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Subject: Played first game - underwhelmed rss

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Paul Leoncavallo
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Got to play this one for the first time this past weekend and all the players seemed to agreed that we were are all very underwhelmed with the game. I was convinced that we had to be playing something wrong, but in looking through all the rules threads here, it looks like we did it all correctly.

1) At first I liked the idea of the Chronicle, but as we learned in this first game, a player can very much fast track the game to the finish. In fact after about 20 minutes the game was almost 3/4 complete. I guess it's up to the other players to make sure tiles aren't left empty or at least not set-up someone that is going to take back Vassals so that multiple tiles are moved off the board in the same turn? This happened a couple times with two and three tiles being removed respectively early in the game (granted this was the short game).

I supposed I understand the idea of not allowing this to happen, but at the same time if you're worrying about not letting tiles clear then you're not really making the best move for yourself in order to get done what you need too.

2) The Objective tiles. Depending on the game, I typically don't mind a bit of luck involved, especially when it comes to things like dice or pulling chips from a bag (though that is not the case here). I realize that pulling 3 tiles at a time and selecting one mitigates the luck factor, but it just seems a bit too random. You don't know what Dragons to 'collect' until you know which objective tiles are out there. But at the same time it's costly to go to the objective tile space and you're also doing the work for your opponents in placing one of those tiles since everyone can benefit. Ooh, and the dragon ability that can remove an objective tile, that's just evil.

3) The board spaces. For me, one of best parts of worker placement games is trying to figure out what your opponent(s) need and if it fits into your plan, blocking them by taking spaces. As far as the board spaces are concerned, you can block very few of them. Just about all of them allow as many Vassals as you want (spearmen vs dragon rider notwithstanding). This also seems weird to me. Granted the Wilds tiles are much more powerful for the most part and many of those only allow for one Vassal per space, but there are still some very important ones on the board that you simply cannot block. Maybe it's not so much blocking another opponent that I like, but more that I have to think my moves through further and take into account that I could get shutout if I don't do things in the right order. With this, it doesn't really matter.

I really want to like this game. Ever since it was released at Essen 2015, it's been on my radar. But so far... it's very 'meh.' I can appreciate that my observations are all from just one play and I really hope more time with the game with reveal some deeper game play.

Hoping some of you out there who enjoy this one can offer some thoughts?
 
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Eagle-Eyed Superhawk
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Hi Paul,

Regarding the Chronicle, were you playing the Short, Medium, or Long version? Short felt ridiculously quick for us. Medium was better. Haven't played Long yet but I suspect it will be my preferred mode.
 
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Janeck Jensen
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These are exactly the same thoughts my group had after playing it.
We played a medium game, 4 players, and all thought that pulling out objectives like a bad idea and that the chronicle is an interesting mechanic, but it's too easy to manipulate.

It just fell completely flat for us.
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E Thomas
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It was a one and done for me.
 
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Paul Leoncavallo
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@Eagle-Eyed Superhawk

We were playing the short game (8 tiles in the Chronicle), which was definitely a factor. Though even with a larger Chronicle it still doesn't remove the fast track 'strategy.' I don't think the player who did this liked the game very much and saw a way to get out as quickly as possible.
 
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Michela & Dario Basile
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nyys wrote:

Hoping some of you out there who enjoy this one can offer some thoughts?


I really like the game, and I agree with everything you wrote: Simurgh is not a typical worker placement game re-themed with dragons, it's a very different beast: manipulating chronicles, objectives, etc... is an integral part of the game, and what makes it unique. With the expansion, things get "worse" (from a WP-lover perspective): the path to the tomb, the spells... If you don't like this, there is no way you'll like Simurgh - it's just a matter of personal taste.
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Adam Lucas
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I know at least one person that played Simurgh was a little thrown off by the worker placement component. The truth is, it's not a normal worker placement game.

One way it differs is by having a large element of timing. If you play a tile you want to make sure to maximize your ability to capitalize on it and minimize your opponent's use of the tile. If you have a ton of meat and veggies to complete an exploration tile and you play it when your opponents have few, the tile is basically yours with few opponents taking advantage of your play. Likewise there's a tile that allows you to sacrifice riders or spearmen for a lot of points. It's a great end game play.

I look at it more as an exercise in resource management and conversion. If you have tiles that convert resources for other resources and resources for points and have a lot of those resources, you can gain a lot of points.

When it comes to the Chronicles I don't really mind taking advantage of tiles that my opponents play. Sure, I might not have access to the amazing space they took when they played the tile, but usually the other spaces on the non-explore tiles aren't too bad and if I use the tiles as well then I can sort of control the length of the game. Also, there's always the chance that that really good space they took right away may be available for me to use later.

If you look at Simurgh as a game that has a worker placement element rather than as a worker placement you can really start to see how it is a pretty clever little game.
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For those that only played this game once, my suggestion is to play it a few more times. The game fell flat for me during my solo learning game, but I felt there was something there. Played with my wife and it fell flat for her as well... But as this was a kickstarter, I wanted to get some more mileage out of it, so I wasn't going to give up so easy

Lo and behold, our 3rd game going forward, we were enjoying it more and more - my wife originally gave Simurgh a 5.5 after her first game, but by our 4th play-through, she revised her score to an 8!

I think that the problem lies in that there are so many things going on, that the synergy between actions aren't very visible. Repeated play-through allow more strategies and tactics (this is a very tactical game) to be revealed and opportunities that could be taken.

To echo Adam above me, try to think of the worker-placement as only one mechanism out of many, and not necessarily the main one either. There's resource management, bluffing, a bit of take-that (My wife laughed manically as she pulled a combo using her dragons to take one of my tiles I was about to complete).

It's unfortunate that this game isn't more friendly to first-time players, but it's a great game.
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Ben Geek

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eddiepbauer wrote:
For those that only played this game once, my suggestion is to play it a few more times.

It's unfortunate that this game isn't more friendly to first-time players, but it's a great game.


This. All of this. The first few games we played felt like they had a very strange pace - you burn through all your wild cards in the first few minutes and then desperately try to lengthen the last quarter of the game because you've barely got started. Eventually you learn to plan, place your wild tiles more carefully (because they're expensive to replace!) and most importantly, make the most of OTHER players wilds tiles when they come out.

As you get more used to it, deliberately accelerating the game becomes an identifiable strategy that you can spot coming from a mile off. In my experience it's pretty tricky for a player to pull ahead early AND end the game quickly without other people catching them up. Be interested to hear other people's experiences of this though?

It takes a few plays, and if you got the Kickstarter I'd suggest leaving the expansion on the shelf for the first few games, but Simurgh actually has some really cool, unique elements to it that I suspect means it'll always have a place (in my collection at least).

nyys wrote:
Ooh, and the dragon ability that can remove an objective tile, that's just evil.


This one seems to piss a lot of people off and it is kinda hard to defend (it feels oddly 'take that'), although I don't actually mind it too much in practice. I do however know some people who've removed this poor, much-maligned chap from the dragon deck altogether!
 
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