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Subject: Why does this game take so long? rss

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Gordon
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We've played it twice this week (once with 4-players against The Mayor and once with 2-players against The Master - who is suggested for your first game). Each session took THREE hours! Everyone playing was veteran gamers and fans of co-ops. Nobody really had AP. The first time through we were checking the rulebook occasionally for card clarifications and other things (although the rulebook was very hard to consult).

So what is going on? I've seen people on here talk about how light and breezy the game is. Someone even claimed to play a 6-player game in 60 minutes.... unbelievable.

We did enjoy playing. Nobody was expecting a deep strategy game. Everyone was fans of Buffy and enjoyed the theme (I especially think the artifacts help bring out the theme more than anything else.)
But this game really wore out its welcome. At 1.5 hours I wouldn't mind it. Even 2 if we were fighting a tough Big Bad. However this is taking longer than games of Eldritch Horror, or Freedom: The Underground Railroad, or even some sessions of Mansions of Madness!! All of those games are advertised and expected to be long co-ops. This one says 30-60 minutes on the box!

Is something going on here? Is anyone else experiencing this? Could we be playing something wrong? (We did actually find a couple rules mistakes we made, but those actually made the Big Bads easier than they should have been.)
I really want to like this one, but its hard at the length it's taking. (We started our game last night at 6 and had to take a quick dinner break at 8... not the kind of game I would expect a required meal break from.)
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Murr Rockstroh
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I agree but I think our slow down comes in the Baddie phase where we have to re-check all the cards to make sure we're not missing anything.

Also, the game is taking around 5 to 6 rounds, which is 80 to 96 total turns in a 4p game. If it goes 7 or 8, you go up to 112 to 128 turns, which can take some time if you're discussing options like we do. Otherwise it's "flip action counter, do something, go..."

I don't know how to make it go faster, but I wish it would. I sort of wonder if increasing the hand size limit to 6 and reducing actions to 2 or 3 per round would speed up the game a little. These two things seem to be both the limiting factor and the time sink from my experience.
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Gordon
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I did feel like I had to double-check the end-of-round baddie activation every single time. (And I was using the FAQ from the files section on BGG.)
The end-of-round stuff just doesn't feel very natural or elegant in what order things happen.
 
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Interesting. Are you including set up and rules explaining time? That's not included in estimations and often times adds an hour+ (especially for long games - explaining Arkham Horror, the nature of it (adding more time if the person(s) are unfamiliar with the source material (not the case for you but all the same)

Also how chatty is and friendly is your group? I have great friends that I love but it's tough to play games with because there's always so much to talk about.

I find co op games are tough to time. You can really spend as much time as you want depending on how hard you want to collaborate. Good collaboration takes thinking both privately and publicly, compromise, argument (the good kind!) and finally to settle on a plan - then comes execution and results, with an average playtime resulting from how long it takes for an average team to do their turn. Anyway, some people just don't spend that much time collaborating, the moves just come to them.

Color me interested.
 
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Gordon
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HillKing wrote:
Interesting. Are you including set up and rules explaining time? That's not included in estimations and often times adds an hour+ (especially for long games - explaining Arkham Horror, the nature of it (adding more time if the person(s) are unfamiliar with the source material (not the case for you but all the same)

Also how chatty is and friendly is your group? I have great friends that I love but it's tough to play games with because there's always so much to talk about.

I find co op games are tough to time. You can really spend as much time as you want depending on how hard you want to collaborate. Good collaboration takes thinking both privately and publicly, compromise, argument (the good kind!) and finally to settle on a plan - then comes execution and results, with an average playtime resulting from how long it takes for an average team to do their turn. Anyway, some people just don't spend that much time collaborating, the moves just come to them.

Color me interested.


I'm not including set-up and rules time in this. The game actually isn't very complex (it doesn't come anywhere close to Eldritch/Arkham), and two of us had already read the rules before our first game, so we did a quick explanation and jumped right in. It was less than 10-15 minutes for set-up and explanation.

We aren't the type of group where chatting stops all gameplay. We all know how to carry on conversations while still playing.

