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Subject: Thoughts After A Few Play Throughs rss

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Carolyn Choate
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Laurel
Maryland
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The first game was played with me and my husband. He went first. We played mostly polietly this first time and stayed pretty much one step from each other and so he won a round before I would have.

Second game was again me and my husband. This time I went first. We were much more ruthless with each other. Yet we still stayed one step from each other and I won a round before he would have.

Third game was played with my husband and my parents so there were four of us. Everything went about the same until the Ape level (just before the win condition). We all got there fairly quickly (and my mom caught up after misunderstanding how many karma points were needed to progress). Then things changed. One person got to where they would win when it came back to their turn and everyone worked to take them down. This happened over and over and over so that all of us had come within a turn of winning at least once. It took about the same amount of time to complete that last level as it had for all previous levels put together.

Final Thoughts:
I love the concept of future life and I love the karma mechanic of people getting the cards that you played. I like the careful choices you have to make with each card. There's a lot of tension there.

I'm concerned that the two player version may not totally work since for us each time we've played the person who started is the one who wins. I would love to hear other people's experience to see if it's just coincidence that that has happened to us.

I am left feeling rather uncertain whether to like or not like the experience of the four person game.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
Poland
Poznan
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The game reminds me of Dale of Merchants a lot. You play some cards, you build a set in front of you, you race toward a certain goal. But, somehow, the gameplay of Karmaka felt flat. There's nothing bad in it, but nothing particularly interesting either, that is: the game does not stand out, other than for its amazing artwork. The card actions are very generic - draw cards, discard cards, mess just a tiny bit with your opponent. You have small control over your deck (its very small anyway), you can play more cards to your future life, but that's about it.

The whole concept of "what goes around comes around" doesn't seem to work at all to me - sure, you gain the information that this player has this card in his/hers future life, but chances are, this is the only information you will have, if he/she plays a lot of other cards to future life. And more often than not, players decide to reject the played card, because it simply doesn't align with the color they stack in future life already. Ultimately, it seems like it's a game of randomly drawing cards, playing the same color and sniping the last played deed (if you can) long enough, until you will come on top. In other words: the tricks are there, but they're rarely worth taking.

Also: a card game in which you simply pass your turn and do nothing because of a game mechanic (reincarnation) is ... well, it feels pretty oldschool.

... or I am seriously missing something and I need to play more. But at this time, I would pick Dale of Merchants over this every time. There's a significant deck building / deck thinning mechanism there, deck manipulation and control and tough decisions of playing the card for the effect or for the race set. The tempo feels far more palpable and you're not artificially restrained - you pick the time of the conversion (cards to sets).
 
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Mary Weisbeck
United States
Black Hawk
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My husband and I played twice. And, like you, we stayed neck and neck until the round where I didn't put any cards into my future life stack. Because of that, I passed for a turn to collect at least one extra card in hand. This changed the pacing of the hand--he had to die a turn ahead of me This gave me a turn where I was not worried about his playing a card on me. I don't remember how exactly but I ended up winning by a turn!

I think passing at the right moment can be a strategic move rather than a forced one. Haven't played since, though, so it's only theory.
 
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Chris G
Canada
Kitchener
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We've been having the opposite experience lately and have been really enjoying the game in 2, 3 and 4 player versions. I do agree that it does draw comparisons to Dale of Merchants (which I also really like). Definitely haven't been having any issues where the starting player is always winning it moves around a lot but usually it's a fairly tight finish. We all play fairly aggressively and thought that the karmic concept was fitting. It's less chaotic then Dale of Merchants and the card interactions play out cleaner without some recursion issues that Dale of Merchants can run into. I think for newer people it's certainly a lot easier to teach as well. Karmaka is definitely a lot more subtle of a game and you generally aren't making huge combos, though there are some good chains you can pull off. Ultimately I guess it depends on what you are expecting. If you want hand deck clearing combos and management then Dominion or Dale of Merchants are better choices.
 
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Peter Hendee
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Frisco
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I fear this will play like Munchkin, with everyone stopping everyone else from winning until all or most players are on the brink of winning and all the cards to stop others are used up. Basically making most of the game play irrelevant and the winner tending to be random.
 
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Matthew Barille
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I have only played once, with 2, and it was tight. The munchkin comparison may be somewhat accurate, but that does not bother me. The fun part about playing munchkin is playing it, not who wins. It can often be arbitrary, but its fun as hell, especially if your drinking.
 
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Atnier Rodriguez
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Monroe
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Falccor77 wrote:
I have only played once, with 2, and it was tight. The munchkin comparison may be somewhat accurate, but that does not bother me. The fun part about playing munchkin is playing it, not who wins. It can often be arbitrary, but its fun as hell, especially if your drinking.


For me, the best part of playing Munchkin is not playing it at all.

Karmaka does look beautiful, but I do not tend to like artificially created tightness in game scores, as to the game being tight almost no matter how you play (Blue Moon City per official rules vs intended rules).

We'll see what more people say about it.
 
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Carolyn Choate
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Laurel
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I haven't played Dale of Merchants. Sounds like I should give that a try.

I agree that the four player experience did feel like Munchkin, though I had not thought of that. I do enjoy Munchkin occasionally but usually to laugh at the cards.

What Karmaka really has going for it is the amazing artwork. I'll keep playing but it isn't likely to become a favorite, I think.
 
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Gijs Bouwman
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I see huge potential in this game. I've played once with 4 players and two test runs (a two player game where i take on both hands) just to get an understanding of strategies. Won the 4 player game and i think it's because this game is all about balancing and timing. You cannot put your focus on one or two of the available actions each turn. You cannot ignore your future life, because you will start with no cards in hand after you have died and you will have no idea what cards you will have. You can't keep destroying your opponents cause they will get you back and you will have no deeds to climb up the ladder. This makes it a game that could lead to the dreaded "Analysis paralysis", but with experience this might fall away alltogether.
The Munchkin comparison doesnt fly for me (the only thing that game is good for is wiping your ass with). You have far more controle over you hand in Karmaka and other players trying to take down the player with te winning hand is something that most games evoke.
I think this a game that can only be fully understood after multiple games, so i hope people will give it more time effort.

Game on!
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Jesse Mecoides
Australia
St Kilda
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I have played 2 x 2-player games (same opponent).

The first game we stay fairly neck and neck, and we even relived our wolf life 3 times each. We had a Spite card that kept coming back to bite us (and even returned after it had been ruined). Ultimately I won that game.

The second game, I pulled ahead to my wolf life while my rival was still rolling around as a beetle. He intentionally saved his first ring and didn't level up to get a second. Ultimately we got to a point where it was close but he could pull off the win with the early saved rings. I was actually surprised at how often I struggled to decide which direction I wanted to go.

I really like the theme and artwork, and I think the gameplay complements both quite nicely so far. There is a subtle flow to the card management that I like. For example, even though I could speed ahead, this meant that I had to start a new life without having s planned future life, which meant that I needed 6 turns before I had drawn all the cards of my new life. That was bad play on my part.
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