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Subject: "Least" player kicked in the teeth rss

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Dwsparks
United States
Huntsville
Alabama
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Three players, everyone's first time playing Nations. We did play with the B side, but without Advanced cards.

I suppose my problem with the game is that the penalties for being behind (or in this case losing a war) seem especially harsh - to the point where that player can't recover.

Things went pretty well during Age I. I had the Greeks, used Hoplite to gain a military advantage, started a war which affected the other two players, but everyone had the resources to make up the losses. Sphinx was built by another player.

During Age II I passed early, as I was hoping for a Mine (or other gold-generating card) to appear, but nothing came out that was useful. The Sphinx player built a Wonder, upgraded his military and started a War. The War penalty was six gold, so I lost 2VP, all my gold and books to make up the deficit.

As Age II continued, the Sphinx player built ANOTHER Wonder, while I'm trying to scrape together enough actions/stone to recover from the War losses and since he now gets a VP for starting a War, he starts another War which made me lose 2VP, all my stone and books to make up the deficit.

And to be honest, I never recover from these back-to-back losses. Sphinx player goes on to build so many Wonders that he eventually covers up the Sphinx in favor of one with more victory points. In the entire game, second place player built two Wonders, and I only completed one.

Final scores were 52/35/23

In theory a game should make you want to play it again, but this was like being kicked in the teeth after you have already been thrown to the ground. Punishments are compounded.

"Get behind, stay behind."

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Adam P
United States
Seattle
Washington
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I love this game, even though I usually lose. The first era I pretty much ignore war and grab the best buildings. You can always catch up on military later.

Also, you know you can cut your war losses by having stability. Each stability decreases the effects of the negative effect on war cards. So 6 or more stability would negate the -6 gold. You still lose 1 VP though.

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Jeff Collins
United States
Portage
Michigan
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In my experiences, losing a war or two, shouldn't result in an automatic loss. As mentioned above, if you are not investing in military to compete, then it would be advantageous to increase your stability to negate the loss of resources due to war. Or of course, you can purchase the war yourself and not worry about it. Also, it sounds like the other player figured out that wonders can be very beneficial as they generally provide resources without expending a worker. Wonders are fairly contested in the games I have played. Also, you will find that the game "opens" up some after you are more familiar with how the cards can work together.

That being said, we did not use the B sides until after several games and then we added the advanced and expert cards, which can make the game seem "swingy" but offers more interaction and challenge. I recently obtained the expansion, and it seems to have elevated the game play for our group as, for the first time someone else has requested to play it.

Anyway, I think nations is worth investing another game or two to see how it plays out...

Good luck

edit: typo
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Max Jamelli
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Chambersburg
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The OP's example is one reason I hate to pass early, especially if there is a war available to buy .. even at 3 coins.

The Egypt player has a wonder advantage with workers - and if he had the strongest military as well - you need to either build your stability up, start wars yourself, or try to build your military up over top of his to force him to worry about wars instead of his wonders.
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Jack
United States
Cumberland
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Yeah, stability is vital if you are losing the wars. If you ignore stability AND military...well...then your play deserves some foot-assisted dental work.
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Jesse Allen

New Jersey
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Also if you're last in military you can buy the war to block everyone else from buying it. If they're buying the war early then good buildings should fall to you, and they should start having engine problems as they invested in wars and military early instead of buildings. Military cards ramp up each age, so its easy to pull a quick catch up later on.

Sphinx is also very powerful.
 
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Marco Schaub
Switzerland
Thun
Bern
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dwsparks wrote:
As Age II continued, [...] he starts another War which made me lose 2VP, all my stone and books to make up the deficit.


Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought there can only be one war per age...
 
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Grant
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Cuyahoga Falls
Ohio
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emptyset wrote:
dwsparks wrote:
As Age II continued, [...] he starts another War which made me lose 2VP, all my stone and books to make up the deficit.


Maybe I'm mistaken, but I thought there can only be one war per age...

I guess you probably mean one war per round (since there are two rounds, A and B, in each Age), and yes, that's correct. I don't think the OP meant another war in the same round, but another war on top of wars in previous rounds.
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Marco Schaub
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grant5 wrote:
I guess you probably mean one war per round (since there are two rounds, A and B, in each Age), and yes, that's correct. I don't think the OP meant another war in the same round, but another war on top of wars in previous rounds.


Yes, I did mean one war per round. I guess I was thrown off by the "as Age II continued."
 
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Łukasz Małecki
Poland
Oława
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Another thing worth considering when you're low on military is buying the war yourself, if there's an option.
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Jack
United States
Cumberland
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Yup, nothing like some good ol' hate-drafting. devil
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Steven Durst
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Birmingham
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I refer to the low military player buying the War the "Peace Tax". Since military doesn't generally bring in resources by themselves, it makes sense the if a war drops to the low military player that spending 1-3 gold to not have to worry about the war is a reasonable price to pay.

On the other hand, if war like players are buying the wars with their first buy, then that gives the peaceful players the entire round to figure out how to respond. In Nations, all players should attempt to have 1 decent military building that would allow you to avoid a war loss. I tend to make this a priority; especially when changing ages as the military cards jump in power considerably.

Nations is all about reading the board state and deciding what is the most important resource at the moment to go for. I do love this game.
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