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Subject: Quell my doubts? rss

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chris ward
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hi folks,

I'm interested in this but a couple of worries are making me hesitate.

How repetitive is GWT within and between games? I'm a bit worried that it might feel like doing the same thing over and over, particularly for a game that takes a fair amount of time.

And, how difficult is it to catch up if u fall behind? I'm not usually bothered about catch up mechs but in a potentially repetitive game with a reputation for being fairly lengthy it could get dispiriting.

We'd be primarily playing 2P with (hopefully) the odd 3 or 4 P game if that makes a difference.

Go on folks, ease my concerns

Cheers, chris
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Mathue Faulkner
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cw67q wrote:

How repetitive is GWT within and between games? I'm a bit worried that it might feel like doing the same thing over and over, particularly for a game that takes a fair amount of time.

If you look through the comments section here, there are some people that feel that way.

I don't get it though. The game state is changing every time around, and the action space are evolving as well. Turns are quick. Decisions are interesting. And the tension is there.

From game to game, just the position of the Neutral Buildings makes a huge difference. There is variety from game to game in other areas (i.e. personal buildings, goal cards, etc.), but the neutral building position plays the biggest role in shaking things up IMO.

I wonder if the users who made those comments felt that way because they played it in a convention setting. Heavier games tend not to do as well at conventions for a variety of reasons...


cw67q wrote:
And, how difficult is it to catch up if u fall behind? I'm not usually bothered about catch up mechs but in a potentially repetitive game with a reputation for being fairly lengthy it could get dispiriting.

We'd be primarily playing 2P with (hopefully) the odd 3 or 4 P game if that makes a difference.

Unless you really mess up, I don't think it's always obvious that you're behind tbh. Since there are so many ways to score points, you may be losing in one area, but you're likely to be making it up in another. Also, I think there are some strategies that take longer to build up the points, and some spit at points at a slightly more even pace. Having said that, this isn't the type of point salad game that gives you points for breathing. You do have to work for your points, and I personally find that refreshing since a lot of games lately seem to be erring towards being too forgiving IMO. Great Western Trail is far from harsh, but you do have make some good decisions to gather points.

I play mostly 2p as well, and it's been one my favorite games that I've seen in awhile. Probably my number one euro in at least the last 12 months, and maybe even longer.
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Aventura
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I'm willing to bet that most if not all the comments claiming it is a long game are from people who only played once. Our first game took almost 4 hours as we were all trying to figure out the plethora of symbols and moving parts and how they fit into the larger picture. Ever since, our games have clocked in at less than 2 hours; last Friday night we played three sessions in a row. GWT is a micro-turn game where there are only a few options on a given turn and the board state tends not to dramatically change between your turns; once players are familiar with the game it is not a long game.

So with that out of the way, is it repetitive? My answer here is also a resounding no. GWT is a game that rewards specialized strategies and thus a fair amount of forward planning to get there. There is a strong sense of narrative arc as you make progress towards your long term goals; the first few trips up the trail feel nothing like the last few. As far as interplay variability, it is very high and one of the strongest features of the game. Every game presents a different problem to analyze based on the random setup of starting buildings as well as which personal buildings are in your supply (also random). Not just that, but you have to react to the decisions that other players are making and see how your strategy fits into the board state and game length that will be collectively determined. I'm ~15 plays in and still discovering nuances here and there, because every game is very different.

As far as being unforgiving, there are certainly more brutal games out there. But yes- any game that rewards forward planning is implicitly going to punish the lack thereof. I'd say the bigger issue is the luck of the card draw, which can cause moments of butt hurt when the stakes are high at certain points in the game. There are ways to ameliorate luck but sometimes you take a risk in the name of efficiency- and get burned. It's all part of the gaming experience in my view. I love this game; it is deeply engrossing and entertaining.
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Phil Hendrickson
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The two posters above are right on target. But if you are nervous about the game, don't buy it. Leave a copy for someone else, because this awesome game will definitely sell through its first printing.
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Robert
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What verandi wrote.

Regarding a comeback from a bad start: GWT doesn't make it easy to see whether you're ahead or behind, as there is no track for victory points or some such, instead all points from the various sources are added up at the end.

Part of the points are visible (e.g. points from cities and stations and hazards and played objective cards), but some are not (e.g. you'd need to make notes of which cattle and objective cards the others took to get the fuller picture). And even that won't necessarily allow a good prediction, as the payback rhythm of various strategies is different - and all usually have the highest payback in the last turns.
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Ben M
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My first game I was convinced I was last. I couldn't get anything going. I won by one point. The truth is you never really know how you're doing.

Additionally, it doesn't feel repetitive at all. The cards you draw at the top of the round plus the money you have available dictate what sort of actions you'll want and/or be able to do. If you open with a great hand, you may be less interested in a spot that encourages discarding. Inversely, a bad hand may mean you'll be stopping wherever you can to ditch cards - either through local actions or auxiliary ones. This totally affects your pace and how you use the trail.

