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Subject: One of the worst games I've played in a while. rss

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Jonathan Hicks
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I've posted this in my review for the game but I'm posting here for a signal boost.

There are way too many mechanics that makes this game feel extremely random. You have a bunch of choices to make during your turn and throughout the game but, because you have so many, you don't really feel in control of what's going on.

For example, at the beginning of your turn you choose between 2 playing cards. As a side note, another annoyance is none of the suits are not what they should be. Anyway, you have to decide if one of those cards will be good in 6 different poker hands and if it'll be good as a high card for dueling your opponents. If you are playing 3 opponents and the dealer then there are 4 hidden cards. Not only that, but your card's number and suit can be changed from a building's ability. This "choice" might as well be random. You are not going to figure out the optimal probability from all those variables especially given that the card can "change" during a round of play.

Then, as the game progresses, the abilities from the porches changes from round to round as people buy more buildings. Which makes trying to plan from round to round useless. And if you do get on a useful spot, you can be removed through a duel.

Winning duels is based on a die roll, more randomness, and your poker card. Of course, if you loose the die roll then you can use some of your resources to re-roll. That will probably negate any reason to take that spot in the first place so I don't know why you would ever do this.

Then there is the points modifier at the town hall. Whoever wins their poker hand against the other opponents will be able to modify the scores on their buildings. The tiles move in a weird stacking order based on their position. So, if you win the poker hand, and the tile is in the right position, and it's a tile that matches a majority of symbols on your buildings, then you can boost the modifier.

Lastly, if you can't do anything on your turn then you can get another dude for the next turn. Honestly it feels like the designers admitting that you can easily get screwed over and maybe this extra worker will even it out. In reality it's more like throwing another working into the meat grinder. If you got screwed over the last round with having a bad hand and losing some duels adding another worker just adds another chance to be screwed.

So a game goes: at the beginning of your turn you choose a card to be used for dueling, building order, and resource gathering on buildings. A value that can change for you or your opponents. Good luck. Then, you start placing workers trying to get some resources to buy buildings which is affected by that same card. Good luck. And, if someone else wants that spot then hope you can roll high and/or have a high card to win to get resources. Good luck. Then hope that your card is good enough to beat the dealer so that you can nudge a score modifier for your buildings. Good luck. But, if you get screwed over this round then you get another worker next round to throw into this pachinko machine.

This game is terrible. One of the four of us thought it was 'ok' so I'll probably just give this to him. None of the rest of us ever want to play this mess again.

If you want a better game then look no further than Tiny Epic Galaxies. It's like night and day difference in how fun it is to this random junk. Everyone I've played TEG with has enjoyed it and would play it again any day.
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Jawby
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I appreciate your opinion but I think that TEG is every bit as "random" as TEW. There are actually even more dice in TEG if you want to focus on that aspect of the game.

After playing TEW I felt like Gamelyn nailed the wild west feel almost perfectly. I felt like every time you roll your dice in a duel it was like firing an actual bullet in a duel right down to using another bullet from your belt if you missed your target.

Personally I liked the changing porch cards so that people's moves were not all predictably going to the same porch every turn. Again, the unpredictable wild west feel shows through here.

The poker games were great too and changing your suit or value was just like slipping the ace up your sleeve into your hand to 'cheat' at a game of poker.

I understand and respect your thoughts but I really like TEW and I felt it needed a bit of perspective in this post. Thank you for sharing.
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Tomas Gudmundsson
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I have a small pet peeve against people who claim there is too much luck in a game. Chess is a game of pure strategy and people play for millions of dollars every year in championships. Poker is a game of pure luck, you're lucky to get the correct cards and lucky if your bluff isn't called, and is also played for millions of dollars every year in championships.

Blaming a game for luck sounds like a bad excuse to me. At least preface the review that you and your group prefer strategy over luck a great deal.

With TEW, I feel the resource management allows one to plan ahead. What building can I afford now, what building do I want to buy next. If I want that one, I must go to this place but also that place to purchase it - but someone else can afford that too so can I duel him, and do I have the resources to spend to re-roll in the duel. All these questions pop up into my head when I look at the two cards I am dealt in the beginning. Do I want to be the first to purchase a building by focusing on the Town Hall poker hand, do I absolutely need to win the pot at another location to afford a building, do I need a high card to win the duel I am inevitably will encounter at another location.

Before each round, every location you can purchase is available to all, to plan for the next round. Do you want to skip the purchase to be able to purchase next round.

