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Glorantha: The Gods War» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Reaction after first P&P play rss

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Bruce Mason
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Played the P&P yesterday for the first time with mixed results. There were five of us so I grabbed some post-it notes and used the west side prototype to add the extra areas: Slon, Justrela, Umathela, Fonrit and Seshnela. I played the Invisible God empire because it seemed fun. We've all played a fair amount of Cthulhu Wars, Chaos in the Old World and Blood Rage and we have a pretty diverse set of play styles.

We played for 3 hours but didn't get time to finish; Yelm won on 32 VPs after the first Great Compromise round (turn 5).

Chaos had a great time. Being played by someone who loves to be aggressive.

Darkness just never got going. The player was frustrated that nothing seemed to add up and that he was never able to rout anyone to hell. He was perpetually short of Power. He's naturally a fairly cautious and conservative player so I guess the faction didn't suit him.

Storm was royally shafted for the first four turns. Eventually Yelm and the Invisible God cooperated to power up Storm who then got Orlanth out and went on a spree of kicking over chaos nests.

Yelm struggled to find a strategy that stuck. He got himself a Moonbase with a bunch of archers and Shannase but then never needed it.

I had good fun with the Invisible God. I built a network of castles and towers in the west and was mostly left alone until the final turn.

Turn 1 was pretty predictable. People built stuff and Malia turned up. Invisible God made a deal with Yelm to turn the lights back on next turn. Yelm started building a temple full of archers on the Spike until someone remembered that it was about to blow up so we rolled back time.

Turn 2. A knight went down to Hell. With 2 castles he was a meaty knight. First he could have killed Yelm but he spared old yella face instead to demonstrate mercy, the power of logic and gain a gift. He then opened the door so that Yelm could leave. Darkness built a ziggurat but couldn't afford to do much else. Storm got broken up after a battle with Chaos and ended up by the Gates of Dawn just as the lights came on. Chaos Thedded and irrupted and retired spent but happy. Yelm got panicked when he realised he was stuck at the Gates of Dawn surrounded by barbarians and chaos nasties.

Turn 3. Pretty much more of the same. IG built castles. Yelm started a new game called Sunspear the barbarians. Chaos got the mad god. There were various scuffles. The knight errant down in hell had a few run ins with the remaining trolls down there. The rest of the trolls were scattered around the surface. I think Hellmother turned up this turn. The Chaos rift opened. Darkness got shafted when he bid high to close it and everyone else bid low.

Turn 4. Yelm got sent back to hell but had already got a get of out jail free rune. The barbarians regathered in the Sea of fog and finally got Orlanth out. Chaos did what Chaos does. Lots of Blood sacrifice and Oblivion. IG completed the Final Ritual and had its eyes on an enemy temple until the Mad God turned up and everything went horrible. Darkness tried to get going until half the world turned up at Hellmother's ziggurat. He kept trying to rout stuff but the ziggurat was killing it first. We tried to close the Chaos rift but Chaos rolled like a demon. The knight errant who had been hunting trolls in hell (and occasionally sparing them) finally escaped by virtue of being sucked into the Chaos rift.

Turn 5. Yelm was back at the Gates of Dawn. There was some scuffling. Orlanth went on an Insurgency spree with his champion. IG tried to preserve his civilisation from the twin threats of storm and chaos. Darkness was trying to finish its Pokemon collection. Chaos Rift was closed. Storm had a big round on VPs - netting 9. The Great Compromise started and Yelm was - again - first player. He made himself judge, got to 32 VPs and carefully arranged everyone else in his shadow.

As you can probably tell, we were pretty mixed about it though agreed it merited another play. There seemed to be a lot more moving parts than CW. The Power Phase and Council Phase seemed to take a lot more figuring out than CW equivalent. Trying to remember what gave Power and/or VPs and adding all the different elements up was a real time sink. As was the Chaos Rift. At times it felt like a real slog. In CW, 90% of the game is in the action round, in TGW it feels more 50% in the action round and the rest is doing stuff that *feels* more like book-keeping.

As a game it was described as everything from janky to a mechanics salad. All the extra layers sometimes added to the fun and sometimes detracted. I enjoyed my questing knight in Hell and Moonbase alpha was good fun too.