We also felt that we weren't taking a super long time stressing over any game decisions. (Again, the game isn't very complex.) It just took so long each time.

I don't know if we are playing rules wrong, or perhaps strategy. Unfortunately, there is no deck timer to run out in this game like Pandemic or Eldritch. I'd almost rather lose that way than win after a 3-hour slog.
 
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That's crazy long for this game. I'm kind of amazed that it's taking your group longer than Eldritch Horror.
 
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Gordon
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
That's crazy long for this game. I'm kind of amazed that it's taking your group longer than Eldritch Horror.


I mean, I'm talking a 2 player game of Eldritch (which is the only way we play) but those usually only take 2 - 2.5 hours. 3 at the upper limit.
So yeah this took longer than our standard game of Eldritch.
 
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Gordon
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I'm wondering if I can house-rule the game to end when the Event deck runs out. That would make the game much harder, but at least it would have a set end-point.
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thegordonshow wrote:
I'm wondering if I can house-rule the game to end when the Event deck runs out. That would make the game much harder, but at least it would have a set end-point.

Brings in an interesting strategy, too- it makes it all the more important to do everything possible to not fail event checks, otherwise those are wasted cards.

That could be worth a try.
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Gordon
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OK, working through a little deck math for myself...

Pandemic has 58 cards in the player deck in a regular game (5 epidemics). 8 of those are drawn into starting hands in a 2 or 4 player game, so that leaves 50 cards.
That means there are 25 turns in the game. (12.5 rounds in a 2-player, 6.25 rounds in a 4-player)

Buffy has 48 cards in the event deck. You draw equal to the number of players for the set-up so 46 left in a 2-player and 44 in a 4-player.
To defeat the monsters-of-the-week and the Big Bad it requires a minimum of 6 event cards to check (3 each).
So that leaves 40 turns (event cards drawn for special actions used) in a 2-player game (20 rounds) and 38 turns in a 4-player game (9.5 rounds).

That's still a lot more turns/rounds than in Pandemic, but it is also assuming a perfect game where every MOTW or Big Bad check comes up right the first time. (And if you're getting that lucky, then you're probably gonna win long before the deck runs out anyway.)

Assuming that it takes at least a couple extra card checks to defeat all the enemies, this could work out to a reasonable deck timer similar to Pandemic.

(My only thought is that some of the artifacts require an event check to use them, so it would cause those to be not as useful since you would think twice before running out your clock.)
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Gordon
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
thegordonshow wrote:
I'm wondering if I can house-rule the game to end when the Event deck runs out. That would make the game much harder, but at least it would have a set end-point.

Brings in an interesting strategy, too- it makes it all the more important to do everything possible to not fail event checks, otherwise those are wasted cards.

That could be worth a try.


It also prevents you from just sitting around killing basic baddies instead of actually progressing forward on revealing the Big Bad... which is something we did.
 
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Murr Rockstroh
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thegordonshow wrote:
OK, working through a little deck math for myself...

Pandemic has 58 cards in the player deck in a regular game (5 epidemics). 8 of those are drawn into starting hands in a 2 or 4 player game, so that leaves 50 cards.
That means there are 25 turns in the game. (12.5 rounds in a 2-player, 6.25 rounds in a 4-player)

Buffy has 48 cards in the event deck. You draw equal to the number of players for the set-up so 46 left in a 2-player and 44 in a 4-player.
To defeat the monsters-of-the-week and the Big Bad it requires a minimum of 6 event cards to check (3 each).
So that leaves 40 turns (event cards drawn for special actions used) in a 2-player game (20 rounds) and 38 turns in a 4-player game (9.5 rounds).

That's still a lot more turns/rounds than in Pandemic, but it is also assuming a perfect game where every MOTW or Big Bad check comes up right the first time. (And if you're getting that lucky, then you're probably gonna win long before the deck runs out anyway.)

Assuming that it takes at least a couple extra card checks to defeat all the enemies, this could work out to a reasonable deck timer similar to Pandemic.