So many possibilities, so much strategy imo. Yes it is random, but so are plenty of other good games. Yes there is some luck there, but there is also a bit of push your luck. "If I spend this extra resource to reroll my duel die, I could win it and I could get that other resource needed to buy that 4 point building".

Sorry for trying to sell you on a game you don't really like - it's just that I really like it. Playing some wild west ambience music from tabletop audio really sets the mood, and I always have a good time playing it.
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Shawn Garbett
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tomasgudm wrote:
Poker is a game of pure luck, you're lucky to get the correct cards and lucky if your bluff isn't called, and is also played for millions of dollars every year in championships.


If random individuals won poker every year in the tournaments, then it would be truly random. At it's pure physical level it's a random game, however there's a far deeper qualitative level of human interaction which makes it a game of skill. A truly random game is the lottery and people spend millions on it.
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Tolis Koutsikos

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maercsrats wrote:
I've posted this in my review for the game but I'm posting here for a signal boost.

Why the crossover really?
maercsrats wrote:
There are way too many mechanics that makes this game feel extremely random. You have a bunch of choices to make during your turn and throughout the game but, because you have so many, you don't really feel in control of what's going on.

There are 3 random elements:
- A deck of 20 playing cards (same for each player,you get to pick out of 2 cards and you can potentially modify the number/suit)
- A stack of 30 buildings (same for each player, you are guaranteed to go through the stack each game, and they move on the board in a predictable pattern)
- A d6 (not guaranteed to be used every round, can be re-rolled).

Rolling 7 dice in TEG gives you about 280000 792 different outcomes (thx CyberGarp, check his post below), and you randomly take 1 out of these, just for comparison.
maercsrats wrote:
For example, at the beginning of your turn you choose between 2 playing cards. As a side note, another annoyance is none of the suits are not what they should be.

What should they be exactly? That s just, like, your opinion man. You can use a normal deck of cards if you like to see hearts instead of cowboy hats, it makes no difference except the in-game suits are more thematic.
maercsrats wrote:
Anyway, you have to decide if one of those cards will be good in 6 different poker hands and if it'll be good as a high card for dueling your opponents. If you are playing 3 opponents and the dealer then there are 4 hidden cards. Not only that, but your card's number and suit can be changed from a building's ability. This "choice" might as well be random. You are not going to figure out the optimal probability from all those variables especially given that the card can "change" during a round of play.

There are 6 different locations so there are only 6 different card combinations each round. You have two workers so you have to weigh out 2 of 6 combinations at most. While I accept that you found this hard, it's not an insurmountable task, and it quickly gets easier with experience.

Realistically after the first workers are out you can mostly figure out the other players' cards.

Weighing your dueling potential is even simpler. Higher is better. The building's ability to change number/suit does not affect dueling as it triggers in the next phase.
maercsrats wrote:
Then, as the game progresses, the abilities from the porches changes from round to round as people buy more buildings. Which makes trying to plan from round to round useless. And if you do get on a useful spot, you can be removed through a duel.

The long term strategy comes from buildings purchased by players becoming worker spots next round, neutral building spots becoming available to purchase next round, and the stock market. Also your character's ability can guide your overall strategy. All this is actually a solid round to round strategy blueprint for a 6 round game that lasts slightly longer than an hour.
maercsrats wrote:
Winning duels is based on a die roll, more randomness, and your poker card. Of course, if you loose the die roll then you can use some of your resources to re-roll. That will probably negate any reason to take that spot in the first place so I don't know why you would ever do this.

Each spot can net you potentially up to 4 resources, so it can be worthwhile to spend a few to reroll. Of course, losing a duel doesn't mean you definitely miss the pot. But the main reason to choose spots is getting to purchase the building available in that area, not the resources. I think you missed this strategy completely on your playthrough. If anything, there's a growing thread in the forum on how dueling might be weaker than it should.

Not to mention cards in dueling is used only once per round, so after that the player's in a weak spot. You can even duel your opponent back and reclaim the same spot after you force him to use his card.
maercsrats wrote:
Then there is the points modifier at the town hall. Whoever wins their poker hand against the other opponents will be able to modify the scores on their buildings. The tiles move in a weird stacking order based on their position. So, if you win the poker hand, and the tile is in the right position, and it's a tile that matches a majority of symbols on your buildings, then you can boost the modifier.

Start your thinking in reverse; see what symbols you have most of, see what other players have, push the symbol that benefits you more higher. There are 3 symbols and 3 spots. 1st spot can hold 1 symbol, 2nd can hold 2, 3rd can hold 3. It is quite intuitive.
maercsrats wrote:
Lastly, if you can't do anything on your turn then you can get another dude for the next turn. Honestly it feels like the designers admitting that you can easily get screwed over and maybe this extra worker will even it out. In reality it's more like throwing another working into the meat grinder. If you got screwed over the last round with having a bad hand and losing some duels adding another worker just adds another chance to be screwed.

