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Subject: Is that it!? rss

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Derek Carver
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Having got on top of the rules three of us have just played our first game.

Each of us built just one tall monument. All secondary craftsmen entered the game.

The game got extremely processional with each of us doing much the same thing each turn.

The game lasted just under two hours.

Is this a typical way it is played? I can't imagine it is but it seemed to work OK and I can't see an obvious alternative.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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Carver wrote:
Having got on top of the rules three of us have just played our first game.

Each of us built just one tall monument. All secondary craftsmen entered the game.

The game got extremely processional with each of us doing much the same thing each turn.

The game lasted just under two hours.

Is this a typical way it is played? I can't imagine it is but it seemed to work OK and I can't see an obvious alternative.

I've yet to delve in so am in no way qualified to comment, but despite that will venture to guess that it sounds like group think to me. I'm guessing that you might imagine more if you ponder different approaches to everyone grabbing a secondary craftsman in lock step.
 
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Dave Eisen
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No.

Did you all build craftspeople? That's unusual as some find it more profitable to leach off of other people's builds. And how did you all do the same thing? generally there are not enough resources available on the board for everyone to grow every turn.

Not enough details in your post so it is hard to see how this went, but it's easy enough to say that it doesn't always go this way because it doesn't always go any single way.
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Christophe Denoize
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You just have to set up a new map to see that two games won't be the same. Some can be close, but having plenty of resources in one game vs scarcity will change the pace and the possibilities

EDIT : I forgot to add that the available gods will also affect the strategies
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Jorik
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as Dave said it is very much a group think situation, the most important thing to recognise is that having a craftsman isn't a good thing per se. if the prices are relatively low or you have Anansi as god then you don't really need a craftsman so you can keep your VR lower then the rest needing to build lower monuments that need less resources so are easier to build.
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Derek Carver
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Thanks guys.

As recommended in the rules for first play we omitted the 'Expert' cards so we had just the resources available on the boards in a 3-player set-up. I was surprised when a Secondary Craftsman was introduced so early. Then one of each was. The Diamond Cutter was also played.

The only rule we seem to have got wrong but which we spotted was the confusing rule that alone among the Secondary Craftsmen the Thronemaker needs wood and not ivory. But, of course, there was plenty of wood around.

Turn order later in the game was essential; but the rules implied that.

Personally I would have liked to see more monuments started. And, in fact, now I come to think of it, just one was at a single story, providing a hub to get to craftsmen (but not resources, of course - we got that rule correct!)

I should also add we had the six gods recommended in the rules for one's first game.
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Tyler McLaughlin
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I've played over 150 games and I'm still discovering, even years into playing.

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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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e.e.goings wrote:
I've played over 150 games and I'm still discovering, even years into playing.

Wow. So many games played.
Even more impressive considering that an online implementation still has to be released...whistle
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Tyler McLaughlin
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I would say 50% of those have been 2 player.

It's amazing what you can accomplish by neglecting your kids...
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Carver wrote:
Having got on top of the rules three of us have just played our first game.

Each of us built just one tall monument. All secondary craftsmen entered the game.

The game got extremely processional with each of us doing much the same thing each turn.

The game lasted just under two hours.

Is this a typical way it is played? I can't imagine it is but it seemed to work OK and I can't see an obvious alternative.


Did you all win?

(And I don't mean to be snarky, but since only one of you can win, I bet some players were just playing into their own defeat rather than doing something different.)
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mfl134
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Carver wrote:
Thanks guys.

As recommended in the rules for first play we omitted the 'Expert' cards so we had just the resources available on the boards in a 3-player set-up. I was surprised when a Secondary Craftsman was introduced so early. Then one of each was. The Diamond Cutter was also played.

The only rule we seem to have got wrong but which we spotted was the confusing rule that alone among the Secondary Craftsmen the Thronemaker needs wood and not ivory. But, of course, there was plenty of wood around.

Turn order later in the game was essential; but the rules implied that.

