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A Game of Thrones (first edition)» Forums » General

Subject: Any ideas on how to speed up order placement? rss

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I've played GoT several times now and one of the things that drags out the game is Placement Phase. Granted, it is the meat of the game and important to get your orders right. My problem is that often there are one or two players experiencing AP or for whatever reason take much longer than the rest of the group. Waiting for the last player or two can really make the game grind for the rest.

So, my question is whether anyone that has confronted this has come up with a good way to speed things up yet be fair for all concerned.
 
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Chris Trimmer
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Use the Robo Rally rule. Once a single player remains with order placement left, start a minute timer. After the minute ends they are stuck with whatever they placed (or didn't).
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Adam McLean
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The group I play with doesn't usually have this problem, but one thing you can do is set a time limit, maybe 5 minutes (or whatever can be agreed upon), that is enough time to set and doublecheck your orders. Get a timer, use a watch, whatever, but when times up --- no more orders.
 
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We've generally found that the key to speeding up order placement is to do it quickly.

This speeds up the game tremendously!

(sorry, someone had to do it!)
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I appreciate the responses, but was wondering if anyone else has actually confronted and solved the problem. It seems like a timer might be too harsh. Placing orders is a key part of the game. Still, I totally agree that the way to speed up is to just play faster. That seems difficult for some players. Cutting them off mid play seems little better than simply not choosing to play this game with them, which is another alternative.
 
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James Boyd
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I play with a close group of friends that have played many games together over the years (decades). We coax the last player to place orders with "verbal cheering" like:

Come on Grandma!

My God, you still haven't placed your last order?

Quick, someone check and see if it's time to mow my lawn again!

Just put anything down, it won't matter, you're dead anyway.

 
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Anthony Simons
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If you're going to go with the timer thing, then to speed it up the first player to finish placing the orders should start a timer; but a more reasonable three minute timer would probably work better than a thirty to sixty second sand timer.

As a rule I don't like the restriciton of timers in such a game so perhaps not. However I was thinking of implementing a special rule to stop people rethinking when their decision has already been made:

Once placed, an order may not be replaced (with the obvious exception of the player holding the raven).

My only worry is that this might slow things down anyway if nobody decides to place.

I think I'll probably go with both this and a timer - that'll put the cat amongst the pidgeons.
 
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Amin
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Using a timer worked very well for us. Placing phase was taking forever before hand, even with the yelling at players. It usually varies too who takes too much time. Early on one or two factions that are most involved take a lot, then other players become the laggers, make the earlier chastising by them a little hypocritical.

Using a timer keeps it fair for everyone. 3 minutes should be fine, you'ld be surprised how that affects the game. People can easily place there orders within 3 minutes. It also speeds up diplomacy, and there's a shift toward more open diplomacy right at the table. People also become more likely to negotiate before the planning phase (or at least start writing out the offers early) if they want a more secret deal.

You can also try a "rolling timer" idea I came up with but haven't tried yet. Early turns you can often place orders faster than 3 minutes. You could add that spare time to the next round. For example, if you took only 2 minutes, the next round could have 4 minutes for placement. Or you could have rounds 8, 9, 10 (if you get there) have a higher placement time, perhaps 10 having unlimited [in a reasonable] fashion. Whatever method you find, I think it's much better than just yelling at players, and it sets an essential maximum time limit on the game. We haven't found it necessary yet to time battle's and biddings, although those can sometime take a while as well.

Now that the game is shorter, we can sometimes even play two 3 hour games in a row without burning out, whereas we had the old 7 hour marathons. When you have faster games, it has a self fueling effect, as you've invested less time 2 hours in than 6 hours in, so there's less pressure and importance that all your orders be perfect.
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Travis Hall
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I have observed that generally, regardless of the game being played, hassling slow players just disturbs their concentration, making it even harder to figure out whatever they are trying to figure out and thus extending the amount of time it take for them to do it.

Something that I found worked well to speed up order placement was to head to the hardware store, get a long piece of decorative bunting (I think that's the word for it) and cut that into shorter lengths. Thus, I created objects similar to Scrabble tile racks, but sized to hold 15 order tokens for AGOT. (Be careful to select bunting with the right cross-section to hold the tokens upright enough.) Simply being able to place all the order tokens on the rack, so that the player can see exactly where all the tokens are and doesn't have to go searching through tokens placed face down on the table, often speeds up order placement considerably.

Others, I understand, prefer screens.
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