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Subject: The inevitability of inaccurate timekeeping with sand rss

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Jeremy Mease
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So in the game Magic Maze there were a number of people who had their timers replaced due to too many extra seconds or not enough and it skewed the results of the game. The consensus is that any timer is allowed to have +10% either way. (Mine is + a few seconds over the 3 minutes it should be) That is actually a benefit cause you get more time to beat the levels than you should.


The concern is if the timers (I think set at 30 seconds) are at 33 seconds in my game, and 27 seconds in another's game, how much more difficult is my version of the game going to be?

I could possibly have a situation where I have 30 seconds+ extra per game just due to waiting on timers for the same actions whereas someone could be a minute less than me or more if their timers are off by a few seconds in the opposite direction.

Just wondering if the timers are all tested to be at 30 seconds. Thanks!

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David Turczi
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Component variability is one of the main reasons why the game is cooperative.


Just think of it as a random difficulty variance. It is by design.
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Jeremy Mease
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I am up for the challenge! arrrh
 
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Brian Bowles
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Yeah, unless we start a tournament Kitchen Rush league I don't think it will be an issue.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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I don't care about the inconsistencies in time measurement. What bothers me is that sandglass, by design, works very poorly in board game environment, as it doesn't signal that the time has ended or nearly ended. During board game play, there's usually so much things to do, control and pay attention to, that precisely telling when the time has run out is a very hard thing to do. That's why people use DGT devices for turn measurement. I wonder how it will work in this game.
 
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Adrian Schmidt
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rattkin wrote:
I don't care the inconsistencies in time measurement. What bothers me is that sandglass, by design, works very poorly in board game environment, as it doesn't signal that the time has ended or nearly ended. During board game play, there's usually so much things to do, control and pay attention to, that precisely telling when the time has run out is a very hard thing to do. That's why people use DGT devices for turn measurement. I wonder how it will work in this game.


That's why there isn't an hourglass for the rounds. The rounds are four minutes (if I recall correctly), and you're supposed to use a timer on your phone or a kitchen timer or similar for that.

If you forget to check the sand in your workers during the game, well, that's on you, and that's part of the challenge of this game.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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SpecularRain wrote:
that's on you, and that's part of the challenge of this game.


Yes. And in memory games, if you forget where these tiles were, that's part of the challenge and it's on you. See what I'm getting at?

It just seems like a worse version of Overcooked that gives you a lot of visual and sound cues about time running up. Of course, I could be wrong and could be pleasantly surprised while playing it during this Essen. We'll see.
 
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Adrian Schmidt
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rattkin wrote:
SpecularRain wrote:
that's on you, and that's part of the challenge of this game.


Yes. And in memory games, if you forget where these tiles were, that's part of the challenge and it's on you. See what I'm getting at?


Not really, no…

I don't like memory games much, so I typically don't play them. And if you don't like the idea of having to keep track of when your worker is available to use again, this game might not be for you. But I don't agree with your argument that using hourglasses as workers is inherently flawed. Just like there is nothing inherently wrong with the mechanism of memory games.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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SpecularRain wrote:
Just like there is nothing inherently wrong with the mechanism of memory games.


Except for the fact that you can write down all the information, instead of remembering it, and turning it into an exercise, rather than a challenge.

"wrong" is not the, nomen omen, right word here. There's nothing "wrong" with them. It's just that they have certain characteristics and are prone to certain things. Just like sandglasses - they might run out and noone will notice. Is that a terrible thing in a light activity of a party board game? Most probably not.
 
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Andy Burgess
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Yes, you can write down the information in a memory game, but then you're playing outside of the RaW. You could use a Chess computer to win at Chess, there's no explicit rule to stop you doing that, but I doubt anyone would use it as an argument as to why it's flawed. I just don't buy the "memory has no place in games" argument at all.

To stick to the topic at hand, though - don't forget that in this game, you each have two hourglass workers, and potentially a shared third, if I'm remembering the rules properly. That's all you have to keep an eye on, and it's likely you'll be watching them very carefully to know when they run out. It's not like you have to watch the whole game state all the time.

