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Subject: 4 player scenario length ~5 hours... rss

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James B
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Our first session was around 3 hours with 3 players (everyone except me new to the game). Second session we gained a 4th player and went 5 hours, I credited this to teaching the new player rules + the extra mobs for a 4 player game. The concerning thing is, the next two sessions were almost 5 hours long.

Now there is no excessive AP in our group, there is some healthy discussion and debate but we have actively tried to quicken our decision making as to reduce game length. If we completely eliminated discussion the game would lose a lot of it's charm. I don't feel like we are excessive in our turn lengths, but with 4 players there is just so much to kill before the scenario ends.

Has anyone else experience long play times with 4 players? Is it just the scenario? We are on normal difficulty and have never lost a scenario, though it's been close a couple times.

Cheers,
 
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David desJardins
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I am super slow and we take 2-3 hours to play a 4-player scenario. I can't imagine how a scenario can regularly take 5 hours.
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Marty McFly
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We have 4 players, and our scenarios take about half what you're experiencing. We typically play weekday evenings, with others arriving at my house around 5:30PM and usually leaving around 10:30PM. We always get in two scenarios each session and everything is put away before they leave.

Keep in mind that we always discuss what scenarios we'll play next time (assuming we have enough info to pick two), and the night before we play, I'll separate out all the monsters, tiles, tokens, etc. needed for those scenarios. This probably saves about 30 minutes, but we also have a lot of chit-chat before we start and after we finish. I'd say our scenarios are averaging 2 hours, plus some setup/tear-down time.
 
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Gary G
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Our 4 players run about 2. 3 hours max. Not sure if you are including setup and break down. I usually have everything ready prior to everybody arriving.

Maybe all that "healthy discussion and debate" stuff is slowing you down? Is it about the game or just about RL topics and chit-chat?

You are really suppose to be in the thick of battle 'vaguely' explaining what you are trying to accomplish.
Should be no:
"I'm going to go here, you go there, you go there."
"No, I'm going here. You go here to do that"
"Wait, I'm doing that my initiative is 8!"
"Play your higher card because I'm doing this and you're doing that!"
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Trent Y.
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We play 5 players and it takes us about 2.5-3 hours per scenario.
 
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Daniel Heidenreich

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Each scenario for our group of four has been about 2 to 2.5 hours. We have played around 30 scenarios.
 
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Marcel Cwertetschka
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we played over 90 scenarios and not even the biggest ones or the ones with tons of monsters took over 3 hours as 4 players.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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Another group reporting in: we are usually under 2 hours for 3p and a bit over 2 hours for 4p.

OP, where's the majority of the time in a typical round? The discussion up front (while you're all deciding which cards to play), players playing their two cards, interpreting monster decisions? Are there interruptions or distractions (like, when one person is "done deciding" do they start talking about other things, wander off, etc.)? If you look at what part of the turns are taking the longest you might be able to narrow down a bit where the extra time is being spent and target what's happening.
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David desJardins
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jsciv wrote:
Are there interruptions or distractions (like, when one person is "done deciding" do they start talking about other things, wander off, etc.)?


I've seen when things start to go slowly then people stop giving the game their full attention, which makes it go even slower. Of course you should do whatever you enjoy, but my strong preference is that people aren't doing anything else while the game is going on. If others are taking their turns, you should be using that time either to plan your next decisions, or to help facilitate their turns (resolving attacks, placing effect tokens on enemies, etc.) or running the monster turns so that they go quickly.
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J Mathews
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2 concurrent groups running, generally 2-2.5 hours from town actions to end of scenario. We occasionally play two scenarios and that checks in at 5 or 5.5, depending on the level ups.
 
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Trang VP
Australia
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Overlapping with some things other people have said, here are sixe possible areas to consider:

1. Is everybody contributing to setting up and cleaning up between scenarios?

2. Is everybody contributing to setting up and resolving things during scenarios (eg placing spawned/summoned monsters, tracking damage, tracking elements)? Have you got duties shared or is one person doing everything, creating a bottleneck?

3. Is everybody paying attention to the game? As others mentioned said, if they're distracted then they aren't planning their turn ahead and this slows things down a lot, or they may be distracting others.

4. How and how much are you discussing your turns? Don't get into the details of player 1 go here, player 2 go there. Do keep things simple, eg "are we planning to open the door this turn?" or "I'm dealing with this monster, the rest of you can ignore it".

