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Subject: Main complaint - downtime? rss

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Terence Lee
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So I've bought this game but haven't played it yet. My brother read the reviews (and I too), and he said that downtime seems to be a major complaint and so doesn't sound too interested in playing it. My question is, is it really that bad?

We used to play old school war games back in the day, then played a lot of Axis & Allies, and up to a couple of years ago, some Twilight Imperium and Rune Wars. Those games took a good 3-5 hours to play, maybe even more. I know a lot of games these days move much quicker, but I really enjoyed those games. 5 minutes per player was probably considered quick. So I really want to know if the downtime is really as bad as a lot of people say it is?
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Grant Whitesell

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At first, yes, while you're getting the hang of it.

Once you know exactly what your options are the turns go very quickly. It can seem like a lot of downtime as you execute build and then command phases back to back before passing turns, but you can get a lot done in a short amount of time. Plus, there is almost zero book keeping and the build actions themselves are very simple and streamlined.

(You also are going to want to pay very close attention to what your opponent does in both phases.)

Once you've played a game or two those phases will go much, much quicker - and the game overall will go quicker if you play out of a hobby organizer to keep everything nice and neat.
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Nova Cat
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It may well be the worst part of the game, but all things considered, it's not *that* bad. There are certainly games with more downtime which are also still worth playing.

I have heard some of my friends comment on it after our games, but I don't really notice it, myself. That's probably because I'm so engrossed in what's happening, that even when I'm not actively making decisions, I'm still engaged with the action on the table. If you're the kind of player who zones out when it's not your turn, you'll have a lot of downtime, but if you're continuously involved in other players' turns via "table politics," I think it's less noticeable.

So it's definitely not worth skipping out on the whole game for just this one issue.
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Martin Gallo
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If you can handle A&A this will feel like a fast play game.
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James J

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I'm not a big clock-watcher myself, and to me the frequency of downtime complaints seems overblown. What the other players do is very important, moreso after First Contact, so it's not like you can check out and wait for your turn. And the social aspect of the game (ie, "playing the other players rather than playing the game") means there will be lots of chatter during other players' turns as you encourage them be wary of another opponent or encourage them that your two big fleets at warp would never attack them because you are such good allies. whistle

I think when we start running games with higher player counts (with expansions), then downtime might become more of an issue. I will likely cap my largest game at 5 players, but that's just me.

A player with major AP might drag the game down, but that's when you pull out your handy sand timer....
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Tom Stearns
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I mostly play with fellow war gamers. No such thing as down time. Always watch your opponents move, engage in distraction during their turn, engage in diplomacy and most important be planning your next move.
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Paul Ferguson
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It does suffer from down time quite a bit. Some better flowing mechanics should have been implemented for a quicker approach, for example simultaneous building, which would make more thematic sense as well.
 
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William Chew
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There is more downtime than TI3 because you are taking all your actions before the turn goes to the next player. It also takes longer with new players. Game is quicker overall than TI3 though.
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Leigh Caple
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itmo wrote:
It does suffer from down time quite a bit. Some better flowing mechanics should have been implemented for a quicker approach, for example simultaneous building, which would make more thematic sense as well.


I think you'd need to redesign much of the game if you wanted to do things simultaneously.

Players need to be able to react to the command actions of other players and the only way you do this is by taking it in turns. Simultaneous building doesn't help much either since I might change my mind on what to build based on what command actions you do (moving close to my planets, going to warp etc)
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Gary Masters
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Having played this in a group of players where one guy is pretty much famous for suffering major AP I can honestly say downtime was not an issue in the slightest for us.

I can only imagine that if you were to try a method of taking it in turns to do commands, or whatever, that it would drag on for a lot longer because you'd be required to think of something to do a lot more frequently, and wouldn't have as much time to think your moves through and plan in advance.

That said, the game is simply not going to appeal to people who prefer a style of game where it's your move, then you pass it onto the next person. That's absolutely fine, there are plenty of games that suit those people. This is just not one of them.
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Terence Lee
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Thanks for all of the input. It sounds like if you're used to playing war games, downtime shouldn't be a major issue. Too bad there wasn't a way to at least cut a little bit of downtime out though. Maybe not simultaneous build phase, but maybe make that it a phase of it's own where you take turns? Would that help?
 
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clarence neal

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What exactly constitutes excessive downtime? Is there a specific time limit that people are thinking of? I have only played solo to learn the rules and prepare to be able to teach it to my group, but the turns seemed fine to me.
 
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Benji
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Ihwarrior wrote:
What exactly constitutes excessive downtime? Is there a specific time limit that people are thinking of? I have only played solo to learn the rules and prepare to be able to teach it to my group, but the turns seemed fine to me.


The same here. I got the impression that actions were used up pretty fast. I imagine that one of the most helpful actions at the beginning will be using warp movement, just gettin in and out of warp already uses up 2 actions (of the five) per ship. If you add another order to cover a larger distance quickly, that takes already 3 actions for one ship. I guess that discoveries will be the reason for longer turns at the start, later on probably space battles and invasions?
 
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Craig Sanderlin
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Every build action or command that a player takes on his/her turn might effect me in some way, especially if I am next. I try to move fast during my turn (without making tactical mistakes) since I have to plan things out, by plans will change based on other player's actions. I'm not looking at my phone when it's not my turn, I'm looking at what the other players are doing and reacting to it as best I can by changing my strategy for my next turn. This is not a static game.
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Stuart Tonge
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We find it pretty smooth. We do have a few AP players. The main thing in this game is what /not/ to do.

I'd say the main thing is to get people paying attention when its not their turn, but that goes for all 3+ player games. You may need to whip people.
 
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Mitch Lavender
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Yes indeed, lots of downtime in the game compared to many games but if you are used to games 10-15 minutes between turns, that's not going to bother you.

My biggest issue with this is that the game is only a 3-player game but can be more with the expansions and with each added player, the downtime will increase even more.
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