Are you arguing getting more of the good stuff is actually bad for you?

The extra worker is an amazing catchup mechanic. In our games it often happens that people don't buy buidlings one turn, to gain the extra worker and have a super turn next. Of course, we've played the game more than once so we had time to figure these things out.
maercsrats wrote:
This game is terrible. One of the four of us thought it was 'ok' so I'll probably just give this to him. None of the rest of us ever want to play this mess again.

I'm sorry you dind't like the game and felt your time wasted. I worry that your displeasure might have ruined the other players' experience though.
maercsrats wrote:
If you want a better game then look no further than Tiny Epic Galaxies. It's like night and day difference in how fun it is to this random junk. Everyone I've played TEG with has enjoyed it and would play it again any day.

Comparing TEG to TEW is like comparing Catan to Ticket to Ride. They have no relation to each other. TEG is a random, highly imbalanced dicefest (let me know if you want me to elaborate on that), TEW is a light-medium worker placement with light random elements. So I really think your comparison post is off. In any case, always keep in mind it takes more than one playthrough to make a review.
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David E
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tomasgudm wrote:
Poker is a game of pure luck, you're lucky to get the correct cards and lucky if your bluff isn't called, and is also played for millions of dollars every year in championships.


No, it really isn't. It has a high variance, but it's very much a game of skill.
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Tomas Gudmundsson
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I knew I was going to get flak for calling Poker a luck game. I'm well aware of the skill it takes to win grand prizes. But, in terms of the luck described in TEW it is very similar to the luck that takes place in Poker, you draw cards. Except for one die.

Roulette, and lotto are games of pure chance and luck and do get played a lot.
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David E
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tomasgudm wrote:
I knew I was going to get flak for calling Poker a luck game. I'm well aware of the skill it takes to win grand prizes. But, in terms of the luck described in TEW it is very similar to the luck that takes place in Poker, you draw cards. Except for one die.


I confess my copy of TEW is still sitting on my shelf waiting to be played, so I can't speak with certainty about your comparison, but it sounds like you're saying that the results of any given "contest" in TEW is pure luck, and comparing that to poker. If so, you're still wrong about poker - there is a lot more to any given hand than simply who drew the best cards. It may be that TEW is purely luck-based, as you say, but if it's like poker, then there would have to be a strong element of psychology, reading an opponent's intentions, and calculating odds and the value of calling or betting.

If all you do is draw a card and see who drew the better one, then it's not at all like poker.
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Brad103
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There are several factors of luck in this game, but there are lots of ways to get around it, or just play through it.

At the start of the round you have the ability to mitigate a lot of the luck with your choice of two cards. Often, between the cards on the table, and the cards you have a choice of, you can determine your chances for winning certain hands. Then, if you want you can play on locations that favor your cards, or play for instant spots.

As for dueling, it's your choice if you even want to. If you win, great, if not then you can still win the main pot and buy the card. So if you have a good poker hand, just go in guns a blazing and hope for the best, but don't waste energy winning the gun fight.

At the end of the day you still need to play for a building you can buy.

It's a lot to think about on each round, but it also helps you determine what you'll do each round.

Luck can guide the round, but its still your choice on how you handle it.
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Lawrence Myers
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I like the poker mechanic thrown in a worker placement game, it give this game a uniqueness that is not found in other games. The dueling is a bit fiddly for my taste but fits the theme and works out for the game. I think the player abilities are in need of a balancing update, I think IMHO they should all be abilities to modify dueling only. I also liked the suggestion (from another post) that each person be dealt 3 cards to choose from.

That being said, I have played this in two separate games, and each of the other players did not like this game and shared the same opinion as the OP. Merely an observation but I think this game only appeals to a certain type of gamer that likes to gamble.
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Shawn Garbett
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tokou wrote:
Rolling 7 dice in TEG gives you about 280000 different outcomes, and you randomly take 1 out of these, just for comparison.


As a statistician, I'm drawn to numbers like this like a moth to a flame. There's 279,936 ways 7 dice can land if the ordering or permutation counts, but in TEG it doesn't. There's 792 ways the dice can fall. When computing the probability of any combination, the denominator is the 279,936 and the numerator is the number of ways that combination can happen. For example, all dice showing energy, well there's only 1 way that can happen so it's got a probability of 1/279,936. But, since ordering doesn't matter, there's a bunch of ways three energy and four culture can come up out of seven dice. Thus there's only 792 combinations that can come up.

