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The Oracle of Delphi» Forums » General

Subject: Runaway leader problem? rss

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Kobe
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Hey!

I'm really looking forward to this game, as it blends a mostly light genre with a heavier execution ;-).

However, by just reading the rules I got no feel about a possible runaway leader problem. Being a racing game at its heart, this might pose an issue.

Anyone any experience with this?
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Bartosz Popow
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What in the rules makes you think that whoever's in the lead will be progressively even more in the lead as rounds/turns go?

Or did you mean "I'll never catch the leader" syndrom? Simply because you can clearly see he's already fulfilled 5 tasks and you only 2?
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Brad103
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Never catching the leader sounds more appropriate here. Which could be an issue. It doesn't look like there are many ways to interrupt anyones path to victory. So if someone's ahead, they could likely stay ahead, unless you/they get better/worse luck with die rolls.
 
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Alban Thomas
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I assume all of this should depend on the setup.

In case some easy-to-do tasks emerge (e.g. because colored goods have popped-up next to their destination), then getting them at first should allow you to surf on the reward and get some advance.

But all tasks are not equals in terms of rewards.

Getting companions and equipments early is like building an engine. The effects are not so immediately powerful but let you become more efficient and/or able to medicate dice rolls in the end-game. This might allow you to catch up the leader(s) while you seemed behind in mid-game. Or not, who knows.

If the publisher/author/tester made their job well, both approach should be viable in a comparable proportion of games.
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ode.
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Please play the game first before you jump to conclusions. There are many ways to get in anothers way. Making distances suddenly bigger than expected...
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There's a shape called "The Golden Rectangle". Have you heard of it?
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Little Canada
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It refers to a rectangle that's approximately contstructed in the ratio of 9 to 16. The golden rectangle has several characteristics. Let's say I create a square within this shape. Then, this smaller rectangle that I just created will also be a
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golden rectangle. I make another square within that and the leftover is another golden rectangle. And I make a few more, and when I connect all the central points of these shapes it creates a spiral that continues forever. This is the "Golden Spin".
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With dice and unexpected injuries, I imagine players will at least feel like they have a shot(even if they really don't) when they're a few tasks behind.
 
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Brad103
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bayerbube wrote:
Please play the game first before you jump to conclusions. There are many ways to get in anothers way. Making distances suddenly bigger than expected...


As the game isn't released to the general public yet, speculation is all we can do.

In what ways can you get in another persons way? As you can share spaces on the board you can't physically get into each others way. And there isn't many 'attacks' in the game that could hinder someone. Besides outmaneuvering someone I didn't notice any ways to actively interfere with another player.
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ode.
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What I mean by "wait until you played it" was: You cannot read this from the rules how it feels to realize you have to go to the other end of the playing area because someebody just snatched the statue you needed...

Sure you can just speculate how the game plays. But why do it?
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Brad103
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Oh, ya, I gathered that from the rules, that you can fight over different tasks, taking things other people were planning to take. I mentioned above there weren't many ways to interrupt people, I should have specified this being one of them.

One of the neat things about this 'race' game is that the path isnt a straight line that people are all following. It's a spider web of paths that can be constantly changing. Maybe that's enough to make it so you never know who might win up until the end. I hope it to be so, but if it's less than that I'm sure I'll still get a lot of enjoyment from this game.


I think speculation is a good thing for games, it builds interest. For me, thinking about game strategy and discussing theory while I'm waiting for the game is rather fun.
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Łukasz Małecki
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Braffe wrote:
In what ways can you get in another persons way? As you can share spaces on the board you can't physically get into each others way. And there isn't many 'attacks' in the game that could hinder someone. Besides outmaneuvering someone I didn't notice any ways to actively interfere with another player.


There are many ways to interfere with different players. All game components are placed randomly on the board during the setup phase and all players are going for the same goals. If you need to take a red offering to a red temple and suddenly somebody snatches the offering you were going for, it's possible you will have to sail on the other side of the board to get a different one. So there's always this dillema during the game: okay, this offering is close, but other players are around; will I be first to get it? You may be and you may be not, because of dice rolls, injury cards etc.

So the game's pretty much about figuring out the most efficient way to get all the task done, and THEN about modifying your plans on the fly when other people snatch things you planned to take (because everyone is going for the same goals, which, in my opinion, is simply brilliant). I think that in Oracle there will be many more opportunities to mess with other people plans than, say, in Lewis & Clark, another great racing game. Even if you start well with some fast tasks, it can suddenly turn out all the other easy tasks were already completed and you need to sail a lot from one point to another to get the job done.

But that's too pure speculation of someone who studied the rulebook more than once

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Mike
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Any plan you form is still at the mercy of yours and your opponents dice rolls. So that luck factor alone should be enough to keep players engaged and competitive throughout the game.
 
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Kobe
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To clarify:

I don't know that this is an actual problem. It is just my experience that in quite a few racing games someone can pull ahead and make others feel that they are racing for second place. A lot of players lose interest/engagement when they don't feel they can still win.

I hope this will not be the case here. There is nothing in the rules that indicates it will be a problem, but I don't see any clear countermeasures either.

I am hoping someone who played the game might be able to shed some light onto it ;-).
 
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ode.
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Pampuz wrote:
A lot of players lose interest/engagement when they don't feel they can still win.


