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Subject: Impressions after 1 play rss

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Sander Kouwenhoven
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Since nobody has posted anything about the gameplay or has made a review, I thought I'd share my thoughts after our first game yesterday night.

This is not a review, but just my first impressions after 1 play.

Components
Components are good. The board looks nice while it is still very easy to see all the paths and other important elements on it. I like the general art style on the cards etc. Overall it is a very well produced game.

Rulebook
The rulebook is clear and we didn't have a lot of questions during our first playthrough. It is well written.

Gameplay
We loved it! There's a lot of tension and the mechanic of timing your actions and programming them simultaneously work wonderful. The game plays fluently. The impact of the guards is just right. If you plan carefully you will never get caught by the guards if none of your opponents are trying to mess you up. However, the main fun of this game is messing with your opponents, so we did get thrown into Dungeon several times...

The events are a great addition to the game, some events can really foil your plans (like when you don't know the guards initiative number when planning your actions)

The game reminds me a bit of Fury of Dracula (third edition), because it is about programming your movement and avoiding capture. However, I think this game will get much more tabletime than Dracula, as it plays faster, has a shorter duration. It is also like Dracula, because it gives you that all-against-one feel, once somebody has stolen the Emperors' jewel, but this time the target will change when the jewel changes ownership, making for a very dynamic game.

Session

A quick synopsis of our game last night, to give a feel for how it plays:

We started with 4 players, everybody made a dash for the center, at which we arrived almost all at the same time. As first thief the next round, I would be able to steal the jewel and hide inside of the sewers, but I made a mistake and assigned too little AP to my move, so one of my opponents was able to web me in the face, leaving me too slow to do anything and I ended up getting caught cry

Another thief did rush for the jewel and was able to escape through the sewers, however a third thief had planned for this all along and made sure he moved last, moving to the same sewer exit and handily stole the jewel in the same turn it was acquired. The other 3 thieves tried to steal it from him for some rounds with hilarious actions all around. (Moving guards to his location, webbing him, doing all sorts of nasty stuff, but the rat (who was holding the jewel) was quite smart and evaded most of our traps (throwing smoke grenades really helps with this) As we battled our way towards the exit, it became clear that time ran out quite quickly.

In the end, I trapped the rat with a card that glued him to his spot for the round, making it impossible for him to escape before the event cards ran out. The other two thieves decided it was time to skip town and escaped with some jewels, while I and the jewel thief were too late and had to spend the rest of our lives in the probably not too well furnished rooms of the dungeon eating stale and moldy bread.

Summary
I am very happy with this Essen purchase and will probably play it a lot! All 4 players had a great time. The game took about 2 hours, but this will probably be less in future games as we hopefully get better and faster at planning our moves. A great game, if this seems like your kind of game, I can definitely recommend getting this!

*edited for spelling *
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Vasilis
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I'm on the fence about this one. So here are some questions:

1} If everyone draws their tricks from a common deck, doesn't this make the game a bit random? How can I focus on a strategy if I can't draw the specific cards that will allow me to execute it?

2} Is there Kingmaking in this game?

3} Are there multiple tricks and game effects available to provide flavor, multiple tactics and replayability to the game even after I've played 4-5 times?

4} Does each thief feel and play completely different from the others or is their special ability just a minor thingy to differentiate him/her slightly so that they don't feel 100% the same?

Thank you in advance!
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Sander Kouwenhoven
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Keep in mind that I've only played this once, so take my answers with a grain of salt...

Bowmangr wrote:
1} If everyone draws their tricks from a common deck, doesn't this make the game a bit random? How can I focus on a strategy if I can't draw the specific cards that will allow me to execute it?


There's some randomness in what you get, but typically you want to hold on to certain cards so you can execute a masterplan later on. There's also an action that lets you draw 1 card and then you must discard 1 card, allowing for some randomness mitigation. Also I felt that most cards were equally useful, just in different situations.


Bowmangr wrote:
2} Is there Kingmaking in this game?


There could be, but no more than in other games. It depends on your gamegroup, but if everybody just goes for the best result for themselves than I don't think that this is much of an issue.

Bowmangr wrote:
3} Are there multiple tricks and game effects available to provide flavor, multiple tactics and replayability to the game even after I've played 4-5 times?


I think you can find different strategies like just going for gems, going for the jewel or loitering around the palace to steal the jewel. Other than that it's difficult for me to answer that question after just 1 play.

Bowmangr wrote:
4} Does each thief feel and play completely different from the others or is their special ability just a minor thingy to differentiate him/her slightly so that they don't feel 100% the same?