Personally I would have liked to see more monuments started. And, in fact, now I come to think of it, just one was at a single story, providing a hub to get to craftsmen (but not resources, of course - we got that rule correct!)

I should also add we had the six gods recommended in the rules for one's first game.


Ah, playing with some recommended setup may have limited options.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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I would very much like to see a photo of the setup as the game ended. It needn't be exact. The way you described matters leads to all sorts of weird effects in the game's economy and topology. I wouldn't have thought the game was capable of generating such a twisted whole.

Apart from that, players in general shouldn't be doing the same thing over and over again. It just means that one player is destined to win even if it isn't yet clear, or that the other players lack the clout to pull the game their way when it does become clear. One thing is very much clear though: this is not the usual way in which TGZ plays out.
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Alex P
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After playing it 60 times, I wouldn't want to play it online - it's just too short of a game. It's not like playing it requires a whole afternoon to get it done; you can knock a game out with newbies in 90 minutes (including explanation) or about 2 hours with experienced players.

Maybe it's the fact that I play in a large city and can easily enough players willing to take a chance on a dark box with no in-game picture on the back... Gotta print out something to stick on the back - the white background does scare some potential players off. :)
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Curious to hear these numbers, as usually it's 2, then 3 hours. Or are you and your players des penseurs rapides?
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Derek Carver
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Just a note to thank everybody who kindly replied; especially those who stayed on topic(!) It is clear you all have an enthusiasm for the game that eluded us (which as the owner of the game I found disheartening).

To those who enquired, we played the recommended 'first game' set-up with the 'Experts' (is that what they are called?) excluded, which could have made a difference.

On our first turn we all placed a Craftsman. We then proceded to raise our starting Monument because that seemed to us the best way of getting lots of VP. To try to block an opponent’s progress one player (who didn't win) introduced a Secondary Craftsman, as were other. The Diamond Cutter was also broght on, which allowed a Monument to reach a height of five.

Scores were close enough at the end to regard that aspect of the game to be regarded as satisfactory. But we couldn't see what we would do differently next time other than being perhaps more aware of the need to have plenty of cattle at the end in order to go first in turn order and block others from getting at resources. In fact I was hoping to find we were playing some important rule incorrectly but, sadly, we weren't!
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Carver wrote:
In fact I was hoping to find we were playing some important rule incorrectly but, sadly, we weren't!

I can think of several, but for that I need an image as otherwise I'm just mentioning stuff at random which is hardly productive. Hence my request for one. What you describe does sound mightily curious; and even if it's not a rules error I want to see how you tortured the poor game meeple.
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Christophe Denoize
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Quote:
which allowed a Monument to reach a height of five.

I played about 25 games, and I have barely seen 5 level monuments. That's not it can't happen, but the game becomes most of time too aggressive before someone has the time to reach that height.

The wrongly used rules I could see are the following
* did you use a map of the correct 3P size ?
* didn't you forget sometimes to exhaust your resources ?

I'm not claiming you were playing with the wrong rules though, just trying to help.
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Derek Carver
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Quote:

* did you use a map of the correct 3P size ?
* didn't you forget sometimes to exhaust your resources ?

I'm not claiming you were playing with the wrong rules though, just trying to help.


Yes Christoph we used the rather strange looking 3-player map. The tiles at the ends of each of the 'wings' never featured in the game.

I am not saying that we never omitted to blank out a used resource but we had a non-moving player sitting with the markers in his hand and putting them down as needed so I doubt if they were missed.

The Diamond Cutter got put out early (maybe a tactical mistake) and was in reach of two resources. So that relieved the pressure earlier in the game.

We also played the rule correctly that hubs can be used ( at the cost of one cattle to the bank) for the obtaining of Ritual goods but not for Resources.

You never know guys, we may have found a way of playing you have all missed and the game will never be the same for you again! Sorry about that.
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Getting to Level 5 monuments with Secondary Craftsmen on the board would take 7 resources per monument. That's why it's rare.

How many rounds did your game take?

