wrote:
OK - I've read the rules and it appears to my humble opinion...


Thanks for reading the rulebook and sharing your comments!

You are right with most of your points, but you bypass a very important thing - building up your horde during the whole game. Most of your units survive combat and you will use them next round. The same with strategy/tactics/attachment cards you draw, you may hold them to build your strategy for later turns. Many cards and abilities let you to peek and draw cards from the Tribal deck / Discard deck in open, so you can grab a card you need for your strategy during the game. And the deck building rules, that we want to show you during the Kickstarter campaign, will help you to build a deck you want to play with.

I was surprised by high level of control this game offers, having the same early thoughts as you. But I played and changed my mind and decided that this game is worth publishing.

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Jaro Andruszkiewicz
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I have to second Michal. Played this one last week. The large provinces require a lot of planning before they could be looted. This requires creating a hand over the course of the game. You can't wait too long, however, because the province card gets removed from a table after a while. So there is an opportunity window into which you need to jump with whatever you can bring. Tense and clever game.
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MarseilleDB MarseilleDB
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Is this game luck driven? For sure there are some elements which will require a bit of luck – like testing loses after the clash, drawing chieftains at the beginning of each turn. They don’t influence the game as much as you may think. Why? First of all planning is still very important – the more you play the game the more you will know about its mechanics, e.g. some cards can be effective against others, so if you draw one you will try to keep it to counter any unpleasant surprise made by your opponent. Secondly – in a card game for 3+ players the strongest one is usually fighting an uphill battle against temporary coalition of others. If you played EDH format in MTG you will know what I mean. So sometimes it’s better to hold the line, pretending you don’t represent any serious threat and wait for good opportunity than to trust in luck and play each card drawn.

If you think it’s not enough, than it is worth mentioning that many of the random elements will be excluded in deckbuilding. You will build your own tribal deck, so you can choose cards/strategies that suits you best. Chieftain deck will be pre-constructed and you will be able to set the order of cards in it. No common deck means also that other players won’t be able to “steal” from you any cards.

And last thing – example gameplay. Don’t treat E.G. as typical Germania Magna game, its aim was to show as many various in-game situations as possible and to do it in single game turn, not to record typical game.

But is the game mean? Yeah it can be mean. It is possible to cooperate with other players politely throughout the whole game, but the game is much more exciting if you stab your former ally in the back when you have a chance. But I think that negative interaction is not overwhelming, sometimes it reminds me what I remember about negative interaction from the first edition of A Game of Thrones (board game).
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