I think they feel reasonably different, aside from their special ability printed on their "sheet", they also have a different special card they can use each turn. We've found that for instance the Rat's special ability of using sewer exits was quite special. And the Captain's special card that allows the stealing of jewels is also quite strong, making possibly for very different tactics depending in what thief you play.

Hope I've given you some useful information! Good luck making your decision.
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Vasilis
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WebKoala wrote:

Hope I've given you some useful information! Good luck making your decision.


You did! Thank you. meeple
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Potkaniak
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Sounds pretty cool. Lately I have been getting co-op games, and I have few more on my list but I have been looking also for some games that would fit need for everyone for themselves experience that looks pretty, seems to play well and has nice theme for everyone to get into it and does not take 4 hours to play. This looks just like one of the games I need! Definitely want to order it next month when paycheck comes. Now I just can't wait for some big overview/gameplay presentation.

EDIT: waiting for some gameplay video but still can't find any. So my question for you, and others that had chance to play it - how is it with 2 players? Usually we have 2 or 3 other people come over to play boardgames, but when alone, we enjoy to play 2p games a lot. How is 2p experience in this game?
 
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Wydawnictwo Galakta
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Although we hope that someone, who bought the game will answer, we can say that we playtested the game heavily with 2, 3 and 4 players and it works just fine with any number. The rules stay the same and the players eventually meets at the centre, so there's still a lot of interaction. ninja
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Galakta wrote:
Although we hope that someone, who bought the game will answer, we can say that we playtested the game heavily with 2, 3 and 4 players and it works just fine with any number. The rules stay the same and the players eventually meets at the centre, so there's still a lot of interaction. :ninja:


I can confirm this. With more people, there's just more fun and probably more unpredictability. It still works very well with 2 and encourages a lot of interaction in mid and late game.
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Savoy Lord
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I like the game but it is more eurotrash.
King and Assasins was less random.
Here player powers are not very well balanced. The character that give +1 move is strong. The one that allows to draw +2 cards as well. Not even talking about the one that can switch sewer colors.

The problem is randomness of yellow gems and cards.

Another problem will be the coalition to stop the thief who stole the red jewel. This will result either in getting him comaught by a guard or the others thieves will try to stop him or steal from him. Most likely he will not come out with the jewels and won t have enough time to go out. Maybe it is better to look for green an yellow gems in the game and move your way in stealth to an exit.

This game has great strategical control éléments and ameritrash éléments which makes the whole thing flirting with chaos and more like a family game finally.

So my final thought.
Good at 4 players for a lot of interaction and fun. Not suitable if you like no luck or little luck factor.

 
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Alex Limoges
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I am sad to read this. I was fully expecting a witty game of programmed moves... with luck, of course, but still, with enough room for clever planning. I was hesitating between this one and The Dragon and the Flagon, but decided to take a chance with Age of Thieves because several people said that Dragon and Flagon was random...

Is that a shared feeling? Is the game leaning heavilty towards chaos, therefore being a light game for families?
 
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Savoy Lord
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Well there is room for clevet planning and you get to use your brain like in a propper euro game but you have to deal with the randomness of events, cards you draw, where yellow gems are placed, randomness of city tokens. And your clever planning might of course be jeopardized by opponents. Well that is the game still it s immersive, fun, intetesting (i enjoyed the great initiative mechanic with the guards). Yes it s not a eurogame as said it more eurotrash. But it is defintively a cool Game
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Solipsiste wrote:

Is the game leaning heavilty towards chaos, therefore being a light game for families?


Definitely not. My impressions are quite different than Lordsavoy's . He's mentioning randomness, but he kind of forgets to mention that it's a randomness you can control to a quite satisfying point. Afraid of city tokens? Don't pick them up, you don't have to. But if you see that 5 guards were already discovered on the map (there's 6 in total), then you obviously calculate your chances of getting another one - and can risk a bit. Card randomness? Noone is forcing you to play them. You can draw quite few of them and keep the most interesting/crucial ones to be played when you need them. Yellow gems? It's not random, there are certain rules telling you where to place them. And yet, the game's main goal isn't about collecting them and calculating optimal route to pick them all. The game is about running away with Emperor's Jewel. All the points others gathered are for naught, if you can do this. The events can be most detrimental to your plans, but without them, the game would be too predictable and too dry, it would boil down to the execution of plans. Above everything else, the AP system is there. Are you scared that someone quite close to you could execute something nasty? Make sure your move is going to happen first. Simple as that. If you're not doing that and then complaining that some "randomness" hit you, you're just not playing optimally. It wasn't randomness, it was a smarter opponent.