(My only thought is that some of the artifacts require an event check to use them, so it would cause those to be not as useful since you would think twice before running out your clock.)
We have never actually had to re-shuffle the event deck, our games typically have gone around 5 to 7 rounds (not the 9 ish rounds your deck math gets you to).
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Gordon
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Murr wrote:
We have never actually had to re-shuffle the event deck, our games typically have gone around 5 to 7 rounds (not the 9 ish rounds your deck math gets you to).


And we had to shuffle it towards the end of our 4-player game and our 2-player game.... which makes me wonder what we are doing differently that is causing the game to take so long.
 
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I think the biggest issue with this is that it makes the game scale less well. The more players you have, the harder it becomes (at least in terms of bleeding Event cards)
 
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Gordon
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Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
I think the biggest issue with this is that it makes the game scale less well. The more players you have, the harder it becomes (at least in terms of bleeding Event cards)


But that's the same as Pandemic. More people means fewer turns per person... but you also have more people and more item slots to spread around the map.
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thegordonshow wrote:
Subtrendy Gaming wrote:
I think the biggest issue with this is that it makes the game scale less well. The more players you have, the harder it becomes (at least in terms of bleeding Event cards)


But that's the same as Pandemic. More people means fewer turns per person... but you also have more people and more item slots to spread around the map.

I guess that's true. You're still presumably getting the same number of activations in.
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Tristan Whitley
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How safely are you playing? I've played other games which can be played in 45-60 minutes if you play aggressively, but can take 3 hours if the players try and protect everything, ensure they have lots of items to cover all cases etc.

I have watched videos of playthroughs that were less than 90 minutes, so it is doable (usually their apocalypse track is a closer to the end).
 
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Seriously, turn off Facebook. You'll be happier.
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Buy the old version. It's a blast, plays in about an hour.
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Gordon
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Sagrilarus wrote:

Buy the old version. It's a blast, plays in about an hour.


We also have the old version
 
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Gordon
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Daeuhl wrote:
How safely are you playing? I've played other games which can be played in 45-60 minutes if you play aggressively, but can take 3 hours if the players try and protect everything, ensure they have lots of items to cover all cases etc.

I have watched videos of playthroughs that were less than 90 minutes, so it is doable (usually their apocalypse track is a closer to the end).


This may be our problem. When fighting the Master, we tried to make sure as many vampires were off the board before 'waking' him up.

Of course, even being that cautious, we still won with only two empty spots on the apocalypse track.
 
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Larry Roachelle
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I play this game often with 2 - 4 people and have never had a game that long. (Especially if I don't have to teach it.) My games are typically 90 - 120 mins. max

My theory is that your group likes to "map out" each turn and try to plan ahead too much. I tell everybody, in every Co-Op game I play, do whatever YOU think is best and if I don't agree I can work around it.

Don't wait to grab those clue tokens too long. I hear that some people wait until all three are on the board and they've cleared the board before revealing the Big Bad. That would make for a long game.

Also, once you've played a few times and you get the Monster Activation step memorized it gets easier / faster. That step is the bulk of each round and is very awkward, at first.

I read that you are using an FAQ, I hope it's this one:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/143571/buffy-quick-refere...

It's the best! (Of course I say that - I wrote it.)
Good Luck!
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Gordon
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lroach2 wrote:
I play this game often with 2 - 4 people and have never had a game that long. (Especially if I don't have to teach it.) My games are typically 90 - 120 mins. max

My theory is that your group likes to "map out" each turn and try to plan ahead too much. I tell everybody, in every Co-Op game I play, do whatever YOU think is best and if I don't agree I can work around it.

Don't wait to grab those clue tokens too long. I hear that some people wait until all three are on the board and they've cleared the board before revealing the Big Bad. That would make for a long game.

Also, once you've played a few times and you get the Monster Activation step memorized it gets easier / faster. That step is the bulk of each round and is very awkward, at first.

I read that you are using an FAQ, I hope it's this one:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/143571/buffy-quick-refere...

It's the best! (Of course I say that - I wrote it.)
Good Luck!


Yeah, I don't feel like we're doing too much 'mapping out' before each turn. Especially the second game (2-player) we had gotten more into the flow of what we needed to do.