The runes were a real time sink. Yelm and IG generated a lot and there ended up being a lot of playing of runes followed by forgetting whose turn it happened to be. Because they happen in between turns and have powerful effects the game sometimes comes to a halt as one player has to reinvent their strategy. E.g. I remember one of my castles being heat-rayed just before I was going to face the Mad God, leading to my knights shrinking alarmingly.

All in all it felt as though we were doing a lot of flailing about without any clear idea of how it fit together. That's probably par for the course for a first game. Thing is first time I player CW, Blood Rage and so on I wanted to play again straight after. TGW, not so much. The effort to fun ratio seemed borderline.
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Graham Robinson
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Your comment about the Darkness player "never being able to Rout anyone to Hell" is odd. The Darkness Gift "Fear" lets you do exactly that.

Cheers,
Graham
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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therealbuserian wrote:
Your comment about the Darkness player "never being able to Rout anyone to Hell" is odd. The Darkness Gift "Fear" lets you do exactly that.

Cheers,
Graham


I was thinking the same. Dark should easily have Fear from the 1st turn unless your dice are on fire and then, well you really don't mind that either. Lose a Unit in a battle and select Fear as your power. Not saying this is the only strategy but it sure can help. Starting with turn 3 you should always have 4 Trolls on the board and sending them anywhere you want at any time easily helps you unlock the kill 1 of each enemy Heroquests for 2 more powers. Get Hunger and Black Market to insure you roll in power and kills.

I do agree about the comparison with Cthulhu Wars though. CW is 90% Action Phase, while this game is 50% Action phase 50% Council Phase where tons of wheeling and dealing can and will occur. It does seem to go much faster with more plays though. The Council phase just drags the first game or 2 as people learn the ropes.
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Peter Bowie
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It seems like a heavier game overall, so not surprising. Usually takes a few games to get a handle on things. In contrast with Cthulhu Wars, where you kinda get it first play (and with more plays, you just get better at the strategy).

Perfect for me, since I prefer games on the heavier end of the spectrum, but definitely a bit less accessible.
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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C3Gaming wrote:
It seems like a heavier game overall, so not surprising. Usually takes a few games to get a handle on things. In contrast with Cthulhu Wars, where you kinda get it first play (and with more plays, you just get better at the strategy).

Perfect for me, since I prefer games on the heavier end of the spectrum, but definitely a bit less accessible.


I think you hit it on the head there and I fully agree on all counts.
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Bruce Mason
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therealbuserian wrote:
Your comment about the Darkness player "never being able to Rout anyone to Hell" is odd. The Darkness Gift "Fear" lets you do exactly that.


The problem he faced as far as I could tell is that on turn 1 your trolls can't get out Hell anyway because Hellborn doesn't kick in until turn 2. So he couldn't start his raids until then. For whatever reason he never seemed to attack with his trolls. He sent three to the surface eventually but to different locations. I think he couldn't make the maths add up. He would have had 5 Power on turn 2 and no gifts. I think he decided to focus on getting Mistress and a ziggurat but that took up his money. He also may have been thrown by me having a knight in Hell. I think I may have routed some of his trolls before he could send them out so his forces were divided into different hells.

When he got his ziggurat he took the Hunger gift as suggested but Mistress was stuck on the surface a long way from any action; even using hell she would have cost 3 power to go down, up and attack.

I think he then shifted tack to get out Hellmother but that used most of his Power that turn. He got the Black Market to get himself more Power. Unfortunately he then put 5 Power into the Chaos rift struggle when the rest of us sat on out hands.

He eventually got his 3rd gift when someone went after one of his trolls. Chose Psychopomp on the basis that there's no point in having Fear if you don't get the money when you rout them. There was a big battle at Mistress's ziggurat but he got so many kills that he was only able to rout one enemy and didn't have Fear anyway.