The one thing that I think might be an issue with the game is the potential for knocking over the workers, especially with four players making moves all over the board, which would be quite disruptive. But I'm willing to wait to pass judgement on that.
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Cory Kneeland
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Knocking over the timers? I am looking into magnetic tape for the timers and a magnetic sheet beneath the board to avoid that!
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Richard van der Craats
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Having recently translated the rules into Dutch, I am quite versed at the rules at this point.

The rules state that whenever you knock over a timer you have to immediately stop what you were doing, and put back the timer. After this you can continue what you were doing.
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Patrick Dettmar
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rattkin wrote:
SpecularRain wrote:
Just like there is nothing inherently wrong with the mechanism of memory games.


Except for the fact that you can write down all the information, instead of remembering it, and turning it into an exercise, rather than a challenge.

"wrong" is not the, nomen omen, right word here. There's nothing "wrong" with them. It's just that they have certain characteristics and are prone to certain things. Just like sandglasses - they might run out and noone will notice. Is that a terrible thing in a light activity if a party board game? Most probably not.


how is that not a challenge? that's the fun of a memory game, to challenge your memory. your argument is flawed.

The sand timers are part of the challenge. Keeping track of when they run out rather than having a buzzer remind you is part of the game. I can appreciate that you may not like that about it, but it is not a flaw. This just isn't a game for you, you probably want to find something that's more of a worker placement with turns rather than timers, and that's fine, but I personally really enjoy the sand timers

and, by the way, it's the same in overcooked. Things you forget about just keep cooking, and burn, or just sit there until you serve them.

let us not also forget that this is a game, and the accuracy of the timers is irrelevant. It's like those people who float their D20 in salt water to make sure they are weighted properly. Who cares, it's not important.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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dettmarp wrote:

how is that not a challenge? that's the fun of a memory game, to challenge your memory. your argument is flawed.


It is not a *meaningful* challenge, if you can do it easier way. Yes, it probably is a challenge, in a way. But not one I'm interested in pursuing.

Funfact: there was a company, which name I would not mention, that was quite popular about two years ago. They were advertising their mobile and web app, that offered a series of "mind-training" exercises, memory games among them. The premise was that these exercises extended capabilities of your brain in general, trained you. It was later disproved as a fad, as it turned out that playing these games only made you better at these games. Nothing more.

dettmarp wrote:
I can appreciate that you may not like that about it, but it is not a flaw.


I can appreciate it is not a flaw for you, but it is for me. See, opinions. Is there anything in this world that can be objectively stated? :)

dettmarp wrote:

and, by the way, it's the same in overcooked. Things you forget about just keep cooking, and burn, or just sit there until you serve them.


It's nothing like that. First of all, when playing a video game, you always look at the same screen, in the same direction, so you are more likely to notice things. Second, when things are going nasty, there are visual cues - fire, burning, things going red, etc. Then, there are audio cues too - pinging, buzzing, sizzling.

dettmarp wrote:

let us not also forget that this is a game, and the accuracy of the timers is irrelevant.


My point wasn't about accuracy. I don't really care if they time 18s or 20s. My point is that I'm not going to notice that either of that timespans will pass, because of the nature of hourglass - it's voiceless and it's not exactly easy to see when all the sand ran out. That's the exact reason I'm not using hourglasses in any of my games, as they simply didn't serve their purpose. But that said, it doesn't have to mean they won't work in Kitchen Rush. Something to test in a few days, in Artipia booth, I guess.
 
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Patrick Dettmar
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rattkin wrote:
dettmarp wrote:

how is that not a challenge? that's the fun of a memory game, to challenge your memory. your argument is flawed.