5. Have at least one person keeping things rolling. In my group, I always keep track of initiative order in a round. I ask "is that the end of your turn?" if somebody goes silent for a few seconds or looks like they've done enough actions that their turn would be finished. If they say yes, then I immediately say "okay so the cultist is next at 15" or something like that. Another player in our group also does this, so the both of us together makes sure things are always moving in case one of us is busy sorting out our cards or HP or something.

6. Consider using some web-apps to speed things up.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1735175/monster-ability-dec...
This one does the monster cards for you. You don't have to deal with shuffling. It also calculates the movement, attack, range and other values for you, by combining the monster ability card and the monster stat sheet values. It's a massive time saver.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1771125/new-gloomhaven-camp...
This one tracks your campaign progress, scenarios, achievements, treasures, reputation, prosperity, etc. This is a big time saver especially between scenarios. You don't have to wait until the table is cleared in order to bring out and update the main game board. So you can decide your next scenario, do your city and road events at the same time that you're cleaning up/setting up the next scenario.
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Niels Langager Ellegaard
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Players with high initiative can start looking at their cards to plan the next turn as soon as they have moved.

EDIT: It also helps to use small dice for monster hp instead of counters.
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Tragedy Trousers
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Our four player sessions often run to five hours. Having said that, we've been trying to get the set up and pack away times down a bit lately by doing it as a team, with set jobs for everybody. Last game we played was just over three hours, although I think we probably rushed through the post-game stuff, and will have some housekeeping to do next time we play.

I can't agree with those saying to minimise discussing and sharing plans for the round. As per the rules, you can't discuss names or values on the cards, but if you want to get the most of out the teamwork aspect of the game, it pays to work out your actions to help each other out, and it's more satisfying gameplay, too. Frankly, that's the meat and veg of the game from my perspective.

If this adds an extra hour in total to the play time, then so be it. We'd rather have a slightly longer game with lots of coordination, teamwork and strategy than pumping out the cards like robots, but to each their own.
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Warren Zdan
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We almost consistently play 2 scenarios in 4.5 hours, including setup and tear down. When characters retire, or play a new class for the first time, it can sometimes be a little bit longer, but we usually end around the same time no matter which scenarios we do, win or lose. We don't have much AP, and have plenty of time for discussions. One thing we do, which may help speed things along, is have an initiative board, so as soon as one player or monster group finishes their turn, we can tell who's next easily, and remind them to go if they don't start their turn right away.
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Kristian Rasmussen
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Can you explain that initiative board in more detail? Sounds interesting.
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Warren Zdan
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Skrir wrote:
Can you explain that initiative board in more detail? Sounds interesting.


I printed out a small 10x10 grid of the numbers 1-100. When we start, everyone puts one of their small class tokens near the board, and we get pairs of matching summon tokens for each monster type. The large one goes on the monster card, the small ones on the initiative board. Once everyone reveals their initiatives for the round, we put the character markers and small summon tokens on the numbers matching their initiative, and use that to quickly see who goes next during the round. At the end of the round, you can just slide all the tokens off, and repeat next round after all initiatives are revealed.
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J Karrde
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To add in another data point, my 4 player games usually take 4-5 hours. However, there are a few non-standard details:

- I play with my friend and we run 2 characters each (so it's not actually a 4 player game, but we use 4 characters) so takes longer to pick each characters actions.

- We play over FaceTime/Skype, where we each have a copy of the game and mirror the play on each side as we go through.

- Includes setup, resolution (xp/leveling, unlocking new scenarios, etc), and teardown.
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Kristian Rasmussen
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wzdan wrote:
I printed out a small 10x10 grid of the numbers 1-100. When we start, everyone puts one of their small class tokens near the board, and we get pairs of matching summon tokens for each monster type. The large one goes on the monster card, the small ones on the initiative board. Once everyone reveals their initiatives for the round, we put the character markers and small summon tokens on the numbers matching their initiative, and use that to quickly see who goes next during the round. At the end of the round, you can just slide all the tokens off, and repeat next round after all initiatives are revealed.


Thanks! That seems like a really useful little tool.
 
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James B
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jsciv wrote:
Another group reporting in: we are usually under 2 hours for 3p and a bit over 2 hours for 4p.