We did actually hold off on all the clues until the end. It seemed like it would be better to not reveal the Big Bad's plot cards until we could actually get rid of them. (I am correct in that you can't deal with a Big Bad plot card until the Big Bad actually reveals themself after the third one?)

We were using your FAQ and I did find that the end-of-round activations were clunky and felt inelegant so we had to refer to the order of activations after every round. I know that will go quicker in the future.
 
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thegordonshow wrote:
lroach2 wrote:
I play this game often with 2 - 4 people and have never had a game that long. (Especially if I don't have to teach it.) My games are typically 90 - 120 mins. max

My theory is that your group likes to "map out" each turn and try to plan ahead too much. I tell everybody, in every Co-Op game I play, do whatever YOU think is best and if I don't agree I can work around it.

Don't wait to grab those clue tokens too long. I hear that some people wait until all three are on the board and they've cleared the board before revealing the Big Bad. That would make for a long game.

Also, once you've played a few times and you get the Monster Activation step memorized it gets easier / faster. That step is the bulk of each round and is very awkward, at first.

I read that you are using an FAQ, I hope it's this one:

https://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/143571/buffy-quick-refere...

It's the best! (Of course I say that - I wrote it.)
Good Luck!


Yeah, I don't feel like we're doing too much 'mapping out' before each turn. Especially the second game (2-player) we had gotten more into the flow of what we needed to do.

We did actually hold off on all the clues until the end. It seemed like it would be better to not reveal the Big Bad's plot cards until we could actually get rid of them. (I am correct in that you can't deal with a Big Bad plot card until the Big Bad actually reveals themself after the third one?)

We were using your FAQ and I did find that the end-of-round activations were clunky and felt inelegant so we had to refer to the order of activations after every round. I know that will go quicker in the future.

Right, you can't touch a plot card until the reveal, because without the Big Bad being revealed on the map there would be nowhere to go to attempt the plot.

That's how we typically play too, waiting until we can blitz all clues at once to activate the big bad- though, some effects negatively affect clues on the map, too, so it's not always a great strategy. Plus, it slows down the investigators by eating up what is probably three actions in a single turn (going back to clue, getting clue, moving to next location) when it might have been faster to just grab the clue when you were there the first time. I'll probably have to play both strategies several more times before I can say for sure which strategy I feel is better- but it's kind of cool that the game allows for both.

And yeah, as streamlined as this game is, I'd say end of turn is actually clunkier than Eldritch Horror. The Exclamation Point spaces are essentially reckonings, and at least not all monsters in EH moved each turn (and those that did followed a simpler set of rules).
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Larry Roachelle
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I completely agree about the end of turn being "clunky". Not to hate on the rulebook editors, or even the game developers, but the Enemy Activation and End of Round steps took me about 4 games before I had a clear idea of the flow. Plus, there are so many easy to miss triggers at that End of Round phase.

Again, I'm only theorizing why your plays are so much longer than mine. The first couple of games went too fast, for me, because we missed so many triggers and weren't playing correctly. In my research, for the player guide, I did play it solo about six times using only two Characters. Maybe all that practice is what helps.

Pandemic used to take me forever to play. Now, not counting set-up, I can knock out a Pandemic game in about 45 minutes, definitely not longer than one hour.

It took hours of playing / reading forums / directly contacting the game's designers before I was able to make that Player Aid. Heck, I had to post up to version 3.6 to get where I feel it's truly done. It was supposed to be a helpful "quick start / set-up" guide. However, I kept seeing so many questions about the "clunky" nature of the rules that I keep revising and adding.

As far as Clue Tokens go, for me, it depends on the Big Bad. However, I have found that I start picking them up after Monster of the Week #2 is defeated. Waiting and having the board fill up with Townies, due to Events, really makes the game spiral out of control when the Big Bad arrives.
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Both our first games lasted about 2 hours here, and we had to search the rulebooks quite a bit initially, especially the end of turn sequence.

We played 2 characters each. We lost the first one, and won the second by playing much better, so playing cautiously and deciding more carefully took us as much time as Learning the game.

Was alot of fun though.

 
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