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Subject: Game length rss

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Jon Ben
Canada
Vancouver
British Columbia
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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I'll be playing this later in the week. I'm curious what the play times are like. Since the game can last any number of eras the time on the box has even less meaning than normal.

How long is the 1 era game?
 
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François Mahieu
Belgium
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90-120 minutes per Era with 3 experienced players.

Don't play a 4-player game.
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Jeff Thornsen
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A learning game is probably 90 minutes for a 1 era game. It felt like the game would speed up once all players are familiar with the game concepts and mechanics. Experienced players can probably do 1 era in 60 minutes, like the box suggests.

We also had to spend a lot of time sorting thru all the pieces to find the tiles we need. A plano box or other organizer would greatly speed up the setup time.
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Richard Dewsbery
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I played an introductory Era I game with three other new players on Saturday; took about 2 hours.

They enjoyed it so much that they wanted to play with the full rules, and into the second Era. So we cleared everything off, flipped the boards and played an Era I & II game. Although we were all faster than before, it still took 4 hours!

Three players is probably best if you are worried about game length; with four we were tripping over one another quite a lot (until a couple of embassies were bought which mitigated the effect of having to pay the fee). Usually you can plan while someone else is taking their turn, unless you are running low on resources and somebody stops where you were planning on going next.

It's an interesting game, and I much preferred 6 hours of The Colonists to the 3.5 hours we spent playing Terraforming Mars, but boy is this a long game!
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Raymond J Dennis Jr
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Meredith
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I played a two Era game with 4 players. It took about 3 1/2 hours. Love this game but it is long and one I would probably look to play two player or solo.

Course once people know the game you can start on any Era you want. So it would be cool to just play a Era 4 lvl game. But getting everyone up to speed so you can do that takes a lot of commitment. And in this day and age when a majority of gamers ar3e the Cult of the new and don't play the same game over and over as much, that is going to be hard. All depends on your game group.
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Jon Ben
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Of course I've been up all night! Not because of caffeine, it was insomnia. I couldn't stop thinking about coffee.
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Thanks everyone. I was hoping that the single era game play was set to the 30-45 min mark so stacking up 4 of those in one sitting wasn't asking too much.

Although, having read through the rules I think I would be happy to start in era 3, or 2 if we wanted a longer game. I don't think I'll miss the first era that much.

Of course, for the first game we'll just play the first era.
 
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Fred Wojtkielewicz
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Flagstaff
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He who comes too late is punished by life.
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3.5-4 hours, 4 eras, two players.
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Kareem Koh
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We played our first game with 4 yesterday and it clocked in about 4.5 hours for Era 1 & 2.
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HenningK
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I played it once, with 2 players. We did the tutorial first in order to understand the basic rules; that took maybe an hour. After that, we embarked on a full game, and in the middle of the 3rd era, we decided that we wouldn't play the 4th one as it was getting late. Those 3 eras took us about 4.5-5 hours. Yes, I am sure the time will go down with experience, as there was still a lot of rulebook-reading involved. But we also vowed to never play a full game with 4 players. Be sure to have a lot of time at hand when you play this.
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François Mahieu
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We eventually played a 3-player game for 10 hours, divided in 2 night sessions of 5 hours each. Era 3 lasted more than 3 hours! We were exhausted, couldn't even calculate our victory points in the end, and I had such an headache.



But this was soooo much fun! Great great game, but definitely not for everyone.

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Richard Dewsbery
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We started at 3pm yesterday, three players, intending to get as far as we could.

Two of us had played eras 1&2 before. The new player picks things up VERY quickly, needing almost no rules explanation, and he was NOT the slowest of us - I think I might have been.

We stopped at 9.30pm and scored it, at the end of Era III. As Francois says, Era III is hellishly long - we'd rattled through Era I.

Still a great game, and none of us felt bored, or that there was any significant downtime, or that the game actually took as long a it did. We thought that it might get faster with familiarity - we'd played Era I in half the time it has taken in the past - but will it get played often enough to get to that point?

I'm thinking that 3-player might be the sweet spot. We got in each other's way, but not seriously enough to slow it down. I'm not too sure about 4-player though.

One thing that kept throwing us off or slowing us down was trying to remember what the various embassies did.