Alright, sorry for the diversion, couldn't resist. Had to compute the answer, which is curiously enough the binomial coefficient C(n+5, 5), where n=7.
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Randy D

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tomasgudm wrote:
Poker is a game of pure luck

Wow, you couldn't be more wrong on this point. The movie Casino Royale summed it up well: "...in poker you never play your hand. You play the man across from you." There is strategy in deciding how you wish to play the odds when you choose which cards to discard & which to hold, but way beyond that is the psychological factor in reading & leading your opponent. To this end, the cards are simply the McGuffin. This is why you will see professional Poker tournaments but you really don't see professional War tournaments. I will grant you that War is a game of pure luck.
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Barry Miller
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Jonathan is most certainly welcome to air an informed opinion, as is everyone else, so I appreciate his comments. But for all who may be considering this game, this public forum allows me to respectfully disagree, so I will. My disagreement is such that I feel exactly the opposite as Jonathan, for each of his points.

Above, Apostolis provided quite a list of counter-points. I'll add a few more:

maercsrats wrote:
There are way too many mechanics that makes this game feel extremely random. ... As a side note, another annoyance is none of the suits are not what they should be.

There are only five mechanics that I could count, and only two are random. There's worker placement, dice rolling, three card Poker, set collection, and, end-game scoring manipulation. The two random mechanics are of course, dice rolling and Poker. Plus, the fact that it has three card Poker as a mechanic makes the game rather unique, in my book!

And the comment about the suits not being what they should be... So, what should they be? Yeah, sure, I too raised an eyebrow when I first saw the four suits used for this game... "Why not the typical four suits we're all accustomed to?", I wondered. I guess that's the point the OP is trying to make. But it didn't take long to not only realize why - from a gameplay perspective - it's actually not a good idea to use the "normal" suits, but also how easily they're forgotten for the hats, teepees, steer skulls, and horseshoes!


maercsrats wrote:
Not only that, but your card's number and suit can be changed from a building's ability. This "choice" might as well be random. You are not going to figure out the optimal probability from all those variables especially given that the card can "change" during a round of play.

What Jonathan sees as a problem, I see as a virtue. I'm a little puzzled why he makes it sound like that the choice of changing a card's value or suit is out of the player's hands (thereby adding to the supposed randomness he's talking about), but modifying the card's value/suit, and deciding when to modify, is totally at the discretion of the player... and then only if he's willing to burn a turn to do so!

And this last point is the cost to the player... something that Jonathan never mentioned in his post... that each of the actions he has an issue with also comes at some strategic cost to the player taking the action, so it's not as if they're freely available "willy-nilly" (my words - not his).


maercsrats wrote:
Then there is the points modifier at the town hall. Whoever wins their poker hand against the other opponents will be able to modify the scores on their buildings. The tiles move in a weird stacking order based on their position.

Strictly going by the way the above excerpt is worded leads me to believe that the OP doesn't understand the rules about moving the Industry Tokens. Nothing wierd about it, and there is no mandated order.
The only rules are, that a token (any one) must be moved one space to the right at the end of each round, and that the 2nd space can't ever have more than two tokens on it, and the third space can't ever have more than one token on it. So I'm not sure how that equates to, "a weird stacking order based on position"?

Plus, I actually love this elegant, but simple mechanic that combines two purposes: Game timer, and end of game scoring manipulation. It's fantastic!


maercsrats wrote:
Lastly, if you can't do anything on your turn then you can get another dude for the next turn. Honestly it feels like the designers admitting that you can easily get screwed over and maybe this extra worker will even it out.

Finally, I also have a much different opinion here. This mechanism that he goes on to speak very ill of, is nothing more than a classic "catch-up" mechanism that is found in so many good games. Also, it's a very good way to mitigate misfortunate for when you do get a bad card draw or a bad die roll. So yeah, of course the randomness of the card draw and/or die roll can go both ways. But when it goes against you - which is the OP's primary complaint - at least it's mitigated by gaining an extra worker for the next round. But he complains about this too, so I'm not sure what the actual issue is!

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Gideon Stargrave
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maercsrats wrote:
For example, at the beginning of your turn you choose between 2 playing cards. As a side note, another annoyance is none of the suits are not what they should be. Anyway, you have to decide if one of those cards will be good in 6 different poker hands and if it'll be good as a high card for dueling your opponents. If you are playing 3 opponents and the dealer then there are 4 hidden cards. Not only that, but your card's number and suit can be changed from a building's ability. This "choice" might as well be random. You are not going to figure out the optimal probability from all those variables especially given that the card can "change" during a round of play.