It is not a *meaningful* challenge, if you can do it easier way. Yes, it probably is a challenge, in a way. But not one I'm interested in pursuing.


ok, so no game has any meaningful challenge then. If I play downforce, then I can just move my car whenever I want without playing cards to win, because it's an easier way. If I'm playing playing arcadia quest, I can just take whatever cards I want rather than having to buy them, because that's an easier way. This argument is ridiculous.

rattkin wrote:
Funfact: there was a company, which name I would not mention, that was quite popular about two years ago. They were advertising their mobile and web app, that offered a series of "mind-training" exercises, memory games among them. The premise was that these exercises extended capabilities of your brain in general, trained you. It was later disproved as a fad, as it turned out that playing these games only made you better at these games. Nothing more.


This is true for every game ever. Playing sid meirers civilization repeatedly does not make you better at running an empire, it only makes you better at that game.

I never implied that this was some sort of mental improvement strategy. It is an added challenge the a game.

dettmarp wrote:
I can appreciate that you may not like that about it, but it is not a flaw.

rattkin wrote:
I can appreciate it is not a flaw for you, but it is for me. See, opinions. Is there anything in this world that can be objectively stated?


The word "flaw" is not subjective. Saying something is flawed simply because you don't like it is tantamount to saying that something is right or wrong based on whether you like it or not. It's either flawed, or it's not. It can't be flawed for you, and not for me. It's simply that I like it, and you don't.

dettmarp wrote:

and, by the way, it's the same in overcooked. Things you forget about just keep cooking, and burn, or just sit there until you serve them.

rattkin wrote:
It's nothing like that. First of all, when playing a video game, you always look at the same screen, in the same direction, so you are more likely to notice things. Second, when things are going nasty, there are visual cues - fire, burning, things going red, etc. Then, there are audio cues too - pinging, buzzing, sizzling.


so, you're saying you play this game with the half the board on another table where you cant see it? or that you don't place the board in a central location? or that you can't see that a timer has run out? The visual cue that your time is out is that there is no more sand on the top, and that the sand is no longer falling. The only thing lacking is audio cues, but you have other players (hence, more eyes) to see things, so the audio cue aren't as necessary.

dettmarp wrote:

let us not also forget that this is a game, and the accuracy of the timers is irrelevant.

rattkin wrote:
My point wasn't about accuracy. I don't really care if they time 18s or 20s. My point is that I'm not going to notice that either of that timespans will pass, because of the nature of hourglass - it's voiceless and it's not exactly easy to see when all the sand ran out. That's the exact reason I'm not using hourglasses in any of my games, as they simply didn't serve their purpose. But that said, it doesn't have to mean they won't work in Kitchen Rush. Something to test in a few days, in Artipia booth, I guess.


no, your point wasn't about accuracy, but the thread was.
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Adrian Schmidt
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rattkin wrote:
snip


EDIT: Sorry, I overreacted here. See my next comment instead. If you really want to read the original comment, it's in the spoiler tag:

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Seriously, why are you even bothering? If you're so sure the game is flawed, why not go play something you like instead of wasting your time here, pissing on someone else's work?

Why is it that important to you to tell us how stupid you think this game is?
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Andy Burgess
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SpecularRain wrote:
rattkin wrote:
snip


Seriously, why are you even bothering? If you're so sure the game is flawed, why not go play something you like instead of wasting your time here, pissing on someone else's work?

Why is it that important to you to tell us how stupid you think this game is?


Woah, I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. All that’s being expressed here is an uncertainty about whether the hourglasses will work in the context of this game - I wouldn’t characterise it as pissing on someone else’s work. It’s gotten a little heated due to the nature of text and internet arguments, but I don’t feel like rattkin is being all that aggressive.

I don’t agree with his point of view, though.

The way I see it is that the concern over using an hourglass is very valid if it’s timing the game as a whole and there are lots of other things going on. The game feels invalid if someone eventually says “hey, did you guys notice the timer ran out?” and no-one knows if it just happened or happened five minutes ago. You can play Escape: The Curse of the Temple with an hourglass instead of the audio track, but I wouldn’t for exactly this reason.