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Richard Dewsbery
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Played a four player game today. Never again.

It took 7 hours for the first 3 eras (and as we had a set finish time, we didn't get to play the last year of era III).

3-player, I've never felt the game dragged. 4-player, it certainly did.

Now one of our players plays notoriously slowly. He insists that others are just as slow, but he's wrong. He also insists that the extra time he takes makes a difference to the outcome - and unfortunate he's right. By taking an age to think about every move (often taking them back and replaying them), he makes absolutely the best moves possible and wins. But at a cost of me wanting to beat him to death with the rulebook.

Next time he plays, I'm bringing the sodding chess clock with me. That way I'll have concrete evidence that he's taking longer than any two other players put together. Curiously, everyone else can see he's hideously slow; he agrees that he's slow, but says that he's no slower than anyone else!

Anyway, it reinforces the idea that this is a 2- or 3-player game.
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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I give players like that a take back token and a timer if it gets ridiculous. They can use the take back token once.
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Jeff W
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We played a 3 player game yesterday. We started at around noon and started tear down about 8:40 (since the place we were playing was closing down). We got through 4 years of Era 4. We played at a leisurely pace, with many interruptions. All 3 of us played 1 game through 1.2 eras a couple of weeks ago, so we knew some of the basics, but was scrambling for rules at times.
 
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Pascal Cadot
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Played for the third time this WE.

2 players
6.5 hours !

For the full game, up to the end of the fourth era. We wanted to do it once (and I think it will be only once angry).

We did not even try to optimize each turn, and so I am not sure that the game will be shorter with experienced players, as they would think longer for optimization (there are so many different things to do).

I am a bit fed up with publishers who do not write on the boxes a more accurate duration for their games. We cannot correctly plan a game evening with such lies.
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German Mike
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9h (teaching and breaks removed), 4 players, all 4 Eras.
Two newbies, two players with 1 game under their belt. All 4 experienced Euro players (Rosenberg et al.).

What can be done to reduce play time to no more than 6h? Is playing with 3 players only the solution?
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Donny Behne
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Paasca wrote:
Played for the third time this WE.

2 players
6.5 hours !

For the full game, up to the end of the fourth era. We wanted to do it once (and I think it will be only once angry).

We did not even try to optimize each turn, and so I am not sure that the game will be shorter with experienced players, as they would think longer for optimization (there are so many different things to do).

I am a bit fed up with publishers who do not write on the boxes a more accurate duration for their games. We cannot correctly plan a game evening with such lies.


Did you take breaks? Snacks? Do a lot of chatting? I don't see how it can take you that long if you aren't actively trying to do your best turns. It took a friend and I, both our third or fourth game, four hours and that included a lunch break. And we do optimize.

You cannot blame a publisher for inaccurate times when times are wildly different for different people.

DaMilli wrote:
What can be done to reduce play time to no more than 6h?


Play it more. You'll see things more quickly and, more importantly, dismiss the unlikely or less optimal more quickly. Two newbies, and even two playing it for the second time, is not the best jumping off point for timing.
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Richard Dewsbery
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Play it with fewer players (I'm never playing with four again). Play it more. Avoid playing it with people who are AP-prone.
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Christopher CC
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My wife and I played the game the first time on Sunday and a second time on Monday. We played the game on the first run in 3hours and on Monday we only needed < 2,5 hours to set up the game, play it and store it.

So if you just play the game in the first run and do not try to figure out the best strategy, even the first run could be pretty fast. Since you do not know all option in later eras,I would definitely advise just play the game on our first try to get an idea of all the option you have.

I did really enjoy the first play but the second one was really fantastic, because you know what you will need in later stages of the game.

I would definitely never play this one with 4 payers. With fast players you could try a 3-Player game.
 
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Daniel Corban
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All these comments remind me of similar comments regarding Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization. We've all heard the tales of six hours games and how you should never ever play with four players.

Fortunately, I had nothing but good experiences with that game and four players. It reached a point where myself and the people I gamed with in the region preferred four players. Not only that, but our games were consistently finished in four hours.

So, all these tales of woe bode well for me, since it means I can likely expect a fun four hour game with no downtime.
 
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