That's roughly what I remember from across the table. He was just never able to get any sort of momentum mostly due to being crippled by low Power during the Chaos Rift. Possibly it was just the wrong faction for him or he was misreading something that stopped him from acting.
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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Sounds like some unfortunate missed opportunities. Dark is pretty subtle to play, more like an assassins knife versus a Ogre's Club (Chaos). It reminds me of Yellow Sign from CW, it takes a plan and precision to play well.
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Guillaume Andriot
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You rarely get things right ont the first game and with 5 players its sure going to take longer and generate more rules mistakes. Also each faction has a specific playstyle, there is no absolute right way to play each one of them but there are certainly some wrong things you can do.

Maybe give it another try with 4 players and only the base factions as they are the easiest to handle. The Empires Box factions like the Invisible God are considered "advanced".
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Peter Bowie
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deleriad wrote:
That's roughly what I remember from across the table. He was just never able to get any sort of momentum mostly due to being crippled by low Power during the Chaos Rift. Possibly it was just the wrong faction for him or he was misreading something that stopped him from acting.


All of that just sounds great to me! I love figuring out how to play stuff well. Like Black Goat in Cthulhu Wars, where for several games straight it just didn't click and they always lost (but now, I'm at least somewhat passable with them).
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Bruce Mason
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BTW, Darkness disputes my characterisation of him as cautious and conservative. As cunning as a trapdoor spider, lurking and then striking is perhaps closer to the truth...

Seriously, chatting with the player, Chaos pretty much screwed him over even when Chaos wasn't trying. One thing I had forgotten was that when Darkness finally did get some routing action on the go, Chaos flipped Unholy Trinity instead so everyone died again.
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Darren Semmen
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What did you do during the Power and Council phases that took so long? In our first play, these took almost no time. Any wheeling-and-dealing (of which there wasn't much) took place during Action as well.
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Marko Parviainen
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Also, if you had a trouble remembering whose turn it is (due to slow rune play and rules discussion) maybe use "current player" marker that passes from hand to hand around the table.
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Bruce Mason
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Darren23 wrote:
What did you do during the Power and Council phases that took so long? In our first play, these took almost no time. Any wheeling-and-dealing (of which there wasn't much) took place during Action as well.


A lot of book-keeping. E.g. frequent cases of "I'm sure I counted more Power than that earlier" then spotting the shrine that was surrounded by figures. A lot of rune checking and gift checking as different things triggered.

Once the Chaos rift started then that lead to a lot of bickering. Blood Sacrifice; there were usually choices to be made there.

And so on. A good portion of the time sink was undoubtedly due to it being the first play. For some reason as a group we kept finding I Fought We Won confusing.

On the player marker suggestion. We use them in all kinds of games. Sadly what tends to happen is that the game goes quickly for a while, we forget to move the current player marker at some point and then when stuff happens and we lose track it's no help.
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Arthur Petersen
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My take is it was a combo of first time play mixed with the expectations that it really is just a re-skin of CW. I hate to break it to you....but The Gods War really is its own game. For some reason that is so hard to get across until you've played the game! soblue

It is much meatier than CW, but after many plays, we can zip through the council phases, etc.
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Bernard Gourion
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ColHammer wrote:
Also, if you had a trouble remembering whose turn it is (due to slow rune play and rules discussion) maybe use "current player" marker that passes from hand to hand around the table.


Just hold the marker in one hand until the player has finished
 
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Michael Off The Shelf Board Game Reviews
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existoid wrote:
My take is it was a combo of first time play mixed with the expectations that it really is just a re-skin of CW. I hate to break it to you....but The Gods War really is its own game. For some reason that is so hard to get across until you've played the game! soblue

It is much meatier than CW, but after many plays, we can zip through the council phases, etc.


This is so very true I learned after playing. I have a video to upload once I get it edited made purely with all the print and play components. Yup I know seeing print and play in a video is kind of blah but it's all I have.

For anyone who has not played the game I'll kind of wax over what will really mess up first time players.

1: Movement - You can not understand how much of a difference this makes until you play the game. First of all it is now 1 power to move all units in an area you occupy can all move for a single Action and single Action point. You are basically moving armies around now versus single units

The map also has a great surprise that new players will be blind to, the Moon/Sky and to a lesser extent especially for Darkness, Hell. The ability to move from the Top/Bottom of the map to the opposite side via Moon/Sky cannot be under estimated. For 2 actions you can cross the map completely, Darkness especially since they can exit Hell without permission.