The thing with all race games is, that the closer you get to the finish line, the better you can see who will most certainly win. A game that wants to be tense until the end needs random factors that can be surprising.

Let me give you an example: Istanbul is also a race game. Whoever gets 6 gems first will win. Since Istanbul is a game about optimizing you can at a certain point see who will win if nothing goes wrong. Like: "I will need 4 turns to finish." "Oh, I will need at least 6!!! Damn!" Tension will decline immedially... But in Istanbul you have these cards. They offer randomly drawn effects. Sometimes effects that concern the gaining of gems. With these cards you can make surprisingly strong turns. Even making it possible to overrun a leading player.

Delphi has not these effects hidden from the other players. But there are some random effects like the dice, oracle cards... And the usage of the bonus effects of the gods is also crucial. Using the blue god for jumping to any space can be just the jump you needed to claim an important statue or offering. Before the leading player might get it. Or
to suddenly finish a task and use the reward from the task to have an even stronger turn.

Pampuz wrote:

I am hoping someone who played the game might be able to shed some light onto it ;-).


I played the game 8 times now. 3 playtests with 3 or 4 players and since we got our copy to learn the game in order to be able to explain it on the fair in Essen we had five 2-player plays. Some of them saw surprisingly strong moves by the other player to suddenly change the momentum. To me the game seems to be pretty well playtested.

But please note: I know publisher and designer and I like them very much and I am close to them. So my point of view might seem biased.
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ozzy perez
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bayerbube wrote:
Pampuz wrote:
A lot of players lose interest/engagement when they don't feel they can still win.


The thing with all race games is, that the closer you get to the finish line, the better you can see who will most certainly win. A game that wants to be tense until the end needs random factors that can be surprising.

Let me give you an example: Istanbul is also a race game. Whoever gets 6 gems first will win. Since Istanbul is a game about optimizing you can at a certain point see who will win if nothing goes wrong. Like: "I will need 4 turns to finish." "Oh, I will need at least 6!!! Damn!" Tension will decline immedially... But in Istanbul you have these cards. They offer randomly drawn effects. Sometimes effects that concern the gaining of gems. With these cards you can make surprisingly strong turns. Even making it possible to overrun a leading player.

Delphi has not these effects hidden from the other players. But there are some random effects like the dice, oracle cards... And the usage of the bonus effects of the gods is also crucial. Using the blue god for jumping to any space can be just the jump you needed to claim an important statue or offering. Before the leading player might get it. Or
to suddenly finish a task and use the reward from the task to have an even stronger turn.

Pampuz wrote:

I am hoping someone who played the game might be able to shed some light onto it ;-).


I played the game 8 times now. 3 playtests with 3 or 4 players and since we got our copy to learn the game in order to be able to explain it on the fair in Essen we had five 2-player plays. Some of them saw surprisingly strong moves by the other player to suddenly change the momentum. To me the game seems to be pretty well playtested.

But please note: I know publisher and designer and I like them very much and I am close to them. So my point of view might seem biased.



Ode, talk to me about the two player game. Usual Feld awesomeness I will assume? cool
 
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ode.
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SapoLJackson wrote:

Ode, talk to me about the two player game. Usual Feld awesomeness I will assume? cool


What do you want to know?

I think it scales very well. The getting in each others way is a tad less important. Downtime is lower...
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ozzy perez
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bayerbube wrote:
SapoLJackson wrote:

Ode, talk to me about the two player game. Usual Feld awesomeness I will assume? cool


What do you want to know?

I think it scales very well. The getting in each others way is a tad less important. Downtime is lower...



Fantastic!
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John Clements

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I will try to offer a view on this.
I don't normally post any session reports on here, nor even reviews, but my recent experience is worth sharing.

I'm a big Feld fan and got to try this at the Atlanta game fest this weekend. It was 3-player with one player having already played it twice previously.

On turn two of the game I already completed 4 of my tasks (!)
Yep, four.
I started with the shield special player ability and a fortunate turn let me immediately take out two monsters. The rewards gave me cards that allowed to then easily deliver two offerings on my second turn. Just like that I had one third of my goal completed.

Looked liked a blow in the making and that I was headed for an easy win.
Nope.
I lost with one task still remaining.
How?

I had some poor dice rolls that even optimizing with Zeus tiles didn't help with and then despite having a shield power of 4, I was caught with wounds THREE times and lost three turns (!)

You really can't come back from losing three whole turns in any game, even one with that mechanic designed into it. In each case, I had just one wound already, but when I had to draw two cards I got doubles all three times (!). It was crushing.

I play games to actually get to take turns, when a design works into it that my turn can be completely lost, it's beyond discouraging and frustrating.

I don't mind losing a first-time play of a new game when learning. I expect to. And though with this game I adore the theme and felt it was very originally concieved while still being familiar to fans of Feld's design (Cast-of-Burg being our all time fav title), the luck factor in this left me feeling very sour for future experiences.

I will definitely play it again, and likely more than that, but I will be very skeptical. And don't like that I will be watching to see if bad luck affects any other player.

JC

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ode.
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But you know that this situation you were in was very, very unlikely, right? I guess this will never happen to you again. And my first was: Maybe the game was new and the wound cards deck was badly shuffled for the first play...
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