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The Great Dinosaur Rush» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Paleontologist imbalance rss

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Joe Sallen
United States
Boone
Iowa
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After several games, I am certain the paleontologists suffer from a lack of balance. I've noticed this in many of Scott's games, most recently in Tiny Epic Western (The Chief and the sheriff or whatever he's called are the same ability, only one is objectively better in every way).

I find that there are several abilities which grant, in the best case scenario, 3 points or less. Many other abilities are vastly superior and can result in several more throughout the game (a point for every 1st, winning ties, etc.). I don't think John Wesley Harding is a playable character as I've seen players lose literally 25 points in a round simply because of winning ties.

I may be "thinking too much" about a light game, but the reason I mention anything is I love the mechanics of the game and have never seen anything like them before. I think with a little help it can move from an underdeveloped kickstarter to a classic I can recommend without reservations.
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Nicholas Dewald
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Olathe
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A little off topic:

I've only played once so I definitely can't speak to the balance of some of the characters, but after playing it this is not a game I would play to "win". I would play it more for the experience of building unique looking dinosaurs. YMMV

TLR So yeah they may be imbalanced but personally I don't mind that. And maybe Scott knew this.
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James Clarke
United Kingdom
Caithness
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I've never played the game, but I wonder if there might be some scope for a variant whereby you draught a new paleontologist helper at the beginning of every round (instead of being the same character throughout)? Maybe the player in last place chooses first? I'm guessing that a reduced pool of paeontologists might be required for this.



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Sea
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Wilayah Persekutuan
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Could you provide some examples of which paleontologists (along with their powers) that you find too strong/weak? Or certain pairings where one is almost always better than the other?
 
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Joe Sallen
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Boone
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John Wesley Harding has the potential of creating huge losses in points. As I mentioned, the fact that he wins ties resulted in one player losing 25 points during only one of the three scoring rounds.

At least two of the paleontologists have the potential to score 3 points maximum. One of them is "3 points if you have the least bones" and another is "score an extra point if you place in the length category". These are both worse than the paleontologist that scores "1 point for every first place". That is a a potential of up to 15 points, and in all the games I've played with him, it has garnered at least 7 points but frequently more. I would say the person that lets you gain an extra point for donating falls into the "weak sauce" category because it only applies when taking points for donations, and never when removing notoriety. The most I've seen it get is 2 points, though I could see 3 or 4 at best.

The paleontologists representing actual abilities I'm not entirely certain about, though I have my suspicions. One of them allows you to publicize two spaces instead of one. This alone can result in increasing a category from scoring 2 to scoring 15 (or vice versa) in the round right before scoring. However, I think most of the abilities seem within the realm of reason in terms of usefulness. The ability to move two spaces without being in a straight line really opens up options. One of the personalities I simply do not like (the one that lets you force others to discard bones). Nor do I play that you can steal bones from spaces with other player's figures on them. That's more of an issue of playstyle than balance, though.

I would say that there should be way more points awarded to a few of the weaker personalities because I would prefer them to all feel equally strong than to having them play a minor role.
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Joe Sallen
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Boone
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I think I misnamed John Wesley Harding in my 25 points discussion. Whichever one I mean to say is the one that wins ties. That one is horribly overpowered and resulted in huge losses and gains.

I personally think that the 3 point abilities are so pointless they may as well not be included. In our games, the winning scores are over 100 points, meaning that the extra three points is less than 5% of the total points.

I enjoy the abilities, as well as Marsh's, because I want the paleontologists to impact the game.
 
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Kellen F
United States
Delaware
Ohio
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We played a game last night where I was John Wesley Powell for the first time and boy is it imbalanced. I didn't count how many points I cut people off by, but it was likely at least 20 points per player due to ties by the end of the game, and I completely forgot to use the ability the first round. I think Powell will be permanently retired from future games. Alternatively I think it could be a one time only per game or even one time per round at which point it's a bit less overpowered.
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