OP, where's the majority of the time in a typical round? The discussion up front (while you're all deciding which cards to play), players playing their two cards, interpreting monster decisions? Are there interruptions or distractions (like, when one person is "done deciding" do they start talking about other things, wander off, etc.)? If you look at what part of the turns are taking the longest you might be able to narrow down a bit where the extra time is being spent and target what's happening.


I would say managing the monsters health pools (we use dice) and discussing positioning etc.
 
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James B
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TrangVP wrote:
Overlapping with some things other people have said, here are sixe possible areas to consider:

1. Is everybody contributing to setting up and cleaning up between scenarios?

2. Is everybody contributing to setting up and resolving things during scenarios (eg placing spawned/summoned monsters, tracking damage, tracking elements)? Have you got duties shared or is one person doing everything, creating a bottleneck?

3. Is everybody paying attention to the game? As others mentioned said, if they're distracted then they aren't planning their turn ahead and this slows things down a lot, or they may be distracting others.

4. How and how much are you discussing your turns? Don't get into the details of player 1 go here, player 2 go there. Do keep things simple, eg "are we planning to open the door this turn?" or "I'm dealing with this monster, the rest of you can ignore it".

5. Have at least one person keeping things rolling. In my group, I always keep track of initiative order in a round. I ask "is that the end of your turn?" if somebody goes silent for a few seconds or looks like they've done enough actions that their turn would be finished. If they say yes, then I immediately say "okay so the cultist is next at 15" or something like that. Another player in our group also does this, so the both of us together makes sure things are always moving in case one of us is busy sorting out our cards or HP or something.

6. Consider using some web-apps to speed things up.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1735175/monster-ability-dec...
This one does the monster cards for you. You don't have to deal with shuffling. It also calculates the movement, attack, range and other values for you, by combining the monster ability card and the monster stat sheet values. It's a massive time saver.

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1771125/new-gloomhaven-camp...
This one tracks your campaign progress, scenarios, achievements, treasures, reputation, prosperity, etc. This is a big time saver especially between scenarios. You don't have to wait until the table is cleared in order to bring out and update the main game board. So you can decide your next scenario, do your city and road events at the same time that you're cleaning up/setting up the next scenario.


Thanks for the web apps, seems useful!
 
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James B
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TragedyTrousers wrote:
Our four player sessions often run to five hours. Having said that, we've been trying to get the set up and pack away times down a bit lately by doing it as a team, with set jobs for everybody. Last game we played was just over three hours, although I think we probably rushed through the post-game stuff, and will have some housekeeping to do next time we play.

I can't agree with those saying to minimise discussing and sharing plans for the round. As per the rules, you can't discuss names or values on the cards, but if you want to get the most of out the teamwork aspect of the game, it pays to work out your actions to help each other out, and it's more satisfying gameplay, too. Frankly, that's the meat and veg of the game from my perspective.

If this adds an extra hour in total to the play time, then so be it. We'd rather have a slightly longer game with lots of coordination, teamwork and strategy than pumping out the cards like robots, but to each their own.


This seems about right. We often have a beer/snacks and maybe we enjoy the discussion/strategy a bit too much? I've never felt bored, I always assumed the game was meant to encourage player interaction, but at the same time I feel bad about taking 5 hours to play (not everybody is down for for that).
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Joseph Cochran
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Hulya wrote:
This seems about right. We often have a beer/snacks and maybe we enjoy the discussion/strategy a bit too much? I've never felt bored, I always assumed the game was meant to encourage player interaction, but at the same time I feel bad about taking 5 hours to play (not everybody is down for for that).


Well, it's just about finding the right balance then. As long as everyone's having fun, you're not doing much wrong, at least.
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Tommy Wareing
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Skrir wrote:
wzdan wrote:
I printed out a small 10x10 grid of the numbers 1-100. When we start, everyone puts one of their small class tokens near the board, and we get pairs of matching summon tokens for each monster type. The large one goes on the monster card, the small ones on the initiative board. Once everyone reveals their initiatives for the round, we put the character markers and small summon tokens on the numbers matching their initiative, and use that to quickly see who goes next during the round. At the end of the round, you can just slide all the tokens off, and repeat next round after all initiatives are revealed.


Thanks! That seems like a really useful little tool.


We introduced the cheap-and-easy option in our last session: a stack of file cards, one for each monster type, and one for each character, and we simply lay them out in initiative order. Pay your money and take your choice.

It's certainly an improvement over reading out the initiatives at the start of the turn, and then everybody immediately forgetting them, and having to ask "Who's next?" after each turn.
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