Spike/Chaos Rift/The Pool add a very powerful Dynamic to the game again just speaking of movement itself. Again in the early games while the Spike lives crossing the map is even easier. Once the Pool opens up Darkness gets an even stronger way to travel the map making Shrines etc in hell... well fairly short sighted decisions. Plus Sun can be a jerk to anyone saying "Sure send me to hell and I'll pull you there with me".

2:Game Length/Play - Cthulhu Wars between veteran players often comes down to being the person who optimizes your factions win button (for lack of better words) without being thwarted by the other players. The Gods War so far has been a constant see-saw back and forth where I have yet to predict "The Winner" until the very end of the game. The factions in the print and play all seem to play off each other very well and very differently. Yet saying that I honestly feel barring someone just being a dork and not thinking you really have a shot at victory through out the entire game... unless everyone is blind and lets Chaos walk away with the win. Because let's face it Chaos is a very direct faction that literally will slaughter everyone if everyone ignores Chaos. "Hey everyone Chaos is getting 10 Power a turn we should destroy these nests. Hey everyone.. about Chaos.. these nests.. YO NESTS PEOPLE, ARGHHHH!!"

Game has a slow build up and much more of a... diplomacy feel thanks to the events at 10 and 20 victory points. I am sure this will be different without Chaos present but the Chaos Rift forces the players to subtly work together or all lose. While honestly this is an issue I am iffy on feelings-wise since it is possible for someone to tank the game if Chaos is involved and just give Chaos too much of a lead. This is honestly a person issue versus a game issue but... it could happen. Again as long as everyone is paying attention It really feels like anyone's game when played.

3: Factions - They do play quite differently and while you could shoehorn them into a "They are kind of like this Cthulhu Wars Faction" description it really isn't true any more than saying Sky is a brute, sun is a jerk, dark is an assassin, chaos is a thorn, a really, really annoying thorn.

4: Combat - look Ma' I am not rolling 50 bajillion dice!!! I exaggerate obviously but for the most part in combat I am rolling less dice which means less randomness which, well you can see where this goes.

5: Runes - Think random Batman stuff here with those runes. . . Well it will feel that way when you lay out your master plan and someone flops a Rune sending your Sky Champion to hell right before you strike... seriously I am going to burn that rune, just out of spite Granted I am just being bitter over a well played defense the evil smile should have gave it away grrr...

6: Heroquests - Sure on the surface you can say "Bah this is just like Cthulhu Wars" and you are right and wrong. See in Cthulhu Wars you get whatever requirement done first that you can to get your Gifts but in Gods War it matters which Heroquests you do because spreading it out gives you Power every single turn and eventually Victory points. This can really influence which order you do Heroquests in. Not because they are easy to do but because Power can be so hard to come by at times. There are times Power is more important than a Gift.

7: Chaos Rift/Great Debate Thing a ma bob - This is huge and makes an immense difference between the 2 games. Granted I think different factions in game will affect the Chaos Rift more than others. Since I can't see the other factions and honestly for now without Chaos in the game I can see players caring a heck of a lot less about the Chaos Rift, I'll let someone else chime in here.

8: This went on too dang long and I am regurgitating what I say in the video.

Honestly my only real negative with the game is the buy in $300 with shipping is a real sticker shock. Yes I agree the value is there but dang it Petersen Games it is OKAY to make good games with reasonable sized miniatures. You are asking for my gaming budget for an entire year here for a single game. It's still stopping me from pulling the trigger so far.

I get it you want to be a premiere game company but aside from DINK's your pretty much excluding a huge portion of the gaming populace.
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Lawrence Talbot
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Grumsh wrote:
Yes I agree the value is there but dang it Petersen Games it is OKAY to make good games with reasonable sized miniatures. You are asking for my gaming budget for an entire year here for a single game. It's still stopping me from pulling the trigger so far.

I get it you want to be a premiere game company but aside from DINK's your pretty much excluding a huge portion of the gaming populace.


Ima complete CW and CW2 backer, but it is so VERY VERY true!
 
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