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Subject: First play, initial Impressions rss

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So, my buddy and I played Fallen Angel this weekend.

He was Blue, playing against my red. It was a closely contested game, that ended with him winning by about 10 points. We managed to keep Fallen Angel from crashing into the land, and our citizens rejoiced in our heroism!

We spent most of the game learning the mechanics, so that is what this report generally is, a recap of our working through the mechanics. Both of us had basically zero strategy in trying to score points.

It was about the middle of the third round, when it started to come together for me, in regard to what sort of strategy I should be using. It was too late to use those thoughts to score up, but next time around I will have some decent insight.

I had a pretty decent time playing. I am hoping to play again soon so that I can see what I can do to answer the following thoughts:


1) Set up took quite a bit of time. I am sure that most of that was me not being familiar with the game and components.

2) I had a hard time explaining the actions to him. I had read the rules, but he had not, so my attempt to explain took quite a bit of time. This all wraps into part 1.

3) The economy of actions was very difficult to solve in our first play. More play will help with that. The learning curve on powering up/moving/storing is rough. I came close to the full gear bonus for gem storage, and I did power the engine, but I missed by a miles on shields. He got both the engine and shields. Neither of us came close on citizens.

In addition to the above, we did a good job with moving and controlling the land area. I am wondering if there is a way to do well at both, or if specialization is very important.

The monster dice hurt us over and over. Fighting them to claim the monster tiles obviously is more important than what I did to start.

4) The Rules were pretty solid. 14 pages with explanations and examples, that was nice. Then, there are like 10 pages for variants, I like that. Variants will add good replay. Then, the remainder is all explanation/glossary for the many tiles and player cards. I had to bookmark the conclusion/reset phase. We needed that reference as there is a lot to do and we couldn't keep it straight.

My quibbles: Some of the terminology, like Landing Section confused us. The player cards say Landing Section, but the rules say Section. I assume this is the same, but it confused me.

I would have liked a full page with all of the components shown and named. This always makes sorting and then understanding the rules a lot easier. For example, I had a hard time figuring out what a hatch tile is.

5) The objective tokens could have been bigger in the outcome of the game, but we didn't really pay attention. In game 2, I will certainly try to discuss the significance of those as part of the scoring strategy.

I suspect some of those can really score big points. The honor tile, the monster tiles, etc.

6) We played with the basic starting tech, so the game was totally symmetrical. I would recommend using the advanced in all future games. That said, the symmetry is very useful in teaching, so if I have a larger game of new players, I will certainly go that direction.

7) The game plays in 4 total turns, and during the conclusion phase, you have to reset the action tiles, puzzle vp tiles, monster tiles, monster dice, and the gems. The variety will be big there. Spreading those jobs out among several players will speed the game up.

8) And we need to speed the game up. This particular game took 3 hours. That includes the learning, looking up, and set up. I think that can be reduced pretty significantly the second time around. That said, first time players will slow the game. There is a pretty big learning curve here, the game has a lot going on, all of which lead to big points. Be aware of that. For this to hit the table for me with any regularity, the play time must be reduced to the hour or so as stated on the box.

All in all, there are lots of ways to score points, so I have some work to do to figure that out.

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Gunther Schmidl
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Thanks for your impressions. We also really enjoyed the game, but I was very intrigued by the "alternative" winning condition (prevent enough gems from behing harvested, win with black gem VPs). Did any of you try for that outcome?
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No, this first play was both of us just blindly flailing at the actions and trying to make sense of them.

In the next play I will be more active in trying to build a quality engine.

The variant rules that exist will make for a lot of fun methinks, but I need another play before I try for that.
 
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Gunther Schmidl
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Oh, I didn't mean the variant rules, I meant the actual ">10 gems left on the board and in the bag, the country is destroyed, totally different endgame scoring" condition on the last page of the actual rules.

Thanks!
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Right, I forgot the rules already.

No, neither of us tried to help Fallen Angel. We both mined the heck out of the asteroid.

I bet, in hindsight, that I should have gone the other way.
 
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Klaus Kristiansen
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The landing section is the section where you are placing your dice group.
 
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That's what we assumed. Thanks!
 
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