There is definitely a space for using your wits and clever planning. I think the game is much more in ameri than euro neighbourhood.
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Savoy Lord
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Sebastian it is true you can make some deductions regarding the city tokens, it is true you can save cards for later but still some cards are more intersting than the others and crucials like the one giving +4 moves. I had the chance to play Noiron that gives 4+1 move and i had the luck to draw 2 cards giving + 4 (once per turn) so i had two turns with a potential of 9 moves each, that is huge ! My opponent didn't have that chance in my 2 player game. He stilled try to stop me with a fire and a clamp but was not enough

So your conclusion is clear and we all agree : it is an ameritrash game

As said i agree the AP mechanic, the initiative of guards are good mechanics and the game is fun, best with 4 players i'm quite sure !

Enjoy it !



 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Lordsavoy wrote:
So your conclusion is clear and we all agree : it is an ameritrash game :)


Lordsavoy wrote:
I like the game but it is more eurotrash.


I'm not sure if you are even in agreement with yourself, but I doesn't really matter, I guess.
 
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Savoy Lord
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well we can play with words and maybe i was not precise/clear enough. some elements of the game could make you say it has euro ingredients and other ameritrash, so eurotrash, but in the end, it tends perhaps more towards ameritrash. it is also what you said : '' I think the game is much more in ameri than euro neighbourhood.'' and well between eurogame and ameritrash there is eurotrash...
 
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Sander Kouwenhoven
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To chime in, a quote from my initial post:

Quote:
Another thief did rush for the jewel and was able to escape through the sewers, however a third thief had planned for this all along and made sure he moved last, moving to the same sewer exit and handily stole the jewel in the same turn it was acquired


This was all pure planning and had nothing to do with randomness...

Randomness is not a big issue, there's some, but a smarter player will always win from a 'lucky' player. The times I was feeling screwed during playing this game, it was because of an oversight in my planning or a really clever move from an opponent, not because of bad luck.

True, you can't calculate this game to death like a cube-pusher, but this is a highly interactive game with just enough chaos to keep it fresh, not a dumb luckgame. (imho)
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Tee Cee
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Lordsavoy wrote:
... player powers are not very well balanced. The character that give +1 move is strong. The one that allows to draw +2 cards as well. Not even talking about the one that can switch sewer colors.


I am interested in getting this game, but any potential balance issues worry me. Has anyone had a chance to play a few games, and can perhaps provide more detail as to the relative balance of the characters?
 
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Wydawnictwo Galakta
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While waiting for someone more objective, we want to add that the passive abilities of the characters were balanced with their special active cards. For instance Morius can move freely between sewers (which can be powerful ability if used right) but his active ability allows him only to look at the two city tokens. We believe the game is fair but lets see what other players think
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Tee Cee
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Thanks for the reply Wydawnictwo. I guess play-testing showed this to be the case(that the game is balanced) :-)
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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Just to note: Wydawnictwo simply means "publishing house". As in "Galakta Publishing House".

As for the matter at hand: I don't think any character is significantly stronger than others, when considered in vacuum. You want to play to their strenghts, but you don't have full control over how the game plays out, what others will do, how guards will be arranged, etc. This means you cannot blindly rely on one special ability. It's all about using the right thing at the right time.

But if you are really concerned about that, you can just houserule that characters don't have special abilities / cards (in fact, I believe that the manual suggests to do exactly that for your intro game). No other changes to the game needed. Everyone starts on the same foot. Nothing will break, as no other parts of the game are designed around these special abilities (at least that's what it looks/feels like).
 
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Tee Cee
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Oops - thanks for the info Sebastian! I knew I should have checked, but posted the thanks in a hurry when I didn't have much time. I remember thinking, '...is Galakta a surname? It's the company name but people often have companies named after their themselves...'! Doh!

Anyways, I've purchased the game...couldn't resist any longer!

Thanks again :-)
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Wydawnictwo Galakta
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Thanks Tee! Be sure to post your impressions after the play! We are very interested in what you'll think about Age of Thieves :-D
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Tee Cee
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Thanks - I will do :-)
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Tee Cee
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Should be playing a 4-player game of this tonight, so will hopefully update when I get a minute.
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Wydawnictwo Galakta
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Good luck! Can't wait to hear your first impression on the actual gameplay! thumbsup
 
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Gabriel Santos
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Hi

Wondering if someone can give some feedback here, i just heard of this game and i really love the theme of it.

I alredy have Cadwallon City of Thieves tho, and i was wandering are they too similar? i just watch the Dice Tower video about it and some of the compoenents and mechanics seem a little similar.

Would it be worth getting it or would be just duplicating what i already have?
 
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