Carver wrote:
On our first turn we all placed a Craftsman. We then proceded to raise our starting Monument because that seemed to us the best way of getting lots of VP.
Just a note. A quicker way to get points would be to build a second level 1 monument on your first turn, and then on each future turn, to raise both of your monuments.

As a comparison, 3 turns of monument raising is a level 4 monument, and 13 points.

1 turn of building a second monument, and 2 turns of raising them to level 3 is 14 points.

But, of course, this is all map dependent.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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I'm really suspecting bad player decisions.
Craftsmen should only be built if the resulting situation serves you more than it serves the other players. Which you will learn is a rare occurrence.
At your credit, identifying these situations is not easy at all at the beginning.
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Carver wrote:
Yes Christoph we used the rather strange looking 3-player map. The tiles at the ends of each of the 'wings' never featured in the game.

So you were effectively playing with 11 resources (2 from the starting tile, 3 x 3 from the remaining ones). That simplifies the analysis.

Quote:
You never know guys, we may have found a way of playing you have all missed and the game will never be the same for you again! Sorry about that.

No. I think I know what happened. It's a combination of all sorts of little things.

I placed together a few tiles in a 2 x 2 grid based on the above and other bits of information. I noticed that it's fairly easy for resouces to 'clump' a little in that configuration, meaning that it becomes very inviting to place apprentice and master craftsman close to each other without harming their resource outlook. You don't need costly hubs to get the master product produced then. In an economy with few hubs, and few means to inject significant asymmetrical amounts of cash, players can afford to just wait for a turn in order to collect cows they can subsequently spend on monument upgrades themselves.

You also got out the diamond cutter early. Because he cannot be blocked by an upgrade, effectively you greatly accelerated the monument building process. (I hope you were sensible enough to price him at 3 cows, though.)

Because you lacked the Nomads experts, you also couldn't create 'fences' of monuments to force hub stopovers. (The rules state that if your path traces through a hub, you must use it thusly, even if you still have range left.)

The upshot is that you inadvertedly destroyed all control over the timing of the game, made it as fast as possible too, and turned it highly cooperative instead of competitive. Everyone was financing each other, within a turn or two. Of course that all goes well until the very end when you absolutely need to be the first to get to the resources for that last upgrade, otherwise you're done for. In a randomless game that means that the winner is already established, even though (s)he may not realise it yet. The desire to avoid such an outcome is what ought to motivate you to play rather differently the next time. You may not have absolute control, but it's better than little to no control. In addition, introducing the specialists means that players get different amounts of money, and that thus the cross-financing takes a hit. Put another way: one player no longer really needs the others as much as they need him, and will accelerate his development. At that moment the outlook begins to diverge, and will different playing styles emerge.
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Derek Carver
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I think Maarten you have hit the nail on the head.

I laid out the tiles as they came and it resulted in the central section of the board being stuffed with resources whereas they were very sparse on the wings of the 3-player set-up. And, as you commented, we ended up playing very cooperatively even though that was not the intention.

We are all very experienced game players and given the set-up in front of us, and our inexperience with this particular game, we played the way that seemed most obvious for scoring VPs.

It seems we did everything correctly. However, our lack of enthusiasm to play again has been countered by the obvious enthusiasm of the replies to my posting. I feel, as suggested by Maarten, the pure chance of the set up we had encouraged our way of playing as beginners. It might never happen again.
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Christophe Denoize
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On a side note : have you ever played another Splotter's game ? Food Chain Magnate for example can convey a similar feeling : early games might be peaceful, and become quickly aggressive and engaged, with fierce price wars.
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Thibaut Palfer-Sollier
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And the marketing is somewhat the craftsmen of FCM.
 
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Maarten D. de Jong
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Carver wrote:
I feel, as suggested by Maarten, the pure chance of the set up we had encouraged our way of playing as beginners. It might never happen again.

The story doesn't end here: there was nothing really wrong with the way you played. The game isn't broken or anything. You can force it in that direction intentionally... but you pay for it by having to work out, really quite meticulously, how you are going to control the whole at the last so that you still win. Make one error, and you lose. Most would prefer a more comfortable margin of error meeple.
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