The reason I think it’s not a problem for this game is that the hourglasses time individual workers, not the whole game, and there aren’t a lot of other things going on at the same time. Waiting for your workers and planning where to move them next is almost the entire game, so there shouldn’t be a lot of distractions and I think it unlikely that you’ll have workers sitting around unused for any great length of time - or at least, not because you haven’t noticed they could be used.
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Adrian Schmidt
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MercifulBiscuit wrote:
SpecularRain wrote:
rattkin wrote:
snip


Seriously, why are you even bothering? If you're so sure the game is flawed, why not go play something you like instead of wasting your time here, pissing on someone else's work?

Why is it that important to you to tell us how stupid you think this game is?


Woah, I’m not sure that’s entirely fair. All that’s being expressed here is an uncertainty about whether the hourglasses will work in the context of this game - I wouldn’t characterise it as pissing on someone else’s work. It’s gotten a little heated due to the nature of text and internet arguments, but I don’t feel like rattkin is being all that aggressive.


Yeah, ok. I'm sorry rattkin, I overreacted. But I do feel that you (rattkin, not MercifulBiscuit) come across as wanting to persuade the rest of us that there's something inherently wrong with the game. (Please note that I'm not trying to convince you that you should like the game, just that your potential dislike for it is due to personal taste, not an error in design.)

MercifulBiscuit wrote:
I don’t agree with his point of view, though.

The way I see it is that the concern over using an hourglass is very valid if it’s timing the game as a whole and there are lots of other things going on. The game feels invalid if someone eventually says “hey, did you guys notice the timer ran out?” and no-one knows if it just happened or happened five minutes ago. You can play Escape: The Curse of the Temple with an hourglass instead of the audio track, but I wouldn’t for exactly this reason.

The reason I think it’s not a problem for this game is that the hourglasses time individual workers, not the whole game, and there aren’t a lot of other things going on at the same time. Waiting for your workers and planning where to move them next is almost the entire game, so there shouldn’t be a lot of distractions and I think it unlikely that you’ll have workers sitting around unused for any great length of time - or at least, not because you haven’t noticed they could be used.


Exactly this.

If you miss the timer for the round running out, that "helps" you, since you get more stuff done, but you are involuntarily breaking the rules. Thus, I would view using an hourglass for that purpose as a flaw (it's (objectively) detrimental to playing the game according to the rules).

But if you miss the workers running out of sand, that's affecting your ability to play effeciently, but not your ability to play by the rules. Thus, you can like it or dislike it, you can see it as an additional challenge or as an annoyance. But it's not a flaw. It's not an objective problem with the game.
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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dettmarp wrote:

ok, so no game has any meaningful challenge then. If I play downforce, then I can just move my car whenever I want without playing cards to win, because it's an easier way. If I'm playing playing arcadia quest, I can just take whatever cards I want rather than having to buy them, because that's an easier way. This argument is ridiculous.


What I meant is that the game can be solved without influencing it in any way, without changing the board state, etc. But I don't want to go deeper into that argument, as I probably won't be able to defend it: yes, memory challenge is in general a challenge, too. And you're probably right about objectivity of the flaws.

It all started with noticing, that certain mechanics/rules can misfire. Memory challenge can be "cheated" by writing down the information, hourglass can be (unintentionally) ignored, because noone was looking at it, being busy with other things. That's all.

dettmarp wrote:

so, you're saying you play this game with the half the board on another table where you cant see it? or that you don't place the board in a central location? or that you can't see that a timer has run out? The visual cue that your time is out is that there is no more sand on the top, and that the sand is no longer falling. The only thing lacking is audio cues, but you have other players (hence, more eyes) to see things, so the audio cue aren't as necessary.


Your attention span in board games is usually constantly shifted between your hand of cards (if there is one), your own player board (if there is one), the main board, the side decks/boards and then other player boards. It's not uncommon to *not notice things*, even if they are relatively close, distance-wise. But, like I said, it's just a speculation, produced preemptively without playing the game. So I'm not sure there's much point in dragging it endlessly. It's cool to talk about games and agree or disagree about things. It's probably a waste of energy to discuss ad infinitum something we haven't even seen (well, at least I didn't) :)

SpecularRain wrote:

Yeah, ok. I'm sorry rattkin, I overreacted.


Yeah, you did. Apology accepted.