There are many elements of your review that I disagree with, but this section strikes me as the silliest by far.

The choice of which card to keep is a crucial element of every round, and the fact that you don't understand this leads me to believe that you simply didn't "get" the game in general.

You really DON'T need to decide if the card will be good in "6 different poker hands", since you only have 2 or 3 posse members to place each round.

What you DO need to do is ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish that round and which of the 2 cards you were dealt can best help you reach that goal.

Do you REALLY need to buy a specific building or ensure that a certain stock moves up one spot? Then you should choose the card that gives you the greatest chance of winning Town Hall.

Do you REALLY need to use a particular porch slot with a delayed benefit [in the Resolution or Buy phase]? Then you might want to consider picking the card that will help you win a Duel so that you can hold on to that spot.

Do you REALLY need to win a particular type of influence from a poker pot to buy a building you have your eye on? Then pick the card that'll give you the best chance of winning the pot in that location.

Did you get a card that will guarantee that you'll win the poker hand at a specific location? Woo hoo, I have a Royal Flush, great... but does it really help you reach your goal? Maybe the spot where you are guaranteed a win will net you a type of influence that you're already maxed out on, or has a 1-point building that you really don't want to buy. You need to ask yourself if it's worth keeping the card with the guaranteed [but ultimately useless] win in favor of a different card that could potentially benefit you more in the long run.

So as you can see, it really isn't random, you should be putting a lot of thought into it if you're playing the game correctly.

Yes, you can use one of the spaces that let you change the number or suit of the card, but that's hardly a decision to be taken lightly... Since there are only 1 of each of these spots this ability is not a guarantee by any means - if another player needs to do the same, you'd better hope you win the Duel or else your plans will fall apart! Not to mention the fact that you are committing one of your precious posse members to this action.

Then there are secondary considerations if your primary goal isn't crystal clear [or if you simply didn't get cards that help your cause] - maybe I should keep the 2 of Horseshoes card to maximize the benefit of the Blacksmith building I'm planning to use, but then I'm giving up the 4 of Hats which could help me in a Duel [or be the tie breaker in case another player has a 4 card with a weaker suit]. Hmmm, decisions, decisions.

Finally, this part just made me laugh due to its sheer ridiculousness:

"Another annoyance is none of the suits are not what they should be."

Other posters have pointed this out, but it's just such a terrible, arbitrary reason to dislike the game that it needed to be noted again.

Pray tell, what SHOULD the suits be? The run-of-the-mill Hearts / Clubs / Spades / Diamonds of a standard poker deck? How boring.

Not only do the suits created for this game fit the theme perfectly, they are actually ingeniously integrated into the actual game play, giving them an additional layer of interaction with the buildings. Hat cards activate the special ability of the Haberdashery, Teepee cards activate the Lodge, etc. Very clever.

Anyhow, you are of course welcome to your opinion, but you are doing this awesome little game a great disservice by attempting to "boost the signal" of your overly negative [and IMHO ill-informed] review. At the very least, you owe the game more than a single play before you trash it as "terrible".
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Spike K
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1st 4 player game and the people that knew Poker the least won. They made some good choices.

kingmob75 summed it up well.


I recommended to others in general you first look at straight and flushes that you can possibly win with either of your choices and decide if those locations are worth winning. Maybe one round you just focus on resources gathering and catch up buying a building later with Left Over with your 3rd Posse next round.

Just like in any worker placement, you might end up with a 'poor' round due to other player's choices.

We all had fun and looking forward to getting more plays with it.


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Joao Rodrigues
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Everyone already said all I wanted to say, and I have given my share of likes nad geek coins to those who were saying exactly what I wanted to.

But I have to make this comment: sure everyone has its own tastes and feel better by playing one game rathen than the other, there is no problem with that. But to say that Tiny Epic Galaxy is better because this is more random really doesn't make any sense... like some already noted, TEG is a Dice Fest. You roll the dice, you check what you got and you decide upon it. In here you have several choice. Even your card dealt can be changed in order to mitigate the luck factor when it dealt. And you can use this card to mitigate the luck factor when you roll the one die in the game.

So ok, you didn't like it. Good for you. But I really feel that what made you like TEG better than this one is something else, not the "luck factor" of it. Perhaps the space theme...? Well, whatever... I'm enjoying this one very much. I loved TEG, but I'm loving TEW more. There is much more choice, much more strategic. And this is not even by point of view, is just by looking at the game's mechanics.
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