Plus, as more buildings and hazards show up, the trail becomes more expensive. Different actions and routes will become more appealing while others you'll want to avoid. Game factors are constantly changing. Tempees might suddenly provide an opportunity for quick money if you time it right. Employees go up and down in price. And an opening at a train station may mean you have to jump ahead to a rail movement spot. All these factors keep the game from feeling same-y from round to round.

I suppose if you speed through to Kansas City over and over again, it could feel repetitive because you're zipping past the heart of the game, but even then I don't think you would feel that way.
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chris ward
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Thanks everyone, that's a lot of very helpful responses in a very short time.
 
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Adrian Todea
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On my only play so far I found myself wanting to slow down as the game progressed because I wasn't able to deliver my poor herd to a higher city and didn't want to plonk disks on Kansas City just for the sake of it. (I was going for a train strategy)

The first couple of KC deliveries were quite fast as we were all jumping over buildings but I felt the pace slows down as the game goes by and more buildings/hazards get placed.

We had a rough idea of which players were doing better than others. Winner and runner-up were only 2 points apart and the 3rd place came very close with a balanced approach, with last player within 30 points of 3rd, but still a respectable 78 points (all first timers).

I think that the starting hand of 4 cards and the way the neutral buildings are laid out will change the game significantly each time. Also where you start in turn order - if let's say everyone wants to hire first you might not get the employee of your choice so might need to switch to plan B.

We haven't played too many personal buildings but that can have a huge replayability factor even if you only play with the 'A' sides.

In all I like the game, my only current gripe is game length, but I'm sure we'll reduce playtime with subsequent plays.
 
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Robert
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I don't feel overly slowed down by the number of private buildings as such. Yes, over the course of the game the number of private buildings will grow and thus the number of steps to reach KC increases. This is however somewhat compensated by
- increasing the speed from 4 to 6 (and potentially to 7)
- placing private buildings with a n-steps-forward action.

Indeed I may use more turns to reach KC in my later cycles, but most likely it's because some of the private buildings are my own, and I therefore have more interesting and relevant actions to do underway.
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Martyn King
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Hi Chris, I own the game and would more than happy to play it with you as I live in Helensburgh and see by your profile you live nearby. It's a fantastic game. It's great 2 or 3 player. I think 4 player is too long between turns and overall length. Is there any board game clubs in the area? I'm new here and only moved here 5 weeks ago.
Kind regards
Martyn
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chris ward
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Hi Martin,
I don't know Helensburgh particularly well but there are a number of clubs in central Scotland. The ones I know best are :

Lanarkshire Gamers ; based in motherwell 1St and 3Rd sat of the month noon to 5. Meets in a hall very near train station. Nice club friendly people. Probably leans towards euros but lots of other stuff too M has an active Guild here and a Facebook page. Me and my daughter are only semi regulars due to family commitments etc.

Unplugged games Glasgow. Meets in a cafe in shawlands Glasgow every Sunday. Officially 1 to 5 but sometimes people meet up earlier and stay a bit late. Not a dedicated game cafe. There is a Web site somewhere. We hit a run there of attending most weeks as my wife was working Sundays, but I think those halcyon days have come to an end. Can put you in touch with regulars tho.

Other clubs and cafes I know of. Renfrewshire Gamers meets midweek (weds?) I've never been as I have a long commute to work and use public transport but I know some of the guys.

Dice cafe is in Glasgow city centre. It is a Sunday event in a pub cafe that runs most if the day. I think it might be every Sunday now. I've never been as we have tended to meet friends as unplugged if free on a Sunday.

I've heard of other clubs in Falkirk and Edinburgh. I'm sure you could find details in the Scotland section of the forums.

This Saturday there is the 3Rd annual games day in Glasgow. Again look in the forums fir details, it runs from early to late. I think there is a cover charge this year of £8. I'd offer to meet up there but our attendance is looking doubtful due to other commitments, if that changes I'll pm you, but I'm unlikely to know until pretty late. If your free it has been a good event the last couple of years.

Cheers, chris

(90% of our gaming is 2 player at home. Attendance at clubs is usually opportunist and short notice when other commitments clear)
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Martyn King
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Wow, that's great, thanks for all the info. I think I'll sweet talk my wife into letting me travel to Glasgow on the occasional weekend. Hopefully we'll get to meet at one of these events at some point. Thanks again.
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chris ward
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Yeah hopefully meet you sometime. I should probably have sent the above post as a pm rather than posting it to the thread. I came back to excise it and do tgat, but you'd already replied ☺.

Feel free to drop me a pm if you are coming through fir an event. If I can't make it I can probably put you in touch with someone else who can so you at least have a contact.

Regards, chris
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