SpecularRain wrote:

But I do feel that you come across as wanting to persuade the rest of us that there's something inherently wrong with the game. (Please note that I'm not trying to convince you that you should like the game, just that your potential dislike for it is due to personal taste, not an error in design.)


You feel "wrong". Well, obviously, one cannot never feel wrong, so: your feelings doesn't reflect my intention/approach. I don't think I'm even operating in such strong emotions as like/dislike. Read my posts here again, very carefully. I'll remind you how it started: "I wonder how it will work in this game. ". There's nothing about proving that something is "wrong" or someone should dislike something. We're just politely talking about some aspects of the game here, exchanging experiences and opinions. If you feel this is attacking anyone/anything, you should take a break, maybe.
 
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rattkin wrote:
dettmarp wrote:

ok, so no game has any meaningful challenge then. If I play downforce, then I can just move my car whenever I want without playing cards to win, because it's an easier way. If I'm playing playing arcadia quest, I can just take whatever cards I want rather than having to buy them, because that's an easier way. This argument is ridiculous.


What I meant is that the game can be solved without influencing it in any way, without changing the board state, etc. But I don't want to go deeper into that argument, as I probably won't be able to defend it: yes, memory challenge is in general a challenge, too. And you're probably right about objectivity of the flaws.

It all started with noticing, that certain mechanics/rules can misfire. Memory challenge can be "cheated" by writing down the information, hourglass can be (unintentionally) ignored, because noone was looking at it, being busy with other things. That's all.

dettmarp wrote:

so, you're saying you play this game with the half the board on another table where you cant see it? or that you don't place the board in a central location? or that you can't see that a timer has run out? The visual cue that your time is out is that there is no more sand on the top, and that the sand is no longer falling. The only thing lacking is audio cues, but you have other players (hence, more eyes) to see things, so the audio cue aren't as necessary.


Your attention span in board games is usually constantly shifted between your hand of cards (if there is one), your own player board (if there is one), the main board, the side decks/boards and then other player boards. It's not uncommon to *not notice things*, even if they are relatively close, distance-wise. But, like I said, it's just a speculation, produced preemptively without playing the game. So I'm not sure there's much point in dragging it endlessly. It's cool to talk about games and agree or disagree about things. It's probably a waste of energy to discuss ad infinitum something we haven't even seen (well, at least I didn't)

SpecularRain wrote:

Yeah, ok. I'm sorry rattkin, I overreacted.


Yeah, you did. Apology accepted.

SpecularRain wrote:

But I do feel that you come across as wanting to persuade the rest of us that there's something inherently wrong with the game. (Please note that I'm not trying to convince you that you should like the game, just that your potential dislike for it is due to personal taste, not an error in design.)


You feel "wrong". Well, obviously, one cannot never feel wrong, so: your feelings doesn't reflect my intention/approach. I don't think I'm even operating in such strong emotions as like/dislike. Read my posts here again, very carefully. I'll remind you how it started: "I wonder how it will work in this game. ". There's nothing about proving that something is "wrong" or someone should dislike something. We're just politely talking about some aspects of the game here, exchanging experiences and opinions. If you feel this is attacking anyone/anything, you should take a break, maybe.


Ok, understood. I still don't agree, though. I feel like keeping track of the sand timers, especially when there are so many going, is part off the challenge and patty of the fun for this particular game.

For other games, is agree %100. If escape, or xcom used a sand timer, it would be awful for just the reasons you describe.

Try taking a look at Damage Report. This game may illustrate my point better. It uses both sand timers and a digital timer. The sand timers work almost exactly the same as they do in this game, and it is intentional that the players need to pay attention to them. There is also a digital timer that beeps every 3 minutes to remind players to draw a bad card (like your standard co-op mechanic). The audio and visual cues here are important, and outs bit intended for the players to need to keep track off it themselves, so a sans timer would be bottoms for this.

Anyway, nice banter, hope no one got offended, I think we can declare it over and move on.

As for the original topic, I don't think anyone cares about the assurance of the sand timers
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Milki Kaplanski
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So, I got curious when going through the game bits today and testing out the sand timers. I noticed how unevenly they were filled with sand and sorted them in order of which one's the fastest (left) and which is the slowest (right):



I only measured the exact times for the fast yellow one on the left (23.97 seconds) and the slow red one on the right (30.65) - which makes it a 6 second gap from fastest to slowest hourglass.

So, basically, the two slow ones on the right are the most accurate of all of them, the blacks were a teensy bit slower than blue and blue a teensy bit slower than green, with the faster red one being a bit slower than that fast yellow one, which is by far the fastest of them all. ;)

I find it amusing and interesting that both red and yellow got the fastest and the slowest workers each, it makes me want to create character cards for yellow, red, green and blue describing the characteristics of their hourglasses in a way that gives them some personality. 8)

I think it's quite interesting and cool to have some variation in the sand timers, so it's kinda like varying player powers depending on what colour you choose. I believe the game has been thoroughly tested and the variation of the sand timers had been considered throughout the design process. Can't wait to play the game for the first time tomorrow! :D
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miruki wrote:
So, I got curious when going through the game bits today and testing out the sand timers. I noticed how unevenly they were filled with sand and sorted them in order of which one's the fastest (left) and which is the slowest (right):



I only measured the exact times for the fast yellow one on the left (23.97 seconds) and the slow red one on the right (30.65) - which makes it a 6 second gap from fastest to slowest hourglass.

So, basically, the two slow ones on the right are the most accurate of all of them, the blacks were a teensy bit slower than blue and blue a teensy bit slower than green, with the faster red one being a bit slower than that fast yellow one, which is by far the fastest of them all.

I find it amusing and interesting that both red and yellow got the fastest and the slowest workers each, it makes me want to create character cards for yellow, red, green and blue describing the characteristics of their hourglasses in a way that gives them some personality. 8)

I think it's quite interesting and cool to have some variation in the sand timers, so it's kinda like varying player powers depending on what colour you choose. I believe the game has been thoroughly tested and the variation of the sand timers had been considered throughout the design process. Can't wait to play the game for the first time tomorrow!


plus, it only matters if you are noticing and using them exactly when they run out, and you most likely won't. I doubt a six second difference will matter between players in a cooperative game.
 
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Sebastian Zarzycki
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I've actually played the game today in Essen. Turned out that the nature of the game requires you to constantly track your sandglasses. So it wasn't a problem. They don't measure the time for the game parts, they actually are game parts.

The game was ok and if I didn't know Overcooked, I would call KR innovative. But the overall art (components, board, cards, tokens) were very drab and the whole thing felt somewhat cheap. I'd rather just play Overcooked.
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Andy Burgess
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rattkin wrote:
I've actually played the game today in Essen. Turned out that the nature of the game requires you to constantly track your sandglasses. So it wasn't a problem. They don't measure the time for the game parts, they actually are game parts.


That is literally what everyone’s been trying to tell you this entire time.

rattkin wrote:
The game was ok and if I didn't know Overcooked, I would call KR innovative. But the overall art (components, board, cards, tokens) were very drab and the whole thing felt somewhat cheap. I'd rather just play Overcooked.


Hmm, ok. Not great to hear. I hope I feel differently when I get my copy. Setting expectations like this will probably help.
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Patrick Dettmar
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MercifulBiscuit wrote:
rattkin wrote:
I've actually played the game today in Essen. Turned out that the nature of the game requires you to constantly track your sandglasses. So it wasn't a problem. They don't measure the time for the game parts, they actually are game parts.


That is literally what everyone’s been trying to tell you this entire time.

rattkin wrote:
The game was ok and if I didn't know Overcooked, I would call KR innovative. But the overall art (components, board, cards, tokens) were very drab and the whole thing felt somewhat cheap. I'd rather just play Overcooked.


Hmm, ok. Not great to hear. I hope I feel differently when I get my copy. Setting expectations like this will probably help.


well, the art looks great, and I don't see what's cheap about cool little ingredient meeples (they are wooden meeples, right?)
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